The Long Road

Hey!!

As of now, the content of the game is getting pretty much wrapped up. I’ve talked a bit before about how hard it’s been to make concrete progress on this as I reach the end; I think self doubt and other issues have been factors as well. But I’ve sort of pushed through that. Final boss and most everything is done. All that’s left is the very final scene(s) of the game, and that’s been rigorously planned for quite some time, so it’s just a matter of executing that content. I’m out of the tunnel, so to speak.

It may still be some time before the game is in your hands though.

The game’s sound effects and OST still have some distance to go, and the latter is mostly out of my control. I’ll be using that extra time to polish the game more, though, and maybe get some more beta testing done. I’ve been sort of compulsively fixing bugs and making tweaks when I should have been getting content done, but the game’s breadth is wide enough that it’s still pretty hard to survey everything and not overlook any lingering issues. I’ll post news and information about that once it’s more relevant (once this last bit of content is wrapped up, and maybe I fix up some other stuff).

I’m also interested in getting a new trailer out very soon. I’ve actually had some footage in mind ready for a special trailer for quite some time (like, 8 months) so I’m excited about getting that out!

Sorry it’s been some time since I posted–and sorry there’s not too much to report! Just thought I’d keep everyone in the know.

Final Boss

I’m working on it. It’s a bit ambitious and it’s going a bit slow, but it’s definitely going. That’s all I can post about right now! Have a nice week. :)

Some Enemies

There are quite a few different ghosts to fight in Phanta! What’s especially notable about that is every enemy is fully animated. It’s fun getting everything to move, but it can also be quite time consuming. I thought I’d give a sneak preview for some of my favorites. :)

This here is Ghoulutton! He’s a bit on the heavy side. He also gets real hungry, which makes him eat his friends sometimes.

And this is Mr. Bomb! You better take him out fast, cause once his count runs out he’ll EXPLODE!

And here’s one from quite recently. This is Greenman, based loosely on a (shockingly true!) urban legend from Western Pennsylvania. He’s very… volatile.

Taking the art from the game data and turning it into an animated GIF is a stupidly long process, so you’ll have to wait until the game’s out to see many more of these. In the meantime, the portrait section has been updated with enemy stills so you can see some more of the varied spirits who you’ll be bashing through suburbia. I hope you’re looking forward to it!

Where Making This Hapen

Hey! I’ve been doing a few long articles lately, so I’m going to keep it short this week and just give a quick update on what I’ve been doing. (Sorry, no images)! As far as new content goes, I’ve been meandering through enemy work in the final dungeon. It’s an especially heavy one because the enemies you see vary based on what areas of the game you played through up to then, so there’s a lot of assets to put together to fill a fairly small window of gameplay.

I’ve been relying on Rocky to help me with the enemy animations in addition to the larger portraits, which is a little unusual, but when I came up against this wall of content to get done it seemed impossible without a little help here and there. :) Not to mention some of the enemies are naturally very complicated and difficult to animate, with lots of moving parts. Just as this area is the final level of the game, it kinda feels like a final challenge to me as an animator and artist. I’ll be doing my darndest to live up to that!

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Puzzling in 2D vs. First Person

After a burst of productive energy last week, this week started to feel a bit slower. There’s only one puzzle left to do for the whole game, and then after that it’s final boss and ending. I have some ideas for the puzzle on paper, but decided to take some more time to think about it and in the meantime I spent more time this week replaying earlier areas, fixing old bugs I’d never gotten around to, and tweaking more writing.

Once the game’s content is done, I’ll start passing it around to close friends and maybe some people off this blog to get early feedback, squelch more bugs, that sort of thing. I want to give a lot of time for that, and only after I’m totally happy with the game and feel it’s at full functioning power will I put it out for everyone to play. Sorry for being a bit cagey with it–I don’t usually do things so cautiously like this, but then, I also usually come out on release day with a few major bugs!

Anyway–I wanted to get some words out about my experience working on Chiaroscuro in comparison to this game. Once you get into the Spirit Tunnels in Phanta it’s pretty easy to draw comparison to those areas and Chiaroscuro, and that’s not an accident. Level design’s my favorite part of making games and I really love thinking about and putting together puzzles. I approached the level design in both games with a really similar mentality, but from experimentation and watching play testers I picked up some interesting and useful information about building puzzles for 3D space and first-person view as opposed to 2D.

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Writing with Portraits

I’ve been working on the final dungeon this week, getting puzzles designed and placed in after some time of hesitation on my part. It’s really awesome to finally be getting stuff done! That’s not what I’m posting about today though.

As I planned out puzzles, I found it really helpful, if not necessary, to keep with me a sketchbook and sharpie to put down rough designs and compositions on paper before implementing them into the game. What I didn’t expect, but should have, is that my habit of compulsively doodling would end up making this task a lot more time consuming than it needed to be. But some interesting thoughts came to mind as a result.

See if you can spot which part was supposed to be a puzzle rough draft. I dare you.


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Chiaroscuro

Hey, I have a new game for y’all to play! It’s on the web, and it’s here!!

In keeping with my recent but proud tradition of long game titles that nobody can apparently spell or pronounce, the game is called Chiaroscuro. Unlike Phantasmaburbia, Chiaroscuro is a real word.

Image

The reason why I see fit to post about the new game on this site is because the central mechanic is actually based/taken directly from puzzles in Phantasmaburbia, translated into 3D. You can think of it as a very loose sort of preview for Phanta. I’m purposefully being a bit vague here because I feel part of the challenge is learning the goal of the game and beating it with as little starting knowledge as possible. The entire game is fairly short, but all is communicated through level design and visual stuff–no text or sound in sight.

There’s quite a bit I could say as to the design of this game and how it relates to Phanta, but for now I think I’d like to give everyone an opportunity to first play it. To be continued!

Let’s Youtube Us A Thing!

Hey there, all you lovable rascals! Rockythechao (A.K.A. Mack151, A.K.A. the game’s portrait artist, etc. etc.) here to bring you a little thing I whipped up this weekend. Allow me to humbly present to you the very first installment of Let’s Play Phantasmaburbia!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaJ1xQXBOBM]

…No, really, it is, just give it a moment. No, that is not Minecraft, your eyes and ears and livers must be decieving you.

…okay, fine, skip to 01:12 if you want to jump straight into things. BUT MARK MY WORDS YOU WILL TOTALLY MISS OUT ON SOME EPIC MINECRAFT TITLE SCREEN ACTION. EPIC I TELL YOU, EPIIIIIIC.

Regardless, we hope you enjoy this semi-official magical romp through our favorite ghost-infested neighborhood! I’ll try and update on weekends if I can, though fair warning, I’m not known for being perfectly punctual!

Until next time, everyone: Ciao for now!

EDIT: Aaargh, WordPress! Why can’t we just be friends!? Embedded video totally fixed now.

Post Frequency

Hiya! I got back safe and sound from GDC last weekend. it was an amazing experience!

Coming back, I’d like to make a vow to post updates to this site more frequently. I think getting content up here more regularly will be better to those hungry for updates, but also to myself, since I’ll be motivated to have stuff done! I’ll also be pushing for Rocky and Jason to post content as well, since their contributions are all worthy of some personal examination.

I had just a liiiiiiiiittle time to work while I was there, but not much. Since coming back, I’ve been immersing myself in classwork, which has produced some other projects of interest, including a small new game whose central mechanic is based on some of the puzzles in Phanta–more on that later. Progress on Phanta itself has been slow for almost two weeks now as a result, but I’ll be phasing it back into my routine in the coming days.

Right now I’m taking steps into doing the final dungeon. I spent some time finishing off the side content, so all that’s left is the game’s final areas and ending. I set up most of the assets for the puzzles and backgrounds, but I’ve been feeling hesitant about actually doing the puzzles. It feels pretty intimidating! In the meantime, there’s a great deal of enemies to do for this area (what enemies appear is dependent on the player’s path through the game), so I’ve spent some time animating and pixelling enemies. I don’t have any images to share at the moment, sorry!

Okay, so that’s the skinny on what’s going on now! I’ll be back to share more in the coming weeks.