Big progress for the game!
It has been a while since I blogged about my game, so it's about time. The last two weeks, I took some free days of my job. Initially because a family holiday was planned, but Corona changed the plan. While I still spent lots of time with the family those weeks, I had a couple of days wherein I could fully spend my time into further developing Amitania.
And boy, those days were spent very efficiently. I made much more progress than I initially anticipated, so this blog will be larger than normal.
Major changes to the first level
As a result of all things I've added and edited, the first level now really starts to get into shape. As you have seen from the screenshots, the first level is beach themed. The player wakes up at the shore, where her adventure begins (I won't go into detail about the story - that's something for you to find out once the game is done).
The first level is intended to be easy, to allow new players to learn the basics. From there onwards, new levels will gradually introduce more and more features of the game.
New minimap feature
You can now see where you are on a dynamic minimap, which displays your current location and every place you've explored so far. This feature is still a little experimental, but I think it would be a nice addition to the game.
Underwater breath bar
I've spent quite a lot of time to create a great underwater effect, along with a breath bar that keeps track of how much breath you have left. I gotta admit I went a little overboard with the details, but so far I like the end result.
Which platformer game doesn't have spikes as a basic obstacle? Spikes are small one-tile zones the player has to jump over, or otherwise get hurt. To make it better fit the theme, I've decided to make the spikes look different based on the level theme you're currently playing in: razor shells for the beach, thorns for the forest, etc.
Accidentally touching one of these hurls the player a little bit into the air just like how cartoon characters usually react when they step on something sharp. This allows the player to quickly find a safe spot before touching the spikes again.
Cutscenes and dialogue are now skippable
While the story is a major contributor to how the game is enjoyed, I understand that some players simply want to play without watching any cutscenes or reading dialogue. To accommodate those players, I've decided to make it possible to skip most cutscenes and dialogue. Pressing the escape button now instantly skips any cutscene or dialogue to the point where the player eventually has to give a response (some dialogues require the player to respond).
This feature sounds easy, but it took me more time than anticipated to implement due to some cutscenes consisting of multiple parts (dialogue, the player moving to a location, chapter screens, etc). It now mainly works, but I still have some bugs to fix in order for it to be working flawlessly.
Improved support for keyboard and gamepad
The game is now playable by keyboard and gamepad (either USB gamepads or the Switch controller, should I eventually decide to release the game on the Switch). The game automatically detects which input device you're using, and adjusts the content accordingly.
Especially within the first level, you occasianally find a small text explaining which button to use for your basic actions (moving, jumping, swimming, attacking etc). The depicted button depends on the input device you're currently playing with, and changes if you decide to switch between keyboard and gamepad.
Power-ups and Status effects
And of course, power-ups! Scattered across the game, various power-ups can be picked up to instantly grant a specific effect, either instant or over time. Think of a health potion, granting you health and giving you a regeneration buff. Status effects granted by those power-ups usually come in the form of buffs (positive effects), but some enemies can inflict debuffs (negative effects) on you if you are not careful enough.
Details and flavour texts
On the player info screen, you can read all info about a specific status effect affecting you. Each status effect also has a flavour text below the details.
Last, but not least: breakable blocks! Levels now have blocks you can destroy using your attacks. Those blocks currently can only be destroyed from the side since the player only has attacks that go sidewards, but I'm planning to give the player some aerial attacks somewhere in the future to enable destruction of blocks above the player's head.
My initial implementation of this feature gave me great joy while playtesting the game. It just feels good to destruct those blocks! The blocks will look different per theme, but are generally recognizable.
So yeah, that's my progress of past weeks. I've also practiced some music making, but admittedly I didn't do it that much compared to my other work. I feel extremely accomplished when I look at all the things I managed to do, and I will do my best to continue working hard on the game!
See you next blog!