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Grindwheel Games

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Oh, as a side note and a bit of an ego boost, I got a positive review on Steam for Vile Philosophy!

"A wonderfully complex story that really does take me back to the choose-your-own-adventure books. Even after completing it, I'm sure there are more story lines to explore and other options I could have selected. I might even have been able to get a better ending. This idea of nontraditional storytelling is spectacular and I would love to see more of it. The only criticism I can think of is that it would be more engaging if the player were actually able to roll the dice during combat, rather than the game doing it automatically. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed playing this and will likely go through it again." - Hypatia

I am not so blind that I can't see the glaring, trumpeting elephant in the room that is the combat system needing work, but this was pretty nice to wake up to over the weekend. Slightly...too nice. I spent the next night waking up randomly because my brain kept telling me that a) this was a sign that people were going to start buying the games by the hundred and b) they were posting bugs that needed to be fixed asap! Although it is sad the first part isn't true (yet), the fact that things seem pretty bug free overall is a blessing.
 
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Well it's been a while, but the silence has been because I have been sorting things out as fast as I can!

First off, the new music for Blissful Ignorance is done. Cryo Chamber took it in a new direction from my initial request, but the current theme is sinister, unsettling drumming with an ambient layer of droning chants that make for an unsettling combination.

Secondly, the colour art pages are coming in! Here's a humble shopkeeper for people to peer at.



With music done, and art coming in, technically I am good to go for the tablet build by the end of the month. However, the key thing is the voice acting. All of the lines have been recorded, and this week I stormed through 100+ of them, taking the number cut out and ready for review to 425 out of 600+! I estimate that I should be done with this, and therefore any minor adjustments to the text, by the start of September. Reviewing and plugging them in will take another week after that. If I do things like get a trailer sorted in the background (which is possible once I have music and art) then we are absolutely go for a launch on that spookiest of dates - Halloweeeeeeeen!

I'll let people know when I next hit an important milestone. Today I need to deal with some financial stuff and then grind through some more voice clips reviews. Hope everyone has a great weekend!
 
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Thanks for the update, Grindwheel Games ! (y)
No worries! As I have said before, daily or even weekly updates would be things like 'I edited 100 voice clips this week, none of which I can share with you to prevent spoilers'. So when I hit a real milestone I can and will discuss it with you all. :)
Oh! And I forgot to mention a couple of things.

The UI update is sort of going ahead. However, Carlos recently lost his job, so this will happen whenever he has the spare time. Should things look like they are going to drag out for a while, I might have to ask Muthur Brine to help out with that too. Hopefully it will not come to that, but if you could all lend Carlos your energy then I am sure things will work out.

Speaking of positive feelings, Vile Philosophy got another good review...sort of! It was given a thumbs up on Steam by someone who said they found the VO for a female character 'enticing'. Given that all of the voices are done by my father, I passed this feedback on to him, to his amusement.

And finally, I had an idea for a small side project to the series which I have done the basic work on and will set aside until after book 3 is out. Back in the wayback machine, I made a simple maze builder program in Unity to learn a bit of coding while also getting to grips with the 3D stuff like basic movement and rigidbodies. I actually used this to create the hedge maze in Vile Philosophy. Well, I was looking through things the other day, and decided to make that into a small puzzle game.

Currently titled 'Vile Runner', it will be set in the time period between the Vile Philosophers taking over the area with the hedge maze and the player arriving. To amuse themselves, the Philosophers give someone a dose of poison and send them into the ever-changing maze to see if they can make it out before they die. That person will be you. :p It'll be simple, with maybe a few unlocks like character avatars, and just a first-person view. Hopefully people will like it!
 
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Grindwheel Games

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not far enough just yet :(

i've been kinda busy for the past 2 weeks ... but i'll be going back to it soon! :)
No worries, I hope you manage to get the rest! I should have just poked the steam back end, as I can see that nobody has managed the full gallery yet. :p
 
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Well that was exhausting!

I had to move last week, while also trying to get all the voice clips for Blissful Ignorance cut out and ready for polish and plugin. That meant yesterday was an 8am-7pm marathon of voice editing to ensure I am down to finish the game by Halloween. Which is absolutely still the case, as a result of that mini-crunch.

Art is rolling in steadily, as are positive reviews for Pale Harbour and Blissful Ignorance. One curator even posted a 50-minute playthrough of Pale Harbour on Youtube. They died, naturally. ;) But that was still pretty nice to watch.

So, with that milestone dealt with, I now need to knuckle down to plugging in the clips. That should take a week or so. The art is also almost done, and I should have the front cover to share in the next week, if things go to plan. Once the art is all here I can get on Steam, and then focus on taking care of some admin at my end while waiting for release.

Anyway, hope everyone is having a good weekend!
 

lashman

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So, with that milestone dealt with, I now need to knuckle down to plugging in the clips. That should take a week or so. The art is also almost done, and I should have the front cover to share in the next week, if things go to plan. Once the art is all here I can get on Steam, and then focus on taking care of some admin at my end while waiting for release.
good luck! :)

Anyway, hope everyone is having a good weekend!
likewise! :D
 
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Well, my machine tries to eat itself alive and I came down with a cold, but I still managed to get all of the voice clips for book 3 reviewed and plugged in last week. I am sorry for not boosting this post sooner, but I have been recovering from the flu, as well as spending all day doing my taxes. So that was fun!

But yes; Blissful Ignorance is now all sorted barring the last 5 art pages (including the cover), which should be done sometime this week. Once I have the cover I can set up everything I need for the steam page, and when I have all the art I can get a build up and running on PC and mobile. Then I can move on with Red Ripper. That's all done with regards to the critical path, and I'll be able to storm through the side paths with ease in the next few weeks.

The game has been getting a lot of positive traction with Steam Curators, which is great! I am hoping that the addition of the Heirloom and Traits systems in the next couple of books will help to make combat less of a drag, which is a common complaint. Still no news on the UI update, although if the books start selling well I might be able to persuade Muthur Brine to help out with that on top of her regular page art.

Speaking of which...



Her'es a fellow yelling about how he totally isn't a spoiler!

As you can see, Muthur Brine has out-done herself again. There are a number of crowd scenes, several of which remind me of the Garden of Earthly Delights. Her work on all the little details and extras really makes the scenes come to life, in my opinion.

Anyway - once I have book 4 in a good state I am going to knuckle down on that maze-runner program. When I last left it, it was generating a nice X by X maze with a star and end point that the player can go scooting through. I want to adjust the end points to make them a little less predictable, then start looking into getting some assets from the store to make it look pretty. Depending on how things go, I might fold the UI rework into this project and commission some assets that will work for both games.

Hope everyone had a great weekend! When I have the front cover I'll be updating the theme of this thread, and post a copy here for people to enjoy. That should hopefully be the next post from my end.
 

lashman

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I came down with a cold
oh no ... get well soon!

But yes; Blissful Ignorance is now all sorted barring the last 5 art pages (including the cover), which should be done sometime this week.
fingers crossed :)

The game has been getting a lot of positive traction with Steam Curators, which is great!
that's great to hear, congrats

When I have the front cover I'll be updating the theme of this thread, and post a copy here for people to enjoy. That should hopefully be the next post from my end.
can't wait! :)
 
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Good morning!

So, there was a bit of a problem with the page art, most notably the artist stopped working on the last few images to do some other work...without telling me. Once we got that squared away, the last few pages came in pretty quickly. I spent the weekend getting everything ready for the Steam page, so now I am just waiting on the trailer and then we're good to go! Today I will be making sure the tablet build is all good too, but for all the faff they do, Google is generally a lot quicker to set up, so that shouldn't take all day.

In the meantime, please enjoy the full cover below!



This was actually going to be one of the page images, but I liked the pose of the creature so much that we re-did the page it was going to be and made this the front cover. Given how things sort of trickled off at the end that seems to have been for the best.

As promised, with this game approaching release, I have added the next in line to the website. Book 5 will be...Tattered Sails! YOU will take on the onerous duty of protecting a group of treasure-seeing archaeologists as they unearth the remains of a village lost to an unknown disaster. But beneath the muck and ruins lies an obscene power that thirsts to be set free once more...

In addition, I have named the maze runner game as The Harrow Run. While getting Red Ripper up and running I have been poking this in my spare time. Right now everything seems about ready to go for polish and getting some decent 3d assets for the hedge maze. I am going to clear Red Ripper out of the way first, then settle down and see what can be done about that. For reference, Red Ripper is up to 500+ pages, and has plenty of side paths, dead ends and fights to go. I expect it to end up pushing to 600 mark, so that will be more fun when it comes to editing and plugging in the voiceover!

That's everything for now. I hope people have a great week, and I'll let you all know when the trailer is up.
 
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Blissful Ignorance's store page is now live!


I know this is sort of skipping a step, but with the trailer still not done, and the whole 'you must be live for 2 weeks before you can launch' thing, I thought it made more sense to go live with the page now and add the trailer when it is done. The page does contain a number of images in screenshots, so if you want to get a preview of some more of the amazing art that Muthur Brine did for this book you can take a look as well.

Don't forget to wishlist! I'll let you all know when the trailer is ready for you as well.
 
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The Blissful Ignorance trailer is here! And it is breaking the internet!

Or, more realistically, the new program we used has saved it at a whopping 300MB in size, which I noticed when I tried to upload it to my website. Obviously, that didn't work, so I have had to leave the video there blank. Thankfully Facebook and Steam both accepted it in the meantime. The trailer is currently in for review by Valve as part of the final approval process, and I have included a link to the Facebook version below for people to enjoy.


As a quick note, this time around I did not include the ambient layer in the trailer. This consists of some dark chanting, and I thought that would impact the VO unless we faded it up and down as happens in game, so this time you just get the pure theme music. This is, again, an original work by Cryo Chamber, and I feel it fits well with the bleak and forbidding atmosphere of the game.

With this, I now have everything sorted for the book, barring the eventual release. I'll start posting the page art in the run up to Halloween as expected, and let you all know when we have some more news. In the meantime, I am just hammering away at book 4. I hope to have it written by the end of the week, and hopefully all primed to go into full production with editing and such by the end of the year.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!
 
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And fixed!

So the new program we were using for the trailer demanded an update. When the update was applied it deleted the program and would not let it re-install. After some faffing and tech support, it came back and the trailer is now small enough to fit on the website. Good news!

I've almost finished writing book 4 as well. We're currently looking at it sitting around 630 pages, before I add in the Easter egg endings and any side paths that have been missed so far. I assume you all know about the alternative endings, right? ;) In any case, when that is all done we'll be near 640-650 ish. Like book 2 there is a 'maze' section, which does bulk it out, although it is a lot more like a large dungeon than a hedge maze and so has way more detail.

Anyway, once the core book is written I am going to try and get the games on some other platforms, such as the Apple store and GoG. That'll be a side project to plugging in all systems and making sure book 4 is good to go in 2020. I'll keep people updated on that progress for sure!
 

lashman

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So the new program we were using for the trailer demanded an update. When the update was applied it deleted the program and would not let it re-install. After some faffing and tech support, it came back and the trailer is now small enough to fit on the website. Good news!
whew, crisis averted! :)

Anyway, once the core book is written I am going to try and get the games on some other platforms, such as the Apple store and GoG. That'll be a side project to plugging in all systems and making sure book 4 is good to go in 2020. I'll keep people updated on that progress for sure!
sounds good to me! :thumbsupblob:
 
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And the game has been approved! There are now no roadblocks between me and the Halloween launch. I have also finished off the core book for Red Ripper, and I am in the process of plugging all the entries in before the long sessions of checking all the links are working as expected. That will be livened up by attempting to get onto the other platforms, although I doubt that'll be in time for Halloween at this stage.

A busy week with plenty of updates! Hopefully this will make up for the dry spell once book 3 is done and book 4 is going through things like voice over. :)
 

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And the countdown begins!

I was going to try and sync up the releases of page art with the final release of the game, but decided that sticking to the Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule was a little more sensible. As such, here is today's first piece of general artwork!



Tales of the Hungry Desert was initially sold as a true account of the fall of the Ochre Kingdoms upon release. However, glaring inaccuracies in everything from religious practices to place names caused outrage in the Calif-In-Exile's court. To avoid a diplomatic incident the author was questioned, and admitted that the work was actually a satire of UIC politics. After paying a significant fine and printing an apology, all copies of the book that could be found were amended to note that they were works of fiction. This rare copy does not contain the retraction.

Books play a pretty big role in Blissful Ignorance, as you guys will see. As a side note, there is a planned book that will take place in the Hungry Desert, although I won't go into spoilers for that right now. :)
 
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I got caught up working on Red Ripper and nearly forgot to post the second page image! Thankfully I remembered what day it was before it got too late. ;) Please find it attached below. As a note, I hope to have Red Ripper to the editing and testing phase by the end of the week. I'll then be going through each entry with a fine toothed comb making sure it points where it should point, and that the text is as good as it'll get before going to the editors.

Anyway, enjoy the new art and lore!




The Illustrated Anatomy series covers the most commonly found creatures, natural and unnatural, that can be found in the world. This volume, dealing with Harpies and other avian menaces, was recalled and censored when it was discovered that the author had inserted a chapter claiming that pureblood humans and Harpies are related through a common ancestor. Interestingly, this copy contains this section without alteration.
 
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Happy Friday! Thankfully as I have a list of fixes to do today before I settle into work I remembered to post this time. :p

So, I hope that by the end of today or tomorrow I will have Red Ripper at the next stage of development. That's where I print out a simplified version of the book, where each page simply lets me know where the links point to and any circumstances that change this such as having objects or story triggers active. I'll then check that these are correct, before re-reading the contents of the page and doing my best to remove any errors so the whole thing is as clean as possible when it goes to the editors. It'll be a slog, but hopefully it'll all be done by the end of November.

That will give me a little more time to work on the maze runner side game. Once 2020 rolls around I can post Red Ripper to the editors and make a start on Tattered Sails while it is with them. With luck we should be on track for another Halloween launch!

In any case, here is today's image. Hope everyone has a great weekend!



Gazing Upon the Abyss is a collection of short poems that caused some controversy when it was released. Many of the contributors had spent time 'recovering' in Bedlam houses, or were otherwise known to be of a morbid disposition. A keen-eyed hunter who purchased the book noticed certain references to forbidden knowledge in one poem, and the writer was subsequently discovered to be a worshipper of the Bleak Gods. As can be seen here, the owner of this copy has rightly locked it in a cabinet to prevent unwary readers being exposed to the contents.

 
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lashman

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In any case, here is today's image. Hope everyone has a great weekend!
LOVE IT!!! :) it might be the best one so far! :D and i hope you'll have a great weekend too

Many of the contributors had spent time 'recovering' in Bedlam houses, or were otherwise known to be of a morbid disposition.
strangely enough - this bit reminds me of this:


(if you don't know this sketch - watch the video ... you'll know which bit i'm referencing :p)
 
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(if you don't know this sketch - watch the video ... you'll know which bit i'm referencing :p)
That one is a classic! I remember when I worked on Runescape, one of the best ever QA bugs I got was for the Ex-Ex-Parrot pet (an undead parrot you bring back to life by putting in a magical cage). The bug was that when you put the dead parrot into the cage, the description says it is pining woefully. But, the tester said, at this stage it is still fully dead and wouldn't be moving around or making noises. Therefore this was a mistake. I had to explain the joke to them, but they did get it in the end. ;)
 

lashman

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That one is a classic! I remember when I worked on Runescape, one of the best ever QA bugs I got was for the Ex-Ex-Parrot pet (an undead parrot you bring back to life by putting in a magical cage). The bug was that when you put the dead parrot into the cage, the description says it is pining woefully. But, the tester said, at this stage it is still fully dead and wouldn't be moving around or making noises. Therefore this was a mistake. I had to explain the joke to them, but they did get it in the end. ;)
hahahahahahaha ... that's AMAZING!!! šŸ˜‚
 
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hahahahahahaha ... that's AMAZING!!! šŸ˜‚
The BEST bug I ever got sent was a double-urgent, class A, game-breaking emergency. I came in on Monday morning and found it in my inbox along with frantic 'deal with this immediately!' emails. Basically, people were not getting experience at the right levels, which was obviously breaking the game. :O I checked, and things seemed to be ok, so I contacted the QA guys that sent it to me. Apparently the issue was that people stopped getting boosted experience. I texted the XP boosts from the double-xp system, and it worked fine. He then told me 'no, no. I mean the double xp from the double xp weekend! That stopped working at midnight on Monday morning!'

There was a genuine, real life comedic pause, and then I explained that was what was supposed to happen.
 
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And we start the new week with a new art page!

So, I had to work a lot over the weekend, but Red Ripper is almost ready for the next stage of development. I should be able to get it started today, so that's pretty good. I have also started poking around to see if I can find a 3D artist who can make the assets I am after for the maze runner. When book 4 is moving onto the next stage of production, or even completed on that front, I want to have a good run at that before I send it off for editing. That should leave me with enough free time to focus on getting the games onto different platforms as well.

In any case, here is today's page and lore!



The UIC is faced with a quandary when it comes to information. Some facts are simply too horrific for the average person to know without sowing panic through the population. But, at the same time, these things cannot be excised and forgotten in case they turn out to be useful. Anyone but a licensed scholar, hunter, or priest that tried to gain access to these dreadful secrets would face the highest of sanctions. But then again, some argue that consulting the works fettered in these dungeons is a dreadful punishment in itself.
 
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Well, there will be a slight delay in working on book 4. But for good reasons!

As I was going through checking all the pages I ran across one that did not split properly. After multiple attempts I realised that there is still a bug somewhere in the code that takes all the text and spreads it across both pages. This will be in the older games, but through luck or pure fortune it has not come up before. So, I am going to take the time to re-do the system and update them to use text meshes. At the very least, even if this does not fix everything it will allow for me to make the game's text justified finally.

As it stands the map of nodes is all printed out and ready to press on with. At worst I will spend a day on this, and if it is not fixed, I'll come back to it on fix-it-Fridays while concentrating on core development. Given that I am still way ahead of where I was this time last year with book 3, this is not too big of a deal. Just letting people know, as per my 'whenever I have news I'll tell you' policy! :)
As a little note I will probably not roll out the fix to the older games. That could mess with the splitting in those games and so cover up page images, or require entries to be re-written and re-edited. We have avoided the bug so far and I'd rather not create new ones in the old books!
 
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And...done!

The old system was actually a little more convoluted than it needed to be, and worked out how many words needed to be shifted to page 2, moving them over one at a time until page 1 was no longer overflowing. I've corrected that to work out when page 1 hits an overflow point and start adding to page 2 from that point onward. There were a few bugs caused by using the text mesh pro, and it took a while to find a reliable way to compare the characters you should see to the ones you can actually see, but it appears to be working. I've restarted the editing process to check all the pages I had looked at so far, and have 'upgrade all text to text meshes' down in my fix-it-Friday list.

Hopefully I will find all of the edge cases and issues with the new system while checking this book, and this will prove to be more robust in the future. As noted I don't feel safe taking it back to the earlier ones in case that breaks all kinds of stuff. But this will certainly do for moving ahead. :)
 

lashman

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And...done!
woohoo! :D

Hopefully I will find all of the edge cases and issues with the new system while checking this book, and this will prove to be more robust in the future. As noted I don't feel safe taking it back to the earlier ones in case that breaks all kinds of stuff. But this will certainly do for moving ahead. :)
here's hoping ... and good luck! :)
 
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Good morning all! Here is today's page image and lore. As I said yesterday I spent a chunk of time working on updating the engine in book 4, and one of the Steam Curators I sent the book to has discovered some bugs in Vile Philosophy. When my machine stops gridlocking long enough for me to get in and fix them I will be taking care of that in the morning, then settling down to work on more of Red Ripper. Fun stuff!

In any case, here is today's page image and lore. :)



Hunters keep extensive notes on the beasts they have faced in case such beings should reappear in later times. Even mundane outbreaks of ravenous undead are recorded and analysed to give the next generation even a fractional advantage under similar situations. When on the trail of a particularly dangerous foe, any hunter with common sense will consult these extensive, often poorly catalogued archives.