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lashman

Dead & Forgotten
Sep 5, 2018
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I also accept that there are a few more systems that I have planned that adding to the books will make them a little more engaging and interesting. Combat is unlikely to ever change to (for instance) a block puzzle or timed maze, but having mechanics that make doubles more interesting, or equipment that works better with certain enemies will make it a little less tedious to watch.
that already sounds pretty good to me! :D
 

Exzyleph

Dark Eroge Lord
Oct 9, 2018
329
503
93
Thank you for the response.
I am glad to see that you were able to get something useful out of my post, despite my obvious lack of game design knowledge.

Regarding the die/page-turning effects, I checked and realized that I can hear the page turning effect in the new build, but it is very quiet. It is entirely possibly that I just missed the page-turning sound effect, especially since the music is much louder than the sound effects, but then I did so despite playing with (closed back) headphones on the entire time. If that is indeed the case, then perhaps it is worth considering balancing the default music/effect volumes avoid drowning out your sound effects. I did not tweak the volume options, other than muting voices.

The updated, interactive combat mechanics you are planning sound like a huge improvement and is exactly the kind of interactivity that I was missing from Pale Harbor. Are you familiar with Tharsis and Dicey Dungeons? Both feature a number of dice mechanics that you might be able to draw inspiration from, in the long term, for your own combat mechanics. Though I would caution that a monster "that you have to beat within a certain number of turns to get the good ending" sounds like something that would essentially force the user to save-scum, unless you could also beat it a way that did not rely on random dice-rolls.
 
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Grindwheel Games

Grindwheel Games

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Jun 6, 2019
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Thank you for the response.
I am glad to see that you were able to get something useful out of my post, despite my obvious lack of game design knowledge.

Regarding the die/page-turning effects, I checked and realized that I can hear the page turning effect in the new build, but it is very quiet. It is entirely possibly that I just missed the page-turning sound effect, especially since the music is much louder than the sound effects, but then I did so despite playing with (closed back) headphones on the entire time. If that is indeed the case, then perhaps it is worth considering balancing the default music/effect volumes avoid drowning out your sound effects. I did not tweak the volume options, other than muting voices.

The updated, interactive combat mechanics you are planning sound like a huge improvement and is exactly the kind of interactivity that I was missing from Pale Harbor. Are you familiar with Tharsis and Dicey Dungeons? Both feature a number of dice mechanics that you might be able to draw inspiration from, in the long term, for your own combat mechanics. Though I would caution that a monster "that you have to beat within a certain number of turns to get the good ending" sounds like something that would essentially force the user to save-scum, unless you could also beat it a way that did not rely on random dice-rolls.
No problem, and thanks again for the feedback! I was wondering if it was the music volume that could have been an issue, and I will look into that. When I have my headphones on I can usually hear it, same when they are out. It might just be different sound setups causing them problem, so I'll fiddle around and see what happens.

As for the combat thing, to be clear I didn't mean the good ending of the story. I meant if you beat them in under a certain time then you get one result, and a different one if you take longer. The fights that currently are down to use this mechanic are not (currently) vital, nor do they result in instant deaths if you fail to beat the creature in the set amount of time.

Just to clarify another point, the combat is not currently planned to become interactive, especially to the degree of the examples you gave. Or, at least, it is not currently planned to become that interactive. The expanded combat rules in the later games update things like your ability to rack up bonuses, prevent enemy special attacks, and face enemies with special abilities that modify each round, etc. If/when I hit a point where I have the time and resources to make a more involved system I will gladly put one in. Regardless, it will have to be one that works for those players who don't want to see the combat at all and just skip to the next page with quick combat. That's something that will need a lot of thought and balance, and so is more likely to come down the line.
 
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Grindwheel Games

Grindwheel Games

Junior Member
Jun 6, 2019
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By the way, has anyone hear heard of the SWW podcast? They asked to speak with me about Pale Harbour, and seem to be doing a series of interviews with indie developers when not doing movie and game reviews. I don't know if anyone else might be interested in talking to them.
 
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Grindwheel Games

Grindwheel Games

Junior Member
Jun 6, 2019
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Just as a quick update, I have had a chance to speak with the UI artist, and we have the following priority list. No real expectations on delivery, as it will all depend on when he can find the time.

1 - Character sheet rework. This will likely involve polishing the piece of paper background to make it look less like it has been torn out of a notebook, I have also requested a change to the Medical Supply icons. Right now they are red +'s, standing for the red markings you'd see on a medical kit. I have requested either green ticks to show which boxes you have full, or red X's which will fill in from the end of the row. That means that empty squares will represent the kits you have available, and red X's will cross them out when you use or lose them.

I'll also likely change the Skill to match the Stamina display, with the numerical value under the word. That will give me the real estate to put in a row of boxes to show any skill loss as with Stamina.

2 - Updating all other 'paper' symbols. The idea behind the UI design was that the player was going to be 'reading' a book into which they had inserted ribbons and bookmarks, and the character sheet and notifications were all going to be pieces of paper from a more recent notebook that they had torn out to make notes on. If we are going to update the character sheet then I'd also like to get the notifications and close button remade at the same time. Likely the close button will be replaced with another, unique ribbon, and the notifications will be squared off pieces of card. With fancy borders if I can get them!

3 - Bookends for book 2. The art such as the locked gallery items and black and white images that fill out blank pages were concept art from the start of the project. I have used the same ones in books 2 and 3, even though the same items do not appear in those books. Depending on the time available, these will be updated for book 2 before launch. If not they will be added in later.

Hopefully these changes will help the game feel a little more polished. Once we have all this done, if we have it done, we're going to talk about assets that could be needed for any further work on the combat system. Likely, given how things have gone in the past, this might be everything we can get for a few months at least.
 

Exzyleph

Dark Eroge Lord
Oct 9, 2018
329
503
93
Thank you again for the thorough response.
You seem to have a solid grasp of what you want to do, so I just have a couple of minor comments:

As for the combat thing, to be clear I didn't mean the good ending of the story. I meant if you beat them in under a certain time then you get one result, and a different one if you take longer. The fights that currently are down to use this mechanic are not (currently) vital, nor do they result in instant deaths if you fail to beat the creature in the set amount of time.
I understand that you mean a good ending for the story and not that specific encounter.
In one sense, every encounter has a "timer" built into it in the form of your health, that forces you to reload if it ticks down before you win, but that is something you are used to as a player and it is accepted as part of playing just about any RPG. But it feels a lot more unfair to find out that you were locked out of the good ending to the story because of poor dice rolls in a battle, even though you won that battle. That is why I suggested that there be some way to beat that enemy that did not rely on dice rolls. If the player could, for example, find and use an item that canceled this timer, instantly killed the enemy, or simply avoided that encounter, then that would allow them to take control though their own actions, rather simply being at the mercy of an RNG check earlier in the game when it came to getting the good end to the story.


1 - Character sheet rework. This will likely involve polishing the piece of paper background to make it look less like it has been torn out of a notebook, I have also requested a change to the Medical Supply icons. Right now they are red +'s, standing for the red markings you'd see on a medical kit. I have requested either green ticks to show which boxes you have full, or red X's which will fill in from the end of the row. That means that empty squares will represent the kits you have available, and red X's will cross them out when you use or lose them.
My personal feeling is that it is a lot easier to read an UI that reads as "you have X things in Y thing slots" (like the original medkits), than reading an UI that essentially reads as "you have X empty slots representing things you haven't spent and Y - X filled in slots representing the things you've spent" (like the original stamina), but the important thing is just that the way you read it is consistent between the two (regardless of colors).


2 - Updating all other 'paper' symbols. The idea behind the UI design was that the player was going to be 'reading' a book into which they had inserted ribbons and bookmarks, and the character sheet and notifications were all going to be pieces of paper from a more recent notebook that they had torn out to make notes on. If we are going to update the character sheet then I'd also like to get the notifications and close button remade at the same time. Likely the close button will be replaced with another, unique ribbon, and the notifications will be squared off pieces of card. With fancy borders if I can get them!
Let me be clear that I like the ribbons/bookmarks for saving, the ribbons for options, and the general paper aesthetic (though the character screen is kinda just a white, blurry blob). My problem with the popup was not the look of it as such, but the location and the animation. The save ribbon is also in the exact place that I'd put a bookmark when reading a book, so it felt completely natural that this was where I saved my game. My problem was that the save ribbon had multiple vastly different (conceptually conflicting) functions depending on the screen, and that the "X" close icon didn't act like you'd expect a close icon to act in a program involving multiple screens.


By the way, has anyone hear heard of the SWW podcast? They asked to speak with me about Pale Harbour, and seem to be doing a series of interviews with indie developers when not doing movie and game reviews. I don't know if anyone else might be interested in talking to them.
Do you have a link? I tried looking them up via Google, but couldn't find any such podcast.
 
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Grindwheel Games

Grindwheel Games

Junior Member
Jun 6, 2019
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No worries again, I think that I had the good old blinkers of 'this seems fine and nobody is calling me out on my choices' on, so your feedback has helped shake that. I'll see what happens with regards to the UI as and when assets arrive. But I just want to clarify one thing;

I understand that you mean a good ending for the story and not that specific encounter.
I want to be clear here, I did NOT mean that the fights determine the good end of the story. The timer on the fights determine the good end of the fights alone, and none of them are critical path. I wouldn't do that as, as you have pointed out, if the fight has to be completed in X rounds to win AND that determines if you beat the game, then it becomes even more of a rake to the face.

To use the first one as an example, without giving spoilers, you can explore an area OFF the critical path where you find someone about to be sacrificed. If you beat the enemy blocking your path in X rounds, you save the prisoner and can carry on your merry way. If you take too many rounds to beat the enemy, when you kill them the prisoner is dead, costing you 1 Skill. The player can skip the encounter, and may well do in future runs depending on if they want the stat and and item rewards for completing the whole branch.

Hope that's cleared up the misunderstanding. :) I do know there were some old Fighting Fantasy books that had a mechanic like that, which is why I am not using it myself.

Do you have a link? I tried looking them up via Google, but couldn't find any such podcast.
I Googled them too and found them here; The SWW Show | Listen Free on Castbox.
 
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Grindwheel Games

Grindwheel Games

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Jun 6, 2019
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Good morning! I got so caught up in making sure Blissful Ignorance was working now I have shuffled the page numbers that I nearly forgot to post today's page. For book 3's engine I added a fix to make the story triggers much more dynamic and responsive, but it also means that I need to do a post-shuffle check to be 100% sure everything is pointing the right way. I was trying to work out the best way to automate or shortcut the process, then gave up and started doing it the long way. That means I can be sure it is all in place because I have checked every page myself.

Thankfully this is not going to take anywhere near the usual testing time as all I need to do is check that you are sent to the appropriate pages for a sub-set of the game, rather than every link! Once this is done I'll be sending a testing copy to some friends who have the time to play it, and see what they think.

Anyway, here is the page!





This gaudy set of clothing is ill-tailored and dripping with costume jewellery and unnecessary embellishments. There is a sub-culture of Brutes that consider such apparel to be appealing, but the less said of them, the better.
 
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Grindwheel Games

Grindwheel Games

Junior Member
Jun 6, 2019
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Good morning and happy Friday!

I got Blissful Ignorance to the testers yesterday. It took most of Wednesday and Thursday to be 100% sure that I had fixed all the story triggers, but when I found 2 errors in the build I would say that made it worthwhile. One of them could have meant re-visiting an area in the end game stuck you back at the bottom of the mountain! So, once again, doing things the hard way paid off.

Anyway, here is today's art page. Have a good weekend everyone!



Initially marketed as an amusing children's toy, Blackpowder Flashes led to several injuries and cases of permanent vision loss. Facing bankruptcy, the hapless inventor tried selling them to various hunter's clubs, claiming that they could disorientate some beasts. Luckily for him this turned out to be true, and the items became part of many hunter's standard kits.
 
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Grindwheel Games

Grindwheel Games

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Jun 6, 2019
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wow, that looks great ... i really love the art style! :D

oh, and have a great weekend as well! :)
Thanks! You can see the evolution from book 1 to book 2, with themes like 'the hunter must be a blank the player can project onto'. I especially liked the way Muthur Brine worked that into the costume picture by making them an actual mannequin. Plus, as I said back on Monday, by giving herself a huge canvas to work with she was able to squeeze in a lot more detail.

While I can't do too much in the way of spoilers, she also added colour themes for the various areas and enemies that appear in book 2. The reddish colour in the front page is one example of this, and denotes a specific area of the game.
 

lashman

Dead & Forgotten
Sep 5, 2018
11,334
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Thanks! You can see the evolution from book 1 to book 2, with themes like 'the hunter must be a blank the player can project onto'. I especially liked the way Muthur Brine worked that into the costume picture by making them an actual mannequin. Plus, as I said back on Monday, by giving herself a huge canvas to work with she was able to squeeze in a lot more detail.

While I can't do too much in the way of spoilers, she also added colour themes for the various areas and enemies that appear in book 2. The reddish colour in the front page is one example of this, and denotes a specific area of the game.
sounds really awesome ... can't wait to get my hands on the next one then! :D
 
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Grindwheel Games

Grindwheel Games

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Good morning! I hope you all had a great weekend. Before I post the art page, I would like to mention that I got a shout-out in the Steampunk Explorer (The Steampunk Explorer ) They seem to have a pretty damn good list of everything happening with regards to that genre, as well as a weekly news roundup. If you have a game with steampunk elements, they would probably like to hear from you too!

Now here is today's page;



The woods surrounding Harrows Gate have been left untouched for generations. While the area is considered 'tamed', beasts are allowed to breed in the deep forest so that hunters can gain experience tracking and killing them from the series of fortified lodges constructed by the local nobility. Not every hunt goes according to plan, however...
 
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Grindwheel Games

Grindwheel Games

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Jun 6, 2019
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yup, still LOVE the art style! :cat-heart-blob:
Well if the games got enough traction to warrant it, I was thinking of selling the art as postcards on Shark Robot or another store page. Maybe even gathering them all up as a print-on-demand booklet after enough books have come out. But with the way book 1's been selling, that might be a while off yet.
 

lashman

Dead & Forgotten
Sep 5, 2018
11,334
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Well if the games got enough traction to warrant it, I was thinking of selling the art as postcards on Shark Robot or another store page. Maybe even gathering them all up as a print-on-demand booklet after enough books have come out. But with the way book 1's been selling, that might be a while off yet.
oh yeah ... that's definitely not a bad idea!
 
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Grindwheel Games

Grindwheel Games

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oh yeah ... that's definitely not a bad idea!
Exactly, but it all depends on the audience. If I have a hundred people bouncing around looking for art prints, that could be viable. If I have three people...then whatever it costs to get on the store won't even be covered by that. It's the same reason I have put the idea of a physical, print-on-demand copy of the book on hold. Without a good idea of how well it'll sell the costs are way too high to gamble on.
 
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lashman

Dead & Forgotten
Sep 5, 2018
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Exactly, but it all depends on the audience. If I have a hundred people bouncing around looking for art prints, that could be viable. If I have three people...then whatever it costs to get on the store won't even be covered by that. It's the same reason I have put the idea of a physical, print-on-demand copy of the book on hold. Without a good idea of how well it'll sell the costs are way too high to gamble on.
yeah, that's true ... well in that case - i definitely hope it'll be "hundreds" (or more) :)
 
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Grindwheel Games

Grindwheel Games

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Good morning! I nearly ended up late posting this as I have been working on the Heirloom system for Red Ripper and kind of got caught up in that.

For reference, there will be 9 items people can select to begin the game with. They take up a slot, and give a bonus, possibly offset by a weakness depending on how much utility they have in the game. The list will be the same for every following book, allowing people to take 'their' equipment each time. When combined with the Traits I have planned for book 5 onward, this will add a lot more character to your hunters!

Anyway, here is today's art page. I hope you like it!



There are many dangers out on the moors, including the thick fogs that spring up and cause travellers to lose their way. Many people consider them to be one of the most dangerous hazards of the region. Aside from the Fog Wardens. And renegade Marsh Folk. And Choke Ghosts. And the Revenants. And Gulp-Toads. And Sentient Quickmud...
 
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Grindwheel Games

Grindwheel Games

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Jun 6, 2019
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Happy Friday! I hope everyone has a great weekend.

I've completed the majority of new mechanical changes for book 4, for now, and I'm working on plugging in the critical path entries to ensure that everything works as expected. There are a few new mechanics still to come, some of which might return in later books. For now, I can say that the Heirloom system is in and working, and I have updated how shops work to make them a little more flexible. Specifically, I can now dynamically adjust the prices of items so that, should you help or annoy a shopkeeper, they may give you discounts or charge you a little extra. This also has the added bonus of removing shops from the 'page', which simplifies the code and makes entries a little neater on the back end.

In any case, here is the final page for Vile Philosophy! As before, it is the death image players will get if they manage to get themselves killed through combat, traps, and poor lifestyle choices.



The hunt is a serious, risky business. Those hunters that fall in the line of duty are remembered with memorial statues, where their fate can be determined. For those who vanish without a trace, a small brass plaque on the wall of their local club is the closest they will get to a legacy.
 

lashman

Dead & Forgotten
Sep 5, 2018
11,334
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I've completed the majority of new mechanical changes for book 4, for now, and I'm working on plugging in the critical path entries to ensure that everything works as expected. There are a few new mechanics still to come, some of which might return in later books. For now, I can say that the Heirloom system is in and working, and I have updated how shops work to make them a little more flexible. Specifically, I can now dynamically adjust the prices of items so that, should you help or annoy a shopkeeper, they may give you discounts or charge you a little extra. This also has the added bonus of removing shops from the 'page', which simplifies the code and makes entries a little neater on the back end.
sounds good to me! :thumbsupblob:
 
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Grindwheel Games

Grindwheel Games

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Jun 6, 2019
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i know i will! :) seriously can't wait
Well no need to wait any longer!

Vile Philosophy is now live for purchase on Steam! Featuring an expanded page count, additional enemy combat mechanics, increased enemy variety, Staged Combats, a beautifully trimmed hedge maze, and a soundtrack by Cryo Chamber, I'm pretty happy with this both as a product and as a sequel to Pale Harbour. :)


Sadly the UI artist has been falling behind with things. Mostly this is because his workplace was making him deal with excessive overtime before letting him go. As such there is still no real schedule on UI improvements. Obviously I can't really poke him to focus on that instead of finding work, so please be patient for now.
 
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Grindwheel Games

Grindwheel Games

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Jun 6, 2019
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So, my machine has been dying on its arse and I have not had a chance to update on a couple of issues. The first is that Red Ripper is now critical-path complete and plugged into the PC build! I'll be using this to generate the side paths and other content for it shortly. I am just taking a moment to flesh out the lore with the unlocked entries, then will dive into that.

Secondly, art is starting on Blissful Ignorance, with the first couple of sketches coming my way. When I have something I am happy to show I will post it here!

Thirdly, Pale Harbour is back on Google Play!


After being told 'just send us a build and if it passes our new regulations, it passes' I fired off a new version this morning. Since the store page exists, I assume it passed. You might want to buy a copy before it gets taken down again at random!

The next problem in the list is that when I launched the game first time around, I was in Poland. Google won't let me change this and point at my British bank account, despite being back in the UK. I now have to make a new developer account and shift the app over, then delete the old dev portal. Because that's easier than just having an option to change your address, apparently. Fun times with paperwork abound! Once that is done, Vile Philosophy will be joining Pale Harbour on mobile. Stay tuned!
 

lashman

Dead & Forgotten
Sep 5, 2018
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The next problem in the list is that when I launched the game first time around, I was in Poland. Google won't let me change this and point at my British bank account, despite being back in the UK. I now have to make a new developer account and shift the app over, then delete the old dev portal. Because that's easier than just having an option to change your address, apparently. Fun times with paperwork abound! Once that is done, Vile Philosophy will be joining Pale Harbour on mobile. Stay tuned!
wow, that sounds awful ... hope you can get it sorted soon!
 
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Grindwheel Games

Grindwheel Games

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wow, that sounds awful ... hope you can get it sorted soon!
Yeah, it is a bit of a crazy system. Basically I currently cannot link my store page to a British bank, because my 'current' address is in Poland. You can't change that setting, at all. I can only make a new developer account here in the UK, then shift my apps over to it. That's backwards and insane, but that's how it goes, apparently!
 
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lashman

Dead & Forgotten
Sep 5, 2018
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Yeah, it is a bit of a crazy system. Basically I currently cannot link my store page to a British bank, because my 'current' address is in Poland. You can't change that setting, at all. I can only make a new developer account here in the UK, then shift my apps over to it. That's backwards and insane, but that's how it goes, apparently!
yeah, geez ... fuck google, seriously
 
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Grindwheel Games

Grindwheel Games

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I have started to get sketches through for book 3, while working on all the stuff to get the whole Android situation sorted out. I thought I would share this one as a Sunday treat for when you all get back from church. :p



This is not one of the regular pages, obviously. Given the amount of work needed to complete it I thought it was safe and spoiler-free enough to share. ;) Have fun!
 
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Grindwheel Games

Grindwheel Games

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Exciting news!

Our page artist is working with Sanguine Productions to create a new card game - Horror Stories. This is a solo or multi-player card game with a lot of flexibility. They asked if I would be happy to provide Steam keys for some of the reward pledges, and given all the work they put into the games I was more than up for it.

The Kickstarter campaign can be found here; As you can see it is already funded, but every extra chunk of cash can help push them towards having more sets, expanding the title down the line, etc. It looks pretty cool, and I am happy to share it with you guys!
 
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Grindwheel Games

Grindwheel Games

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Good evening! I have been working hard all day on the voice lines for book 3, which have started to come in. Hopefully with the art and music also coming together I can get the game into a releasable state for Halloween. Spooooooky!

In the meantime, here is some proof my not doing the VO myself was a good idea. I finally had an interview with the SWW podcast,which you can find below;


Hope everyone has a good week!
 

lashman

Dead & Forgotten
Sep 5, 2018
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In the meantime, here is some proof my not doing the VO myself was a good idea. I finally had an interview with the SWW podcast,which you can find below;


Hope everyone has a good week!
lol, nice ... and congrats! :) i'll give it a listen later today
 
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Grindwheel Games

Grindwheel Games

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Jun 6, 2019
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Good afternoon!

I have a few updates that I can share, now that things have moved forward. First off, Vile Philosophy is now available on Google Play!


Obviously it is the plan to make sure all the games from now on will go out at the same time on every available platform, but with all the hoops Android was making me jump through this was just not possible this time around. Still, it is out now and that's something!

On that note, I am working through the voice clips for book 3. My father has (when cruise ships stop hooting as they leave the Tyne) recorded up to page 407, and I've been chewing through them backlog steadily. With art and music we are still set to have Blissful Ignorance launch around the spooky Halloween deadline I have set myself!

Speaking of music, Cryo Chamber has sent me the first samples for review. They have taken it in a slightly different direction to the request, but I actually like what they did enough to go with it! The songs do not work with the planned atmospheric track, which was expecting a lighter, mournful flute and drum combination to fit the lonely, haunted mountain. But, I am sure we can work something out.

Art is also starting to scoot forward, and I will maybe start sharing some of the inked pieces as they become available. I'll try and stick to spoiler-free stuff, although I will keep the general pages for this one hidden until the run up to release.

I hope everyone is having a good week, and I'll keep you posted with news as it happens.
 
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Grindwheel Games

Grindwheel Games

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Thanks for the updates, i find them really interesting.
Well I will try and keep them going. :)

Obviously in this case the majority of weeks the only update would be 'wrote another 200 entries' or 'edited 75 voice clips'. I doubt I could spin that to be fun for people to read, so it is better to wait until there is an important milestone.
 

FunktionJCB

Something Wicked This Way Comes
Oct 10, 2018
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Thanks for the updates, Grindwheel Games . (y)

My backlog is an embarrassment. I have purchased both of your games, but I'm yet to play them. :giggle:
How long does a playthough of each take?

I'll try to play them soon, since I have a little more free time this month.
 
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Grindwheel Games

Grindwheel Games

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Thanks for the updates, Grindwheel Games . (y)

My backlog is an embarrassment. I have purchased both of your games, but I'm yet to play them. :giggle:
How long does a playthough of each take?

I'm try to play them soon, since I have a little more free time this month.
Ooh, that's a hard one. I really don't want to put a time on it, although you should be able to get to an ending state within an hour or so, depending on a few factors. Skipping combat and reading at a faster pace than the narration could cut this down, for instance. But then again I have watched my testers take several hours due to hitting dead ends.

I'd say, for a first run, you might want to set aside an hour or two. I used to play the old Fighting Fantasy books over my lunch breaks, and I could usually beat them in 1-2 when I did complete them. That's roughly the time frame I'm happy to give. :) Hope that helps!