Awesome as always! Thanks a lot for creating this amazing world :)
A Drop in the Ocean
Rejoice, for the terrible month of January is nearly over. It did appear to last 9 weeks but together we've got through it. 2022 has officially started and we're on our way to a brighter place! Tales of Yore got rather a lot of updates this last month which I'll try to describe in the next few sections. If you haven't already,
Or equally come visit the Discord server.
I'm continuing with the plan to add a content pack each month. This time I focused on expanding the mountains areas but instead of adding more towns and NPCs, more dungeons and places to explore were added. A brand new instance dungeon that needs a party to complete has generated a lot of positive play between players and a couple of new boss monsters have provided much merriment.
I couldn't resist adding some more settlements as well so the swamp also got an extension with a new town, Bala. This town is another call out to one of my favourite TV shows. It also gives access to the first bit of sea travel in the game, out to the island of Aguerin - the first player made map to be added to the game.
Also as part of this update, the dwarfs were introduced. They're your typical bad tempered RPG trope dwarfs, obsessed with mining, gold and beer.
However they also add a new concept into Tales, that of language dialects. At the the time of writing it's not actually possible to converse with the Dwarfs since they speak Dwarfern.
Players will of course eventually be able to learn the language and carry on their adventure there.
Dings, Hints and Polish
I spent an inordinate amount of time on small touches, quality of life improvements and polish this month. The first area was focused on celebrating events in the game, or "dings" as I've known them from my game design past. When a player succeeds in some way there needs to be a bright and positive display that tell them whats happened and generates a tiny endorphin rush. Player get used to "success = message" and hence continue playing to get more successes - at least that the theory! In Tales there's now a message that appears on quest complete and one for finding a special item:
The quest complete message is even copyable to share on social media to show everyone else how well you've done (as with Wordle).
Next up there are now quest hints. Players were enjoying the quests but quite often getting to a bit of a brick wall in quests. While the community is fantastic at helping each other out it felt like there needed to be a bit more help in game. Each quest now has a set of hints, one for each step or move in the quest which seems to be helping players through.
There are also a few bits of additional polish added, one to show players when an NPC has something to say that they haven't read. Getting the game to track what the player has and hasn't seen without storing every page that the player has read was quite interesting. It's now based on evaluating the game state variables and storing the last end state the NPC has been seen in - if this changes it means something new has opened up. Seems to be working ok. The speech bubbles below indicate the NPCs have something to say and took a strangely huge amount of time to get feeling right.
The final bit of polish was to add a little game appropriate intro sequence. When players first enter the game Yoric, our very own bard, talks to them and tells them the story of Yore from Legends to Tales. I used the custom art time I have with the Mini-Fantasy patronage to get some awesome looking story board pixeled up!
Probably one of the bigger tasks waiting on the horizon is being able to translate the game into other languages. This is made particularly hard since I opted to use my own bitmap font rendering which didn't contain appropriate character for accents etc in languages other than English. Unfortunately using TTF font rendering on a HTML canvas doesn't give consistent results when scaled across different browsers and devices.
Just to explore I took a couple of evenings to build out the font designs required for other languages and prototyped up a translated page:
It worked out pretty well and I've tested it with a few of the players. It's not fully ready to take on full internationalisation but the basics are there and ready to expand as and when it becomes a priority.
New Dev Space
Slightly less related to code and game development but I was lucky enough to get some extra space to work on the game (and yeah, well my day job as well). Coke and Code is now setup with plenty of room and toys to play with!
And yes, I use a single monitor. Yes, it works for me. Bonus points if you can name the artist for the pixel art on the wall :)
Final week or so of this month was dedicated to a nice new big chunk of feature and function, crafting. I've known it's been coming for a while and this month the ideas got concrete enough to build on.
Crafting is implemented in two parts, Harvesting and Building.
In harvesting the player can now fish, mine, forage and chop down trees to get resources. Some of the items that are dropped by monsters (like goblin ears for example) are also used as harvesting sources that give the ingredients used to build. Different ingredients require different levels of player skill and levels of harvesting tool (think the Pickaxe of Power).
Building takes the harvested ingredients and combines them into a new item. In Tales you need to find "recipes" and "plans" to be able to combine the ingredients. More often than not you'll also need a particular type of workbench. Assuming you have the ingredients, the skills, the plans and the workbench... you can make all sorts of things - from arrows, to potions, to gnatty purple suits:
It's been quite the month and it doesn't stop - onwards into February. Thanks to all the players for the ongoing support and feedback on making the game better and better.
If you're playing or want to know more, let me know in the comments.