Aug 112017
 
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Welcome all! Today I’m very happy because I get to talk about new content added to the early access! 🙂

Indeed we’ve opened up a new location: the Northern Slopes (along with the old armory) but we also worked a lot on the existing Far Tower area. Not only is the location much prettier to look at (thanks to many new assets) but there’s actually stuff to do there now!

Here’s a lighting test for the time-of-day system which is recorded in the new area:

We’ve added 5 new quests to the existing 28, which brings us to a tally of 33 quests available in the early access version. The new quests range from quite easy to much more involved.

Furthermore we introduce a couple of new gameplay mechanics: among which are the “brisance kegs”. Those are in effect a sort of exploding barrel/nitroglycerin. They are heavy items which Tilo can grab and move anywhere within a certain distance.

And that’s what makes them special: every time Tilo takes a step the brisance bar fills up a little until it fills up completely and as you guessed… the whole thing goes ka-boom! So better not let that happen.

But that’s not all: the brisance is sensitive to shocks so Tilo can also throw projectiles at it to blow it up at a distance.

Conversely, Tilo can light up the fuse of the brisance kegs (using his candlestick or fire steel) to create a delayed explosion. Which will prove very handy throughout the rest of the game, against some enemies and also as a way to affect the environment.

In this update we have added new shortcuts for you to discover, making traveling from one part of Dwindling Heights to another even more enjoyable.

Besides the usual helping of bug fixes you’ll also find long-time requested features like a brightness slider, an LOD slider (for people with powerful machine who just want the game to look as good as possible) and a way to sort the inventory clothing items by costume and/or body parts.

And by the way just to give you some hints: the new quests can be accessed by talking to Faustus, visiting the garden and exploring the far tower area (mind your steps).

The guards now have new attack sounds (coupled with camera shakes when Tilo gets hit) so they overall feel more threatening. Some of them now wear greaves, which means that they won’t slip down on a grease jar anymore.

You can think of it as a rock/paper/scissors situation: some guards wear a helmet so you can’t knock them down with a bottle but they could slip and fall on a grease jar, while some others have no head protection but they wear greaves, etc… So you have to choose the right tool for the right situation.

The map system has also been improved in that the markers that appear on it now visually indicate if the items they refer to are located above or below Tilo’s current position.

Story-wise you can also pick up more roses in the world, which in turn will let you learn more about Tilo and Merra’s story.

Anyway there are too many things to mention here so I encourage you to read the detailed release notes.

With this update we are nearing the 60% of publicly available content. One thing to keep in mind about the whole process is we only publish things when they are ready. In other words out of the remaining 40% about half is already created and the other half is well on the way. Of course for now the “non-public” content is only reachable by us developers and alpha testers. But boy do we have some beautiful things in store for you! 🙂

To illustrate this point, here’s a screenshot of Tilo exploring the catacombs (which are not open to the public yet)…

In terms of availability this update can be downloaded on Steam today, then in a couple of days on GOG and finally (barring any unforeseen troubles) on the Xbox One before the end of the month.

Update on August 18: The new build is now available on Steam, GOG and the Xbox One store!

As usual, don’t hesitate to leave your questions and suggestions in the comments below! See you in the next update! 🙂

Jun 302017
 
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Hello all! In this special update I would like to officially welcome our new Xbox One players!

Ghost of a Tale has indeed landed on the Xbox One store (in the Game Preview section) today, Friday June 30th.

Note: if you backed the game during the Indiegogo campaign and you would like to receive an Xbox One token then please send us a message at: [email protected] from the email address you used during the campaign (that’s important!).

What does “Game Preview” mean?

It is the equivalent of early access on PC: the game is released in a work-in-progress state. In the case of Ghost of a Tale that means the game is roughly 45% complete. When the game is finalized it will include more locations, enemies, NPC, quests, etc…

It also means that as players you get to influence the game’s development by giving us feedback and reporting bugs. And because the game is not finished yet it is of course sold at a lower price than the final version.

Obviously, when the final version arrives your Preview version will get upgraded at no additional cost to you.

Screen Shot 06-30-17 at 11.48 AMRegarding the build that is currently available on the Xbox store:

Update: The new build is live, as well as the free one hour trial! You can now experience Ghost of a Tale on Xbox One as we intended from the beginning.

Unfortunately we didn’t manage to upload the latest build on the servers in time for the launch so what you’ll get at first is an older build (4.0). Since then we have fixed dozens of bugs (both large and small), vastly improved the visuals (textures, lighting, shaders, models, etc…) and done a big optimization pass (framerate stability).

The new build (4.35) should become available as soon as Microsoft can disseminate it to its servers. Which we hope will be done in a few hours.

On a technical note: if you buy the game at launch today, please wait for the game to finish downloading entirely before you press the “Launch” button. If you press it as soon as it appears (roughly at 25% of download progress) then the game probably won’t even start or will freeze before you can start playing.

It’s no big deal though, you’ll just have to quit the game and simply wait for the download to complete. Then you’ll be able to launch it again and everything will be fine.

Please don’t hesitate to post your suggestions/technical issues on our forums.

We hope you’ll enjoy your stay in Dwindling Heights Keep!  🙂

Jun 122017
 
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Hi everyone. This is just a quick update to confirm that the game has passed Microsoft’s certification!

The Game Preview version of Ghost of a Tale will arrive on the Xbox One on June 30th.

584x800 - Branded Key Art

It was a long journey to get there and it’s still far from over. But if you didn’t have a PC to play the game on and you happen to have an Xbox One, you should be a happy camper at the end of the month. 🙂

Stay tuned for more development news to come!

Feb 252017
 
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Hello all! Yes, Ghost of a Tale will be present next week at GDC! Paul will be there in person with a build of the game featuring a new forested area for you to explore!

Screen Shot 02-24-17 at 03.19 PM

I’m starting to be happy with the overall result. Still got to create a few more assets to nail the look but it’s definitely getting there.

Also from the forest you can have a good look at Dwindling Heights’ tower peeking through the canopy.

Screen Shot 02-15-17 at 12.19 PM

So feel free to come by and say hi to Paul! He’ll be at a Unity booth (#1402).

(Speaking of Unity, a well-informed source tells me they’ll show off their new timeline editor with a special guest: a minstrel mouse called Tilo)

Xbox One

The Xbox One version of the game is coming along very nicely. We’re ready to submit to Microsoft for certification. Recent performance improvements allow us to use temporal antialiasing which looks really nice on a big TV!

Speaking of performance, we’ve once again optimized the game a lot in order to reach a stable 30fps on Xbox One. Which means, as I mentioned before, that the PC version now also runs faster.

It really is tricky because the game is primarily developed on a gaming PC and framerate drops from 120fps to 70fps are virtually invisible. But on a console that means the difference between a playable 30fps and a painful 21fps. Thankfully Unity has a handy profiler.

Screen Shot 02-24-17 at 04.37 PM

The level of detail granularity is nice, using sharper textures. And you’ll be able to see all those little details since the main difference between the Xbox and PC versions is the resolution.

Better Night Sky

I improved the look of night skies. Before the fog was so thick you couldn’t see a thing.

The only cheat is by a full moon you wouldn’t be able to see the stars twinkling of course. But they’re so nice I cheated. 😉

Screen Shot 02-15-17 at 12.13 PM

Assets Improvement

I implemented dynamic vegetation throughout the game and since I was at it I also redid the grass assets. The previous version was alright in game when the camera did NOT look down at it. But as soon as it was, the dreaded “razorblade” effect was kicking in. But no more!

Screen Shot 02-21-17 at 12.04 PMa

And the grass interacts with Tilo in a much more natural manner, while being more or less exactly the same number of polygons as before (if you can believe it)!

There’s something to be said for testing your assets in the worst possible conditions (using unflattering contrast); if you manage to make them look nice in those cases you can be fairly sure they’ll look good in-game.

I also recently started using Substance Designer to create textures for the game. I used to be a doubter (since I usually do all my texture work in Photoshop) but after having invested time in watching tutorials and trying it seriously I’m now a believer.

Screen Shot 02-23-17 at 11.15 PM

So in a nutshell development moves on and we can’t wait to show new quests, characters and locations. But we won’t until they’re ready for prime-time!

Meanwhile if you wish to support us then please download the latest version and help us chase pesky bugs. Thanks again for your continued support and see you in the next update!