New Artist and Updates

Over the past year or so, we’ve been looking into what it would look like to hire a part time artist for Violet.  Back in 2019, Hannah, our original graphic artist decided to pursue other full time opportunities.  We took that time as a means to evaluate the progress of the game and to seek advice on next steps.  Over the following months, we decided to polish the game with functionality that was cohesive from a gameplay and story perspective.  In mid 2020, we were ready for an artist, but decided to wait because of the pandemic and the economic uncertainties.  In October of 2020, I paid off my house, giving me a lot more flexibility with my budget.  After some searching, we found an artist by the name of Tony Wojnar.

Tony is a freelance pixel artist based in Illinois with a lot of skill and a passion for games.  He has an eye for design and his attention to detail shows immensely in his pixel art.  Though we haven’t worked together long on the project, I can tell he is going to be great to work with.  Tony is going to give life and color to Violet, and I am beyond excited for what his capabilities will do for the project.

Other Notable Features and Fixes in the Past Two Months

We can easily summarize the last couple months with one word:  polish.  There have been so many bug fixes and optimizations that it would be impossible to list them all.  A big contributing factor to why so many things have been cleaned up was we created an input recorder.  This lets us “playback” the game with the exact inputs on the exact frames, making debugging to the frame possible.  We’re able to step through code and memory in ways we’d never been able to before because trying to play the game that precisely is almost impossible to replicate perfectly.

One big feature we added was the ability to heal during gameplay, instead of going to the pause menu.  We are able to equip an edible material to the d-pad and quickly heal our character this way. This way of healing is more fun and strategic since there is not a reason to menu in the heat of the battle.

Finally, the biggest update / refactoring goes to the Layer Depth system.  Several months ago, we built a system for crossing over bridges and swimming under bridges, depending on where the player approached the bridge.  This was working well for the hero, but enemies, weapons, collisions had no concept of this.  We had a lot of updating of the Solider AI system to account for bridges, as well as adding collision support for being in certain layer depths. Though this isn’t all the way complete, but we have overhauled the system enough that we have a good starting point.  Therefore, once we start building out areas, we should be able to update code in places that need a little tweaking.

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