Today is the longest day of the year: time for a review of what we’ve done for La leggenda di Borgo Bello over the last few months and what we are still planning until we’ll release the first demo.
Idea, suitable game engine (Godot, if you want to read more about it) and motivation were there, now the foundation for the game was missing. Of course this means the player, in our case this is Kira.
We found the sprites on opengameart.org and edited them. With some code Kira learned to walk and can be controlled with the arrow keys of the keyboard. With clicking certain keys or just mouse click she can talk to objects and other characters. The dialogue system already works pretty well and by selecting one of the possibilities different dialogs can be created and actions can be triggered. This is also very practical for exercises with gap texts.
Of course, Kira now needed an environment where she could walk around and interact with. From many sprites we gradually assembled our landscape, the houses and the decorations.
The next steps are to first furnish the houses from the inside, which are important for the first actions, and to give them residents who will advance the storyline. This is a lot of manual work and has been the most time consuming part so far.
The most complicated aspect was the change of scene when Kira enters and leaves buildings like the church. That works out quite well now, unfortunately there are still some things that reset themselves unintentionally, but this is also at the top of our list.
Kira can also interact with objects as soon as she enters a defined area in the vicinity, for example collecting objects or starting dialogs with NPCs (non-player characters).
The NPCs cannot be controlled and run randomly from their fixed starting points.
Of course, this is not the ideal situation… except perhaps for the cows on the farm. We plan that the individual characters have fixed movements for each day and go to different, predefined places at different times. Then village life seems more lively and less random. These movements are realized by a loop, since the time of day has no fixed limit, i.e. a day lasts as long as you need to complete all tasks.
As you probably already suspect, there will be a quest system in the game that sets and manages the tasks. In the future, we’d like to implement a daytime mechanic that shows the overall progress of the day. This is best done in a natural and subtle way: the day starts in the morning, the sun shines at noon at 50 percent of the day’s progress, the evening rings in towards the end, and Kira has to go to bed when all the tasks for the day have been completed.
We are still considering if and how we can add weather such as rain, snowfall or storm to the game. Actually, we are already sure that we want to do this, just so that there will be more variety between different days and Kira can put on a yellow raincoat in case of bad weather.
We already have the basic layout for the menu and the grammar and vocabulary appear automatically when Kira has found or learned them.
What is missing are an inventory, which should be behind the Kira button, the settings, the help and possibly some more menu items and displays. Then we extend and improve the menu and integrate setting possibilities like volume, full screen mode, saving and loading of game states etc. and fill in further contents and sub-menus to the individual characters and friendships.
Our player Kira can interact with the world and explore it. She can already learn vocabulary and grammar, which can be viewed through the menu. The NPCs are already in the village and Kira can talk to them and the dialogues have different choices, for example for gap texts to practice.
The next steps are:
- Furnishing more houses from the inside and decorating more from the outside
- Integrate the coat of arms of Borgo Bello as logo and decorative element (be curious)
- Give the inhabitants of Borgo Bello more dialogue so that Kira can talk to them.
- The residents should receive all backstories and planned daily routines.
- Expand menu and also technically connect with the game with it
- Create inventory system
- Implementation of the daytime mechanics incl. lighting effects of street lamps, luminaires etc.
(*) tl;dr is short for too long; didn’t read and is the summary for all who have only flown over the text