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  • Writer's pictureJesse Kooner

MEGA Dev Diary #50: Reflections on Apple Pie

Hi everyone,

Tyler here from the Deckpoint Studio team. In our last update, a flood of new levels and features wiped out December’s natural opportunity for reflection on Luckless Seven’s development in 2017. But a promise is a promise, and we’re here to look back.

Caption: NEW: Several remade areas! The Patrida Casino now called Amethyst Casino with a whole new exterior. The card shop and interior of Amethyst Casino have been remade!

Caption: BRAND NEW DEMO! Available on Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux! Download on Steam or IndieDB! I know in my heart that 2017 was a big year for Luckless Seven, probably the biggest so far. As it happened, it felt like more was happening faster than the year prior. We’re getting better at this as we go, I know it. But when I looked back at last year’s eight blog posts, I found that our last new story content was released in late March 2017. Has it been so long? The thought was discouraging. Any artistic venture can feel discouraging, and goodness knows that indie game development is no exception. If anything, it can be exceptionally difficult! Indie game development, and Jesse probably knows this a heck of a lot better than I do, often reminds me of a Carl Sagan quote: “If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe. Looking back, it felt like we hadn’t served up any pie in some time. So, I looked a bit closer at those blog posts we’ve released, and I found that we’ve instead been inventing the universe.

Caption: Join us on our journey as we develop Luckless Seven! Help shape the game and get access to exclusive content!

Caption: Day 4 release in early 2017. The largest level containing over 2 dozen battlable NPCs and the largest area to explore in the game!

Caption: Campfire scene following Day 4's excitement. Relax with your friends and let dancing shadows turn into conversation.

Last year kicked off with the release of our most time-intensive content releases to date. In terms of level design Day 4 was a massive, massive undertaking. Day 4’s conclusion, the reflective campfire dialogue (released separately) was a similarly enormous challenge. Getting those portions of the game and story done were big accomplishments that prompted some reflection of their own! At the time, we’d spent a lot of resources on developing that new content, that delicious, made-with-love-and-Unity apple pie. We took a moment to look at the game, and we found that there were a lot of areas where we wanted to make improvements. Big, fundamental areas that affect the whole gameplay experience rather than just one “day.” So, at the risk of being too verbose in yet another blog post, here are some of our universe-inventing accomplishments in the last year:

  • Save/Load feature: Jesse made this, and we think it’s pretty handy. 

  • Card rewards: Money’s cool, but aren’t things just a little bit cooler? What’s that? You want both? Fine. Now, Ekosi victories will reward players with an influx of currency and a nice new addition to their deck. 

  • Card pickups: Ekosi is a pretty big deal in Arithia, but, until this last year, players couldn’t pick up a card off the table. Now you can! Whatever trouble you choose to get into with those sticky fingers is your business, but we think this feature makes the overworld and Ekosi feel a lot more connected. 

  • Expanded overworld dialogues: Along with the card pickups, we wanted to leave some character behind. (Maybe if Dory has some character, you won’t be so likely to swipe her belongings, ya thief.) In that spirit, you’ll find more in the way of perusable bookcases, notebooks, and chat histories. More character is good, so we plan to continue this trend across all of Arithia in 2018. 

  • Various UI improvements: There’s a lot here including the dialogue system, the inventory system, the phone, and on-screen quest/currency updates. We feel better than ever about the game’s UI.

Caption: Save/Load feature. This made testing so much easier!

Caption: Earn cards and monies from Ekosi matches!

Caption: Environment interaction! Steal cards, read someone's personal messages, and learn more about the country of Arithia!

Caption: Significant UI improvements on the quest notifier, mini-map, phone menu, inventory system, dialog system, and more!

Outside of those changes/additions to our core game systems, there was plenty of work, particularly in the level design area. In 2017, we revamped several levels, including the start menu, Day 1’s Hospital and Day 2/3's Casino exterior, interior, and nearby card shop. (Oh, you haven’t seen those yet? Well, we did those too.)

Caption: Amethyst Casino exterior was completely remade to be more interesting and compact!

Caption: Before: Patrida Casino. It had too much open space.

Caption: After: Amethyst Casino. More beautiful and still quite large. 12 more NPCs have been added for a total of 30ish NPCs in this area.

Caption: The center of the area is filled with Ekosi players having fun and battling.

Caption: This is the starting position for the Amethyst Casino.

Caption: Explore the area and admire the beautiful amethyst rocks!

Caption: The front entrance to glory! Amethyst Casino!

Caption: Card shop near the Amethyst Casino has been renamed to Pure Ekosi!

Caption: Before Before: Patrida Card shop in 2016.

Caption: Before: Patrida Cardshop with better lighting.

Caption: After: Pure Ekosi card shop right outside Amethyst Casino! New models, textures, environment icons, and more!

Caption: Added some new environment interactions to the Pure Ekosi card shop. Such as the Ekosi Monthly magazine, where you can learn about the latest happenings in the pro scene and for the card game overall.

Caption: Before Before: Patrida Casino in 2016.

Caption: Before: Patrida Casino with better lighting and new textures.

Caption: After: Amethyst Casino with a whole new look! New models, textures, lighting, and more!

Caption: Amethyst Casino is here from the ashes of the Patrida Casino.

Caption: The lighting is much more exciting!

Caption: The VIP section where pro players are waiting to be battled.

Caption: The restaurant area. Grab a bite and chat with Krista and the gang!

Caption: Front Entrance.

Caption: Before: Tournament area.

Caption: After: Tournament area.

Caption: Hospital remake.

Caption: Mark home remake.

Caption: Significantly easier to see and navigate.

Caption: Krista's interior home received new lighting and small adjustments to floor and wall thickness.

On the “new level” front, Jesse has cooked up darn near everything we need for the next chapter of the journey in Neropolis: a gorgeous seaside landing area, an accompanying card shop and restaurant, and a hotel lobby/suite for the gang. Those finished areas have us well poised to dive into 2018 and start cranking out the pie.

Caption: The tropical city of Neropolis!

Caption: Neropolis Card Shop.

Caption: Mint Hotel Lobby.

Caption: Mint Hotel Room.

Caption: Neropolis Restaurant.

So, yeah. A pretty good year after all! I’ll leave you with a few quick notes on recent developments and what to expect in the next year.

  • As I hinted above, we’ve revamped the Casino area in Patrida. We think it’s a bit more compact and fun, and we hope you will too! 

  • We recently released as a landing page to inform newcomers to the game about what we’re doing. If you think your friend would be interested, send them there! And tell them to sign up for updates. And follow them on that path. 

  • We recently updated our pictures on Steam. We think Luckless Seven looks better than ever, so we wanted to reflect a more up-to-date image of the game.

Caption: Join us on our journey as we develop Luckless Seven! Help shape the game and get access to exclusive content!

Caption: If you haven't done so already, follow and wishlist Luckless Seven on Steam! The Luckless Seven website and Steam updates are part of a concerted effort to let people know about the game, and you’ll see more of that this year. We want people to know about Luckless Seven, because it’s coming! On the subject of letting people know about the game, we spent last weekend expo’ing at Ohayocon, a Columbus, OH anime and culture convention! This was our first Ohayocon, and we had an absolute blast showing off the game and engaging in some IRL Ekosi! We’ll share pics and our takeaways in our next dev update. For those who stopped by, thanks! It was great to meet you! For those who couldn’t make it out, please feel free to say hello below! Thanks as always, Tyler Download the demo on Steam or IndieDB.



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