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Posts relating to Progress Reports:

5 years ago

Weekly Update - 'Programon' Progress

◊ Posted by A β Pseudolonewolf
I've been working more on this 'Programon' project over the last week. There's not really a whole lot to say about it though; I'm still focusing on all the necessary technical stuff to get all the engine and mechanics set up, and it's not really very interesting. I'll show you what it looks like at the moment through these three screenshots:

This is what the platforming 'Field' section looks like at the moment; obviously I've not bothered adding any proper tilesets or anything yet. It all works and you can jump around and travel between areas and stuff, though, and when you collide with that monster there - which is using a recoloured version of graphics from Chamaeleon or the time being - you enter a battle.
Your player character has a dynamic appearance; the face and hair change. They're currently randomly generated when the game begins, but eventually they'll be customisable through a character creator, of course.

This is the menu that opens when you press Enter. It's not too interesting yet. The red box at the left there would show the battle model of the monster that the cursor is over, but I haven't added any models yet.
Like in Miasmon, each monster is represented by a little sprite that shows its body type and element. These ones are cuter-looking than the ones used in Miasmon!
I've only done this page of the menu at the moment.

This is what the battles look like at the moment. HOW IMPRESSIVE, and so on.
The red boxes are an intentional and permanent feature that will continue to exist in the final version, because I think that's better than having graphics for trainers and monsters. Yes. Totally. Or not.
Each monster can have eight moves, which are represented here by an icon that shows their attack type (the three marks like a claw mark represent physical attacks, and the rectangular yin-yang thing is a buff), coloured based on their element. The power, accuracy and element of each move is shown on the left there, and its name is on the right. The ← and ... buttons mean 'unsummon' and 'wait', both of which work the same way as in Beast Signer Alpha.
Interestingly, there'd perhaps be nothing like MP/SP/PP or whatever that made moves cost anything, and you'd be able to use any ability freely... I wonder whether this will be balanced and enjoyable, or not. I can always change it based on how it feels to play.

So yes. I am doing things! I've also been drawing; look, wolves!1

It feels like it'll probably be at least a month before Programon is playable and testable and stuff... but I'm going to keep working hard at it!
5 years ago

Update: Beast Signer?

◊ Posted by A β Pseudolonewolf
I've not updated here in a while, I know. I've been very out of touch with Fig Hunter for a while now, and I've felt better as a result of it. I know that this site is very useful to a lot of people, but, well, I've said enough times before why ∞ I don't like it ∞, so there's no need to go over it again. I've been turning my attentions elsewhere, trying to find somewhere where I belong, and I've been doing that rather than working on games, I'm sorry to say.

I have several games 'in progress' at the moment... Miasmon, Timid Cervid, Chamaeleon, Clarence RPG, and probably more that I can't think of right now. I WANT to finish them all! I'd also like to get to MARDEK 4 eventually. But I know that each one has a long road before I can get to the point where it's Finished, and then I'll have to worry about *marketing* it, and ugh, it's all very off-putting. Especially since I plan to go to university in September, so I feel like I need to get SOMETHING done before then.

I've decided that I'll return to several old ideas that I've had the *concept* for for a while, but I've always avoided actually starting serious work on them because I felt I should finish something else first.
The ideas were for things like Fig Hunter Online, or Beast Signer (Online), or other similar things that I've talked about using different names.

The general idea behind them is that they'd be games that start with very little content, but update regularly - maybe once a week - rather than having to wait until they're fully Finished before you can play them. Your saved data would be tied to your account on the website, so you'd be able to play them from anywhere. It's a similar concept that many games like that AdventureQuest thing seem to use. I've understood the technology behind it for years, but always worried that my skills were never good enough to pull it off.

The game that I want to make using this idea would be Beast Signer... sort of. It might get a different name; I may reuse the 'Programon' name for that recent thing that I talked about.
So it'd be a monster-catching game.

Interestingly, though, it'd also be a side-scrolling platformer! Or the field bits would be, anyway. When travelling around from Town A to Town B, rather than just holding down an arrow key and wandering along a top-down route avoiding long grass, you'd have to run and jump around on blocks and stuff. Monsters and trainers would walk around like platformer enemies do, and touching them would take you to a battle scene like in a typical RPG. The wandering monsters wouldn't be randomised, and they'd have set species, so rather than just hoping for the Random Number God to favour you with a rare monster when wandering around in long grass, you'd find the rare ones by perhaps finding hidden passages, or simply exploring at length, or things like that. It seems much more rewarding that way to me.
I like this idea, because as much as I adore the top-down view, whenever I find myself wanting to have quick, simple fun with a game, I find myself playing a platformer, simply because there's a joy from the movement itself that I can't get from top-down wandering.
I imagine that the side-scrolling bits would be fairly generic; I'm not exactly going for innovation. It certainly wouldn't be challenging either; there might not be any way to die in the platformer bits. Or maybe there would be. I'm not sure.
It'd be more about the fun of free movement than about precision jumping, though. There wouldn't necessarily be *obstacles* or anything, just like walking between two towns in Pokemon doesn't involve puzzle-solving or tricky manoeuvres or anything.

The battling itself would probably be 2 vs 2, like Pokemon double battles. Probably. Maybe. Perhaps. I've worked out many details, but they're tedious technical things that people might actually be interested in, but which I'm not really interested in writing about. o_O
I might use the silly Programon elemental types I came up with recently though; these things: ∞ Fig Hunter ∞

I THINK that I might make it so that monsters go through various stages of evolution... The stages would be the same as the Miasmon ones; Essent, Transient, Prime and Paragon.
Similar to the other Beast Signer (and Digimon things, which is where this came from), each monster might have its own 'growth tree', where it could evolve into divergent forms based on certain criteria (power form, magic form, etc). Each family would be different; there'd be no set Template that they'd all follow, and they wouldn't be based on elements or anything either. Some monsters might have entirely linear trees, some may never reach Paragon stage, some essents might be able to become half a dozen different prime forms, depending on how you treated them. It'd depend on the monster!
Some monsters might even share forms with entirely different families, like Embark (fiery dog Essent from Miasmon) having 'Wolflare' (fiery wolf) as its main prime form, but Gruul (Essent) might have Wolflare amongst its prime forms too (though it'd probably take special circumstances to get there, and you'd usually get Gruul's 'normal' grey werewolf-like prime form instead). That's all very much a maybe, but I liked how that kind of thing was possible with Digimon (in certain games, anyway).

The way you'd acquire new monsters would use ideas from Miasmon and Alora Fane.
Rather than catching wild ones, you'd have to clone level 1 Essents and start from scratch with each one. To be able to clone a monster, you'd need its 'card'. You could buy these cards from a shop (this would allow me to use microtransactions for them in future), OR you could get one by defeating every instance of a certain monster species in the World (which I'll describe in a minute) that you find it in. You might be able to find these cards in treasure chests or get them as rewards and stuff like that, too.
Interestingly - perhaps annoyingly - you'd also need the right card before any monster could evolve.
Evolution wouldn't happen automatically. Instead, once the monster reached the right level, it'd, I don't know, start glowing or something, and there'd be a message on its status screen saying it was ready for evolution. From the menu, you could select some EVOLVE option, which would take you to the monster's growth tree, showing the potential forms it met the criteria to evolve into. You could choose one! Or you could train it more to unlock other forms before evolving (maybe it couldn't get any experience at this point, though?). You'd need the card for the evolution though; common forms' cards would be easy to find or cheap to buy, so it wouldn't be too much of an issue, but this would solve the problem of people training things that had no evolved forms added to the game yet, and getting frustrated when they didn't evolve, or something. Adding new monsters would work a lot easier with this cards system.

Oh, and the setting would probably be similar to Beast Signer Alpha's, in that it'd involve going into a virtual world and battling with monsters that are essentially bugs in the code, but there probably wouldn't be a single plot with characters and stuff. You'd probably start the game at the Hub; there'd be no remnant colony bit.
You'd make a custom character, choosing between the two sexes, and one of five races: pale, tanned and black humans, wolf-headed anthros, and reptilian anthros. (Mainly they'd share one of two bodies, but their heads and skin colour would differ between the races.)
You'd be able to equip clothing (probably a top, pants, and a hat), which would affect your appearance in battle and in the field (of course).

Gameplay would involve travelling to various different self-contained WORLDS.
Each World would have its own areas, monsters, and story; they wouldn't be connected to other worlds or anything, and you could only get to worlds from the Hub. This would easily allow me to add new Worlds each week, without worrying about some overarching Plot thing, or adding things that could break other things.
They'd be sort of like the episodes of a TV series in that their plots would be set up and resolved within a short amount of time. They'd be short stories, more like single side quest kinds of things rather than GRAND EPICS that span many hours and involve saving the world.

The main things that delay the progress of my games are the need to *design* things, like details of the plot, or monsters, or things like that. So I have some potentially appealing ideas that could both help me with that, and which could involve players a whole lot more!

One of them is something I've talked about several times over the years, in regards to Beast Signer, Miasmon, and other things: a Design A Beast contest!
I'd have one each week, where artists could submit drawings of their original monster designs, and other players could vote on what they thought was the best one. The winner each week would be added to the game (I'd make the graphics for it using their concept drawing as a base for the design), and the in-game Bestiary would credit them for its creation.
It'd save me the pain of designing everything myself (though I would design SOME monsters), and would make it so that players could make a real impact on the project!

I know that not everyone is an artist, though, so it could be frustrating for people who want to contribute but can't draw.
So I have another idea!
Since the Worlds would be self-contained and would have their own short plots, that'd mean a lot of plots. I doubt I'd be able to come up with a new, interesting one on a weekly basis, so I could run Write An Episode contests!
These would allow people to write a short story which could then be made into a World. They'd not be able to build the areas themselves or anything, but they could describe them, and the characters that would be involved, and things like that, and I'd use their short story or script to build the World myself. I'd probably make adaptations here and there, and wouldn't be using scripts written by 13-year-olds verbatim or anything like that (so you can stop worrying about the game being really terrible!1), but I'd use their idea as a base (unless the writing was really good, anyway). And since there'd be voting and everything, I'd be using the most popular ideas, which would hopefully appeal to a lot of people.
To get an idea of the expected length of a story, think of things like an episode of a long-running series like Star Trek or Stargate SG-1 or Doctor Who or things like that. Long enough for stuff to happen, but NOT something like a full-length RPG such as Final Fantasy.

I may or may not make some 'official NPCs' who could be optionally implemented into players' stories so they didn't have to work with nothing. And of course I'd write some Worlds myself!

This whole game idea appeals to me because I could probably get it up and running in a month or two. It'd generate money through advertising, and eventually I could add microtransactions too (the game is designed in such a way that you could buy things like outfits or new, rare monster cards using real money if I ever decided to add that).
I don't have to wait to Finish a game, nor do I have to deal with sponsors or anything.

It's a plan I've had many times before, but now, I think, is the time to finally start it. It seems the most sensible route at this point for various reasons I could talk about at great length but won't.

I'll probably make a separate site for it, rather than just making it a part of Fig Hunter. But I've not decided yet. We'll see.

Sigh! If I'd gone this way with Miasmon, I bet I would have had it out within a month! The reason it took so long was the designing of monsters, and rewriting the plot over and over again. Without those two problems, a game like this would hopefully be swift indeed!
5 years ago

Weekly Update

◊ Posted by A β Pseudolonewolf
Hello there. After neglecting game development in general for quite a while, I've finally got back into it and started making good progress on Timid Cervid!

Rather than tediously explaining what I've been doing, I'll show you some screenshots; keep in mind the game is in early development so these don't necessarily reflect the finished work, and there are some really obvious issues and oddities:

I haven't done any tilesets yet, hence the spartan field here! The grass will probably end up being more like the sort I meant to use for Alora Fane, rather than this cartoony style.
This demonstrates the dialogue boxes and dynamic pixelated sprites though, which change based on what you have equipped, as does the animated dialogue portrait.

This shows one of the menus, where you can equip clothes, altering your appearance; it looks much nicer than my other games that had similar features, and the model at the side there changes as you roll over things to equip so you can see what it'll look like before you put it on!
The actual items in the list have bland names at the moment, and they have no little image things; pyjamas are not tablets! They're currently using sprites from an entirely different game that I was working on.
Also, the description for the Pyjama Top is wrong there.
(I feel the need to mention all these little details because otherwise there'll be one totally clever person who'll see the need to point them out, won't there?)

This is an example of a battle, though there's nothing really happening at the moment. The background is very temporary; they will be more detailed eventually.
Battles work similarly to MARDEK, except for the types of skills that you use (things like "Smile" or "Awkward Comment" rather than "Flame" or slashing with a weapon).

I've done most of the mechanical stuff now and should be done with it all by the end of the week... I hope. After that, it'll be all about story, graphics, and music, which I hope will go well, but I make no promises about anything.

On another, unrelated note, I've been learning more about Myers-Briggs types recently, and I feel the need to mention this here because I know I've been biased against certain types in the past, but my new understanding shows me that I shouldn't be... Or at least not in the same way.

I've been learning about 'cognitive functions' in particular!
I've talked about this before, a while back, but I'm only beginning to understand the *importance* of it now, so I'm mentioning it again!

You see, each Myers-Briggs type is represented by four letters... but the first and the fourth don't really *mean* anything by themselves.
For example, "INFJ" doesn't necessarily mean "you are an introvert, intuitive, feely, and judging/organised/whatever". Instead, the letters merely represent an *order* of eight 'functions'.

These 'functions' are divided into Perceiving and Judging groups, each of which has two types of functions, and each of those two has two variants, leading to eight.

Perceiving functions deal with how we take in information, I think (though my understanding is less than crystal clear, so I might be wrong).
They are iNtuition, and Sensing.
Intuition deals with the abstract, while Sensing deals with real things. Sensors tend to be good at taking in and interacting with the environment, or moving their own bodies skillfully, while Intuitives see many possible new ideas... or something.
Each comes in an introverted and extraverted flavour; the introverted ones deal with an inner world, while the extraverted ones deal with the outer world. So you end up with:
Se - Extraverted Sensing
Si - Introverted Sensing
Ne - Extraverted Intuition
Ni - Introverted Intuition

Judging functions deal with how we handle the information that we take in... I think.
They are Thinking and Feeling.
Thinking deals with objective facts, logic, analysis, etc, and Feeling with emotions and subjective opinions. I've talked about these often enough before!
Two versions of each gives:
Te - Extraverted Thinking
Ti - Introverted Thinking
Fe - Extraverted Feeling
Fi - Introverted Feeling

Each combination of four letters refers to an order of these functions. We all have all eight, but generally people have four that are strongest:
The Dominant, which comes extremely naturally to them, as if they were 'born to do' it;
The Auxiliary, which is sort of like the First Officer to the Captain that is the Dominant;
The Tertiary, which is largely subconscious but affects the way the mind works significantly;
The Inferior, which is also subconscious, and which tends to emerge under times of stress.

You can work out the functions of a four-letter type code by doing the following:

If the first letter is an E, then the Dominant is an extraverted function; Te, Ne, Fe or Se. If the first type is an I, then the dominant is an introverted function; Ti, Ni, Fi or Si.

If the *fourth* letter is a P:
...and the first is an E, then the Dominant is the perceiving function of the second letter; Ne or Se, and the Auxiliary is the introverted version of the third letter; Ti or Fi.
...and the first is an I, then the Dominant is the *judging* function of the *third* letter; Fi or Ti, and the Auxiliary is the extraverted version of the second letter; Ne or Se. This is confusing!1

If the *fourth* letter is a J:
...and the first is an E, then the Dominant is the judging function of the second letter; Te or Fe, and the Auxiliary is the introverted version of the second letter; Ni or Si.
...and the first is an I, then the Dominant is the *perceiving* function of the *second* letter; Ni or Si, and the Auxiliary is the extraverted version of the third letter; Te or Fe.

The INFERIOR is the 'opposite' of the dominant. It's in the same judging/perceiving category, but both letters are swapped. The opposite of Si, for example, is Ne, and the opposite of Ni is Se.

The tertiary has the same i/e letter as the dominant, and the first letter is the, uh, one that's not been used yet.

I'd be surprised if you could follow that; I barely could! An example makes it easier.

I'll use my type, INFJ.

It has an I first and a J last, so its DOMINANT function is the INTROVERTED version of the PERCEIVING function; so it's Ni: introverted intuition.

Its other letter is F, and since its AUXILIARY must be EXTRAVERTED, that makes it Fe: Extraverted Feeling.

Its INFERIOR is the opposite of its DOMINANT; the opposite of Ni is Se, so Se is the *fourth* function.

There's no T in there yet, and the tertiary has the same i/e letter as the dominant, so in this case the TERTIARY is Ti.

So you get: Ni - Fe - Ti - Se

The other four (which don't seem to have names?) seem to be the same as those order-wise but with the i/e letters swapped, so the eight that INFJ has are:

Ni - Fe - Ti - Se | Ne - Fi - Te - Si

I think those other four are generally ignored in writings about this kind of thing, though.

Do you follow?!? Of course you don't! Or rather, I'd be surprised if you did, because I barely understand this stuff myself, and I very much doubt that one confusingly-written blog post on a gaming website will allow it all to sink into peoples' minds...

I bring this up though because the way I was seeing the types before, INFJ and INFP seemed very similar to eachother. They only have one letter different, after all, so they must be very similar, right?

Well, let's look at their functions!

INFJ: Ni - Fe - Ti - Se | Ne - Fi - Te - Si

INFP: Fi - Ne - Si - Te | Fe - Ni - Se - Ti

So essentially, just changing that P/J letter changes the functions *drastically*, and INFJs four functions are completely different to the INFP's.
Fi and Fe are very different, you see, and the same goes for all the i/e things.
For example, Fi types might be very deeply emotional, but not really concerned about the emotions of *other people*, and able to independently conquer their own emotions, which they might rarely express, while Fe types might live to make others happy while neglecting their own wellbeing, often needing external help to deal with their own emotions, which they express rather clearly.
(My Fe leads to me 'venting' in order to 'let out' my emotions and to seek 'emotional support' from others, which I need in order to keep those emotions under control. A Fi type wouldn't have this same need; they would mostly keep their emotions inside, and would prefer to deal with them alone.)

It's interesting then to look at INTJ and INTP; the most common types on this site:

INTJ: Ni - Te - Fi - Se
INTP: Ti - Ne - Si - Fe

INTJ is very similar to INFJ, but with very, very important differences! Their Extraverted Thinking is their auxillary function, so they tend to interact with the world in an objective, analytical fashion. They have introverted feeling as their tertiary function, though, so this means that inside they might be very emotional, sensitive; they just don't *show* it, nor do they need external help to handle their emotions, and since the tertiary function is largely subconscious, they might not be really 'aware' of these strong emotions, or might not 'understand' them.
Both INFJ and INTJ share introverted intuition as their dominant function, so they develop ideas in similar ways; they also have extraverted sensing as their inferior function, which can lead to things like getting very stressed by environmental factors like loud noises when they're in a poor mood.

The way I thought of Myers-Briggs before led me to think that INTJs and INTPs had more in common than INFJs and INTJs, but this isn't really the case!
INTP runs on introverted thinking, so it's very big on logic and stuff, but cares less about external evidence, expert opinions, brainstorming, etc than the Te-oriented INTJ. Its Feeling function is all the way at the Inferior end, meaning that they are 'less emotional' than INTJs in some sense, but that they tend to be more emotional when under stress. Their emotions relate to the external world, and are subconscious, so they might have emotional outbursts when under stress without really understanding why, or feeling like it's not their nature to be that way, or they might require the emotional support of others in order to feel better. Or something. I don't understand all this stuff with certainty yet.

Interestingly, a type like ESTP (Se - Ti - Fe - Ni) has the same functions as INFJ, just in a different order, despite having the opposite letters, so *supposedly* they can get along well with eachother.
A similar type for INTJ would be ESFP (Se - Fi - Te - Ni), who, despite being extroverts with a F in their type, are emotional internally, but use the extraverted thinking that INTJs use.
That also means that perhaps ESTPs would be more 'feely' and compassionate to others than ESFPs, oddly enough! Or maybe not. I don't know.

Anyway, I found this rather fascinating, so I present it here in case anyone else would get anything out of it!

I read about it when I started wondering whether my type was INFP instead of INFJ... o_O
I know now that it's not, but reading about the functions in isolation made me wonder, because I could relate strongly to Fi, which INFJ doesn't have in its first four functions, but INFP runs on it.

Reading the INFJ and INFP descriptions on this site made me certain I'm INFJ though: ∞ LINK ∞

I strongly recommend reading about your own type on that site; it's very enlightening and useful, and perhaps the best description of each type I've found so far!

Speaking of INTJs, Captain Jean-Luc Picard is a good example of one of those! I also painted a picture of him today. Here it is, to take the edge of all the Myers-Briggs rambling: