This blog represents the artistic side of the upcoming projects from SND Games that are currently under development. All content shown
should be considered a work-in-progress. All feedback regarding gameplay should be directed to the main blog of SND Games.
This blog is not monitored for gameplay-related comments and they may either go unapproved or unanswered.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Week #022: Newcomer - Bill Cass

Due to the nature of interface design that I've spoken about recently, it was rather easy for me to outright forget about making a post last night. By the time I remembered, I wasn't even really sure what to go about posting.

With the addition of Bill to our team, I thought I'd take a bit to talk about him and just what he'll be doing for HTD. I've known Bill for well over a decade, and knew from the word go that he would be the one capable of matching my style without even blinking. My goal is to have him focus on what I don't necessarily excel at, and vice versa. Therefore, I'll still be handling all character animation myself. You won't have to worry about later animations looking slightly off as if they were handled by someone else or anything.

Images represent a game currently in development.
One thing he can definitely excel over me at is creature design. This is a part of the application process we put him through; to design an enemy creature for use at a later point in the game. To be clear, this is not something we're looking at including anytime soon, but are definitely filing away for a later date. I was personally really blown away by this design and some of the ideas Bill had, and I'm eager to push ahead and make it happen.

For his first assignment, Bill is hard at work on the first tier of water spells that are set to be added next week.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Week #021: Insert Clever Title Here

As I mentioned last week, things have been slow lately, to an outside viewer. There's a lot of fixing, refining, polishing and catching up going on involving the characters, and interface design is truthfully, not all that involved or interesting.

This week, I'm going to talk a bit about one of my own ideas I've been pushing to put in the game. What was once no more than a splash of presentation just recently evolved into something with purpose, and with our time being devoted to the interface lately, you'll likely be seeing some early bits of it in the coming weeks, even if the ultimate goal might still be months off.

Hero Figurines

The original idea for figurines actually came to me in a dream when HTD was still very early in development. Belonging to a Jumanji-style game board, the tiny figures represented your heroes as they progressed through their skill trees, represented by the paths on the board. Expecting the heroes to be held responsible for the well-being of this piece of equipment during their dangerous travels was eventually deemed illogical, and the idea was canned.

Months later, we began looking at the game's pre-battle interfaces, and when I was tasked with laying out the hero management screen, the idea made a comeback. I started with a simple goal: that these supposed figurines would be less stressful for the engine to load in a timely manner than full-blown previews of your heroes would be. The hand-carved wooden figures would be unique to your hero's race, gender, and class to assist in quickly identifying your heroes, and clicking on them once would bring up a dynamic preview elsewhere on the screen, along with options to configure their equipment and skills. Dragging the figures to another area would allow you to arrange a party before entering battle.

The current placeholders that you'll be seeing soon in-game
along with some very early development of the final figurine graphics.

I initially planned that these figurines would also be painted to match the color of your native element, but we ultimately decided that this could be confusing or misleading.

Jump ahead to just a few weeks later, and only a week ago, when the new design dawned on me: What if players could find or purchase paints for a very small fee, and paint these figurines themselves to add extra, cosmetic-only effects to their heroes? Imagine flashy auras, a little extra flare for their abilities, titles and more!

It should be stressed that this idea is of course still very early in development, and none of these exact bonuses have been decided on, and probably won't be for months to come. These examples should be considered nothing more than just that; examples.

Regardless, it's an idea that I'm very excited about and I wanted to take the chance to talk about, being one of the first ideas that I came up with on my own to contribute to HTD. I hope everyone is looking forward to it as much as I am!

In the case of the next week being another slow one, I wanted to open the gates for another question and answer session. Let 'em rip in comments and I'll answer them next week or sooner.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Week #020: Now For Something Completely Different

It may look like I haven't really done a whole lot since we finished up Maximus and got him into the game. While I did take some time off for recharging after that, you can rest assured that we're still hard at work polishing the game up. You just can't always immediately notice it.

If you've been following the progression notes, you may have noticed my entry for "character fixes/polish". This is what I've been focusing my attention on for the last week. While everything may look fine and dandy with the characters at the moment, this is because they're equipped in their full armor sets. Beneath that there are numerous graphical errors that, while hidden by the equipping of a full armor set, would have become eye sores once the characters were only wearing a few select pieces of armor instead of the whole set. Instead of putting this off until such equipment management became possible, I decided to get it done ahead of time.

Again, this is unfortunate since it's mostly behind-the-scenes work that not a lot of people will see. Even Sam and Dan were sometimes at a loss in regards to what I was talking about working on! I tried to take some before and after screenshots to show as examples this week, but I felt they weren't doing a good job of expressing just what was going on.

Instead, I have this for you.

For those of you interested in what kind of stuff I draw in the little free time I allow myself for that kind of thing, I also posted my rendition of Cave Story's Curly Brace over on my deviantArt account about a week ago.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Week #019: Choose Your Arsenal

My plans for this week's post got a little messy when I realized posting works-in-progress of Maximus was a little silly when he's already in the game.

Not really sure what else to do, since I was kind of loving the idea of taking the weekend off (or at least easy) after finishing all of that up, I figured the best idea was to show some progress on the new weapons from two weeks ago, since I kind of left that hanging afterwards to talk about Maximus instead.

Images represent a game currently under development.
Unfortunately, we had a lot more sword suggestions than we were hoping for, and since we agreed that we wanted to add other kinds of weapons to the game first, we had to be choosy about this batch. Many suggestions I made mental notes of for later (I realize there are many different kinds of swords, we just love being diverse), and some I just combined into one idea (but you can't see that one yet, hah!). Admittedly, I think the two-handed sword of my own design might have a bit of unintentional Buster Sword influence to it (and Max looks incredible dual-wielding them, FYI).

Something to always remember is that most work I show here, unless otherwise noted, should be taken as a work-in-progress of an incomplete idea. I say this mostly in regards to that mace which I'm not at all happy with yet. Kind of looks more like a street light than a mace...

Even though it was two weeks ago, it should be noted that we're always open to your suggestions and ideas when it comes to weapons, whether you have some basic ideas you'd like to see or some of your own designs you'd like to see in the game! Right now we're still looking for melee weapons, preferably not of the sword variety, for now.