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So far Damian has created 20 blog entries.

Action Menu Design Update

Finally got back working on GuildKnights and finished implementing the new Action Menu design.  Hit the jump to check out the animations.

Next, I’ll be working on adding the ability to have context-sensitive map actions based on where a unit is standing.  The GuildKnights should finally be able to exit the dungeon soon!

2016-12-19T03:58:35+00:00September 18th, 2013|GuildKnights|

Unseen: Post-Mortem

Work on our game has been finished for a couple of weeks now, but I wanted to go back and take a little bit of time to review the ups and downs of the project.


What Went Right

We went through a a ton of different ideas before arriving at the concept for Unseen. This was the final list we had before making our choice.

We went through a a ton of different ideas before arriving at the concept for Unseen.
This was the final list we had before making our choice.


  • Brainstorming Session  I think our brainstorming session on the first night of Ludum Dare really helped us to get off to a great start. Once we knew what the theme was going to be we set one rule: “no ideas can be rejected during brainstorming.” This led to some really fun discussions about ideas we might have initially dismissed. This was key to our success with the project because our ultimate idea “counting to 10 perfectly using your internal clock” was one that we were about to pass on were it not for the brainstorming rule!
  • Project Scope Management  When we were in the process of narrowing down our concept list we made it a point to factor in the estimated work required to reach the core vision for each idea up for review. This helped us to eliminate a few ideas that the team was really excited about, but didn’t feel we could fully execute in the game jam’s time span. This actually caused us to pass over one of our top game concepts involving a Street Fighter parody where the player needed to avoid an opponent that they had a life lead over for the last 10 seconds of a match. (Maybe we’ll revisit this one later!)
  • Visual & Sound Design  We knew that our basic gameplay concept was really simple and we’d have to work hard to sell the game’s atmosphere with our visual and audio design. I feel that we were ultimately able to succeed at this. In a game where the player character spends most of the game’s duration with their eyes closed, a lot of the experience has to be carried by the audio. Holly did a fantastic job on this with an ultra-creepy sound design accentuated with 3D audio positioning. This, combined with the creepy introduction laid out by our artist Mieko’s artwork created the nice “ghost story” atmosphere that helped to sell our really simplistic gameplay mechanic.

What Went Wrong

<a href="http://www check this.Neo-Blue.com/CoreWP/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Unseen-Broken-Intro.gif”>Language set to anything other than Japanese or English? NO INSTRUCTIONS FOR YOU!

Language set to anything other than Japanese or English?

  • No Time for QA!  In our final push to wrap the project up before the deadline, we did essentially no QA on the game. As a result, the very first build that we uploaded still had a bunch of debug features turned on and included a pretty nasty bug that prevented the game’s text from showing up properly for anyone whose system language was set to anything other than English or Japanese. Not only that, but anyone that was savvy enough to mess with the WSAD keys in our first build would’ve found that they could simply turn around around run out of the haunted house!
  • No Time For Cool Stuff!  Running short on time led to us having to cut some of the ideas that we had from the original concept. While we were able to get a core set of six endings in, we had to dump several other planned outcomes for the game. Since the core gameplay is so simple and success likely requires several re-attempts, we were planning to have a large number of different endings to keep the player entertained while they retried the game. Some of these even included fun joke endings for when you hit very specific finish times. Ultimately, all of these variants were dropped from the project and failing to get these in was probably the biggest letdown for the team.

This was the first ever game jam for our entire team and the whole experience was pretty amazing. We’re all really proud of what we were able to create together. There’s nothing quite like taking a crazy pile of ideas and actually bringing something to life. Thanks again to everyone who stopped by to check out our game and congratulations to everyone who participated in Ludum Dare 27!

2017-02-13T05:08:25+00:00September 12th, 2013|Ludum Dare 27|

Ludum Dare 27 – Game Complete!

Hey hey,

It’s been a crazy weekend, but we finally made it!  Our Ludum Dare 27 Game Jam project “Unseen” is now finished!  You can check it out over on the Ludum Dare website online project management tools.  We have OSX, Windows and Web versions available for play:


It’s a super-simple idea that we tried to build a lot of atmosphere around.  We tried to use 3D sound positioning and audio cues to create a constant, ominous feeling.  This really shines if the game is played while wearing headphones.

It was a long road and I’m sure a bug or two probably slipped by, but overall I’m really proud of what we were able to put together in just three days.  Everyone here is going to retire for some well-deserved rest, but I’ll try to throw a full post-mortem on the project on the site by the end of the week.

Thanks a ton to anyone who took the time to follow our progress and please feel free to leave comments on what you think about the game!

2017-02-13T05:08:25+00:00August 26th, 2013|Ludum Dare 27|

Ludum Dare 27 – Day 3

Short post today.  We’re pushing towards the big deadline tomorrow at 6p.m. PST.  I do have something to share, though; we’ve finally come up with a title for our game project.  Have a listen to the theme music for our Ludum Dare 27 game, “Unseen”.

2017-12-05T04:46:22+00:00August 26th, 2013|Ludum Dare 27|

Ludum Dare 27 – Day 2

It’s been a long, busy day, but we’ve made lots of progress!  The fact that I’m just now getting around to writing our Day 2 summary well into Day 3 speaks volumes about our efforts.

Our main goal for today (yesterday) was to get a basic Alpha build up and running; all of the core gameplay elements without any of the bells and whistles.  I’m happy to report that we were able to get that and then some.

Most of the gameplay takes place at the entrance to a creepy house in the middle of the night.  In order to create a more immersive experience, the game takes place in first person.  We wanted to use depth and perspective to help establish a sense of place in the scene, but none of us are actually 3D artists.  We came up with the idea to just use a set of 2D assets, a bit of parallax, and a couple of simple textured cube mesh doors to achieve a somewhat pseudo 3D effect.  I think what we came up with looks pretty nice!

The house's interior is just a flat quad behind the front of the door, but the difference in depth creates a nice parallax effect and makes the room feel bigger than it actually is.

The house’s interior is just a flat quad behind the front of the door, but the difference in depth creates a nice parallax effect and makes the room feel bigger than it actually is.

In addition to the art assets, we have a nice suite of really creepy ambient and effect sounds ready to go.  Our plan is to play around with 3D positioning of the sounds that play so that you feel like you’re really in the middle of a tense situation.  We may have to add a splash screen after the title card that recommends using headphones!

After knocking out our core gameplay, we finally got to work on fleshing out the storyboards for our ending sequences.  If we’re able to do all of the work we have planned, there will be six different endings.  The ending the player gets is determined by their performance and we’re hoping to have some really interesting sequences play out.  Currently, this is our top pick for points to expand on.  If we have some extra time at the end of the project (yeah, right) we’ll probably put some time into a few extra endings.

Storyboard sketch for one of our game's endings... Hopefully we have the time to actually get these in.

Storyboard sketch for one of our game’s endings…
Hopefully we have the time to actually get these in.

Sunday will be mostly about trying to wrap things up.  Our biggest tasks will be getting the ambient sound placement working, and implementing our ending sequences.  If all goes well, we may even have the game posted to the site at the end of the night for everyone to play!  For now, I’m gonna crash so I can get up in a couple of hours and do this all over again…  Almost there!

2016-12-19T03:58:35+00:00August 25th, 2013|Ludum Dare 27|

Ludum Dare 27 – Day 1

Hey hey,

After a busy evening of brainstorming and idea crafting, our first day of the Ludum Dare game jam has drawn to a close!  Before I go into what the process was like, I think some introductions are in order.  In addition to the regulars here at Neo-Blue, we have two special guests participating in the game jam with us:

Satoko “Holly” Young, Music Composer / Sound Designer (@SkittlegrlSound)


Holly has found the time in between her work at SkittlegirlSound.com to join us for Ludum Dare!  She’ll be creating the music and sound effects for our game.


Mieko Haire, Artist / Graphic Designer (@Sadomin)


Mieko has taken time out of her busy schedule to lend her artistic talents to our Ludum Dare project!  She’s going to be taking care of all of our environment and character assets.


At 6:00p.m. PST, the Ludum Dare 27 theme of “10 Seconds” was announced.  We immediately started work on coming up with ideas for fun game concepts that would match the theme.  After creating an initial set of about 18 different concepts, we set to work trying to trim the list down.  Most of the weaker ideas fell off naturally as we removed concepts that didn’t adhere closely enough to the theme or didn’t inspire a lot of interesting discussion on ways to expand on the idea.

After a fair amount of time, we were able to get our concept list narrowed down to a collection of our top eight ideas.  From there, we set to work trying to plan out the design specifics and work requirements  for each of the remaining concepts.  This was really helpful as it allowed us to identify the ideas that were hard to lay out gameplay specifics for  or were a bit too ambitious for the 72-hour game jam.

In the end (around 1:00a.m. PST), we finally narrowed things down to the game concept that we’ll be working on for the game jam.  We actually ended up choosing an idea that was initially unpopular, but sparked an interesting design conversation late in the process.  I don’t want to give away too much yet, but I can say that the idea we came up with is much… creepier than anything I’d thought we’d work on.

Check back with us tomorrow (later today?) when we’ll hopefully have some of the first screenshots of the actual work in progress to share!

2016-12-19T03:58:35+00:00August 24th, 2013|Ludum Dare 27|

Map Generation and Navigation: Complete!

Work on basic map generation and navigation is complete so I wanted to make a quick post to highlight what progress was made and where we’ll be focusing next.

I did some testing on moving around the generated dungeons using our current input system browse around these guys.  Move actions are taken by clicking on one of your GuildKnights then dragging a path.  Units were originally limited to taking one move action at a time, but this proved to make moving around a party of four a bit of a chore.  I changed the system for managing move actions to dynamically allow a unit to use all of their remaining actions in a single move.  This doubles the distance that a unit can be moved with a single click-and-drag action and makes things move along a lot faster.

In these placeholder assets the arrows represent points along the move path where a unit will use an action point.

In these placeholder assets the arrows represent points along the move path where a unit will use an action point.

Now that a lot of the basic navigation functionality is working, I’d like to take some time to spruce things up a bit.  Right now, all of the art assets in the game are placeholders and I’d like to start working towards the final desired style for the game.  For the next big task, I’m planning to implement updated UI assets.  Here’s what the basic map UI looks like now:

In the final version of the UI, the character info cards that are in the corners here will be moved to the bottom center of the screen so you don't have to look all over your screen for stat info.

In the final version of the UI, the character info cards that are in the corners here will be moved to the bottom center of the screen so you don’t have to look all over the place for stat info.

Now, here are a couple of mock-ups for the updated player character card and the action window styles:

The updated player data card makes it easy to check a unit's stats with a glance. The updated action menu will display action category headers and energy costs.

The updated player data card makes it easy to check a unit’s stats with a glance.
The updated action menu will display action category headers and energy costs.

The initial release of GuildKnights will include a Japanese localization in addition to English, so I’ll probably go ahead and set up a system for managing the language swap as well since a handful of new menu strings will be getting added with these updates.  Once all of this interface work is done, it’ll be on to monster AI!

2017-02-13T05:08:25+00:00July 24th, 2013|GuildKnights|

Map Exploration Basics

Exploration gameplay in GuildKnights runs in a cycle of player and enemy turns.  Each of the player’s GuildKnights has a fixed number of actions that they can take each round (usually two by default). Once all of the player’s characters have taken their turns, the map’s enemies take their turns and any updating environment effects (spreading fire, moving floors, etc.) will update.  After this step is finished, control swings around to the player party again and starts the cycle anew.

The actions that a GuildKnight can take fall into one of three categories:

Move Action
Any time the player moves one of their characters across the map.  Each GuildKnight has a Speed stat that determines how many tiles they can move in a single action task manager app.

Technique Action
A GuildKnight’s active abilities. Learned through class advancement and increased weapon proficiency.

Map Action
Context-sensitive actions that can be taken based on elements encountered while exploring (e.g. opening a door, examining a discovered trap, etc.).

Move and Technique actions generally cost a single action.  Most Map actions can be performed for free, but some specific ones (like disarming traps) cost one action as well.  The player is free to have their characters perform their actions in any order they like until all available actions have been taken.

The game’s basic gameplay setup creates some interesting challenges.  Since each of your GuildKnights can move and act independently, they can be scattered across different sections of the map.  We need a good way to enable the player to keep track of everyone and bounce between them as needed.  Also, the fact that movement is turn-based stands to make the navigation of large areas somewhat tedious…

I’ve got a few ideas about how to handle these and once I’ve tried a few out and have found some success (or fallen flat on my face) I’ll report back with an update!

2017-02-13T05:08:25+00:00July 12th, 2013|GuildKnights|

What is GuildKnights?

GuildKnights is Neo-Blue’s first game and I wanted to take some time to share a little info on the basic concept for the project.

GuildKnights is a turn-based strategy role-playing game.  In it, you’ll create your own Guild and recruit a collection of GuildKnights that you can send out on adventures to various locations.  As your Guild gains notoriety, you’ll gain access to far off and exotic locations where even greater peril and fortune await.

Each GuildKnight is a customizable player-created character.  You’ll be able to set the name, race, gender and basic appearance, and colors for each of your recruited GuildKnights.  In addition to this, you’ll be able to select personality traits that will affect how your GuildKnights interact with one another as well as NPCs during story events.

Gameplay centers around sending a party of four GuildKnights to explore a given location.  There’s a strong focus on risk versus reward and every danger your party encounters increases their chances of finding more and better treasure.  The maps that your party will explore will be randomly generated in order to create unique layouts on repeat visits.  The goal of each stage is to navigate your party to the stage’s exit.  Along the way, your party will encounter various monsters, traps, treasures and character events.

Upon reaching the map exit you’ll have the option to leave with what you’ve found or press onward depths of the zone.  The deeper your party goes, the more lucrative the fruits of their exploits will be but defeated party members forfeit all of their collected treasures!  The deepest depths of each locale hide fantastic riches, unimaginable dangers and dark secrets.  Only the most stalwart GuildKnights will be able forge a path of discovery and return to tell the tale…

The project is currently in pre-alpha and we’ll be able to share more details on the setting, story, and gameplay systems as development moves forward.  We’ll have more to share soon!

2016-12-19T03:58:35+00:00June 28th, 2013|GuildKnights|

Press Start

Hey hey!

Welcome and thanks for taking the time to visit our humble little slice of the internet.

We’re a small development team working on our first project; an SRPG / Dungeon Crawler called GuildKnights.  This site will log our progress and offer insight into our development process from time-to-time.  As we move forward and the site grows, we’ll be adding more project media, new game info, and eventually playable web games!

If you find yourself with some free time during a coffee break or while waiting for your favorite game to load, drop back by and check us out!

2016-12-19T03:58:35+00:00June 21st, 2013|Site News|