A couple weeks ago, we talked about the new dialogue system we've been working on. Today's blog post was supposed to cover more the system in greater depth, but we decided to save that post for when we have it implemented in our demo (which should be fairly soon!). Instead, we are going to talk for a bit about our menu system.

The phone we wish we could get on Black Friday.

For the menu system, we decided to tie everything to the phone. We always liked games that tied in menus organically into the game. One of my favorite examples is Dead Space, where everything from your health bar to your inventory is weaved into your suit.

We were planning on using the phone extensively for the game's fictional social media elements. The player would look at the phone for messages from his friends, news updates, and codex entries. After having so many features tied into the phone, we decided to make the whole menu system viewable from the phone.

In our next post, we'll have screenshots of how the inventory and other systems look on the phone.

For the story of Luckless Seven, we wanted the character to interact with his party all at once. The very first iteration of our conversation system only allowed the player to talk to one person at a time. Today, we're extremely happy to show a sneak peak at our new dialogue system.

Ideas for the current dialogue system were conceived from as far back as March. This was back when we were still using pixel graphics. Conversations between party members were very cumbersome to design under a one-on-one dialogue constraint.

Jeff, our first character. We'll always miss him.

We wanted to keep the portraits and still have multiple response options. Having more than 3 options made the screen look cluttered, at least with the design shown in the above screenshot. With a need for both several portraits and conversation responses to be on screen simultaneously, it became very apparent that we needed to do more than simply re-size and rearrange some boxes.

Next week, we'll go through an example of the different types of conversation categories the player can specialize in.

When we changed the graphics of our overworld, we knew that we would have to change our portrait style. The manga-looking characters did not blend in well with the more realistic environment. Over the last several months, we have been solidifying a new style for the characters. Last week, we showed two of the updated main characters. This week, we're showing 2 more!

Even before we updated the portraits, we were considering changing our art style since the cartoony looking characters looked a bit out of place on some of our more recent battle boards.

We're very happy with how the portraits look with our new dialogue system. Next week, we'll be showing some screenshots of the dialogue system in action.

If you haven't checked our Indiedb page yet, we've uploaded a new demo that has many new particle effects. Take a look and let us know what you think!

It's finally here. After over 6 months, we are ecstatic to finally present to you the new style we will be using for our character portraits!

These new portraits are painted and have much more detail than our previous manga-style portraits. When we changed the graphics of our game from 2D pixel art to 3D, we found that our old portraits looked out of place. After experimenting with a number of different styles, we decided to go with more realistic-looking characters.

The evolution of Mark.
Many of the primary characters will have multiple facial expressions that will change depending on the dialogue. So far, the main character has 12 emotions, but we estimate he'll have at least a dozen more by the final version.

Our previous dialogue system only allowed for conversations between 2 people. The current build allows for up to 7 people to participate in a dialogue scene. The player will also be able to make up to 6 dialogue choices, many of which will be influenced by certain stats the player has. We'll be expanding on this much more in future blog posts!

On the overworld side of things, we've mainly been working on constructing the indoor environments of some of the bigger buildings. One such building is a massive hospital that will serve as a hub for several side quests. The hospital was definitely a challenge to build since it's dozens of times larger than any indoor environment we've made so far. It was also difficult to balance making the areas look nice while being easy to navigate through.

Creating the ground textures proved to be a lot more challenging than we anticipated because what we had in our head did not blend well with the rest of the environment when we actually implemented it.
We have the inventory system mostly worked out. After testing the latest build, we discovered that the loading time for the inventory system was quite a bit higher than what we wanted it to be, so there is some more optimization that needs to happen. After the inventory system is complete, we'll finish work on the menu system and show you how all the new systems tie in with each other.

Until next time!

Around 6 months ago, those of us at Deckpoint had an extremely long conversation about the presentation of our game world. As early screenshots of our game reveal, our initial overworld was constructed of pixel graphics. After extensively reading about how to create 3D worlds, Jesse felt confident that we could make a 3D game world with realistic lighting and reflections.

For weeks, we experimented with creating the world using 3D assets. Constructing the world in 3D was definitely a more time-consuming process; we would most certainly not be able to release the game at our initially planned date. Besides that, basic functions such as player pathing, AI, and animations would be much more complex.

Another change that we would have to make would be with our character portraits. With more realistic looking graphics, the cartoony style that we had would not blend well with the rest of the game. We would have to come up with another art style for almost everything. When we eventually had a piece of the game world built in 3D, all those concerns evaporated. We realized that we might just be able to pull it off... and if we could do it, our game would look much closer to the dream game we've always envisioned.

New directions.

The decision was made harder by the fact that we already have parts of the game world already built. Many existing assets had to be put aside. Although it was slightly sad that so many things became unusable, we were extremely exhilarated at how our game was shaping up. One of the most rewarding things about game design is completing an objective you set for yourself. Perhaps an even more rewarding feeling is when you find that you can surpass your initial vision.

Small beginnings.
Designing the world became much more interesting with our new dimension, but it also became way more complicated. Suddenly, we had to become much more conscious of the amount of resources our game would require to run. With our pixel graphics, we did not have to worry nearly as much about pathing, lighting/shadows, and animations.

For the past 6 months, we've been working on updating and changing all the visual aspects of our game to suit the new graphics. Almost everything, from character portraits, to the menus, to the title screen, will be or have been changed. The only aspect of the game that is still visually familiar would be the battle screen, but even that has seen significant changes (mainly the new particle effects and background). We have also spent much time streamlining the AI.

As we all know, flashy explosions improve almost everything.

In the next several weeks, we will have a flood of new content to show the cool things we've been working on that we haven't yet shown on our Twitter/TIG dev logs. Our dialogue system has gone through many refinements, our inventory system is close to completion, and we've finalized the art style for our character portraits. We're working on implementing these in our demo, so expect to see at least one of these features within the next few alpha builds.

See you guys soon!

R.I.P. title screen. You will be missed.

Hello everyone! We hope that you are having a good summer. Since our last blog post, we've released several versions that have implemented many improvements to our tutorial system. The beginning parts of the tutorial section are fully guided now, and we hope that it provides sufficient instruction for learning the game.

The most obvious change you may have noticed is that we've redesigned the layout of the button system. The buttons have been moved to the left side of the screen and the End Turn button has been renamed to Hit to better reflect its function. We found that End Turn confused a lot of new players, even if they were familiar with Blackjack.

The battle screen now reveals much more information on player states and when new cards are dealt. Previously, players simply had to remember when new cards were dealt. Now, the score markers reveal which round new cards will appear and how many of them will be dealt.

The big counter in the bottom right corner of the board reveals the number of cards left in the dealer deck. The counter is meant to help players better predict what cards will be dealt. When the dealer deck refreshes, the player will know that the cards being dealt will be more variable.

Alpha version 0.158 has introduced new lighting effects to the menu and battle screen. This should everything on screen easier to view and more beautiful to look at.

If you haven't been keeping up with the updates to our soundtrack, you can always go to our composer's SoundCloud and listen to the work we have so far.

Luckless Seven Alpha 0.158 will most likely be the last alpha version for several weeks. The next alpha version will have massive updates to the gameplay and may even include the overworld. Until then, we'll keep you updating with more screenshots and soundtracks.

Luckless Seven Alpha 0.158 Demo

See you then!

Hello friends! We've recently added a new alpha version to Indiedb. Luckless Seven alpha 0.150 is our biggest addition yet to the game and contains a host of bug fixes and new features. For those of you that have diligently following our releases, you may discover that the latest version makes the tutorial section completely playable!

Hurray for no game-breaking bugs (probably)!

This latest version includes several visual indicators that provide more information about player states. We now have animations for whose turn it or when a person is standing.

Animation for the active player's turn.

Animation for when a player is standing.

After several weeks of planning and designing, we finally have our score screen completed.

In the coming weeks, we'll be showing you our updated conversation system, more screenshots of our open world, and more game modes for arcade play. See you then!

Hello everyone! It has been a very busy month for us, but we're happy to show you some of the things we are working on. The visual design of our conversation system is almost completed. The mechanics are a combination of the dialogue systems seen in Deus Ex: Human Revolution and a few of BioWare's recent games. We also added a few things of our own, and hopefully we'll be able to show you some early screenshots in the next couple weeks.

We've added some visual indicators to better convey player states.

We recently released a version 0.149 of our alpha. Unfortunately, it does not have the dialogue system implemented in it. The dialogue system will be an enormous part of gameplay (maybe more so than even the card game), so we want to provide a long portion of gameplay to show it off.

The major addition for this demo is a redesign of the arcade mode and the preliminary designs of our score screen. Cards now have point values associated with them based on the strength of the card. Basic cards such as blue and red cards offer more points than the more powerful dual-effect cards. There are also points given for different win conditions such as filling up the board.

The demo also includes a built in tutorial that covers the basic mechanics of the the game. The story mode will have a different tutorial that naturally eases the player into the game, but the arcade mode tutorial should be sufficient to learn most of the gameplay mechanics.

The tutorial is divided into 7 parts. After finishing the tutorial, the player may also play games against several characters of varying difficulties. Your progress will be saved and opponents can be challenged again in an attempt to earn a higher score.

Try out the demo and let us know what you think!

For those of you who have been actively keeping track of the game, you may have noticed that April has come and gone yet we have not launched our Kickstarter campaign. Although we were able to meet most of the objectives we had planned, we ultimately decided to postpone our launch for at least a couple months. We want to have a demo that encapsulates most of the features of our game, and our current demo only showcases part of our battle system.

We've spent the last couple weeks planning out our conversation system, and we're excited to showcase some of the plans we've been cooking up. Until then, enjoy some of the pixel art that we've been making!

Can you spot what is wrong with this picture?

Hello everyone!

If you have not been keeping track of our Reddit, Facebook, or Twitter posts, you may have missed several versions of our alpha demo. We are currently on Alpha version 0.145 (0.144 was not released to the public). Many bugs have been fixed and we've added in many new animations, particularly for our title screen. The title theme for the game is almost finished, but you can still listen to the rough draft version on our composer's SoundCloud.

Over the last week, we've been featured on a few gaming sites. The guys at CanadianGamer were kind enough to feature Luckless Seven as their featured game of the week!

Josh over at Next Gen Nerds did an interview with Jonathan over the weekend. You can read the interview here or watch a gameplay video he made here.

Transatlantic Gamer took a look at our game and made a hilarious gameplay video where he played the game without knowing the rules. You can view the video on his YouTube channel.

If you haven't already, be sure to check out the latest version of our demo. As the launch of our Kickstarter gets closer, we should have a lot more stuff to show.

Hello everyone! We're extremely pleased to reveal another physical reward we are planning for our Kickstarter campaign; the +7 card! The 7 cards will have a special significance to several of the characters in the game. While using any of the 7-valued cards in battle will be more difficult compared to other cards, the bonus score they give is the highest. Players wishing to do a score run will find themselves stacking their deck with many high-number cards. There are also specific strategies that require high-number cards, but we will discuss this in a future post.

The card is printed on 16 pt. silk with full color foil on both sides. The card has painted edges and a high gloss finish front and back. The full selection of physical cards can be seen in our earlier blog post.

Hello everyone! We've spent a lot of time getting our time this week putting in more features into the demo. We have added balanced draft mode into the arcade section. Balanced draft is similar to random draft in that the cards you are dealt are still random, but there is a limited amount of each type of card you can receive. For example, you can only receive 2 of the tiebreaker cards in a First To 5 match since they represent one of the most powerful card types.

You can now pick balanced draft as well as random draft

Fancy new animations for the start of the game.

Hey guys. We just uploaded our demo on Indiedb. Go play it.

The current demo is a random draft for the arcade mode of our game. Arcade mode lets players immediately jump into battle with the game type of their choice (First To 3, 5, 7, or 9). 

Currently, we are working on making additions to the demo. This includes a balanced draft mode which limits the amount of certain cards a player can be dealt and constructed mode which lets the players choose their cards. We are also working on finalizing our score screen and integrating it with the game world. The score screen will show interesting information such as the statistics of previous battles the player has had in that area and how much of each card they have played. More on this in future updates!

Luckless Seven Alpha 0.143

We've go something cool to show today. Last morning, the physical cards of our game arrived!

There are a total of 72 cards in the deck: 40 green cards numbered 1-10 (pictured below) and 32 side deck cards (1 of each with the exception of the S and D cards which have 2 duplicates each). We plan on having these cards as a Kickstarter reward and as prizes for giveaways we plan on having in the future.

As many of you may be asking, "is this game exactly like Pazaak?" For the most part, the game plays exactly like Pazaak. A random card ranging from 1 to 10 is dealt to a player each turn. The player can play cards from their hand that bring their score closer to 20. The player closest to 20 and does not go over that number wins the round. The differences in our game lie in how long the match is played, how many cards a player has in their side deck, and the list of cards available to them.

All games of Pazaak, the first player to score 3 points won the match. In our game, there will be NPCs of various levels of difficulty that the player can challenge. Depending on how high ranking the opponent is, the match can range from first to 3 points to a first to 9. The amount of cards that will be dealt to a player from their side deck will depend on length of the match.

In a first to 3, the player will only be dealt 4 cards from their side deck.

In a first to 5, the player will be dealt an additional 4 cards when either the player or the opponent reach a score of 3.

In a first to 7, the player will be dealt an additional 4 cards when someone reaches a score of 4.
In a first to 9, the player will be dealt an additional 4 cards at score 4 and score 7.

If a player still has cards in their hand on the round new cards are to be dealt, they will only be dealt enough cards to bring their hand size back to 4.

The side deck will consist of 12 cards that player chooses in between battles. The pool of cards the player will choose from will be significantly larger than the choices in Pazaak. Pazaak had 23 different types of cards the player could choose from. The pool of cards we currently have available is 36. 

We've also spent a significant amount of time redesigning cards that were either too powerful or not useful. For example, some of the cards in Pazaak (the yellow cards) had unique effects that did not simply add or subtract a value from the score. There were cards that changed the values of cards already on the field, doubled the value of the last card played, or made you win in the case of a tie. Although this made the game interesting, this also meant that some cards were not balanced. We've reworked many of the special cards to hopefully provide a more streamlined experience while retaining the powerful traits they had. However, that doesn't mean that the game won’t have any card with wild effects.

Hello everyone. This week, we have some shiny new animations to show you. We spent a lot of time polishing the visual design of the battle screen. We've added some light effects that occur once a card is placed onto the field. Some more subtle animations were added as well, such as the "breathing" effects for the score markers.

As you may know, the screenshots of the alpha build made the board seem very static. We've now added many of the animation effects that will occur during a battle. The full battle screen and a short segment of a battle can be seen in the last in the following gifs.

Light-up animation when a player wins a round:

Pulsing animation for the score marker:

Light animation that activates when a card is played:

The color of the cards will be an important indicator of what the card does. Some cards are multicolored and will two different effects.

A segment of a game being played:

Another short snippet of the game being played. In this case, the player was lucky and did not have to use any of his hand cards since the 6 cards he was dealt added to 20.

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