Another production status update

Laser Industries 3 is almost done, but not quite ready for release.  Right now, I have a working, but unpolished beta with all levels completed and that nasty HTML5 bug I talked about in my last post fixed.  I’ve also implemented voice acting (which I admit is a lot more tame and downplayed since I didn’t want to disturb anyone next door with my hamminess!)  The voices of the Gophers on the other hand were reused sound clips from when the game was originally made though I used Audacity to clean them up a bit.

But, of course, I need to take my breaks since this past weekend with all my free time, I’ve been vigorously working on it non-stop and I need a break, or else I’ll get burnout.  No, I’m not procrastinating.  I recall with Droplet, I overworked myself on it and as fun as it was to work on it, at some point it drove me nuts trying to fix every single bug.  Then it became unfun.  You wouldn’t want that, would you?

If I’m lucky, I should have LI3 up on the site in the next few weeks.  And even then, I’ll still have to test how it works there.

Light World

Light World is definitely getting more complex.  I’m trying to implement a dialogue system more advanced than anything I’ve done before.

Also, even though I’m not working directly on Light World as much (once LI3 is finished, I’ll pick up the pace), I have been doing concept sketches and composing music to set the tone.  I’ve also been developing a plot, but I’m not yet ready to share it since it could drastically change.  Believe it or not, I actually came up with the concept of Light World well over a year ago, and I think I’ve changed the plot at least six times!  It started off as something like Sailor Moon with a team of three young girls (and one boy) with superpowers, but the current plot idea is sort of like Alice in Wonderland.  I realized the team idea may not work as well when I decided to chop down the number of playable characters from four to one.  So now, I have three unused character designs which I may end up recycling later.

And now some details about what’s going on below:

A very early production screenshot. Visually, it's not much, but it took some time to put it together internally.
A very early production screenshot. Visually, it’s not much, but it took some time to put it together internally.

The game was originally going to be in Java (which I did not announce because of how early it was in production), but when I read about Unreal Engine a few months ago, I decided to start over.  It worked in my favor since Java pretty much required creating an engine from scratch while Unreal had almost all of that done for you.

In the screenshot above, combat works for the most part, and you can freely move around in a 3D space.  You click on the enemy to attack it, either by meleeing it or by launching stars at it.  The camera is also fixed so the playing field is like a diorama.

There’s a battle system in place where damage is calculated via stats like attack and defense, and you characters can be assigned different moves which consume MP upon use.  And when the toad’s health reaches zero, it explodes using a pre-made particle effect (which I’ll replace eventually).

That green masked creature off to the left is an NPC.  I did have a rudimentary dialogue system where you approach him and text is displayed, but there was a noticeable lag when it was triggered.  So now, I’m trying to find a better, more efficient way to do it.  Heck, let’s have dialogue choices to make it more immersive.

The animations themselves are still kind of buggy, and I have considered just learning proper 3D modelling, but as placeholders, they work just fine since I’m using collision boxes instead of the actual characters to detect hits.  There’s no automatic 2D animation system in Unreal so it’s something I have to create entirely from scratch with Blueprint, the visual scripting language.

Of course, I’m still learning Unreal.  So far, I’ve gotten all of my knowledge entirely from watching tutorial videos on YouTube and reading the help section.  My pace is not as fast because I only started using Unreal back in June, and Clickteam Fusion…well…I’ve been using that for ten years.  But don’t worry.  I’ll get there and keep at this.