The Kramora Times # 7, Ananias 2.4.5 released for Android!

It has been almost 5 years since the last release of Ananias.

Well, prompted by a critical situation where the Android version was completely broken due to Crosswalk no longer working in Android 10+, I decided to release a new minor version, fixing that as well as including some minor fixes that had been in the repo for years, see below for the full changelog.

  • Standard Edition
  • Fellowship Edition

In addition to removing Crosswalk and doing some tweaks around to modernize the deployment to 2022 standards, I uncovered a couple of interesting things that will be seeing the light of the day soon enough; the HD layout and the support for localization.

Also, I’ve started the work required to reestablish the iOS version, which had been down for some months. The store listing is available again but the game is crashing on start on the latest iOS versions.

v2.4.5 changelog

Technical

  • Remove crosswalk dependency from Android build.
  • Update to cordova-android 10 including updating build scripts for signing automatically.
  • Update the build process to accommodate with 2022 Google Play deployment process.

Fixes

  • Prevent issue with window.prompt not available
  • Prevent playing SFX before initialization
  • Prevent bug when sorting monsters or player without sprite (dead)
  • Prevent issue with using alchemy with a single reagent using keyboard
  • Prevent issues when using items from an old version save whose Spell no longer exists.
  • Prevent friendlies from using skills outside of combat
  • Hand gifts directly if no available room space
  • Disable pet command button as soon as pet is killed to avoid invalid commands

Known issues

  • The manual is currently pointing to an online version due to an issue with the InAppBrowser loading of local pages.
  • Since the HTTPS setup for the game server is still pending, some tweaks were done to be able to connect to it via HTTP which is no longer the default or acceptable in 2022.

SPID13 – roguelike with Moria maps that look like Moria

I will be posting SPIDs (Slashie’s Project Idea Drafts) in the blog, they will be short ideas for games or other projects I may or may not develop into full projects. Maybe they exist already, or someone will be inspired by them and save me the trouble of developing them.

A roguelike (or maybe an exploration RPG without procgen) with Moria-like maps featuring a lot of chasms; gigantic open sections of underground hollow with bridges connecting them in addition to the tunnels and room dug into the rock.

September 15, 2022 -Misc update

Here’s some things I did the month since the last update:

I completed my entry for the js13k2022, TenderGotchi, with great contributions by Ryan Malm on the audio side, and reusing illustrations from last year made by Mateo Robayo. A complete post-mortem post about it will be out soon.

We had a mentoring talk for Colombia’s Women Game Jam 2022 sharing our experience with Muyscamuy. (Spanish)

I did a random update for ZeldaRL to address some accessibility issues.

I created a video for the House of the Dragon series for Slashbits Retro Cinema, in the same style as the previous Game of Thrones videos.

It was actually two videos because I decided to create another higher-res intro for less super retro people (90s instead of 80s)

I flew to gamescom, where I had good prospects for NovaMundi and our upcoming project, and also met the dev team of Blasphemous and got to drive around Germany with Thomas Biskup.

My talk for the roguelike celebration 2022, “Celebrating Moria – a roguelike before the roguelikes”, got accepted. I started gathering community info for it.

After a long hiatus, I ran the FormulaProc Monza 2022 Grand Prix, no commentary this time, but it was good.

No Survivors – Improved

Out of nowhere, I decided to update “No Survivors”, our original TriJam entry (worked with Quiet Gecko, make a full game in THREE HOURS), pushing the progress we made the weeks after. You can play at https://slash.itch.io/no-survivors. Here’s a gameplay video too.

After we finished jam entry, I thought we could improve upon it a little bit…

This conceptual build features better graphics from Oryx Design Lab but also some iterations I worked with Stoltverd on how the core gameplay could work best providing more tactical challenges.

It doesn’t look like I’ll be able to push this one forward in the near future, so I prefer it to be out there instead of accumulating dust in my git repo. I see some potential here but it’ll need a lot of work in the content part which I just cannot do right now.

As always, I challenge you to beat my score!

js13k 2022 – dev journal – day 1

August 13 – Day 1

Last week I talked with pal QuietGecko about the challenge and told him this year I’d follow his directions (similar to 2020 where I tried to delegate the design of the game and just do the tech). Gecko had some ideas about genetic algorithms applied to bacteria pools so you would see their evolution based on a limited control (adding ingredients, etc). It’s not very clear how this can be fun, honestly. I also let him know about my idea of doing some kind of virtual pet because I want Gaby to play around with it (and I also want to have something to take care of in the dead times at work). I think maybe I could have two entries, a smaller one with myself leading design and code, and another one just coding.

Today, early in the morning, I discovered that this year’s theme is DEATH. Talked briefly with Gecko and he doesn’t seem to have any clear idea right now.

Today was also kind of a busy “parent” morning, or was it? I did manage to work a bit on NovaMundi and even do some live coding streaming efforts (which ended up somewhat depressing rage-quitting after seeing the “1 viewer” count (myself, I guess) for far too long).

Back to js13k, that means I missed the kick-off streaming where they (I think) shared some mini-frameworks that we could use for the challenge, it might be worth looking into them although one of the ideas I have for this year is not to focus on squeezing the last possible byte (maybe even aiming for uncompressed 13KB!). We shall see.

Throughout the day I was thinking about possible ideas, trying to avoid the endless loop of “Must think of a cool idea that is not too pretentious” -> “somebody surely thought of this already”. In the end, I think I have something that clicks with the theme and also ties back to my original ideas. I don’t care much how original it will be (and you probably shouldn’t that can drive you crazy).

RIP (source)

So, remember how the original Tamagotchi could DIE if you didn’t take good care of them? My idea is to take a lot of the format of the classic virtual pets, but transform it into a fast-paced arcade game where you must prevent its death; imagine time is running at 30x, and you have to respond to the needs of the pet quickly or risk him getting sick and dying.

The main interaction will be picking what to feed the pet based on four available and shifting options; some of these may increase happiness but reduce health, and some others may stuff the pet a lot so you should only use them when the pet is empty or it will lose health. The food, happiness, and health bars will decrease steadily, and faster as the pet ages.

There will also be potential minigames you have to play with your pet when you reach certain life thresholds.

Following up with last year’s Distant Friends, the idea would be to keep the visual style in some way; cute characters using vector graphics, following the line all the way to 2019’s Backpack Monsters. The next steps will be taking a look at these libraries to decide if I should instead circle back to mine, organize it a bit and work using it. I think one of the main challenges is going to be providing some nice-looking animations (with a super low, jumpy frame rate).

Since Gaby loves foxes, I guess I’ll focus on having a single fox pet. At least initially. And of course, there will be a “normal” pet mode without the hectic action. 🙂

NovaMundi v0.37 – Destiny of the Muisca

NovaMundi is still available on Steam Early Access! GET IT NOW (or wishlist it) if you like what you see!

Development has resumed in full! The biggest addition for this version is the Perks system; you can now customize your runs by selecting different bonuses, penalties, or just variations of the universe.

The perks window, including some of the future planned perks

This version ships with the following 4 perks

  • Combat Blessing: +2 Bonus to attack for all units
  • Vagabond Defect: -10 HP for all units
  • Destiny traits
    • Peaceful Lands: You’ll be attacked much less often by raiding parties
    • Militia Only: Only “Guardian” units will be available (no Guecha Warriors or Archers)
    • Known Lands: The location of the main towns will be known in advance.
Even knowing the location of the Muisca towns, traversing the rugged Andes geography will be challenging!

Talking about combat, another important thing that is changing is a chance of its pace, taking some steps towards more “active” gameplay. For now, that means the battles start unpaused, in the future, we are going to add more visual feedback on the battle as we extend the combat rules to give it a little more depth (but not a lot! exploration will remain the focus of the game)

In more combat-related things, we fixed some issues with unit selection to allow combat between large parties

That’s it for today’s version! for next week we are planning to release important changes in the “cave exploration” system, providing some procedural Muisca dungeon crawling for your pleasure. It’s going to be big so don’t miss it!

NovaMundi 0.36.2 – Picking back pace

NovaMundi is still available on Steam Early Access! GET IT NOW (or wishlist it) if you like what you see!

This version contains two critical fixes:

  • Cannot load games at all (root cause issues with the MuiscaNameGenerator state)
  • Exploit: Raiding parties not saved
    • This was just missing from the implementation of save/load.
    • Quite a bit of work, however put some things in place that will be helpful when we extend the overworld population.

We renewed our commitment to take the game out of Early Access, this includes a person from Slashware working full time on playtesting the game and coming out with ideas for improvement within the constraints of its development. This version includes some cheat options to ease that work too (You can’t touch them tho).

I’m also in the middle of developing some important improvements in the setup of the runs, being able to customize them and set up the initial party, I hope this will be available next week!

In other news: New coverage! I was interviewed (in Spanish) for ColombiaVisible.com. This one was pretty in-depth containing some details of the story of NovaMundi that are not commonly shared. Also took the chance to highlight the work done by some other members of the team.

Muyscamuy – June 2022

I am happy to announce we have been selected as recipients of the Global Game Jam X Endless Computers microgrant for Educational & Learning games, to further develop Muyscamuy, our Muisca community life and farming sim!

It’s the XVI Century in the Andes. It has been some years since the strangers from beyond the sea arrived in the lands of the Muisca. Slowly but firmly, the Europeans have risen into power, and the traditions and beliefs of the Muisca fade away as their cultures blend together.

The heritage of the Muisca is at risk of being lost… you must lead a Muisca community, farming maize, making offers to the gods, and crafting sacred gold works in preparation for a great celebration that might serve to keep their traditions alive.

We have already started working on adding more “life” to the game; you will be able to see the villagers moving around performing their duties in the community, we also plan to improve the game visually and add cutscenes for the events!

The new animations will reflect some of what is known about the farming techniques used by the Muisca. The goal for July is to have the complete farming cycle implemented.

For now, you can play the current version at https://slash.itch.io/muyscamuy. Make sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the upcoming updates!

NovaMundi 0.36 – Achiote

NovaMundi is still available on Steam Early Access! GET IT NOW (or wishlist it) if you like what you see!

The last development update was from January! It’s not that there was zero development in these months, but I certainly took some time to work on other projects to take a bit of fresh air. Now we are back to your schedule!

A new version is out, 0.36 – Achiote, here are the major changes but as always there were smaller bugs fixed along the way.

Let’s start with exploration: based on player’s feedback I doubled the movement speed in the overworld since players didn’t seem to really like to take their time to look at the scenery 🙂 this of course makes moving between locations much quicker (but the time scale was adjusted accordingly so it all takes the same amount of game time.). Additionally, the time doesn’t completely freeze when you are not moving, but instead slows down to 10% of the normal speed, since it felt a bit glitchy with the full stop.

The random dialogs that expedition members used to say while traveling were removed since they were not really adding a lot to the experience and actually were confusing players who thought they might be real hints to the game mission or things to do.

However, the main reason I decided to push this version to the public was the addition of the hints in the minimap; players will no longer need to refer to the journal and textual directions for the nearby towns; instead, they are added as blotches of paint in the map, put in an approximate location.

As the first step on a sequence of improvements for the towns; the game now zooms into them when you “enter” them. This is just the beginning of an arc of development for the towns, and I am going to incorporate recent research on the Muisca towns as well as usability improvements and tweaks to make them feel bigger and more alive.

The Mac version was finally updated from v0.32.4 (August 16, 2021), so if you are on Mac make sure to update and get a LOT of improvements 🙂

We continue working on a list of improvements for the game; it’s not clear how much longer it will be on Early Access, but I want to make sure of its quality, accessibility, and variety of content while keeping the current base scope. So make sure to keep an eye out for future releases!

FormulaProc: Spanish and Monaco Grand Prixes

Spanish Grand Prix 2022

Some work was done to make the intro sequence more data-oriented to ease the setup of future events.

There were also some improvements on the dialogs (content), but a system to make them evolve based on the development of the story is still missing.

This GP included an awesome brand new track from QuietGecko: Low Gas. Due to time constraints, it didn’t have narration.

Simernio, the project artist, also created a new awesome cover art that is being used in many places.

Monaco Grand Prix 2022

Two visual additions: a semitransparent shadows layer and a subtle overlay for the track itself. These were especially important in this city circuit since there were a lot of buildings projecting shadows, and the way we continue doing tracks makes it hard sometimes for the spectators to see the circuit clearly.

For the production of the content, I experimented a bit with a Portrait Version meant mainly for TikTok (where we seem to be having a bigger audience maybe).

This GP also included a new QuietGecko track, a sweet Drum and Bass track called “Turbo”

For the first time in the 2022 season, I added narration to the race. We also experimented with a PA effect over it which I think worked pretty well. Additionally, I added subtitles for both English a Spanish for the first time.

Monaco Special Event Mazzerano Challenge

All drivers competed under identically spec’ed vehicles; besides, we experimented with some post-processing effects, including a sepia tone, vignette, and grain; these were barely visible in the quality of the streaming.

Meta

With this project, I continue discovering how many people are actually needed to run such a thing in an orderly manner. In addition to the obvious needs in the audiovisual front requiring an additional magnitude of work, there should be roles for video edition, publishing to all different platforms, and I’m not even talking about the marketing efforts for this to reach a wider audience. All this is on top of the neverending task of improving the simulation and making the emerging narrative more interesting (which is the main thing I’m interested in).

While we continue evolving, I’m keeping the idea of this being something made for my personal enjoyment and that of my friends, and produce it at the scale and the amount that I can handle; that includes lowering the invested time so that other projects (like NovaMundi) can reach completion.