King of Shadows – Weekly Update #52

Well people, the day has come at last. One year ago from today I decided to start working on King of Shadows and decided on the weekly blog update format to keep you all informed of the happenings within the project and to keep me accountable for making sure work is being done. There have been many changes in vision over the course of the year, and side projects have come and gone. What started out as a very ambitious hack-and-slash game has now become a visual novel project, which – funnily enough – I actually made a remark about last year with some friends, although I hadn’t actually intended to turn the main story into a visual novel at the time.

I’ve been working hard on the mystery art piece for about a month now, and although it isn’t complete yet I did say that I’d unveil it on the 1 Year Anniversary for King of Shadows and that day is today so I won’t keep you in the dark on what it is any longer.

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As many of you might remember, the image I decided to officially launch the project with was this picture of Aryn standing with her team. However, looking back on it I felt the art was overall very outdated, had some pretty glaring issues (such as the proportions) and some of the character designs have been altered to a degree, not to mention the bland poses for the majority of the characters. So, I decided to completely recreate the piece.

That was last year’s piece, and now this is how much I’ve done on this year’s piece.

ArynTeam_2017_Progress

 

It isn’t even complete yet, and I already like it so much more than the previous version of the team shot. Better art, better character proportions, better character designs and better poses. There are a couple of small hiccups I intend to fix (accidentally made Romanus’ head a little too big for one thing) but I’ve made great strides towards its completion, last week I didn’t think I’d make it even this far on Aryn and now I’m about halfway through the shading and highlights for her. I hope to have it done as soon as possible, so keep your eyes peeled for upcoming updates.

Well, that’s all I have to share for this week so I’ll end this off by saying Happy Anniversary King of Shadows and thanks to everyone who’s been following the weekly updates for your support. I’ve learned a lot from this experience and I look forward to learning even more as I continue into the future.

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King of Shadows – Weekly Update #51

Hey people, there’s just one more week until the 1-year anniversary for King of Shadows and I’ve been working to get as much done on the Mystery art piece for it as possible.

This week I managed to complete all of the sketching work and have the sketches positioned where I want them in Gimp, so even though I probably won’t get all of the digital work done in the upcoming week I’ll still have something to show for my effort.

Because I love you all, here’s a sneak peek at what you can expect.

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Well that’s all I have to say 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 #50

Hey people, just 2 weeks left until the 1 Year Anniversary for King of Shadows. The update is going to be pretty short this week since I’ve mostly been working on the mystery art piece.

The sketches for the piece are almost complete, just a couple more things remain which I should hopefully be able to finish this week and then it will be onto the clean outlines.

At this rate completing the clean outlines for all of the elements in the piece might be a bit of a stretch but I believe I should be able to finish the outlines for at least one of the featured characters, I’ll be sure to finish the piece sometime after the anniversary though.

That’s all 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 #49

Hey people, there’s just 3 weeks left to go until the 1 Year Anniversary of King of Shadows.

For the most part I worked on sketches for characters to be featured in the mystery art piece. At this point sketches for two of them are complete and a third is about halfway done. Since it’s going to be a big piece I’m not sure if the piece will be completed by the date of the anniversary but at the very least I hope to have the clean outlines done for it.

In my spare time I did some work on the script for Chapter 1 of the Visual Novel and my Super Smash Bros. Modpack, which I’d say is nearly complete. There are a few things I need to add and a couple of things here and there I may remove in favour of other mods.

Before I wrap up I just felt that I should get some of my thoughts on the weekly schedule now that I’ve been trialing it for a few months. It’s been a good way to organise my time but not perfect. I’ve been considering cutting down on the number of projects I’m working on for the past few weeks since at this point I feel like my efforts are a bit too divided, and because of that I’m not able to give as much attention to things I really want to be working on and forcing myself to work on projects that I don’t have as much of a passion for as others. Projects I’m thinking of putting on hold for now include Sadistic Shapes and the King of Shadows hack and slash game. Just as a postscript this could end up being a temporary measure, I’m still trying to find the right method for myself to work on my projects without spreading myself too thin or having to completely abandon fun activities such as playing games, watching anime, Smash Bros. modding, etc. which I’m already limiting myself on.

With that notice/mini-rant over, that wraps up everything I have to say for this week. For those that celebrate it, I wish you an early Happy Halloween for Tuesday. As always, see you all in next week’s update and thanks for following the development of King of Shadows.

King of Shadows – Weekly Update #48

Hey people, that time of week you all know and love has arrived once again. Just 4 weeks to go now until the 1 Year Anniversary for King of Shadows and I’m working to make sure it’s a good one. With that said, let’s take a look at what I managed to achieve this week.

Monday: Art
Continued some of the work for the mystery piece for the Anniversary. For the remaining 4 weeks I’ll be putting more time into it because I’m not sure if it’ll be finished in time with only 1 day per week being devoted to it.

Tuesday: 3D Modelling
Figured out this week how to properly edit the Clown Car textures for Bowser Jr’s model in Super Smash Bros. This information comes in very handy for the Pom Pom mod, which I’ll explain more later on.

Wednesday-Thursday: Major Project
As some of you may have seen, I managed to complete the first draft of the script for King of Shadows’ Prologue Chapter. I’m currently looking to get critique on it, so in the meantime Wednesdays and Thursdays will be mainly devoted to the mystery piece.

Friday: Minor Project
This week there was a Super Smash Bros. tournament running in the city which took a big chunk of the day getting there, staying for a few hours and getting back, so I didn’t have much time to work on Sadistic Shapes. I’ve heard the tournament organisers are hoping to run more of them in the future, but there has been no confirmation on how frequently they will run as of yet.

Saturday-Sunday: Fun Items
Thanks to the discovery on Tuesday, I was able to apply the knowledge to improve Pom Pom’s Clown Car. I haven’t had the chance to test her in-game yet but judging by the preview in Smash Forge (a program for viewing and modifying Super Smash Bros. resources) it should now look less segmented. Before I test it I want to do some fixing of the rig, which will probably end up being a lot of trial-and-error given that there’s no real way to test it without first doing the necessary conversions (the process of getting it into Forge alone can take about 15 minutes). I also plan to improve some of the textures which hopefully shouldn’t take as long as the rigging.

Anyway, that’s all 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 #47

Hey people, it’s that time of week once again. A friendly reminder that there’s only 5 weeks to go and it’ll be the 1 year anniversary from the day I started working on the project.

Monday: Art
I decided to do some work on a piece that I intend to reveal on the anniversary of the project, so I’m going to be keeping it under wraps for now.

Tuesday: 3D Modelling
I did some work on improving the rigging on the Pom Pom skin for Bowser Jr. in Super Smash Bros. There isn’t really anything to show yet that will be much different from what I’ve shown before though.

Wednesday-Thursday: Major Project
Continued typing up the script for the Prologue chapter of the King of Shadows Visual Novel. It should hopefully be done next week.

Friday: Minor Project
Did some work on Sadistic Shapes, this week working on the UI Design. I’m hoping to implement it next week.

Saturday-Sunday: Fun Items
Throughout the week I’ve been working on my modpack in my spare time, and managed to add skins to the rest of the characters. I started to add other things but encountered some errors. I spent a lot of the weekend trying to pinpoint the issue and think I have arrived at a solution, although I haven’t really had the time to confirm it yet. Hopefully what I’m doing will fix the problem.

Well that’s all 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 #46

Hey people, it’s that time of week again. Some big stuff happened this week so let’s get into it.

Monday: Art
The Crystal Girl art trade piece is complete. I probably won’t take on any more art trade pieces for a while since there is another piece I’ve been meaning to get to that I haven’t had the time for.
Here is the final piece:

Tuesday: 3D Modelling
Did some work on the detail sculpt for the creature model. Should be ready to bake the normal maps soon.

Wednesday-Sunday: Visual Novel
This is probably going to be a once-off thing, but on Wednesday I realised that while I’d been working on assets for the Visual Novels I hadn’t been doing much of the writing side of things on the project, so I decided to change that. Before I knew it I found myself wanting to do more and more and I’m happy to announce that by Saturday I’d done pretty much all of the writing for the Prologue chapter. I’ve been making some improvements on segments today and I’m going to be writing up the script to get some feedback for some final improvements.

I’ll be trying to get some more stuff done on the Pom Pom Super Smash Bros. mod and Sadistic Shapes next week, since they’ve been put on the back burner for the past few weeks now.

Well that’s all 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 #45

Hey people, there isn’t anything to report on my own progress on my projects this week since – as I mentioned last week – my main priority was getting mods into my personal modpack for the LAN, and as such I’ll be mainly talking about them in this update. However there is a special announcement relating to King of Shadows, but I’ll get to it a bit later.

On Monday it came as a bit of a shock to me that I had unwittingly deleted my only copy of my modpack’s workspace folder, which basically contained all of the uncompiled mods I had added up to that point.

I was supposed to have a backup of the folder, but what I believe must have happened is that – after finishing testing a mod separately I may have accidentally *cut* and pasted the backup folder into the main folder of the mod compiling program (Sm4shExplorer) rather than *copying* and pasting it like I usually do, and when I wanted to test another mod separately (likely Pom Pom) I deleted that folder thinking I still had the backup.

It was a pretty silly mistake that ended up costing a lot of time since I essentially had to restart the modpack from scratch. This time around I decided to take a more methodical approach in hopes the process would be more efficient: adding skins to the characters based on their alphabetical order in Sm4shExplorer. Another measure I took was to limit the costume count to 16 slots maximum (Bowser being the only exception with 18 slots, you can chalk it up to personal bias since he’s my main haha). It definitely was a far more efficient process and I managed to get through a good half of the cast by the time Friday night rolled around when the Super Smash Bros. competition was scheduled to start.

I said last week that it was planned to be a Doubles bracket but it turned out that the official bracket was made a Singles tournament. Doubles did run although it was an unofficial competition. Due to there only being four teams interested, it ended up being a round-robin format. Me and my team mate both played Little Mac and ended up winning all of our matches (even though we accidentally took each other out a couple of times), it was a lot of fun and we ended up winning a block of chocolate each.

About 10 minutes after the Doubles competition was over the Singles bracket started. I got into grand finals with the same opponent as last time but this time our positions were reversed: I sent him to loser’s bracket in winner’s semi finals so he had to win two sets while I only had to win one set. He managed to throw me off a bit in the first set by switching his character in the middle of it when I had gotten used to playing against his Captain Falcon. He ended up winning the first set with Ness, but in the second set I began to adjust to the different play style and got some good edge guards. After a hard fight, the final set was 3-1 in my favour and I ended up winning a limited edition Gold Mario Amiibo figure. All in all it was a fun competition and I was super stoked to be taking the figure home as my prize.

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Now, as for the announcement I mentioned earlier: in April I commissioned an original song to be used in an opening title sequence for King of Shadows, and in presentational/promotional material for things relating to the project, such as gameplay videos, pitches for funding campaigns, etc. I am happy to announce that the song – titled “Illumination” – was completed this week, and when I heard the final product I was left speechless.

The composer (Emiel Schumacher) and songwriter/singer (Cathy Eppinga) were really great to work with, and the money I paid for their service was definitely well-spent, even if it left a fairly sizeable dent in my bank account. The work that went into the song is incredible and I’m very happy with the results of their efforts. You can check some of Cathy’s stuff out on her ArtStation and her YouTube Channel. Emiel doesn’t currently have a website with samples of his work, but the band he’s in (3 Point Landing) is working on their first single. If you’d like to check them out, their website has links to their social media pages.

With that said, it’ll be back to work for me this upcoming week, and I’ll be giving my best efforts to ensure that everything gets done. It has been a learning experience the whole way through this year, and I hope to learn more and more about making these things.

Well, that’s all I have to say 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 #44

Hey people, it’s update time and you know what that means, it’s time for me to ramble about various happenings regarding my projects. But before I do, I want to take a moment to direct your attention to the week count. When it hits #52 it means it’s been a year since I began giving updates on my first major project that I’ve actually been able to achieve significant progress on: King of Shadows. We are now about 8 weeks – just over 2 months – away from that point, and I hope to have something good ready by then, so look forward to it. Well, with that out of the way, let’s get into the update.

Monday: Art
More progress on the shading of the Crystal Girl art trade piece. Over the weeks this thing has come a long way and I’ll hopefully have it done within the next 3.

CrystalGirl_Progress.png

Tuesday: 3D Modelling
Did UVs and laid down the flat colours for the textures on the creature model, next up is the detail sculpt and then texture baking. After that, I’ll be rigging the model.

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Wednesday-Thursday: Minor Project (Temporary)
Gonna be completely honest here, on Wednesday I started working on getting the functionality in for the player to kill enemies in Sadistic Shapes, but on Thursday the motivation to work on it just wasn’t there for some reason. Rather than wasting the day away forcing myself to work on something I wasn’t really feeling up to, I decided to draw a couple of poses to use as Rehoboam’s placeholder spites for the King of Shadows Visual Novel project. I’ll do one or two more poses then take them into Gimp to do a little bit of cleanup and colouring, then import them into the visual novel for testing.

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Friday: Major Project (Temporary)
As I said last week, I decided to do some work on the King of Shadows hack and slash game. This week I decided to redo some of the placeholder player attack animations to make them feel a bit more responsive. Once I do a few more I’ll import them for testing.

Saturday-Sunday: Fun Items
Over the weekend I haven’t really done anything in the way of working on my projects. No particular reason why, just haven’t felt like doing much.

Well, this upcoming week there’s going to be a LAN starting Thursday. I want to have my Smash Bros modpack ready for the competition, so I may not get much else done during the week. The Smash competition will be a doubles bracket this time around so I’ll be teaming up with one of my mates there. I’ll be sure to let you all know the results of the competition in the next update regardless of whether we win or lose.
Anyways, that’s all I have to say 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 #43

Have no fear, the update is here, and I’m feeling much better this week. The symptoms of my sickness gradually faded throughout the week and I was completely back to normal on Friday.

Monday: Art
I did some work on the shading of the Crystal Girl Art Trade piece, still a fair amount to go before it’s done but it’s a start.

CrystalGirl_Progress.png

Tuesday: 3D Modelling
I managed to complete the base mesh for the creature model I’ve been working on, the next step is UV mapping and texturing. I may do some minor proportional adjustments in the process where necessary.

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Wednesday-Thursday: Minor Project (Temporary)
I started working to try to implement the Sadistic Shapes enemy variants but – while the theory of how they work is easy enough, the code itself is a bit more difficult for me to figure out than I’d anticipated. It could be that I’m just approaching it incorrectly, but either way I intend to find out how to make it work the way I want.

Friday: Major Project (Temporary)
Did some testing using the Shadow King’s placeholder sprites for the King of Shadows Visual Novel project, and the results are very satisfactory. I plan to sketch up a few placeholder sprites for Rehoboam next. However, next week I plan to do some work on the hack and slash game since it’s been a few weeks now and little progress has been made on it since the last time I gave an update on it.

Saturday-Sunday: Fun Items
I imported the Pom Pom model into Super Smash Bros. in my spare time during the week and did some testing on it. While there are a number of improvements needed to be made to the mod good news is that I know where it needs work, and the fact that it doesn’t crash the game is also very good.

Well that’s all for this week, see you all in next week’s update and thanks for following the development of King of Shadows.