WIP Wednesday: August 23, 2023

WIP WednesdayWIP WednesdayWIP WednesdayAugust 23, 2023August 23, 2023August 23, 2023

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Hey everyone, I’m here for another Work-In-Progress Wednesday!

After Low Rez Jam wrapped up last week, I took a much-needed rest over the weekend… and then got back to work on the game, of course! Here’s a devlog on the progress so far.

Realm Rumble: Road to Version 1.0.0

I was going to do a video announcement for Realm Rumble’s Low Rez Jam release, but I decided to hold off until the next big update, which I want to represent a complete version. If you haven’t played the game yet, grab it here! (For Windows.)
Here’s what’ll be in the next version:

Polished Title Screen

The title screen is no longer just text on a blue background! It now displays a unique level and scrolls through it. While working on it, I accidentally looped from the last level to the title level and was able to play on it. That was a pretty fun bug!

Read on for more great changes… And a lot of behind-the-scenes development pictures!

Let’s Plant Some Trees and Make Some Paths!

One thing I wanted to get in the game earlier was trees, which block movement and also make the game look really pretty.

There are a couple different types of trees. They also serve as a good way to fill in the empty space between mountains, which I use to kind of define the playable area. With empty space between some mountains, it allowed units to get stuck in there sometimes due to collision resolution. That would effectively softlock the game, since there was no way to get in there to kill the stuck unit. Also, trees placed like this prevent the player from building outside the playable area.

Another screenshot of trees, above. You can also see a new building type: Village. It’s a friendly building that enemies will attack, delaying them for a while while you build up your forces or defenses.

Dirt paths are a new visual feature as well. The game resolution is small, so this helps you get your bearings at a glance. It can indicate enemy attack routes or simply be decorative.

Behind The Scenes: Level Editing

Here are a few behind-the-scenes looks at what levels look like in my editor! As you can see, it looks pretty rough- No auto-tiling is happening here! That all happens in-game. The buildings are placed using basic visuals representing the real buildings. This is so I can easily just place tiles from the tileset, instead of placing actual building objects. Then later when loading the level in-game, I can scan the tilemap and place the real buildings automatically.

Above, you can see a partial screenshot of the editor, the still-WIP SparkBolt Studio! It has tabbed browsing for open editors (top left), and you can pick tiles from the tileset view in the bottom right. The tileset view can also be scrolled/zoomed independently, and even moved around in its little sub-window! The layers pane on the right shows my three layers: Buildings, doodads (mountains/trees), and terrain (grass/dirt). Large tile groups are a snap to place with an easy-to-use stamp tool. I definitely couldn’t have completed in time for the Low Rez Jam deadline without it.

The editor is still a little janky because I haven’t worked on it directly lately, while in the meantime I have worked on my game engine, which tends to break things. I’m looking forward to coming back to SparkBolt Studio and finishing it later this year!

Finally, above is a look at a brand-new level I’m working on! This heavily-forested level will feature an early attack from goblins and trolls in the west, and a later threat from treefolk in the east. There’s also a lot of gold in the west, so you’ll want to capture that first!

In each level’s data, I can specify which dwellings are which. Dwellings are represented by D1, D2, D3, and so on. By placing these generic tiles, I can tweak the level easily and not worry at level design time about the actual identities of the dwelling buildings. I can also adjust the timing of when each dwelling type begins to produce units.

What’s Next

Next I’ll be shifting gears and working on the next pixel art asset pack on my list. We’ve already done sci-fi effects, so next is a fantasy effects pack! There’ll be magic smoke puffs, bursts of sparkles, and animations representing spells like heal, buff, and debuff. I also want to draw a smoke puff shaped like a skull, like a classic videogame enemy death animation. I think they’ll all be quite fun to draw! A new schedule will be posted soon, but for now you can expect this asset pack by early September.

I mentioned it earlier, but give Realm Rumble a try! You can also rate the game if you want- The rating period of Low Rez Jam is open through the end of the week. I hope you enjoy the game as much as I’m enjoying working on it!

See you next week with a look at the next asset pack and more game development behind-the-scenes!

– Will