Saturday, 14 September 2013

Folk Tale Dev Blog 12

By Simon Dean, Project Lead

Plenty of videos and visuals to share, some team news, and a status update on the imminent Load/Save function that we'll be pushing out soon as part of patch 0.1.7.0.

Save/Load System



Load/Save has taken longer than expected to develop. Were this a shoot-em-up game it'd be fairly easy to write, but with complex relationships between objects and some with animation states that change over time ( wheat, saw benches etc ), that creates a lot of areas where bugs can be introduced, and a lot of scenarios that need testing. Load/Save definitely isn't a feature that we can release half-assed. It needs to be robust or it will result in a lot of support posts in the forums.

In the video above you'll see that we are very close to being finished. There is one minor corner we can cut to get the patch out sooner: to load a game you'll currently have to start the tutorial, and then load a saved game. In time we'll add the option to the main menu screen as you would expect.

Location Editor / Tower Defense Mini-Game



In parallel to Load/Save, we've been progressing the Location Editor by developing the City Walls System. It's the precursor to players being able to quickly plot out where they want Villagers to construct walls in the Sandbox Tower Defense Mini-Game.

We've added edge docking to the UI windows, and new icons for kit pieces. The previous icons were renders of world tiles, and the textures made them visually hard to identify, causing us to pause before choosing the correct tiles ( see the Before and After images in the top right of the image below ).




To help readability ( being able to identify not only shape, but height changes ), we've swapped from renders to illustrations and included additional visual information. Height Guides help identify whether a piece will height-match with other pieces you are working with, or when a slope changes from half-height to full-height.

The thumbs look blocky as currently do the real-world terrain tiles. Given time the real-world tiles will evolve to be smoother, allowing us to recreate much of the look of the Tutorial.  We're considering introducing a quarter-height set of tiles for more gradual inclines. The only issue is that with every set of height tiles ( full, half, quarter ), the number of permutations expands exponentially. Thankfully a lot of tiles can be re-textured for snow/lava/grass/desert/swamp variations, cutting down production time.

Character Customization



Following up on Dev Blog 10 we've made some fantastic progress with character customization. The character system is now capable of customizing appearances in real-time, and transferring over a character's appearance as you train them in different occupations. The time of bald beardless male villagers magically transforming into bearded woodcutter's with a full head of hair are nearing an end.

What's not quite ready for sharing is the incredible work our Animator has done on real-time deformation of head geometry. In a nutshell this brings a huge amount of customization to just a single head. Fat face, thin face, heavy brow, fat/thin/long/short/pig noses, high/low cheek bones, broad/narrow chin. It's all in there, and all part of our Universal Skeleton system meaning we can play any human animation on any human character.  Hopefully I'll be able to share the entire system in a few blogs time once load/save is shipped.

Art Assets: Butchery

I shared the concept art for the Butchery back in Dev Blog 10, and it spurred community debate on whether the meat cleaver wedged into the roof was a step too far. The reasoning behind the styling is that much like the antlers in the Hunting Lodge, the cleaver helps players quickly identify a building's function. Understandably, the illustrative style of the pre-production sketches does make it look very cartoony, but when realized in 3D some of that cartoony feel gets lost. If you've been following the dev blogs, how do you feel now we've finished making a few of the buildings? Please share your thoughts with us over in the Forum.



Animation

I've been keenly following the development of the quadruped animations through pure excitement. Back in Dev Blog 11 I shared an early wireframe visual in of the horse. The same skeleton that drives the horse is re-targeted to the deer, which has it's own set of animations. The deer is stalked by the crossbow-wielding Hunter specialist. Here I've simulated a likely scene where the deer becomes alert, starts to flee, and then is hit by the Hunter's bolt.


Inventory Items

Our Concept Artist has taken a breather from pre-production visuals to illustrate more inventory icons. We've got a selection of Witch/Warlock items ( Voodoo Doll, Hex Bag, Crooked Wand ), crafting recipes ( Enchanting, Workshop, Blacksmith, Apothecary ), Fishing ( Fish, Cast Net, Fishing Pole, Salmon Steak ), Natural Resources ( Grapes, Wine, Cotton, Bolt, Straw, Lizard Patty, Steak, Sausages, Manure, Night Water ) and Potions ( Nerve Toxin, Deadly Nightshade as well Small / Medium / Large variations of Goo Potions for the Goo Traps ).



Team News

Thanks to a continued influx of new players, at the start of the month we were able to start the search for two new artists to join the team. After evaluating applications, we're pleased to have Devin join us as an Environment Artist, and Allan as a Character Artist.

Devin will be developing the existing biomes from the tutorial and creating new ones not yet seen. His first task will be to expand the lava area of The Old Forge into an Editor Kit ( required to migrate the Tutorial across to Sandbox Tech ), and then build the lava caverns and Dwarven city found beneath.

Allan will predominantly focus on monsters. We've started a new topic in the forum asking for your favorite cannon-fodder type creatures, and ultimate end-level style bosses. If you have five minutes to spare, we'd really appreciate your input. We'll be collating all the feedback and creating the favorites.

45 comments:

  1. Love what im seeing. The hunter's are going to get the deer on there own? Or is that something that the player must, or can do if he chooses.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To avoid micro-management the hunting AI will be automated once you've built a Hunting Lodge near to a Hunting Grounds ( similar to say a Lumber Camp but where the deer are ).

      Delete
  2. Been interested in Folk Tale for some time, thus far all improvements have been logical and full of enthusiasm.

    Just bought the game because I judge whenever you guys release the game it will have beaten one of my favorite games of all time, Black and White 2.

    Awesome work, really looking forward to the full release :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is amazing! Please don't cut corners, you're all doing an amazing job with what will be an amazing game! Thanks for all of the new content given in this blog as well :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. in steam does not appear even update =(.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is a dev blog showing the parallel progress we're making both on minor patches ( 0.1.7.0 which includes load/save ) and the first major patch ( 0.2.0.0 which is the Editor Preview ). As new patches become available we post in the Announcements section on Steam and Folk Tale will be automatically update when you go to play it.

      Delete
  5. So epic the way they ask us (the player) what we want and then trying to get it in their game. Wish more would do it like you games foundry. Really looking forward to the end product

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's certainly interesting reading the forum posts on what players would like to see in the monster line-up.

      Delete
  6. Good work, but seems like progress has been a little slow...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That depends on how you measure progress. Measuring progress by content updates and comparing it to other games would be misleading. Changing the game from campaign to sandbox as per community's wishes (poll) requires us to develop additional technology which takes time. While that's going on, the rest of the team are producing content for sandbox, shared in these dev blogs. Given our team size, progress is proportionate. Once development of sandbox tech is finished, the new content can start flowing into patches. In parallel, we're also working our way through fixing bugs and finishing off functionality in the tutorial.

      Delete
    2. Many of us understand the complexity of the mission you guys have set yourselves to, and look forward to the game in full.

      Keep up the good work!

      Delete
    3. So, has the campaign been completely scrapped, or is the sandbox now on top of that?

      Delete
    4. that would also interest me; the topic of a storyline/campaign is completly off or will it be added later?

      Delete
    5. We're implementing dynamic storytelling into the sandbox which we hope will provide a feel similar to the campaign-style of the tutorial. But as for a dedicated campaign mode, that's currently off the table, at least until after launch when we know how successful the game is and how much demand there would be.

      Delete
    6. That is, sad to hear, I have not had good success with such "Dynamic" ideas, as such I'll probably need a demo before I buy the game, to give me a sense of what your planning, all in all, I still like the idea behind the game, just sad to know there won't be major bones to go with the meat.

      Delete
    7. In all honesty, a sandbox mode with campaign elements like your doing, is best, Most campaign people have a huge issue with not feeling like they have control over what is going on and its strictly linear in every sense of the word. Most people are seriously tired of cannon styled endings, good guy wins, bad guy loses. Most prefer a fable 1 approach, choices and methods affect your story. Sandbox with campaign elements is the best approach to matching fables ground breaking performance back in that day. Then you feel that this is "Your" town, "Your" rulership, "Your vassals and peasants" Not just being a small pawn following orders, but the king who gives orders and faces consequences etc. A sandbox campaign is not something that has been done to such a degree that you guys are going for, so this might be a hidden huge success. I say keep on with your path, and if you do campaign later, take it far out of the sandboxes zone and put it on the side for those who desperately want a cannon ending. My reason being, is that those who invest so much into the sandbox, don't suddenly get it ruined due to a small few of us who seek a watered down storyline that we are not in control of and cant alter its past, present, future.

      Delete
  7. Are the models and animations captured in Unity 3D? I kinda recognized the default background color :p

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. I don't spend a lot of time making the blog videos because that's time away from programming the game.

      Delete
  8. cool job keep it up can you give a date wen it will be r patches

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. http://steamcommunity.com/app/224440/discussions/0/864973032745748435/

      Delete
  9. I get so excited when I read these blogs. They give me at least a small peak as to what to expect when I enter the game art field. =D

    ReplyDelete
  10. It's so nice to see you are so passionate about the game and want to really make the best of what resources you have. Keep at it! I am sure the final product will be worth remembering. =D

    ReplyDelete
  11. Brought it and played up to the swampy area - absolutely brilliant game so far, dead excited to see what this game'll eventually become! :D

    ReplyDelete
  12. I would like to see Fishing boats and Trading ships ... are these planned ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are features under consideration. For now we're focusing on delivering what was outlined in the Sandbox Vision Presentation. Once we've reached that point, we'll be looking at features under consideration.

      Delete
  13. when are we likely to see new content released into the game? completed tutorial 7-8 times now.. x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As soon as is physically possible. Swapping from campaign to sandbox game requires additional technology to be developed which takes time. Once that's in a ready state, we can start releasing all of the content we've been sharing in the dev blog.

      Delete
  14. I just paid 20$ for a "tutorial" that cannot be saved. That would be not-so-bad except that the screen got locked into some weird position and no keyboard or mouse activity would be recognized so I had to kill the process. Now I am supposed to start all over? Bleh.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The screen locking sounds like this bug which is now fixed in development:
      http://steamcommunity.com/app/224440/discussions/4/864977025986305950/

      The next patch includes a fix for this, and the post describes a temporary workaround.

      The next patch also adds load/save so you won't need to keep starting over.

      Delete
  15. I haven't read the previous dev blogs, but I recently purchased the game because I love the whole building-your-own-world type of thing, and the trailer made this game seem like it had a lot of potential (I especially liked the customization of individual townspeople).

    I finally got down to playing it and... um. Well, it's still in development. The controls are a bit clunky, I can't move very well (things are a bit slow and spinning with the right mouse button makes a strange arc so I don't always end up where I mean to, not sure how else to explain it; also, the mouse wheel doesn't work for me in-game).

    I was very upset I couldn't train women as farmers, woodcutters, stonecutters, miners, etc. I had a limited population in the beginning and I began training about 2-3 men in each field (hoping I'd get a higher yield in that resource) but then I tried to train women as well and it wouldn't allow me. I don't understand why. I don't want people to just sit around doing nothing, I want to put them to work!

    And then when the orcs/goblins come and steal Bernard's wife and a farmer, and the peasants are talking about it... it's such a typical joke that no one cares about the wife. And then the wizard? It's like pushing gay people and women away from your game in two cutscenes.

    I really do want this to be a good game. I love these types of games. Just, from what I've seen, I almost want a refund (mostly the fact that women can't be trained and those two cutscenes... I quit after the wizard was introduced).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Dani,

      This forum post answers many of the topics you've raised:
      http://steamcommunity.com/app/224440/discussions/0/864969482080249186/

      You can speed up the camera movement and rotation speed in Settings->Controls. We'll be changing the way the camera works in a future update.

      Delete
  16. I'd been holding out but...SOLD! I look forward to spending many hours of my life on this game.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hope you like it George! Plenty more to come given time.

      Delete
  17. I'm not overly PC or anything but the wizard character wasn't funny at all. It was distracting and definitely going to alienate the fan base. There is such a thing as a good story that can make fun of cliches that are typical of the genre but this did not give the impression of humor as much as broke the immersive aspects of story telling; at best poorly handled characterization, at worst an attack on specific groups of people.

    Could you imagine making a wizard character who was a buck tooth slanted eyed Asian with bad English, a black with big lips, saggy pants, eating a bucket of chicken, or a Christian that hates women, education, and shouting about the end of the world and salvation?

    When this game get's finished and becomes popular, as with the fantastic features your implementing I'm sure it will - this is a ticking time bomb of bad PR waiting to explode and it contributes nothing to the quality of the story.

    Respectfully just wanted to throw in my 2 cents.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Seriously? I think your reading too much into it. I found the wizard quite amusing and not at all offensive. As did my sister-in-law who was watching me play and is a lesbian. She said it reminded her of a friend. People who would find things like that offensive in a game is just looking for a reason to lash out at the world and probably has issues of their own to work out.

      Delete
  18. Hey guys,
    just wanted to let you know that your dedication is thoroughly appreciated and that my anticipation level for this game is incredibly high. I don't usually get addicted to many games, but you already had me at the tutorial. Keep working hard, it will all pay off. Also, I understand that the game is being developed primarily for a sandbox mode, but perhaps in a (much) later development, the other villages can be administered by interactive A.I. leaders, posing the possibility of a competitive (or cooperative) multiplayer mode. When my friends and I bought this game, we were hoping to be able to compete online, and we see it as the only detriment so far.

    Sincerely,
    A Fan


    P.S. I thought the comedic aspect of the game fit perfectly with the setting that was depicted, and jokingly satirical as oppose to offensive.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Staying on the edge of my seat for this game! Can't wait till you get to a full game release!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Good game cant wait until the update comes with the save and load and i am looking foward to sandbox keep up the hard work thanx

    ReplyDelete
  21. Signed up through steam, played through tutorial. Loved it. Its fairly clear to see what you guys are working on and the improvements you can make just leave me reeling with the possibilities of awesome this game can and will become. Kudos to your whole team.

    Incidently, i have tried to find a topic on this but found none in the forums....with the plots of land to build on - how do you get more? Will it be time based, upgrading a structure, built by villagers? In the tutorial I found myself really interested in how you would manage the multiple barracks situation, given by the time i placed all the buildings it told me, i only had one more spot and that didn't take into account more houses for a larger population and certainly the butchery.

    I might have missed the topic and if you could point me in the right direction, or if i am the first to ask, YAY!.

    Thanks again to commiting to such a great project, looking forward to the updates.

    ***also, the wizard is great! hope all the heroes will be able to have such personalities (obviously not all the same personality, but same level of difference from the standard villager/worker/trooper).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sandbox will have free building placement ( snapped to a tile grid ), and eventually the fixed build plots currently found in the tutorial will be phased out.

      There is no way in the current tutorial to get extra build plots. All the new buildings being developed ( Butchery etc ) use sandbox tech and will appear in an overhauled tutorial at a later date. They will first appear in the sandbox mode which comes before the tutorial overhaul.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the response. Sounds great, cannot wait! (although I guess I have to LOL!

      Delete
  22. why can't i train a women as a woodcuter or miner or all the jobs?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can in Sandbox. It was only in the Tutorial simply because we hadn't modelled the female professions. More info is available in the Steam Forum.

      Delete