[Ciel Devlog #06] Holy Sword Excalibur -Slice System Up Edition-

Hello again, wltr3565 is here! Back again for writing a devlog for you guys! Let’s ask Excalibur what we have been slicing and splicing in the system.

 

Icons placed beside the gauges.

 

Icons added, several elements added, etc, etc, more visual aids to ease your number reading. But gladly, we have managed to add more sets of expressions for the characters. I really like numfank’s work here. However, his work is far from done!

Just changing faces won’t do justice!

 

Oh yeah, some minor stuffs too, like, Ciel won’t be just hanging out in the same room all the time again. But to be frank, this doesn’t add much. There are plans to add more, but urgh, please, no more!

 

Peek-a-boo. Where is she?

 

It’s about time for us to really prepare for the content, though. It’s the real meat of the game, after all. Bye-cha.

[Ciel Devlog #05] The Music of Ciel

Hello there, everyone! This is Jasmine Cooper, the composer for Studio Namapaa’s Ciel Fledge. I’m here to talk a little bit about Ciel’s soundtrack! Having worked with Studio Namaapa before, I already knew that their vision for the music would be something unorthodox and out of my element. Cue: Excitement!

Ciel Reference Tracks

A lot of references have been pulled from late 70s/early 80s anime, 70s disco, and future funk, just to name a few influences! Here are some examples:

  1. Dog Fighter (Superfortress Macross)
  2. Galactic Funk (Casiopeia)
  3. Dance in the Memories (Kimagure Orange Road)
  4. Always You (Votoms)

(And a reference playlist for those interested in this style of music: Ciel Reference Playlist)

Hardware, DI, and a state of the art hydration system.

Soundtrack Ideas

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.

Preparation

My time has been spent listening (as intently as possible), researching chordal structures, recreating pieces, and trying to get an idea of the sounds I want. Synthesizer timbres, looking for live musicians to play, experimenting with guitar timbres, bass playing techniques, hall sizes and re-creating mixing styles – A whole slew of exciting nonsense that I hope translate over well in the final product! So far, my first venture has been trying to create a theme for the character creation page.

~~
Whenever I write music, I try to roleplay as best as I can. I attempt to immerse myself in the world of the game, whether that be ask for descriptions of the times, read notes, study artwork, as well as listen to references. If I want to evoke a sense of an environment (let’s say, rain), I’ll find a soundsource, put it on, and try to compose with that environmental sound playing in the background. I attempted to put those practices to use as I worked on music for the character creation screen.

Vega and Grace, prominently heard in the Character Creation theme.

The Making of the Character Creation Screen

(Disclaimer, all excerpts are W.I.Ps and do not reflect the final version)

For the character creation screen, I wanted to drive home some of the underlying currents of the story behind Ciel that the player isn’t cognitive of, but also give the player a sense of mystery. They (or you!) are entering a world they know little about, albeit having been a component of that world for many years. The goal: Give the player a sense of the setting while also exuding a heavy influence from the musical styles linked above. I had two initial ideas for the character creation screen..

~~
1. Character Creation #1 

(Inspired by the ending [1:31] of the first link posted above. GORGEOUS, RIGHT?!)

~~
2. Character Creation #2 

.. and they were both flops. Although Alfi liked #2, Riku, Walt, and I felt that the theme was too cheery, and we unanimously agreed that #1 was too serious.

I tried for a third attempt, taking into consideration the period, time, atmosphere, and a small idea sparked by this piece (primarily from the section at 4:47): Beautiful Dreamer

~~
3. Character Creation #3 

This one was much closer to the emotions I wanted, although a couple agreed that it was still a bit too cheery. Knowing that, I pushed out another idea, or a section iteration, to see what the guys thought. Riku gave me a fantastic mood reference with a Pokemon track: Welcome to the World of Pokemon

More netrual. K, gotcha.

Virtual software that I use primarily for my string sounds (along with layering other vsts and sounds)

A bit more tinkering and I came out with this:

4. Character Creation 3 version 2 

And ended up having a rather robust ending! After a couple more intense listenings, I felt that any resize in tension or emotion should be saved for a scene fitting such a need, i.e., not the character creation screen. The consistency of the snipper clips soundtrack drove that home for me: Snipperclips Main Theme
I felt that I pivoted and built a *bit* too much (at least for this particular version), so I opted on trying ONE MORE tangenital idea and…

5. Character Creation 3 version 3 

I ended up with what will now be the official “sketch” of the Character Creation theme (minus a few minor, but major sound edits and some mixing)

Well, I apologize for the unapologetically lengthy post, but I hope seeing the ins and outs of one composer’s techniques enlightens, or even comes off as mildly interesting, to some of you!
Thanks for reading/listening, and look out for the next Ciel Fledge Post!

Last but not least, don’t forget to follow me on twitter and check out some of my other work here!

[Ciel Devlog #04] Building Shop Menu and Interfaces

Hi, it’s num. Back again with Ciel Fledge bimonthly devlog with me.

Building shop menu to buy/sell items and equipments

For the last two weeks we are working to build shop menu where you can buy/sell items and equipments. It’s nothing fancy but we are trying to make it as simple and intuitive as possible. Basically before you go “shopping” you pretty much have to schedule your daughter to do it in advance from the schedule menu (which is pretty much the most important menu of the game where your decision is made there).

A cut of the schedule interface detailing your daughter weekly activities. Shopping will be done at day 3,4, and 5.

 

After that, in the automated turn, you will be presented with another interface where you can select which shop your daughter will visit and what item do you want her to buy. Pretty simple really. Aside from the simple usual shopping system, we decided to add “haggle” mechanics. Taking advantage of your daughter stats that you can train such as ‘Charm, Charisma, and Math’ she can haggle the price of any items/equipments and make it cheaper for her.

Another aspect from the shop menu we want to implement is item/equipment stocks. Each shop will have limited stocks of everything depending on their rarity and value, some items are abundant while the others might be scarce. At the moment this is still work in progress, but I think you got the general idea of this supply/demand system.

Here’s the animated gifs of shopping in action!:

Day shopping.
Midnight shopping, time will advance everytime you move to another shop.

 

Before we move to another topic, you can also check and read the details of this shopping in action on the post at our thread in tigsforum hereDo visit and say hi to us there!

Redoing and polishing the interface (yet) again

One of the biggest gripe of this game for me is to come up with the interface that is simple enough that even a 5-years old can understand instantly and intuitively without any guide or dragging tutorial. Considering the actual complexity of the game (despite of its cutesy appearance) and the need of so many interface and visual cues it’s proven to be really hard to do.

The schedule menu interface is the biggest offender of the “too complex interface” so far. Currently it looks like this:

In this menu you need to select player activity, weekly meal plan, and 7 days of your daughter activityAll lined up at the list on the right side, while the wide, window selection at the left is the available choice corresponding to what you are currently selecting and set up in the list at the right side. The colorful button at the top of the left side is the sort/filter button, to sort the selection based on its categories. Pretty confusing right? Especially considering the overload of information with so many descriptions and buttons at once on screen. This is the second iteration of the schedule menu revamp, it used to looks like this before:

Even more confusing right?

Anyhow this will be a tough homework for me. Hopefully I can come up with better design that is nice to look at and easily understandable at a glance.

Next is the slight change on the interface such as icons, buttons, and windows. At the beginning of the development, I actually fell for the Flat UI meme only to realize it looks horrible with the artstyle we are going with, and is too unsophisticated. So I decide to change it slightly and give it more character and depth with emboss and outline effects:

Old interface style. Flat everywhere.
New interface style. Outlined and emboss on interactable buttons.

 

Now at least the interface is not as bland as the top flat UI anymore. Although the interface style might change again since these are all still quite early- actually middle way in development.

Well, I think that is all from me. Hopefully this devlog could inspire you, see you on our next Ciel devlog!

If you are craving more for Ciel Fledge do visit our side tumblr. Hey we also had Instagram page too if you are into that!

[Ciel Devlog #03] New (not really) Team Member Approaches!

My Introduction

Hello guys/girls, Rikuo Tanaka here!
Who? You know, the guy that suddenly shows up on the About page?
Without any announcements?
…No? Ok.

Anyways, I work as a programmer here at Studio Namaapa, and I have been working at Ciel Fledge since the development began. It is unusual for a small development team to have 2 programmers instead of just one,
but hey, we’re doing it.
I joined Studio Namaapa back in 2014, after Nusakana has been released (wow, almost 3 years already…).
As I’m writing this, I’m at my last year of college, currently studying for mid term exam (wish me luck).

Technical Stuffs

One of my works for Ciel Fledge consists of managing the parameters for the Actvities in the game.
Basically I have to convert a bunch of numbers (statistics, if you will), into lines of code.
And there are many ways to do this, but sometimes I just can’t decide which one to use, for convenience sake.
This is why I would try different methods just to see which one works best, especially since the structure of the
Activities keep changing throughout the development lifespan.
It is frustrating sometimes, but hey, it’s good experience.
Another work of mine is connected to the User Interface of the Menus, but I will talk about those in my next devlog.

Game Progress!

Enough about me and coding stuffs, I’m sure all of you want to know more about the Ciel’s development! Well, progress has been steady, mostly to replace the old designs with the new ones, and then some.
You have already seen the revamped Schedule Menu 2 weeks ago, so I’m showing you some new stuff, starting with the Child Status Menu!

Main Status PNG Skills PNG

The Child Status Menu can be accessed through the Child Menu.
In this menu, you can keep track of your child’s statuses and skills, so you can plan the strategy for the next week better!
Of course, depending on which activities you choose in the Schedule Menu, certain statuses and skills can increase or decrease.
So choose your activities wisely!
There is also a Traits Menu, but we will get to those later when it’s ready.
The Development Team have also received some feedback regarding the Schedule Menu, so lo and behold!

Blinking GIF

Now the empty entries blink when you first open the Schedule Menu! Makes you want to click them, right?
It’s not much, but it is the little things like this that counts in the long run.

And I guess that is enough from me for today! There are still a lot of things left to be implemented in the game, so please look forward for future devlogs in the coming weeks!
This is Rikuo Tanaka, signing out!

[Ciel Devlog #02] Boneless Chicken Avocado

Yo. wltr3565 here. Boy, it has been so long since I can get back to work again! I really, really regretted my decision to attend college. It has made my life miserable. If you want to have a business about making games, you better never flirt with someone that spits upon entertainment. You’ll hate them, your avocado will hate them, even a boneless chicken avocado won’t have any appetite upon meeting one. Seriously, such people better cease to exist.

Where was I again? Ah, Ciel Fledge’s development. Me, the main programmer, have gained full-time work again. I’d say that we’re gaining momentum of the development once more. At this moment though, we’re currently re-working several interfaces. Numfank pretty disliked the old design. Well, at least the new designs are certainly better.

The re-working mainly focus on making things more streamlined interface-wise. The game isn’t a stale, rigid-looking 4X game, but a colorful cheery raising action puzzle game. We put a plenty much of effort at such parts.

I’d like to draw an artwork in occasion of each new log I write, actually. But I’m still kinda busy despite the hell has been calming down. This is it for now. Bye-cha!