Feb 082016
 
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Welcome to this new Ghost of a Tale development update! It should come as no surprise that hard work continues, more intense as ever; Cyrille and Paul are toiling away on their task list and we still have to implement quite a few things before we’re ready to start beta testing. I mean we do test constantly of course, but this time it should be with people who never actually touched the game before.

Here’s a picture of Tilo exploring the sewers. Ooh lookie, he found the Red Ranger’s hood (the Red Ranger is a folklore character in the game’s world)! :)

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Jeremiah also has a lot of work ahead of him to compose all the tracks needed  for the pre-release. But he’s as fast as he’s good, so I’m not worried. Instead I’m excited to be the first one to discover his work!

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve done a huge amount of work in animation, 2D art and coding. I’m currently squashing A LOT of bugs which is actually pretty nice because that means hopefully you won’t find them in the game (no, you’ll find completely new ones! 😀 ).

I’ve also started implementing in-game tutorials. As you know it’s a tricky task to trigger them only at the right moment and location. I personally hate it as a player when a tutorial message interrupts the game just to tell me something I’ve already figured out. So that shouldn’t happen in GoaT!

Next I would like to thank all the contestants of our papercraft Tilo “contest”! Paul was so proud of all the creative energy put into bringing paper-Tilo to life!

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Those pictures are just a sample of the ones posted in the thread. Congrats to all the winners; you guys will be able to claim your Steam key when we the pre-release goes live. You earned it!

Which is a nice segue into the next topic: Steam! Cyrille took it upon himself to dive into all the tutorials related to the online distribution platform and came up with a plan that worked (as you can see in the picture below).

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We have tested the Steam publish pipeline and were able to upload a build which we could then access through our Steam accounts. Needless to say this is a significant milestone! It means that when the time comes to go public we should be able to do so with minimal fussing.

(FYI the build we uploaded was just a dry run and didn’t contain the game’s environments – hence the small footprint; the Early Access download itself should be a little over 1GB)

Alright, I’ll go back to work and leave you with this short test video I posted on Twitter a few days ago. It just shows the game’s starting area. See you all in the next update! :)

Jan 272016
 
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Hello all!

Since it looks like our papercraft Tilo got some success we have decided to do something nice around it: so let it be known that the first 10 persons who post pictures of their own papercraft Tilo in this forum thread will win a free Steam key for Ghost of a Tale!

All you have to do is build it yourself (of course) and then take a couple of pictures of your papercraft Tilo in a somewhat naturalistic environment. Not necessary outdoors (could be a diorama) but in an environment that would more-or-less make sense for Tilo to be in!

So get to your tweezers, craft knives and glue sticks! And don’t forget to have fun in the process! 😀

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Jan 182016
 
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Hello all and welcome to this first update of the year 2016! :)

We’ve reached feature freeze! Simply put what this means is from now on we stop adding new features. This is so we don’t fall into a loop of “hey, wouldn’t it be cool if we did this…”. It is always very tempting to add little (and sometimes not-so-little) features and get caught up in what’s called in development terms “feature-creep” (which itself can ultimately lead to “vaporware”).

We now have a very clear idea of what the pre-release needs to be –as well as what it can live without. So rather than attempting to cram in every idea we have, we’re going to make sure that each feature which gets into the pre-release actually works as expected. I prefer the early access game to feel solid rather than overly ambitious and half-broken.

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Unity’s new scene management system (introduced in 5.3) is a boon to us; as you may remember from the previous update it was a hard pill to swallow but it was worth it in the end. For me specifically it means I can now work on any area as needed and when saving my work, only the changed scenes are saved. So I don’t have to wait for the entire game world to be saved anymore; it’s a great time-saver. And it’s also much cleaner to manage.

Cyrille has recently completed his work on the trigonometry code for our new map system. To be honest at first I was thinking of doing away without a map; huge games like Dark Souls don’t have one. But watching some people attempt to play GoaT without a map system turned out to be an exercise in frustration for all involved.

So we now have map items in the world that you need to discover. Once picked up they allow you to see a 2D representation of the current area and to know where you are. It’s neat and it doesn’t make things too easy either. This is not an always-on-screen minimap; it takes a big part of the screen and you can’t see what you’re stepping into when you look at it. :)

Paul did a lot of work during the last few weeks polishing the quests and dialogs. It’s all coming together quite nicely! For example in this GIF, Tilo finds a mysterious message that triggers a new quest (sorry the picture is rather small, but that way you won’t be spoiled!).

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Finally in terms of work left to do, the big chunks are: AI, 2D art, UI, animations and a couple of game mechanics that still need to be implemented.

But from week to week Ghost of a Tale looks more and more like a “real” game; I mean a professional-looking, pretty good gaming experience. And that in itself is quite rewarding! :)

Dec 232015
 
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Hello and welcome to this new Ghost of a Tale update featuring a unique papercraft gift for you! But first some news about the game’s development.

Over the past couple of weeks we’ve been very busy transitioning to the latest version of Unity. A move which proved (at least at first) to be pretty much a catastrophic one and generated quite a lot of stress.

It is a transition I dreaded but unfortunately there was no choice; we needed the bug fixes and the new features. Long story short; after the upgrade almost all the game’s shaders broke, resulting in a “pink screen” (Unity’s way of letting you know in no uncertain terms that your shaders are broken).

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So with the help of Joachim (the developer of Shader Forge, a great tool to create shaders in Unity) I had to manually fix each of the game’s shaders (and materials) one by one. After which everything (at least visually) was back to normal.

There were also a plethora of issues with other third-party assets but I only have praises for their developers who responded very quickly to my cries for help (a special mention to Stephan, the developer of TextMeshPro and Diogo & Ricardo from Amplify) and provided us with stellar support.

And I am indeed quite relieved to say the situation is now back under control! :)

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As you may know Ghost of a Tale uses a couple of third-party assets (AI, C# tweening, etc…) but the way I picked them up is not just based on their intrinsic quality; it is the professionalism of their coders that makes them extremely valuable. And once again, without their help and the genuine concern and support of Unity people (thanks Chris!) that could have been an even more stressful event.

So we’re now back to work, toiling on things like integrating Unity’s new scene streaming system (Cyrille’s got a grip on that), fixing bugs, adding the remaining features and making tweaks. One such tweak included making the sliding door’s levers a little more readable (they used to be smaller and very dark before):

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And now for our Christmas gift to you: how would you like to have your own papercraft Tilo to adorn your desk? :)

Well Paul lovingly prepared just the thing for you: if you possess a little patience and moderate finger coordination you’ll be able to create this little papercraft figurine of our favorite musical rodent! All you have to do is print out this PDF file and follow Paul’s instructions! Note that this is a revised and improved version of the one he did during Gamescom last year.

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Finally all of you guys who backed up the game on Indiegogo (starting at 10 euros) should have received by now an email asking for your “credit name” information (that’s your name as you would like it to appear in the game’s credits). I did get a couple of undelivered emails bouncing back (maybe ten or so) but it would seem 99% of them reached their destination.

And that’s the end of this update. In closing, Paul and Cyrille join me to wish you all happy holidays! :)