UPDATE: Conflux – Change of Theme and Direction

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Conflux (SMILE GAME BUILDER) – Main Title Screen
My game for SMILE GAME BUILDER, Conflux (formerly named Confluction), was meant to be in a modern setting.

However, while writing the main plot, its overall theme changed.

I ended up adding some fantasy elements to it. I can’t help it: I just love those types of games where Old World meets Modern or ancient technologies are interwoven into fantasy realms. The clincher is that this change of theme seems somehow more appropriate.

Original Concept

I turned 50 in July, so Conflux’s original concept was born from the depressive state I found myself in. I guess it was some kind of existential crisis, wherein I started reflecting on my life, questioning the choices I made to end up where I am today.

Filled with what-if’s and if-only’s, my mind transported itself back in time to those key points in my life when I was presented with tough choices.

What would have happened if I’d taken the other path? Would things have turned out differently or would they have remained the same? These are valid questions, ones we all ask ourselves at some point in our lives, but there are no valid answers because we won’t know the answers once that decision has been made. There’s usually no backtracking.

And this became the premise for Conflux, where all choices matter!

At its core, Conflux is a philosophical view about these choices and their consequences, and why each decision we make matters in the grand scheme of things. Those choices – whether our own or others’ – determine our future decisions and shape our future, putting us on the paths we take in life. We’re often presented with two or more paths, each with their own perils and rewards, and each with a different outcome and consequences.

Choices Matter

Much of the content in Conflux – the events, incidences and influences – are based on my own life experiences. I intended it as a kind of autobiography from the start but from the perspective of addressing the what-if questions.

That means that there is no right or wrong path, no real success or failure. However, since choices matter in the game, whereas some decisions you (the player) make results in more successful outcomes but less propitious consequences, others might result in unavailing outcomes but profitable consequences. It all depends on those decisions, taking one path over the other.

The game also subtly focuses on the notion that Destiny is a fixed path, predetermined, along which you travel – and stray – but you always return at some points to its path. You either return to it on your own or certain events push you back onto it, often forcefully. You’re allowed to stray again and again, of course, but somewhere, somewhen, you’ll return to this path.

The end goal, your final destination, your death, is also a fixed point in time, except we don’t know when that is. The ultimate destination at the very end of the path is more open and malleable, shaped and formed by all the decisions you made, the consequences that arose and a combined measure of successes and failures.

Continued Development

Although development is slow, and updates are sporadic, I am still working on Conflux in the background when I have the time.

Actual game development stagnated for awhile and I couldn’t determine why until its theme changed from modern to fantasy-modern.

At the moment, I’m mostly focused on creating the models, especially now that the plot and theme are established. And with that in mind, I’ll continue working on it and try to post more regular updates on it, mostly on Twitter.

New RPG Maker Times Livestreams Page (Facebook)

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I created a new page, RPG Maker Times Livestreams, for my live-streams.

I will mostly live-stream SMILE GAME BUILDER game dev, including my own game, Conflux, as well as games – Skyrim, Witcher, Fallout 4, and other games (including indie games) – which will usually videos from previous live-streams.

In the beginning, however, I’m going to start test-streaming various games, classic, indie and new to see what works on my mid-spec rig. Details will follow.

We’re looking at streaming from this page. It’ll be either here or on YouTube. Stream themes and times are yet to be decided.

New Smile Game Builder Game: “Confluction”

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My new project for SMILE GAME BUILDER is entitled Confluction. This is a working title only at the moment, and it might change during the course of its development, but it’s kind of sticking!

Confluction?

Confluction is an obsolete word for "confluence", the "coming or flowing together, meeting, or gathering at one point".

Our destinies are fixed, but we forge our own paths. We might make choices that cause us to stray from the path of Destiny and deviate from its course, but we’ll always return to it at some point. And that’s the subtext for the game.

Many events in the game are loosely based on events in my own life; I’ve taken certain creative liberties with them. The choices you make in life do matter!

Custom Models

Yes, that’s a ZX81, my very first computer!
Most of the models are being custom-made for this game.

I’m aiming for high-texture models and assets, so this is what will probably take the longest time to create since I create many of them by hand.

The focus will be on most of the models first, then the game itself. And then most likely at that point, I’ll work on character animations as and when they’re needed. This will be the biggest challenge for me; I’m not good at animation.

So when it comes to the perfectionist in me, I’d want to make sure all animations are smooth and fit well with the game!

Subscribestar

I now have a Subscribestar account.

Patrons (subscribers) will start benefiting from additional perks, including tier-specific Discord roles/titles, and unique content, game dev insights, exclusive content, such as demos, and more.

If you would like to support me there, either as a patron or donator, it would be greatly appreciated. All moneys will go towards several goals and will give an extra incentive to continue with the project.

I will try and update this more regularly, with more regular content and some patron-only content soon!

What About Relationship Sim?

The project I was working on before Confluction is Relationship Sim.

However, I decided to continue on THIS project first, and then resume with "RSim" when the new SGB is officially released to take advantage of some of its new features! (At the time of this post, no, I can’t say what those new features are outside of what SmileBoom has already announced publicly!)

Developing Tutoria for Live-Streams

Smile Game Builder - Tutoria: Developing A Live-Stream Game
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What Is Tutoria?

As many of you already know, I started live-streaming SMILE GAME BUILDER on YouTube, specifically for developing Tutoria, the lands in which the game takes place.

Tutoria Basic Map - SMILE GAME BUILDER
Tutoria Basic Map – SMILE GAME BUILDER

Tutoria is a vast land mass sitting in the centre of the Primeval Ocean (a bit like Pangea before it shifted into the continents we know today).

It’s divided into two supercontenents: Aetios, the frigid ice-bound tundra in the north, and Kryuth, comprising more temperate climates in the south and the sweltering desert regions farther south and east.

Connecting them is a man-made bridge in the east, referred to simply as the Crossing, and an isthmus in the west known as the Dragon’s Causeway. The capital of Kryuth is Ancieryth and Aetios’s capital city is Cloverleaf.

The above image provides a very basic layout of what Tutoria is meant to look like. Details will inevitably change as development continues throughout the live-streams and the map itself might change over time. (The map was created on Inkarnate, an online map creator. You do need an account to use it, but you can still make some useful maps even with the Free version; the Pro version isn’t that badly priced either.)

The Purpose of Tutoria

The basic idea behind Tutoria – and the purpose of the live-streams on YouTube – is to create a game from start to finish (however long it takes) and then to post-process it in Unity so that it can then be downloaded and played by all.

It isn’t a serious attempt at game making! It’s simply to create a game over the course of one- or two-hour streams for others to watch. And that’s it!

As I develop Tutoria during the live-streams, I’ll also revisit some of my older video tutorials and bring them more up-to-date. Plus I’ll demonstrate how to create some of the graphics for the game, including icons, effects, and so on. This essentially makes it a tutorial live-stream with the end-goal of a completed game.

Incidentally, Sana of SmileBoom suggested the name "Tutoria" some time ago because I initially wanted to create a series of videos dedicated to creating a short game in SMILE GAME BUILDER based on my tutorials. And it stuck! Hence why it’s so named now.

Giveaways!

During live-streams I’ll be giving away free stuff! Everyone likes free stuff, right?

This could be anything from Title screens to Game Over screens to assets that I create. In last week’s stream, I gave away a Title screen of a nice fairy sitting on a toadstool in a fairy ring.

In the beginning, these giveaways will be sporadic, pretty much as and when I feel like it, but over time, they’ll become a regular feature for all the Tutoria streams. I’ll usually announce this on Twitter and Facebook.

The rules for receiving these freebies (as they become available) are:

  • You must say "Hi!" during the live-stream (even if you say nothing else).
  • After the live-stream, you must contact me on Twitter or Facebook, or in Discord, with the name you used during the stream.
  • You must NOT use them in anything but SMILE GAME BUILDER.
  • You must NOT share them with anyone else or on any other website. (Of course, you can still use them in your games if you want to.)

That’s it!

A final note about the giveaways: In time, these free assets will make their way in packs on the Gnome Treasure online store and Itch.io. So if you want free copies you can collect them in the live-streams only!

Tutoria Live-Streaming Schedule

Live-streams for Tutoria were initially scheduled for Fridays. I had to fit this into my shifts at work. Now that they’ve changed slightly to Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday, however, it makes it easier to work with as far as game development as a whole is concerned.

Starting this weekend, I’m rescheduling these live-streams for Sundays because, being the weekend, and based on the feedback I’ve also received, this seems to be a more convenient slot for a people to attend.

News: Live-Streaming SMILE GAME BUILDER

SMILE GAME BUILDER Live-Stream
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Live-Streaming Schedule

From now on, I’m going to live-stream SMILE GAME BUILDER only to continue building Tutoria, a game created from scratch, start to finish during the streams.

I’ve wanted to do this for quite some time; I just wasn’t in a position to do so. Since upgrading my computer and Internet speeds, it’s now viable to live-stream at a decent speed and quality, usually at 1080p.

As many of you probably know by now, I already started live-streaming SMILE GAME BUILDER, intending on creating a game from scratch, start to finish, during the stream. So far its schedule has been every Saturday at 10pm GMT/2pm PST/5pm EST, but I’m now aiming for twice per week to continue its development.

Next week the stream is scheduled for Friday and Saturday. However, as of the week commencing 25 March 2019, my work hours change, so live-streaming will be rescheduled for Thursdays and Fridays Sundays.

Developing Tutoria

The idea behind developing Tutoria is to creating a full game from start to finish, including any necessary graphics during the stream.

It also serves tutorials and additional techniques in SGB, some of which are based on many of my old tutorials (updated to the current version) and some are new ones.

During live sessions, viewers will be able to offer suggestions for shaping the way Tutoria evolves. Although I’ve written an outline for the underlying storyline, in the beginning I probably won’t worry too much about it. As the game develops, however, that plot will be adhered to more as it’s gradually fleshed out.

Viewers can also ask questions about SGB in general in chat (or talk amongst themselves) and I’ll answer as many of them as I can – if I can!.

Only on YouTube

I will only live-stream this on YouTube.

The reason for this is simple: I don’t care for Twitch. Sorry!

I’ve tried to stream on Twitch – and, indeed, tried to like the platform – but I simply can’t do it. Until now, I’ve multi-streamed on both platforms, sometimes smoothly, sometimes with a few hiccups. Many people like Twitch; I don’t.

Twitch tends to "expire" videos after a set amount of time. One way to bypass this is to "highlight" videos, which is somewhat of an inconvenience. YouTube does no such thing. Besides, I’m more established on YouTube and, rather than having too many fingers in too many pies, as a sequitur being able to eat one pie is better and easier.

Game Completion

When the game is finished (however long it takes), it’ll be fine-tuned – including post-production through Unity – and released for all SGB users to play.

The link will then be available on my Itch.io account and it’ll be freely available for download.

FIRST LOOK – Otherworld SGB: Through the Veil

Otherworld: Through the Veil
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This is the first look at the game I’m working on for Smile Game Builder. It’s a short, first-person supernatural thriller with plenty twists and turns, as well as some unique features.

Showcase Video

Credits

In Vitra – Upcoming SGB Game

In Vitra - Smile Game Builder
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In Vitra is a game in development for Smile Game Builder. Its release date has been set for March 25 and it’ll be available in English, Japanese and German. And it looks awesome and a lot of fun to play!

Game Synopsis

In Vitra - An SGB Game In Development
In Vitra – An SGB Game In Development
In Vitra is a fantastic role-playing game with a turn-based combat system. It will lure you into the mysterious world of Vitra.

In Vitra - In-Game Snapshot
In Vitra – In-Game Snapshot
After years of relentless battles against horrible monsters, finally, peace seems to return to Vitra – when suddenly a strange illness spreads throughout the land. When his grandmother is struck by a serious disease, young Noa and his friend Luke embark on a quest for a cure. But their adventure turns out to be more challenging than they thought. To prevent the plague from spreading even further they have to trace it back to its true origin.

In Vitra - In-Game Screenshot
In Vitra – In-Game Screenshot
Together with the pharmacist’s daughter Lee-Belle and the young priestess Billa Noa and Luke begin their perilous journey far away from any human settlement. They have to face more and more fearsome creatures. And in the course of their adventure the four friends surprisingly come across an even bigger secret.

Join our four friends as they venture deep into the lush green lands of Vitra. Discover a fantastic world full of monsters and mysteries. Find out more about Vitra’s dark past and reveal the well-kept secret of the dangerous affliction.
Bumblebee

Features

  • Experience a fantastic top-down role-playing game
  • 15 hours of pure JRPG fun
  • Immerse yourself in an exciting fantasy story full of surprises
  • Embark on a dangerous journey and solve the mystery of Vitra
  • Face dozens of lovingly designed creatures that inhabit the dark and unpredictable part of Vitra
  • Learn countless spells and skills including a tier system
  • Test your mettle with the challenging turn-based combat system
  • Enjoy a fantastic soundtrack