Archive for November, 2011

Birth of Shadows (version 1.5.6.2)

Sunday, November 13th, 2011

I released version 1.5.6.2 for Birth of Shadows on November 13th, 2011. Here are the update items:

- Added trail to projectiles for greater impact
- Added AoE effect for exploding slimes and player’s “plague” ability
- Added ENRAGED! text to enemies (with protection against spamming it)
- Added a splatter effect when enemies are slain
- Red spiral effect is now used for special AoE ability of skeletons
- Added shadows to most scenery and animations
- Some scenery is now flipped horizonally to break-up continuous blocks
- Added a new main menu
- Fixed minor stuttering when right-clicking continuously to move player
- Player is now correctly centered when auto-following while moving

I’m really happy with the way this update turned out. I think the new combat effects and shadows add a lot to the atmosphere of the game. My next update will focus on some GUI improvements and a new skirmish board. Details to follow!

Birth of Shadows (1.5.6.x update)

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

I had my vacation during September. But, I have been very busy since that time working on the next BoS update. Here is what I have done so far…

I put a lot of effort into improving the combat effects. The base projectile effect now shows a fading trail that increases in size, which gives the attacks more “pop”. The slimes no longer use a static effect for exploding. Instead, they shoot projectiles in all 8 directions. It is much more obvious now that damage is caused by the explosion. Likewise, I added an AoE effect to the plaque ability for players. I think it looks much more interesting, which should encourage players to use the plaque ability more often.

When enemies are killed, they leave a splat on the terrain where they died. I fade the splat over time. Right now it is set to 20 seconds, but I might increase that value before the update. I use red as the default color, but I use the slime color for their splat.

When enemies enrage, I show a shadowed “ENRAGED!” text over the top of the enemy. This helps make it easier to time abilities without needing to look at the enrage display area to the lower-left of the screen. In addition, it makes it more obvious as to why a fear effect might be broken, such as by a rage cast from a nearby minotaur that causes enrage. I don’t show the enraged text if the effect is still active. I only show during transitions in order to prevent spamming the text, which would happen a lot during multiplayer games.

Finally, I am using the red spiral effect for the special (secondary) attack of all skeleton enemies. All creatures now have a specific effect icon for their special abilities.

I’m currently working on improvements for other game artwork. In particular, I am adding shadows to most of the in-game art. I have finished my first pass for the scenery and NPC artwork. I think it looks really good! My next attempt is to add shadows to the animated entities, starting with the main Shadow Knight model. The biggest challenge is to make it look right for the attack animation, which means I have to center the shadow. I was able to make the walking shadows look nice so far, but the attack shadow glitches. So, I have some work to do with that one. Adding shadows to 46 animations is a bit painful…

After that is done, I will probably add a more impressive looking main menu. I want to make a good first impression to new players. Then, I will add another new skirmish board and make some final tweaks. At that point, I will make a test release, eventually uploading the final version. The update will be ready before Thanksgiving at the latest.

The next planned update will focus on some GUI improvements. In particular, I want to make a nice character window as well as a new GUI for saving games. I would like to add a new GUI for displaying editor stats too, such as current number of interactive items out of max number possible.

But, first I will finish this update :)