2016/10/28 18:24:13

I took a break from working on Flare to spend some time on an old project of mine, feedreader. My goal was to create a GUI configuration screen to make it easier to set up. It was a great exercise in creating something with GTK, as I've only really done stuff with tray status icons. Here's a look at the result as of now:

feedreader Preferences window

This is great for people who don't like mucking about with text file configuration. However, I should probably think about adding some buttons to change the order of appearance of the feeds.

I also worked on a small app to show the status of Caps/Num lock keys in the system tray. I needed this because my new laptop doesn't have LEDs for these states, which I think is kind of crazy.

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2015/12/29 21:42:55

News from the Flare project has been sparse, if not silent. So I'd like to take this opportunity to discuss what we've been working on to those who may not be closely following development on Github. The features and fixes I'll discuss have been implemented since the last developer log video.

Features for players

Core engine features

User interface improvements

Improved input device mapping

Gameplay features

Features for developers

Empyrean mod

Steady progress is being made on the game we will be shipping with the 1.0 engine. The game will be divided into 4 chunks, each with 3 side-quests. The first 3 chunks will have a large dungeon at the end containing a major boss. The last chunk will be the lead-up to and confrontation with the final boss. As of now, the first of these chunks is finished, while the second chunk is about half way finished. Here's a quick overview of what's in store for players:

New website

In between working on the engine and the Empyrean mod, I've also started to work on creating a new web site for the Flare engine. One of the main reasons for a new web site is to allow other contributors besides Clint to make blog posts. That way, I would be able to provide updates directly on the Flare site. Most recently, I worked on migrating all of the blog posts from the current Flare site to this new one.

Discussion about the new site can be found on this Github thread.

New Flare Blog: preview screenshot

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2015/09/22 23:09:18

After designing the Empyrean campaign's first major boss fight, it came time to tie it all in to the main quest. This prompted me to review the design of the Book of the Dead map.

Book of the Dead redesign screenshot

The original plan for this map entailed a boss fight later in the game, but that idea has been scrapped. Instead the initial focus of the map is getting the player to start the main quest. The player enters from the southern staircase and takes the teleport to the western platform. They can't teleport back until reading the Book of the Dead and triggering the main quest.

Book of the Dead book screenshot

Once this happens, they can teleport to the eastern platform and head either: south back to town or north to the wilderness. At this point, the north and south teleports have changed to send the player directly to the eastern platform whenever they pass through the map again.

This in combination with the completion of the St. Maria maps means the Empyrean campaign is a little more than 1/4 complete. That might not seem like much, but a lot of the time I've spent in the last few weeks has involved further balancing gameplay numbers. Things like figuring out the rate at which enemies get stronger, the strength of player powers, and the bonuses given by equipment. And every few steps of the way, I found something that was missing on the engine side that needed implementation. That said, things should be easier going forward. Those engine features are now implemented, and I no longer feel the need to make large, sweeping changes to gameplay numbers.

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2015/08/27 23:04:11

Today, I implemented, what I think, is a useful feature into Flare.

Previously, there were instances where the player could pick up just one item in an inventory stack (like when shift-clicking). In fact, all item movement on touchscreen/mouse-less devices was done that way. This was unacceptable for large stacks, such as those for Gold. My solution was to create a dialog menu to let the player decide how much they want to pick up.

Screenshot of Flare's quantity picker dialog

The implementation of this was a bit tricky. Flare's drag-and-drop system worked under the assumption that it was literally that: DRAG and drop. Clicking on items immediately removed them from their source slot, and there was no way to maintain what was being dragged if the player let off the mouse button. So as a result, I needed to make sure:

I'm satisfied with the end result, although the dialog menu itself may get some usability tweaks. For example, the text field with the value could be editable by keyboard. Also, the rate at which the arrows increment/decrement the value might need some adjusting.

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2015/08/23 22:34:37

Today, I finished laying out the first map of the first major dungeon in the Empyrean campaign. The area it is a part of is tentatively named Lochport Tower, but there's a good chance that will change.

Lochport Tower 1 screenshot

The center area is vertically symmetrical, and the outer ring is horizontally symmetrical. Both combined create a shape that I really like. From a gameplay perspective, the player will travel clockwise around the outer ring. At 3 o'clock, there will be a mini-boss defending some treasure chests. One of the chests will contain a key that will unlock the door to the next level in the center area.

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