Flash Into Action


Obligations have cleared up recently in a significant way to allow development on Maven. We're looking at having something new presentable by the time CGDC rolls around.

In the meantime, check out this trippy shot of soldiers with Flash-like symptoms in the middle of some timing refactors.

Flash Soldiers Screenshot
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Rakuen World Building


After a long period of not posting, I've decided to have a change of pace and write about some other games I've played outside of the work we are doing at SoloVid. (Maven hasn't moved much in the last year, but we're still hoping to see it come!)

I'm not much of a gamer, but I do enjoy games. I particularly enjoy the fascinating things I learn about game design from other games. So today I'm going to talk a little bit about Rakuen, a storiented game by Laura Shigihara. The game very much takes queues from Kan Gao's To the Moon, but there are some things Rakuen has to add to the genre.

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New Website


You may notice that the website looks a little different. We have just migrated from using Weebly to a custom PHP website. Weebly worked really well, but using the free version did not allow great file management, and custom HTML was a little onerous to manage.

Shout out to Weebly RSS feed Generator web app which made the migration process a little easier.

With that item off the checklist, hopefully you will start seeing some more updates soon!


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Finding Howler


This week, we got another awesome song from Michael Shawn Carbaugh II! (At the moment, I'm going to make you wait to hear it though.) After receiving the song, I realized that we have some serious issues with audio looping in Maven's engine. There are basically three methods to looping audio that I have pondered.

Audio Loop Using Single Audio Element

Currently, the engine uses HTML5's audio element with the loop attribute.




The great thing about this method is that it is built into HTML5 and is very easy to implement. For example, the HTML for the example above is simply this:

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<button id="playAudioSingle">Play</button>
<button id="pauseAudioSingle">Pause</button>
<br/>
<audio id="audioSingle" src="IntoDarknessHalfLoop.mp3" loop controls></audio>
<script>
	document.getElementById("playAudioSingle").onclick = function() {
		document.getElementById("audioSingle").play();
	};
	document.getElementById("pauseAudioSingle").onclick = function() {
		document.getElementById("audioSingle").pause();
	};
</script>

However, as you may have noticed, the playback of the loop is imperfect, and the extent of this imperfection varies depending on the browser.

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Better Weather


Did I ever show off the new weather graphics from Freedan Studios?
Better Weather Screenshot

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Layering


In the real world, when one person is standing in front of another, you see the front person and not so much of the one behind. In a game world, it is a little bit difficult to ensure that interacting objects display to show accurately who is "in front." Let me show you what I am talking about.
Guy on top of woman's head

If we choose to not think about layering, we may easily end up drawing sprites in random order, with the effect that one sprite may look like it is walking on another sprite's head.
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Git'n Back Up and Runnin'


This is "The Designer" here, back from my internship. As a team, SoloVid is at a place now where I think we are shifting into "full-time" production (as full-time as a handful of students' free-time work can be). We are looking dreamily at a release around the end of the school year.

As Freedan briefly mentioned earlier this summer, we are now using Git to version-control Maven. For those of you unfamiliar with Git (as was I before the summer), Git is one software which allows multiple people to work on the same set of project files simultaneously and then merge the changes together. On top of that, Git keeps a record of all changes made to the project so that changes may be reverted if necessary. Basically, what that equates to is easy collaboration and an total inability to irreparably mess up the project--no more emailing or Google Docs-ing files back and forth, and no more archives.

We are working primarily out of a private repo on BitBucket in order to hide our assets (we have to save some surprises for the game's release), but we do have a periodically up-to-date mirror of the repo (minus assets) on Github. Feel free to check it out!

Unfortunately, we didn't make our goal of releasing the new and improved demo yet, but we are still hoping to get that out in exactly soon...

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Hiccups Hath Occurred


I do not want to be writing this post. Unfortunately, The Designer and I were mistaken to give a release date of August 6 for the demo. Being new to game design, we are still figuring out how long goals will take to reach. Ironically, though I made a blog post concerning time management just last week, The Designer and I are still working on our own. We hope that you will nevertheless continue to follow our progress for the day on which the demo actually releases. In the meantime, here is one of the sprites that you will find in the map:

Thanks for reading,
~ Freedan


Stall

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Working with Time


This week has been a busy one in the development of Maven. The Designer and I have been working on our own respective roles for the game, in order to reach the point where we have something playable. One of the most difficult aspects of a project like this is organization. Knowing when to get something done, and how to complete it, can be a challenge. We have been using online resources to help overcome this, such as a nifty organizing website called Trello. Tasks in Trello are created on "cards," which can then be relocated to slots such as "do to," "Finished," etc. Because of this visual representation, we can see everything we need to do and when we need to do it.

This system has allowed content for Maven to be created in a more timely manner. It can also be quite satisfying to literally drag "to do" cards into a "finished" slot! In fact, I need to mark my "blog post" card as finished. See you next week!

~ Freedan

P.S. Don't forget ... the demo releases on August 6! :)

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Progress Update


Hello,

This is just another quick update on the demo progress. The designer and I will be looking over the completed demo map tonight, in preparation for adding story and gameplay elements. We would also be happy to hear peoples' feedback on the demo when the time comes. If you are interested, read the August 6 blog post. Again, that is when the demo will be released.

Come back next week!
~Freedan

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