Come in! Come in! Let me take that heavy bag. Don’t worry about your fine horse. The lad will take care of her good ‘n proper. BOY! Come in out of the cold! Welcome to my humble establishment. It’s not every day we get a right proper guest such as yourself! I’m the innkeeper. Although usually it’s just Innkeep! Yes, that’s what they yell at me, that worthless lot over yonder. Bring me more ale! Well, let ‘em yell! They’ve damn near emptied half a barrel today already! Not that I’m complainin mind. It’s all coin to me. But my poor feet! Running here, running there…
But I do go on! Been long on the roads have you? Well good that you’re safe. Nasty business these days. Nasty business indeed. Come this way and take a seat. Yes, we all thought the war would be done and finished long ago. And now things have started to get short. First beef. Then bread. Now it’s got such that some days I can barely scrap together a decent meal for a fine guest such as yourself. Ah, but don’t you be worrying about that! I have my ways and means. Oh yes indeed. And that’s a mighty fine ring you’re wearing if you don’t mind me saying so. Gold, is it? Lovely indeed. Truly you’re more ‘n a step above the usual turnip sellers and tinkers that blow through these parts. And don’t get me started about the soldiers. They’ll be requisitioning the breeches from my backside next. And dear lord save us from bragging, troublemaking “adventurers.” Little better than glorified grave robbers if you ask me, taking advantage of the troubles to loot the old burrows ‘n such as they please. Well I suppose their coin is as good as any, even if I can’t recognize the old faces stamped on em!
Now let me find my quill and put you down for our best room. I’ll have some proper good linen and nice hot water sent up later. You can get a sound forty winks before you carry on your way in the morrow. Oh, and if you hear anything at night don’t pay it any mind! The building is old and creaky. Now let me fetch you some of our best wine. And I do forget! A bard will be here before sundown to play us a little music. Come and join us as you eat. I’ve saved up a few good tales and jests that would be wasted on those louts over there. YES YES! COMING! Mercy. Where is that lad? BOY! I swear I should put that idle sack of bones back on the street where I found him…
Innkeep! is a game in development for the PC. You play as an innkeeper in a low fantasy world, ravaged by warfare. The game will have some light sim elements. You need to manage your stock of food, drink, firewood and candles. There is serving to be done, and staff to hire and pay. But your day-to-day running of the inn is made increasingly challenging by wartime scarcity. Getting the basic goods you need to run your business is difficult. You will need to cut corners (dog meat anyone?) and make contacts with black market traders. There are also bribes to pay to keep the military from causing you problems. Yet it is possible to thrive in this situation, for your inn is but a front for a more lucrative activity: robbing your guests as they sleep. In the evening you are on the lookout for identifying the guests that are loaded with treasures. When you have your mark, you need to try and make sure they have a merry old time, and get thoroughly drunk. Making sure they sit next to other guests they will get along with is a good start. Telling them a few good jokes might also help. Then in the dead of night, you can let yourself into their room, prying open their backpacks, wiggling rings from fingers, slipping chains from necks. If you have done your job properly, they should be far too drunk to notice a thing. But don’t take too much. Or from the wrong people. Or they might kick up a fuss and blow the whole operation.
In my last post I introduced some new barrels, and showed them in use with my cellar GUI. Here it is again:
Not bad! I designed and coded this thing at the beginning of 2016. At that time, I still hadn’t undertaken my major revamp of the play-space graphics, which occurred later that year, and I still hadn’t had a final epiphany as to what the core game mechanics would revolve around. (If you are curious you can read more about that here.)
The Innkeep! play-space now has bedrooms which you can enter, with the main walls fading like this.
Alongside the overall graphical improvement of the play-space, the implementation of rooms you can actually go-inside was a revelation. On top of the existing vanishing-point perspective, having walls also fade to reveal more locations helped add to the doll-house like style of the game. It wasn’t long before I had the idea that I could do something similar with the floor, and have an actual cellar that you could enter. The barrels would be dragged around in just the same manner, but from underneath.
However that seemed like a big job. So I put it off for the time being. Until I ended up working on the ground floor textures once again, as you saw in my previous post.
Then I started doodling some ideas…
And one thing led to another from there…
It was clear from early on that one of the trickiest things to do would be the stairs. I was going to need to use geometry and measure the steps out.
For the floor I wanted to try something a little different. Square flagstones with diamond shaped center pieces. A bit too elaborate for a dingy cellar, really, but what the heck.
First a bit of layering of dark with light for depth.
Then the inside pieces. Here everything still looks quite flat.
But with just a bit of highlighting, suddenly the eye decides that there is depth. Such a strange phenomenon.
More highlighting, with some cracks here and there, a little brushing for texture, and voila!
For the ceiling, I went with an arch. In reality this would probably have to be vaulted, so the curves would come towards the screen on an angle. That would be quite hard for me to draw though! This was a nice compromise.
A close up, alongside the stairs. You can see the brickwork is quite simple up close. Light on top, dark on the bottom, with a bright edge. But from a distance it looks pretty nice.
Time to put this thing in the game!
Incorporating the cellar actually wasn’t very difficult. I was able to use a lot of the techniques I had already developed for the bedrooms and second floor. The purple lines you see there are the lines which block movement. When the player crosses the white object, the lines are removed, and another set are created. Nice and seamless.
Up top, another little blocking object only lets you access from one direction.
And this is what it looks like, behind the scenes (I have a little key active in debug mode to toggle these things to be visible).
I took a break from the cellar at one point and tried my hand at some slightly better pixel art for the player sprite.
Of course, I would also need a rack to hold all the barrels. Here we see it with and without barrels.
Here we are with the cellar actually in the game, along with the rack.
Next I jumped into the old code for the barrel GUI, and re-designed it to work in the cellar. This took quite a while to expand (the old system only had room for 6 barrels in the cellar part, and this was a 12 barrel rack), but was pretty straight forward. In the above gif you can see I’ve also gone and added some shadow overlays which are drawn over the barrels.
As a nice improvement, I added a half-transparent barrel which would be drawn when you moved your mouse around, showing where the barrel you are holding would be placed when letting go of the mouse button.
The final big challenge was the trapdoor. I needed something which I could walk around on top of when shut, and which would generate the entrance to the cellar when open. Not too complicated per se, but very fiddly. Getting it basically working took 20% of the total time I worked on it. Fixing all the weird bugs and edge cases took the remaining 80%. I’ve found that a lot of stuff is like this in game development.
And here we have the system in action!
As a final touch, I made some shadows to be drawn over the player.
I also had part of the flagstone floor overlay remain when in the cellar. Later, I might do a few more cool things.
Neither are a priority just yet however.
Like what you see? How about buying me an ale?
Since I jumped back into regular development of this project a couple of months ago I've had a lot of time to think more about what the game might look...
I show off some of the new art for the interior of the inn that I have been working on for the last month.
An explanation of how I made use of masks in GameMaker in order to allow for a manipulable 2.5D environment in Innkeep!
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