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Below is the development log for Squillamorph. It is GIF heavy and it might take a while to load them all.
Hello everyone! Over the past week, I've worked on some aspects of the game that relate to its story. I am quite excited about this as I haven't had a chance to work the story in until now! I've also worked on mutagen upgrades to give the player an edge in the Kobold levels.
This is something I've been meaning to put into the game since EGX Rezzed back in April. The three cameras represent something I incorporated into the tutorial level for the demo I took to Rezzed. While they don't impact the gameplay, they are an important story element that will appear throughout the game. They also add a bit more interest to the environment.
This is the first creature-like feature that does not use the creature template. They only need to look at the player and it would be a waste of time and an over-complication to build them from the template. The mechanical arms that hold the cameras are the most complicated part. I use exactly the same method to create them as the Kragon's legs. I spoke about those in the last post. I'm pretty happy with the end result but I think I'll add a few more cosmetic elements to better ground the cameras in the environment.
After working on the Kragon last week, I decided to revisit the Flopalodon. The Flopalodon fight has one aspect that has irritated me since I first worked on the boss. After spawning into the level, the player falls onto the slumbering boss. Then after a few seconds, the boss wakes up and starts chasing the player. I really didn't like this. Upon seeing the boss, players became both wary and confused. 'Do I need to do something?' is usually the first question they ask. I never intended this to be how the boss fight starts, but I left it like this to focus on the main parts of the fight. However, I finally had enough of the lackluster start and decided to change it.
I had a few ideas about how to introduce the boss. The first was a cut-scene idea. This would be a series of art pieces presented in a slideshow fashion with animated elements. While this sounded good to me, I wasn't sure about it. Not only would take a long time to storyboard and paint the 'slides' properly, but it might also be too much of a break in style. There is nothing else like this in the game, and to integrate it properly I would want to incorporate similar elements throughout the game. Overall, this seemed like a bit too much of a time sink. So I went with my second idea, an in-game event of sorts.
Way back when initially planning the boss, I liked the idea of it burrowing through and bursting out of a wall as an introduction. So that's what I've done. I simply turn off the boss collision while it jumps out of a wall and with a bit of screen shake and rubble, it creates a cool and effective introduction for the first boss. I will polish up this introduction as time goes on, but I am much happier with it now!
New Mutagens & Story Time
After the boss of each region, there is a reward level where the player gets to pick a mutagen reward. I hadn't made a reward room for the Waste Processors region despite having started on the next region. I decided it was time to make one. This means more mutagens, which are upgrades for the player. I had two of the three planned rewards for this region already; one that kills an infested enemy when the player ejects, and one that slows down time when they eject. The third is one that stuns surrounding enemies on ejection. Luckily, I already do this as default for the fuses, the machines to deposit points in. This meant it was very easy to implement. I also added a little particle effect to help convey what it does. This reward room is now mechanically complete, but there is something else it requires...
As I've mentioned before, I want the story to be quite optional. This means I need to find ways for the player to learn more without forcing it upon them. The reward rooms are the only levels where there is no combat, and this makes them the perfect place to tell the story. As I was working on a reward room this week, I created the first story telling element; a sort of hologram animation. It will only play if the player remains near it's source, this means it won't distract those who aren't interested. The story telling will be quite cryptic, as I'd like to leave most of it up to player imagination. Regardless, I am not going to show much of it, and I have zoomed in to hide things I'm not ready to show. It was an interesting challenge to create the animation and I can't wait for players to discover it!
I hope you like this week's updates! As much as I'd like to discuss and show everything I work on, I think its good to keep certain things a mystery. Anyway, that's it for this week!
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I'm the game developer for Squillamorph! I'll post here on the devlog as often as I can.