Some major life events consumed the majority of the spring and summer for my life, but I have finally gotten back on track working on Evenfall at a steady pace. Recently, I have taken another look at the existing art in the game. I've said time and again that the playtests had non-final art direction, but I figured it's high time to start working towards what the art direction will be.
Art has always been my weakest point in game development. I have a long way to go before I would expect people to refer to the art as "good" but for the time being, I'll accept "passable!" There is still a long time between now and any kind of "done" state for Evenfall, and I plan to spend a good chunk of that time improving my ability to produce the art for the game.
As a first step, I have gone back and begun to rework most of the existing sprites, textures, tilesets and hud elements. Using the wonderful EDG64 palette by @ENDESGA, I have been standardizing the look and feel of existing art as well as working to simplify textures and make foreground elements clear with outlines and brighter colors to contrast the darker backdrops.
For example, here is a screenshot of the middle of the first town, Riverstone, from the Winter 2017 playtest:
And here it is now:
Simplified, clarified and consistent in color.
It's not perfect. I'll never stop trying to improve it as I learn and as the game develops. For now, this color and style overhaul helps get things in order for a more consistent development plan. I now have a direction to move in with the art rather than throwing something into the editor and calling it "good 'nuff".
Continuing on between art work, I am also focusing on yet more expansion of spells and a fresh take at the Traits system.
Starting now, and until December 20th, 2017, I am asking for people to sign up to playtest Evenfall Arcane with the Winter 2017 pre-alpha build!
This playtest comes at a time where development is beginning to pick up in terms of content. While the game is still very young in development, most of the core gameplay is in place, and this test primarily focuses on a small section of the game, which represents an early look at the opening segment.
A goal has been to give Evenfall Arcane an immersive feeling since day one of development. I want the world to feel alive. The most recent chunk of work has been executing on that goal by improving the scheduling of NPCs to include sleeping and interaction with in-world objects.
Early playtesters know that some NPCs have schedules. In Riverstone, you could see the local fisherwoman head to the river during the day, and head home at night. In Yeuknox, a married couple who owned a tavern would take turns serving. Yet, nobody ever slept. They kinda...stood around until it was time to go back to work.
As of a week ago, NPCs learned to sleep in beds, sit in chairs and more. This gives more value to the in-game clock, as NPCs are unavailable when they are asleep, and some will refuse to do business outside of business hours. So, plan your day!
It's been a busy month for Evenfall, with a whole lot of development work taking place. The current focus is on fleshing out spells, followed by building out the rest of the second town in development: Yeuknox.
Yeuknox is currently accessible in game, but there is a lot more still to build for the town. This is likely the first major town the player will encounter and has several areas, as well as the main attraction: The Yeuknox Arena. The arena will offer its own questline where the player can fight to gain ranks and claim the title of champion. Of course, there will be interesting characters and events along the way.
The first year of major development on Evenfall Arcane was spent creating a rock-solid foundation for the game. So far, that has been a huge pay-off for day to day development, but it also means that I now have this great set of foundational utilities, which were built to be game-agnostic. I ultimately planned to open source these utilities, and as of a few weeks ago, I have!
This is the first ever public Evenfall Arcane devlog, and I'm very excited to be writing it. I've been developing Evenfall Arcane for just over a year, and bringing it to the public has been an exciting period of time for me. I look forward to sharing more of the development process, playtest / beta updates and more.