Author Archives: kaivalentine

Poe’s Foes Teaser

To celebrate Halloween (and roughly one year since the first steps were taken creating this game) we’ve created a quick trailer showing some of the foes we already have in the game. Enjoy!

 

Things that Creep and Things that Fly

That’s a lot of bots

Earlier this week I set about creating animations for the Spider Bot enemies (we’re thinking of calling them ArachNeuros, any thoughts on that?) and as people familiar with some of our older posts will know, animation is not necessarily something I am skilled at. Oh, this is Kyle typing by the way. Our actual animator, who is quite talented, was busy working on more complex animations, like this roll for Edgar:

edgar roll

So, I set about doing a simple pass at the ArachNeuro walk animation. Or, at least I thought it would be simple. I ended up spending a fair bit of time planning, drawing, re-planning, and re-drawing the frames. I looked up photos and slow motion videos of spiders (which was pretty upsetting on its own) and still couldn’t get it to look right. What I ended up with were two different walks, one that looped better, and one that looked more creepy and spideriffic. The creepier one also had less frames. With a few adjustments we were able to settle on one we liked, at least until our actual animator can have a look at it.

A Helpful Raven Companion

We’ve also been working on implementing our raven companions into the game. They’re already flying behind Poe, and going out to grab ink, whiskey, or coins, whenever Poe needs them. We have a few things to add in order to make them smarter and less of a distraction, especially during combat.

Diamond ravens are a poet's best friend

Diamond ravens are a poet’s best friend

We’ll continue working on special variations for the companions, including special ravens with unique particle effects and behaviors, as well as different animals entirely, including some that can’t fly at all. We’ll have some videos of this all to show soon.

Thanks for reading!

- Wrought Iron Games

Fact and Fantasy, Shaken, Not Stirred

Today we’d like to talk a bit about the in-game journal in EDGAR.

When we set out to make this game, one of the most important things for us was that the game be able to serve as a launching point for exploring the literature, people, places, and themes of the Victorian Era. To that end, we are implementing an in game journal that players can use to dive into the world.

The least spoilerific screenshot we could get

The least spoilerific screenshot we could get

Early in the adventure Poe comes across a mysterious, magical book with the ability to generate new entries about the beings that Poe encounters and the events that transpire. So after defeating a new enemy type for the first time, or after initiating a conversation with a character, a notification will drop down on screen, letting the player know the journal has been updated. These notifications can be turned off if desired, however, the unread entries will still be marked as “NEW” within the journal until they’ve been viewed.

Optional dropdown notification.

Optional dropdown notification.

What we are most excited about, in all this, is that we will be mixing both fact and fiction indiscriminately throughout the entries. One entry may talk about the behavioral patterns of gargoyles while another talks about Lewis Carroll’s passion for photography. The blend continues down into individual entries even, as the stories of real people and places are twisted into alternate, pseudo-accurate tales. Not only will this add some coherence and “believably” (as far as fantasy stories are concerned) to our world, but it will hopefully instill a sense of wonder and curiosity within players that leads to them going out and learning more on their own.

Ultimately, the journal serves as just another way to expand the alternative world of our game, and how far players dive into it is completely up to them. We are just doing our part to make sure there’s good stuff waiting for those who want it.

- Wrought Iron Games

A Preview of Some Levels and Creatures which Inhabit Them

Pub Close Up

You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.

In our last devblog update we showed a compilation image of some of the levels from the game. Today, we’d like to go into a little more depth on some of them. Keep in mind, this is only a sampling of the planned levels. There are some we will probably show later, and even a few we’re not going to show at all. This isn’t out of some innate need to be mysterious (though it is fun) but because Poe’s journeys will have several twists and turns and some things just need to be experienced in the context of the whole story.

Hold your breath.

Hold your breath.

The Brighton Sewers are one of the early levels of the game, and give us a chance to explore the grimy, filthy side of the Victorian Era. Human waste, pollution from machines, and increasing city density, among other things, all contributed to a huge sanitary issue in London. In 1858, an offensively unpleasant summer was dubbed as “The Great Stink” and pushed towards a more efficient and more interconnected, underground sewer system.

In the sewer level, players can expect to face filthy, toxic creatures like the Sludge, which do damage over time whenever Poe touches them, as well as stranger, more mysterious enemies like light-sensitive, subterranean mole-people.

Psychedelic.

Psychedelic.

The Witching Woods are a level from the middle of the game, and has been a great place for us to let our imaginations run wild. Once surrounded by the tall trees, Poe finds that the woods are home to all sorts of magical things, from fairies and ghosts to humanoid mushrooms and sentient plants.

In the picture above is a foe we’re calling the Weeping Moose. This creature is passive, and will never attack Poe, but the blood flowing from its eyes pools up on the ground as the moose walks aimlessly around. The blood will make Poe slide, and if he doesn’t have full health, it will deal continuous damage for as long as he is standing in it.

I'm so hot for her and she's so cold.

I’m so hot for her and she’s so cold.

The last level we’ll talk about today is the Ice Cavern. It’s a level from the later part of the story, and contains some of the most difficult enemies in the game. Snow monsters, falling icicles, and crystalline beasts are only some of the obstacles Poe will have to face during his adventure through the caverns.

Featured in the image above are a seductive Frost Nymph, and an Ice Wasp. The Ice Wasp is an evolution of some flying monsters from the earlier levels, but they are faster, harder to dodge, and their “frostbite sting” does increasingly more damage with every successful hit.

There is still much for us to do, both for levels and enemies, but we hope that this tiny bit of information gives you a good idea of the variety the levels will have.

If you have any questions or comments on any of this, let us know, either here, or on twitter.

Until next time.

- Wrought Iron Games

Jumpstart

A sample of some of the game's levels.

A sample of some of the game’s levels.

Apparently, one ability of solar panels, in addition to generating extra electricity that the energy department can add back on to their grid, is the ability to create surges that fry your computer. Thankfully our programmer had daily backups of his work, so he only had to wait for his new computer to keep pressing on with development.

Despite all of that, our programmer has been able to make improvements on the AI and how they handle platforms, and make some changes to the character controllers so that we can have a lot more enemies on screen without slow down. Both of these things are important for our next objective, which is playtesting one of our early levels.

Near the beginning of the game Poe sets out on the streets of London on a foggy night (pictured second in the header). We’ll be setting up this level, populating it with baddies, and then running it and tweaking it and running it and tweaking it, until we are happy with it, and then we’ll be tweaking it some more. Its a big step towards actually creating the experience we want for the players. A lot of the basic coding and art has been done, stuff that I would say gives the game a sturdy foundation, but we’ve reached the point where we are able to start building on that foundation, and it’s pretty exciting.

Keep checking in either here, on Twitter, on our Facebook page, or on Screenshot Saturday on r/Gamedev, for more updates as we continue.

- Wrought Iron Games

Half Truths are the Best Kind of Lies

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.

Something for Every Occasion

Something for Every Occasion

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.

Joule-Thompson Dynamics

“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

Don’t tell the Feds, but We’re Making Guns

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.

Pistols Gallore

Pistols Galore

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.

You don't need a permit for these.

You don’t need a permit for these.

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?

Poe, in Direwolf form

Poe, in Direwolf form

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

A Programmer’s Perspective

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.

Insert usual witty comment here.

Insert usual witty caption here.

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.

Much, much better.

Much, much 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.

You sure that's loot, Eddie?

You sure that’s loot, Eddie?

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

Move Your Body

“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

Writer’s Block

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.

What a waste of good whiskey.

What a waste of good whiskey.

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.

Eventually the whole scene will be filled with fair attendees.

Eventually the whole scene will be filled with fair attendees.

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

Late Night Thursday Post – Back in the Swing of Things

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.

Straight out of an English class

Straight out of an English class

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.

I like the middle one.

I like the middle one.

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

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