Nov 302015

Welcome to this new update! Those last few weeks have been extremely intense and the coming ones are likely going to feel the same. There were a couple of trying tech-scares ranging from corrupted project to game-breaking bugs and difficult-to-pinpoint issues (to say it politely).

But I want to say I’m overall very happy with the progress we made; Cyrille is debugging the save/load process and Paul is finishing some last-minute dialog rewrites plus writing all the items/costume descriptions. I’m concentrating on animations, modeling, set-dressing, interface, debugging, etc…

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I recently amped up the rats’ speed and animation when they’re aggressive and it’s crazy how the amount of tension shoots up when they’re onto you. So far it was possible to outrun them fairly easily as they stuck to their relentless, lumbering gait at all times. But now when they’re coming at you they really mean it! You’ll have to take my word for it but it makes the hiding mechanics much more than a gimmick as you cannot escape your assailants indefinitely; you HAVE to hide eventually.

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Now regarding the pre-release, if I take a step back and look at my charitable wish of doing it within the upcoming three weeks I have to say it looks REALLY tight. Not only because of the amount of work left to do, but also of the required time for playtesting and subsequent bug-fixing. And I’m certainly not about to start taking any shortcuts.

This feeling is compounded by the overwhelming wave of support that you guys have been expressing over the last couple of months which can be summed up as “please take your time, don’t rush it, make it good”. And I’m very grateful for that indeed.

Alright, so when the initial pre-release is made public, what exactly can you expect from it? In terms of content it’s roughly 20-25% of the final game. It sports a little less than thirty quests (including both main and secondary ones) and lets you explore two main areas, both indoors and outdoors.

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As I was saying, some game mechanics will not make it into the pre-release. But what’s there will give you a very accurate taste of the game’s atmosphere and scope. In terms of playtime we can’t be certain yet but it should be at the very least a couple of hours.

In terms of localization, the pre-release might be English-only at first but rest assured we will localize it as soon as possible (basically when money allows it). We’ll add French, Italian, German and Spanish to start with. Then we will expand to other languages after that (I’m hoping Polish, Portuguese, etc..).

And that about covers it for this update. In the next one I’ll talk (among other things) about the minimum and required specs for the game. As usual if you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to post them in the comments.

Oh and one last thing: I can’t go into any details about it yet but for you guys wondering if Sony is aware of the game and if they’re interested in helping us bring it to their newest console… the answer is “yes” and “yes”… 😉

Nov 032015

This is going to be a very short update but I wanted to share a critical announcement with you: I was in the process of setting up the game’s Steam Greenlight page in order to start the required voting process. But in the middle of it I had to stop.

Why? Because Valve just contacted me to let me know they’re willing to skip us straight past Greenlight and land us directly into Early Access.

HOW TOTALLY AWESOME IS THAT!!! And completely unexpected I might add. I mean this is just mind-boggling (hence my quoting the late Vizzini in this post’s title)!

Besides the rarity of such an occurrence (to my knowledge at least) it’s going to save us a lot of precious time and energy that could have been better spent on developing the game.

If you’ll allow me a personal aside here; game development, contrarily to certain misconceptions, is not just fun and games. It is demanding work. Each and every day (and sometimes night) you have to fix broken things, find a way to bypass limitations, deal with frustrating technical issues, etc… So when something like that happens it feels good, believe me. It does. :)

Finally a big thank you to Matt and Tom from Valve, without whom this post would not have been possible! 😛

Oct 272015

Development keeps moving forward at a brisk pace! We have reached a symbolic milestone: all the quests and dialogs for the pre-release are playable in-game from start to end. Which is super awesome!

Now of course there’s still a lot of work to do in order to insure nothing breaks along the way. But it feels great to see everything coming together. We are clearly moving closer to a stage where we’ll be able to put the game in your hands. Which is both scary and exhilarating.

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And it made me realize a simple thing: Ghost of a Tale is not really a game you “beat”; it’s a game you should get immersed into. It’s about discovering things, exploring the scenery, talking to the characters, etc… In a nutshell: taking the time to enjoy it. Although Ghost of a Tale is a small game (compared to juggernauts like Skyrim or The Witcher), please believe me when I say that I’m doing my best for the experience to be a very nice one indeed. :)

Oh and recently I came around to implementing bendable grass; which is grass that physically responds to Tilo’s presence. It’s a subtle detail of course, but seeing that the game is aiming to achieve a certain level of immersion (without going overboard) I hope you’ll agree it does hold some value.

Anyway, here’s a test video of the system in motion:

The nice thing is this system is very cheap computational-wise; yet it does give the player a sense of prodding through lush, thick grass. And that’s all that counts! 😀

So it’s very hard work all around but I believe the quality is starting to show. And very soon you will be able to vote for the game on Steam Greenlight! But I will talk much more in details about the pre-release in an upcoming update (very soon if everything goes well)!

Oct 062015

Hello all! Please bear with be as today I would like to give you all a candid look at where we’re at in terms of development on Ghost of a Tale. Keep in mind that all those progress bars relate to the pre-release, not the final/complete game.

Another very, VERY important notion to understand is these bars you see are NOT all equals in terms of workload and time needed to complete them.

Now that the caveats are out of the way, let’s start the tour…


As you see there’s still some work left in the animation department. That includes a couple of animations on Tilo, some enemies and idle cycles for the NPCs.

Character models are really getting there and the props include skinned and dynamic clothes as well. I’ve been using a different export technique and the result is a much better framerate!

Environments still require some work to make sure everything is complete and works well with the streaming system and the quests.


I’ve started doing a first pass on the character portraits for the dialogs; still a lot of work there but it’s going fine and it’s a pleasure to do.

The game menus are almost there but I still need to include all the graphical options and the input management choices (more on that later).

The HUD and inventory GUI all work fine. However there’s still some visual polish to do there.


I covered the AI last time and I still have to transfer the new system to a couple of enemies. Cyrille is currently making good progress on the saving/loading system and he’s done with streaming.

Day/Night cycle as well as camera management are fully functional (and have been for a while).

Regarding input support: the game is definitely made with gamepads in mind but because Ghost of a Tale is primarily a PC game it means keyboard and mouse must be supported. But I believe it should only be a matter of a few days to make sure everything works as intended.


Jeremiah is going to write a couple more tracks for the game, most importantly themes for the NPCs that will play during dialogs.

I greatly enjoy creating the sounds effects, alas it’s all a matter of time. I usually create new sounds when new animations are locked, so it usually tends to lend at the end of the process.


Dialogs are also nearing completion, thanks to Paul’s mighty efforts! We still have to do an overall pass to make sure the tone is right, the voice of the characters consistent and that we’re not too self-indulgent with the sheer amount of text. But I’m very happy with where we’re at!

The Misc Writing bar is about all the items descriptions in the database, UI words and sentences, etc… The low 50% completion seems quite scary but again it’s mostly a matter of a few days for Paul to take care of this.

Quests are also almost done. We do some neat tricks with them; for example you’re told to accomplish certain tasks but if you chose to do things differently then new tasks are revealed!

So that wraps up this presentation of the state of things with Ghost of a Tale! Don’t hesitate to ask about topics that are not mentioned in the comments section.

And since I know charts can be a bit unpalatable here’s a look at an animated Kerold, the old pirate frog. Actually this idle animation cycle is an old one and many details are missing (hat’s feathers weren’t rigged, etc…); it was basically a rough blocking pass but I thought you guys might still get a kick out of it. :)

The question that many of you will ask is “What’s the release date?”. As I said last time the goal is still to do a pre-release before the end of the year. We are going to do our best to make it happen but I won’t hide the fact that it is going to require a tremendous effort to both achieve that goal AND be happy with the result.

Because ultimately, as I said before (and I will say time and time again) I will never put out something that feels broken or rushed. Even if we’re just talking about a pre-release (by definition a non-complete game) I want what’s there to be thoroughly enjoyable.

So you can take my word for it; Paul, Cyrille and I are going to be working extremely hard in the coming weeks! Wish us luck and see you all in the next update! :)