Dynamic color schemes

Staring at the same hand-drawn furniture all the time can get a bit boring, so to spice things up a bit, I added in a way to dynamically swap the palette on a room. A palette has a primary, secondary, and tertiary color, with different shades of each. Room backdrops and item can have details that get recolored from the template palette to the room’s target palette. The actual color replacement is done by a custom shader (which I’ll post more details about soon on my main blog).

Here are some examples of the same room with different palettes applied:

 

And here’s a before and some afters of the study:

 

What’s in a name?

To make a long story short, “Red Herring” is now “Murder & Betrayal”. I decided to make this change for a few reasons:

  • While “Red Herring” is a catchy mystery-related title, it tends to refer more to physical clues. During the game’s development, I realized that relying so heavily on physical clues made for a boring game. Newer builds have stripped out physical evidence entirely to focus on character generation and story discovery. In the future, I hope to bring back physical evidence, but as more of a time-based hint system rather than a core mechanic.
  • “Red Herring” is a cute name, but this is not really a cute game. Despite their polite facade, the characters can be pretty nasty to each other, and it’s a game that requires a fair bit of thought and deduction.
  • “Red Herring” is already in use by at least one other game already on the market, and I didn’t want to create confusion between the two.

Naming any project can be a difficult business. “Murder & Betrayal” is a unique name, fairly memorable, and gives a good first idea of what the game is about. I’m still not 100% sure I’m in love with the new title, but there have been worse-named games before, and the show must go on… 🙂

Mystery seeds!

I’ve been working on the map/character generation code for the last couple of days and wanted to share a bit about a new feature: mystery seeds. All the map and character generation in the game is now based on a single number called a seed. You can pick your seed when you start up the game, or allow the game to pick a random one, but each individual seed will always produce the exact same map and characters. Players of games like Minecraft and Dwarf Fortress will recognize the concept. 🙂

This can be used in a lot of cool ways. If you play through a really intriguing or funny mystery scenario, the seed can be shared with other players so they can try. Or if you’re having trouble on a mystery and want to try different tactics or detective builds, you can play through the same scenario multiple times. Coincidentally, it’s also a big help for debugging issues that only pop up in some game setups.

Pixel art!

Even sparsely-furnished houses have a ton of furniture, it turns out, so I’m back on pixel art duty this week. Drawing so much art with no actual art background can be a bit trying, so I try to keep it simple and mathematical. There’s very little shading and almost everything is drawn in a very structured, block-by-block sort of way.

Yup, this is what it takes for me to make a toilet. I'd been putting off drawing this toilet for too long.

Yup, this is what it takes for me to make a toilet. I’d been putting off drawing this toilet for too long.

Eventually I’m hoping to hire a real live artist to work on the more complex pieces of art that we’ll need (mostly characters, and some larger scenic pieces). If you’re a pixel artist who’s interested in contributing to the project, or know one who might be, please let me know!