Last week we showed off some of the guns we’ve been creating, but I have a confession to make – we didn’t really have a plan. And that’s alright as far as I’m concerned because the act of generating those guns eventually led to a plan. So today we’d like to talk about weapons, and inventors.
All of the guns in EDGAR are the handiwork of at least one Victorian inventor. Some may be unidentified if the origin is mysterious, but in general, every weapon will have an inventor associated with it. Each inventor creates guns with their own aesthetic, stat ranges, and even special bonuses.
In order to establish backgrounds for these “designer weapons”, we’ve started looking into the lives some of the era’s most brilliant minds. Sprinkled throughout our imaginary stories, will be facts and half truths. People who actually interacted will team up to make weapons, organizations who actually existed will be have secret, shadowy actions. The most important part about telling a lie is putting just enough truth in it to make it believable. I don’t pretend that our stories are believable, but they straddle the line between real and imagination, which is a quite interesting place to be.
In the journal section of the game, players will be able to go read about the various characters, locations, and stories they’ve already encountered. Here are some examples of the inventor’s stories:
Stephenson & Stephenson’s Steam-Powered Guns
“All the speed of a rocket – all the force of a locomotive!”
George and Robert Stephenson, a father and son duo, were pioneers in the steam engine and locomotive fields. For many years the pair created and improved all sorts of steam-powered technology. After the completion of the Stockton and Darlington Railway in 1825 (which marked the first time passenger traffic had traveled by steam) the interests of the two separated. George continued to expand Britain’s railroad infrastructure, while Robert, influenced heavily by fellow inventor and friend Jacob Perkins, began experimenting with steam-powered firearms. With George’s railroads covering a majority of the expenses, Stephenson & Stephenson soon became the primary manufacturer of steam-powered weaponry.
Stephenson & Stephenson guns use dark woods, dark metals, and brass. Their firing is recognizable by the sight and sound of escaping, pressurized steam.
Royal College of Chemical Agents
“When you aim, aim for that vital spark.”
Founded in 1845 by August Wilhelm von Hofmann, the Royal College of Chemical Agents was a secret society composed of the world’s most brilliant chemists. These men performed dangerous experiments in darkened basements, discovering new chemical reactions everyday. Rival organizations, such as the less brilliant “London Atoms” or the greedy, gold obsessed “Alchemists”, began attempts to steal their secrets and infiltrate their ranks, forcing the College to begin carrying arms in self defense. What started as anesthetic needles hidden in their gloves quickly turned into full on chemical sprayers and acid capsule bullets as this unseen war waged in the shadows of the scientific community.
RCCA guns are recognizable by the clear beakers and tubes containing an assortment of colorful liquids.
“The fieriest firearms ever made!”
A fruitful collaboration spanning the years between 1852 and 1856, placed a handful of powerful fire weapons on the market. Together James Prescott Joule and William Thomson 1st Baron Kelvin, in addition to establishing the first and second laws of thermodynamics (respectively), created limited run lines of, what they called, “fire throwers”. Using their profound understanding of heat and machine energy to contain the scorching hot temperatures within the weapons, JT Dynamics were able to put “Greek Fire” into a relatively safe and easy to use package for everyday use.
JT Dynamics guns are recognizable by their coal black color, as well as the pilot flame located just outside the muzzle of every gun.
I hope you enjoy our alternate history as much as we do, and as always, thanks for reading!
- Wrought Iron Games
We’ve started making guns to be spawned at random in our test build, and are having a lot of fun with them. Below you can see a portion of them.
Most are rather simple and will have names like “Green Repeater” or “Silver Revolver” and these will have some portion of randomized stats. For the moment they will be randomized to a certain damage level or firing speed or bullet velocity that falls within the parameters we give it. Eventually these values will be related to the player’s progress, meaning that the loot will scale appropriately and stay relevant for the player.
We also have some special guns like the “The Scoundrel , “Blossom Bloomer”, and “The Golden Gun”. Some portion of the stats for these items will be random, but they will be designed by us with some sort of special effect, such as sprouting cherry blossoms all over enemies, or turning them to fight for Poe as a temporary ally. We’ve got a lot of great ideas for the guns and we can’t wait for you all to see them in action.
On the programming side we discovered an interesting quirk that Unity has, in that it doesn’t like working with sprites where one dimension is 1 pixel (that is 8 pixels high and 1 pixel wide or visa versa). It will stretch the sprite so that the single pixel side becomes two. This just means we had to add an invisible buffer on the side of the sprite to keep the dimensions from making Unity go sour. Apparently it can handle 1×1 (yes we have single pixel loot) sprites just fine. Who would’ve thought?
Other than that we’ve been working on some new attack animations, and prepping some new art for our Kickstarter page. We’d also like to remind everyone that we have a subreddit for EDGAR, and would love for you all to use it as a place to watch more of our progress, as well as talk or share with us whenever you like.
- Wrought Iron Games
Hey guys! Our writer is out of town this week doing some hands-on research for us in London (Jack the Ripper, anyone?), so I’ll be filling you in on our progress as of late.
Good news is, we’re full steam ahead! We’ve gotten ourselves into a real nice place development-wise and have been flying through our collective to-do lists. It’s truly amazing watching everything come together. We’ve been adhering to a rigid one-build-a-week schedule (or more, if I’m feeling particularly prolific), which is helping us a great deal to see exactly where our weak points are and get them fixed. But these builds do a lot more than that for us, personally. We’ve come a long way from our early gameplay video and, quite literally, everything on the programming side has been rebuilt from the ground up, resulting in builds that I tend to actually get lost in. The original build was, let’s face it, pretty boring. The movement was wonky, the combat was basic (and very limited) and it was not particularly impressive beyond that amazing scene our artist created for the video (and, man, that music!). I was a little overwhelmed at the time with the thought of how much work we still had to do, how much room for improvement there was. While we didn’t receive any particularly negative reviews on the video as it was, in fact, rendered after only one month in development, as the sole programmer I noticed all the small things and they irked me. I created a massive list of bug fixes and, after checking it twice, decided instead to redo it from scratch. Now, I am overjoyed to inform you: it’s gotten better.
Right now, we’ve far surpassed where we were in that video and our project is truly molding itself into a real, playable game. With each mechanic we include we become more confident that we have what it takes to get EDGAR into your hands. Each Foe we add makes us excited to learn their tactics and kill them. Each item of loot we add makes us yearn to equip it and utilize its stats and abilities.
As we push closer to our Kickstarter campaign we are gaining more and more momentum within the team, with no plans on slowing down any time soon. Our artist continues to blow us away with his characters and environments, our sound designer is breathing life into EDGAR, and our composer, well, it is John J. Harvey.
Thanks for catching up with us! Until next week,
-Wrought Iron Games
“Animation is different from other parts. Its language is the language of caricature. Our most difficult job was to develop the cartoon’s unnatural but seemingly natural anatomy for humans and animals.”
- Walt Disney
Let me preface this post by saying that I am not an animator. I have very little experience in animation, and have been picking up this side of things in order to give our artist more time on creating content. That said, lets talk a little about some of the things we’ve been doing lately.
Above you can see a portion of the animation for one of an early level Foes – the Whiskey Tosser. This is a ranged enemy who harasses Poe from afar by chucking bottles of whiskey at him. He doesn’t have much health, but when the player’s focus is on closer enemies, he can be a constant annoyance until he’s taken care of. Though the image above isn’t complete, it gives you an idea of what the attack animation will look like. The Whiskey Tosser reaches into his coat, procures a bottle and hurls it towards the player. He’ll occasionally take a swig from the bottle as well. The bottles will be independent objects, hurled through the air, in engine.
We’ve also been working on getting some animations prepared for cutscenes, as well as our Kickstarter video. These animations are currently being played as gifs created in Photoshop, but once they are added to the game, we will be able to control the speed of the individual frames to a much greater degree. As you can see in the animation above, a lot of our animations require us to create the illusion of movement with very little room. Her face is only 6 pixels across, and the parasol doesn’t look very good unless its perfectly level, or perfectly diagonal. It’s a fun challenge, and we are quite happy with the results.
So that’s just a portion of what we’ve been working on this last week. Our testing build is coming along nicely, and we have a handful of new sounds we plan on incorporating soon. In the meantime, check out the video below for more animations, as well as a sample of some of the loot.
As always, thanks for reading! Let us know if you have questions!
- Wrought Iron Games
To any of you who may have been curious about our silence as of late, I assure you, we’re all fine here. How are you?
To those who weren’t worried, you’re probably following us on twitter @EdgarAllanPwnd where we have been having a little more activity. The truth is, outside forces brought work on EDGAR to a slower than desirable progress, and instead of posting about the little we had done, we’ve been using every moment possible to do what work we can. Moving, work, and other facets of this thing called Life can make volunteer projects difficult at times. But enough about that, here’s what we have going on.
We’ve been generating more artwork for our Kickstarter page. Above you can see a lineup of some of our literary characters, and below you can see a compilation image of some of our assets, especially loot.
Programming-wise, we now have a temporary game menu, the ability to choose several different levels, loot spawning randomly, bat chasing and attacking the player, steam bursts doing damage and knocking the player back, water particles flowing, ink spent on weapon attacks, punching attack that do not consume ink, and a handful of others stuff. All this is to get the game to a place where we feel comfortable hosting a browser-based demo that will be available during our Kickstarter.
Additionally, we’ve been generating new sounds, prepping an awesome Kickstarter video, and finding even more ways to improve the game’s story.
I apologize if this post was a little brief and rather unfocused, but this was just to get back in the swing of things. We’re going to return to our weekly updates where we’ll be going into certain topics more in depth. As always, thanks for taking the time to read and let us know what you’d like to know more about!
- Wrought Iron Games
Before we get into the savory goodness, there was an article written by @Mattpetronzio for Mashable.com yesterday, and I urge everyone to go take a look and help Matt look good for his boss. Not just because he featured us (which is great!) but because he featured a small project of passion and we think that’s cool.
So, today I’m going to talk about a few different topics, and I may meander a bit, but if I were to ask you write an essay to summarize this update (I won’t) the title could be: Game Details. We want to get some of the smaller details out that we have been overlooking and hopefully you’ll be able to finish reading this with a better understanding of what type of game EDGAR is going to be.
EDGAR will be similar to Cave Story, or other Metroidvanias, in that it will be very combat focused. Platforms and multiple levels will be present, allowing variation in the paths the player can take, but pixel perfect platforming is not the primary game mechanic as it is in a game like Super Meat Boy. Poe will be able to have two weapons equipped at a time and switch back and forth between them easily. It could be a ranged and a melee weapon, or two melee, or two ranged, its really up to the player. Whatever they choose, it should be the proper type for dealing with the Foes ahead.
Each Foe will have its own attack pattern. The easiest are bats and rats which just sort of hurry towards Poe and attack him up close. There are vagrants who throw beer bottles, which the player can either dodge or smash mid-air, and some tuberculosis victims that cough excessive amounts of blood as a sort of ranged, spray attack. The key to combat is to figure out the pattern and attack style of each Foe and create an appropriate strategy. This isn’t really anything new for sidescrollers, but we felt it was important to note that enemies do not get more difficult because they deal more damage to Poe, but because their attacks get more complex and harder to dodge, and because they require more hits to defeat. The same goes for bosses who have the most complicated patterns and the largest amount of health.
There are three types of loot in EDGAR: Randomized Stats, Predetermined Stats, and Specialty Items. Loot with randomized stats will be generated uniquely on every playthrough, and can be anything from an axe to a pocketwatch. The rarity of these items will be identified with descriptors so a “Wool Cap” is of a lower quality than a “Silk Cap” and therefore, a more common item. Predetermined Stats are the items that have been handcrafted by the devs. We may put a fire effect on it, or give it a random chance to refill all of the available Ink. While the stats on these items are not random, their placement will be, so hunting and scavenging will still be required. Last are Specialty Items. These are items given to Poe at set times throughout the story. These items do not need to be equipped, and immediately grant Poe a new or upgraded ability. Wall sliding and double jumping are examples of some game mechanics that will be added to the player’s arsenal as they progress. Players will be able to revisit previous levels with their new ability and reach previously inaccessible areas.
Each level in Poe’s quest will appear as another chapter in his journal. Included will be a summary of the plot so far and some drawings of key events. Within the chapters are parts, most often three of them. The parts are the checkpoints for the game. Dying in EDGAR will be slightly more serious than setting the player back just a minute or two, but not so serious that the player will have to re-run through the entire level. Once a chapter is completed the player will be able to open their book and replay the level. This could be to explore the level further, unlock achievements, or simply just generate new loot.
Speaking of achievements, we’ve decided to implement an achievement system were calling “accolades”. Just like achievements in other games, accolades are earned for performing random tasks. This does not mean you get an accolade for beating a level or watching a cutscene. Some accolades will be easily unlockable, like one might be “Set 10 hobos on fire” you know, stuff you are going to end up doing anyway, but others may be “Do not touch the ground for one minute”, or something you have to work for. Here’s the best part about the accolade system, are you ready? I think I’ll start a new paragraph for this.
Unlocking accolades will get you in game rewards! About time right? Each achievement you unlock will manifest itself as another accolade in your inventory. Collect enough accolades and you’ll be able to buy items that you can’t buy with coins alone. Casual or slightly less skilled players will be able to get their clumsy little hands on some of the items, but real creativity and skill will be necessary to get the top tiered items.
The last topic (for today) is puzzles. There a few different ways players will have to use their critical thinking skills to succeed. The most prominent ways will be through codes and ciphers. Poe was heavily into cryptography, and we want to carry that throughout the game. Clues and key plot points will be encoded throughout the levels and will require some effort from the player to figure out. This effort will be minimal for those just wanting to push through and get on to the next level (but who would want to do that anyway?) but there will be more layers to be discovered for those who choose to delve deeper. In addition to encryption, there will be other puzzling game mechanics involving switches, pitch black portions, timing, and even multiplayer requirements ala Little Big Planet.
I hope this post has been informative. It’s difficult to get an entire game’s worth of information out to you guys, but we’ll make an effort to get more of the small details out to you all on a daily basis. Of course, if you have any questions about EDGAR don’t hesitate to ask. Honestly, we love hearing from you guys.
Thanks for reading!
- Wrought Iron Games
Today we’d like to share some information about one of our levels: The Great Exposition.
In 1851 the first of the World’s Fairs was held in London. Called “The Great Exposition”, this huge event was held in a newly constructed building – the Crystal Palace. Filling the booths within this greenhouse-like space were musical instruments and steam machines, precious jewels and ornate chandeliers. There were also booths for over a dozen foreign countries, each one doing their best to represent their homeland in the confines of the allocated space. The whole affair was a celebration of progress, innovation, and the entire human race.
This level is near the beginning of the game, and its bright, positive atmosphere serves as a contrast to the dark, Gothic levels that make up the majority of the game. Keeping this in mind, our artist composed the scene with a more washed out palette, one that gives the impression of light streaming through every inch of the tall, glass structure.
We wont go into too much of the story behind why Poe is at the World’s Fair, or what he is trying to do there, but we will say that we are really excited with where this level is going. Players who take the time to explore every inch of the fairgrounds will be rewarded for doing so, and even just stopping and looking through the numerous details we’ve tucked away throughout all the booths will lead to a more enjoyable experience.
We have ambitious plans for the Great Exposition level, and there’s still much to do before it’s complete. We just wanted to share what we have because it was important to show that the levels in EDGAR will be unique and varied. Not all of them will take place at night (though most of them will) and each one will be visually and thematically different. The journey Poe embarks on is as founded in history and emotion as it is in imagination and old-fashioned fun.
We can’t wait for you all to experience it!
- Wrought Iron Games
We’ve been quite busy this week and so our weekly update is a day late. We hope you can find it in the dark recesses of your heart to forgive us. Feel free to go search for it if you need to. Go dig down deep in there. We’ll wait.
The main thing we’d like to share this week is a quick video showing the water particles we’ve been working on for a beautiful tiered fountain. It was very interesting getting the particles, which are flowing in a 3D space, to interact (and look good) on a single plane, but we think we’ve figured it out. We still want to tweak the way water interacts with Poe, but that will be pretty easy to do. We have a handful of ideas on neat things we can do with water that go above and beyond stately fountains, but this will have to quench your thirst for now.
We also threw together a simple webplayer where people can test out and tweak Poe’s movement physics (found here). There are 3 presets currently in the build, but you can change the values of several different settings to get the movement just how you would like it. When you do find settings you like, please let us know! You can tweet us your preferences, leave them in a comment below, or go to our Feedback Friday post on r/gamedev, and let us know there! However you do it, we’d love to hear what sort of movement EDGAR should have. Like floaty, precision platforming, or simple sidescrolling bliss? Let us know!
- Wrought Iron Games
This week we’d like to share with everyone one of our original pieces of music for EDGAR. It is the same piece featured in our gameplay trailer, but now you can listen to it without the death rattles of tiny bats sprinkled over it. Our composer, John J. Harvey, has done an excellent job of creating music that is not only dark, brooding, and Gothic, but has undertones of charm and energy. It’s like shoving a piece of caramel chocolate in your ears, though not nearly as messy. He has composed quite a bit more for the game already, but we’re keeping those a little closer to the chest for the time being. For now, enjoy the track below.
While you’re here, we might as well show you our updated inventory screen. Last week we showed off the concept which had the inventory contained within a journal that Poe carries around. We fleshed out the idea, and here you can see what it will look like when filled with loot. The photo on the right page will update to show Poe’s appearance with whatever gear he currently has equipped.
That’s about all for now, though I will say that we are working on something quite fantastic at the moment. We’re all very excited about it and we know that you will be as well! You’ll just have to pick up a good book to pass the time until then. May we recommend ”20,000 Leagues Under the Seas”?
- Wrought Iron Games
The new year is upon us, and now that all of us are back from our respective vacations, we are doubling down on work with EDGAR. Our goal is to get the game into the next stage (whatever that may turn out to be) by February. So we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us!
We had a slight delay in progress as the Unity plugin we were using became suddenly unstable. This happened a few weeks apart on two separate machines, and we knew that by continuing to use it, we would risk wiping our spritesheets every time we made a change. The plugin was very helpful, and insightful, but was just no longer support by the creator, and so we’ve adopted 2DToolkit. The good news is the scripts were able to carry over for the most part, and all of the art has already been re-added to the game using this plugin.
There are two things I’d like to talk about in this post that I think may be of interest: pickups and inventory.
At the moment we have three pickups that will be strewn across the world (shown above). Coins will be gathered for purchasing weapons from NAME REDACTED and can even be used for upgrading some items. They will come in a variety of values including half-pennies, farthings, sovereigns and more. We are playing around with the idea of making a handful of coins spill out occasionally if you take damage (ala Sonic) because there’s nothing like scrambling around like a London vagrant, frantically gathering enough coins to buy another swig of whiskey. Which brings me to the next pickup.
There is a surprising amount of debate surrounding Edgar Allan Poe and alcohol. Many believe that, due to the nature of his death, Poe was an alcoholic, while others believe that he was actually allergic to the stuff altogether. We thought long and hard about whether to include alcohol in the game, eventually deciding to go for it, and here’s why: Whether Poe drank or not is ultimately irrelevant when it comes to telling a Gothic, Poe-esque tale. Many of Poe’s characters drink, and intoxication fits superbly with the surreal content that fills his stories as well as our game. So scattered across the game world will be bottles of whiskey that will replenish varying amounts of Poe’s health on contact.
The last pickup are inkwells. As a writer, ink is to Poe as bullets are to a soldier. They are a form of ammo that is spent on every single attack. Our aim is for this to add a frantic, fast paced feel to the game as players run around, killing baddies and collecting ink. Inkwells will be found throughout the levels to refill some of the bar, but ink will also spill out like blood from defeated Foes. In order to prevent situations where players are fresh out of ink and face a plethora of Foes, Poe will always be able to put away his weapons and get down and dirty with an old fashioned scrapping. While unarmed attacks will be weaker, they do not require ink, and will allow players a means of getting back into the inky flow of things.
The last thing I want to show is our work in progress for the inventory screen. Here you can see our thoughts on how loot will stored and equipped. The loot icons will be stored in the grid on the left page, and there will be an option to filter them by hats, outfits, accessories, special, or all. A mouse over on each of the items will pop up with the items info. Items can be dragged to the equipment spots on the right side and will change the stats below accordingly. The top of the right page will be a Victorian style black and white photograph which will show Poe wearing the currently equipped items.
That’s all for now, but we’d love to hear your thoughts on everything so far. What do you think of the pickups? Does the inventory seem intuitive so far? As always, you can talk with us here or on our twitter @EdgarAllanPwnd.