Going in for the kill…

Almost there…

Arden’s Vale has survived one round of beta testing and help up pretty good, but with a lot of room for enhancements.  The next thing I’m up against is backgrounds, which stinks, because I’m not an artist.  I need at least three brand new backgrounds for an introduction and ending cartoon (that’s the economy-sized version), but would like five if I can swing it.  But even more importantly, I want to really spice up some of the existing backgrounds.  For example…

In-game Force Field







Here’s the force field screen.  It’s not terrible, but I twitch every time I look at the rocks or notice that there’s nothing behind the field but the castle.

Force Field Background

The unedited background of the same. Yikes!

Castle Exterior







Here’s through the force field…

Exterior Background







And the not-inside-the-game counterpart.

The Treasury Room

My least favorite: the treasury room. The stuff in the back is pretty cool, but the rest of the room is pretty lame.

Treasury Background







Same idea.

I’m going to try to get some help for the artwork, especially for the intro.  If I can, then I’m awfully close to finally finishing this thing!

March in Arden’s Vale

Here’s a nice shot of the outside of the castle.  This is one of the backgrounds I’m most pleased with, especially considering where it started out! This screenshot also shows off the main icon bar.  All icons, graphics, GUIs, animations, and backgrounds in the game are 100% original.

Here’s the castle hallway.  This room actually has a nice fake parallaxing effect; as your character walks across the screen, the pillars in front, the pathway below, and the wall ahead all animate as if you’re walking by them.  This also shows the mouseover helper text.  I always hate it in games when I can’t tell what in the background is important and what isn’t.  Important objects here have the helper text.  This feature can be turned off, or the text can be displayed at the top of the screen.

I’m almost there!  A few more edits, a bit of music, and we’re ready to release.  I’m thinking early July.  We’ll see how close I come.

February Arden’s Vale Update

Generic Walkcycle

Generic Walkcycle

The game’s coming along nicely, but I don’t want to give too much away just yet.  I will say, however, that the whole thing has been scaled back considerably from a full-length game to a medium-length one.  Originally the story called for a large number of NPCs that you’d encounter in the town of Arden’s Vale.  Instead of reanimating every one from scratch, I decided to create a “generic man” walking animation.

The walkcycle is meant to be painted on top of using layers, like in PhotoShop or GIMP (which is what I use).  After you create the character’s head, for example, you simply paste it onto each frame of the walkcycle.  Later, when you need to put it all into the game, the sprites are already evenly placed for quick group imports into AGS.

It always takes some tweaking, but the results aren’t bad at all!  The character even has perfectly smooth stepping if you set them to move 4 pixels in the x-axis and 2 in the y.


Generic to Specific Walkcycle

Here’s a sample from start to finish…  Introducing the enchanter!  Do note the fuzzy purple slippers.

Feel free to download and use generic man.  If the sprites are the size you need, this just might save you loads of time!

A Few Graphics

The game is called “Arden’s Vale.”  Your character, Riel, is on a dangerous mission to get a magic healing stone to save her dying sister.  The only problem is that the stone is in the clutches of an evil enchanter, who is holed up in his castle east of the town of Arden’s Vale.

Outside the Castle

The Enchanter's Room

More plot information is to come, but for now, just a few features:

  • Day to night fading cycle.
  • Animating icons.
  • Sliding menu bar.
  • Full-size animating dialog portraits.
  • Saved game screenshots.
  • Quirky humor.
  • Almost logical puzzles.

That’s it for now!

Walking Left

Riel Dialog Portrait