King of Shadows – Weekly Update #82

Hey people, hope you’ve all had an amazing week, I know I most certainly have. Got a few things to talk about so let’s get into the update.

I tried to get as much done on the placeholder Rehoboam sprite as I could between watching E3 presentations, the hype around them as well as other hobbies and responsibilities, and surprisingly made a bit more progress than I was expecting to, which is always a plus.

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All that remains is the shoulder plates along with the whites of the robe draped over his shoulders, and his feet. I should at least have one of those two sections with outlines and flat colours in the upcoming week.

Now as many of you may have gathered from previous updates, I am a huge fan of the Super Smash Bros. series and have even played the Wii U version competitively (as well as making some mods for it). Well, the next title in the series – Super Smash Bros. Ultimate – was finally shown off in Nintendo’s E3 presentation this week.
As someone who loves the Wii U version to death, this game looks like a massive improvement over it across the board. The game looks visually stunning, every character from the previous titles is returning with altered moves and the overall gameplay looks a bit faster and seems to have better reward for going on the offensive where Wii U relied a lot more on defensive and campy playstyles and trying to read your opponent’s options.

With this game, Nintendo is really listening to its fans since they’ve made a lot of nice changes that were requested and representatives were apparently taking notes of player feedback and criticism during the showcase which will hopefully be used to make it even better than what it already is.
Throughout the presentation my heart felt like it was going to explode out of my chest at multiple points due to how hyped I was, I’m super excited to see how this goes and ready to kick some buttocks with some more Bowser play.

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

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King of Shadows – Weekly Update #81

Hey people, making some really good progress on things this week so let’s not keep you waiting any longer.

I’ve got a lot of work done on the placeholder Rehoboam sprite. I’ve laid down more base colours so there’ll be less work to do later, and completed most of his lower body. I’ve also give him his left forearm and hand resting on his hip and adjusted the positioning a bit from the sketch since it would have made the upper arm appear to be unnaturally long. Here’s how it’s looking currently.

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He should be done pretty soon, but this week I may not do as much work on it since I plan to watch E3, particularly excited to see Nintendo’s presentation on Wednesday and finally get some information on the upcoming Super Smash Bros. game on the Nintendo Switch. I’ll definitely do my best to get in as much work as I can though.

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 #80

Hey people, it’s been a good week for me. NieR is now complete and I’m back in action for King of Shadows work.

I’ll get into more about NieR in a bit, but first I’ll share what progress I made on King of Shadows. I was able to get a fair amount of work done on the placeholder Rehoboam sprite this week and have got most of the torso done as well as the fur linings on his kingly robe.

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Since I was away from the computer for the weekend I also decided to get to work on some more character sketches to turn into placeholder sprites when I’m done with Rehoboam. Realising that I didn’t really have a solid reference image for the Shadow King I decided to start with him since he has one of the more important roles. I drew him in a crossed arms pose like one of the old placeholder sprites I did for him a while back.

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I’ve also started on a couple of others, but they’re not ready to be shown yet.

That’s the update for the week, now I’ll be getting into my review of NieR. Overall I really enjoyed the game, and here I’ll pick three things I liked and three things I think could be improved, starting with the things I liked.

Firstly, the story is amazing. The protagonist is Nier, a father trying to save his daughter who suffers from a disease, known as the Black Scrawl, which has been killing humanity over the past thousand years or so. He partners up with a talking book named Grimoire Weiss, which grants the player access to his powerful magical abilities. Along the way he must fight mysterious enemies known as Shades – which have also been hunting humans – and is able to take on various optional quests to gain money, weapons and skills. On the surface, it seems to be your run-of-the-mill RPG, but the back of the game’s cover describes it perfectly; “Nothing is as it seems.” That’s the kind of thing I hope to do with King of Shadows, which is also meant to seem pretty straightforward on the surface. The game also has different endings, the events leading up to the first of which have small hints at what’s really going on before the big reveal close to the end, but still mostly tells only one side of the story. Only when you get into the second playthrough do you begin to see the reasons behind the actions of your enemies, some of their thought processes and what they are saying.

Secondly, the soundtrack. NieR: Automata’s soundtrack was amazing, and its predecessor didn’t disappoint in this category either. Both NieR and NieR: Automata’s music is hands-down some of my favourite in any video game, and what makes it even better is that they fit their respective scenes and areas well. It’d be amazing to have pieces of a similar style and level of quality in something related to King of Shadows, even if music like that is a fair margin above my shoestring budget for the game currently haha.

Thirdly, the characters. I love the designs of the various characters in the game and – more importantly – how they interact with both the world and each other. I got attached to one in particular, one of Nier’s companions named Emil (who also appears in NieR: Automata). Even some of the characters in the sidequests felt somewhat fleshed out despite not being told their life story, they changed with the events of the story which made them feel a bit more alive.

Now for three things that I’d improve about the game. First of all, here’s something which really annoyed me; there’s two major arcs in the game, Part 1 and Part 2. Part 2 is replayable in getting the other endings after getting Ending A, but Part 1 can only be played once, and there are sidequests which can only be completed in Part 1. I missed ONE sidequest in Part 1, and the game doesn’t give the player any indication about said sidequest’s existence, so I couldn’t get 100% quest completion but was stuck at 98%, and the only way to get it at this point is to start the entire playthrough from scratch (I won’t do this though, I’ve kept you all waiting for actual progress on King of Shadows for a few weeks now). NieR: Automata resolves this problem by giving the player access to Chapter Select, which allows the player to play from any part of the story after getting three of its main endings, so I’d implement a similar feature here.

Secondly, item-gathering sidequests. Not gonna lie, some of these sidequests were very tedious to complete, especially ones that involved gathering 10 (or more) of [insert rare item here]. And when I say “rare”, I mean “only 1 in 20+ enemies killed would drop it” rare. It’s fine if it happens in general gameplay, but when multiple of rare items like this are required for a sidequest it can make it feel pointlessly dragged out. To resolve this I’d have the game check if a specific side quest is active, and if it detects that the sidequest is active the drop rate for the required items to complete it would increase. The rare item wouldn’t have to drop 100% of the time, but bumping it from, for example, 5% (1 in 20) to 20% (1 in 5) would go a long way towards making the sidequest feel a bit less tedious.

Thirdly, the magic. There were only two magic attacks I used in the whole game because they felt the most useful against pretty much every enemy and boss. Some of the other magic attacks I tried I felt were really lacking in utility. How I’d resolve this is to give some of the attacks different effects and give the player situations where they are more effective.

With that done, I might call it a night here since it’s been a long day for me and I’m starting to get tired. Thanks for following the development of King of Shadows and I’ll see you all in next week’s update with hopefully even more progress on the Visual Novel to show.

King of Shadows – Weekly Update #79

Hey people, been a pretty good week for me this week with NieR very close to being complete.

You may recall that I said I had about 70-80% of the quests complete. Well I completed all of the side quests I was able to complete, which brings me to a total of 98% quest completion (unfortunately missed one sidequest that I can’t get without starting over), and I got to the ending, then found out there were more endings.

I’ve gotten 3 of the endings, and if I remember correctly there’s only 1 to go which should only take about 1-2 days to get. After that, I’ll devote the next few weeks to working hard on getting things done for the King of Shadows Visual Novel, including placeholder sprites for some of the other characters as well as finishing Rehoboam’s.

Anyway that’s all I have to say for this week, I’ll probably talk more about my overall experience with NieR in the next update and will hopefully have some solid progress to show on Rehoboam’s placeholder sprite. With that said, see you all in the next update and thanks for following the development of King of Shadows.

King of Shadows – Weekly Update #78

Hey people, hope you’ve all enjoyed your week. It’s going to be a pretty quick update this week so let’s get into it.

The placeholder Rehoboam sprite is slowly beginning to take shape, added a few more outlines and laid down flat colours in some areas I’d already outlined to give a bit more life to him and tease a bit of how the final piece will look.

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I plan to do some more work on him next week, although most of my time will be going to playing NieR, which I think is almost complete since last I checked I had about 70-80% quest completion.

Anyway, 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 #77

Hey people, the time of week you all know and love has come once more. Before I start just want to wish all the mothers out there a very happy Mother’s Day and hope you all enjoyed your special day. With that said, let’s get into the update.

Like I said in the last update, I would only start playing NieR when I got some rigging for the creature model was done, and I did deliver on this. While it’s probably not the greatest job, I put hours into getting it to an acceptable level. Depending on how the posing looks with the final materials and textures I may touch it up a bit more if there’s any glaring issues since it’s hard to pick up on any of them at this point.

Since I’ve played NieR for a few hours now, I decided to give my early impressions of the game. The gameplay, mainly the combat, does feel a little weird coming from NieR: Automata and the targeting system for special attacks sometimes doesn’t quite work the way I want it to, but the story so far is intriguing to me and the soundtrack is as brilliant as its sequel’s. Overall I’m really excited to get further into this to see how the story pans out.

Next week I’ll do some more work on the placeholder Rehoboam character sprite, and more than likely be playing more NieR haha.

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

King of Shadows – Weekly Update #76

Hey people, been a pretty big week for me and didn’t get a huge lot done so the update itself will be pretty short.

I mainly worked on the placeholder Rehoboam character sprite this week, starting on the lineart.

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As you can probably see I haven’t made too much progress on it, but a part of it is because I’m in the process laying down the paths for the fluffy border of his robe (since there are a lot of small tufts it’s a pretty time-consuming process).

That’s pretty much it in terms of work I’ve done. Now as for what I’ve planned for next week, NieR arrived this week (which you may recall I mentioned ordering around the end of March). As much as I’ve been itching to play it, I was able to restrain myself in favour of working on the Rehoboam sprite this week since I know I’ll likely have a hard time putting it down once I start playing. However next week I might start playing, but only after I get the rigging for the creature model done (and actually do work on it this time rather than just saying I will haha).

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 #75

Hey people, another week has come and gone and it’s time for the update.

To kick things off, I’ve completed the sketch for Rehoboam’s placeholder character sprite, here are the results of my efforts.

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Last thing I need to do is polish it up on the computer and add some colour then it should be ready to go into the prototype Visual Novel.

I also did some more work on Umiko for the Aryn Team picture, she’s slowly coming together.

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I might hold off on doing more work on her until after I complete the rig for the creature model so that I can get to the materials and textures ASAP, which probably won’t feel as tedious for me to do.

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 #74

Hey people, it’s been an interesting week and a decent amount of progress has been made so let’s get into it.

I made adjustments to the pose of the Rehoboam sketch to hopefully make it feel a little more natural than what it was previously and I think I’m pretty much done with the pencil work, may touch a couple of things up if necessary while going over it with the fine liner but overall I’m pretty happy with it as a placeholder graphic. I hope to have it completed in the upcoming week.

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I also returned to the Aryn Team piece, this week starting on the clean outlines for Umiko. Here are the results so far.

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Still obviously a very heavy WIP but it’s progress that the piece has been sorely lacking since November. I’ll try to get some more of it done in the upcoming week.

I was able to get some work done on the rigging for the creature model, and I think it’s getting pretty close to completion. Should hopefully have it done within the next couple of weeks so that I can move onto materials and texturing.Rigging_Progress_2.png

Well, that’s everything 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 #73

Hey people, hope you all had a good week this week and are ready for this update because here it comes.

I’ve attempted this a couple of times before without actually completing it, but I am working on a sketch of King Rehoboam to use for a placeholder character sprite in the prototype Visual Novel.

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There’s a couple more things I want to fix in the sketch before I commit with the ink (primarily the leg positioning to make the pose feel a little more natural) which I should hopefully be able to get to in the upcoming week.

Sorry for the short update this week, I had intended to work on the creature model but ended up working on something else that I’m not ready to reveal yet. I’ll definitely try to make some more progress on the creature model soon though.

Anyway, 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.