Bloom: Memories - All News
Tuesday - May 31, 2016
Bloom - Development Update
In this development update for Bloom: Memories we get to see a lot of artwork and animated images for the game, the progress in the programming area and the writing of the story. On top of that Dani talks about a card game that is tied to the main story, but should also be playable as an actual card game.
That's when I got the idea to make a very small Bloom card game, focusing on another part of the story relating to the main game. It was important to me to make something that could be printed and played on actual cards... just seemed like a good idea. ((Since, apparently I don't have enough to juggle already? haha))
It was also a chance to start telling the wider story through other mediums and styles. I've always thought of Bloom as a playground for me to creatively explore...with lots of different stories to tell....so, this is a part of that.
Current title for that is "Bloom: Escape", a small game of the mothers escape shortly before the core game takes place.
The game play has you exploring two 5x5 grids of different rooms as you try to escape to safety. Each room has a lit version and a dark version, either on the top or bottom, so when you shuffle the cards the active side becomes randomized. Then on the back of the card are event which you must deal with.
You can find several allies to help you and bits of story on various cards which you can piece together... and different action cards that let you do stuff like put out the lights in a room.... escape guards...peek into the next room....or even move diagonally through a hidden pathway.
There are some other objectives to winning that I won't go into here, but that should give you the basic idea.
I spent a couple weeks creating artwork for this.....and then teamed up with a software engineer at Unity, Chris Figueroa, to bring it digital!!! Originally it was just in the back of my mind to take it digital some day....but....I guess it is happening sooner?
Like I said, this is a pretty small game. 95% of the art is finished and the mechanics are pretty simple. So we will be getting this digital hopefully in the next month or so (during a month long game jam that happened to be happening all June .. haha). And also printed into an actual card game if there is interest.
Tuesday - March 29, 2016
Bloom - Changes
In a new development update for Bloom, we learn that a new engine developer is going to be part of the project to speed things up. In addition there are also several new pieces of artwork for plants and creatures.
Thursday - January 28, 2016
Bloom - Development Update
The last development update for Bloom was in October, so it is time for a new one, which talks about delays, but not about giving up.
Anyhow, basically the game is taking longer than we had hoped (likely longer than we even had anticipated in the other update). Largely this is from the expanded scope I chose to run with and the balancing act James needs to do to keep his job and family. (To give you an idea of how much time the art takes, a single new character takes about a week to get into the game, taken from concept to animating....each new map screen can take anywhere from half a day to 2 or 3 days **especially if there is heavier modeling / rendering needed for the map**.)
I guess I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand I feel like I let you down in not matching the promises we set for schedule. On the other hand, I feel like I'm going to deliver more than I had ever hoped two years ago....and in that sense, it feels pretty good. As they say, a rushed game is bad forever, but a delayed game is eventually good (great? :D).
The thing is, since we are such a tiny team there isn't much risk of the project just failing (get that idea out of your head, we aren't going anywhere haha). We don't hire outside help (hah don't have the budget for it), we don't have a large unstable team (been at this for a few years now)...and we can do it all as long as we are breathing.
Saturday - October 31, 2015
Bloom - Development Update
In Kickstarter update #18 for Bloom: Memories we get information, about maps, various creatures, plant models, programming and music tracks:
Heya everyone! Time for another exciting update covering our incremental progress!
Sorry it isn't Halloween themed.... but this might help!
Why didn't the skeleton go to the party?
Because he had no body to go with!!
Forgive me :P
Onto the update!
These last couple months have been pretty interesting development wise as we really put our asset pipeline tools to the test (along with a few major upgrades to them). Besides that, we have just been filling in a lot of holes (missing maps, animations, creatures, engine work). So, here is a breakdown of what has been going on.
Tuesday - August 18, 2015
Bloom - Development Update
In a new development update for Bloom: Memories we are informed about the status with animations, tools and the design.
Since development of a game like this takes so much time, we tend to think a lot about where things are headed. Originally (before even this kickstarter) Bloom was going to be a hack and slash game. But, along the way, bit by bit, that design goal was chipped away as we wanted to inject more and more meaning into the game. We always wanted players to have the option to rampage through the game if they want, but also wanted to create a deeper experience for those interested.
The last few months has seen even more of that evolution as we rethought the place of creatures in the game. Sure, there will still be aggressive creatures...but we have rethought the need to have the majority of them that way. Instead, we want creatures to behave more naturally (and instantly attacking the player for no reason doesn't really seem to fit).
It is no secret that one of the big goals we have had for a while is to create an emotion (and needs / wants) system that will steer that behaviour. We will be talking about that more later, but basically it frees up the design of the world to emphasis exploration not only in the world...but also the creatures around the player (what they want, why they are reacting the way they do, and what that means about the world / place they are found).
This also lets us emphasize the "enemy" robots a lot more. Design wise, it will let us go wild boosting the strength of patrols and create a larger sense of danger (along with the high and low type of game-play it naturally creates as you explore).
Anyhow, now that the revamped engine is almost back to where we were before and we have most of the world / creatures done (with animations!), the next step is going to be tackling some of these deeper systems and bringing everything together. You all know by now it has never been about making "a_game" ....we want to make something new. Expect things to get a bit more interesting :)
Friday - June 05, 2015
Bloom - Creatures Update
This update for Bloom: Memories talks about the progress that was made with respect to the creatures in the game.
After the last post I kept going with some of the missing section of the map. I still need to finish up the area right before the "dungeon", but the lower section is getting there (when we add the atmospheric effects, it will be pushing these even further).
After that, I decided to switch gears a bit and work on some creatures to fill out the world more.
I'm proud to say we have a heck of a lot of unique creatures / characters now (over 50 currently!!!!!). So this next month or two I'm going to start rigging / animating more of them and getting their sprites into the game properly.
Also, speaking of the game engine, we have made some amazing progress in terms of memory management these past few weeks. Our new custom image format is working better than we had expected in early tests (with 225 full character sprite sheets on screen, we were still running at about 2500 FPS).It still needs to be integrated fully (converting of current assets are almost complete), but it looks like the hardest part of that challenge is over.
The update comes with a whole range of images.
The next bit is from the comments section, which has some interesting information about the development duration and the engine.
Oh definitely no finished product anytime soon haha. It has only been a year and half since the KS ended :P We still have about a year of work to go :P
Game play slices are still a little off (but should move quickly once we get more into that). James (the programmer) balances a family and full-time job, so it makes progress there a little slower.
The big challenge is we are technically trying to do something that hasn't been attempted before, so we end up trying various things to get over the hurdles (and backtracking a bit now and then, which means the engine breaks while we try something else). I think we have tried 4 or 5 image formats now ...especially since the technology keeps evolving (like new releases of monogame).
After indiecade last year (for example) we noticed HUGE memory problems with the image format we were using (it ran on our main computers, but the laptop had problems with it). We were starting to tackle more game play when that happened, but then we switched to solving performance problems.
BUT! Good news is we are still making some awesome progress other places despite all that :) Like our new world-location system (very different than what we were doing before), or the upgrades we keep making to combat / hit detection and a whole lot of other stuff.
Anyhow, a little further and we should have more game play to show. It will move pretty quickly once we get there too (since throwing in different attacks or enemy behaviour or interactions is more a scripting thing than an engine / programming thing....we have an awesome custom scripting system in the game now).
HOPEFULLY very very soon. The biggest bottleneck with the game has always just been the content though. That is why most indie games are a little more restrained with art (doing models / rigging / animating is a huge task). Just getting it out of the way as fast as I can so it is all there waiting for me when I build out more areas. :)
Saturday - April 18, 2015
Bloom: Memories - Expanded Scope Update
After four months since the last update developer Studio Fawn released a post-funding update for Bloom: Memories with more information on the games birds eye view.
Expanded Scope - Birds Eye View
Hey everyone, time for another update!
As always, I've been working on more maps for the game....but we are finally able to see the end! Here are a few examples of some newest areas to give you an idea of where they are headed.
Keep in mind that these are still a work in progress. I recently discovered a new technique for applying some atmosphere to the environments, so I'll be going through all of the world maps and seeing if I can't push them a bit further (but we need to rework a bit of the engine to handle the color / contrast being applied down onto characters if I do that).
Projections / The Future
A downside with all of this is that it doesn't seem like we are going to hit our release target (pretty sure you saw this coming though). We "could" rush it and get something out....but this project means way too much to us for us to butcher it like that. So, at the moment, we are thinking it will be an extra 6 months. (Nothing too horrible, and if we go over that we will figure out a way to make it right for all of you who have supported us)
Anyhow, the world is about complete.... we have an army of characters (though not the full army yet)...our story is locked in. We just need time to make sure everything is working correctly to a standard we are proud of.
To be honest, the delay is largely my fault for expanding the scope of the game and trying to do as much as I could with Bloom with the chance you all gave me. Hopefully you understand what I'm trying to do with the game and can hold on a bit longer than expected while we make it happen :)
Thursday - January 22, 2015
Bloom: Memories - More Content Update
Well we finally have a new post-funding kickstarter update for Bloom: Memories. The developer Studio Fawn released more images, and music samples from the game.
Heya everyone, time for another update!
The last couple of months have been busy as usual filling out the world. So more maps, more creatures / characters, more music, and a bit more programming.
Map wise, we have over 50 new ones! Bringing us to over 200! (The 2nd "dungeon" turned out to be rather large ~over 37 maps!!~....good thing we have some fun plans for it ;).
And, last but not least, programming wise we have still been doing some major work on the engine to get it to support more platforms (and make it a lot easier to update / download). So nothing fancy to show there yet, but once that is finished we will be tackling new game features.
Anyhow, hope you like how things are going! Let us know what you think :) And, as always, thanks so much for the support in making this all happen.
Monday - December 22, 2014
Bloom: Memories - Interview @ Core-RPG
Forum member m00n1ight notified me of a new interview on Core-RPG with Dani Landers the developer of Bloom:Memories. So lets all thank him for the new interview.
Your project has a long and difficult story and was funded on Kickstarter only on third attempt. What, in your opinion, was the reason for the failure of the first two attempts? And what makes you go on and try again, despite the fact that many novice developers lose their hearts after the first failure?
Well, the first time I went to kickstarter, I had pretty unreasonable goals… no one knew me (I was coming from nowhere)… and just had a handful of concepts for an idea I wanted to do. So, it wasn't a big shock looking back why I failed.
After that, the attempts just weren't far enough along in the build to really show much to anyone. It was still a lot of talk and looking for help to make it a reality. Finding more team members (my first attempt I was alone), getting more concepts and game models done, or just sorting out some story / design.
Eventually I had enough to show and prove to people I could actually do what I was saying I could do.
What makes me keep going and not give up is just confidence in myself. I KNOW have a story to tell, and a world being made, and a game being created. I KNOW I can make something special. So, for me, giving up makes no sense. The issue is more about how I'll get to the end of the road, not IF I'll get there.
Also, failure isn't really the end of doing something creative (or anything in life). Failure is just practice… it teaches us what we did wrong… and our next attempt is even better.
I don't think anyone has ever done anything great without failing. We don't give up trying to walk because we may fall down when we first start. Eventually we get there, it just takes a bit of drive and trust in ourselves.
According to latest studies, the interest in crowdfunding is running down. Kickstarter is flooded by the pot-boilers and cloned projects, so players and journalists is getting pretty tired of searching for some diamonds in the mud. Journalists in particular is paying much less attention to the new projects now. Have you encountered this problem with news blackout during your Kickstarter campaign?
Yup, I was noticing the drop-off of interest / trust in kickstarter when we went there also. Journalists would do "group articles" on a lot larger number of kickstarters… and people seemed more used to seeing it as a place to get the game a bit cheaper or wanting bigger rewards to match major kickstarters they had seen (which wasn't really how it was early on in KS).
But, even with that, I think kickstarter is pretty important to seeing a new wave of games made by people without the resources to make them the traditional way though. For example, thanks to everyone who spread the word and backed us we were able to push ahead with Bloom. Had kickstarter and gamers not been there to help us… it would have just been one less game getting made.
I really feel like journalists, developers, and gamers are all working together for the same common goal… to make even better games and push the medium forward. Something like kickstarter brings those groups together to make something happen that wouldn't have been possible otherwise.
So, overall, I hope journalists and gamers don't get too bored with sites like Kickstarter. Thanks to them stepping in early, new stuff is getting made and they are making a difference.
Monday - November 03, 2014
Bloom - Post-Funding Update #13
Another development update for Bloom has appeared and this time it talks about and shows; hit-detection, water effects, maps, characters and music (obviously it doesn't show that, but you can listen to it).
In the last few months we have made some great progress in pretty much every area of the game. The alpha download is going to be delayed a little bit though (when we went to indiecade a couple weeks ago, we found some big performance issues on less powerful computers that we need to sort out).
So, what have we been up to? I'm glad you asked!!
Engine Updates! - James has been adding a bunch to the engine in between his other work. Some of the stuff this last couple months have been updated AI, UI, revamped attack and hit detection (supporting multiple frames), new water effects and character reflections, along with updates to the way we handle event firing.
We still have plenty to do, but it has been pretty exciting as we move into abilities and general game play. Here are some gifs from the latest build (set up to test some of the combat and event handling).
Friday - August 08, 2014
Bloom - Post-Funding Update #12
After a long time the next update for Bloom is available to provide information on the latest state of the development of the game.
Anyhow, after the last update I kept pushing ahead with the world maps I had been working on. This includes the first dungeon, which overall ended up being roughly 25 new maps (and set the general sizes for the next ones).
When the maps were finished and ported into the game, James added a couple new features to the engine too (parallaxing with the treetops, some camera controls **this is my favorite, we can now zoom into the environments to give a little more game play room***, seamless world exploration, updated hit detection and collision, and cloud shadows moving over the game). But, to do some of that, he also had to rip down a bit of the existing engine structure and rework it to give us some better tools (the seamless world exploration and collision detection were the big problems there).
So, a couple steps back and then a couple forward...but overall, it was very worth it.
Next to some images of maps, the update also show animations of two creatures in the game.
Friday - June 06, 2014
Bloom - Interview @ Enthusiacs
Dani Landers of Studio Fawn was interviewd on a site called Enthusiacs to talk about the upcoming release of their funded kickstarter game Bloom: Memories.
Wastey: What’s been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to face….. thus far… as an indie developer?
Dani: The biggest obstacle has really just been finding support. The game is pretty ambitious, and so much of what we are doing simply takes massive amounts of time to do. Of course, I don’t have much to my name….so finding support from the community and family has been what has given me the opportunity to really focus and create. There was a long period of time where no one really believed in what I was doing….so finally being able to show the early stages of what we have made and strangers getting behind us to help us continue really meant a lot.
Wastey: You created the game’s engine itself from the ground up, correct? How daunting was something like that to build?
Dani: Well, not me. That is mostly James Johnston, the amazing programming power behind Bloom. It is definitely a big task, but it is really just about taking one step at a time…eventually you get where you are going. Along the way has been a lot of discovery and sorting out new processes for handling problems we face (like how to process and stream the insane number of frames for character animations). We are kind of forging our own path with this engine, since Bloom has such unique demands.
Wastey: I’m going to challenge you just a little. If you had to whittle Bloom: Memories down to, let’s say, just three core features that would set it apart from the myriad RPG settings out there, what would they be?
Dani: 1 ) Themes – The themes in Bloom are a bit different than most RPGs. They are heavily influenced by my own experiences…and a reflection of a lot of my life and feelings.
2) Art – The art kind of speaks for itself. I really wanted to create something out of love…so instead of doing things like tile sets or other tricks to speed up production, I try to really go the extra mile to make this something special (for example, every environment is individually created / painted… there are hundreds of them).
3) Options!! – A big part of this game is about growing and learning who you are. This means along the way your choices shape who you become and how the world reacts to you. Do you kill? Do you sacrifice? Do you show kindness when there is no reward evident? I’m curious what type of people players will be.
Monday - March 31, 2014
Bloom - Post-Funding Update #11
Studio Fawn has finally posted a new post-funding update for Bloom: Memories after going silent for a few months. The update shares information on the games progress.
A Big Update - With Pictures! :)
Heya everyone, Dani here :) Time (finally) for an update on how things have been going over the last few months (short answer: pretty great! :D).
NOTE:: At the bottom of this update is more information on the small print voting ~~~
As most of you know, I moved at the start of the year and finally was able to get back to work. But before I go into details, I want to announce that Dell / Alienware has decided to sponsor us with a couple new machines! My work computer is definitely a bit dated now, so their help is amazing timing. Huge thanks to the people at Alienware for believing in what we are doing and giving us a helping hand.
So, what has been happening besides that? Well, since James (the programmer) was a bit wrapped up with some other work, I've been free to go ahead and focus on more art assets (one of the biggest bottle necks for the project). As you know, I handle the character concepts....models...textures...and all the world maps...so I need to hop around a lot to make sure things develop evenly.
For example....these new character designs! (the "core group" now has an additional 3 characters, beyond Ilana and the main character). Here are the concepts, and happily their models are also almost finished.
Note: For those interested, when I do more character sculpting I'll be streaming on twitch as I work at http://www.twitch.tv/dani_sf (and I'll be tweeting before I start at https://twitter.com/StudioFawn ). I actually live sculpted a few already, but I didn't realize you had to manually save on twitch :| Oh well, plenty more to come.
Monday - January 06, 2014
Bloom - Interview @ Indie Game HQ
Indie Game HQ interviews Dani Landers about his funded kickstarter Bloom: Memories.
Javier: Congratulations on the success of your Kickstarter Campaign. Now that you’re all good and funded, would you mind sharing some of the secrets? I know you had other two unsuccessful funding campaigns for Bloom. In your opinion, why do you think those two campaigns didn’t reach funding?
Dani: Thanks so much. I guess the biggest secret is to create something you believe in, and never give up.The first two campaigns failed for a lot of reasons (the first one largely being simple we were very naive in how Kickstarter works). The other time was largely because we were unknown and there was a lot of skepticism surrounding our abilities. Pushing forward and showing progress was a great way to let people see our hard work, and get them to understand our passion behind the project.
Javier: What would be your advice for those starting their Kickstarter Campaign?
Dani: Biggest advice is to study other campaigns and try to learn from their presentations. Also getting a stronger understanding of reward tiers (and just how severe shipping costs can be). Besides that, you need to have something about your project that makes it stand out. Why would someone want to pledge to your unfinished game when they can buy from the huge pool of existing games? You need to offer them something they don’t have today…something they wished existed…and something that could only exist if they stand up and support it.
Thursday - December 12, 2013
Bloom - Post-Funding Update #10
In the first post-funding update for Bloom: Memories Studio Fawn details what happens next now that the game has been funded.
What Happens Next?
Hey there everyone, Dani here again. I’m sure you have already realized, but we have officially made it through Kickstarter!! Thank you all so so much for all the amazing support getting us through. Not just the pledges, but the great feedback and all the support spreading the word and everything else you have been doing to help us reach even further than our original goal.
While we fell just $1,500 short of the prologue chapter stretch goal, don’t worry, we will be adding paypal onto our website in the next day or two to continue the campaign for a bit (for those that missed us on kickstarter, or the many backers who simply weren't able to use kickstarter). Basically, things should hopefully work out for the prologue chapter :)
So, what happens from here?
Well, in this next week or so I’ll be sending out surveys and a few messages to collect the details on add-ons and shipping addresses for those that need physical rewards (this might be a little slow, I'm actually in the middle of moving and need to be out of here by the 15th...amazing timing right? :| ).
Then, I will be creating more designs for the small print before finally putting them all up for everyone to vote on before being printed out and sent. Don’t worry, the vote will remain up for a while on our website, so there will be plenty of time to let your voice be heard. I'll be making a small announcement with an update here to let you all know when that is ready.
Of course, between all this we will also be pushing ahead with production on Bloom (since, well, that is the main goal after all). For those who selected the alpha updates, this should begin in a month or two when we have our alpha update system set up and are ready to push more builds out (so we will be sending you messages on that when it is ready).
Monday - December 09, 2013
Bloom - Update #9, Loose Ends
Studio Fawn has a new Q&A for Bloom: Memories in the games latest update.
Loose Ends - Q&A
Since we are nearing the end of the campaign, I thought it would be a great chance to answer some questions that have popped up.
Q: How long will the game be?
A: Judging the total game time in the final game is pretty difficult this early and without testing, but I can safely say the final game won’t be a short 2 hour experience or anything like that. In fact, even just the small pre-alpha demo took most people roughly 15-25 minutes to run through… and that was a tiny extra bit added before you even enter the “proper” more open world or have even gained your most basic skills.
It takes a little time to tell the story and build the experience we want, so we plan to take all the time we need to do it right.
Q: And what is the replayability like?
A: First off, I expect players to be able to play through the game several times on normal settings and still find it very rewarding. Since one of the biggest features is the ability to approach and handle situations differently, replaying the game and trying something new will definitely give you different experiences.
Beyond that though, we are planning a + mode (after you have beaten the game on normal, for an extra challenge), as well as some more involved ideas (such as the prologue chapter, or other ways to unlock additional content).
Added to all of this is a world filled with secrets and accomplishments…and you have quite a bit of content to keep people busy (as well as a game that might make quite a few completionists happy; what fun is achieving things if you aren't rewarded?).
Q: How does your character grow?
A: Well, the progression of your character depends on how you play and what type of person you are. Instead of more traditional “skill trees”, we like to approach abilities in a more grounded way and provide them through the actions you take (certain challenges, or exploration, or making certain choices).
Of course, there will also be a “core set” of abilities that are needed to make sure everyone is able to finish the game. But we see these more as key story events, instead of real individualistic character progression.
Outside of abilities, you also grow in terms of who you meet and the characters (or items) you have access to which help you on your journey.
Saturday - December 07, 2013
Bloom - Update #8, The Music
In the latest update for Bloom: Memories we get a look at the games music.
The Music - Adding Depth to Bloom
Hey everyone, Dani here (for just a moment) with another update. Thanks so much for all of the support in getting us this far, it has been an amazing week :)
But first off...big news! We made it through greenlight!! Now with less than a week to go, we are in our final push to reach some stretch goals.
Speaking of stretch goals, you might have noticed a new one added to the front page -
$65,000 - Prologue Chapter (Unlocked when you complete Bloom on normal). Play as a key character in the Bloom story leading up to the beginning of the journey. Completion of this chapter unlocks new options in the main story on future games.
Also, here is a new concept for that $5 add-on. Of course, there are still plenty more left to do before voting for the top 2 to print!
In other news, we have officially teamed up with curse.com who will be providing the Bloom wiki! As more information is released, the wiki will slowly be growing to include all the various bits about Bloom. http://bloom.gamepedia.com/Bloom_Wiki
Anyhow, with those out of the way, onto the update!
Since the last update was about the programming, and before that the artwork, we thought it would be a perfect chance to cover some of the music (which, to us, is much more than "just music"). So, who better to talk about this than our composer Jose Mora-Jimenez.
Tuesday - December 03, 2013
Bloom - Update #7, We Made It!
In the latest kickstarter update for Bloom: Memories Studio Fawn announces the game has reached its goal, and is now funded.
We Made It! Goal Reached!
Hey everyone! We have officially made it to our goal! ~celebrates~
Thanks so so much for the amazing support from each one of you!! It truly means a lot to the entire team that so many people have chipped in to help us move Bloom forward; we won’t let you down.
Good news is, we still have over a week left! So everything from here just means bigger and better! Starting with our first stretch goal at 50k for additional language support on release.
Also, we added a new digital add-on today which might be of interest.
- Alpha Access - $35 (Get access to regular builds as we create them, along with a reporting system to report bugs or suggest changes. These builds will be bleeding edge and will probably break often, but you will get to see Bloom grow as we build it.)
And, of course, we still have a lot of other great add-ons on the main page for you to check out.
But for now, we can finally relax a little bit and breathe. :)
Anyhow, thanks again so so much for helping us finally get through Kickstarter! It is definitely going to be a busy (but exciting) year!
Monday - December 02, 2013
Bloom - Update #6, The Invisible Magic
The next kickstarter update for Bloom: Memories gives a small update on the project, and Lead Developer James gives a look at how the game was developed.
The Invisible Magic of Bloom
Heya everyone, Dani here again... but only for a bit. This update will actually be in the hands of James (the developer, who handles the techy side). First off, thanks so much for all of the support! We are just around the corner from reaching the goal, so please keep spreading the word and we can push through.
To help things along, I'm also happy to announce a special $5 add-on.
Small Print - An 8.5" x 5.5" art print! ((Note: This is not the final version, I will be doing several versions and a vote will decide the most popular TWO to print. So if you get two of these add-ons, you will get both different prints)).
Also, we just made it into the top 10 on steam greenlight, so things are definitely moving in the right direction!
Anyhow, take it away James.
Outside of the amazing artwork and beautiful music of Bloom, there is something equally impressive and it’s almost invisible unless you know where to look. Because this is a passion project, every team member has poured their heart and soul into Bloom – and I am no different.
I am James, the lead (and only) developer. My job is building the game engine; to pull all the amazing assets together to create the game.While many programmers view code as a means to an end, a tool… I see it as an art form. To produce beautiful code, to achieve the impossible, to turn a bunch of unconnected stuff into an amazing experience for the player.
Wednesday - November 27, 2013
Bloom - Update #5, The Bridge
Studio Fawn has posted the next update for Bloom: Memories talkng about a core feature of the game called the bridge.
Hey everyone, time for another update! Since we have been covering a lot of the more technical / creative aspects lately, I thought it might be a good idea to shift focus towards a bit of the game design and some of the unique aspects of Blooms game mechanics and world.
As some of you have noticed, we haven’t spoken about “the bridge” in this campaign very much. This is actually one of the features we are most excited about, as it plays an important role in how we can offer and expand upon non-violent options in the game.
To catch everyone up, “the bridge” is where the energy of life exists overlaying the normal world and its inhabitants. Rumor has it that with enough training, one can begin to open themselves to seeing and even walking within this space at will. Inside the bridge one can see the true nature of friend and foe, past their physical aspects and directly into their hearts.
Sounds good enough on the surface, but let’s talk about how that actually translates to game-play.
First, this can be used at a distance to get a sense of enemy’s moods and understand the reasons why they are hostile. Hopping into the bridge to get a deeper feeling for the situation, and better strategize how to approach. Is an enemy only hostile when you get close? Are they hostile because they are hungry? Or, do they have a deep hatred for you? Knowing the “why” behind aggression is a valuable tool to being able to combat it.
Second, if you are able to focus enough in these areas, you will get the ability to move in the bridge; only you move apart from your physical self. At first, this distance is very limited, but eventually you will find yourself being able to spend more and more time exploring. Also note that the flow of time in the normal world is paused when inside the bridge, adding a new layer of complexity to your strategies.
As your “bridge self”, you are then able to touch other creatures to try and connect with them on some level. This lets you try to manipulate moods, or even try to calm the anger of the most violent of creatures. The “how” you do these things after touching a creature is still a secret… but let’s just say we are trying to make this non-violent option just as engaging as the violent option is in terms of fun and game play.
Wednesday - November 20, 2013
Bloom - Update #4,The Art of Characters
Studio Fawn has posted a new kickstarter update for Bloom: Memories that gives us a look at the art of the ingame characters.
The Art of Characters
Hey everyone, Dani here again (as always). Thanks so much for sticking with us. For those who haven't tried out the demo, it seems like most of the big bugs are sorted out (so worth a look in update 1). Sadly we saw a bit of a slowdown this week on the campaign though; but at least we are inching closer.
If you can, please tweet or post to facebook (or post to forums or anything else) about Bloom and let’s push to reach more people. With your support, we can push through to the goal and start hitting some stretch goals (such as the first one, Russian + German + 1 additional language supported on launch).
Anyhow, onto the update!
Last time we talked about how I approached the maps in the game. From early concepts, down the line through what happens to bring it into the game. This time I want to talk about the creatures and characters in the game.
In much the same way as I approach maps, characters also begin in a rough sketch phase. These are kept loose and revolve around quick exploration of ideas as I draw. I actually have quite a lot of these to work from, and many are roughed out into 3d already (but more on that later).
Saturday - November 16, 2013
Bloom - Update #3, The Art of Maps
Studio Fawn talks about the maps of Bloom: Memories in the lastest kickstarter update.
The Art of Maps
Hey everyone, Dani here again. It is official; we have passed the 60% mark!! Thanks so much for all of the support in getting this far! We still have a bit to go though, so please keep spreading the word and we can make it! :)
Anyhow, for this update I want to give everyone a bit of insight into the art side of the game. Since I handle all of the artwork and writing, it is the perfect subject for me to cover.
---Before we start, keep in mind that everything you see are from various stages of development, and likely will be fairly different in the final version.---
So, for this update let’s talk about the maps!
These all began as a series of large over-world sketches to test ideas and generally brainstorm. Basically I was trying to get a feeling for the overall shape of the world, major features, and the pallet shifts needed to keep the game a bit more interesting. In the end, it came down to 4 main sections; forest (green), ruins (red), water (blue), and darkness (black)... of course, with variation within these areas.
Outside of these over-world sections are also a range of hidden areas and “dungeons”, but this first map gives us the solid foundation to branch from.From there, I take the maps and refine them a bit, thinking through exactly what needs to start happening within the maps to give them a bit more life.
Tuesday - November 12, 2013
Bloom - Update #2, Add-Ons & Reddit
Studio Fawn posted the next update for Bloom: Memories that brings talks about new add-ons, the alpha versions, and mentions reddit.
Hey everyone, Dani here again. We have officially crossed the 40% mark!! For less than a week, we are doing pretty good! Thanks so so much for spreading the word and helping us move forward. Don’t forget to check out / vote on the Steam Greenlight as well if you haven’t already.
In an effort to keep the email spam from updates down, we have set up a sub-reddit for everyone. This saves the kickstarter updates for larger substantial posts. http://www.reddit.com/r/bloommemories/
Then, if you are having trouble with the pre-alpha, make sure you are running the latest version (new builds now check to make sure you have the latest). The last few days James has been tirelessly working to get all the bugs sorted out. On the bright side, it has helped us clean up the engine a lot as we try to support more machines! Just some of the growing pains of alpha and developing for PCs.
And, for those having trouble donating, we will be setting up a paypal as we get closer to the goal, so stay tuned :)
Anyhow, I've gotten a lot of requests for specific items (those who ONLY want the game and the plush, for example), so we are adding add-ons! Basically, these work by simply upping your pledge by the amount of the add-on. Then, after the campaign, we will be sending out a survey where everyone can select how they want to divvy up their pledge amount. This cuts down on confusion and makes sure no one gets lost.
The tiers themselves are a better value, but if you only want a specific thing, add-ons can be pretty great savers.
- Extra Copy of the Game – $10
- OST (Music) – $10
- Digital Art-book – $10
- Companion – $15
- T-shirt – $30 (+10 for shipping outside of US)
- Signed Archival Print – $35 (+10 for shipping outside of US)
- Plushy!! – $45 (+15 for shipping outside of US)
- Signed Extended Art-Book – $75 (+15 for shipping outside of US)
Hope this helps, and please let me know if there are any topics you want us to cover as we go on. Thanks again for all of the support!
Sunday - November 10, 2013
Bloom - Update #1, Pre-Alpha Engine Demo
Studio Fawn has released the first update for Bloom: Memories to annouce the Pre-Alpha engine demo is ready for everyone to download.
Pre-Alpha Engine Demo! Ready for Download!
Hey everyone, Dani here, time for our first update…the demo! First off though, thanks so much for all of the support. With your help we made it into staff-picks and are near the top of the games list on kickstarter! We still have a pretty long way to go though, so please keep spreading the word to everyone you can.
Anyhow, onto the demo!
Demo Link (for PC) - http://www.studiofawn.com/alphadownload.asp
NOTE:: For best results, use a gamepad! 16 direction support in a 2d RPG? You bet!
Over the last 6 months, James and I (mostly James :P) have been building this 2d engine from the ground up to handle the demands of Bloom. What we have now is only the first step forward. This is the solid foundation from which we can expand….so expect everything to get a lot better, with environmental effects, particles, improved AI, full sounds and much much more.
Still, we have included a sampling of various engine mechanics; such as base AI, puzzle scripting, dialog, and even a bit of combat.
Keep in mind though that this is still very early pre-alpha, so you might run into some rogue bugs and errors (and, of course, placeholder graphics). Please visit our help section on our website to see a list of bugs, and how you can handle them if you encounter any (such as pressing J if you get stuck).
Hopefully this early glimpse into the world gives you a sense of where we are headed and the possibilities as we continue. Enjoy!
And, again, thanks so so much for all of the support!
Wednesday - November 06, 2013
Bloom - Kickstarter Relaunched
Studio Fawn has restarted their kickstarter for Bloom: Memories. Here is a new video with details about the game if you forgot, or simply never heard of the game before.
Bloom: Memories combines many classic game design elements into a gorgeous unique action adventure / rpg.
At its core, we are creating a game that moves away from the cliche of violence and domination. In fact, you can play the entire game without harming anyone or anything if you so choose.
Of course, we understand that there are different types of players, and we are dedicated to building a world that accounts for each of them in a rewarding way. Combat, stealth, story or collection … it is up to you to decide how you want to face the challenges ahead.
- Consider talking. The world is filled with strange creatures; sometimes taking a moment to talk to them can be well worth the time. Every now and then, as you consider how to kill the imposing monster standing before you. . . you might instead simply try and say hello.
- Use stealth and strategy to fool those who block your path. Careful planning may be a bit slower and generally safer . . . but of course, nothing is without risks. One misstep and you might find yourself in a very tricky situation.
- Grow stronger by feeding off those you defeat. This is an extremely challenging road, and one that will take you on a very different path as you slowly grow more powerful through taking the lives of others. In the end, you may find yourself with a great deal of strength. . .but at what cost?
Along with your choices also come consequences: Be violent…and the world will react more violently in return. Be kind, and the world may soften, revealing a more loving side.
Tuesday - April 23, 2013
Bloom - Update #11, What's Up?
An update of the current status is given for Bloom, which unfortunately has not made it in their Kickstarter campaign.
ey everyone, Dani here again (I really need to come up with another way to start these), I just wanted to drop in and let you all know how things are progressing (abridged version - things are going great!).
This last week was been pretty crazy as we get everything set up to move forward with the limited resources we have. Thanks so much to everyone who jumped over to our PayPal (and amazon) campaign to make this next phase a little easier! It is definitely helping us out and we will be keeping it up as we forge ahead (so, plenty of time to hop over and take a look for those that missed it).
We've also been extremely lucky with some amazing offers of help on the project (including an animator from Dreamworks!)! So, we are taking advantage of the opportunity and over this last week we added on a couple more people to the team to get this out faster and better than we could have before.
Anyhow, for the next couple days we are continuing to get everything settled and sort out a few production details / who does what (I got dibs on the art! :D). Then we jump into full production and keep pushing ahead! In addition to all this we've also come up with a couple new ideas that should be pretty exciting (like I said, it has been a crazy week!). I’ll be covering them once we have everything nailed down a bit more (so stay tuned :)
Also, once the dust clears expect loads of new artwork / creatures / concepts. And, as always, feel free to chime in with suggestions or thoughts as we go along (feedback is always welcome).
Thursday - April 18, 2013
Bloom - Update #10, The Campaign Continues
With 14 minutes to go and their goal still $15K aways there is no hope for the Bloom Kickstarter to succeed, but they are determined to go onwards and come back.
So, here is what we are going to do! For next 4-6 months we will be working as much as possible on continued development. This will result in the polished first section of the game adding onto our current build. From there we will take that game section and offer it as a strong public demo up and ready for the world to play. The resources we are working with are tight though, so we need your help to keep us going strong.
In order to make things easy on everyone, we have moved the pledge tiers over to our website ( www.studiofawn.com ) and set up a PayPal ( http://studiofawn.tumblr.com/donate ) to run while we keep going (some of the tiers have been adjusted a bit with better rewards and all rewards tiers will also be your choice to interchange with the next campaign if they are altered). So, please take a look and let us know what you think.
After the demo is released (the first section of the game), we will be coming back to Kickstarter stronger than ever before for a “round 2” of fundraising. Effectively, this is just splitting up the funding campaigns into two stages (the first now through our website to help see us through the polished demo phase).
Every bit helps as we move into these next months and we are counting on your support to make the road a little less rocky. Of course, rocky or not, we will make it happen.
Wednesday - April 17, 2013
Bloom - Update #9, Unwavering Dedication
With 38 hours to go and a $17K gap between where they are now with the Bloom Kickstarter and their goal of $50K a new update is presented on the dedication of the team to finish the game. They have been picking up some steam over the last week, so it isn't entirely impossible.
Basically, we are pretty passionate about what we are doing. It was actually pretty obvious before we even started that indie development was an uphill battle, especially if you are trying to do a project that takes more than a few months (and especially if you are relatively unknown)! We knew trying to go further with art, story, game play, and even music as a tiny indie team with no resources would be a pretty rocky path .. .but nothing worthwhile is ever easy. ;)
We want to assure everyone that our commitment to this project and seeing Bloom through to release isn’t dependent on this campaign (though, it would definitely make things a little smoother!). At the end of the day we believe in what we are doing as developers, as artists, and as gamers. So, when bumps appear in the road (of which I’m sure there will be plenty along the road), it is our unwavering dedication that forces us to find a way over them.
Thursday - April 11, 2013
Bloom - Update #8, Answering Questions
In the eigth update for the Bloom Kickstarter, some questions are answered. Next to linkin to ours and Jace Hall's interviews, two more questions are answered. One on choices in the game and one on platforms:
What’s the deal with platforms??Basically the situation with the platforms is this. For the initial release (day 1), we plan to release the game on PC and Mac (simply because distributing on steam and giving downloadable links is the easiest and lowest cost for us).After that, we plan to continue forward with additional platform support (eventually hitting all of the major platforms from Nintendo, Microsoft, Sony, Android ~Ouya~, and Linux). This isn't the type of game that can be played on a phone, but a tablet version should be doable and something we have yet to explore (since the way we are making the game is very flexible and light, pretty sure it will be ok). We have actually already begun chatting with Microsoft and Sony, so as we move forward we will be lining everything up to get out to additional platforms as soon as possible.
Monday - April 08, 2013
RPGWatch Feature: Bloom - Interview
Bloom is a game in development, which is currently on Kickstarter and is tagged as an adventure-RPG. We asked Project Lead Dani Landers some questions to see if we could get more information on this game that is quite different from other games on Kickstarter.
Sunday - April 07, 2013
Bloom - Update #7, Adding Depth Through Music
Here is update number 7 of Bloom (currently $19K of an asked $50K, with 11 days to go), which is about the depth music adds to the game.
Last time we went over a bit of the evolving visual art behind Bloom, so this time it seemed fitting to cover a bit of the music. We strongly feel games are about the entire experience and music definitely offers some amazing opportunities.
We touched pretty briefly on this on the main page, but basically our goal is to use the music to reinforce the narrative of the game on a subtle (though substantial) level.
In order to accomplish this our composer, Jose Mora-Jimenez, works closely with me while we move step by step through the story in the game. We then break down the feelings and narrative at that point and Jose interprets this into music using different instruments to represent the various actors in the game.
There are some samples of music to listen to when you hit the link.
Monday - April 01, 2013
Bloom - Update #6, Evolving Art
In the sixth update of the Bloom Kickstarter ($13.7K out of an asked $50K) Dani provides more information on how the art has evolved over time.
Hey everyone, Dani here again. For this update I’m going to take you back a bit and give everyone an idea of where Bloom came from artistically and how much it has evolved to what you see today (and is still evolving).
Bloom officially began years ago as two separate graphic novel attempts exploring different ideas and styles. The first was a very short color version (of only 5 pages), and the 2nd was a black and white version that went on to be over 30 pages.
Unofficially, Bloom actually began years before that with various personal projects I had done and I drew elements from them into the Bloom world). An example of this is the golem creature that I had created while working on a cartoon intended for Nickelodeon, and then as Bloom advanced I re-created him to fit into a darker world.
At the point of the graphic novels, the majority of the concept work was actually done while making each page. While this wasn't very effective in terms of design, it set the ground work from which I was able to build from (and many of the ideas you can still see today in one form or another).
After the graphic novels, I found myself with a great body of writing and story-lines along with the solid beginnings of a world. So, in my free time, I continued to refine the ideas and push things further.
Actually, that is a big part of Bloom, the way it changes. Unlike other projects, this one is being lead from the artistic side and the focus on experience and story. Since I am the one doing all of the concept design, writing, and modeling; the game evolves alongside me.
Even in the last week we took another step forward and explored some more styles. We intend to continue this type of exploration and growth as we move forward and in the end should have something truly unique for players to experience. Bloom has never tried to be just “another game”; it is our dedication to really push ourselves beyond the norm to make this something special.
Make sure to check out the update for more artwork.
Sunday - March 24, 2013
Bloom - Update #5, More on Combat
In update #5 more information on combat in Bloom ($13,3K of $50K, with 25 days to go) is given.
From the outset of designing the combat mechanics we knew we wanted to capture that fast and satisfying combat you find in old school games. The thing is, we weren't happy with just taking mechanics from the past and repackaging them (nostalgia is great, but there is plenty of room for taking these things further!).We also wanted a type of game that is just “fun” (a mysterious and hard to quantify attribute) and doesn't grow old easily. You know, the type of game that you don’t just throw away when you get to the end or that grows old once you figure out the pattern or ultimate combo that trivializes everything. This is the type of combat you find in older school games, your Castlevania, your Metroid, your Mega Man, even in your Mario’s.So, what exactly is it that makes these games so long lasting? How come we can come back to them so many years later and they are still pretty fun? Basically, each of them has the same “fun” combat that can keep the player on their toes. It is a balance of dodging and attacking which keeps the player engaged, but beyond that, it gives the player a CHALLENGE and makes you work a little bit. We are keeping these things firmly in mind and applying them to make sure the game provides that same level of satisfaction and intrinsic value as you play (basically, each element of game play is fun in itself, instead of us forcing you to jump through hoops to get a story treat or new item).
But again, this isn't about blindly copying the past (as so many seem to do). Our philosophy is to pick apart the WHY, and then try to push it forward and bring it into our world even better. Is the secret to “The Legend of Zelda” the sword and board? Or is it the simplicity and mechanic of needing to time close combat attacks?
Sunday - March 17, 2013
Bloom - Update #4, About Combat
Bloom is currently close to $12K on Kickstarter and with 32 days to go can still reach the asked $50K. Then again the last few days the figure did not increase that much so they could use a bit of help. The game is different and might be too different for some, but I would like to see it being realized, so I pledged.
To provide more information on combat and update was made today.
Game Feel –
The first step when considering the combat was to consider how the game felt. Should it be non-stop action fighting armies of enemies? Or slower and meticulous? In the end we wanted something in the middle to challenge players but also provide that sometimes hectic action of being overwhelmed by enemies.
Game Flow –
The next step is considering the flow of combat. How long should an encounter last? Again, here we took a medium approach and chose something about in the middle of the extremes (an extreme example of this is to think of the difference between a game of “rock paper scissors” and “chess”). Fast enough to let you move on with the game but slow enough to really let you strategize and consider what you are doing.
The Player! –
Now we finally get to the player. This is a huge piece which really controls much of the game. With Bloom, we want the player to be out-matched and more defensive in nature (lending to the narrative and creating a feeling of overcoming challenges at every turn).
The first distinction in the player is the relatively low amount of life (at least compared to many other games of our generation). This means dodging, deflecting, and other strategies to avoid damage are highly important. You don’t play a one-man army able to deflect bullets off your abs, but you are equipped with some pretty interesting abilities to help you out. A characters life is more a resource for ingenuity and game-play than a sponge for damage.
This goes hand in hand with a characters life and is basically a consideration of how a player recovers. Do you recover life after each fight so each encounter is met at the same player strength base? Or as you play, are you slowly worn down from mistakes? If you have ever played a first generation and current generation first person shooter, you will understand the idea of limitation.
With Bloom, we actually have taken a mixed approach to this. The life / energy bar goes up and down regularly through game play, but you are limited at a higher level by the Linked Heart mechanic. This means you can be worn down through the game and defeated but each fight you typically begin with the same of life / energy.
On an individual encounter level, your attacks drain from your life bar and create an organic limitation in how much you can do how fast. This creates a situation where the balance of power in a battle rapidly swings to extremes as you use larger attacks to defeat enemies, but are then forced to play defensively while recovering and dodging the others.
This is really the big one in terms of how combat works. As I said before you are largely overpowered in the world and typically rely on a range of defensive abilities to protect you. Of course you also have offensive abilities, but these are highly draining to your life and leave you exposed. Effectively this creates game-play which requires careful consideration before running into battle blasting your largest attacks.
Friday - March 15, 2013
Kickstarter - Bloom, an Action Adventure RPG
If adventure RPGs are your thing then you might want to check out the Kickstarter for Bloom. They are asking $50K and are currently at $11K with 34 more days to go.
Bloom: Memories is a beautiful artistic take on the action-adventure / RPG genre that carries players through an epic journey following the theme of the “purest love”; that between a mother and her child.
Bloom strives to capture the innocent feeling of adventure and discovery (taking lessons from such classic games as “The Legend of Zelda”) while at the same time pushing the experience deeper with a heartfelt story of love and sacrifice.
Of course, beyond the story and artwork, Bloom also features strong game design which not only provides fun game play but also further supports the story and art direction.
A few examples of these are:
Linked Heart Mechanic – Because of the special bond between the main character and his mother, they share in each other’s pain and sacrifice for each other. This is represented by five hearts for both characters at the top of the screen which heal over time.
For the mother, these typically allow for her to protect the main character at a distance when he needs her most. While for the main character, his can be used to give him extra strength to rise to the challenges of the world. And, for both characters, pieces of their heart may break during moments of emotional pain.
Be careful though, a persons heart can only take so much before it gives up completely.Single Energy / Health Bar – With Bloom, the energy and life bar combine to create another layer of strategy to combat while simultaneously simplifying the interface and allowing players to focus more on the game. We want combat to have elements of thoughtful purpose, of considering the costs and advantages to using different abilities. Mindlessly mashing buttons will only get you so far in this world.
Luckily there are also a variety of ways to replenish your strength, though of course they too come with considerations.
The Bridge – The bridge is where the energy of life exists overlaying the world and its inhabitance. While this is all theory, rumor has it that with enough training one can begin to open their mind to this plane and even walk within it at will. Inside the bridge one can see the true nature of friend and foe, past the physical aspects of a being and into their hearts.
They say the bridge contains an entire world for one to explore… though, be warned, the bridge can be a hostile place to the unprepared.
The Linked Heart and Bridge features are explained in more detail in updates 1 and 3.