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11:11 AM on 11.15.2013

Getting Organized, Killing Baddies.

This week's been a bit of a funny one for us. The weekend was largely spent devising a way to get organized and prepped for a trailer ASAP. That meant redoing the initial trailer doc into something more carefully coordinated and manageable. With some help from Mihai, I think we've managed to put together something very interesting.

The first task is to redo the grass. Currently, the grass not only looks too sparse, but its taxing on the system. With the new terrain, we've got a much larger area that needs to be covered by grass, and that would require even more separate instances in the system, each being animated to grow and move in the wind.


A pretty picture, but the grass just won't do.

Yikes.

We're going to try at least one different thing to get it working, but it could be many more if they don't work. We've got some ideas.

But instead of spending another few paragraphs going explaining hypothetical solutions, I'd like to introduce you to our latest accomplishment. If you were with us over the weekend, you may have seen it already, but I think we've got a really nice death effect ready for the enemies. Add in some lovely particles and sound effects and baby, you got yourself a stew!


Obviously, it'll make more sense when we have the actual enemy model in.





Meanwhile, we've been doing some work on the website. After lots of peer pressure, I caved and went for a Wordpress. We've still got a LOT of work left to do on it, but if you'd like, feel free to take a look and use the Contact link to send me a message about what a bad website builder I am.



That's all for now.   read


10:41 AM on 11.01.2013

Obligatory Halloween Pun About Animations and Stuff

Before I get into anything else, we got some really really awesome fanart from James Ghostetler on Twitter:


It's got a cool kind of Mad Hatter look, doesn't it?

We're getting pretty close to our midway goal, which is to have a trailer and demo level ready to possibly use as crowd funding tools. Features are being quickly struck off from the list of what's needed and I'm getting a short level ready for testing.

So that's all well and good, you say, but where's the proof? For now, I can't offer much. We've still got some tweaking to do (the jumping is behaving extremely erratically at the moment) and lots of animations to do before I can show a proper video without it looking like more of the same.

But Murilo's making some major strides through animations and we've got a much more Sprout-appropriate looking run cycle on its way. Last night we spent some time chatting about trying to get distinct aspects of a character across through minor changes in an animation. From what I've seen so far I'd say Murilo's managing to accomplish that.



Meanwhile, Mihai's been storming through our ever-growing feature list so that everything's starting to finally work together.

Not least of all are trees. Now modeled, animated, and coded, Sprout can once again throw down trees to make platforms and defeat enemies. Also they look pretty as all get out.

Murilo's also put together a little test scene using a few of the tree texture variations which you can have a look at by clicking this link. Fairy warning, it may take a minute to load.

Here's a gif of the animation:



I also took some time recently to make sure to get Sprout's name onto appropriate forum places. Going to try to hit weekly updates on all of them, despite the apparent tedium.

Alright if anyone reading has any cool ideas for rewards you'd like to see for a crowd-funding campaign, please let us know!   read


10:00 AM on 10.31.2013

We Have an Interactive Build Ready!



We have a real treat today! We present to you an interactive build of Sprout's Tale's 3D game assets all packed into a luscious green hill. Please follow this link and check out our interactive build   read


11:12 AM on 10.28.2013

What is Sprout's Tale?

With so many posts on our recent technological advancements, it's possible some of our readers may not even know what our vision for the game is, so here is a brief summary of Sprout's Tale

Sprout’s Tale is a 2.5 D game set in a dying world. As the protagonist, you are tasked with battling back the end of times with a pouch of seeds and a mysterious friend. Grow trees, vines, grass, and flowers to solve puzzles, kill enemies, and restore the world.



Sprout, the central character of the story, is awoken from non-existence when the world is on the brink of collapse. Darkness has breached almost every corner of the land and water, and it seems that only he and a winged companion have the power to stop it.


Find and plant seeds to create bridges, stairs, ladders, and traps. Using the right seed at the right time and place will be entirely up to the player, and saving seeds to utilize other tools in the environment will also be entirely within your power. While not strong alone, Sprout can use the fairy to help him carry and push heavy objects. The fairy itself will be entirely in the control of the player.

You can see our latest video here:




To be developed for PC, Linux, Xbox, PS, Android, and everything else we can afford.   read


10:13 AM on 10.14.2013

We Have a Gameplay Video!

hings are coming along. We've got the bare-bones of the new terrain now, though still not quite enough to start putting things together properly. For the time being, that means you're going to have to settle for more rough draft kind of stuff




As you can see, we've been working on adding some more camera movement to the Z and on the enemy patrol and chase movement. In this video, that little reddish orb is an enemy (don't worry, just a placeholder) and you can see some of the path he's set to follow. As discussed last week, we set nodes to tell it where it needs to go, and Mihai has included a funny little tick box called "Ping Pong" which means it repeats the path backwards at the finish.

If the player were to get in front of the enemy, it would start the chase routine, doubling speed and running at the player to eat him. Needless to say, that animation is yet unfinished.

If you strain your ear, you can hear the sound of the cloud dinging when the player jumps on it and the rain falling. The rain is used to kill enemies underneath. That means we'll need to fix the camera so more of the bottom is visible when the player is up high.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with the layout here. The enemy is set to jump over obstacles properly, which should add some more tension to any chase moments.

In case you've forgotten what our old enemy looked like, here he is again:



At the moment, I'm putting poor ForteSounds through hell by nitpicking the Cloud sound like crazy. My ears are apparently broken because all the cloud sounds seem too metallic to me, and I want something very very soft. He's now made so many versions, we're approaching the tenth one. 

Luckily, he's keeping his ire hidden from me so I can just go on pretending I'm not annoying the crap out of him. Poor guy.

Well, that does it for now.

Don't forget to follow us on Twitter!
  read


10:11 AM on 10.11.2013

Progress report: October 11th, 2013

It's been a while since out last update, so bare with us as today's entry will be chalk-full of screenshots with appropriate descriptions on our progress.

First off, we've been experimenting with lighting and mood, this is the result of one of the experiments:


During these past weeks we've been creating several new art assets, we've built most of them to create what will one day be our demo level:


And this is how it should look when being played:


We've also added the ability to walk in the Z-buffer (depth) this is the result:


We've also been adding backgrounds so the player isn't constantly staring at an endless ocean. We've added a bit of fog to as well:


And here's a closer look at the home models:


We hope you like what you see, and remember you can follow us on Twitter, Facebook or our developer's blog!   read


10:34 AM on 10.09.2013

What's Up

new terrain, that's what's up. 


This new terrain can be pieced together to easily create a variety of different looking areas.


The green here is the grass texture that spreads over a piece as the player walks on it and grass grows.

Besides that, it's been more of the same here, generally though. Dev dev dev. Time's been a little constrained lately, but that's about to change. Next Tuesday will be my last day at my "dayjob" (I'll be getting another). So for one month, I'll be free to devote virtually all of my time to Sprout's Tale.

Right now, we're working on the enemy and fire enemy. Mihai's come up with some really incredible logic systems for defining enemy patrol paths, and they're going to work really nicely with the Z Axis control we've added. Basically adding nodes to define a path and setting them before obstacles so the enemy can know exactly how to climb over them. It sounds perfect.

Also, I had a weird idea in the shower this morning! Perhaps adding some kind of plant or flower or something that shoots poison and causes the controller to start going wonky so that all the directional controls are randomly rearranged. Seems like something that could make for some very tense situations.

I don't know though. I'm pretty worried about feature creep. Anyway, it wouldn't go in before the trailers ready, since it would be impossible to convey that kind of feature in a video.

What else, what else. Story?


Don't cry, don't cry, don't cry.

I've got the story well figured. LaconicLelex gave me some really really nice framing tips a while back that I've put to good work. He used Land Before Time as the example and explained how the beginning of a visual story needs to be bright and wonderful and wowing. Then the darkness (and poor Little Foot's mom needs to bite it) so that the player/viewer feels they are working to get something back. Then brighten it up little by little as the player makes progress and - boom, explosions of color.

Sounds like something I would like to play.

One thing I've struggled with from the get go is making sure the player is getting a real sense of accomplishment out of the different aspects of the game. Growing a tree and covering a landscape in grass might look pretty, but I need the player to feel like it is something he/she has personally accomplished.

I'm actually still having trouble there. I think I need more sparkle on the grass and some little tinkly chime sounds. Anyway, I'll get there.

This was an unusually long entry. If you actually made it to the very bottom here then you are a true hero and I promote you to Blog Reader Rank 7, Regal Dragon Knight Reader.   read


10:09 AM on 09.20.2013

Weekly Progress report: September 20th, 2013

It's been a busy week, but let's show off some of the new stuff we've made!

First off we have a general view of the game with Sprout's several assets



We've also been working on an improved character model, here's a sneak peak :D



And last but not least, another grass test, unfortunately didn't work out as well as we hoped, we reduced the level of grass or the game would get pretty choppy, but we're working on a way to get the best of both worlds! :)




That's it for today, if you have any thoughts or suggestions let us know! :)   read


9:44 AM on 09.19.2013

Particle Party!

I've opened this damn document about ten times in the past ten days trying to put words together. I keep telling myself that once we have some content to release, the words will write themselves.

But we do and they aren't. Lazy words.

The last week's been pretty busy. Personally and professionally. Major changes in the works on both fronts, though neither will affect Sprout's Tale. Look, it's enough to say I've accidentally worn the same shirt to work two days in a row. My mind's a bit full.

But let's get down to business. This week, thanks to help from @PetertheHe, we've seen some pretty serious progress on the coding front. Also, through some fairly lengthy discussions with Murilo and Matt, we've gotten closer to putting the proper fire stuff together. Murilo spent some hours tweaking the fire particles so we could have something that more fits in with the overall appearance of the world we are creating.



Particles are fun! That's going to be the general shape and look of the fire that surrounds our fire enemy. It will create light in dark caves and also spread across areas where grass has been grown. This is going to cause some pretty serious problems for the player in the game and will be the basis of what I think are some pretty interesting puzzles.

Okay, so now that you understand that fire is both useful and dangerous, let's talk about fire's greatest enemy: Water. Water's been in the books since day one, but it's a daunting task, finding a way to work it in without opening ourselves up to a plague of bugs. This week, we finally made some progress toward bringing functional water into the game.


A cloud made of particles that rains particles to extinguish particles.


 Clouds can be used as platforms and ways to grow seeds, defeat enemies, and extinguish fires. In the picture above, you can see, barely, an early version of the way the rain is going to look. Rain's going to be a vital tool in the game, but probably somewhat rare.

Currently, we're working on getting tree growth in. Once that's perfected, it's going to be a matter of perfecting and optimizing while we pull the art stuff together. Then? Trailer time.
Thanks for your patience. Stick with us. We won't disappoint you!   read


1:36 PM on 09.13.2013

Weekly Progress report: September 13th, 2013

As Sprout's Tale evolves into 3D so does the world! We could probably make our very own Green Hill Zone with these 3D renditions!


But more importantly, we have two videos to show:

The first is an experimentation with lighting and mood. there's nothing majorly new here, but we wanted to get a chance to play with the lighting and fog settings in Unity so that I might be able to match something the Lunatic Waltz piece for Sprout. It obviously needs some work still, but we think it turned out pretty decently.




The second is a test for Sprout's Tale grass growth feature

  read


10:24 AM on 09.09.2013

Mowing the Lawn Analogy in a Game About Growing Grass

Things are going well, I think. I kind of bounce between optimism and despair pretty easily, but lately it seems to be mostly blue skies. We've got our jobs laid out neatly before us and we've created a kind of interim goal to work for that I think is good for morale. Well, good for mine anyway.

Like keeping the lines straight while mowing the lawn, it helps to look at where you're going rather than where you are. #lifeadvice

So the goal: A trailer. It makes me feel awfully vulnerable, publicly declaring my expectations. But here they are: It'll be about a minute. A quiet, moody kind of a thing that hits all the right buttons. It's gotta be beautiful. Painfully so. It's gotta show our open fields and claustrophobic caves.


We also finished the new model and we already have him working for us!


So the first step was getting the right music. Had a long conversation with +AJ ForteSounds about how best to achieve this. We ran through ideas. Conversation shifted from Limbo to Fez to the act of sweeping. It got kind of weird. But ultimately, it was a success. Oh man, was it a success. I basically melted when I heard what he put together for me. I want you all to hear it, but it had better wait til the trailer. Sorry.

We're still quite a ways away from finishing the trailer. Or even beginning it. Sorry.

We've got caves to make, and platforms too. Enemies and rain. Lakes and rivers. Clouds. A fairy.

It sounds like a lot, and I guess it is a lot, but things are moving at a brilliantly satisfying pace. You'll see soon. And you know what? I can't wait to show you.

For now, you'll have to settle for a gif. This one shows our new grass system.

  read


10:31 AM on 08.30.2013

Weekly Progress report: Aug 30th, 2013

For our first progress report we have two videos for you, the first is our first 3D. Please be aware that all of the graphics shown here are placeholders, we will do our best to improve them over time.




The second video is a background test from our very own Rossie.




Let us know what you think!   read


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