1. CrossCode Update #54 New Menu, Story Progress and More

    Alright, back to the old two week update cycle! And we got some awesome things in store. We added a new menu that will help you customize the game, made huge progress with the story, started talking about balancing and added some new gameplay bits. Spoiler: Special Attacks!

    Charging up them Special Attacks

    Special attacks are going to play a large role in CrossCode. And of course these special attacks should not only be useful but look impresive too. Next to Throw- and Close Combat Specials you can also execute Guard- and Dash Specials now! To use them, simply hold the charge button while guarding or at the moment you dash. Currently we only have placeholder attacks, but we can’t just leave you without a GIF here! So here is a GIF of a bug that happened while adding the guard special:

    lea-creeper

    We internally call this the “Creeper Skill”.

    Jokes aside, here’s the real guard special:

    quard-special

    Oh… you want to see the dash special too? Alright, alright:

    dash-special

    Did you notice the little charge animation? This is also a new addition to special attacks. While holding the special button you can get up to 3 charge levels, 3 being the strongest. The longer you hold the button the higher the charge level. Here is an animation of it:

    charge-effect

    Time slows down during charging, so you got some extra time to think. But don’t overdo it! If you charge for too long it will be canceled and you’re left open for an attack. And don’t worry if you accidentally charged up an attack, you can still use your dash to cancel out of a charge just like with every move.

    Overloading

    As you remember you’ll get 4 elements over the course of the game used for puzzles and combat. Of course these modes come with an advantage and a disadvantage. We’ll get more in depth with this topic at a later date, but the important thing here is: You can’t use an element forever. Continuously using an element will result in an overload. This means you can’t use any element for a while and have to rely on the neutral mode only.

    How this works you ask?

    The indicator is at the top left, right under the active element displaying the current level of your overload. But that’s pretty small and you don’t always want to take a peek at the top left corner, especially in the heat of battle. So we added an overlay that will notify you if you are close to an overload:

    element-overload

    It will start blinking more and more the closer you get to the overload. The level falls pretty fast outside of combat so don’t worry jumping from one battle to another. The idea is that each element mode is stronger than the neutral mode. You could think of it as your magic points. You can use them up to do awesome magic attacks until your points run dry. But instead having to take a potion to refresh you points you automatically do this (You can also compare this to the Drive- and Magic meter in Kingdom Hearts 2). In the context of overload, we also added a small display over Lea to show you which element you selected. Again you don’t always want to look at he top left corner for this:

    swap

    Options menu

    The new menu is the options menu, that’s right! For the first time you can set options in CrossCode. And we don’t just talk fullscreen and volume here. Instead we wanted to add more options so players can adjust the game in case they don’t like a particular setting. Here are two screens of the menu:

    options-general

    options

    As you can see, we divided our options into 5 major categories: General, Interface, Video, Audio and Controls. Options are based on a very flexible system that allows us to simply create a new option and automatically have it added into the menu and your save file. We’ll add more options as we go and we’re also happy to hear from you what option CrossCode might need.

    With this we also want to announce that you will have the ability to change your keyboard keys! (You already guessed that from the category thing huh?)

    Story Progression

    The plot is coming along very nicely. In fact, so nicely that we kinda finished the rough implementation of everything that is going to happen on the cargo ship. Yep, we did it. Of course we still want to tweak things (like adding sounds) so we’re not really done here. But it feels good to have the basics finished. This means we’ll move to a new area that will also be part of the demo version.

    We don’t want to spoil anything from the new scenes but we still have a little teaser for you right here:

    cargo-ship-escape-sequence

    What’s going on?!

    Even More

    Right, we’re not done yet. First, we started to work on balancing the game in more detail. This means we created huge tables of numbers that will hopefully help us in correctly balancing the game. We even detailed how equipment will influence your stats over the course of the game. It will still need lots of testing but it sure shows us how we need to scale enemy stats to keep the same difficulty level.

    Secondly, we planned our next CrossWeek! Again we will all get together for a whole week so we can develop the hell out of CrossCode. It will happen next month and we already decided on a topic we will focus on during the week: The new area for the demo version! So expect some good progress on the plot again during the CrossWeek.

    And with this, we came to the end of this update. Hope you liked it!

    Until next time!

    1 week ago  /  4 notes

  2. CrossCode Update #53 Content, Critical Damage and a drowning Lea

    We’re back! And yes, we’re one week late. Since the last update many team member have been missing due to several trips (vacation and business wise). Thus, we waited another week to get more content together. And this is what we got for you: First, we added water, hidden treasures and a little boss in the autumn area. Second, we created a first test dungeon using all the puzzle elements and graphics of the previous updates. And then: critical damage, sound playback improvements and more.

    Lea can’t swim

    Sorry to inform you, but Lea can’t swim.

    water-splash

    No matter how much she tries…

    But also some good news: neither can your enemies.

    water-battle

    So yeah, just recently we added real water to CrossCode. The kind you can jump into - to be respawned.

    Otherwise, lot of stuff happened to the autumn area. R.D. did a lot of work and finished most of the planned area (as shown in the last update). In addition, we added treasure chests to give the player more motivation to explore the area.

    open-treasure

    Currently you only find a whole lot of hedgehogs in this area. Of course we plan to add new enemies, but we’re still lacking graphics at the moment. But at least we added a stronger hedgehog for a small challenge:

    blue-hedgehog

    Strangely enough, it’s a blue hedgehog. That’s because blue is a nice contrast to the rest of the green-yellowish autumn area. Yes, that is the only reason.

    Our first little dungeon

    We presented several new puzzle elements and graphics for a new dungeon during the last updates. Now GFlügel, R.D., and me actually created the content for this dungeon. That is: puzzles. Here some impressions:

    rhombus-dungeon1

    rhombus-dungeon2

    rhombus-dungeon3

    Creating interesting puzzles isn’t all that easy - but we’ll get there!

    Critical damage, sound playback and concept art

    One important feature that has been planned for a long time but never really implemented is critical damage. Now it’s finally done:

    criticals

    The probability of critical damage depends on the player’s and enemy’s focus value. When it occurs you’ll get those flashy yellow hit numbers with around twice the usual damage. There will be other advantages to criticals as well. Of course all of this still needs plenty of balancing but at least the mechanic is there now.

    Another feature that is hard to demonstrate with GIFs is an improvement of our sound engine. For a long time, sounds have been an issue in CrossCode when there were too many at once. For instance, when Lea was bashing a whole bunch of enemies, you got multiple hit sound in a very short time frame - even several sound in a single frame. Up to now, we simply played all these sound without any restriction, so there was a lot of overlapping. The result ranged from rather strange to downright unpleasant. However, there was a very simply fix: when one sound is about to be played while it’s already playing, simply stop the previous playback. This really improved the overall sound playback. It kind of reminds you of old style video games with limited sound channels, but that’s actually a good thing in our opinion! We have the matching graphics after all.

    Finally, we have Frece creating more concept art! Yeah, I know, surprise, surprise. This time, it’s not only about new environments but also something else: a new race that you will meet in the world of CrossCode. Want to see pictures? Unfortunately the design of the race is still work in progress, so you’ll have to wait a bit longer. Until then, have a peek at another landscape by Frece:

    cold-area-excerpt

    And that’s all for now. Until the next update!

    3 weeks ago  /  2 notes

  3. I don’t have time for a proper introduction this time. There is so much content we added this week because of a certain deadline that is coming up! We created a map-layout for the autumn area and already implemented 3 maps from it. A new tileset has been created for the puzzle area. GIFs incoming!

    Alright, let get this started!

    Menu Updates and Skills

    GFlügel and I worked a bit on the menu the past two weeks. GFlügel started adding the names and descriptions of each passive skill as well as a placeholder icon graphics for them. Here’s a little GIF that shows the neutral skill tree with the icons and descriptions.

    circuit-des-ico

    You probably noticed the zeros in the square brackets, huh? These will be replaced with the actual raise in your stats of passive abilities very soon. As you might guess this is a major balancing topic and the numbers will change a lot as we go.

    While GFlügel made sure that every skill has a proper description, I was tasked with adding new icons for the quick buttons on the top of the menu screen and writing help texts for all available menus. Take a look:

    map-menu-help

    We plan to make the menu as self-explanatory as possible so these help texts are kept very minimal. But we will probably come back to change them help texts by adding multiple pages. So if you ever feel stuck you can get a small help menu.

    Oh! I almost forgot. We also made some small changes to the title screen.

    title-new

    This new title screen contains the 3 parts of the next demo. While the Story Mode takes you to the usual start of the game on the cargo ship, the Gameplay Mode takes you right to the autumn area for some awesome grinding. In this mode you can also use the menu and activate some skills! Cool! The Puzzle Mode will get you into our new environment for some nifty riddles including our newest puzzle elements.

    Map Updates

    While we talked about the layout of the area we came up with a handy way to easily sketch areas very fast. So I sat down, took my graphic tablet and spent the remaining day to create the first few maps of the autumn area. Wanna see how it looks? Sure you want to! Here you go:

    maps2

    You start at the bottom right and make your way over to the left side. We aim to make every map a little unique in its path and structure to make it feel more natural. You can also see that there are branching paths that will get you to different places. And who knows, maybe there is even treasure. ;)

    Of course this only shows the layout. Here are some pictures for you to see how it looks in game:

    autumn-area-1

    autumn-area-2

    autumn-area-3

    To throw a ball, or not to throw, that is the question.

    These maps really take a long time. Normally one day is enough to get everything together. But we wont stop there. There are still some details missing (like proper milestones). So we’ll get back to these maps later for some polish. However, for now we want to focus on getting content done.

    New Areas and Content Updates

    Felix created new graphics for the puzzle area and adapted our existing puzzles graphics for the new environment.

    puzzle-1

    push-n-pull

    In the second picture you also see the new changes for push-pull blocks. If you drag them over surfaces they now respond with dust effects and a small jitter while moving it around. It feels pretty neat and gives the large block that “heavy” kinda feel.

    All in all the content pipeline is running hot. In fact, we already have our concept artist Frece sketch out new areas. Being the speedster he is, he comes up with really cool designs. Here’s is a little teaser on two new areas: rh-teaser

    iv-teaser

    What do you think?

    And lets not forget about Tina, TQ, T-Free, Teflo and Intero (Lots of “T”s there).

    Tina continues to work on graphics for the area we teased in the last update.

    TQ or The_question makes some new props for the outer area of the cargo ship area (Yes we still feel like there is something missing on the details side of the area :D) as well some more elements for the autumn area.

    T-Free works on new enemies for the autumn area.

    Teflo is currently pact with college work and finals. But soon he will be back to create sound effects. For now we added placeholders sounds for different effects and most importantly background sounds. Roaming the outer area of the cargo ship is now accompanied by the sound of the ocean while you hear the sound of an engine inside the ship. It really gives the places much more depth.

    And Intero works hard to create new music for the game and even finished a new one already! But you have to wait a little longer to get a peak at this one. ;) So you see, (nearly) everyone is busy creating content for CrossCode.

    All this new content feels like the game is making a huge step forward and we can’t wait to show it all to you in the next demo!

    Alright, that’s it! Hope you liked this update.

    See you next time!

    P.S. The next update will be postponed for a week. Felix will be at Siggraph (if you’re there too, try to find him!) while I’m on vacation.

    1 month ago  /  6 notes

  4. Another CrossUpdate. #51. Not as special as #50, I guess…

    Anyway, a lot of stuff happened since last time. On the one hand, we worked on previous content such as the boss battle and the outer cargo ship region, bringing it very close to final completion. On the other hand, we started something that has been due for a long time: finally more puzzle mechanics! Oh, also: graphics.

    Angry Cargo Crab

    Lachsen decided to do all the last remaining tasks for our first boss enemy. First of all, our boss needed a proper Boss-grade HP Bar:

    boss-hp-bar

    In case you wonder why the HP bar is partitioned into 3 segments - here is what happens when you break through one of these separations:

    boss-hp-break

    We call this an HP break. When you reach one of those, well… there is bad and good news. The good: you get some HP replenished. The bad: the boss will become angry.

    boss-angry

     …Really angry…

    crab-rage

    Well, it’s boss design 101, really. With these remaining features, the boss battle is finally completed (modulo additional changes once more feedback comes in).

    More Puzzle Mechanics

    After I finished the Map Menu complete with gamepad controls we decided to let the game menu rest for a little while an focus on something new: Puzzle mechanics. First I implemented group switches - several switches that need to be activated during a short time span:

    group-switches

    Afterwards came Dynamic Platform that move out of the ground, fly through the air and so on:

    dynamic-platforms

    Finally, Lachsen added push and pull-able blocks. Yes, that’s right. Lea can finally use her hands for something else than throwing balls:

    push-pull-boxes

    Note that all graphics you see in these pictures are just placeholders. Those will be replaced for the next release. Currently, I’m working on an actual Treasure Chest entity. Finally you’ll be able to collect some items! More on that soon.

    Cargo Ship Improvements

    Lachsen had the urge to work on the outside cargo ship graphics. Again. Here’s a comparison: [center]cargoShipImprovements

    Also, I finished the cabins up to the last room… which was the toilet:

    toilet

    Yes. The toilet.

    And apart from that, we both worked on several new NPCs with interesting dialogues that you’d want to read over and over again. Maybe. Overall, the cargo ship is getting very close to completion!

    Graphics and other Stuff

    Martina continued working on the graphics for an entirely new area. Here a very early excerpt (still WIP):

    SneakPreview

    On another end, Lachsen just recently started working on graphics for another area, which will be our first proper “dungeon”. With puzzles and stuff. Nothing worth showing yet, though!

    Additionally, Intero is composing another piece of soundtrack which will be used in one of our recent cut scenes. And hopefully soon: our first proper boss battle theme!

    Well… anything left…?

    Oh yeah, Lea now can level up, complete with notification and stat change display:

    level-up

    No, usually you won’t be leveling 3 levels at once. Sorry. :P

    And that’s it for this update. Things keep moving.

    Until next time!

    1 month ago  /  5 notes

  5. Wow, 50th update for CrossCode! A lot has happened over the last two weeks, including progress on an important scene and the grinding area, two new enemies and the map menu. So… Let’s get to it!

    Grinding Area

    Last time we showed you lots of props and concepts arts for the new area we’ve been working lately. Now it’s time to show you first results of putting it all together:

    hedgehogs

    Doesn’t it look just beautiful? As you can see we added all the details TQ and Felix worked on as well as the first enemy of the area by T-Free: The Hedgehog! (Quite the original name right? We’ll come up with a better name for it over the time for sure :p)

    But there is more! What you can’t see in this static picture is a little extra we added for larger plants like the orange ones in the picture above. To make them feel more natural when running through them, Felix added a little waggle animation whenever you nudge these plants. Here’s a quick peek at it:

    nudge

    The awesome thing about this is, that we can adjust these animations as we like. Imagine a field full of tall grass blowing in the wind and reacting to you passing through it… Lovely, isn’t?

    Now you ask yourself: Dude, so how you fight those hedgehogs? . Well, why don’t we take a look at that as well?

    grinding-area

    As you can see, hedgehogs don’t joke around. As soon as you throw a ball at a group of them, they become hostile. And do everything to kill you… This animation might suggest that this type of enemy is difficult to fight against, especially if you have to battle multiple groups. We are still tweaking these little fellas, so hopefully in the demo you have a good time throwing balls at them! Also note that after each encounter you health will regenerate. We also plan on adding healing items, although you won’t be able to just spam them.

    Now, you might also noticed that the health bars under the enemies were blue/grey in the first picture, while they’re red when fighting them. This is part of a new system we added to give the player a hint on whenever an enemy is hostile or not. Check out this little GIF showing of how the hedgehog’s health bar turn red as soon as Lea hits them:

    aware

    Don’t worry about hitting enemies outside of your field of vision. They won’t become angry unless you repeatedly throw balls into their direction. So, what do you think? Is the grinding area progressing well or not?

    Map Menu

    Last time, Felix showed you the mock-up we both worked on for the map menu. And this time I show you to implementation:

    map-menu-cargo

    It doesn’t look like much has changed but it has! No, Really! Instead of showing each floor at the same time in a vertical fashion, floors are stacked on top of each other. When selecting a floor via the buttons at the top-right, the previous selected floor fades out while to new one fades in. This gives a better feeling of the different heights associated with each floor. You also don’t need to scroll that much if you go through a larger area (e.g. the grinding area) to get to the next floor. Clicking on the same floor button twice moves the camera to the center of the floor or the room in which Lea currently is.

    Here, check out this GIF to see how this all looks:

    map-menu

    You can’t see it here, but there is a really neat little trick to make sure we still get these juicy 60 fps while drawing all these rooms at once. Each room can have any shape. An auto-tiling algorithm plus a pre-render function makes sure each room is drawn correctly. As always, if you interested in any technical details leave us a comment!

    Of course an area can have lots of icons for shops, points of interest or quests. Here is a preview of how these icons are displayed in the map menu:

    icons

    Maybe we even add icons you can hover and click. These would be useful to keep track of quests for instance.

    Even More???

    Yes we got more! First of all I mentioned we made some nice progress on a important scene which introduced a new character too. So how about a give you a little teaser again?

    cargoteaser

    I’m sure this tells a lot about what’s happening in this scene. Felix put some major work into this scene but we don’t want to spoil too much here :P

    Another new thing we added for the cargo-ship story part is this guy:

    overpowered-shredder

    …Yepp! This pretty much sums up the experience you get from this one. This is actually a new type of enemy you encounter on the cargo ship. This enemy however can’t be defeated. What this means you ask? Well you have to wait on another update for this one ;)

    Alright, that’s it. Hope you liked this update.

    See you next time.

    2 months ago  /  0 notes

  6. We’re back with another update!

    Since last time we have extended the plot with our very first action cutscenes (also featuring a new character), implemented a first prototype of the save system, worked on a concept for the new map menu, create first graphics for new enemies and more! Also, connected to that was a lot of engine work and a very successful application of MATH.

    A new challenger appears!


    The story of CrossCode continues and here is a first preview of what’s to come:

    designer-appears
    designer-dialog0

    Not only did we add this new character (nope, no more information on this guy :P), Felix also added a couple of new features to create those new fast-paced cutscenes. Firstly, he implemented a zoom featureto get the view closer to the action. We will not only use this in cutscenes but also in certain gameplay situations.

    And secondly…

    Lachsen says:

    I dramatically improved the whole floating physics of the game, harnessing the full potential of (basic) math! Well… You see, floating physics have been around for quite some time, but they have always been kinda hacked.tweaked values around, adapting the acceleration of the z velocity in strange ways to make it work for specific use cases - and this always broke later on when new use cases emerged. So, after realizing this doesn’t go anywhere I finally sat down, remembered the math I had years ago, did all the derivatives, solved integrals like a boss and finally found the one solution… that worked instantly!!
    …Okay, sorry if I’m derailing a bit here, but man, that was one awesome math moment for me. I’d also be happy to share my findings if people are interested *hint* *hint*.

    Anyway, floating now works perfectly fine for all the use cases! Alright… more actual content now.

    Save Menu Prototype and Map Menu Concept


    CrossCode will be an Action RPG with at least 10 hours of play time. Of course you’ll need to be able to save your progress. So it’s about time we add a proper save menu to the game. Felix spent a little time, polishing the already existing save system e.g. to properly store the currently played music. I then extended the system to support multiple save slots. Then, I went on and created a very “simple” save menu for debugging purpose:

    save-menu-debug

    Remember that this is only a first prototype which is used for development (saving is such a great feature for testing). The actual save menu will probably look much better. And we will do it soon.

    We made even more progress with the menu. The next big thing will be the map menu which provides an overview over the current area as well as the whole world map.

    After I did a first layout proposal, Felix followed with an initial design concept:

    map-concept-1

    I already started working on the implementation, so hopefully we’ll have some actual running map menu sometime soon (though it will be more work than the item menu).

    Some other internal stuff, also done by myself, was a refactoring of the buff structures and the implementation of an item editor, used to edit the item definitions of CrossCode (there will be plenty of items, yes). Here’s a screen cap of the item editor:

    item-menu

    (If you’re interested in a technical about this too, leave us a comment!)

    Graphics and Music


    Our new grinding area needs new enemies! T-Free started working on the graphics. They look like this:

    HedgehogRun
    MeerkatAppear

    … AWWWW, AREN’T THEY JUST INCREDIBLY CUTE??? ^////^

    Surely you can’t wait to brutally beat them down with balls.

    *cough*

    Then we have Teekuh who added more graphics to the grinding area, such as this amazing tree:

    amazing-tree

    Also, Frece is producing a crapload of concept art. No seriously, we could just post at least 6 images here, but we’d be terribly spoiling things. So here have another concept art of the grinding area featuring some new buildings we still plan to add:

    autumn2

    And finally, Intero is working on the soundtrack. Being the perfectionist he is, he’s currently remixing several old tracks. The new versions do sound really nice, though!

    So, plenty of stuff going on.

    Until next time, fellas!

    MATH

    2 months ago  /  4 notes

  7. CrossCode Update #48 Menu, Grinding Area and more!

    Welcome!

    This update is packed with new and neat content. We finished the basic functionality of the new item menu, made progress with the grinding area, added a new type of weather effect and got ourselves a new concept artist! So let’s get to it, shall we?

    Item Menu

    In the last 2 weeks I worked on the item menu. The base of the menu is already finished and you can browse though all your items through different categories. Here are some pictures of the menu:

    consumables

    Categories are accessible via the tabs at the top. You can also use Q or E on the keyboard or the right and left shoulder buttons on the gamepad to switch through them. Each categories has matching information panels on the left. Under Consumables you can see your status and your current active buffs (We will get in detail on what buffs are in a later update).

    equip-arms

    In the tabs that contain equipment you’ll see the status parameters and modifiers of the currently selected piece. You also notice that your current equipment is highlighted with a little icon, so you can compare the raw parameters of equipment without seeing the difference (as it is in the equipment menu). The last two tabs contain Key and Trade items (the latter will also be covered in a later update). What’s missing is an option to sort the items and some of the info panels for the different categories. So there will be some small updates throughout the weeks. But there is another menu coming up which will be my focus for a while. And that menu is the map menu! As the name implies this menu will contain the map of the current area as well an overview of all unlocked areas and the world map. So the upcoming weeks will contain updates on this menu, too.

    Grinding Area

    The new area (currently code-named Grinding Area) got some nice updates this weeks, thanks to TQ and Felix. Check out the newest test map:

    autumn

    autumn-2

    Neat, huh? We’ll continue working on the area by adding more props. Landmarks will also be part of each area to make each place unique and memorable.

    Rain Effect

    Felix added a new weather effect to the game: Rain!

    rain

    This effect will be used in various places throughout the game. As you can see, one of these places is the cargo ship. In this GIF you can see more of a gush. But we can also display a dizzle for other areas. In fact we can adjust the rain fairly well to our needs.

    New concept artist

    Our current concept artist has a lot to do in real-life, we needed another artist to help us create concepts for new ares. T-Free pointed us to a really awesome artist on DeviantArt called Indofrece. Check out his profile here:

    DeviantArt Indofrece Profile

    He is very motivated and already created a bunch of new concepts for us. Not only did he create environmental concepts, but also general character designs. Here is a little example of a specific type of character class in the game.

    quadros

    He will continue to work with us and probably get his avatar soon as well. So go check out his awesome work!

    This wraps up this weeks update. See you next time!

    3 months ago  /  8 notes

  8. CrossCode Update #47Battle Stuff and a New Area

    Hi again!

    Sorry for being slightly late with this update.

    In the last two weeks we have been working on the new grinding area, more plot, the circuit menu, background music, graphic effects and the battle system. We also changed the design of our website! Quite the mix, right?

    Teleport Effects and Close Combat Finisher

    So far, enemies have been appearing with a fairly simple animation based on an alpha transition and scaling. This looked ok-ish for small enemies, but didn’t quite work so well for the larger sprites of our new boss enemies. Thus, Felix sat down and created a new effect. And here is the result:

    teleport-new2-small

    We also applied the same effect when adding destructible boxes:

    teleport-new1 

    Additionally, we extended close-combat attacks to include a small finisher move at the end. Previously you could just continuously bash the enemy as long as you wanted with left and right swing attacks. With the finisher move, you have 3 regular swings following a more powerful circle attack that hits enemies all around the player:

    combo-finisher-2

    Note, that the finisher attack animation is still work-in-progress and will most likely be improved.

    Anyway, not only does the rhythm of this attack pattern feel better, it also adds a bit more depth to the combat system: enemies might actually be able to escape your combo after a finisher. Here another demonstration in a more crowded area:

    combo-finisher-1

    New graphics for the grinding area

    We already mentioned in the last update, that we planned a new area where players can do a bit of grinding. Now this area will be a lot more open compared to the places you have seen so far. It will also feature a strikingly different scenario.

    Felix started working on the graphics for this new area. Here small sneak preview:

    grinding-area-preview-wip

    Yes, the grinding area will be out in the nature. Note, that this screen is from a very early stage so a lot of things will change. And of course, some content will be added to give it more of a Sci-Fi feeling… But it’s a start!

    In addition to creating graphics, we also started planning the kind of enemies you will encounter in this area.

    More Plot, Circuit Menu and Music!

    We made more progress with the plot, finally implementing proper dialogues for the combat tutorial.

    I has worked towards finishing the circuit menu, implementing gamepad controls. Compared to other menus, implementing gamepad support is in fact quite challenging for the circuit menu, since we don’t use regular button navigation. Instead, the player will be able to freely move the cursor with the control sticks (very much like the Sphere Grid in Final Fantasy X). Overall, the circuit menu is about to be completed.

    Finally, Intero worked on a new background theme which is will be played during an exposition sequence.

    Have a preview here: Exposition Theme

    New Website Design

    Check out our Blog/Website here: www.radicalfishgames.com

    As you can see, we finally redesigned our blog! Some of you might have noticed how we updated the blog with the new design over the past week. Here’s an overview over the changes we did:

    • The RadicalFish design is now more bluish instead of purplish and uses orange as a highlight color instead of red
    • The whole page follows this design. Links have a light blue color. Hovering makes them use an orange color
    • Added a quick access bar on the right. It scrolls with the page and moves to the bottom if the window is to small to fit it in
    • Social buttons are now visible on the top of the page. We also added share buttons to the posts! So if you liked a post, share it with your friends!
    • The page automatically loads the next page of posts if you scroll to the bottom.
    • Posts now start with a overview and a picture. This reduces the page load dramatically. Now you can load the page without worrying about the big gifs!

    The design is not fully done. We still want to add some features (like better visuals on mobile). But we think the page improved quite a lot. What do yo think?

    And this concludes today’s update!

    3 months ago  /  2 notes

  9. CrossCode Update #46 The plot advances

    Another two weeks have passed and the fire of the CrossWeek is still burning.

    In this update we have the results of our first CrossQuestion, news on the circuit menu, added features to our development process, plans for new areas, text colors, and (most importantly) advancements in the plot of the game! So let’s get this started!

    Results of CrossQuestion #01

    First, here is the link in case you missed it: CrossQuestion #01 Striking!

    We asked you, which color for lightning you preferred, purple or yellow. And well… the answers sure surprised us. We thought one version would be voted for more than the other. But all the awesome comments added together revealed that the result is 50:50 (including the voting in our team). Well what now, right? What do we use, purple or yellow? A lot of people said because of the environment graphics it’s hard to tell which version is better. And we agree. Hence we decided to leave the purple effect in for now (since yellow was in all the time) but come back to pick the final color when we have more areas to test the effects on.

    Thanks for all the great comments and feedback! We’ll make sure to do this again! It was great to read all the different opinions (especially on color blindness, we might want to look into this topic).

    Circuit Menu

    I finally crossed the finish line with the menu and it’s now fully functional. (minus some problems with the gamepad support) Activating Skills? Switching Or-Branches? Moving through the tree with hotkeys? We got you covered! And of course we have some sweet GIFs for you to enjoy all of the latest additions:

    circuit_1

    Zooming into the detail tree! As long as you are inside the menu, your camera position for each tree is saved. So when switching between trees, you will always go back to position you were before.

    circuit_2

    As you can see, activating skills will center the camera on the focused node and show you a menu in which you can activate skills or swap branches.

    circuit_3-2

    Once you activated one skill on a branch, you can swap at any time without cost.

    circuit_4

    Of course you can also switch AND activate Or-Branch skills.

    We hope people will use the branching skills a lot. When you mastered most of the trees you might only want to swap an Or-Branch and be done with it. So we added a Quick Or-Branch Swap-Feature. With this you can quickly swap the skills in an Or-Branch, without having to go into the detail view and drag yourself to the Or-Branch you want to swap.

    circuit_5

    (sorry for the flickering. It comes from the codec I used to record the GIFs, there are not in the actual game)

    You might already noticed that each Or-Branch is always located on a panel inside each tree. And now you know why! Each panel becomes a button when you enter the quick-swap mode. Clicking on a panel/button allows you to immediately swap the Or-Branch. Quite handy, huh? As always nothing is really final and we might come back and change colors, adjust animations, implement user feedback and so on.

    New Area and Text Colors

    A new area in the planning again? Yes! We really want to push content to get the game going. This area might be used in the upcoming demo to give you a place to grind a bit and (hopefully) play until the game is released. We also narrowed down details on other areas, such as the first dungeon and an area that will appear in the demo before the game starts on the cargo-ship. You can look at it like an introduction to the story.

    About those text colors… This is actually something small but makes the game so much more awesome to look at. Before we added text colors we only had white for all texts (plus icons here and there). Now with additional colors we’re able to highlight important text markers, something that will come in handy in the synopsis menu for instance. Also we finally have a color to display inaccessible content, like buttons you can’t press. Before this, we simply set the opacity of the button text to 50%. It now looks much better:

    text_color

    That Plot

    It is finally time to advanced the plot and Lachsen put lots of effort into new scenes and updating old ones this week. We wanted to give the characters more… well… character! So Lachsen walked through every scene and changed the dialog according to the new character descriptions. Some new scenes include Lea learning about where she is and why she is on the cargo-ship. Lachsen did a good job making sure the world feels real and alive. So, here are some screens for you to enjoy:

    cargo-ship-plot1

    Ahhhh… salty air is the best air!

    cargo-ship-plot3

    Lea on her way to the bow.

    cargo-ship-plot6

    On her way back, she has to clean up Carla’s mess.

    cargo-ship-plot7

    Into the cabins! Let the combat lesson with the captain begin!

    *Every mistake in grammar is bad and we should feel bad.

    Buffing up the Development Process

    This is a rather technical topic, but maybe it’s interesting for the developers out there. Since we will target Desktop as one of our main release platforms, it’s important to test CrossCode on desktop often and regularly. However, last week I noticed that it’s a bit hard to test CrossCode on desktop since we normally hide the URL bar to see only the game inside the window. Now this poses a problem: To test maps we usually write a parameter inside the URL. Of course you always have to reload the page, but it worked quickly enough in the browser. But for desktop… there is no URL input and we were left with modifying source files to set up the map to start on… which is very cumbersome. So I added a new feature which allows us to teleport to any map with a simple click or by selecting the map from a list - and all that without reloading the game.

    Introducing: Teleport Feature!

    teleport_feature

    Focusing the first text-box lets you put in the name of the map to move to. A drop-down list will appear and show every map located in a specific folder (including sub-directories). We can also type in an optional marker, which the player should be set to when teleporting. Each teleport is saved and accessible via buttons (see Last Locations). Since we also save these locally, we can use them even when we restart the game. This makes it super easier to quickly jump between maps without reloading the game every time.

    With this I also added some features we have in the browser but not on desktop. Some of these include reloading the window when pressing F5 or switching to fullscreen when pressing F11. Browsers have a strict policy on fullscreen (We can go into more detail in a technical topic if you like) but on desktop we can easily switch between fullscreen and windowed-mode (thanks node-webkit!). All in all, we buffed up the development process quite a bit. E.g. making all those GIFs has become a little bit easier!

    I guess that’s it!

    Hope you liked this update and until next time!

    4 months ago  /  2 notes

  10. CrossQuestion #01 Striking!

    Welcome to a new type of post on our blog!

    This is a new type of section, in which we ask you a question! What kind of question you ask? Well, anything from design decisions to new features. Hopefully this gets you more involved with the development of CrossCode and creates a nice discussion. This means we want to use your feedback for our final decision on the given topic. We don’t know how often we will do this, so this will not be a regular thing. But whenever we feel the need of asking you, we’ll make a CrossQuestion out of it!

    Let’s get right to it!

    A new color for the shock effect

    Some days ago Felix noticed that the color of the shock effect was actually a bit annoying. The problem is the contrast. We used blue and yellow to create a lightning strike kinda effect that was easily visible. But we went a bit overboard with that. When used in combat it was unpleasant on the eye, especially in the boss battle. Since players will be using every element as much as any other, we thought it was necessary to adjust the colors of the shock effects. And this is where you come in! We have new versions for the colors of the shock effect. And we ask you:

    Which color to you like better?

    To help you on your decision, here are some comparison shots:

    Bouncing of Walls
    purple-shock-1yellow-shock-1
    Close Combat
    purple-shock-close-combatyellow-shock-close-combat
    Ranged Combat
    purple-shock-2-smallyellow-shock-2-small

    As you can see, the left/top versions are a completely new idea to the shock effect. Purple is used quite often these days but it has a very unique look to it. The right/bottom ones are a similar to the original colors but more subtle. So what you think? Which version to you prefer or think looks good?

    Let’s hear all them opinions!

    4 months ago  /  3 notes