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Shinmera
Mar 25, 2013




Kandria is now on Steam! Wishlisting would help us out a lot!



Kandria is a game about an android re-awakening in a post-apocalyptic future.

Shortly after the development of androids, the earth is struck by calamity. The surface world is wiped clean, and most life on the planet extinguished. All that remains are vast underground tunnel systems that humanity has left in its wake. Most survivors have gathered up in a few groups and settled into camps underground to escape the blazing sunlight above. With few resources to go by, information on modern technology lost, and rabid animals roaming the tunnels, survival is harsh.

You play as The Stranger, a lost remnant of old-world technology. With your combat and detective skills you help a struggling surface settlement survive. Along the way you'll encounter different people with very different ethics and ideas about humanity and the world as a whole.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLGjjfNTL78



This project soft-started in November of 2018, though it only really took form around July 2019.

Initially I was very strongly inspired by Celeste and aimed to make a platformer like it, but over time my interests shifted to a more story-heavy detective adventure game, and ultimately evolved into the project it is today: a hack and slash platformer mix, set in the post apocalyptic future.

I've always had an avid interest in making games even when I was very young, and so I've always been dabbling around with making games in one form or another. Over time I developed my own game engine, which I've also used for a few Ludum Dare games, together with some friends of mine. With Kandria however I decided it is time to take a step further and develop a proper, full-length, commercial game. I've wanted to do this for a while, but until now never managed to scrape together the courage to go forward.

Developing a game like this from scratch takes a tremendous amount of work. I'm very glad that I got the opportunity to test and refine the core engine in jam games before I embarked on this, but there's still a lot of stuff that had to be made specifically for the game, too. I've had to develop tools to create levels and edit combat animations, had to make my own formatting language for NPC dialogue, create a rendering system, and so forth.

Fortunately I'm nearing the end of the pre-production work, so most of the game engine features and tooling is now in place. You can look at the roadmap below to see what still needs to be done.

Naturally programming isn't all there is to a game, so I've also had to do character and world design, make sprite animations, and think about the world building and story. The only major artistic component still missing from the game is sound, which is also an area I don't have a lot of experience with.

https://shinmera.com/files/kandria.mp4



I hope that this thread can spark some discussion on the game. I'm very happy to receive feedback, and also attribute people for their suggestions and reports! I'm very open about the development process and would gladly answer any questions you might have about how things are done, and what the plans for the future are.

I'll also post updates in here whenever there's something new to show off.



You can download a free demo for the game to try it out here.
This will also get you onto the mailing list with weekly development update posts!

If you want to read the game design document, you can also do so (at the risk of spoiling yourself) here.



Currently the development team consists of three people:

  • Shinmera (programmer, artist)
  • Fred (artist)
  • Tim (writer)




The game is currently in production and we've completed a full vertical slice. Major steps still left to do are listed here:

  • Build a full version of the first act of the game for release as a free demo on Steam
  • Build a horizontal slice to paint the entire game's story and world in broad strokes
  • Flesh the horizontal slice out into a full game
  • Polish the hell out of it




Aside from the weekly in-depth development mails there's also public monthly posts that summarise the development progress. Here's some recent updates:

  • April Vertical slice done and available for download!
  • March First underground region coming together, closing in on vertical slice.
  • February Main home base shaping up, lots of fancy effects.
  • December - 2020 in review
  • November - Full team, combat almost done, new lighting, so much stuff.
  • October - New team members, v0.0.3 release, and more!
  • September - Recruitment, world design
  • August - v0.0.2 Release, movement and level designer improvements
  • July - Core game engine rewrites
  • June - First enemy type, development roadmap
  • May - Creative block due to Covid and university
  • April - Combat system and animations

Shinmera fucked around with this message at 19:37 on Apr 11, 2021

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Shinmera
Mar 25, 2013


Here's some animation work and concept art for the game:


The cover for the grant application


Main cast profiles I drew today


Early protagonist design concepts


Final protagonist design


In-game dialogue profile


In-game player animations

I also post progress gifs on twitter:

https://twitter.com/Shinmera/status/1294203891496693760
https://twitter.com/Shinmera/status/1292798391316107265

Shinmera fucked around with this message at 14:09 on Aug 26, 2020

oscarthewilde
May 16, 2012


I would often go there
To the tiny church there


looks interesting and i'll definitely be paying close attention. you might wanna look at the links to your images tho, i can't get them to load which makes your OP like a bit sparse.

Shinmera
Mar 25, 2013


oscarthewilde posted:

looks interesting and i'll definitely be paying close attention. you might wanna look at the links to your images tho, i can't get them to load which makes your OP like a bit sparse.

Aw poo poo, I beansed it, huh, even after testing it in a private window. I replaced the image host now, so hopefully it'll show up this time!

Thanks for the kind words so far!

syntaxrigger
Jul 6, 2011

Actually you owe me 6! But who's countin?



Shinmera posted:


[img]https://filebox.tymoon.eu//file/TWpBek9RPT0=[/timg]



Looks like you have a broken image tag. Opening is [img] the closer is [timg].

Great post and great work!

Shinmera
Mar 25, 2013


That's odd, I'm not seeing that problem anywhere? I did see that I missed a [ for a different tag, which is fixed now.

Thanks though, I should have some more updates tomorrow!

Haex
Jun 2, 2007


Seems to be showing up fine for me.
Bump for a great art style.

Shinmera
Mar 25, 2013


Well hey, didn't expect today to turn out so depressing, so I didn't get as much done as I thought I would. Sorry about that!

Here's two more profile animations I managed to put together:




I think I'll try to do some development livestreams next week, though scheduling those is always difficult with the huge time difference between Europe and the US.

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

I find it's a good idea to have a stock of small/easy stuff you can do when you don't feel up to doing anything complicated. Sometimes all you get done is a bit of simple art or something and that's fine! It's hard to have too much art in a game.

Wipfmetz
Oct 12, 2007

Sitzen ein oder mehrere Wipfe in einer Lore, so kann man sie ueber den Rand der Lore hinausschauen sehen.

Looks cute, I'm looking forward to it.

And I think it's kinda funny that you're using Lisp for this.

Shinmera
Mar 25, 2013


TooMuchAbstraction posted:

I find it's a good idea to have a stock of small/easy stuff you can do when you don't feel up to doing anything complicated. Sometimes all you get done is a bit of simple art or something and that's fine! It's hard to have too much art in a game.

Yeah, that's a good idea. I have a spreadsheet with rough todo items, but nothing for just small stuff. I'll have to get started on that, thanks!


Thank you! And yeah, Lisp's history lends this a bit of irony, even if Lisp isn't used much for AI these days.

syntaxrigger
Jul 6, 2011

Actually you owe me 6! But who's countin?



Shinmera posted:

That's odd, I'm not seeing that problem anywhere? I did see that I missed a [ for a different tag, which is fixed now.

Thanks though, I should have some more updates tomorrow!

Maybe I got the issue wrong but it looks fixed now.

Shinmera
Mar 25, 2013


I've hit a snag with the sound system stuff and that was sufficiently frustrating that I've switched gears for a bit. I added the dialogue system back in:



I also wrote in a bit of detail how it works in the latest weekly.

Anyway, I wanted to ask if there's specific games you guys know of that have particularly neat dialogue systems, or interesting effects that play out during dialogue.

You know, stuff like in Katana Zero:



Adding text effects is pretty low on my priority list, but it never hurts to have more reference material!

Desdinova
Dec 16, 2004
I had to be on my toes, like a midget at a urinal!

So is the protaganist a android? Wasn't sure at first, it would explain the double jump. That and rocket shoes.

Looks like it could turn out well, hope you get the grant!

Shinmera
Mar 25, 2013


Yeah, you play as an android among surviving humans. The conflict between machine and individual is one of the central themes of the game.


Thanks! The grant application the original trailer was made for already flew through unfortunately, though that was expected. The feedback I got from the jury was very positive though: essentially they said "it looks very promising, but you need a team," which I agree with. I can apply again next March -- hence I'm aiming for a full vertical slice by then.

I'm working on finding new people soon, but I'm very hesitant about it. I've never done recruiting before, and I can't hire people for full time jobs either as I currently lack the funds for that.

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

The main dialog system that's made me sit up and notice lately is Celeste's. Specifically, the voice "warbles" do a fantastic job of conveying mood, especially when combined with variable text scroll speed. Madeline's text goes faster and she has a higher-pitched warble when she's happy/excited, but when she's scared it gets really high and slows down. And her sarcastic mood is always funny.

Shinmera
Mar 25, 2013


Ah, yeah, they pulled that off really well. I'll have to add text speed controls for sure.

I've been on the fence about whether to include voice effects or voice acting in the game for a while. So far I'm still tending towards having things silent, except for occasional sound effects to liven it up, but if the budget works out well voice acting could be in it, too. I don't think I could pull off the voice effects well enough to not ruin the mood.

Shinmera
Mar 25, 2013


Probably gonna put out the monthly update tomorrow, but I just wanted to share some good news, since I'm feeling really relieved right now: the sound engine is almost complete, and only minor optional parts still need to be added. I ran some successful tests today and I'm just really glad to finally be able to put this to rest after months of pretty painful code kerfucklery.

I'll also try to put together some neat examples to visualise the system's capabilities tomorrow. The next demo release (maybe next month?) should also include some placeholder effects and music, then.

Shinmera
Mar 25, 2013




Alright, didn't have time to get the audio engine demos done, but I did write the monthly update and a second article on the sound system itself.

Much to my own surprise I actually got a lot more done this month than I thought I did. Funny how that works, sometimes!

SSJ_naruto_2003
Oct 12, 2012





I love the art

Shinmera
Mar 25, 2013


SSJ_naruto_2003 posted:

I love the art



Aw, thank you very much!

itry
Aug 23, 2019






Shinmera posted:

You play as The Stranger, a lost remnant of old-world technology. With your combat and detective skills you help a struggling surface settlement survive. Along the way you'll encounter different people with very different ethics and ideas about humanity and the world as a whole.

Kinda sounds like Planescape: Torment (not the settlement part). Is that intended?

Shinmera
Mar 25, 2013


itry posted:

Kinda sounds like Planescape: Torment (not the settlement part). Is that intended?

Here's my shameful secret: I haven't played Planescape yet. I've wanted to for years but never found the time.

Maybe I should finally just start it with the excuse of it being research for the game.

itry
Aug 23, 2019






I just assumed you've played it because of the similarities (the game explores different ethical beliefs and the nature of the self. The main character is called The Nameless One, and he's so old he may as well be a remnant of a gone by age), but it's perfectly ok not to have played an old cRPG that's pretty clunky by modern standards.

Shinmera
Mar 25, 2013


Yeah, the clunk is one of the reasons I've been procrastinating on it for so long. Still, I think it could be valuable reference material!

In development news, I started working on an integrated feedback system so that you can just hit a button and send a bug report with a screenshot and logs attached. Should make it much easier to collect that stuff.

And, I've finally put out a job listing:

https://kandria.com/team-search.html?a

If you know anyone that would be interested in a pixel artist or writer position, I'd appreciate it if you could let them know!

Wipfmetz
Oct 12, 2007

Sitzen ein oder mehrere Wipfe in einer Lore, so kann man sie ueber den Rand der Lore hinausschauen sehen.

Shinmera posted:



Aw, thank you very much!
That's pretty. The lines are a bit jagged and too intense, but overall it's pretty.

Shinmera
Mar 25, 2013


Yeah, I started looking at anti-aliasing and will do it for all of the animations in-between tasks. Just fits better with the dialogue box than the jagged lines.

In hiring news, I've been getting far more applications than I ever expected, which is really exciting. It's also going to take a while to get through them all, though.

Here's to finding good team members!

PTizzle
Oct 1, 2008


Played around with the prototype - like the look of it a lot and the movement/jumping feels sharp. I'm looking forward to seeing it with sound as I think it'd add quite a bit of atmosphere, I dabble in making sound effects and really enjoy it but I'm probably not technically sharp enough to offer any useful guidance sadly.

Will keep an eye on this going forward, good luck!

Shinmera
Mar 25, 2013


Thanks! Yeah, I'm eager to add that for the next demo. The past week, including today, was spent just going through the 134 applications I've gotten so far. Got some good candidates, but interviews and contracting and all that are still out.

I'll probably spend tomorrow going through sound libraries and finding fitting samples just to get something together. Will post a video when I do!

E: even if you don't feel technically super competent or anything, I'd definitely appreciate your input!

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

I got a Soundsnap subscription and it's been a huge help. The GDC sound packs are nice enough but you can spend ages searching through them for a specific sound and come up dry. Or you can just type some vague search terms into Soundsnap's site and find a bunch of relevant stuff.

Everything still has to be adjusted in Audacity first of course.

Shinmera
Mar 25, 2013


Yeah I was gonna go through all the GDC packs, spent a good while looking through those for the trailer. Soundsnap sounds great though, thanks for the tip!

Shinmera
Mar 25, 2013


Good news: I've had my first interview with a writer and it was very positive! I'll do some more interviews during the week I hope. I also got to trying out some sound effects:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ufv_1EYNNDQ

I'm not too happy with it yet, but I suppose it'll have to do as placeholders. Makes the world feel super empty though, so I'll see about finding some music to go along with it tomorrow.

Shinmera
Mar 25, 2013


Alright, finally finished with all the application processing, replied to everyone, and interviewed most of the suitable candidates. There's two more interviews to go next week, and then I'll have to make a final decision on who to pick. I'm already aggravating over that because I have some really good people on offer.

After that it'll be time to form a contract and get that stuff signed and settled, so if all goes well the team should be bigger by November if not earlier already!

I'm very excited, but also quite a bit afraid of what this is going to bring.

Shinmera
Mar 25, 2013




Well poo poo, I haven't updated here in a while, but hey I finally managed to squeeze that new demo update out, so version 0.0.3 is now finally live!

Got a new level, sound, dialogue, and other new mechanics in there.

There's also a new monthly update blog where I talk a bit more about the new features, the hiring, and the roadmap for the future!

Joey Steel
Jul 24, 2019

Big Dictatorship-of-the-proletariat Energy


I don't have much to say, but I'm deffo following this. Neat to watch the development of a game project.

Shinmera
Mar 25, 2013


Thanks! If there's a particular aspect you're interested in I'd gladly answer questions and elaborate on the process.

Shinmera
Mar 25, 2013


Last year I did a bunch of dev live streams on Twitch and I'm thinking of doing that again. If you're interested, please vote on which stream times you'd prefer:

https://www.strawpoll.me/21115642

Since I live in Europe I'm afraid I can't do times that are in the evening for the US. My brain turns to mush after about 22:00.

Also, next week the new artist, Fred, is going to start working! I'm really excited to see what he's going to get together, but also a bit anxious since I've never really had to manage a team like that before, and I imagine with all the custom engine stuff the introduction is going to be a bit rougher.

This week I spent a lot of time fixing bugs, improving the editor, and most of all, writing documentation of the various systems and things, so hopefully that'll help a bit to ease the learning curve.

vandalism
Aug 4, 2003


Can you take this in more of a Johnny Five Aces direction?

Shinmera
Mar 25, 2013


Tell you what, I'll at least put an easter egg reference to Johnny into the game.

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ErrEff
Feb 13, 2012

Have you heard the good news?

Look deeply into my eyes.

STADIA!


This looks very promising, seems like you've got a bunch of stuff figured out already that will make things a lot easier down the road.

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