BOO!!! It’s here again, the spookiest time of the year… [THUNDER SFX] When Ghouls and and Devils roam the streets… [WOLF HOWL SFX] That’s right, it’s [AUSTIN POWERS VOICE] Halloween Baby!! Although by the time you’re reading this it’ll be… [GHOST MOAN SFX] NOVEEEMMMBER 2017! Truly, the march of time is the ultimate fright. Speaking of, let me start talking about the work I did this month past.
A reminder of what my current game project is: it’s called Housepet! It’s a game where you decorate the inside of a pet house to attract characters that can become tenants who pay you rent which can be used to buy more furniture. The furniture you place alter your Housepet’s stats and your tenant’s comfort contributes to your Housepet’s mood. You also fight enemy houses in simple RPG style battles, and every tenant you have can be equipped as their own unique attacks to be used in fights. Obviously.
The first thing I did this month was start designing some enemy houses for World 1! Last time I talked about the battle system it was time based, but I’ve since remade it to be turn based and more similar to a pokemon battle system, which I think is generally easier to explain and get into. Here’re some sketches:
Enemy houses have an evil form when you fight them and a good form when you beat them. You cured them by fighting them I guess?? I’m not worrying too much about making stuff make sense at this point, I’m just doing what I think feels funny or game-y. A more cohesive “plot” can be figured out later if I want there to be one.
For the first overworld area I want these guys to be the enemies, going in order of No. 1, Birdnest, Neighbours, Sweetooth, B&B and then the boss, St. Catherine. The theme of the overworld here is like, typical grass intro level and small village/town, so the enemy houses are kinda standard houses/buildings, but it’d definitely be fun to start losing that in later levels.
Battles in Housepet would be pretty special events as opposed to a game where you’re expected to grind by fighting enemies. You have to fight them one at a time to progress through a board, and the stat increases between them will usually mean you’ll need to decorate your house some more or get more tenants before you can win the next fight. Battling here isn’t a focus of the game, but more of a way of marking progression. Beaten houses will drop Catalog Scraps which can be used to unlock new types of furniture as well as rewarding players with a chunk of cash, and there’ll be a simple EXP system that rewards you with new rooms in your Housepet on level up. There’ll also be bonus spaces on the board with rewards and minigames and such. That’s the plan!
Like I mentioned previously, the battle system has been reworked to be more similar to something like Pokemon, but I’ve simplified it. The only stats the Housepet has are HP, POW, DEF and SPD. HP is just health, or House Points (lol…). POW is your attack power, DEF is your defence against being attacked and SPD determines if you should go first in a battle. You might notice there’s no special attack or special defence, since in Housepet attacks won’t have elements tied to them.
In this early gif (the UI is very temporary) you can see you can exit to the overworld from inside the house, pick the enemy to fight, compare stats, choose and make attacks, damage/crit the enemy and have the enemy take turns too. I’ve also implemented winning and losing, progressing to the next enemy after a win, attacks that can damage others/damage self/heal others/heal self and such, as well as a STUN and SLP status. STUN is essentially being paralyzed, meaning there’s a chance you won’t be able to make a move that turn, and SLP means you’ll sleep for a few turns before waking up. I have other statues I want to implement planned too.
I also played about with making a system for controlling the camera during fights, which I think’ll add a cool dramatic element to certain attack animations!
Below is a text example of just how exciting fights can be with the SLP status…!
Obviously here I was just testing - enemies actually have a hidden “urgency” variable that helps determine the chances of what attack they’ll use (above though it was ignored and they were forced to use Birdsong every turn). If their urgency is high, if they have low HP for example, they’ll be more likely to use more advantageous attacks, such as something damaging or something that would heal them. With a low urgency though, say if they had high HP, they might be more lax and more likely to take a turn to try do a non damaging move that might cause a status on the player. Urgency can also be lowered if the player has a status, and if they have one that can be caused by one of the enemies attacks, the chance for them trying to use that attack while you already have the status dips very low. Each enemy has their own unique rules for urgency and their attacks, which means they all act differently! I think that’s cool.
Woah who’s this!! I want Housepet to have lots of different characters you can unlock as tenants, since the character collection to me is a pretty important and fun aspect of the game. This guy’s the Edgy Rival type, look at his cool spikes and brooding, golden eyes…
I’ve come up with a good few tenants so far and plan to make many more. Here’s a look into the Creative Process of coming up with character types:
Right now I have it in my head that you convert Guests (visiting characters attracted to your house) into Tenants (permanent characters in your inventory you can place in your house and use as attacks in battles) by finding them visiting one of your rooms and interacting with them in a short VN/dating game style dialog back-and-forth where they ask questions about the home and, depending on how appealing to them you make it sound with your answers, you’ll “weaken” them. The more weakened they are, the more likely you’ll be able to “catch” them Pokemon GO style by throwing a crumpled up paper lease ball at them. But I also want there to be other ways that are perhaps more secret or multi-staged. For example, there’ll be characters that knock on your front door from time to time, and one of them could start a path like this:
…Listen, it’s fine. This is what people want from games I think.
I spent a good half of the month just on designing a more permanent UI that connects everything together, since that was a big goal of mine for this month. Man, UI is hard…! It’s something that takes a lot of energy for me to do personally at least. I’ve come up with a solid enough solution for now, for inside the house at least, that’ll work something like this:
I’ve started implementing this and so far you can pick items by main category and subcategory, place move rotate and remove furniture and tenants, have tenants activate and move around when not in move or remove mode. I’ve also started to re-implement buying and selling furniture from the catalog.
The last thing worked on this month was starting to add a way to change the floors and walls of a room. I’m thinking I want low res tiling photograph textures for the floors to give it that Petz/early 2000s game feel that has such a charm to it and works well in highlighting the solid colour furniture and characters.
Oh! And! I modelled a victoria sponge cake I ate in Edinburgh castle as an item I want people to be able to place on surfaces. I want a whole sub category of food “furniture” because, it’ll be a good excuse to model a lot of pretty food.
Unrelated to Housepet, here’re the sticker designs I’ll be sending out to this month’s sticker tier backers! I haven’t done pixel stuff for a long time now and I miss it, so it was fun to do these pixel flowers… Very relaxing. I’ll also add in stickers of these pixel roses I did a while ago now (the ones featured on my business cards!) since I think they’ll go nice together…!
[THUNDER SFX, AGAIN] Hah ha ha… Did you enjoy it? My spooky tale of times since past? Thanks for supporting me this month everyone!! I think I made some good progress - it’s definitely fun to compare stuff from the first newsletter I introduced Housepet to how it is here. But for now… [DOOR SQUEAK SFX AS I CREEP OUT] Farewell… And sweet dreams… [NO FURTHER SFX AS I STAND OUTSIDE THE DOOR I LEFT AND WAIT FOR YOU TO LEAVE SO I CAN COME BACK IN AND WORK SOME MORE]