2020/12/18

The end of 2020


Season's greetings

I can't stress enough how humbled I am with your patience with me.

I am still very much working on V3, and I can hopefully deliver it in the coming year. The extreme amount of time spent on V3 has happened because of a mess of trial and error gameplay coding I had been doing to improve the overall experience, combined with the usual problems with writing. Fortunately updates should come much quicker in the future, since I feel confident that I won't have to fiddle around with the guts of the code or the gameplay in a while. One messy writing thing I've been struggling with is deciding what characters to focus on. Juggling between creating new stuff and expanding existing characters is difficult, since basically all characters have their advocates that wish more content for them. Regardless, I will do my best to round off all the characters in a way that doesn't leave them dangling narratively. The stream theme experiment has yielded good results for the long term development of the game in the form of backgrounds, sprites and inspired writing that often takes place after the streams. The fruits of the streams will not be seen in V3, but they'll have an effect in all of the future updates. I've once again created a new super pack of all the stream art for your convenience. It's a poor replacement for V3, but I wish my commitment to the regular streams will uphold the trust necessary for such a long project.

Stream art super pack download


2020/11/02

Irregular Blogposts

 

Art









Posting irregularities
This is more of a proof of life post, v3 is still being worked on, (also make Proventus a mod).



2020/09/03

Biweekly update #7

 

Art

Giant human brute

Subni hustle

Subni gather

Subni smooth

Subni look space pony


Dev spotlight

Subtember
Subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni subni.

Still working on V3.

2020/08/18

Biweekly update #6

 

Art

Double teamed at shore


Dev spotlight

Stream TU stuff
The idea of drawing TU backgrounds and sprites on my Picarto stream has been a big boon. I've collected the backgrounds and sprites that have been produced during the streams here. Note that this doesn't include concept art or other full color images created during the streams. All of these pictures and the missing ones are available in the stream picture dumps that are posted on my Twitter and Patreon.

Weird postcard

All of these sprites and backgrounds could be fully usable in the game with some detailing and finishing touches. The streams based on the locations in the game world have also created good palettes and concepts for different ideas to source from when working on those locations. These streams have been such a valuable thing for the development of the game and the world that they're probably here to stay.

2020/08/04

Biweekly update #5

Art

Happy to see you


Dev spotlight

To anyone wondering why there was a long pause between the blog posts, I was just on a vacation. In hindsight it wasn't that smart not to notify about it on the blog as well, since my Patreon page and the blog probably have some differences in audiences. I'm back now, and I'll be doing the normal weekly and biweekly things as before. And yes, I am still working on V3.

Contributor help hardships
Some people may have noticed that I've recently had trouble responding, or just didn't respond to emails sent to me. It's actually caused by a rather unfortunate issue of time, energy and value.

When I started developing Teraurge, I naively thought that I could help other writers and vet their writing just by having them send me their stuff via email. This did happen for a short time, but it soon became evident that even a small number of writers is just too much work to handle for me, because of the uneven quality and amount of learning needed from the writers, and my lack of time to coach them properly.

I did persevere with a few writers in the beginning and tried to push the things they were writing to completion, but I either lost contact with them, or the writers became disillusioned/stressed/uninterested in the writing process and their writing projects never got finished. After several of these writers abandoned their efforts despite my help and critique, I became disillusioned with the process, as the opportunity value spent on helping writers became very, very slim. It seriously sapped my own enthusiasm about the idea.

For a long time I wasn't sure what went wrong, or what I was doing wrong. Eventually I did realize what the issue was, but I ignored it in hopes of making it work. But in the end it's simply a logistical issue of a single person trying to do too many things at the same time, and dividing their attention between many complex tasks. 

Anyone of you who did write and send emails to me and never heard back; I appreciate the interest and I wish I could have worked with everyone to put content into the game, but it just wasn't realistically possible. As it stands I cannot help contributors over email but I would still like to implement possible contributor content if it has already been finished and meets the guideline standards.

2020/06/24

Biweekly update #4

Art

Boob monsters


Dev spotlight

Still working on V3.

Combat cards
Teraurge V3 will have a rejiggered combat system, and one of its main features are the different cards player can obtain. The overall system has not changed from V2. You use your attributes as fuel for your cards and you whack each other on different turns as usual.

Getting new cards by equipping weapons/items or with training is the main way to become more proficient in combat in TU. Getting resistances by equipping armor/items is another. 

The general idea is to avoid number inflation, so to keep the numbers as low as possible in terms of damage dealt and the hitpoints of combatants. For this reason it is actually impossible for the player to gain more hitpoints beyond the starting amount gained from the endurance attribute. This "number minimalism" also extends to the combat cards. The card damage values start from 1 and go from there. This will make balancing less of a headache, and I find that adjusting hitpoints is easier than adjusting the damage cards deal.

Because of how the resistances work (they just deduct the specified amount from the damage type), very low numbers still have a large effect on the overall damage output. It also means that exotic damage types are more valuable than more common ones, so one point of fire damage can be more useful than two points of slashing damage, because the slashing damage is more often resisted by enemies.

I also want to avoid leaving in an "ideal strategy", where a single deck configuration can beat all enemies in the game. The resistances and damage types are there exactly for that reason. Really tough encounters should require the player to specifically tweak their deck to win that fight.

PS: Combat card graphics are a strange beast. It's very different from the normal character/scene painting I'm used to, since it needs to communicate an action in a more symbolic way. I think I need some more practice with the style before I'm happy with them, but for now V3 can suffer the simple card art.

Hmm yes, blue fist, red fist, and blue leg.


2020/06/10

Biweekly update #3

Art

Very round shapes


Dev spotlight

Sketch pictures

Most of the TU gameplay time is spent in the default view, which is the familiar screen where the character stands on the right and speech bubbles appear on the left, or on the overmap. But, TU also has sketches or "story pictures", that are used when the writer wants to visually represent a detail or an action that default view can't show. The sketches are used for the sex scenes, and pretty much all of the lewd pictures (aside from nude character sprites), are represented with the sketches.

The sketchy, "unfinished" style for these pictures is a deliberate choice from my part. This is mostly because of the amount of pictures needed for the game, and the effort needed to produce higher quality replacements for them would require far too much development time. Consider that V2 of Teraurge has 500+ sketch pictures in it already, and you'll understand the decision. The abstract style also allows me to use colors in an evocative way to convey emotions through the visuals. This strategy can easily be seen in the case of pinks and purples, which are used to represent feelings associated with sex, affection, pleasure, and Greens being used for unpleasant smells and sickness.

The sketches and the text descriptions are supposed to be complementary and they are used to explain different aspects of the scene. For example, if the player finds an object with a complex shape, the sketch will illustrate the shape and the text will convey other qualities not explained by the sketch. I often edit out text descriptions that duplicate what the sketch picture can already answer, since the text descriptions usually over-explain the scene before the sketch pictures are added.

Smells purple. Relevant detail on the right and empty space on the left. The sketch pictures might sometimes seem incoherent in terms of shapes, but the player seeing the character sprite before the sketches usually fills in what the shapes are supposed to be.

If anyone's wondering, the sketch pictures are drawn in Corel Painter. I make them with three layers: background canvas, color layer (overlay blending), and the black line layer. I sometimes use line layer for color highlights to get very vivid colors, but normally I constrain them to the overlay layer. The line art for the sketches is made using a pen brush (with max grain) with the tilt feature enabled. The tilt feature lets me create large strokes without touching the size slider or changing a brush and it is generally cool to use.

The tilt feature is really cool.

The sketches usually follow a format where the main detail is on the right and left side of the picture is either left blank or is ambiguously rendered. This is because the left is normally partially covered by the text description boxes.