Friday, May 27, 2011
Hello all! It's been awhile but I've been super busy and super focussed on the upcoming Gameshow planet which by the time you read this, will either be out later today or has already come out (6PM...ish... server time). It's a lot of stuff in one and I figured I might go into some details about it.
First, it features the voice talent of George Lowe. Feel free to freak out as much as I have. I've always loved George Lowe back in the old days and when Artix told me he'd be doing voice work for us forever ago, I was super excited and now I've had the chance to work with him. Granted are script is more serious than outlandishly goofy but the storyline itself has grown darker in the past so it fits nicely and I tried my hardest to make sure he doesn't come across as a gimmick and rather an actual character in the MQ universe and I think we did a great job with that. You can decide for yourself when Gameshow planet releases.
I know it's been a long time in the making but there are a few contributing factors to this. The 1st being that a lot of it is custom content. This is actually going to be the last minigame-heavy release for a long time since I know I've gone a bit wild with them. So this final hurrah of minigames (for now at least) is a pretty big hurrah. First I made the obstacle course which took a long time while I was also doing things for the weekly releases. It's easy to lose you train of thought on a project when you have to take a break for a few days to work on a completely different release. Once I got the obstacle course working, I felt it just wasn't enough. So I decided to come up with a trivia game which the back end of that only took a day to create while the questions took much longer and ate away a lot of time in the last couple weeks which is when I gave up and asked you all for help haha. Then there was the word puzzle, very similar to Wheel of Fortune but legally different. That one took a little longer to make but I'm super happy about that one. I think I'll be adding a big challenge mode for that one where I have harder words and maybe offer something special but that would come later and not tomorrow/today. Either way, all 3 minigames are an option. Trivia being the easiest, the word puzzle being medium, and the obstacle course is like the hard mode. You can do all 3 and you can switch between them at any time so it's super friendly in that respect. Then it ends in a big finale with lots of interesting tidbits to feast your minds.
The other issue that made this planet take so long was the GEARS Games. I spent a lot of time using the GEARS Games to train Maegwyn which also trained Vivi to make quests and I did a lot of testing for them and helping out. Then they made their first 100% quests with the help of Minar for weapons and such and Lyris doing cutscenes (which have been consistently awesome and she even helped me with Gameshow planet to do some really awesome stuff) as well as some enemy things for Friday the 13th. I think Friday the 13th was a big successful release for us. I was really proud that they did so well and this tells me that in the future, we'll all definitely be able to rely on each other to pump out some really awesome content and hopefully get these guys upgraded from volunteer staff.
Meanwhile, Arklen has been animating the new SC mech which has been finished and we'll be trying to get that setup next week while he animates weapons for gameshow planet which will be added next week. I'll likely get him started right away on the next SC mech (that's right. It's like we're almost on schedule) as well as probably some mechs and monsters for upcoming content once we solidify what we're doing.
Which becomes really the next big question. Artix really wants to try this streamlined version of MQ which I'll be sure that swordfighting gets the update before we do it. I also want some DB additions to make a few things easier and nicer to keep track of, such as the impending possibility of becoming a Shadowscythe or storing whether or not you've worn an outfit before. If we do go with the streamlined version right away, we'll end up having one big quest in normal MQ that basically leads into the new one. Then while we're working on the newer version, we'll still trickle things back into the current MQ story and we'll basically be filling some gaps. It probably sounds confusing but it's not even in stone yet. There are lots of neat possibilities on the horizon and with Mae and vivi learning quest building, things will only get better.
So with this, I say get ready. I still have a few things to do. Sound cues, a cutscene, lots of testing, and I need to figure out something that Korin should do if you find him D:
Anywho, I'll post another update when it's live and let you know what's exploding. For now, to bed!!
Friday, May 27, 2011
Mech Quest Trivia Questions Contest: Many thanks and congratulations to all those who participated in the MQ Trivia Contest! YOU ALL WON! Every person won 100 Nova Gems. All prizes have been awarded to the people who submitted entries in the forum thread! (And wow that took me a while - that was a LOT of characters!) (And a ton of questions and answers, and now I also have them all coded into the quest - and here's hoping I've got them typo-free, too!) Note: Original wording of submissions may have been edited by the MechQuest staff
(This quest pulls from a pool of a LOT of questions - so even if you read all the submissions on the forums you still don't have all the answers in front of you.)
Credits: Trivia Questions Contest Winners
- Griffin the awesome
- Ted Zlammy
- Demonic Sage 23
- Avantir Mardrak Yihn
- crazy penguin
- Highlord Sendai
- Darkai - DiEgO26
- Matri Dunadan
- Mr. minimum
- Clown the Jester
- Lord Areswe
- jordan .c.
- Slayer M.
- Byrn Dragonstone
- Mikey Pisan
- Baron Nathanel
- Exodus man
- The Death Angel
- midnight striker
Also thanks to the members of the moderation team (ArchKnights and Moderators) who contributed MQ trivia to Dumoose for another project - and thanks to Dumoose for giving the MQ trivia to us to use for this planet:
- Bomber of Justice
- yr Frostbite
Thank you all very, very much!
Friday, May 20, 2011
It's a good weekend to play MechQuest! Experience and credits boost weekend!!! You will earn 15% EXTRA experience and credits in battle - if you are a Star Captain you will earn 20% !!
Other Star Captain special aspects of this week's release include:
- A new quest in the Friday the 13th camp!
- A higher-level Jameson mecha (Jameson Avenger model) Level 42 scales to 49
- Buffed specials for the Avenger series include '09 models!
What's going on for you if you haven't yet upgraded? Oh, you get some new stuff too!
- Everyone gets a version of the new Screamer Head (visit the Metal Shop in the Friday 13th camp)
- Everyone can now choose to battle the Hard Mode in the Friday the 13th Quest (the first part)
We didn't forget about Nova Gem items!
- The higher-level version of the older Jameson mecha (the Vengeance series) Level 44 - scales to 49
- Buffed specials for the Vengeance series include '09 models!
This week's release also fixed a few bugs - the Nemesis *should* now be able to enter the 2nd part of the Friday the 13th quests, the sounds should respect the muter...
So the Star Captain Exclusive quest gives you a reason to use that Pipe hand-to-hand combat weapon (or another powerful Energy Blade). I was able to code something new and interesting into the enemy so I hope you like it and figure out how to beat it... over and over again because it gives good rewards. I hear that this fight isn't respecting the boost weekend, but it gives better experience than any other swordfight in game, and good credit reward as well.
I have also learned that if you lose the 3rd swordfight, you can't get back into the room... I should know exactly how to fix this since I coded it, but I have become confused so if you get stuck, please use this workaround for now:
Use your Hometown button, then go back to the Friday the 13th camp via the button in Soluna. Sorry for the inconvenience.
Have a great weekend and enjoy the boost!
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Let's try this again... yesterday I wrote you some lovely, long Design Notes but I wrote them directly into the Content Management System... and did not save early and often... so CMS logged me out when I went to post them and they were eaten. I'm writing these in Notepad...
Friday the 13th was a fun and kinda scary release... because Korin turned me loose on planning & managing it. I've been helping him do this kind of thing for a little while now, but it's different when you're actually in charge of it. We have this amazing team, though, so it really wasn't all that scary. At first, I thought that I would mainly be filling a managerial role because I had already planned to be working with blues on the next installment of the Star Captain Xtreme Challenge during this timeframe - but as it turned out it is his vacation time! So I was able to focus on Friday the 13th & be more involved in the creative process as well as the behind-the-scenes mechanics.
One of the first things that happened in preparation for the Friday 13th release was that I asked blues before he went away for recommendations for the Uber Jameson buff.
Uber Jameson buff: Applies to the Nova Gem models of 3010 and 3009 plus the new L45 Primo Jameson. Added a general damage boost, and the head now has a Damage BoT (Buff over Time) of +10 per turn over 5 turns.
(I actually did some of the coding for the buff, with the help of Korin and Vivi, along with my update to the levels-with-you code - I was a little worried that it was too strong but I'm not hearing any complaints on the forums.)
The Pipe weapons idea grew spontaneously from the release plan. Since we are in different locations, we communicate online - so I pulled Vivi and Lyris into an MSN group chat and we brainstormed. Lyris made us a Gdoc and put together the dialogue. She also put together the art assets that turned into the sewer components - and Minar turned the pipe art into weapons.
The new sounds are kind of an interesting story. The hand-to-hand combat pipe was ready first, and I gave it to Lyris to test. She said it worked but it seemed weird for a pipe to make a laser noise and that it would be cool if it would "clang." So the next morning I wandered around the house banging on metal. The faucets and pipes don't make the right sound - the thing that ended up with good resonance was my stainless steel soup ladle on the vegetable steamer. I recorded that as an mp3 and sent it to Korin, who figured out how to attach it to the swordfighting combat stuff.
So yes, the pipe does the same damage as the Evil Jim Replica Axe (rare) and with the merge with the Polish, also buffs up to the same as the EJ Axe. The difference is that this has the new sound. As has been mentioned on the forums, it really would have been cool to have a swordfight-style encounter for this weapon, but we had already planned the quests to be mecha combat so the weapon was really more of a 'teaser' and a souvenir. I thought it would engender more speculation on the forums than it actually did, and I figured you guys would guess that it was going to have a merged version just like the EJ Axe did.
Then the mecha-equippable arm - I figured that Vivi would be coding it and since he was working on quests, one of which was the quite-complicated maze, I didn't want it to be too complex with new specials, so I asked Minar to set it up as a one-hit stunning melee style. Things were getting hectic and I decided to try my hand at adding the code to make it function in combat, and once I got started with that I started playing with figuring out how to make it perform the stun. In an email I had also put out the idea to the brain trust of doing some kind of BtH nerf to the opponent - as it turned out, that part was the easiest to figure out. I sent it off to Vivi because I didn't think I had the stun-resist-lowering right & thought I was trying to get too fancy... and I'm actually not sure how much needed changing - so judging from your reactions on the forums it looks like it came out pretty well.
Anyway, back to the sounds. So Lyris had noted on the gdoc that a flushing noise could be embedded. We were talking via email and she mentioned it again, and it occurred to me - just so happens that my downstairs bathroom has the original fixtures from like 1908 or something, including an old-style pull-chain overhead tank toilet - that goes WHOOSH when you flush it. So I sent over an mp3 of Maegwyn's Toilet, and Lyris enhanced it with more water to make it more dramatic. She did such a great job with the animated cutscenes - so many great little touches that add dimension. (There actually were more places where she would have liked the music clip to play but it had gotten to a point where other functions had to take priority) - (like making the reward shop button unlock) (haha).
So Vivi was busily setting up the quests, which he's impressively good at doing - and then also we had new enemies - he & Lyris put together the art for the new enemies you meet, using existing art. (I believe this is what Lyris calls "kitbashing" - which isn't quite the same as what Urban Dictionary tells me it means. Basically it's a matter of dissecting and disassembling existing assets and recombining them to make something new.) Anyway they did an amazing job - Lyris did The Screamer and the Sewer Gator, and Vivi did Freddy Cougar (I did the unglamorous but necessary database work for that bit).
Then everything needs some kind of a hub, so I put together the town file and set up the shops and the buttons that send you to the quests, and came up with some dialogue for those areas. Then of course as always I set stuff up in the database & managed the testing & the usual. Korin was around - answered a few questions and was always there if needed - mainly he worked on the Gameshow planet and took some time to fix a bug with the coloration on the Punky uniform - and he made the Cursed Tape in game and starship item.
This was a great team collaboration and I'm thrilled that Korin put it in my hands. We all work so well together - it was definitely a lot of work and long hours. I did get out of town for an overnight trip (was in a canoe looking for river otters, taking photos of birds and turtles and flooded areas) so I got up extra-early and stayed up extra-late to make up for taking off ... while Vivi was going through finals at the same time as wrapping up quest work and Lyris was animating scenes in her evenings after having large projects for the day job. I am so impressed with the work Vivi and Lyris did! (That either sounds like I'm complaining about long hours, or like I'm saying that I went out of town to have fun and left Vivi and Lyris to do all the work. Hm... )
So I'm sure I'm leaving something out - rewriting this has taken longer than writing it the first time... anyway I should wrap this up by saying this was such a fun release to put together! I can't praise our team enough for the fantastic work - and from the feedback on the forums I'm seeing, it sounds like you guys really enjoyed the release. Thank you so much for playing - I love MechQuest and I love our team, but most of all I have to say that I love the passion you all bring to the game! You guys totally rock!
Have a great rest-of-the-weekend!
Friday, May 13, 2011
The weather report is ominous! It's definitely time for a Murky Lake Reunion.
I hardly know what to say tonight, I'm so exhilarated & exhausted! Huge fun working with Vivi and Lyris putting together this event. I like to try to say who did what - this was such a collaborative effort that it's hard to remember and sort out. It was a bit scary managing the whole thing & while I could go to Korin with questions I actually didn't have too many. I'm really proud of our team and I hope you like everything!
We originally had a tough Rusty Rat in by mistake (from the Advanced Combat Theory Class if I'm not mistaken) but now it's a normal one. Now that that's fixed and I buffed the rest of the Uber Jamesons (at first it was only the 3010 ones) I really need to meet up with my husband & cousins. I will write more later though! I'm too hungry to write...
Friday, May 6, 2011
Alright! This week's release is kind of a lead-in to next week's Frida y the 13th event. I WAS going to release the cursed tape again as well but I think I'll just save that until next week as well. So for now, if you go to the New Release panel in Soluna City, you'll find a Pipe weapon in the Holiday shop that has to do with next week's release. It's a pilot weapon and in ANY survival horror game, the rusty pipe is ALWAYS your best friend.
Then there's Gameshow Planet. Holy cow, things are coming together. I've got the town files all setup, I'm working my way through all the obstacle course stages and you players are helping me greatly with trivia questions for the Gameshow planet, and I need lots. So be sure to add lots of questions. If one of your questions gets used in the game, a character ID of your choice will get 100NGs. It couldn't be simpler! But seriously, the Gameshow planet is really coming up and I think the realistic deadline will be the week after Friday the 13th. I think it's a very realistic goal thanks to Maegwyn leading the Friday the 13th project with Vivi, Lyris, and Minar. I sent the next SC mech to Arklen to be vectorized, shaded, colored, and animated. That's right. A star captain mech is ALREADY in production. Seriously it's like we're severely getting on track here. It's almost scary.
In other news, EpicDuel has released a new poster in HeroMart! You can pick yours up at http://heromart.com/ and you can also go the extra mile and get a copy that was signed by the EpicDuel team(Titan, Nightwraith, and Charfade)
As for Friday the 13th, from what I've seen and heard, it sounds like it's going to be another great year! I saw the intro cutscene and it cracked me up. I'm excited to see the final quest next week when Mae and team finishes it. After Gameshow planet we can start working towards this new workflow of MQ which will include one more big hurrah for how we do things now before we can make things fuller and more streamlined, and hopefully as hinted, allow you to play as a Shadowscythe.
I'll leave you with that for now. Lots of things to look out for in the very near future. Have a great weekend and talk to you later!
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Has it really been a week since I last put up Design Notes? Where does the time go? It's May the 4ce already?? May it be with you all!
I read a post by acidoverride on the forums asking what's going on behind the scenes and what we've got in store for you. We're all working like... like bees! I like bees!
So first-off, did you know that Korin added a very cool new feature to the Options interface? Some of you wanted the option to color-customize the now-rare Maypril Derpmachine mecha model, and Korin not only made that possible for Star Captains, but also turned it into an option! If you prefer it in its original color scheme, you now have that as a choosable option. The toggle button is in the Graphics section of the Options panel. (You'll need to re-equip the mecha to see the change.)
Also this week Korin added the long-promised new animations to the Korin Heads from last year. If you have one you should check it out! There are two new animations tied to existing specials!
Korin's been working on the Gameshow planet and he's calling on you (via the forums) for help! You have the opportunity to win 100 Nova Gems by providing MechQuest Trivia in this thread. He's been working closely with Minar for background art and with Arklen as well! Can you tell that I'm excited about the new planet? I know you're going to love it.
As I'm sure you know, we've got a Friday the 13th coming up! Lyris and Vivi (and I) are putting together an event. I can tell you that there will be at least one cutscene from Lyris with animation. I can't say too much because I don't want to spoil anything, but I can say that it's looking fantastic! Also a new quest that Vivi's putting together. A higher-level version of Uber Jameson complete with a couple of buffs (and the buffs will apply to last year's models) which I'm working on right now. Vivi helped me understand how to add some code - blues provided some numbers and ideas for the buff. blues is about to go on a nice vacation!
blues & Vivi & I are going to get the next chapter of the Star Captain Xtreme Challenge put together for you when he gets back - in a month. I'll get the quest written and coded and perfected while he's relaxing, and maybe get some new lessons from Korin and Vivi on programming enemy attacks in preparation for blues' return. Vivi will probably be the one adding anything new and fancy on the enemy challenges!
I know I'm leaving a bunch of stuff out...
So much has been going on. The long-running GEARS games have a winning House - Wolfblade! Check out the storyline quests following the fate of their kidnapped leader, Xaria! (Hint - if the timed quest is difficult, try using hard-hitting one-hit weapons - maybe stun your enemies - and remember that you don't have to heal yourself all the way to full values at the stations along the way.) Grab your grand and well-earned rewards: weapons designed by the astounding Thyton, including a special Valor Badge merge shop item, plus the Starship Items which Star Captains can display with pride in the Starship - all courtesy of the talented Minar!
Ok I guess I will stop talking for now. I'll try to talk here more frequently - and see you on the forums!