What have we been up to since last time?
Hey. Eric Lavesson from Decemberborn Games writing this time. For the past few weeks, we've been unusually quiet. Not in any way because development has stalled. Quite the opposite in fact. We have a bunch of new updates for you today regarding Cathedral! We have a bunch of new gameplay, animations and music and a lot of work-in-progress that we want to share.
A lot of the work these past weeks has gone into building new features into the game engine on a pretty low level, such as improved scripting support and a nicer shader and rendering pipeline. We also have the game building and running flawless on all current platforms. Right now, the game is being quite heavily tested on Mac OSX, Windows 7 and upwards as well as Debian-based Linux systems (Debian, Mint, Ubuntu).
I don't want to bore you with the technical details right now though, I'll save that for another post :)
New boss, new graphics
While Aron has been busy working on the music, I have been working on creating sprites, code and scripts for the first boss you encounter in the game. You can see a sneak peek of it in the video below. In this video, you'll also notice a prototype of our secondary weapon, the crossbow.
Now, we have a lot more planned around this boss than what you see here, but I don't want to spoil too much right now. The boss is called the "Cathedral Guardian", and you encounter it early on in the game.
The game starts with you as the player on the rooftops of a giant cathedral. You have no recollection of how you got there, and your first priority is to get somewhere safe. It turns out that you've left your own realm and ended up in a completely unknown place.
In order to get home, you'll have to find seven elemental orbs, and the first one is acquired by fighting the Cathedral Guardian. Without spoiling too much, you'll end up in quite an interesting situation after the fight in order to grab the first orb:
New music from Aron
If you've kept an eye on our previous posts, you might have noticed that the song in the video presented earlier is actually new. We have a few new tunes, and that boss fight music is one of them. Aron has been hard at work in Famitracker, creating awesome retro-inspired chiptunes. You can find and listen to the entire song on Soundcloud, and I've embedded it below:
I mentioned "a better shader and rendering pipeline" at the top of the post. If you're a game developer yourself, you might understand the implications of that, and if you aren't, suffice to say that we can now do a lot more interesting effects and post-processing than before.
As an example, Cathedral features a secondary item system, and one of those items are a lantern. You can see a very early prototype of the lantern effect as it lights up an otherwise completely dark room:
This is the kind of problem that are extremely well-suited to express in code for a shader. In our case, I'm writing them in a language called GLSL (GL Shader Language). Honestly, the hardest part of this problem was to make the "light bubble" look less realistic to fit the style of the game. You easily end up with something that looks like a very nice point light, but that's not what you want in a game like this. You want something a bit more crudely rendered. In this case, notice that we don't use any smooth transitions, but rather a few very discrete ones to go from illuminated to pitch black. In order to make the borders between those areas a bit less noticeable, I've written a filter to add a small dithering pattern (notice the small black dots in the outer light circles?).
Another example would be the gameboy color filter we've mentioned before, which will play during memory flashbacks. That one can now also be expressed as a handful of lines of code, and the result is impressive:
We have a bunch of small features like this planned for the game, and I'm hard at work right now to implement it all. Aron is putting in a lot of hours to get the right feel in the music as well.
I hope you've found this update interesting, and as always, get in touch if you have any questions or remarks, or just post a comment. We value feedback highly :)
Until next time,
Eric Lavesson, lead developer and cofounder of DecemberBorn