Reflection of Week Seventeen

Week Beginning 22nd May – 28th May

Monday

There was a lot of fixing and planning going on today in terms of the Trello board. As we are in the final two weeks, I thought it best to plan both weeks thoroughly to make sure that we have all of the tasks covered before the deadline. We have a fair few tasks left to get done if we want to get all of the extra bits and pieces done. As we were apart from each other today, I have made the two final sprints ready for tomorrow when we meet again for us to go over and discuss.

I’m taking it upon myself to work on the development video for the semester as well as work on the promotional game trailer in time for the Cube exhibition and deadline. I’m going to be looking to get some ideas from the rest of the team too as we’re all bound to have a variety of ideas and these could end up making the Twilleir trailer awesome. 

Today has been a matter of trailing through all of the footage that we’ve collated over the last few months and figuring out what could be usable in the development video and what could potentially be used in the promotional trailer too. I’m surprised that we have quite a large amount of footage to play around with so this will be my task for the rest of the week. 

Tuesday

We had Mind the Film in for the last time today so the majority of the day was taken up by this so not much work got done as the whole Twilleir team had to be interviewed and I spent the whole day collating footage for Mind the Film onto several different memory sticks so they had a range of stuff to use for the film.

I managed to find the time today to work on the Dungeon Loading Screen. We wanted it to be relatively simple so that it didn’t overwhelm the screen or the Player when they enter the Dungeon, but instead, it acts as a buffer and helps mask the two-second gap that we currently have in the game.

In the game, it loops over until you’re into the Dungeon battle scene giving the Player a buffer between battles as well as helping us cover up the delay that we have in the game!

Today, we also had an in-depth discussion concerning the rest of the tasks that we have in the Sprints left to do. I’ve decided to drop the Town shopkeepers that I was going to be working on as I feel that they’re not essential to the gameplay of Twilleir, they are just placeholders to show the rest of the town is looking to expand (once we finish uni, who knows). I’ve decided to take more of a backseat role now and work on the stuff behind the scenes such as the film for our development video, the promotional trailer as well as work out if we should put this up on Itch and set up a Patreon account; I’ll be doing a bit of research into this later on this week. 

I will, however, still be on hand to help James fix any last minute assets and create any more buttons or UI that’s been missed out or is needed in order to help the gameplay.

Millie will be working on a few of the remaining assets needed for the game and will be picking up the characters if she feels there’s time to do so.

James will primarily be fixing the final bits and pieces based on the feedback that we received from the play testing session the other day as well as building the last few assets into the game. He’ll also be screen recording a full gameplay run through which will help me to put into the game trailer and development video. 

We had another tester today of the game. Elinor hadn’t played through before so again it was great to get some more fresh eyes to the game – especially considering James updated to a newer build after the play test day so it meant that hopefully, we’ll get some new feedback to work in and see if what was implemented helps the Player. 

1. On a scale of 1 – 5 (I being awful and 5 being fricking awesome) how many stars would you rate the Alpha build of Twilleir?

4 stars/5

2. If you had to use three words to describe Twilleir, what would they be? I.e. thematically etc

Interesting

Bright

CRAFTY!

3. What parts did you enjoy the most (if at all)?

The fighting was interesting! Really liked the idea that you could fight for ages with the right attacks/health potions. Crafting is fun but needs explaining?

4. What parts didn’t you enjoy or didn’t think worked (if at all)?

I didn’t realise I had to/could click on anything else while Eliza was talking. Maybe leave a moment for peeps to click, then trigger her to talk again? Eliza seems to talk through EVERYTHING before I can do it?

5. Was there anything in the game you didn’t understand? If there was, please explain what and any suggestions you have!

The names for the plants seem to be in the top left corner? (in the garden) Not sure if it was obvious what to do once plants were done growing. Harvest music game was a little confusing for me (but I am awful at music games so maybe that’s just me), there’s no time to move my hands to the keys!!!

6. On a scale of 1 – 5 (1 being ‘eurgh no’ and 5 being ‘hell yeah!’) would you be interested in playing the full Twilleir game if it was released? 

5 stars – definitely interested in what else will happen!

She also left some great notes/feedback for us:

  • in character creation, I would suggest putting L’Hallen and Meidryn above the Male and Female buttons, especially because if I click ‘F’ and then choose L’Hallen or Meidryn, it defaults to Male. Plus I think people will initially be more interested in the race so they can look at what Male and Female looks like for that race, rather than M/F then race.
  • can clicking to continue Eliza’s speech be programmed to if I click anywhere instead of if I click on her speech bubble?
  • When I go back to the Crafting screen, the back to shop text disappears!
  • I feel like some windows could do with ‘close windows’ buttons – x’s in the corner sort of thing
  • wasn’t obvious when I didn’t have an ingredient that I needed!
  • could do with being able to see your inventory while in the crafting room.

This is great feedback and James will shortly be implementing this into the next build and making sure some areas area clearer.  

Overall, today has been a bit of a mess of stuff due to being busy running around doing bits and pieces but I’m glad that we’ve outlined what exactly we’re doing now and have managed to get some more feedback. 

Wednesday

Today I worked through the remaining footage that we have and reduced it all down to about three minutes worth of footage. As Millie is very good with After Effects, I have now passed on all of the relevant footage to her and she will be working on putting some cool effects together plus some of the artwork we’ve worked on to finish off the process video. 

We also discussed our ideas for the business cards we wanted to have ready in time for the Winchester but mostly the London exhibition. We felt the front needed to be simple and so we decided that the Twilleir logo would work the best. Millie edited this and then built the cards so now they’re all ready to be printed. We’ll be waiting till after deadline to order them as payday is on the 1st of June and we’re broke third-year students but we’ll have them all ready for the shows. It’s exciting to see it all come to life! #adulthood

business card mock up 

As well as working on this, I have been going through the speed paints that I made during the project and have been adding some music to them and uploading them to Youtube now that I have some more time on my hands. This way, people can see our process as we painted some of the assets for Twilleir so they can get some insight into the game development. Below is a list of links to the various videos in the Speed Paint playlist on Youtube as if I put all the videos in here, it’d be chaos:

Shop Buttons

Comedy and Comfort Potions

Commission Cards

Flowers

Harvesting Background (ft Millie’s Twitch Stream)

Harvesting Mini-Game UI Panel

Mushroom

Sparkly Orbs!

Romance and Quest Potions

Study and Flying Potions

Travel Potion

Trowel Icon

I got bored of adding normal music to the videos so the music choices go down hill after the first few. Just for the lols Adam, I’ve put some really random and fun songs to some of them. Take a lucky dip, we all know you won’t read this anyway but would be nice to see if you actually did…

Now for tomorrow, I will be focusing on putting together some ideas for the promotional trailer using storyboards in order to figure out what we want to include and how we want it to come across; I’ll be discussing this with the team tomorrow. 

Thursday

Millie is away today so I’ve decided to postpone the promotional trailer discussion until tomorrow when we’re all definitely in the studio. This way we can incorporate the right sort of feel we would like and how we want it to work – whether we take a simple, boring approach by just having some of the playtest footage or we go all out and make something comical and dramatic. I know which choice we are likely to go for, but I’ll wait to see what ideas the guys have and mesh our ideas together.

I’ve started to have a look into creating a Patreon page for Twilleir as this would be an excellent way to get funding for the game and see if people would actually want to support it.
I found an interesting article Setting Up Shop: Tips For Building A Successful Patreon Creator Page where there were a few tips and tricks to help set up a good Patreon campaign. We’ve decided to look into creating one of these rather than Steam Greenlight due to the changes they implemented this year where we could have to pay $5000 just to put it up – and let’s face it, we’re broke students so that won’t work out… The next thing we found was this Patreon page which is where you get followers or ‘Patrons’ who pledge to be your supporters and give you money to make the thing. This is a page which has been suggested by many online as a place to put up games rather than places such as Kickstarter. 

One of the first tips is:

“Ask any of our top creators and they’ll tell you: the journey to becoming a successful creator on Patreon starts with a carefully crafted profile, a well thought out promotional launch, and a steady stream of the awesome creations that led your fans to your Patreon page in the first place.”

Considering we are starting to think about the promotional trailer now and what with our shows coming up in Winchester and London next month, we are definitely in the right stage of the process in order to create a promotional launch. We’ve already got nearly all of the artwork complete for Twilleir too so this will be easy enough to filter onto the Patreon page, especially seeing as I’ve been working on Instagram and partly Twitter to share the work we’ve made for it.

KEEP IT SIMPLE

Don’t make your video so long, get it down to a good minute so people have a chance to quickly watch it and it won’t make people lose interest. Also, make sure your description is as short but informative as you can possibly make it. This will increase our chances of people looking at your Patreon page and who knows, they may even pledge!

REWARD YOUR PATRONS

Ideas for this:

  • behind the scenes of you working on the job
  • handwritten thank you notes
  • signed artwork/posters

Having rewards is not only great to show your Patrons how much you love them and appreciate their help supporting you but it also helps you find more Patrons; people like stuff!
They have warned not to make rewards too extravagant – like signed posters, but as there are three of us working on Twilleir, I feel that this wouldn’t be much of a time restriction at all; especially if the posters and artwork have already been made and all we’d need to do is sign them.

LAUNCH BEFORE YOU LAUNCH

There are apparently two types of launches that have been mentioned in this article. One is the launch of your actual Patreon page and the second is your promotional launch that you do after you press the big green ‘Launch’ button on your Patreon page. This is where you link your existing fan base to your page where hopefully you could get some pledges!

“Do you have a clear description of what you’re creating?  How about a short video that introduces yourself and gives a quick explanation of what Patreon is?”

“While you may be thinking the best way to promote your page is by spending the day obsessively sharing out your URL to all your social media channels, this is only grazing the surface.  The truth is, you should always be promoting your Patreon page!  For every piece of content you share on your website, blog, Youtube channel, etc., you should be linking back to your Patreon page and reminding your fans that there is additional content and exclusive perks accessible to all who pledge to you on Patreon.”

Through our Instagram especially we have a fair few followers join us on our journey over the past three months (151 to be exact!). Even if just twenty people pledged, imagine how good that could be and how you could grow? I’m starting to think that by using Patreon, we’ll be able to hopefully at least start off small but then after this who knows what could happen; definitely, something to consider for our future projects together. 

ALWAYS BE CREATING

No matter what, always be making and sharing stuff with your Patrons. Don’t stop, do stuff, show it off and get busy! I think we’re doing okay with that currently what with updating the Instagram every three days on average – we wanted to make sure we didn’t overpost as a lot of Instagram articles mentioned in order to be successful and for people to actually want to follow you, you need to not overwhelm them. This is quite clear as Twilleir have only posted 41 times and have 151 followers whereas Hurry Hurry Heal Me have posted 87 times (over double the amount) and yet only have 124 followers. It goes to show it’s quality, not quantity people are interested in. #shade.

Whilst having a look at this, I went to the Games section of Patreon to see what sort of games are on there, how much people tend to pledge etc. There were a couple that caught my eye including:

VaatiVidya is creating Souls Videos
$
6,492 per month

This guy is a Youtuber/streamer.
With this, I was mainly interested in the rewards he was offering as well as how he set up his profile. They used great colour schemes that fit the artwork he’s working on so it looks like a brand, looks clean and polished and overall looks quite cute. The only issue I have is that the video is 5 minutes long and by the end, I didn’t pay much attention – need the video to be short, informative and maybe a bit fun to keep the viewer interested.
Some of the rewards they offered were things to take note of, stuff such as releasing content earlier to Patrons would be something that we could do. Maybe we start a Youtube Channel where we show behind the scenes of what we do and then those Patrons get this an extra few days or a week in advance? Potentially a shout out? There’s a lot we could potentially do. 

Jim Sterling is creating the Jimquisition
$
12,230 per month

This guy is a games industry reviewer who also wants to make podcasts alongside this Youtube channel where he hosts a series called Jimquisition where he commentates on AAA games etc.
Similar to the above guy, Jim Sterling wants to stop media and advertising trying to take over videos and make his videos completely ad free meaning that people can enjoy his services without the annoying advertisements etc. Very simple thing and his fanbase obviously love it.
All he has in his rewards section is a minimum spend of $1 otherwise people can add what they want to it. This unlocks his content on Patreon so that people can see streams and comments etc. Something as simple as this has helped him to reach his nearly 12 and a half thousand dollars a month…

Team Cemu is creating Emulation Software
$34,015 per month

This team are a bunch of programmers who work on creating games console emulators. Their ‘bio’ or description is really short and sweet and yet directs you elsewhere to their website if you want to learn more about them and their CEMU project.
Their rewards are based upon early release news or news in general of the projects and how it’s going plus getting their name mentioned as a supporter on their CEMU website. These rewards again are super simple, and people obviously love what they’re doing considering their intake of pledges per month!

Admittingly, there aren’t too many games as such on the Patreon website, however, the ones that are on there do as well as $4000 per month so it’s still not bad at all. It’s definitely something to be worth considering, however, I will also look at Itch too to see if there are more benefits using this platform than Patreon.

Itch is slightly different in that this is more of a place you use to put your game for selling and not for people paying for updates like Patreon is. With Itch you upload your game, some screenshots, design the layout and potentially set a minimum price so that people can pay what they want to play.
The analytics involved in Itch are pretty cool too as you can track how many people are viewing the game as well as how many purchases and downloads are happening too. Potentially I think it may be best for us to firstly upload on Itch, letting people know it’s an Alpha tutorial, so people can see the basics, buy the game (donate or whatever if they want to) and then when we get feedback, implement this as well as upload the game to Patreon. This way, if people like the game enough to donate on Itch and say they like it then we can make sure that we continue to work on it and update it due to the Tycoon nature of the game through Patreon with pledges. We can add in the trends and seasons that we’d been planning to do etc to make the game come to life more than the tutorial so it could work out very well.

This will be something to discuss with the team tomorrow, however, I think we really could have a shot at bringing Twilleir to life if we really tried. 

Friday

Today we had a team meeting about the Promo trailer that we’re wanting to create. We’ve started off by creating a mind map of the sorts of ‘feels’ we wanted the trailer to have. These included but are not limited to:

  • EXPLOSIONS
  • DRAMA
  • FUN
  • EPIC
  • NOT BORING
  • COLOURFUL
  • ALIVE
  • NOT DEAD

Much like how we want Twilleir to be, we are looking to give the trailer a quirky, fun and cute feel to it. As it is also a Fantasy theme, we’re looking to have an epic feel for the first section of the trailer before using comedy to then take the audience through the rest of the trailer – we’re aiming to have a minute trailer so that it’s exciting, fun and not too long or boring.

Millie has decided that she would like to take this task on instead of the development video so I’m going to be back working on this again. I’m a near complete newbie to After Effects however, Millie has shown me a couple of tips and tricks to using it so I’ll be using my notes, the example animation she made and I’ll also look at Youtube tutorials over the weekend. 

I’ve spent the majority of today collecting the footage that is needed for the development video from our Dropbox as well as from the team so we have a large range for me to play around with. I’d like to make the video three minutes maximum so that it’s not too long but it shows how far we’ve progressed over the past couple of months. From these, I will compile the video; unfortunately, I don’t have After Effects on my computer so the only place I’ll be able to do this is in Uni. This means that apart from today I won’t have too much time to work on this (pretty much Tuesday and Wednesday) due to Bank Holiday weekend, however, I’ve planned this so that I can spend the weekend finishing off documenting, recording ‘talk-through’ videos, proof reading blog posts and creating my final reflective ambitions post. This isn’t ideal but I think with the Development video being one of the last things to set up apart from us putting Twilleir on Itch then it’s not too bad! 

The Weekend

This weekend has been a slight clusterf*** where my laptop has died and my files are trapped inside. Despite going to transfer the files before Windows 10 took a sh*te on me, I’ve definitely realised the importance of backing up files immediately.

Luckily, after confiding in the team, James has come up with a potential solution to save my files, however, I need to find this SATA cable or hope my prime order still arrives despite being Bank Holiday weekend before he can help me on Monday.

I’ve accepted my fate now and have found that I can still just about work on my blog from my phone (even though it’s an ass to type on) so at least I have the comfort of knowing I could get my last big reflective blog post done over this Bank Holiday, leaving Tuesday and Wednesday of next week to finish the development video, and if any of my files have been saved, do some last minute organising/documenting a playthrough plus put the game on Itch.

Now for a quad vodka with no mixer me thinks…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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