2 Years of King of Shadows (Weekly Update #104)

Hey people, I know this update is a bit later than usual, but worry not. I intentionally delayed the post to today since it was on the 19th of November in 2016 that I officially started work on King of Shadows, and today is the 19th of November 2018, which marks 2 years of working on the project.

A few weeks ago, for the 100th update, I went over the history of the project from the start of the updates to that point in time. I was a bit unsure of what to do for this update, since I haven’t really had the time to do anything big for it, so I just thought I’d take the time to get out some thoughts I’ve been having recently, and be honest with you all about what’s been going on these past months and where I want to go with the games.

But before that, just a quick update on what I’ve done on the project since the last update. I’ve done a bit of work on the digital side of Jadence’s placeholder character sprite, here’s how she looks so far.

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With that aside, it’s time for some real talk. I wish I could say that I’d made massive progress on King of Shadows behind the scenes, and while I sometimes do make more progress than I tend to share, the project still isn’t nearly where I’d like it to be. While a visual novel is something that matches up well with my strengths as someone who enjoys creating worlds and characters, I am only one person, and more so in the last few months than ever before, it’s become a lot more difficult to get the time to work on the game since I’ve had a lot of other stuff going on, which most people can probably relate to on some level, and because when I do have the time to work on it, often it’s when I’m not in a very productive mood.

Just to clarify, I’m not trying to pin the blame on anybody, because it’s nobody’s fault, nor am I trying to gain sympathy or make excuses, I’m just telling it like it is from my perspective. I’m not going to give up either, I already decided long ago that I’d be in this for the long haul. All of this being said, I do have some ideas on what I’ll do after I release the first version of Prologue Chapter as a proof of concept.

For example, one thing I plan to do will be starting a fundraiser for the Visual Novel, which I’ll be using to hire help to make the game the best it can be. Art, music, sound effects, programming, most of these things I could probably do if I really put my mind to it, but it would definitely take far longer and most likely not be as good a result as it would if I had people specialising in those fields working on those aspects, and taking on too many roles could easily backfire. However, I don’t intend to start the fundraiser until AFTER the release of the Prologue Chapter, since I want to show people what I can do rather than simply telling them. If I’m going to ask people to give me their money for the project, I want to give them a good idea of what they will be getting from the final product, while keeping enough of it a mystery to keep them intrigued since the guessing will be a part of the experience.

As for other projects, you probably remember I shared a project a few weeks ago under the title of Construction Chaos, which I’ve continued to work on about one day a week at Envision Employment as a volunteer. I’ve been going through and adding a couple more features as well as polishing what I had already done on it. As of today, I’ve added the last of the functionality to it, so now I’ve just got to complete a How to Play part to it and add some audio, after which I’ll probably move onto another project. Expect a new gameplay video in one of the upcoming updates.

I also plan to collaborate on developing a mobile game at some point, since I’ve noticed a lot of jobs in the Australian games industry look for experience in mobile game development.

As for the creature model, well, that’ll get done eventually. A huge shoutout to the guy I’ve been making it for for being so patient with me in the times where I’ve forgotten to work on it and the times I haven’t been able to. Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten you.

And just like that, I’ve run out of things I wanted to say. Sorry if I ranted a bit there, I just wanted to make sure you were all aware of what I was thinking at the time of writing this. Happy 2 years, King of Shadows, and thank you all once again for following its progress. I’ll continue to do my best to work on it and my other projects when I can. As always, I hope you enjoy your week, and I’ll see you in the next update.

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King of Shadows – Weekly Update #103

Hey guys, hope you’ve all enjoyed your week. I myself did enjoy this week since it was a bit less busy than the past few weeks and I managed to get some work done on things other than sketches. Anyway let’s get into the update.

I finally managed to finish the outlines and flat colours on the placeholder character sprite for Bastone Kiran. Yes, that sprite that’s been sitting in wait for about a month. Hopefully I should be able to knock a couple more out before the Christmas and New Year period.

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Aside from that, I’ve been continuing to search for jobs in the industry that I can do, and hope that I’ll eventually land one that’s perfect for me.

Anyway that’s all I have to share for this week, see you all in next week’s update and thanks for following the development of King of Shadows.

King of Shadows – Weekly Update #102

Hey people, been another busy week this week so not that much progress to report but let’s get into the update.

For starters, I know it’s a bit late now but Happy Halloween for everyone who celebrates it, hope you all enjoyed it. I wish I could have done something special for it but unfortunately such a thing didn’t occur to me until it was already too late. Well there’s always Christmas… might do a little something for that.

General busyness of the week aside, there was a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Direct recently, where they revealed the rest of the game’s base roster and showed off the new Adventure mode for the game. The game is now about a month away from launch and I’m really excited to finally get my hands on it, but I’ll be doing my best to get more work done on King of Shadows before then.

Anyway, since I haven’t made that much progress this week, here’s another sketch for the collection.

I’ve been showing off a lot of villains lately, huh? Well it’s time for a mix-up because this week it’s a member of the Lumin army, Willami Raito. Willami is the son of the infamous Damiri Solas, who committed many heinous acts in the Great War 20 years prior to the events of the Prologue Chapter. Wanting to separate himself from his father’s atrocities, Willami took up his mother’s maiden name of Raito. He leads the remainder of Raito squad in the battle against the Shadow People, and is one of the few remaining Lumin with extensive combat experience.

Well, that’s all I have to share for this week. See you all in next week’s update and thanks for following the development of King of Shadows.

King of Shadows – Weekly Update #101

Hey people, it’s been another big week and I have a bit of exciting news to share, so without further ado let’s get into it.

This weekend I was at a gaming convention called PAX, where I was able to play some games of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate with some friends since the demo was set up there. Although it was hard to glean a lot from the games since they consisted of 2 and a half minute free for alls with items on, it definitely felt a bit faster and I’m super excited to play it when it launches.

I also got some nice merch and got to chat with some indie developers about their games being showcased at the event, and sat in on a couple of the panels where developers were speaking about some of the processes they use when creating their games. It was a great experience overall and I hope to go again next year.

Unfortunately there wasn’t any progress made on King of Shadows this week but I do have another character sketch to show.

Another of the Shadow Warrior classes known as a Mage. Mages are enemies that don’t get directly involved in combat, rather they stand at a distance and fire projectiles. They mainly use staffs to focus their energies and to block incoming attacks if possible, but some may carry a dagger as a secondary weapon and others may not carry any weapons at all, instead creating weapons made of dark energy.

Well that’s all I have to share for this week, hopefully I should have some more time to work on things in the upcoming week. Thanks for following the development of King of Shadows and I will see you all in the next update.

King of Shadows – Weekly Update #100

Hey people, been another massive week for me this week and I hope you’re all doing great as well. So, as you can see this marks 100 weeks since the beginning of my development of the hack-and-slash game that was going to be King of Shadows, and I’ve gotta say, it’s been quite the journey. To commemorate this, let’s take a walk down memory lane.

This was the first progress video I had to share on the project, some of the animations for the Shadow King’s placeholder model. The process of making the placeholder models and animations was by far the easiest part of the project and something I could do well within a week.

Here is the first video I had to share in Unreal Engine 4, which is a test of the Shadow King’s functionality and animations within the engine. This was where I was beginning to get a feel for the engine and using Blueprints to handle the AI.

This is the first video I had to show on my implementation of the player, with another placeholder model and some more animations. I was really proud of the slow motion and screen shake effect I had implemented on the attacks as you can probably tell haha.

Fast-forward a few months and we’ve gotten to the point where I’ve implemented some more enemies, some effects and a health system. It was around here that I think I was starting to notice some of the issues with the code since interactions were becoming tedious to create. I was needing to go into each enemy’s blueprints individually to make changes that would apply to all of them. I continued on with it for another couple of months before it got too much and I ended up scrapping it with the intention of starting over and correcting some of the mistakes I had made early on.

After a few months later I decided to split King of Shadows into 2 projects, the hack-and-slash game, which will be called King of Shadows: Onslaught and feature mini-campaigns for each playable character but mainly focusing on making the gameplay feel excellent, and the King of Shadows visual novel which – while nothing to write home about in terms of super deep gameplay mechanics – will tell the main story of the series in great depth.

It has been quite a while since then, and in that time I’ve picked up and completed or put on hold other smaller projects, and to this day I do small bits of work here and there on things that don’t get featured in these updates, some related and some unrelated. The last couple of months or so have gotten busier due to having places to go to and things to do in my search for a job, and as a result I haven’t been doing as much work as I’d like to on my projects. And while there were times when I probably could have afforded to be more productive, and times where I’ve put my focus onto less important aspects of these projects, I’ve had a lot of learning and growth these past couple of years, both in my knowledge of game development and as a person.

So for both those who have been here since the start of these updates, and for those who check them out every now and then, and for those who may be seeing one of these for the first time, thank you all so much. I may not know all of you personally, but I hope that even someone like me can inspire at least one person to create something. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for this project, and the day when people can finally play King of Shadows.

Well, that’s all I have to say for this week. The 2nd anniversary of the project will be coming up in 4 weeks so I might look into doing something special for that. In any case I’ll see you all in next week’s update, and I know I say it every week but know that I really do mean it when I say it; thanks for following the development of King of Shadows.

King of Shadows – Weekly Update #99

Hey people, apologies for the delay, it was a big week and I had a lot of work to do over the weekend since I was getting together a portfolio for a job application. By the time I’d submitted it last night I was pretty exhausted because it was quite late at that point and I had an early start in the morning. Anyway, that aside, the job I’ve applied for is a Game Design Intern position at one of EA’s mobile game studios in Melbourne, which would be an awesome job to have since it’ll allow me to do what I love and get paid for it at the same time, so here’s hoping for a good result.

With that all said and done, let’s get into the update. Unfortunately because of all of this stuff going on I wasn’t able to get onto doing any of the digital work on placeholder sprites for King of Shadows, but I have done a few more sketches throughout last week of characters that will appear in the prologue chapter. In light of this fact, this week I’ll share another one of the sketches I’ve done.

This is another class of Shadow Warrior called an Elite. Elites are very tough opponents since they hit hard and have thick armour that can be difficult to get through. They typically carry large weapons such as war hammers, clubs and axes that crush the armour and shields of their own foes (not to mention what they can do to the body), and can be hard for even trained Lumin to deal with.

My schedule should be freed up a bit sometime in the next couple of weeks or so, so I’ll probably continue to get the last sketches done until then and once I get some free days I’ll do some more digital work.

King of Shadows – Weekly Update #98

Hey people, been a pretty packed week this week but I did get a little bit of work done here and there so let’s get into it.

I’ve done a couple more character sketches for King of Shadows and looking to get some digital work done in the upcoming week, but in the meantime I’ll share one of the sketches I have.

This week’s feature is another of the enemy classes, this one being a Knight. Knight class Shadow Warriors typically wield swords, lances and flails. Unlike Spawns, which are of a lower rank, a single Knight can be a problem to even a human trained in combat simply because of the extra range their weapons afford them during their attacks.

Anyway that’s all I have to share for this week, it’s looking like the next couple of weeks will be busy as well so I still have a few sketches lined up in case I don’t get much else done. Either way, I’ll see you all in next week’s update, thanks for following the development of King of Shadows.

King of Shadows – Weekly Update #97

Hey people, hope you all had a good week last week. Apologies for the late update, had some hard drive issues and had to rebuild the level for Construction Chaos in Unity so I wasn’t able to get a video ready in time, because of that I chose to hold off from posting the update until I could get the video done.

Yes, the fact you’re seeing the update now means the video is now up and ready for your viewing pleasure.

Aside from that, not too much else to report so I’ll throw in another sketch. This time featuring one of the enemy types called a Spawn. This variant in particular uses its long claws to rip its opponents apart. Although not very threatening on their own, being one of the low level units, they can be a huge problem if someone were to let themselves surrounded by a large group of the creatures.

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Anyway that’s all for this update. I’m not sure how much I’ll have to share in this week’s update but hopefully something good. Thanks for following the development of King of Shadows.

King of Shadows – Weekly Update #96

Hey people, it’s been a big week and I’ve been super excited to share what’s been happening recently, so without any further delay let’s get into it.

To give some context, this month I was referred onto a work experience program where I was offered the opportunity of designing a game for them, which was a very pleasant surprise for me since it meant I could put my design skills to the test and see if I could pull off designing and building a game within a 4-week time period.

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While it certainly is a simple game, a game I did indeed build with an artist there who was able to work on the 3D models while I handled the in-engine work, including coding and putting it all together. We decided to call it Construction Chaos (since I do love some good alliteration).

The game’s premise is that you play as a previously unemployed person who gets a job at a construction site, where they essentially become a glorified errand runner who everyone lumps all of their problems onto, whether it be taking tools to workers, helping reinforce weak construction or dealing with the noise complaints of local residents.

There was a lot I wanted to get in but simply couldn’t due to my lack of coding experience and the time constraints, only being able to work a few hours 4 days a week at most on it between other commitments and referrals, but it was a great experience overall, and since I had a lot of fun on the project I do hope to go back and polish it up and add music and sound effects at some point. However, even if it isn’t everything I wanted it to be it’s a good learning experience and an item for the portfolio, I’ll try to get some gameplay footage of it for next week’s update.

Well, that’s all I have to share for this week. I plan to have some King of Shadows content next update so stay tuned.

King of Shadows – Weekly Update #95

Hey people, another week has passed and the time for another update has arrived. Once again there isn’t a whole lot to report in terms of the King of Shadows game itself but I have made little bits of progress on multiple projects.

For starters, I’ll post another character sketch I’ve done for the game, this one featuring Jade Lucian.

Jade is one of the three remaining members of Valo Squad known for her raw strength, rumoured to be second only to King Rehoboam. Along with Levi and Silus she helped to rally the Lumin forces and drive off the invading Shadow Warriors in the tragedy that occurred two weeks prior to the events of the prologue chapter.

As for other stuff I can share at this point, I’ve started working on the final version of my Dark Bowser skin mod in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, starting with implementing something I was very excited to do.

Dark Bowser will now use a custom model for attacks where Bowser retreats into his shell. The model is based on the sprites used for the curl ability in Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story, which Dark Bowser originated from.

I have a bit more I’ve been working on and can’t wait to share with you all… but that will have to wait for the next update. In the meantime I’ll be working to get it up to the highest standard possible as this may well be the final week I have to work on it. Thank you all for following the development of King of Shadows and have a great week.