Man, what a week. This week involved a ton of QA (important, but man it's like pulling teeth) along with adding a bunch of additional content for the game.
By and large, this was a Groa/Csaba/Tomi patch, bringing them into a really good place with their storylines and their quests. The patch adds a new quest - "Hunting Party" - that Groa can give you. "Giving Back" was actually already added in a separate patch a little while back. In addition, we're now tracking Csaba and Groa's marriage by a relationship meter, and you'll see their dialogue change as their marriage unravels.
The big improvements in this patch are also to the other quests for that family unit - "Bring Him Home," "Man's Best Friend," and "Boy's Best Friend." Bring Him Home had dozens of bugs that made it likely it would crash the game unless you did it in one very particular way. It's been heavily reworked. As part of it, a lot of extra dialogue has been added.
Another quest, "Family Time," was added in this patch. I talked about it last week, but what I didn't mention is that it's a way to get the pocket watch. The watch is a pretty valuable tool; in case Sandor dies on the first night, or you fail The Second Son, I wanted to give you another opportunity here to get it.
A handful of people reported some confusion with the UI, since the tool window assumed you were using a controller. It will now correctly detect if you're using a controller and update accordingly. Key bindings will come eventually, but it's a slightly bigger project for me. (RPG Maker doesn't make it easy, short of the F1 menu, which I hate).
As always, a ton of extra bug fixes. We're narrowing down hard toward Early Access.
This weekend, we're headed to the first ever GaymerX East! Come get your diversity-in-games fix and play the latest Vidar demo. If you plan to attend, make sure to buy your tickets in advance, as I've been told they will not be selling tickets at the door.
Additionally, the Linux build has been uploaded to Steam! Keys are going out to Kickstarter backers this week who specifically told me they wanted Linux. After that, we'll be done with all keys to Kickstarter backers, and will move on to Direct Download links.
Onward to the next patch, which will give Gusztav a little bit of extra love!
Boy's Best Friend
Bring Him Home
Man's Best Friend
The Second Son
To Feed a Village
What a fun and strange week this has been. After the last content patch went out, I focused on fixing additional bugs in the demo that I discovered back in Austin. The demo is ever-more-stable, and those fixes made their way into the main game as well, including various rare crashes and bugs, text fixes, etc. These were all made because I was showing Vidar at yet another event, Playcrafting's Halloween Expo!
Sorry for the blurry picture, I only had my phone!
This time, Vidar had its own entire room. We had a spooky set-up replete with blacklights and cobwebs (to celebrate the addition of Spiders in the last patch, of course), big banners and plenty of candy. Still more bugs were discovered (of course, right?) but the demo was so delightfully stable! And my favorite thing, instead of people asking "when is this going to be released?" the question instead was "is this released?" That gave me quite the confidence boost, to be sure.
Next week we'll have the "Union" content patch which has three pretty unrelated quests (plus a reworking of one quest), and that's slowly driving me crazy. One of those quests - "Family Time" - is already done, and I'm glad to have it, because it fills an interesting roll in the game. Assuming the necessary conditions are met, "Family Time" is only available for one day; if you don't receive it then, you'll never get it. Once you receive it though, you can take your time to complete it. It's an interesting mechanic that I think encourages repeated exploration of Vidar, which is something I want to encourage. Expect more of these types of quests to come in future content patches.
We've given out Steam keys to nearly everyone who got one through the Kickstarter. The only ones left are the handful of Linux users, and I think we'll be able to get them taken care of next week. Then onwards to those who requested direct download.
That's all for this week - make sure to get your tickets for GaymerX East so you can play Vidar with me!
This Alpha Build marks the first of what I'm calling "content patches" for Vidar. All told, it includes two new quests (plus an overhauled third quest), a new zone, a new puzzle mechanic, and some new additional functionality. The goal with this patch wasn't just bug fixes, but something much more, to continue to increase the content where it felt lacking (here, primarily focused on the Dark Cave).
For a bit of dev history, the Library was actually in one of the earliest prototypes of Vidar, several years ago when I was still using RPG Maker default assets. Once Becca's art started coming in, I never rebuilt it, and it was languishing in a back corner for years. You could get pretty close to it in various demos, and the entry was even in the Dark Cave Alpha Month I did about a year ago.
So I'm happy that it is finally making its triumphant return all these years later, particularly because Mihaly was feeling a little lackluster overall. As was Dani; I took the opportunity to inject a quest for her here, and start her down an inheritance path that will be more fleshed out in a later content patch.
Getting this much content done in 2 weeks was do-able, but maintaining a pace of these every 2 weeks will be difficult as we get to launch. That is, I wasn't able to do this and a lot of marketing, bug fixes, etc. So we'll see four more content patches coming before Early Access, and then a slight hiatus while final bugs are stomped, Steam is updated, and everyone gets hyped. If you want a preview of them, keep an eye on the What's Next page as we progress!
Speaking of Early Access...
VIDAR WILL LAUNCH ON STEAM EARLY ACCESS ON JANUARY 31, 2017
That doesn't give us a lot of time, so if you're one of the KS backers that has access to the Alpha, make sure you're playtesting so I can fix anything you come across!
Alpha Build 0.7.3.0
A whopping 80 Steam Keys were sent out this week! We'll have rolled out the alpha to everyone on Steam for Windows and Mac by the end of next week. Linux, and the remaining Direct Downloads, are close behind.
This week has been an awesome flurry of new development and bug fixes. One of the big things that I finally tackled was Etel's dialogue. The character felt a little 2-dimensional and some of his "filler" text didn't really fit with the cowardly-but-still-arrogant soldier I had in mind. Almost all of his dialogue has been rewritten. This also gave me the opportunity to put a fair amount of polish on his "Den of Darkness" quest, which plays a lot better now.
Additionally, teleporting through the cave feels a little nicer now. You're now rewarded for exiting a room on the "correct side" - that is, the one in the direction you want to teleport. In other words, if you're exiting Room 2 to enter Room 3, it won't take 30 seconds to teleport there. You can also use this method to end up towards the beginning or end of a room, so that you're better positioned to quickly grab a quest item.
The next patch is coming in a week, at which point we'll also be doing a major push of Steam keys to Kickstarter backers. If you want to keep abreast of new content coming for Vidar, check out the What's Next page, and stay tuned!
Back from a really excellent vacation abroad, and excited to tackle some more on Vidar. We're spiraling frantically towards Early Access, and the past few weeks focused on:
I'm by no means an artist, but I'm pretty proud of some of the modifications I was able to make to the Stranger to get a few more animations possible.
With more testers, more bugs in the early part of the game are being reported - ranging from small little nits in the text to crashes in some of the rarer quests. Those have been addressed, and, mercifully, the Continue screen now opens *much* faster.
Finally, a great deal was done on the upcoming Content Patch (which will include the Library) - while it won't be ready for release for a few more weeks, it's nearly done and feeling like a really fun puzzle :)
For those who like things in list form, here you go!
Alpha Build 0.7.2.0
A pretty egregious bug has been found in the Mac build, so sadly no additional Steam key distribution for now - but give it a hot second and we'll get there!
See ya next week!
This past week I was at Austin Game Conference, a recently-revived event focused on the games industry, development, VR, and all kinds of fun things. Vidar was part of Intel's Game Developer Showcase; it was a great time seeing games that were different from the usual East Coast Indie Circuit.
VR was definitely a highlight of the conference, with a full speaker track dedicated to the subject (and other tracks veering into the space), and several booths on the floor dedicated to demoing indie games on VR. For attendees who had never played with the Oculus or Vive before, it was the best time to try it - typically any game using a headset no matter how good or bad has a long line at conventions. Here, there were enough that you could just walk up and start playing.
For my part, I'm thrilled to have emerged with close connections to Intel, and hopefully they'll be able to help promote Vidar in the future!
Because I was demoing at AGC, a lot of polish was added to the specific scenes that appear in the demo, in an effort to really showcase Vidar. Lots of other fixes have been added as well, and the game is feeling pretty decently stable. Just in time, too, because I'll be on vacation next week, so we won't have another patch for a while.
Alpha Build 0.7.1.0
Map / Puzzle Updates
This week we started deploying Mac keys - 10 went out as our test run, and we'll ramp up depending on how that goes. Additional Kickstarter backers got their copy of Vidar as well!
That's all for this week. We're off next week and the week after, be back around October 18!
Today, tomorrow, and Thursday I'm demoing Vidar at the Austin Games Conference. I talked about it a fair amount on the blog last week, no need to rehash. However, rather than tempt fate, I'm avoiding pushing a patch this week for fear of breaking something. I mean, I'm sure there's plenty that's broken. I just don't want to screw up the demo pre-Austin.
That being said, a lot got done this week! The new title screen is vastly improved, a number of long-standing bugs have been resolved, and the tool UI is much improved. Events should clip a little less. Specific events like the Wolf Cave and Erik's Cave have been cleaned up. Oh, and the trailer video is finally done =P
Next week will definitely be a patch, and likely the last major one until mid-to-late October, when I start introducing new content.
That's all for this week!
No patch this week, but dang I'm excited for some of the progress that was made this week. There were lots of little bug fixes and quality-of-life changes, but the biggest was that all variants of the concluding cutscene were added. All that's left now is the credits, and Vidar will be something you can play from start to finish in all of its crazy buggy glory.
Here's roughly what the last cutscene looks like....logically speaking:
In other news, Vidar was accepted to the Austin Game Conference Intel Game Developer Showcase! I'll be presenting and demoing the game at a pre-party on Tuesday, September 20, and then I'll be on the floor during the conference on September 21 and 22. Check out the website for all of the talks etc., and here's the exhibition floor:
See that "Intel Game Developer Showcase" in the middle? I'll be there! If you're in Austin, come say hi.
I'll save the line-by-line for next week when the next patch is released. Another 13 steam keys and 8 direct downloads went out this week. Mac build is imminent, I promise!
It's here, it's here, it's finally here! This patch is a doozy, it includes a lot of fixes to various crashes, an additional quest with Vidar's littlest villager, and all of the improvements to the look and feel of the game. Most importantly, however, it has the ending. So, spoiler alert, if you're not quite ready to confront the Beast, turn back now.
The final confrontation takes place in the Ruins of Old Vidar, deep beneath the town. New mechanics and puzzles have been introduced for that section. Plenty of cutscenes have been added to increase the intensity.
Alpha 7 (v. 0.7.0.0) Patch Notes
As for all the rest, 5 Steam keys went out this week. I had hoped to get the Mac build out as well, but we've discovered a memory leak in that version, so I'm holding it back another week.
This week will be focused on getting the new trailer video ready, so it's unlikely I'll have a substantial patch ready by Tuesday. Fear not; I'll be releasing additional optimizations in September, and then additional content will start coming in October!
This week marked the conclusion of an effort to clean up the cave maps, and really make them feel more dynamic and more alive. Hopefully these puzzles will pop as much as the town now. Here's the progress made this week:
Another 12 steam keys were sent out this week. Becca is nearing completion of our new title screen, and I really can't wait to see that in game. We'll see v 0.7.0.0 next week, so I have a lot of bug fixes to do in the meantime!