Getting our Demo ready for the Steam Games Festival (Week 14 Update)
We heard back from Steam and RavenHeart Hospital will be at the Steam Games Festival! In preparation for the showcase, we are continuing to improve our demo and working on new features for operations, including new Tool UI by Amilia St. John (@milistjohn), a Scoring system and Pre/Post Operation sequences. We also have new script features to improve the story telling we can present players. This week, JT has some music to share for various interactions with Dante, our EMS Paramedic.
Showcase the game
Apply to GameScape (Deadline: March 31st, 2020)
- New Update: Artscape 2020, along with GameScape, has been cancelled. We look forward to seeing Artscape next year and other events the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts is planning virtually.
Steam Games Festival (Demo Deadline: May 15th, 2020, Event: June 9th to June 15th)
- New Update: Our game has been reviewed and is confirmed to be a part of the Steam Games Festival. We are excited to present the game at our first large event and plan to look opportunities for live streaming and developer Q&As session during the week of the festival. You can checkout and wishlist our Steam store page.
Feedback from our players is important since we want to make the best game we can for our audience. We submitted a demo build for the Steam Summer Festival and then published the demo our newsletter followers. We continue to get feedback from our Discord server and plan to have a new survey for the Steam Games Festival demo.
Support User Generated Content
We are running our first ever Story Pack Jam on our Discord server, where we encourage players to write their own stories that can run in the game. Story Packs can contain scripts and new characters, backgrounds, and more. For this story pack jam, the theme is "Start of Summer Vacation". If you are interested in checking our players stories or joining the story jam yourself, you can head on over to our Discord Server
We are working with Amilia St. John (@milistjohn) on icons for the various surgical tools used in the game. We want the tools to read well and use the same color palette across them. Another fun thing is the use of transparency in the designs.
Our plan is to use these tool icons in the tool selection UI as well as flash the icons where the cursor is to indicate the selected tool. Currently we have the tools hovering around the cursor and we've received some feedback that this can be confusing for various tools.
New Script Feature - BREAK cues
We've been playing around with choices in the game and they are growing to be one of the more complex scripting feature. We supported the ACTION_CHOICE with a parameter for the number of choices that could be select. For example, ACTION_CHOICE: 2 would allow the player to select 2 choices before complete the ACTION_CHOICE block. This was nicer than the previous single-choice action choices because it allowed for JT to write more flavorful text around choices and not force players to replay the scene multiple times to see all the options.
The natural flip side of the being able to select more choices is the ability to skip choice. That is where the BREAK cue comes in.
Here's a simplified action choice script excerpt showing the combination new action choices and the break cue in use:
*ACTION_CHOICE:4 *CHOICE *PROTAG Does the patient have any other underlying conditions?.. *END_CHOICE*CHOICE*PROTAG, curiousDo we know if the tumors are malignant?... *END_CHOICE*CHOICE*PROTAGWhat’s MEDIGEL? ... *END_CHOICE *CHOICE *PROTAG No, I’m ready, Dr. Holiday.
The way this action choice will appear in the game is the player will see four potential choice options. If the player picks the first option, they will see that option's storyline, then be presented with the remaining three options. They can continue this loop for picking the first option until they have exhausted all of the options and are completed with the action choice block.
At any of the option selection points in that interaction loop, the player can select the final option with the BREAK cue inside of it and they will play that storyline until they hit the BREAK cue. Once they hit the cue, they will no longer be presented with other options and will continue the story past the action choice block.
With more modular script features like complex ACTION_CHOICE and BREAK cues, we hope to give story writers as much flexibility as they want to create more dynamic stories.
JT worked on variation of themes for Dante. The themes are written in D# because Dante's "name starts with a D, he's prickly and moody"
For more romantic settings.
For more uncertain times.
For out on the town, hunting for ghosts.
For just chilling and hanging out.
Minor Project Cleanup
Last week, with the Steam submission behind us, I cleaned up the project and build to improve its performance and make it smaller. There were a lot of old, temporary assets that we used but no longer needed that I was able to move out so they didn't increase the build size.
For the next milestone, we'd like to implement a scoring system and more feedback in the operations for how well players are doing. We think this will allow the operations to be more replay-able and feel more game-y. The scoring system will lead into having a post-operation scene.
Right now, the pre-operation scene looks just like a cutscene. We want this sequence to give more information about the operation that is about to occur, give some light information about a patient and their afflictions. I have already begin drafting up and laying out the UI for this sequence.
I hope you enjoyed this week's edition of our studio's status update. Each week, we try to bring new and interesting updates about how our studio and game are developing that we think people will like and learn from.
If you have any questions, comments, feedback for me, you can email me, Zappy, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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