[Ciel Devlog #14] Ciel Fledge at Game Prime 2017

The main stage.

 

Last week at 29 – 30 July, we have the opportunity to attend and having a booth to showcase our game in development, Ciel Fledge at a local, long-running gamedev event which now included e-sports tournament for the sake of more visitors and appeals to more mainstream audience.  Nevertheless, we still had a lot of fun there. It was a great event and we were meeting with lots of great people too.

Our booth initial setup

 

Initially I was hesitant to actually attend and set up a booth there considering the type of our game in development and the reality of the local market (Indonesia) here. In the place where f2p mobile games are king and your average “gamers” usually only have an attention span of a fly and want instant gratification the moment they play the game. We are developing a game with somewhat unique genre approach, a visual novel combined with simulation and puzzle element, which obviously will take time to play before it get “fun”. Somewhat a contrast with the mindset of majority of the audience who want instant and quick fun.

With that in mind, the team decided to go for it anyway. We can’t appeal to everyone but for sure, there must be part of the audience who enjoy our kind of game. And we were right.

The booth get swarmed non-stop in 2 days of the event.

 

ciel fledge at game prime 2017
Curious player trying Ciel Fledge.

 

Almost immediately when the event started, people swarmed our booth. Curious on what kind of game Ciel Fledge is. Something we had not anticipated. We thought our booth will be a bit more on the quiet side compared to the others, with people coming just to wind down and play some unknown game just to “sit down” for a while. How wrong we are.

We brought Ciel Fledge alpha build. It will take around 20 minutes minimum to an hour top to play the game. With such long play time expectation, we brought 2 laptops to anticipate it and even added gamepad support to the game so people can play it more comfortably while sitting down. We also kind of “perfected” the in-game tutorial system so we don’t have to explain directly about the game features, system, and whatnots to people when they are playing. You can imagine the queue with such long playtime, some eventually give up and walk away to other booth, but those who waited long to get their turn, did take their time to play the game fully.

 

The time where it got quiet on our booth is a bliss. A chance for us to take a breather before the next swarm of player come to our booth.

 

Cute fan art we received at the event by one of the player.

 

It was a tiring, but fun and interesting 2 days event. We got a lot of feedbacks from the game (but I suspect some are just leaving feedbacks just for the sake to get free keys of our other game, Nusakana). If anything, this event shows that despite the circumstances and reality of game market in Indonesia which lean strongly to f2p mobile games, there are a lot of silent voice that do enjoy “traditional video game” a.k.a the niche market.

Well, I guess that’s about it. Thank you for reading, also special thanks to the people who have came to the event and visited our booth!

If you want to follow development of Ciel Fledge, you can follow us on various social media:

https://www.facebook.com/cielfledge/
https://www.facebook.com/studionamaapa/
https://twitter.com/studionamaapa
https://www.reddit.com/r/cielfledge/

[Ciel Devlog #13] Adding More Conveniences and Gamepad Support

Hi again, wltr3565 here, writing a development blog again for you guys! Regarding our current focus, we’re currently preparing for Ciel Fledge’s another demo. We will showcase it in Game Prime 2017 and you guys can play it there. The event will be held at 29th-30th July 2017, which means it’s 2 weeks to go. Thankfully the progress is coming along and the main system is complete and stable. All we need to focus now is the game’s content! As usual, this devlog will elaborate many things that has been implemented so far.

What do you guys think? Do you guys prefer an energetic Ciel? Or do you guys prefer her cutesy and docile? How about a cold, absent-minded Ciel? We’re currently deciding about how we initially portray Ciel in the story. This one is difficult to pull off.

Companion Select screen to choose Companions for Exploration.

Firstly, let’s see what has been added. We’ve cleaned up the Exploration complete with the Companion Select screen. Yep, you can bring some company with you to Support your Exploration. They have their own schedule, however, so they will need a break after they help you.

Ciel and her cohort trotting along the Grassland.

The companions will help you in many ways. You can ask them to give Active Support by directly attacking your foe, or have them give their Passive Support like decreasing Shuffle recharge time.

Marco’s Support in action.

On the convenience side of things, we’ve added several button helps for some buttons on the screen, like what to press to ask Ciel what to do next. With this, playing the game with a Gamepad will be a breeze.

Buttons and their Gamepad counterparts.

With the button helps implemented, the buttons are now indicated by pictures. It especially applies in the Options. In addition, the Gamepad buttons follow Xbox 360’s buttons, considering this is a PC game.

Using actual button pictures instead of text.

And by request of several people that has played the earlier build of the game, we’ve added some familiar functions for Visual Novel players: Skip and Auto. Skip will fast-forward the cutscenes, while Auto will have the game continue the messages on its own. Therefore, hopefully these will add more to your reading convenience.

Auto mode working in the cutscene.

Several titles has been added for you to choose to be called with. Of course, it will be expandable and even have more after you enter a New Game+! That’s the idea, at least.

Titles currently available.

Last but not least, we’re currently building the Help menu. This will act as the game’s manual, so to speak. All of the info will be available regardless of how far you have progressed in the game. So feel free to browse and refresh your memory about the game.

Still barren, but it will be filled quickly.

One extra note. I’m starting to be active on Twitter. I’ll more or less post updates there almost daily, if not about other stuffs. If you want more updates at a more frequent rate, follow me on Twitter!

https://twitter.com/wltr3565

That’s it for now. Adios!

[Ciel Devlog #12] Music of Ciel Part 2

(Disclaimer: All of the themes showcased are early works in progress)

Hello! It’s Jasmine here with another music devlog update. I initially wanted this blog to be about the battle themes, but realized that in doing so, I would be overlooking an important facet in their development. So, instead of talking about the battle themes, I’ll discuss their influences instead – The House and Week Themes!


(Suna’s eager to learn more!)

In my first music devlog, I went into slight detail about my ideas for the music and how it was to accompany Ciel (and you) on her journey to adulthood. Here’s a quick recap from my first blog regarding that:

“With this being a daughter raising sim, ideas have centered around different styles associating with your daughter’s age range. The first [link], more posh and refined, would be for adulthood, Casiopeia, a more renegade style, for the teen years, and boppy, synth pop for your daughter’s younger years! As she grows, so does the music.”

I’ll do this by going over my influences and inspirations for the child versions of the House and Week Theme!

The House Theme 

Influences

Wanting to stay true to the initial idea, I spent time sifting through my backlog of reference tracks in an attempt to cement a congruent style to use for Ciel. The goal is to create something with an 80s feel, that the player can listen to for extended periods of time without growing bored or aurally overwhelmed. As if instantly, my thoughts fluttered to the “Pakka Pets Original Soundtrack” by Calum Bowen (whose extremely versatile form of writing yields a lot of influence from 80s/90s Japanese Pop), and “Les Aventurs de Tintin” by Taeko Ohnuki from her Copine album.

I modeled the house theme off of those particularly open styles and their use of midi- like instrumentation, while also remembering the sound I can achieve from using real instruments:

(SUCH a fantastic album, LAWD)

Execution

I definitely wanted to give off the vibe of youth and innocence, and my first impression was RECORDERS, and WONKY SOUNDS! In the end, I achieved the result below (on the first try, surprisingly!):

You also get a chance to hear Ciel’s theme (which will change and evolve, genrelistically, as she grows).

The Week Theme

Influences/Execution – Part 1

This theme was a pain to write, primarily because I had a taxing time finding the right style and because I kept pushing forward ideas that were either duds or didn’t resonate with me after I gave them time to rest. I knew for a fact that I wanted the theme to be upbeat and bright, which led me to use this track as a reference:

Leading to this idea:

Although an extremely premature work in progress, it felt way too generic. (Honestly, it brought Alfi back to our RPGMaker days). I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but I grew to heavily dislike it. Perhaps it was poor execution on my part, but I felt that I could do better. Who knows, I may try it again!

Influence/Execution – Part 2 and 3

Further research led me to find Noriyuki Makihara’s, whose style I *instinctively* gravitated towards.

It was the style I wanted, without a doubt. My first attempt, influenced by the above track, was:

Close, but no cigar. The crew liked the direction I went, but for me it felt too involved, and others thought it much too slow. I still wanted it to contain that open Pakka Pets/Tintin sound I was fond of, but fuse it with Mr. Makihara. The player’s time spent within the house will increase as the game progresses, and heavy thumps and constant pulsating will quickly wear the ears thin. Looking through more of Makihara’s youtube discography, I found “No. 1”:

Which led to the current and reigning week theme thus far:

(Fun fact: The melody you hear in the piece above also occurs in the battle themes!)

Right now, ideas have been tossed around for multiple house and week themes. While working on a possible Result Theme, I came up with an idea that was able to be re-purposed as a week theme! It came a lot easier and definitely starts with a more instinctive 80s (and American!) feel:

The soundtrack is slowly taking shape, at least from a child-like perspective! The more I dig and immerse myself, the more excited I become! Things only get more interesting from here on out. Anyway, that’s all from me! I hope you enjoyed my musings.

Until next time.

– Jasmine Cooper

 

 

 

[Ciel Devlog #11] UI Change… Wait, Now?

My Absence Last Devlog

Hi, RikuoTanaka here, bringing you the latest Devlog!

You might notice something weird regarding the writer for this and the previous devlog.
I’ll cut to the chase. Yes, I was supposed to be the writer for the previous one,
and this one was supposed to be numfank’s turn.
But 2 weeks ago I didn’t know what to write about, due to the lack of progress on my part.
But hey, it’s different this time! Besides I don’t think anyone missed me that much

Anyways, let’s move on with the devlog! Today I’ll talk about the general progress, and what’s to come!

New Menu Design (now of all times)

Usually, I don’t have much to say when it comes to decisions regarding the visual design of the game.
It’s not my forte, so numfank and wltr3565 usually did most of them. I only comment on them once it’s there.
But there is one thing that I find odd. And that is numfank’s desire to change the menu design so frequently.
In fact, he did it this week! Here is the screenshot of the new menu design:

Featuring squares instead of circles.

Now the menu buttons are square-shaped, and they fill the entire bottom of the screen. Looks pretty!
I have nothing against these design changes, especially when it is for the better.
With that said, I do hope that this doesn’t become recurring trend. Especially this late in development…
Oh well, only time will tell.

There is also another minor, yet very important change.
In the current build of the game, you can change the resoulution setting… but there’s one problem.
Those resolution changes nothing while in full screen mode, it only applies the change in windowed mode.
As such, no matter what resolution you are on, the game will still hog the same amount of resource.
That is until now. Thanks to wltr3565, our skilled programmer, the resolution changes in full screen as well.
See it in action below!

Best resolution possible.

 

Worst resolution possible.

Needless to say, this will be a helpful option for those who only own low-end PCs.

The Near Future

Currently the team is working around the clock for the demo build, which will be released to the public at a later date. The game is mostly complete, with only few of the gameplay mechanics left to be implemented.
With that in mind, expect a lot of new features to be, uh, “featured” in the next few devlogs.

Anything else to say… oh, E3 has already come and gone, and it was amazing. So many new games to play.
I wish we can showcase our games in an event like that. One can dream.

That’s it for now! This is RikuoTanaka, signing out!

[Ciel Devlog #10] Road to Minimum Viable Product

Hi, back with me again num with the 10th series of Ciel Fledge devlog.

In the previous blog, I’ve been talking about our effort to close the core gameplay loop of the game, which we have completed. Now with the core gameplay finished, we are working hard to actually make the game  fun to play with the bare minimum of only the core gameplay.

Making the in-game tutorials as foundation

Since this is a simulation game, which rely on so many stats to track, my first and foremost effort is always on the  intuitiveness of the UI. Everything must be smooth, easy to read, and be understandable quick. But still, with so much for the player to digest, an In-game Tutorial is a must. In the last two weeks we have implemented interactive tutorials in so many parts of the game. It mainly function to guide the player to learn the mechanics of the game, which, unfortunately, can’t be explained just by the intuitive UI alone.

 

Short tutorial on item usage

 

The most difficult part to explain in the in-game tutorials, personally for me is the battle mode. While the battle mode itself is based on simple match 3 gameplay, we somewhat actually made it more complex just so your daughter stats that you have been raised so hard can actually affect the outcome of the battle mode.

 

Yeah sure, things will go well indeed…

 

On top of that there is a technique menu that will be a hell to understand without interactive tutorial and guided practice in-game:

 

The enigma that is various technique to be used by your daughter.

 

Another concern of mine is how to make the tutorial not boring as f***. We learned it the hard way in last year event where we brought Ciel Fledge (in a bare minimum anything) to be tested by people. That time we put obligatory tutorial that must be read by the player without the ability to skip it, or just practice it right away. The result: most people find it boring and uninteresting. We put that valuable lesson in this new iteration of the in-game tutorials. Hopefully it will not be boring anymore.

Will everything going well?

All in all, I can say everything’s going well although there is occasional bump here and there. With the game reaching MVP, there won’t be long until a closed alpha of the game begin!

That is all from me, thank you for reading this devlog, hope this can somewhat inspire you the reader. See you in the next Ciel Fledge devlog!