Dev Diary: Cryamore World Design, Part 1
As many of you may have seen from the recent update, progress involving hammering out the entirety of Noka Island along with its various interiors have been underway.
The Little Bit We’re Showing You Of The Overworld, Noka Island
So what exactly goes into our process of designing the world of Cryamore?
Well, the first step we took from the very beginning was to assign the various elements to a “dungeon”. Then we decided on the placement in Noka Island along with the location the town of Ghilcrest would be in.
We then made a list of all the important collectibles (Ingredients, Cryamore Catalysts, HP/EP upgrades, etc.) and mini-bosses. From there we distributed the collectibles and minibosses to specific dungeons or the overworld.
List of Every Cryamore Catalyst in the Game to learn Abilities
Then begins the tricky part of the process for us. We had to decide on what abilities will be readily available to the player during certain parts of the game. We split the abilities into multiple sections like attack types, shield types or context types and made sure there was one group of abilities that would be the core set you’d need to finish the game as quick as possible (though you won’t see everything this way and would be far from 100% completion).
After that process, we then have to plot out various puzzles for each dungeon that lead to the various collectibles or minibosses we’ve assigned which we dubbed as “SUB” puzzles for collectibles that are more for 100% completion, “SIDE” puzzles to for collectibles that help you get the “SUB” collectibles and the “MAIN” path of puzzles that just get you through the area and advance the story.
Yes. This is the full progression of the game right above. It’s lengthy.
All that was just on documentation though. After that lengthy process, we then moved onto laying it out in design. Ghilcrest’s exterior is nearly complete as many of you may have pieced together from previous screenshots, it just needs a good bit of detailing for that extra polish.
Northern Section of the Overworld, Again.
The Overworld is split up into blocks of areas just to give us a better measurement of scale. Each block is about 3.5 in-game screens in size, which averages to about 4000x4000 sections of area to traverse. That’s actually really expansive than the norm for a game like Cryamore. The blocks also help us divide parts of the world into sections that can fit a more area-based approach with the map (i.e. A Link to the Past) but also having the option to accommodate a more seamless style of world via asynchronous loading.
Along the way we place collectibles in the overworld and think of various obstacles the player must overcome to get them, whether it be using an ability, just exploring the area, fighting a miniboss or a combination of all three.
Rime Rapids Map
Dungeons as mentioned above have a guide we can follow already since we documented puzzles for each one.
The dungeon design process involves us laying out a grid of blocks and then outlining the main path the player must take to reach the end of the dungeon where they’ll fight a boss. We then start placing the puzzles we documented in various sections of the main path and create side-paths along the way that lead to other obstacles and collectibles. Sometimes we may add or subtract a few more obstacles along the way, making sure to always question ourselves whether something is pointlessly difficult or ridiculously easy which can be hard when you have the visible solution in front of you always.
Sometimes we even get confused with our own puzzles, but it is the most satisfying element of game design.
Throughout this all, we also have to be aware of the lore we’ve set up for Cryamore. We can’t have that many manmade obstacles or treasure chests as the humans who settled into Noka Island haven’t been there that long to create such things. What’s more, many of our dungeons are more part of the environment than a built structure like temples or actual “dungeons”.
The limitations definitely make designing a puzzle and the world quite challenging.
On the next part, we’ll give a bit more in-depth look into how we’ve drawn and illustrated the backgrounds and assets and put them in the game, which should be an informational post regarding how we use Unity for our development.
Voice Actors - Site and Store - Esmy Figure - World Map and Locations
Hey, fellow Cryatists! It’s time for a new update!
First off, we feel that you guys are really anxious about this game! We wanted to let you know that we are too! We’re working tirelessly at creating Cryamore, making sure it’s everything we (and hopefully you) want it to be. With that said, we’re so happy and thankful that you guys are continuing to be very supportive of our work on this game, and please know that it doesn’t go unnoticed by us here at NostalgiCO. With that said, this general update is sorta meaty, and is also being given amidst a lot of big development updates, so we’ll break this in pieces!
By the way, that above image is a cropped peek at a guest gallery image for the artbook by Caleb Thomas! Check his other work out! Yup, the artbook is still going to be a thing!
Acting with Voices!
We have the first set of voice actors ready for the main cast of the game!
We’re very excited to be working with an incredible cast of actors on Cryamore. You’ve heard a bit of our heroes in the Kickstarter video and if you’ve played the old demo, but now we’re ready to reveal a bigger chunk of the main cast!
Esmyrelda Maximus - Erica Mendez (Pac-Man & the Ghostly Adventures, Heroes of Newerth, Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic)
Braxton Barson - Marianne Miller (Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Snow Queen, Avalon Code)
Bliss Barson - Kimlinh Tran (Skullgirls, Dust: An Elysian Tail, Stick it to the Man)
Déséret Amoir - Eileen Montgomery (A Hat in Time, Dust: An Elysian Tail, Apotheon)
Sorbet La Carelle - Miranda Gauvin (Blackwell Deception, Primordia, The Journey Down: Over the Edge)
Bagel Ameli - Micah Solusod (Wolf Children, Jisei, Soul Eater)
Chief Geophilus Silvershark - Mick Lauer (Yu-Gi-Oh! ZeXal, Dust: An Elysian Tail, Not the Robots!)
Engracia Maximus - Laura Post (League of Legends, World of Warcraft, Pokemon Origins)
Easton Maximus - Joshua Tomar (Skullgirls, League of Legends, Sword Art Online)
Riot - Daman Mills (Castle Dracula, Super Ubie Land)
Fité zo Rala - Kyle Hebert (Street Fighter 4, Dragonball Z, Gurren Lagann)
Look forward to hearing this amazing group of talent in Cryamore; there are many more characters to be announced, too!
This also means that we’re going to begin on dialogue/event writing really soon, which is pretty important stuff, yeah? Can’t have an action RPG with lousy story/events! Don’t forget that you can catch up on all the character backstory on our Facebook page currently!
Site Update …Update.
As we said in our last update, our main Official Cryamore site is being reworked and will be live really soon, where it will be the definitive place to get the skinny on current news and preorder the game with help from our friends over at Humble Store!
We’re also prepping our pitch to finally throw on Steam Greenlight so we can rally support for Cryamore on Steam soon!
Our Official Cryamore store is live! Though there’s not much there right now, there will definitely be more merchandise in the upcoming future! When visiting that link, you also might notice that there are just figures for now. Speaking of figures…
That’s right, she’s complete and is jumping into full production, along with her little sister Bliss! These are actual photos of the master figure.
With that said, for those who missed the figures during our campaign, we have a few left for grabs! Very small few, in fact. With that said, this is the only time this run is being made for these figures. So if you so desire one of these ladies (or both of them if you’re a big Cryamore collector), now would be the chance!
Now, moving on to some of the stuff involving the actual game:
Let’s see, we don’t want to spoil much in this area… So here’s a bit of inside info.
We’re currently finalizing the Overworld Map!
That tiny orange dot surrounded by the red box right at the bottom is our ginger-haired hero! And this is only the directly North section of the map! So we think it’s safe to say that this game is going to be absolutely huge, from an independent standpoint.
Ghilcrest is also nearly complete. These are in-game screenshots. The world of Cryamore is finally becoming more lively! What, you thought Esmy was going to be trudging through dark caves the whole game? Finally, a tease of the town lift, which takes you to the eastern section of the island/overworld:
Here are a few more environment layouts, specifically the Terrestrial Woods:
We tend to think our method of showcasing our layouts is pretty boring though, so we hope you’ve got a pretty good idea out of this location stuff!
New Music Time!
Speaking of the woods, you can relax while listening to the night time theme for it, by Aivi!
She and Surasshu have been absolutely slamming the music! There’s so much we want to share that we can’t even do so (you obviously have to wait for the game release for most of the really good stuff)! Also, they’ve been recently working on the new show Steven Universe! So you can listen to more of their music there in the meantime!
We should probably stop things here; there is definitely a lot left to show and tell about. Our next update will include a new webplayer build, allowing you to walk around Ghilcrest, and probably a few areas in the Overworld! As well as an update on some enemy designs! In addition, Alan and Rob want to get back to making more informational posts regarding how the game is being created and developed, so be on the lookout for that!
Until the next update! <3
In other news, Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is absolutely amazing, don’t you agree? :)
General Dev Update - Refining Combat - First Look at Bliss’ Prototype - New Music!
It’s been a couple of months since the last update, so we want to say a few things to get you caught up on things!
Development has slowed down a tad bit over the past month or so as a few team members had to take on some work on the side, move, etc., but now we’re back at it full force! During that time, we ended up taking a step back and looking at how we can improve the game and a few of its main elements… most specifically, combat. We have gotten quite a lot of feedback from the community regarding it, and combat continues to be the number one concern.
So this was our dilemma: How can we make what we already have more punchier and immersive while keeping the same mechanics (Seiken Densetsu 2/Secret of Evermore-style) into the base system? This is what we’ve done:
Esmy’s Movement and Overall Feel: Esmy is a lot more snappier than what you’ve witnessed beforehand. She strikes a bit faster, and covers a bit more ground on her run. It’s a fine balance, she’s not too fast in that some mobs can still gain the upper hand, but she’s not too slow in that you’d get bored trudging through environments. Some mobs will still require buffs through abilities or items to gain the upper hand on, even with this new movement fluidity.
This obviously makes the game more fun to control and move around. It’s much more fast paced, beginning to feel like its own game instead of mimicking another fully.
But we didn’t stop there.
Meet the Drive Gauge.
A lot of you requested some kinda combo system, and we really were considering it, but just didn’t know how to execute it. We wanted to keep things strategic enough, but not make the game mash-friendly. But we figured it out and we’re proud to announce that Cryamore will have a gauge to make combat a bit more interesting than what you’ve expected before! Here’s how it works:
To initiate the Drive Gauge (which isn’t always visible onscreen), a couple of requirements must be met. First, you have to have 100% of Stamina ready (which if you can remember, is the gauge right below Esmy’s status picture), meaning a full gauge. You also can’t be fatigued (for instance, Esmy needs to get regular sleep. If she gets tired throughout a day, she becomes fatigued, limiting how much damage her attacks can take and stamina to fill up). Also, the Drive Gauge isn’t available in the beginning of the game. It’s unlocked after you initialize your chosen weapon to Lvl. 1.
When you hold the Drive button down, you initiate a charge up sequence on your stamina bar. You are able to move while charging, albeit slower. Once you ready your position and release the button and connect the first hit, up comes the gauge.
Afterwards, the meter will begin to fill and you will have to time each hit right where the “MAX” symbol is in order to keep the combo going. With each successful hit, the meter’s refill speed increases, making it increasingly difficult to keep the combo going. The actual moves for each hit will look something akin to this:
…and we have all kinda attacks in store. Higher levels will allow you to be able to attack enemies around you instead of the ones directly in front of you on certain hits. And the attacks will be different based on the weapon you use. For instance, we can make Brass Knuckles do more hits per timing, or the Axe go alternate directions and hit enemies coming up from behind you, etc., all having different timing patterns on the Drive Gauge.
A few things to note about this mechanic:
- Again, combos are not available right at the beginning of the game, and the amount of hits that are able to be done will be limited and be progressively unlocked as the game moves along. When you activate levels on your weapon, (Weapon on Lvl. 1), then combos will be available. For instance, a Lvl. 1 sword will only be able to do up to 4 hits, and that ends the combo. Sword Lvl. 2 can do up to 10 hits, Lvl. 3 up to 20 hits, 4, 30; and Max Lvl, an infinite number of hits. But having your weapon on a higher level does not at all make it easier to do combos, it makes it tougher. Why?
- Each Lvl. will add a 25% “margin” to the meter. For instance, initiating the combo meter with a Lvl. 2 Weapon will start the meter at the 25 mark each refill on hit. Lvl. 3, 50 mark, etc. Essentially making it harder to keep the combo going because you’ll have to time better. Of course, a Maxed-out weapon will allow you to do combos more easily, getting right into it. But it won’t be a cakewalk to Max out your weapon anyway. A nice reward for those who do stick with it.
- Esmy will not have any invincible frames during a combo, so she can get knocked out of it easily. You also can’t cancel a combo swing out by moving or doing an ability. The specific strike animation must finish.
- Combos act out either East or West (left-to-right or right-to-left), meaning you have to position yourself properly to have a good effect. As stated earlier, some hits can hit in other directions depending on the level/weapon.
- If you get the mark on the red area before the “MAX” line (OK!), your hit will still connect, but with very little damage, allowing you to keep the string going. If hitting the red area after the “MAX” line (MEH!), you will completely whiff the attack, but you will still have a chance at keeping the combo going. If you stop the mark in the black before that area or the dark red after the area, you will “Bail” the attack (OOPS!), leaving Esmy vulnerable for about 2 seconds. Obviously, hitting the nail right on the head will land you a “PERFECT!” with top damage.
- If you see an enemy coming and need to exit out the Drive Sequence, just miss the timing completely. That will safely get you back to moving.
- The Total Damage count specifies how much DPH (damage per hit) you’re doing on each connect, and that includes multiple enemies. Mob count will get progressively higher as the game moves along, but you’re not locked into doing a combo on only one enemy. You can hit multiple enemies in a combo (though it doesn’t affect your actual hit count).
We’re pretty excited for this mechanic, and we’re sure you all will love it. And the beauty of it is that it’s not mandatory, letting you choose to play the game how youwant to play it.
Here, have a look at them! These are not finals, and some tweaks still need to be made, but the world of Cryamore has gotten a bit more colorful already since their inclusion!
Yes, her Prototype’s complete and… well, just check her out for yourself:
These are not 3D images, these are actual photos. Esmy’s being finished up currently and is right around the corner!
And for those who missed out before but wanted to jump in on the figure bandwagon, please, don’t worry! We will make an update when they’re ready for preordering.
That’s about it!
Our next update will consist of some new abilities to showcase that you haven’t yet seen, as well a few other things! We want to get back to having regular updates with our community, and we will! Also, all the surveys that we need now for production have already been sent out, and most of you have filled them out! Thanks so much for being quick on that! As for the rest of ya, get to it! We need that info! >:O
We leave tonight’s update with a few pieces of music to ease the mood! Until next update! <3