Tallowmere 2
Work in progress. Subject to change. More fun than you can shake a kitten at.
Tallowmere 2

Lady Tallowmere has begun expanding her empire.

Tallowmere 2 is an upcoming 2D dungeon platformer game, currently in its early stages, being developed by Chris McFarland in Auckland, New Zealand.

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Blog Post

July devlog: World map, dialogue boxes, low health, and more

18 July 2016  •  Chris McFarland

Hello! It's been about 3 months since my last post.

Nintendo of America recently approved my Wii U build for the original Tallowmere. Just finalising some marketing stuff and then I hope to announce a release date for that. And then I'll get onto the Nintendo of Europe version.

But for Tallowmere 2, I've been working on:

  • World Map
  • Dialogue Boxes
  • Injured / Low Health states
  • Doors
  • Language string handling

World Map

Behold:

Tallowmere 2 - World Map - Work in progress


Just like the dungeons, the node layout is randomly generated. Dungeon names are also randomly generated at the moment.

Here's a clip of the map-to-dungeon flow:


For the world map, I take the player's creature, disable gravity, and restrict movement to just the nodes. This way, I retain player customisation and creature animation by just changing the background and restricting the input. And you can browse your inventory while on the World Map, just like if you were in a dungeon.

I plan to have each dungeon be a few rooms long with a boss at the end of each, so you'll clear the dungeon within a few minutes and then go back up to the overworld. There might be longer dungeons too; we shall see!

Dungeons dotted around also gives me the chance to tell some story before you start hacking everything to pieces.

Dialogue

You don't have to have dialogue in a game. Gameplay makes the game. That's why it's called a game, right?

However, a lot of Tallowmere players really wanted more of a story, so it helps to have dialogue to tell a story. Sure, dialogue isn't always needed to tell a story, but I think some light dialogue will again be a good fit for Tallowmere's second game.

I don't want to drown you in text, but a few words should help set the mood.

Tallowmere 2 - Dialogue - Work in progress


And in motion:


Low Health

I'm experimenting with having creatures (both enemies and players) droop their heads when their health is low, and decrease their movement speed.

I've also created several facial decals to show pain.

Tallowmere 2 - Hurt example - Work in progress


If you're hurting, I want to make it known. And audible beep, a red glow around the screen edge, and a pulsing bit of text to make sure you don't slip up if you're about to bite the bullet.

Tallowmere 2 - &quotYour Health Is Low" - Work in progress


Some will say minimalism is better, but I've played so many games that fail to tell me if I've just been hit or if my health is rather low – I'd rather tell the player than not. There's nothing more infuriating than dying when you least expect it.

Doors

In the original Tallowmere, if there was something you could interact with, a small bit of text on the bottom-left of the screen would say what key or button to press, along with the name of the interaction type.

With Tallowmere 2, I'm experimenting with having a much more visible pop-up box appear. Why not celebrate the fact that you've come across something you can interact with?


It's also good usability design (in my opinion) to show the user what to press where their eyes are looking, and in this case, they're looking at the door they've just run up to.

Strings

Up until recently I was putting all my English strings into a JSON file. But, wanting other languages eventually, the common way to go seems to be to store all the strings into a spreadsheet.

So I've moved all my strings into a spreadsheet (there's about 500 rows at the moment):


But what's the best way to parse the spreadsheet's strings into the game?

I decided I can export the spreadsheet as an HTML file, and wrote a Chrome JavaScript extension called Tallowmere2LanguageFileCreator to parse the HTML to give me both JSON and C# code that I can manipulate as needed:


I then copy the generated code into the appropriate files in my project folder.

Saving the best for last

I've been staring at the same axe and shield for about 7 months. I did create a hammer recently, and that was fun.

But really, all this interface stuff, basic networking, creature animation, world map, room creation, blood and body parts, AI, dialogue...

The core gameplay must be expanded upon soon. Weapons and mechanics, enemy types, levelling up, skills, stats – things that enhance your character and enhance the combat – this is where the real fun is.

I have a large list of weapon types and mechanics I am itching to implement. I hope to devise a modular weapon mechanic system that will please the greatest of the RNG gods. Time will tell.

– Chris