Dev Diary #36: New Menu and More
Updated: Jul 15, 2020
Today, I’m writing to share the news about a lot of positive changes we’re making to the every-session and early-game experience of playing Luckless Seven.
Let’s talk about the every-session experience of playing Luckless Seven. There are certain things that you’ll encounter every time you boot up the game. Interactive dialogue. Open world movement. Ekosi.
Ekosi’s a big one. It’s at the center of gameplay, so we want incorporate player feedback as much as possible in improving it. We learned two contrasting things from demoing the game at OGDE. On one hand, several players felt that the Ekosi tutorials at the beginning of the game were overbearing and too text-heavy. On the other hand, some players had trouble understanding the game and had questions after the tutorial was finished.
To address the concerns of both player groups, we’ve decided to make information--a lot of it--optional. We’re planning to reduce the Instructor’s dialogue in Day 1’s mandatory tutorials, so we've embedded a permanent guide in the Ekosi interface. We think this change will positively affect players who don’t need a wordy tutorial and those who can use a refresher now and then.
Caption: Several subtopics in our new Ekosi guide.
Caption: The "Card Types" topic, color coded for comprehension.
Another segment of the game you’ll encounter every time you play Luckless Seven is the start menu. It’s easy to overlook, but this is both your introduction to the game and every play session. So, we want to get it right! Functionally, the menu should allow players to start or resume a playthrough of Story Mode, jump into Arcade Mode for instant Ekosi action, or modify game settings.
Caption: The cinematic new start menu complete with all of its options.
Visually, we wanted to move towards something even more cinematic than our old start menu. We wanted something that was visually engaging, but more importantly something that communicated the characters and relationships within Luckless Seven’s ensemble cast. So, we’ve taken the time to give extra attention to and update the 3D models of all the main characters. With higher quality models and a new scene to survey, we think we’re pretty close to our vision.
Caption: Enjoy the view of the city with Jamie and Bertrand in our new start menu.
Since we’re on the subject of character, it wouldn’t be a Luckless Seven update without discussing new portraits. My job as the game’s writer is to create characters through story design and dialogue. And dialogue can do a lot, but the right portrait can do so much to express the emotions and thoughts of our characters. So it’s important that we have the right portraits for every moment. Accordingly, our amazing artist Emma is currently working to expand the range of portraits for our main cast members.
Caption: With Emma's exceptional talent, Maria can be upset in so many unique ways.
But she’s not just treading over old territory. In addition to creating main cast portraits, she’s working on entirely new portraits like the exciting one below.
Caption: An important new face or a far-too-late April Fool's Day prank? Find out when Day 1 is re-released!
You’ll get to see this character come to life when we’re finished revising Day 1 of gameplay. For now, you can look forward to the new start menu, the Ekosi guide, more portraits, and a handful of improvements to user experience. We’ve added two new cursors: a semi-transparent magnifying glass and a chat bubble mouse cursors that show if Mark is too far away to talk to a person or activate a door. Along with that change, we’ve introduced a feature that will initiate auto run when players click on door buttons that are too far away to enter.
To try these changes out for yourself, you can download Demo 0.654 at our IndieDB page: http://www.indiedb.com/games/luckless-seven/downloads.
As always, we welcome your feedback, fresh ideas, and general enthusiasm. They’ve brought the project this far, and we have no intention of stopping now. Keep an eye on our IndieDB page for updated demos, as we’ll only be announcing major releases in our Kickstarter posts.
Until next time!