Windows [KICKSTARTER FUNDED!] Village Monsters - A Monstrous Life Sim Game

Discussion in 'Work in Progress' started by WarpDogsVG, Jun 2, 2017.

  1. WarpDogsVG

    WarpDogsVG Member

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    [​IMG]

    Quick Info

    Village Monsters is an open-ended village life set in the world of a long-forgotten video game. You play as a human living in a community of (mostly) friendly monsters

    Live a different kind of life in a different kind of world!

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    • Befriend dozens of whimsical monster villagers, each with their own quirky personalities, interests, and problems to solve.
    • Engage in a variety of daily tasks and activities like earning money with a part time job, joining in village events and holidays, going on adventures - or just hanging out with your monster pals and watching some TV.
    • Buy a fixer-upper and sink your entire life savings into it to make it your very own comfy-cozy homestead.
    • Pursue many interesting hobbies that let you hunt for treasure, collect and train creatures, cultivate mushroom gardens, and catch legendary fish.
    • Unravel unique personal stories as you build friendships and learn the history (and secrets) of the village and its inhabitants.
    • Explore vast and strange areas outside the village ranging from vibrant forests, arctic deserts, fog-choked valleys, and the ruins of a best-forgotten empire.
    • Immerse yourself in a truly simulated world that boasts shifting weather patterns, sweeping seasonal changes, and interesting system interactions.
    • Harness the glitches of a run-down game and use them to empower your skills and fix this neglected world.

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    Last edited: Jul 16, 2019
  2. WarpDogsVG

    WarpDogsVG Member

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    A roundup of screenshots from the last week's worth of work.

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    Experimenting with a prototype for placing furniture in your home. There's going to be a lot of options for furniture and other customization in the final game, though for now it's all pretty basic

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    The above shot also shows off the new interior tileset. I like it a lot!

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    Speaking of prototypes, here's another experiment with a system for issuing commands to your faithful pup. Someone on the #indiedevhour suggested some sort of whistling mechanic, and to me that meant something akin to the Ocarina from OoT. It's meant to be much quicker and has far less options than most Zelda instruments!

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    ...and here's a tragic bug from that same testing. Poor little guy

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    I'd say I have about 1/3rd of the villagers at least roughly implemented - there's going to be 36 in total. However, beyond the 36 permanent residents there are also going to be plenty of 'visitors', like this guy. Visitors are not permanent and only show up during special times, like holidays, events, and other unique times

    As you can see, this guy doesn't even speak your language, which does make things tricky​
     
  3. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Wow, you've obviously put a ton of work and love into this. How long have you been working on it?
     
  4. weiner

    weiner Member

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    Wow. Looks awesome. Interesting idea.
     
  5. KaiXtr

    KaiXtr Guest

    The graphics are very beautiful!:)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 6, 2017
  6. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Just a suggestion--have an option for a female player/avatar. Games like this have appeal across demographics, but you'll waste that advantage if you lock the player into a single, gendered perspective.
     
  7. Hyomoto

    Hyomoto Member

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    The premise is pretty cool. I hope it will play into the game as well, these old structures that used to be part of the world and quests but now serve alternate purposes of are just forgotten. Cool work, thanks for sharing with the community!
     
  8. Rakmar

    Rakmar Member

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    Your game looks like very interesting ! I will look the evolution of the project.
     
  9. WarpDogsVG

    WarpDogsVG Member

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    Thanks for the kind words, everyone!

    Just under half a year - I started at the end of January.

    I won't bore you all with my life story, but I'm nearly 30 and for the last decade I've struggled a lot with depression and anxiety. A lot of this stemmed from my well-paying - but soul draining and menial - office job.

    After nearly breaking down last year I decided that enough was enough. I saved up some cash and quit in January, and I started working on this game - an idea I've had forever - ever since.

    I do have a female avatar you can choose from. I'm pretty unhappy with how she looks, but I'll iterate over her a few times before the next alpha release

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    Yes, you're exactly right! A big inspiration for me are games and stories that deal with various 'apocalypses'; I think the coolest worldbuilding is when you see people using familiar items or buildings in a completely new way

    I don't want to get too crazy with it because I think it's easy to go too far, but there's definitely going to be a lot of strange things to discover in the world. After all, while here in the real world our various end-of-world scenarios are related to things like nukes and aliens and asteroids, but in a digital world? Data integrity, visual artifacts, bugs...that's stuff that affects your very reality!
     
  10. Hyomoto

    Hyomoto Member

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    Your premise got me looking at my own project just wondering what it would look like from that angle which is where my comment comes from. I mean, the whole world of Final Fantasy was laid out as an adventure for the party. But ... what if it went into disuse? What would the Marsh Cave become? Would the Fiend of Earth stay underground or, as you've said, he come to the surface and ... hang out? It's just a fun idea.

    I do have a suggestion: you have that gif of the dragon talking. This is just a style thing, "The worried look in his eyes is hard to miss." Maybe I wasn't watching that at all, maybe I was barely listening. Maybe I think that look is one of annoyance or boredom. It comes off as a bit on-the-nose, and unless it's so important it can't be missed, it also sort of takes the fun out of noticing the topic makes him uncomfortable. You could add a sweat bead to his portrait or something to show he doesn't like talking about it rather than just blurting out: THIS MAKES HIM NERVOUS, SEE?!. Especially in a game about character relationships it can make them seem ... shallow if their emotions are just explained to you. Those are my thoughts anyways.
     
  11. WarpDogsVG

    WarpDogsVG Member

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    Yeah, I hear what you're saying and you aren't the first person to note it, so it's something I may change. But my intent is for the 'narrator' to be essentially be in 2nd person where they are explaining things to you, the player. Said a different way, the grey text isn't your character observing things, but rather is an omniscient narrator explaining things directly to the player

    The narrator will have its own personality and opinions, and I think there's a lot of potential for humor there. It also reinforces the overall 'meta' theme that'll run through the entire game. Buuuuut, like I said, if it's not playing then I'll reconsider. I purposefully haven't done much script writing while I mull over the direction I want to go

    Here are a few more examples of what I'm talking about:

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    (this is in a debug room if you're wondering why it looks so odd!)
     
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  12. Hyomoto

    Hyomoto Member

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    I probably makes more sense in the context of the game. I'll obviously reserve final judgement until I've actually tried it; it would be silly to judge it solely on that.

    Honestly what stands out in that gif is you seem to have a depth ordering problem. Did you need some help with that? It's quite easy to solve.
     
  13. ElectricdonkeyYT

    ElectricdonkeyYT Member

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    My video review (Might be slightly outdated) -
     
  14. WarpDogsVG

    WarpDogsVG Member

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    Here's last week's screenshot roundup!

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    By far the biggest thing I worked on last week was furniture and other decorations. The above gif is from the same house - your very first one, which is nothing more than a storage shed - that's being furnished over time.

    The final release will have a *lot* of furniture and will run the gamut between the modern - like TVs and fridges - to the more fantastical and unusual


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    Work also continues on making the village itself more visually distinct. I've added two types of fences - normal brown and the classic white picket - and also fleshed out some more gardens. You'll be able to customize your own garden that's outside your home

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    If you've played the current alpha you'll know that the historical society is pretty desolate - it's basically just a single room with a bunch of pedestals to place your stuff on.

    Last week I iterated over it again and started adding actual exhibits. There are currently two - one for your critter collection, the other for fossil, treasure, and other archaeology donations

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    Finally I want to talk about weather. I love love LOVE weather in video games, but one thing has always bugged me - even when a game does have weather it often is very same-y...maybe it'll have just a single 'rain' effect, or when it is raining it rains for the entire level or day, that kind of thing. Weather is too interesting and diverse to be this boring!

    The above gif shows off 4 different intensities of rain - drizzle, rain, heavy rain, and thunderstorm - that you can experience in Village Monsters. The latter two even come up darker lighting!

    Each day will have 8 'slots' for weather, so like real life a single day can have multiple weather changes, and it'll even try to that make 'sense'. For example, there's a weather pattern that starts out with fog in the morning, then cloudy and burning off into sun in the afternoon, then back to clouds and drizzle at night - for anyone on the west coast of the US that should sound pretty familiar!

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    But beyond differing intensities I want to also have more uncommon "weather" effects, and to do this I'm expanding my definition of 'weather' to mean any effects in the air and sky.

    In the above you can see two such unusual weather types - flower petals that'll occur in the spring, and tree pollen which falls in the spring and summer.

    In total there are 19 weather effects ranging from sunny and overcast to meteor showers and aurora borealis, and they'll differ from season to season, and even by time of day. A major design goal in Village Monsters is to have each day feel different and unique, and weather is a big way I'm accomplishing this
     
  15. WarpDogsVG

    WarpDogsVG Member

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    Another week has gone by, and that means another version of the (newly renamed) Dev Diary Digest!

    Without really meaning to this week followed a consistent theme - ensuring that every day (in the game!) feels different, or unique, or interesting, or surprising. That's been a mantra of mine since I first started, and I'm increasingly in the position to make good on it

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    First up, I changed the merchant around so its stock changes each day. I also split up the show floor so he sell both furniture and normal items now.


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    Speaking of daily refreshes, similar to Animal Crossing there'll be a number of things that reset each day. For example, each day a number of 'diggable spots' spawn around town that you can find treasure, monster fossils, minerals, and other goodies. These spots used to be marked by a simple 'x', but this week I changed it up so that each category of items gets its own unique icon: treasure looks like a half-buried treasure chest, fossils look like half-buried bones, and minerals look like a half-buried rock


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    Next up, I added a bunch more 'atmospheric animals' (which is a bad name). Unlike other critters, these animals are mundane and cannot be caught or donated, and they are mostly ambivalent to the player. They exist purely to add flavor and atmosphere to the village as you walk around each day. Like critters, the types of animals you'll see differ based on time of day, weather, and season

    Games these days typically achieve things like atmosphere and 'sense of place' via a strong or unique art style. It should be clear by now that I'm no artist, so I'm hoping to accomplish the sense of place by focusing on the little things and attention to detail.

    For example, every so often you'll see a bird fly overhead...

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    But in the fall, things change slightly - instead of flying north, they fly south...

    bird2.gif

    Again, it's a small thing, something that most folks won't notice, but I want my game filled with these things to give it a realistic feel and personality


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    I don't just want each day to feel different - I also want each time of day to have its own 'feel'. The main way I'm accomplishing this is by giving villagers their own schedules (TBD) and having unique hourly music (also TBD), but I also want activities, both big and small, to change based on the time, season, and weather.

    For example, the above campfire is a good place to hang out and roast some food, but it's only available at night during the warmer seasons

    In general, each day I want the player to wake up, check their calendar & weather report, and feel excited about the possibilities of the day. Oh, it's clear tonight - that means the campfire will be open! Oh, it's raining this morning - I bet I can catch that rare fish! And so on.


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    Finally, I want to share a WIP behind-the-scenes thing - my design doc for the yearly calendar. I'll have more to say as it becomes more fleshed out and finalized, but you'll notice that there are 8 months (2 for each season) and that most weeks have 1-2 events or holidays to look forward to.

    This might sound obvious, but what's the best way to make a day feel unique and different? Make it a special holiday with unique activities, themes, music, and more. I'll have a lot of them!
     
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  16. Raining_Indoors

    Raining_Indoors Member

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    I like this a lot. Like you said in the last post, you're not an artist, but you're paying good attention to overall style and atmosphere which goes a long way.

    One thing I would suggest though is to animate anything that can be animated to make the world livelier. Due to the art style you chose, certain environments look a bit too flat and lifeless.

    Aside from giving trees their own subtle animation, I highly recommend giving all characters their own unique idle animations when they're just standing there. This goes double for the player-controlled characters. It's a way of further personifying everyone, and just making the world seem more alive.

    Looks very promising though, and seems like it might be a bit more generous than Animal Crossing in some of the features on offer.
     
  17. Oyakiiv

    Oyakiiv Member

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    looks great so far! I like the idea of 8 months, as opposed to the typical 4 in these types of games; though I am concerned that, in the name of gameplay, it would be too long...more realistic sure, but how many in-game years do you hope to have the 'typical' player to get through?

    afterthought:

    you could, optional of course, instead of having 8 months to represent the early/late halfs of a season you could just do the first 2 weeks of a month be the early season and the last 2 the late season.
     
  18. WarpDogsVG

    WarpDogsVG Member

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    Yeah, that's definitely on the docket. I'm still heavily iterating over everything, so I've been purposefully avoiding things like idle animations because I'm worried I'll just have to rework everything. Probably the hardest thing about being a solo dev on a game of this size is that there are so many time sink 'traps' of getting lost in either art or tech in an endless cycle of iteration :( I'm still figuring out the right balance

    Right now the average day lasts about 12 minutes. 12 minutes * 28 days a month * 8 months = 44 hours, which is a lot, but I also want the journey from spring to winter and back to feel long.

    It'll take actual playtesting to figure out the right balance, because on the opposite end I want to make sure that holidays feel special and memorable, so if they're coming in too frequently people might actually get annoyed at them

    Anyway, I'm rambling, this is more me acknowledging that it's not a solved problem yet
     
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  19. Oyakiiv

    Oyakiiv Member

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    okay that works then, didnt know how long the days were. Played alot of minecraft at one point, so I know you can do alot in 10 minutes.
     
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  20. WarpDogsVG

    WarpDogsVG Member

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    Another week has gone by, and that means another version of the Dev Diary Digest! It's a bit late this time around, but hopefully you won't hold that against me.

    This week was a quiet one full of mostly back-end changes - a better collision system, lots of bug fixes, etc.

    There are just 2 weeks left before the last pre-alpha demo is released on July 9th (with the first alpha demo coming out in September), so it's been a balance of cramming in as much new content as I can while also making sure it's not a jumbled technical mess.

    Still, I do have a few things to share!

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    I spent a fair amount of time this week re-iterating over a few buildings in the village as well as creating new ones.

    This'll be part of the overarching narrative, but the monsters didn't actually create this village - they found it. As such, the overall design goal of the village itself is a mishmash of re-purposed buildings + new buildings the monsters created.

    In the above gif you can see a church, a log cabin built by a Harpy-turned-carpenter, and the ramshackle town hall.


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    Slowly but surely I've also been adding more and more furniture to the game. Another design goal is to have it so that every furniture piece has some way to interact with it, even if it's very small like spinning the globe.


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    Finally, after some feedback from last week I've decided to add some basic idle animations to the villagers. Because everything is so in flux I don't want to spend too much time animating something that I might need to scrap and redo entirely, but I figure a little bit of animation is better than no animation at all.

    (you can also see me get frustrated with that darn Sun Fly for getting in the way of my shot)
     
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  21. DividingByZero

    DividingByZero Member

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    Just popping a quick comment in after reading this thread for the first time:

    I will say that I entirely love the story concept - "booting up a decades old video game..."

    And although appreciate the graphical style and effort you have made, I never really cared for Earthbound's style overall. Always felt really boring to me. But, I know I am in a minority in regards to that. Again, you are doing great - you have a large number of well planned sprites and assets, so don't feel bad - just my personal tastes here.

    Of course I am sure the comparisons to other games comes up a lot (especially Stardew Valley) - but that is OK. Your game is original enough to support it as it's own title, I think. I will be excited to see more as this progresses.

    Good luck!
     
  22. ReidDC

    ReidDC Member

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    Really like that plot! Man. Overall concept is very interesting and charming! Also, I really like the tone and atmosphere you've set, really adds a ton. Can't wait too see more of this.
     
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  23. NicoFIDI

    NicoFIDI Member

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    Code:
    ___________________________________________
    ############################################################################################
    FATAL ERROR in
    action number 1
    of Draw Event
    for object obj_Karl:
    
    Unable to find any instance for object index '100036' name '<undefined>'
    at gml_Script_src_Karl_Draw
    ############################################################################################
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    stack frame is
    gml_Script_src_Karl_Draw (line 0)
    gml_Object_obj_Karl_Draw_0
    
    >.<
    this happened when I catch a bug.
    and also, I broke the game 2 times ramming into the wall inside the house :)
     
  24. WarpDogsVG

    WarpDogsVG Member

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    Thanks! And I totally know what you mean about the style - I totally get why someone wouldn't like it. For me it's mostly me loving the style, but it's also the the best bang vs. my 'buck', so to speak...after exploring my own style, I kept going back to the Mother style, and more importantly I kept failing at anything else :)

    Thanks, dude! Hopefully I can continue impressing as this thing really takes off

    Ah damn...sorry you encountered a crash like that. A new version is going up in a couple weeks and it should definitely not have that particular crash, but I suppose that's the issue with pre-alphas
     
  25. EnderPig

    EnderPig Guest

    I really like this. It looks so cool, the artwork and everything! I love games like Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley, I hope I get to create something like this one day. I will definitely play this when it comes out. Great work! :D
     
  26. WarpDogsVG

    WarpDogsVG Member

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    Thanks, man! I'll be absolutely over the moon if Village Monsters can be even half the game Animal Crossing is :)
     
  27. WarpDogsVG

    WarpDogsVG Member

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    [​IMG]

    Another week has gone by, and that means another version of the Dev Diary Digest! It's late again, but that's because I've been busting my butt off. Lots to share today, so let's go to it.

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    One of the bigger changes I made last week was to the furniture placement system; It's now much easier and more intuitive to move furniture around your home. You can move furniture with either the gamepad or the mouse, and with the gamepad you can click in the right stick to snap back to the grid. It's pretty neat!

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    Speaking of house things, I've also started prototyping various upgrades to the overall structure of your house. Upgrades will generally fall under two categories - size expansions, and new functionality. In the above gif you can see an example of the latter: a hidden room you can install to any room.

    Like with the rest of the house you can do whatever you want with your hidden room, but for me? A house isn't truly a home until you have a secret room to eat cake in.

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    I reworked how to make donations to the historical society and it makes a lot more sense than the old version. Currently only critter donations are possible, but they have their own little section to run around in now

    I also greatly increased the spawn rate of new critters during an average day as during my playtesting I wasn't finding a lot of them.

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    Someone suggested last week that it'd be neat if villagers could say something as you walk by them, so I put in a barebones prototype of a system that could do just that.

    Right now it's pretty simple smalltalk, but in the future I could extend it to when villagers have something important to say, merchants that tell you about sales, inter-villager conversations that you aren't involved in, and so on.

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    In previous versions you had the ability to roll, similar to 3D Zeldas, and it served as a way to interact with some objects - like rolling into trees to knock stuff out of them.

    In the upcoming version I've removed rolling entirely (it was causing a surprising amount of issues), but I still wanted a way to shake trees, so I added the ability to shake them by hand. The 'loot table' for a tree is pretty big, so you never know what'll pop out...

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    Finally, I put in a prototype for daily shows you can watch on TV. Each show has a timeslot (like early morning, afternoon, etc.) and they'll differ greatly from one another. In the early morning you get the weather, which is useful, and in the late morning you'll get the 'news', which is mostly silly writing making fun of things Good Morning America

    It's all very lightweight - maybe 2-4 boxes of dialogue per show - but when appropriate it'll have continuous storytelling, running jokes, and more. Believe it or not, having daily TV shows was one of my earliest design notes I scribbled down!

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    Well, I suppose I should wrap this up. I did even more than the above, like adding shadows to all the buildings, idle animations to the rest of the villagers, and more, but pretty soon you'll be able to see all of this stuff yourselves.

    On July 9th - In less than a week! - I'm releasing the last pre-alpha demo for Village Monsters. It'll contain all the new stuff I've talked about for the last couple months and a lot more.

    I define "pre-alpha" as being pretty rough and lacking some or most of the primary game loop,s systems, and core features. This is definitely my most polished and content-filled pre-alpha yet, but the release that comes after - in August or September - will be the first alpha release, and then we'll be cooking with fire.

    But! That's neither here nor there. I hope you'll all take a look and play around with the new release when it comes out this Sunday!
     
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  28. ReidDC

    ReidDC Member

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    Looking forward too the demo!
     
  29. WarpDogsVG

    WarpDogsVG Member

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    Happy Full Moon, y'all!

    It's been 6 months since I started Village Monsters, and this latest demo - code named Strawberry Thunder - represents the final Pre-Alpha version I'm releasing. The next demo you play will be the first official Alpha release!

    Pre-Alpha means that the game lacks core gameplay loops, has placeholders, incomplete features, bugs, and is overall pretty rough. However, out of all the releases I've put out this is by far the most polished, content-filled, and interesting - or, at least, I hope so!

    If you like playing early games then please take a look! If you're still on the fence about a game so early in development, then why not follow along on this topic, Twitter (@WarpDogsVG), or my main site, www.warpdogs.com!

    Have fun!

    Trailer:


    Demo:
    http://warpdogs.com/were-release/
     
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  30. RangerX

    RangerX Member

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    I got to play this. You just attracted my attention as you seem to mix 2 games I love here: Harvest Moon and Earthbound.
     
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  31. WarpDogsVG

    WarpDogsVG Member

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    I look forward to hear your thoughts!
     
  32. Spike11

    Spike11 Guest

    This isn't my kind of game, but i have to say, I love the concept you've created here. Very cleaver, and from what i've seen here, well executed. Good job. :)
     
  33. WarpDogsVG

    WarpDogsVG Member

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    Thanks man! Really appreciate the kind words, and totally get that this genre isn't for everyone
     
  34. SoVeryGrim

    SoVeryGrim Guest

    I encountered a few crashes but then again this is a very early state.
    I'm really enjoying how this game plays and looks, keep up the good work man!
     
  35. WarpDogsVG

    WarpDogsVG Member

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    Shoot, sorry to hear that! Do you recall what you were doing when it crashed?
     
  36. WarpDogsVG

    WarpDogsVG Member

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    It's the weekend, so that means I get to share all I worked on last week in another edition of the Developer Diary Digest

    Since I released the demo on Sunday I've been working on experimental prototyping; not all of it will survive, but it's a fun excursion.

    The most successful prototype has been a 'potion' system. The idea of Village Monsters is that it's set inside an old video game, so I'm always thinking of things that could be 'artifacts' from the original game. Potions seemed like a neat way to have that + add all sorts of fun and unexpected ways to play with the systems in the game

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    Potions will range from useful to the bizarre. You can control time, change your look and other attributes, and even do things you wouldn't - like control the weather. Like I said, it'll get pretty weird!

    The system I made for potions allows me to whip up new effects in only a few minutes, so expect to see a lot of them.

    Work on potions lead to improve the amount of item info I give players on items, so I began to prototype the idea of item cards

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    But I also want to use item descriptions as a way to tell stories. This is something other games have certainly done (Souls and Nier come to mind), but I've yet to see it done in a life-sim game where your items aren't swords and shields but rather furniture, decorations, and collectibles

    I want a chair that you earn via a quest or hard-to-do challenge to be more meaningful and interesting then one you bought at the store; stories are one way I'm hoping to do this.

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    All items with stories can have their item cards 'flipped over' to view a short snippet related to it

    [​IMG]

    (text and graphics are all placeholders btw)

    While messing with item-related stuff I went ahead and crossed off some of the smaller features on list: selling items, an expanded inventory, and basic dialog choices.

    Finally, I had something of an incidental inspiration that I'm really happy about!

    I worked a lot of critter behaviors this week - things like patroling around, running away from humans and other predators, and so on.
    I ended up using the player house to test things instead of a debug room, and after I was done I left the little guy there and went to do other things. Each time I came back to the house I saw him running around, and it hit me - wouldn't it be cool to allow critters to become pets?

    [​IMG]

    You were always going to have a dog, cat and guinea pig as pet choices, but the idea of letting other critters be 'domesticated' into a pet really struck a chord with me. It also makes catching critters a bit more interesting after you donate them, and gives a valid path beyond just selling them

    I worried a bit about feature creep, but I have the systems there to hook it up pretty easily and I dunno, if I keep it lightweight enough I think it could be really cool! Pets are definitely something games like Animal Crossing really lack in
     
    Red Phantom likes this.
  37. studioWHITEROCK

    studioWHITEROCK Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2017
    Posts:
    15
    I've really enjoyed scrolling through the evolution of Village Monsters; I love the laid-back, always-stuff-to-mess-around-with style. Also, I love that the game has a personality ( probably yours ;) ). Keep up the good work!
     
    Morne likes this.
  38. WarpDogsVG

    WarpDogsVG Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2016
    Posts:
    180
    You just made my night, man. Thanks for taking the time to share these kind words
     
  39. WarpDogsVG

    WarpDogsVG Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2016
    Posts:
    180
    Hey guys. I was able to nail down a pair of pretty easily reproduced crashes in the latest demo. I went ahead and fixed it up and put the new build on my site (and also itch.io and everywhere else)

    http://warpdogs.com/were-release/

    It's identical to the previous build otherwise, so if you got your fill of it then don't worry about diving back in
     
  40. WarpDogsVG

    WarpDogsVG Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2016
    Posts:
    180
    It's the weekend, so that means I get to share all I worked on last week in another edition of the Developer Diary Digest!

    Event & Holiday System
    It seems like I've been putting off a holiday / event system for at least the last 6 months. It's one of the systems I've been most anticipating, but it relied on too many other moving pieces to work on...well, until now!

    At the dawn of each day, the game now checks if there's an event scheduled, and if so it fires off any scripts related to it. It's pretty robust, and the scripts can do things like create holiday-specific visitors, add new music or decorations, change dialog, and a lot more.

    [​IMG]

    As I wrapped it up, I realized that I needed a way to inform the player about upcoming events and what they were all about. This naturally lead into the next thing I worked on...

    A Postal Service
    You can now receive letters from villagers, visitors, and other friendly monsters in the game. The goal is to integrate the mail system into as many other parts of the game as I can. For example, you'll get a flyer the day before each holiday that explains it:

    [​IMG]

    Letters you receive from villagers will reflect their personalities as well as their disposition toward you. Most will be helpful or friendly, but others, like Taswell,

    [​IMG]

    probably won't be at first.

    As I said above, I want mail to be integrated into as many other systems as I can. As I was browsing my list of features I got to "The ability to submit feedback from in-game" when I suddenly had an idea...

    Sending feedback via in-game postal service
    ...wouldn't it be cool if you could write letters to the developer from inside the game itself?

    [​IMG]

    Now obviously there's a lot of things to consider here - security, spam protection, etc. - but the idea is so cool to me that I'll do whatever it takes to make it work.

    It's hard enough to encourage users to submit feedback, so providing something in-game that's also contextualized via a system they're going to be using every day can only help!

    Bird Song
    Finally, I'll end this week sharing a new 'flavor' feature.

    If you've played any of the demos you've likely seen birds flying about every so often. But unlike real life, they've been totally silent.

    Well not anymore! Birds that fly overhead will now chirp and caw and sing. I obviously can't record sounds via gifs, so I tried my best to provide an alternative:

    [​IMG]

    Well that'll do it for this week. Enjoy your weekend, y'all!
     
    Red Phantom likes this.
  41. RangerX

    RangerX Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2016
    Posts:
    2,595
    Ok I finally tried the game. I understand it better now and see it as pretty "Animal Crossing-ish" which is not necessarily a bad thing! I will love to play more down the road and see what I can do and build more.
    One thing your game ask for that's for sure --> feeling interactive and feeling like to have an impact on the world and its people. You should actually try to bring it a bit on the next level compared to Animal Crossing series. (or maybe its just personal fantasy inspired by your demo, I dunno lol)

    I have some deconstructed thoughts I wanted to share:

    - I love the art. Keep it consistant and homogenous like this and this game will look top noch! I would maybe make certain windows and items look better but no major eye soring stuff in there trust me.
    - Keep focusing on what makes you game great. To me its the stuff to discover and witness what I can "change" and "evolve" over time. My personal "print" on the world.
    - Nice music! Keep it like that. It compliments the quirky style of graphics and helps making the world feel unique. Its too much compressed right now though. I hope the end game will have the music in higher quality.
    - Trees are infinite givers! How sweet of them :p
    - I know the game is early but I feel like taking all the different plants and I can't... :(
    - Will your game have some kind of bestiary I will be able to complete? Or even some kind of botanic book to fulfill? Throwing ideas....
    - Where's the real "pause" in your game? Trust me its needed in all games.
    - Options?
    - There's no controls anywhere and since its took me more than 2 minutes to figure out the keyboard controls, I took my Gamepad and started playing.
    - I have a wierd bug for you. Walk toward a tree constantly while repeatedly shaking it. At some point you'll see the main character sort or move IN the tree (maybe 2-3 pixels deep). At this point, move the character in the opposite direction you were pushing the tree and it will actually teleport itself I would say, a good 8-10 character wide away from the tree!!
    - While I was writing this post, this crash occured: (I did alt tab out the game and left it there so I didn't SEE what happened)

    Code:
    ___________________________________________
    ############################################################################################
    FATAL ERROR in
    action number 1
    of Alarm Event for alarm 0
    for object obj_DirectorOfCritters:
    
    Unable to find any instance for object index '101007'
    at gml_Object_obj_DirectorOfCritters_Alarm_0
    ############################################################################################
    
     
    Red Phantom likes this.
  42. WarpDogsVG

    WarpDogsVG Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2016
    Posts:
    180
    Appreciate the thoughtful response and feedback!! thanks so much

    Definitely agree with you on making things change and evolve and leaving your mark on the world. A running theme throughout the game will be 'rags to riches', and that'll be true of the player's situation, the village, and individual stories. You'll see the town and its residents change drastically over time, and it'll be because of you

    That, and the game will be full of easter eggs and hidden secrets that are meant to be discovered as the years go on

    In terms of a bestiary / etc., absolutely! There's a big ol' book called the Compendium for you to fill out. Every collectible, critter, fish, and even villager has its own section for you to fill out and track your findings with
     
    Red Phantom and RangerX like this.
  43. WarpDogsVG

    WarpDogsVG Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2016
    Posts:
    180
    It's the weekend, so that means I get to share everything I worked on last week in yet another edition of the Developer Diary Digest!

    Before I begin, I wanted to quickly plug something. You might not know this, but I have a newsletter for Village Monsters, and I would absolutely love it if you signed up for it!

    [​IMG]

    Newsletter Signup: https://tinyletter.com/Village-Monsters

    I try to reserve the newsletter for only big ticket items, so you'll be the first to know of releases and other important news.

    Anyway, back to the update!

    ---

    I had a few really productive weeks this month, so I guess I was 'due' to have a slow one. I didn't get nearly as much done as I had hoped, and I ended up getting caught in a few technical quagmires; still, I have things to share, so let's get on with it!

    Fleshing Out Hobbies
    From day 1 of development I knew that hobbies were going to be a major feature of Village Monsters. When you aren't talking with villagers, improving your house or solving mysteries, you'll probably be progressing your skills (and making money) with one of the various hobbies

    Critter Capturing was the first hobby I put in, followed by Fishing and Archaeology. I had a bunch of ideas for other hobbies to add to the mix, but I wasn't sure which ones would work best. Well, until now.

    [​IMG]
    (icons are very much 1st draft)​

    Village Monsters will now contain five hobbies for you to enjoy: Cooking, Critter Capturing, Botany, Fishing, and Archaeology. This post details some new updates to two of them.

    Botany Prototyping
    Botany is one of the new hobbies I've been working on, and it includes everything plant related.

    The reason I'm going with Botany instead of something like Gardening is that you'll be able to do way more than grow a simple garden

    This week, I played around with planting & watering trees, as well as managing growth as time progresses - assuming you make sure to water and care for them each day

    [​IMG]

    Like all prototypes it's a big work-in-progress. However, thanks to feedback from a user at another site I've had some intriguing ideas that I'm keeping under my hat. Stay tuned next week, yeah?

    Fishing Revamp
    Fishing was one of the first hobbies I implemented, but I haven't touched it since. It's in a sorry state as of the last demo, and I'm pretty embarrassed by how bad it is.

    What began as a 'revamp' quickly turned into a 'refactor' which the became a total 'rewrite'. I tossed out all my old code and rewrote it from the ground up.

    [​IMG]

    It was a slow process, but fishing is in a much better state in terms of stability and mechanics. Work will continue on this system this week as well.

    I've always been dissatisfied with fishing minigames in other life-sim games, so I'm going in a different direction. You can expect a system that's much more inspired by JRPGs than any existing life-sim out there.

    Quality of Life
    To wrap up, I also included a grab bag of bug fixes and quality of life improvements that I received from demo feedback.

    Trees should behave better and no longer give you a permanent hug. Birds fly a bit slower. The keyboard control scheme was reworked. Critters should hopefully not crash the game as much. Your bit (currency) balance is now shown when you add or subtract from it

    And so on.

    I also got a lot of writing in this week as well. Every item - every single item - has a unique description and flavor text. Some even have detailed backstories. Pretty nuts, right? Well it's been a ton of fun, so there's no stopping me now.

    [​IMG]

    Until next time!
     
    Red Phantom, Oyakiiv and RangerX like this.
  44. WarpDogsVG

    WarpDogsVG Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2016
    Posts:
    180
    It's the weekend, and that means another edition of the Village Monsters Dev Diary Digest (VMD3)!

    Like last week I have a bit of housekeeping to do before diving in. Longtime followers know that I've tried several different ways to present progress updates, but none of them have really 'stuck'. However, it seems this weekly format has really been working for me.

    As such, I went ahead and created an archive for every Dev Diary Digest I've posted since I started doing them. If you missed earlier editions, or if you just want to see how far I've come, then please do take a look!

    http://warpdogs.com/developer-diaries/

    Anyway, onto the update

    Pets
    I may have shared this anecdote before, but the road to pets was a serendipitous one

    A few weeks ago I was working on debugging critter behavior, and for whatever reason I was testing it in the player's house. As I kept going in and out of the house it occurred to me how much I actually liked having a critter there - it was sort of like having a pet! Wouldn't it be cool if that was an actual feature?

    This week I was able to prototype this idea:

    [​IMG]

    Here's how it works: first, you gotta catch a critter. Then, walk up to an special item (currently a pet bowl) and select the pet you want to tame. You can only tame one at a time, so choose wisely

    At first, all critters start out as "Wild", and they'll act much like they did before you caught them. Over time, if you feed them and treat them well they'll increasingly become tame and more affectionate.

    Tamed critters will also continue to behave similarly to their wild versions, and they'll retain any unique attributes. For example, if you catch a Snowflake Elemental he'll make your entire house cold; good during the summer, but not so good if you have a lot of fish on display...

    Hail / Thunderboomers
    I always enjoy working on weather systems, so I took a detour to add a new weather type - Hail

    [​IMG]

    I had to improve the weather system to handle the little hail pellets, and these improvements should help with any 'ground based' weather effects in the future...leaf piles in the fall, snowdrifts, rain puddles, and so on.

    I then went ahead and added more sound effects to the various weather types. I also added a minor feature where weather sounds can still be heard indoors at a lower volume. It's surprisingly atmospheric, especially during thunderstorms!

    UI Improvements (Map, Inventory, Notices)
    Finally, though I generally don't like it, I also spent a great deal of time on UI work. I've never enjoyed UI work, not even at my last job where functionality was preferred over looks, but I'm actually pretty happy with how things shook out this time.

    First, I added a map for the village to the Compendium. It's very basic and just lays the foundation for future maps:

    [​IMG]

    I then added movement to various notifications. I like it a lot better than the notices just appearing suddenly.

    [​IMG]

    Finally, I completely blew up and reworked the inventory. I actually did this some time ago, but I added an extra layer of polish and usability this week. It's unquestionably better than the old inventory, but that's not saying much - the old one was really bad!

    [​IMG]

    Anyway, that's it from me. As usual I also added a lot of minor things, quality of life improvements, and bugfixes, but nothing I need to call out. Have a good week!

    [​IMG]
     
    Red Phantom likes this.
  45. Kuny

    Kuny Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2017
    Posts:
    29
    Good Idea. It is funny. I really like dialogues. It seems to take a much more work to finish. So, good luck. :)
     
  46. WarpDogsVG

    WarpDogsVG Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2016
    Posts:
    180
    Oh yeah, it'll be a long journey, but I'm committed to getting it released in October of next year. Thanks for the kind words!
     
  47. WarpDogsVG

    WarpDogsVG Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2016
    Posts:
    180
    It's the weekend, and that means another edition of the Village Monsters Dev Diary Digest (VMD3)

    There is now less than a month to go until the version I'm working on releases for you all to play with. This'll mark the very first Alpha version that I make public, and I'm pretty excited about it.

    September is shaping up to be quite the month, and it's not just the Alpha release; stay tuned for more information on that very soon

    A Day at the Beach
    Due to the nature of the game it's not often that I get to create a new area, so it was a real nice change of pace to work on one this week.

    Introducing...the beach.

    [​IMG]

    The beach is just a short walk away from the village - just head south from the gate and keep going until you reach the surf.

    [​IMG]

    Though you or I would consider such a trip to be a nice day out, it seems that monsters haven't really taken to the human notion of spending the day in the sun and sand. Unless there's a special event going on you're likely to find the area to be largely empty.

    Still, you'll probably enjoy the solitude. You can catch fish, work on your tan, and nosh on some whoopie pies in peace.

    [​IMG]

    Ancient Ruins of Soon
    Longtime followers of the game know that I often try to slip in as many 'meta' elements as I can. After all, this is a game in which the conceit is that the NPCs have taken it over and the digital barrier between our worlds is thinner than ever - I'm hoping it gives me some artistic liberty

    Alongside beaches I added another new area to visit, though this one won't make it to the final game. It's called the Ancient Ruins of Soon, and it's an area you can visit to consult stone tablets on prophecy...

    [​IMG]

    ...in other words? You can view my plans on future features and changes from the game instead of going to my website or elsewhere.

    I tried to split it up by category, so if you want to know what the future holds for hobbies or story or your house then you can view just that information.

    Even More UI Changes
    This marks the 2nd week in a row in which UI changes made it to the top of my priority list. Here's a sampling of what I worked on this time.

    Notifications have been slightly resized and now rotate so that the newest is always displayed at the bottom

    [​IMG]

    Meeting villagers for the first time now produces a notification

    [​IMG]

    The inventory now has context-sensitive prompts depending on the mode or item

    [​IMG]

    Finally, I did an initial pass on an in-game version of the world map.

    [​IMG]

    Ok, that'll do it for this week. Hope you're enjoying these dog days of summer, because I'm definitely not. I hate the heat. Autumn can't come fast enough!

    Until next time

    [​IMG]
     
    Red Phantom likes this.
  48. Bakuda

    Bakuda Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2016
    Posts:
    61
    I love this concept. I can hear all the characters singing in my head..... "We are the village of finished games...." (name that ref =D). It looks awesome!
     
  49. WarpDogsVG

    WarpDogsVG Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2016
    Posts:
    180
    Hahahahaha, oh man, I hadn't made the connection before. That is absolutely my favorite part of Rudolph. I guess I've always had a soft spot for abandoned things...
     
  50. WarpDogsVG

    WarpDogsVG Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2016
    Posts:
    180
    It's the weekend, and that means another edition of the Village Monsters Dev Diary Digest (VMD3)

    This edition is an extra-large one. I typically try to pick out the 3 most important things I worked on to share, but I was a real whirling dervish of productivity this week, and just 3 things ain't going to cut it. Enough talk, let's dig in.

    A Preview of Seasons

    [​IMG]

    Up until now, every screenshot I shared has been from 'Spring', but it's been somewhat misleading as Village Monsters is a game of many seasons and colors.

    This week, I wanted to experiment with what different seasonal tilesets might look like, so I whipped up the above to test them out.

    It'll likely change a few times between now and the final release, but I'm pretty happy with the colors and mood of each season.


    New Additions to the Town
    Last week's addition of the beach inspired me to do some further work to the village and surrounding areas.

    [​IMG]

    The 'civic district' - such at that is - has seen some love. A new town plaza sits empty, but that won't be for long. A graveyard was added to the church, though I'm not sure what the monsters are planning for it.

    [​IMG]

    The 'residential district' has also seen a new house pop up seemingly overnight. That skull really sticks out like a sore thumb, and Stapes & Saley (you know, the skeletal warriors that guard the gates) have been told to do something about it. Maybe next week.

    [​IMG]

    Finally, a new area has been spotted east of the Crossroads. It's called the Overlook, and it's one of the best ways to get a view of the land outside the village. As with the beach, this area is usually pretty quiet. Maybe one day it'll make for a good gardening spot?


    Compendium Vol. 2

    [​IMG]

    The Compendium is a very important book that is much more than just a menu. It is a complete log of your adventures and exploits in the world. It tracks quests, villager profiles, critter and fish collections, a map, and much more.

    The Compendium Vol. 2 does all these same things, but with a fresher coat of paint and some increased usability options.

    I'm unsure at this stage how fleshed out the Compendium will be by Alpha 1's release, but at minimum you can expect some light tutorializing to via quests to be handled by the Compendium


    A Grab Bag of Other Goodies

    Stalking Critters

    [​IMG]

    By holding the 'Swing Net' action you can now enter stalk mode. You move much slower, but animals will almost never run away from you. Be sneaky, but still be quick about it!


    A System-level menu

    [​IMG]

    Escape no longer dumps you from the game instantly. It now brings up a menu


    Reworked Choices

    [​IMG]

    Choices in dialog now works a bit differently. You simply hold the direction of the answer you want to give


    Well, that'll do it for this week. Just a few more weeks before PAX, Alpha 1, and something pretty big. I'm pumped!

    [​IMG]
     
    Red Phantom, FROGANUS and LanNet like this.

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