Weekly Shiryo Update from The Lead Game Dev & Shiryo Team #26

Hey Wolfpack, it’s Rick here!

We’ve got some interesting stuff to go over, including a development phase change as we’ve been able to hit some of our weekly benchmark tasks from this cycle — namely around the UI/UX!

First things first, we’ll go over some of the things we’ve completed that are good enough for the 30-person alpha test (30PAT).

I’ve pulled together some gameplay footage of interacting and moving through a lot of the menu systems!

I just thought I’d include some candid gameplay, it’s not fancy, it’s just me jumping into the game and interacting with the menu system.

(Please check our announcement channel here https://t.me/Shriyoinuann for these clips)

This covers the majority of the functionality that we need for the 30PAT, things like; Deck creation, player profile integration, game mode setups and basic social functionality.

The in-game footage is a couple of 20–30 second clips of me low-key running through some of the basic functionality from the editor directly, so this is literally how it’ll look in the 30PAT. It’s the 30PAT dev build — part of the client you will download and use during the test.

Some functionality, for instance, the tabs above guild/quest will be grayed out, with that functionality added later on further down the production cycle.

With the majority of the completion done in the UI/UX, I’ll be now directing my attention to the implementation and completion of the animations system.

As you know, our lead animator (Connor) has been grinding hard creating hundreds of animations.

Having them now is great… but they now need to be integrated into the game.

I’ll be working back-to-back with him over the next coming weeks using an optimized workflow that will enable us to integrate all of the battle and ability animations/status effects in a way that can provide us semi-regular visual updates at the same time.

As I’m wrapping up the production cycle of UI/UX, the last piece of visual content that is easily showable to you is this fresh work from our UI/UX engineer…

The final design for our socials that we will be implementing.

1. Our ‘Expanded Chat’

UI/UX Designer; The chat is a version of the expanded chat, normally on screen we have a minimized chat, but you can open it up to get an expanded chat view so you can see more and utilize a few extra controls. In the chat system, you can see in the image that there are different sorts of messages, there’s global chat (chat across everything), other people in general chat, your guild etc, it’ll be able to filter down so you could be ‘just’ within your guild chat or party chat etc. It’s also color-coded to differentiate what channel the messages are coming from.

2. Minimized Chat

UI/UX Designer: This is the default minimized view for the chat that would always be there in the corner of the screen. We now have icons in this now, so if you get a notification you’ll see it in the bottom left and you’ll see how many friends are online.

3. Friends Tab

UI/UX Designer: This is the Friends tab, within this, you can add friends, get notified when they’re online and also tools for being able to invite them into your lobby or message them directly.

4. Guilds Tab

UI/UX Designer: The guild tab — we’re still internally working on all the different functions and benefits we want guilds to have / how they come into play with the overall game. It’ll have options for some sort of quick action within your guild, but all the details are still being finalized.

5. Notifications Tab

UI/UX Designer: This is your notifications tab. If you get an invite to a guild, if someone whispers to you, if you were invited to a battle or a lobby, those notifications will be here.

One of the purposes of these write-ups isn’t just to give you all an update, but it’s also to bring our work tasks perspective to a point which is easily understood.

When we take something as small as the ‘socials component’ — this is the convenient and small UI that allows the player whether they’re in a game/menu system to quickly communicate to friends, people offering to sell a card, to add people, request to spectate — all of these little functions.

Even though they’re used ubiquitously, the actual social component itself is built from many small components that work in tandem/synchronicity.

This attached image doesn’t even show all of the individual icons/frames/panels/text overlays/buttons that are layered into a complex object.

Each one of these components has to have its ‘transformed set’, and its relationship to its neighbour and follow a hierarchical layout, so it behaves in a way that you as the user would expect it to behave.

As well as this; the animations of each interface (like a button) or an indicator (like a text output), also have to be thematically consistent across the whole visuals of Shiryo. The way this is executed is by meticulously coding each function individually.

Now I didn’t mean to excessively drag on, it’s just to bring down the perspective of the scale to create something as seemingly simple as a small minor social tab.

For people who aren’t in the industry, it’s easy to forget the scale of interactive media, it’s one of the things I personally love about this industry. There’s always a challenge, something that can be worked on, improved upon, it’s a combination of software and art. We have to think not just about how it functions, but how it makes the user feel, which to me is a cool combination of challenges to solve.

Looking ahead….

For the following couple of weeks I’ll be working closely with Connor, on top of this I’ll be doing a heavy recruitment session looking for another high-production coder with wide skill sets.

We’ve already started that recruitment cycle so we can increase the size of the development team and should increase the development speed, which is something we can all get behind.

Some of my day is spent networking, going through emails, doing hiring tests and interviews. So as me and Connor proceed with the animation system, this will allow me to continue working and finish the ability system.

When I was in the middle of developing the ability system system (which is a very heavy interdependent and complex system that is driven automatically) it highlighted and identified that I was unable to proceed as I didn’t have the required complexity of visuals to diagnose my code as I was creating it.

For example, let’s say you’ve played a couple of cards that synergize, one card might have defender and growl, therefore when you place the card it gains defender, but you might also get poisoned as soon as you’re attacked.

You need a way to visually represent this situation so you can identify what’s going on.

But if I’m coding this gameplay mechanic and I don’t have the visuals to represent what’s happening to that card at that moment, I’m unable to identify if my code is working correctly. Therefore that dependency was identified and I needed a more comprehensive asset library of animations to be created first, not after the ability system was completed.

Now as Connor has been working tirelessly to create as many of those animations from our design doc, we’ve now accumulated a large enough variety of animations to be able to proceed with the ability system. For me, as I‘m working hand in hand with him, it’ll be a simultaneous creation of the ability and animation systems — as you need one to test the other (they’re codependent on each other).

I’m very much personally looking forward to the next development weeks, as there’ll be a lot of gameplay visuals – and I’ll be able to actually see a lot of my work operating.

Once the ability and animation development cycle has reached a certain threshold of completion and with the successful recruitment of another proficient coder, this will provide me the time and resources to focus on one of the last large pieces of integration required for the 30PAT, which is the remaining back end work of the AWS integration (the scalable multiplayer deployment).

So I’m closing up some loose ends, hard pushing this recruitment cycle and starting the new workflow with Connor!

So hopefully this is an informative write-up for you all, going over previous work and sharing some visuals with you of actual in game footage, where we currently stand and what the future development cycles are.

Until next time, I hope you’ve enjoyed this update.