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Game Development - The Shadow Knows



Last week I talked about fixing bugs and tidying up issues in preparation for releasing a playable build that includes the first few levels and areas of the game. The battle continues this week -- here's a list of issues and bugs that have been utterly destroyed (fixed)!!

Bugs and Issues Slain

  • Fixed shield door bug
  • Fixed blood on moving stuff bug 
  • Fixed hitting/opening treasure chests 
  • Fixed falling spike hitting shield 
  • Black circles around torches when fading in/out and creating pause screen
  • Redid Screen Draw post FX pipeline to accomodate for day/night and torchlight
  • Fixed pause screen shuts off day/night 
  • Fixed pause screen turns off season check 
  • UI elements placement fix 
  • Overworld solid mountains 
  • Other overworld solids 
  • Shield UI 
  • Fixed hide armor duck block sprite (pictured above)
  • Recolor plain GUI background sprites 
  • Drop armor bug (dropping a set of armor from the inventory screen crashed the game)
  • ACCOUNT FOR ALL DROPPED ITEMS!! (certain other dropped items from inventory screen crashed the game)
  • Throwing Weapons XP bug (incorrect display of throwing weapons experience points, level, and damage values in inventory screen)
  • Fixed enemy hit by thrown object hurt timer 
  • Fixed saber weapon animation (just looked crappy)
  • Spiked enemies hurt when you jump on them
  • Redid shadow sizes and distance

An issue and criticism that's been repeatedly brought up is the way player character shadows are drawn when a light source is nearby (torch, candle, etc.). I've finally gotten around to addressing this and tidying it up.

While not 100% where I'd like it, it's a lot more appealing to look at and far less dramatic than how it used to be. I can now turn shadows cast by instances of light sources on and off, so if there is a lone torch against a sky only backdrop, for example, there won't be a shadow drawn awkwardly against nothing but sky.

Enemies also cast shadows, again!  

And for those tricky cases where there is only a limited amount of space that you'd like a torch to cast a shadow across, I have put "shadow limiters" in certain areas where, if there is a limiter between an entity and a light source, the shadow will not be drawn.


Here's the video of the livestream I captured of trying to sort out this very issue (the video will be available later on youtube later, as well):


Speaking of bad guys, I finally switched on spiky bits causing damage if you attempt to jump on their heads. I've gone through every enemy object in the game (so far) and made sure this works where appropriate (enemies that can potentially spawn with a spiked/horned helmet, creatures that can spawn with naturally grown spikes or horns). This definitely makes fights more interesting and challenges your ability to make snappy tactical decisions. I got so used to testing the game without this feature turned on -- it's nice to get my butt kicked in a brand new way, ha!


In this livestream here, I also talk about padding out the game with artificial progression. By that I mean I had planned to include certain items in the game (the core UI code is also built around this) that gave you the ability to quick slot off hand weapons and certain consumables.  

Those boxes there are (or, were) tied to whether or not you found the "Item Pouch", "Hunter Belt" and "Warrior Belt" respectively. I've scrapped all that and these features are available right from the get-go (your equipped shield now shows up on the hud, too).

Take the Item Pouch, for instance: consumables that are equipped to this slot can be used on the fly with a mapped button press. If you did not have the Item Pouch, you would have to pause the game by going into your inventory screen, accessing the consumables tab, FIND the item you wanted to gulp down, and "use" it. The same result can be achieved by simply having the chosen consumable slotted to the Item Pouch box and hitting your "Use Item" button when you need it.  

The only real difference between these two methods is that one simply takes longer and is a hassle. It doesn't make the game more interesting or challenging... So, bye bye equipment-dependent sub item slots!

LOTS of UI Fixes

For a while now, since I changed the way the game was drawn to the screen, the in-game menu has been drawing all sorts of wonky. That's now fixed, as well as properly displaying your shield.


I've also eliminated the "Shield" menu item in the equipment screen, since shields and weapons exist within the same inventory list. The manner in which you equip a shield is the same as how you equip a sword, etc. Having a seperate "Shield" access node on the equipment manager felt needlessly complicated and redundant.

I've also adjusted the brightness of text boxes and general UI windows to make text more readable. I want to give players more options concerning that later, like different style backgrounds for these elements.


The Battle Continues...

Here's the list of things that still need to be (potentially) addressed or fixed before I release the playable build:

  • Improve the manner in which shadows are drawn
  • Torches can be destroyed and drop items (like a certain super rad video game series featuring a very serious gentleman brandishing a deadly whip)
  • pickups that get stuck in boulders
  • completely get rid of backpack check
  • completely get rid of hunter belt check
  • completely get rid of warrior belt check
  • completely get rid of item pouch check
  • finish first NPC village including (finally) a vendor  
  • finalize dialogue bits and interaction with the NPCs in the mining prison  
  • redesign UI interaction with gamepad and keyboard  
  • implement save system  
  • finish burning village story events  
  • finish Tra'Tibowt boss fight  
  • updated impact sprites (like jumping on an enemy's head and stunning them)
  • more general and universal sprites for the overworld encounters  
  • fine tune enemy and item placement  
  • Sort items based on category in inventories (clean up function)
I'm still on track to get you guys a playable build, but I still have to figure out the delivery mechanism -- like, it would be GREAT to start figuring out how to get Steam keys to everyone who still needs one, and give them access to a live development build that I update regularly before launch. I'll keep you all posted as I figure out the particulars on that as well!
That's all for this week! Have a great rest of your weekend and I'll see you next update!
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About toborprimeone of us since 4:13 PM on 01.26.2014

Hello and thanks for stopping by!

My name is Matt and I've been working on an independent video game project, Savage: The Shard of Gosen, for a few years. For the past decade and a half I've had my hands in everything from art and graphic design, film and music. It's been very gratifying being able to funnel everything I've learned into a single project -- and finding out how much I've still got to learn about all that, and game development.

I've been documenting my experiences with the game and presenting them in a blog style format (among other things). I'm here to share my updates (bruises, broken bones and all), and see if I can share any helpful bits and pieces I've learned along the way.

Feel free to ask any questions, chat, talk shop, brutally criticize - WHATEVER!

Thanks, and have fun!