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[Devlog] Covalence

A topic by dadsandals created Jul 15, 2018 Views: 283 Replies: 7
Viewing posts 1 to 8
Submitted (4 edits) (+3)

Hello! We are Emma (they/them), TJ (he/him), and Jordan (he/him) and we are making Covalence! Covalence is a story-driven RPG about relationships and finding oneself and a bit of poorly thought-out chemistry.

Between the three of us we have skills with storywriting, art, and programming, but we've never put together an actual game before. This is our first game jam and we're really excited to be here!

In Covalence, the player controls a lone oxygen atom who feels something is missing from its existence. By navigating its tiny world and interacting with other atoms and molecules, it just might be able to find something or someone to make it feel complete.

Gameplay:

  • The player can control the motion of the oxygen atom forward or backward along a preset path.
  • Along the way, the player will encounter other atoms and molecules which can be interacted with.
  • The primary gameplay will be in the choices made throughout the dialogue and conversations with other characters.

Tools

  • story: Emma is using Twine to prototype the dialogue paths and story.
  • art: TJ is creating the art assets in Photoshop
  • engine: Jordan's using Godot to build this game.

We've barely gotten started and a lot of what we have is on paper or in our heads right now, but we'll try to keep updating here every few days or so! We'll also be posting updates on our tumblr, and if you would like to follow along with development and planning, we're trying to keep everything in one place in this GitLab project.

Host

haha i'm honestly really intrigued by the premise of your game! i love games with a huge focus on dialogue and interactions with NPCs--and i'm curious to see what kind of choices you can make here haha.

Submitted (1 edit) (+1)

hey we have some art now! still working out a lot of details of how things will look and behave but here is a special sneak preview:

[some images snipped to save room on this page - they're all at the link below!]


there's more to see on gitlab, too!

Submitted (2 edits) (+2)

things are coming along well! we have started to write some code now and there is already something you can interact with!


try it out: https://dadsandals.com/covalence/ (we're updating this link as we make changes so if you're visiting later you might see more things there!)

that said, we're still not entirely set on this art style (or especially these assets specifically). here are some other ideas that we're considering - please let us know what you think!


Host

ahhh i love how expressive these sketches are already! the two handed movement is actually really interesting--i really like how that's set up but i couldn't quite get a handle on the movement to do exactly what i wanted it to. it's pretty cool so far though so i'd love to see how you develop it + the tutorial for it.

Submitted (1 edit) (+1)

well, we meant to post an update yesterday but that sure didn't happen... whoops :( - but here's what's going on anyway!

our story is continuing to evolve and is nearing completion, so soon we'll be able to focus completely on bringing it to life. if you want to check out how that's coming you can download it for yourself and try it in twine. [between how twine manages files and us having lives, you probably won't find the absolute cutting edge story archive in there but we're doing our best :) ]

the playable build also has continued to evolve since our last update, as we've added different features (and completely rewritten all the code, probably not for the last time...) - there'll be a pretty big change to that soon as we switch from the test scene to the one that hopefully will be built into the final game but that's not quite ready at this very moment (expect in an hour or so from this post though!)

regarding the movement, we still haven't figured out exactly what controls are best for this sort of game. we've been trying out a few different onboarding/tutorial styles and you'll see that in the new build. the idea is to help the player understand that they are moving forward and backward, in whatever direction that happens to be, not left and right per se. (hence, the push away from arrows or a/d.) also, the path in the test scene was definitely more erratic than any movement you'll find in the real game, so hopefully the player will feel a bit more in control now.

Host

ahhh i love when game levels incorporate text into the environment that you read/advance by moving past--i think it's especially cool when you don't have a ton of environment features and the text can be used to ground a player.

i'm not sure what i would recommend for movement but the two dimensions seems to work fine--though id be curious how you'd set up interactive npcs in a way that's interesting and not just in a line (which could also work, but maybe you could have them above or below the character... or maybe there's a curve the player can follow ((also yes curves can be tricky and overscoped but just tossing that out there))). there's some cool problems here and i'm excited to see how you tackle them!

Submitted (3 edits)

really exciting news! we lost a bit of momentum over the weekend but we're back and working hard to get everything ready by the deadline! just now the dialogue engine was completed (well, at the very least, it works now…) and we want to share!

we've only built the first npc interaction that we have written but with this system done adding new dialogue scenes is relatively simple and doesn't take too long (this first one [43 strings] took around an hour, and as we get the hang of it it'll get faster). other than building the rest of the dialogue, we also have to finish up some art and, most importantly, do a lot of decorating! the world is so boring right now! (we'll definitely be losing that grid soon!) there's still a lot to do, but getting over this dialogue hurdle feels really big for us so we can focus more on the less technical side of things.

you can play the first dialogue tree yourself right now! and you should! we would love if you go though it a few times, see what you think, try to break it (and tell us how you did please so we can fix it!) - right now the dialogue scene will reset after you finish so you can try again, but in the real game choosing a "..." ending or receiving help will result in the npc moving away, and you won't be able to interact with it anymore.

also, some notes on textures: the pink square that appears by the npc is a placeholder, and that will be an animated chat icon that indicates when an interaction is available. but right now, it's just awful and ugly. also, the texture for the npc is an old one, so the colors are wrong. sorry.

we recommend you play through properly at least once to get a hold on the controls, but if you're in a rush you can click the button at the start to skip to near where the npc is. (you can also press f12 and turn up the world speed if you want to get there faster). if you do use the skip, you'll miss the other input hints - you'll need to press space to enter the dialogue scene and then you can use the keys s/k to make dialogue choices and space to continue. (we might add more hints for these, especially within the dialogue scene, since it's unusual.)

go play it! we're really excited about this! ok, finally, here is the link:

https://dadsandals.com/covalence/