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.
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.
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.
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 is established. And with that in mind, I’ll continue working on it and try to post more regular updates on it, mostly on Twitter.
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.
I’m redoing the stairs and slopes for the megapack, so anyone who purchases – or has purchased – the pack before they’re implemented will be able to upgrade at no extra cost.
And, since this megapack contains the previously released terrains volumes 1 and 2 (and the unreleased volume 3), those who have already purchased them can buy this pack for 3.99 (saving around 75%). Simply use the Contact Us form on the Gnome Treasure Store and select the subject Product Re-Request. I will then send an email directly and, once payment has cleared, will give a link for the complete megapack for you to download.
The Hi-Tex Megapacks are high-textured assets I’m creating for SMILE GAME BUILDER. Each pack contains at least 200 base terrains and/or models and, for terrains, additional stairs and slopes terrains are also included.
Scheduled Release Dates
These are the scheduled release dates of all the Hi-Tex Megapacks:
This pack superceded the previous volumes because I’d initially planned on having three separate terrain packs, each with around 60 terrains. However, the third was never released. Hence, all three are now combined into a single megapack.
An add-on pack will follow some time in the future to include things like cave entrances, blood stains and fire burns.
Vol. 2 – Wall Terrains
This megapack, scheduled for release in August 2019*, contains all kinds of wall terrains, from brick walls to stone walls.
¶ The way development has been progressing on this pack, it’s likely that its release date will be brought forward.
Vol. 3 – Buildings Wall Terrains
Scheduled for release in September 2019*, this megapack will contain various exterior walls for buildings.
¶ I’m also looking into adding some unique matching wall "attachments" models for inclusion in this megapack.
House Pack Megapack
The original "House Pack", intended for release some time ago, was to contain interior wall terrains only: Stucco, Brick and Stone textures, including their corresponding lintels.
This new megapack will also include some wood panel walls, aged walls and wallpaper (at least that’s the plan).
After some consideration, I’m entertaining including additional generic household items (models) in this pack. Time will tell whether these are added or no depending on the resultant filesize.
¶ I have no release date in mind for this megapack.
* These dates are subject to change.
† Prices on Itch.io are slightly higher to offset deductions from Revenue Sharing and PayPal fees.
All three previous volumes are now merging into a 200-terrain megapack for $12.99 (available soon on Gnome Treasure and Itch.io).
Those who already bought Volumes 1 and 2 will get a special price for Volume 3. I’ll work out the details nearer the time of release.
¶ There are actually 203 terrains in the pack!
Included in the megapack for your convenience are two duplicate folders: One for stairs and one for slopes.
The files have been slightly altered with an added ST_ is for stairs and SL_ is for slopes – what else would they be, right?! – to easily distinguish them from the main terrains.
And all $5-tier or above patrons (subscribers) on my Subscribestar account will receive a discount and a copy of the purchased megapack at least a week before its official release. Can’t argue with that!
The price for the entire megapack will be $12.99 (slightly more on Itch.io to offset their fees and PayPal’s fees), as opposed to around $15.99 for all three individual packs. Although Volume 3 was never "officially" released, it was scheduled for a $2.99 (ish) price tag.
Combining all three volumes is a win-win. You get a great deal and I get a complete assets pack released.
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 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.
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.)
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.
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.
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!.
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.
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.