Developer's Blog

Version 0.0.1 of City of the Shroud Now Online!

Posted on October 13, 2015 by Shibusuke

Grab the latest update to the game here!


Thank you to everyone who played our game at PlayExpo! It was a great show, and we have gotten some really good feedback from show attendees and the folks on our mailing list to start implementing into the game.

The whole list of patch notes is below, but we do want to highlight one major change that we made in response to very consistent feedback. Players felt the gameplay was too quick at times, and in response we’ve slowed AP regeneration by 50%. We’re really happy with the new speed (same goes for the players at PlayExpo!), and hope you will weigh in to help us tweak it further. Download the update and let us know what you think!

You can download from itch.io here:

http://abyssal-arts.itch.io/city-of-the-shroud

Our first fan!

0.0.1 Patch Notes

  • Slowed down game speed by 50%

  • Added hit-stuns so that characters are briefly stunned upon taking damage

  • Added a victory animation for the Brute (other classes are currently being worked on)

  • Game now prompts first-time players to use the tutorial

  • Various improvements to the tutorial

  • Brute punches alternate between right and left when doing basic attacks

  • Range indicator is now more clear

    • Bug: Fantastic quality settings make particle effects faint and hard to see

  • Tiles with an enemy on them turn red when in range

  • Made the Team menu lighting less bright

  • Health bars now show how much damage an attack did and then slowly collapse to the new HP level (like in a fighting game)

    • The color of the bar representing the damage corresponds to the type of damage dealt:

      • Red: Power (Wild Swing, etc.)

      • Blue: Magic (Devastation, etc.)

      • Yellow: Quick (Snipe, etc.)

  • Character UI also flashes when taking damage

  • Character portraits don't disappear when a character is defeated anymore; instead, they get a big, red X over them!

  • Added a small outline to the UI underneath characters to make it easier to see

  • You can now cancel out of waiting for an online opponent

  • Bug Fix: UI underneath characters now disappears when a character is defeated

  • Bug Fix: The game saves team makeup properly now

Be sure to let us know what you think - get in touch with us on Twitter, Facebook, or our forums, and thank you for playing!

City of the Shroud @ PlayExpo!

Posted on October 09, 2015 by Shibusuke

We're excited to announce that we will be at PlayExpo this weekend to show off City of the Shroud! We're right by the main stage, just up from Oddworld. How cool is that?

We've also made a build especially for the show, and will be packaging up and releasing all of the updates early next week for everyone to try. There are some really great gameplay changes in there, so keep an eye out!

In the meantime, you can always download the prototype build directly from itch.io, here:

http://abyssal-arts.itch.io/city-of-the-shroud

And are you going to be at PlayExpo? If you are, give us a shout on TwitterFacebook, or our forums, then drop by our booth to say hi and kick our butts at our own game!


See you there!

There Will Be Bugs - Prototype is a Go!

Posted on October 01, 2015 by Shibusuke

It has been a long time coming, but we’re thrilled to announce that our humble game, City of the Shroud™, is now available in prototype form! Whooo!

Go ahead and grab the demo for Windows or Mac from either Itch.io or GameJolt:

Now we can get down to what we’ve wanted to do from the beginning - put the game out there in your hands and get feedback from you, the players. Once you’ve given the game a whirl, head on over to the forums and let us know what you think!

We’re especially interested in feedback about:

  • Basic combat mechanics and gameplay

  • Key user interface elements (Combo Wheel, etc.)

Also, if you encounter any bugs, you can report them directly from inside the game here:

 

 

This will send us an email, but you can also take a screenshot (and can even see the error console in the Submit Bug Report menu) and head over to the forums as well.

So, what does releasing a Prototype mean, and how are we going to do this?

Basically, we’re going to be adding all of the features we have planned for the game over time, and adjusting them based on what people have to say about them (great! terrible! indifferent!). This means there will be feature phases and clean-up phases, where we add, then we tune. Tick, tock.

Right now, we’re on the combat fundamentals and basic UI phase. We want to make sure that combat is functioning, that it’s fun, and that the UI is intuitive to use. And if it isn’t? Your feedback will help us fix it!

One warning: intuitive doesn’t always mean pretty! Rather than spend our time making fancy imagery for something that isn’t final, we’ll be making gradual adjustments to placeholder artwork until we’re happy with the way something works and feels, THEN focus on making it look nice (game development!).

(You can check out this blog entry to see what I’m talking about.)

So that you can see what we have in store, here’s a list of some the elements we’re planning to add to the game over the next few months:

  • Character customization

  • Character swapping/team building

  • More moves and abilities

  • The game’s quest system and story infrastructure (won’t that be fun to test!)

To get the latest information on the game’s progress, be sure to sign up for our newsletter (at the top of the page!), follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and join us on the forums (that’s all of ‘em!).

To say we’re excited would be an understatement - we’ve been working towards this for a long time, and can’t wait to get the game into the hands of players. Go forth and play!

**It looks like our forums are borked right now - we're working on fixing them ASAP! In the meantime, reach out to us over Twitter or Facebook with comments or feedback!

Oh, How Far We've Come Pt. 1 - Environment

Posted on September 08, 2015 by Shibusuke

We’ve been working on City of the Shroud for a while now - you may have seen our post celebrating our one year anniversary. In that time, we’ve learned a lot and iterated on our designs more times than I can recall. On the eve of releasing the prototype, I thought I’d share the general evolution of the project so you can get a feel for our development process and see how dedicated we are to making the best game possible.
 

The Environment

When we set out to make a game that blended fighting game mechanics and tactical RPGs, we knew it was going to be a challenge. We tested and iterated for months to get even basic elements worked out. The key was nailing the feel of the gameplay itself, but the environment and how the player engaged with it underlined the entire experience. As a result, we needed to ensure that the environment never got in the way and, where possible, added to the experience.

City of the Shroud began as a very basic map of several grey cubes. We started with a wide degree of terrain variation to test height and the basic movement system. The game had fall damage, advantages to being higher than the target, and the ability to understand elevation differences when navigating titles. It looked like this:
 

I think it looked pretty good, but the team wanted 
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  • One Year On

    Posted on September 03, 2015 by Shibusuke

    This week is awesome - because as of this week, Abyssal Arts has been in business for an entire year.

    In that time, we became part of The Brighton Game Collective; we joined forces with Titutitech to help Stealth Studios get their game, Zombie Playground, into Early Access; I gave an hour-long presentation at GDC Europe (in the same time slot as Naughty Dog and Ninja Theory!); and we’ve nearly finished all of the ground work to get the City of the Shroud prototype out and into the hands of players.

    We’ve met and worked with amazingly talented people, received brilliant feedback on our designs, and learned a tremendous amount about being an independent developer. Our team has added a couple of new members, and City of the Shroud is improving every day.

    This year has been a study in patience for us all, which has occasionally been enormously frustrating (none of us are particularly patient people). We’ve waded through technical issues, limited budgets, long searches for team members, and more. We made the difficult decision not to release CotS back in June - a good choice, as it was pretty ugly and had major readability errors, but still frustrating. We found all of the usual bugs and some exciting new ones through playtesting sessions at a local pub, and then sometime between that and work on Zombie Playground, it was August.

    But the bonus of being impatient people meant that the extra time we’ve taken has been filled to the brim with exciting new projects. We’ve been able to improve the game, get our own assets into the world, and tweak the UI. We’ve watched and taken notes from friends launching on Early Access. Artists have sketched, our writer is working with the programmers on some of the cooler story mechanics, and we found a new backend system that will handle a huge bundle of things we thought we would have to build ourselves. All in all, we’re pretty proud of what we’ve achieved.

    The team has been fantastic at tackling any issues that crop up while keeping enthusiasm high, and on a personal note, despite a few hiccups, our team is the most dedicated and focused I have had the pleasure of working with. I’m also incredibly proud to say that, not only have two of us been full-time independent developers, but we are now joined by Moira, our narrative lead, who has made the leap to independence with us. It’s a hard road, and it takes a tremendous amount of courage to walk it.

    I’ll admit, feeling responsible for delivering a product or finding projects to support several people for their time and effort in the face of bills, mortgages, and not being miserable is daunting, but I constantly am reminded that this a team effort - we’re all in this together, working hard to make our idea a reality. It’s easy to lose sight of that when working from different places around the world, but we’ve all embraced our goals together, and it’s together that we’ll achieve them.

    I can’t wait to see what challenges we face this year - and how we overcome them. We’ve taken our first major step into independent development, and now is when the real journey begins - with City of the Shroud (and actually getting that prototype out the door!).