Here’s whats new, over the development time of August:
Nectira Color Combinations
I decided to have Nectira’s skin color correspond to her equipped gemstone, in a more drastic way. After hours of tweaking colors, they are much more vivid and diverse now. Previously, I had run her green skin through a hue filter, keeping it within a spectrum range surrounding green. Now she’s all over the place, color-wise.
I also thought it would be fun to connect all of the gemstone elements to a color, and use those colors as Nectira’s accent color. This gives Nectira a quick collection of different appearance combinations, depending on which combination of gem/element she has equipped, and I’m really happy with the result! Arden modified the palette-swapping process so that I could play trial-and-error with different colors of skin and accents. Now there will be something like 121 different combinations of ways Nectira can look, based on 10 element colors, 12 gem colors, and her default coloration.
Note, gemstone icons are incorrect where they haven’t been added to the game yet (above), but we went ahead and added all of the colors, so that when the other half of the gems are in the game, the colors will be in place already. Speaking of more gems…
Nectira can now pick up and use the Agate gemstone, which propels her forward, knocking enemies out of the way, dealing a bit of damage, and using the gemstone’s element (as usual). The Agate gem has a quicker recharge time, which makes it more like an ability, and less like an ultimate super-power, at a lower cost. My goal is to provide a wide range of play styles, and this gemstone certainly contributes to that!
As you can see from this potent combination example, it may be overpowered right now, but the game will see a ton of tweaks to balance everything, over time.
Previously, the Diamond gemstone created a random plant, carrying the gem’s element. This was becoming less and less appealing the more I developed and tested levels and encounters that didn’t call for traps. To make the diamond always-useful, I ditched the random trap power, replacing it with a tri-cyclone power. Cyclones gain speed until they blow into a solid object, which usually dissipates them quickly, or yarku, which slow the cyclones down and pull the Yarku along, until they run out of “juice” (consumed by solid objects, or less-so by yarku).
I may return to make the cyclones a bit more appealing, aesthetically. I had drawn the sprites with the depth of varying alpha values, to make it look less like a drifting icon, but lost the alpha values on the rushed import.
Arden spent a lot of time making the game playable from 3 different resolutions. Previously, the game played in a full-screen 1024 x 768 resolution, only. Now it can be stretched to 1.5 that size, and double that size. The room pans around if it’s stretched larger than your current machine’s resolution. It also took him a while to sort through all of the objects that were displaying based on 1024 x 768 resolution, and make them adaptable to display correctly at all 3 resolutions (GUI, menus, floating life-bars, etc. etc.).
The reason there aren’t more resolutions is that we want to keep the sprites “pixel-perfect”, instead of stretching them all, which would make the game look either fuzzy or distorted (depending on the resizing technique we won’t use).
Heartland Map Parts
To make the Heartland Realm map match the levels that are in it, I updated the map objects, from the pine forest pieces, to the Heartland birch trees.
- When Nectira collects a gemstone, she displays a preview of her colors when using that gem.
- Certain gem abilities can damage Yarku hives
- Petal element has been changed from yellow to a red-orange, to diversify the color wheel.
- Arden updated Nectira’s movement code a bit.
- A handful of bugs and other tweaks.
Next month I’m going to push for getting the Yarku spires (“boss levels”) into the game; hopefully adding the first boss as well!