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The Flow of Battle


Welcome back everyone! This latest go-round in development has seen us focusing on the systems behind the systems - battle animation timing and effects, those pernicious status effects that can throw a wrench in your best plans, and unit animations.

In other words, the backbone behind everything!

So let's jump in with a look at some new battle animations:

Battle Timing

Every fight is made up of a slew of systems running in the background, from unit editors, equipment and stat systems, animation systems, and many more. We've been working on all of these, toying with the timing of attack animations and skill animations, like Poncho's powerful Smashing Shank:


And different skills have different effects, all which require precise timing on the animation side, like the Ranger's crossbow attack, which lacks the height advantages of a bow, but makes up for it in range and armor piercing ability:


Some encounters, like the classic dodge and counter below, require even more precise iterations on the animations and systems running in the background. This Kitsune with the blind status effect has even less chance of hitting, but little does he know that our Cavalier's shield lessens those odds even more.

Add in the counter attack reaction skill, and this enemy Kitsune never stood a chance. Which is honestly super sad because he's really cute.


I Don't Feel So Good...

Status effects - the good, the bad, and the ugly! They pose an interesting design challenge, especially as they begin to stack on your troops. As we've been designing visuals, we've also been deciding how best to visualize the callouts for status updates, as you can see below:


When only a limited number of afflictions apply to your characters, we'll have a standard single callout like these above, or below in a typical battlefield example:


This is to keep the information as clean as possible, while still having an at-a-glance view of effects.

But what if a soldier has more than five afflictions, both good and bad? Well in that circumstance, we're toying with a two-callout system, with positive effects in the upper right, and negative effects in the bottom left as seen below:


Of course, what good are callouts if you're not sure what each symbol represents? There will be a repository in-game of all status effects along with the symbols that go-along with them so new players can familiarize themselves with the status effects as they go. A few of our current iterations are below:


Royal Pains

Just because Vashti and Desmond work for Queen Venezia and her right-hand general, Wulff, doesn't mean they always have to like it. The Queen has been acting erratically of late, and ever since the King has fallen ill, rumor has it that Wulff and Venezia have been a little too chummy.

So we've been focusing on our Royal Pains, fleshing out their animations and prepping them for all the drama that's unfolding in Dantalion, starting with Wulff:


And of course, our regal lady, Queen Venezia, can't be bothered to sit on her royal bum all day. Last we heard she's been pacing around the castle, anxious about something. Perhaps it's her new animations and portrait? Or maybe something more sinister....



As always, we're plugging away and creating some unique character animations as well for our classes, fleshing out alternative attack patterns and exceptions to the normal play style, as with our Cavalier classes two-handed strike and shield block:


Oh wait... and that desert looks vaguely familiar. That's right, Becca's got some more assets added like those below, so Seco Desert is ready for fighting!



Until Next Time, Stay Cool!

It's starting to warm up out there for the summer, so as the desert heat sets in everyone stay safe and well refreshed! Kick your feet up in the air conditioning and in your free time, if you're anything like me, take a quick breather with your Switch.

Because Vashti and Desmond may be stuck in the desert, but that doesn't mean we have to be!

New Challenger Approaches!

Howdy from Texas again, ya'll!

We've got a smorgasbord of new goodies to show off this time around, from new maps, brand-new mapping features that show off the capabilities of the BITE Engine, a new challenger with distant relation to our dearest trash-panda, Poncho, and much more!

Let's dive right in:

A New Challenger Approaches

Seeing as we named our sweet lil' dude below after our favorite western-wear (and because it's a dang cute name), we wanted to flesh out his move-set with that western bravado we all love so much:


And we've been fleshing out Poncho's entire move-set, including making some modifications to his charge and casting cycles with tail swishes:

  
But there's a classic western song Becca and I love by Willie & Merle, Pancho & Lefty, and we thought, you know... Poncho needs a buddy. Sooooo, without further ado, a new challenger approaches!

  
Lefty is a Red Panda, and while hailing from a distant and mysterious land, he's come to have a classic western showdown with our pal Poncho. And watch out when he swings that big stick of his, cause bamboo doesn't bend or break easily.

   
And with all this work on our furry friends, we haven't neglected some of those small touches that give our other characters life, with some custom animations like Fennic's below:


BITE Feature Expansion - Mapping

And with all this work on animations, Patrick's been hard at work expanding the Map Editor Features of BITE, like the new ability to customize key mappings for all the Editor's features. So whether you're more comfortable with the Arrow Keys or WASD, he's got you covered:


And building maps ain't easy, so he's added new brushes from a single-tile, four-tile and fill brush to quickly cover more ground!


But my favorite new feature is the simple Impasse System, which allows you to designate individual tiles that are impassable, leaving the control completely in the creators hands as to how maps are navigated. Plus, it looks beautiful:


We've already gone through and added these impasses to our existing maps, spreading the love as you can see below:


And we've worked up a few new places for you to cause havoc, like these alternate, fighting-enabled interiors:



Oh, and did we mention we're hard at work on a new biome: the desert! That perfect place for Poncho and Lefty to square off in, especially if a tumbleweed blows through:


BITE Feature Expansion - Cutscene Editor

And these improvements from BITE are already filtering into the Cutscene Editor, which Patrick is engineering to include streamlined event re-ordering, actor additions, and a whole slew of visual tweaks that we've got previews of below:


We're excited to show off the practical in-game implications of this next time!

Until Next Time, Yeeeehaaaaw

I guess the desert tiles are bringing out the country in me, but we've only just begun with these and another exciting biome we've got in the works:


Wait, is that snow?!

Guess we'll all just have to wait and find out :D. So until next time, holster those six shooters and go play some video games

Four-Legged Friends (And Foes)



Welcome back everyone! Hope your holiday season is in full-swing and you're juggling social life with the slew of new games coming down the pipeline! Holster those Red Dead pistols, put Pikachu back in his poke-ball, and step outside your Fallout shelter for a minute to enjoy this new Arcadian Atlas update!

BITE Enhanced Map-Editor

Tis the season for new improvements to our BITE engine, and this go-round we've got a vastly improved mapping interface.


What exactly is new? Well, the UI has been completely re-vamped, enabling quick, at-a-glance organization of tiles from base, half-height, height, slants, mutators, and giant props, as you can see below. There is 0 lag in the new system, a vast improvement over the previous map editor!


Organization and placement of tiles has never been simpler, with individually segmented boxes and easy scrolling through long sheets. Patrick's new BITE engine also boasts incredibly small map files, meaning our maps are now 10 times (that's right, 10 TIMES) smaller than they were before, meaning quicker loading times and smaller file sizes!


And the customization options afforded by BITE means we can now quickly sort by a few simple tile sheets, and even customize each sheet to have special properties all the way down to tile-by-tile specifications. Ever wanted to designate certain tiles land, rock, water, or other spell-related affect tiles? Now we can!


And of course, as our map editor is being improved with these new additions, we're working up new maps and exciting new biomes to battle in, just a few of those additions you can see below like some gorgeous desert staples and gnarled stumps and fall colored trees just in time for Winter:


Four-Legged Friends

And these new maps wouldn't be complete without some variety in our battlers. That's why we've been focused on our four-legged friends and foes, fleshing out animations and getting them ready for the fight ahead. Like our Kitsune Fox friend, Robert, below:


When Robert's ready to get down-and-dirty in battle, he's got those trusty fangs of his ready to tear some chunks out of people:


But there are things more fearsome than Robert (and much larger to boot). Our Forest Spirit, who I affectionately call Marilyn, is ready to walk the Forests once more, defending those sacred spaces with her life (at the cost of yours, if you're not careful):


Cruising For a Bruising

And as always we're expanding the repertoire of our classes, with new portraits and battle animations like our Apothecary and Cavalier's gorgeous art nouveau styled portraits:




Along with this we're making the finishing touches on our Cavalier's two-handed sword strike below, giving both their fighting styles unique animations:


With these new attack animations we've also been working on skill/spell animations, with a shoutout to the marvelous Pixel FX Designer program that allows us to make eye-popping pixel animations through particle systems. (You can find out more about Pixel FX Designer at David Masia's Twitter)


This extends to work on simple animations like those above for the Ranger's storing of power with Charge, and the Cavalier's Body Rush skill that damages and pushes targets away to more complex particle systems like custom graphical work with the Ranger's Arrow Rain animation below:


 Come Back Now Ya'll, Ya Hear!?


Before you run off to buy another bottle of Snake Oil or an Ultraball to catch Vulpix, Arcadian Atlas' very own shop keeper wanted to drop in and say hello. He may eat a few bugs, but don't call him out on it. He's very sensitive about those things.

Until next time all you cowpokes! Yeeee-haw!

BITE Engine



Welcome back adventurers! We've got some awesome news this go-round for not just players, but creators, so keep your eyes peeled.

But before we jump in, if you've ever wanted to see the artistry behind Arcadian Atlas live, soon you can! Becca and I have worked to get a Twitch stream set up where you can watch her live-stream art creation, from maptiles, character design, animation work, and more!


Give her a follow and keep your eyes peeled for her first live stream announcement. For more info & polls on things like preferred stream times, check out her twitter page here.

Introducing: The BITE Engine

Way back when we jumped from RPG Maker to the more expansive world of Unity, we had a vision for not just our dream game, but for a creation tool so user-friendly it could be given to anyone who wanted to make a tactical RPG (one of the most notoriously difficult genres to create).


That dream is beginning to become a reality concurrently with the creation of Arcadian Atlas. Patrick has been hard-at-work on the foundation for what we are dubbing the BITE engine enhancement - an add-on that utilizes Odin Inspector's tools to create easily-modifiable units, scenarios, skills, items, weapons, and scenes. The best part: this tool is being developed in conjunction with Atlas, meaning every benefit to the system is a benefit to the game, which includes the following:

More Power to the Game Designer - A large portion of a game designer's life is turning knobs and whistles to balance values and to create the best possible experience for the player. You've all probably played RPGs with horrid difficulty spikes, or gotten bored going hours without a challenge. BITE allows us to easily and quickly implement your feedback when it comes beta time!


Smaller File and Patch Sizes - To get Arcadian Atlas' prototype off the ground, we initially utilized Unity Prefabs. Moving to a new different segmented form of data means we can be much more efficient with the size of the game, as well as any patches we make on Steam (and elsewhere). We know some of you have internet data caps, so we want to keep file sizes as user-friendly as possible!

Advanced Cutscenes and Scenarios - We've forged a giant pyramid of stats, classes, status effects, and skills out of the prototype's design work so far. Cutscenes and scenarios (missions) rely on pretty much everything, so being clean and organized with those building blocks allows us to quickly create, reorder, and modify events.


Plug & Play Capabilities - We've re-structured the logic and data to separate it from the graphics, which is a fancy way of saying Arcadian Atlas and future tactical RPGs using BITE will require far less digging into code-bases to create and play!

Effortless Changes - With BITE's data-driven design, we can remove, add, and change everything from units, status effects, skills, missions, locations, cutscenes (or most anything else) effortlessly midway through development based on new needs and feedback!


Iconic

To celebrate BITE, we wanted to show off some of the graphics we're paring with Patrick's data-driven systems.

Iconography is an integral part of the user experience, and serves both as localization tool (because images require no translation) and ease of navigation. We love the design challenge of creating icons for our stats, items, text boxes, and menus that are at the same time simple, clean, and communicate efficiently. See below just a handful of those we've cooked up for our items:

Interior Designs & Graphics Galore

And of course behind the scenes we've been hard at work on all the graphics, from animations, items, and some drool-worthy interiors. You'll show yourself outside? Why not show yourself INSIDE you reckless warriors!

This go round Becca has been working up some graphics for house interiors and our Recruitment Centers throughout Arcadia. You can see a few of these below.


And if we zoom in a bit you can see some light pouring through new windows, and  bench for troops to sit and wait (because isn't a Recruitment Center just a glorified waiting room), and a fancy desk for processing new troops.


Of course, when you're not waiting, you're training with some quality practice dummies and an assortment of weaponry for our discerning warriors:


And when you're ready to lay your sweet head to rest, we've got a deluxe bed you could probably cram a couple of people in (uncomfortably, but this isn't a charity!) and some barrels full of wine to help the long hours seem short.


Oh, and not zoomed in on is that lil' cactus. Because we might be thrifty interior designers, but we're not animals. Get some greenery in there!


We're also putting finishing touches on our primary attack animations, ensuring all eight frames front and back are as smooth as possible. From the heavy crossbow toting Ranger above, to the gargantuan hammer our Apothecary is dragging around below, we're nearly done with all our CORE classes and their various fightin' styles!


And of course a whole slew of new items for our re-vamped BITE enabled item editors!

Next Time

We're excited to show off some of the interior maps we're working up with these shiny new graphics, the expanded Skill sections of BITE, and lots more art next time! Be sure to check out Becca's Twitch streams and our twitter pages for up-to-the-moment previews and sneak-peaks!

Until then, keep your controllers warm and your bodies cool as we end out this record-setting summer heat!