Dev Blog | Comet

Oh yea this system is just a debug state right now.
I'll have some sort of UI to represent it eventually.

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Long time no see people.

Not so long ago, I got my Playdate.


And unfortunately, Comet didn't run so hot.

I thought Pulp Mill might be able to save it, but unfortunately, it was too buggy.
Some bugs were understandable, like not knowing about new Pulp functions.
Others were odd like north and south exits working but east and west cause a crash!?

I felt pretty low about the whole thing, but both @Drew-Lo & @Jongjungbu came in to support me.
They helped refactor which tiles were being addressed when updating lighting, moved lots of logic out of my draw event :sweat: and advised on how I should be drawing Stella.

Performance improved but it still wasn't great.
17-20 FPS when standing still at night, 15 FPS when walking, 4.5 when cranking to change the light level.
We tested removing more of the UI but the result was the same.
And we think we could have improved how we handled cranking but even then, basic movement within the game would feel bad.
The frame based method to create my ring of light was still too much for Pulp.
It was clear that even stripped back, Comet wasn't going to work on in Pulp.

Now is a good time to say, that throughout my learning journey this year, @Drew-Lo has been endlessly kind, engaged and supportive of everything I've been doing. Comet-P (My ongoing name for the Pulp build of Comet) would be next to nothing without him.
I for sure had major help from people like @stepepson but there wouldn't have been a project for anyone to jump on to if it wasn't for the steady support of Drew. Both technical or otherwise.

So where did that leave me? @ncarson9, @Jongjungbu and I had a little Pulp crew huddle and I was sharing what was going on. And for some unknown reason, @Jongjungbu said that when he finished Castle Helios, he'd think about helping me bring Comet to the SDK.

Some time passed and then we started getting into it.
And that's where we are.
Now @Jongjungbu, @stepepson, Will & I are working together to make this lil game.

Progress is going well. We're working towards matching Comet-P's feature set, then moving into new area and elements.

We have smooth movement.
playdate-20220913-094238

A true dark layer mask with our intended shape. (Blocky circle vs square with rounded corners)
stephversion

LDtk integration & larger maps (Although in testing, not this large but much larger than Pulp.)

We now have some lamp placing action
playdate-20220915-121318

And now animated tiles.
playdate-20220916-135235

This represents a lot of work by @Jongjungbu in a relatively short period of time. So big shout out to him.

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So happy for you that you can continue this project! The community here and on discord is so wholesome

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If you're not in the Playdate Squad discord, come check it out.

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Looks really cool! Pulp 2x2 retro res + full SDK effects!

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Do we think this could turn into the record for longest devlog? Or maybe @orkn has that record cause the Resonant Tale is mighty massive :grin:

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It's really cool to see how much this has developed - now in the full SDK! Could there be a better using-pulp-to-get-into-dev story than that!

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Great devlog! Thanks for sharing your effort and setbacks. I look forward to playing Comet when the game is out and when I have my Playdate

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Loved reading all of this and following the journey. So cool to see people coming together like this to bring it to life. I'm here mostly lurking, but hope to try developing something simple at some point soon in pulp

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Just scrolled through this thread after seeing you around lots of other threads I was reading, and this is some seriously amazing stuff! All the sprites look amazing. Such a cool concept, and cannot wait to see it come to fruition! :slight_smile:

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Oh thanks. It feels like I've been stuck on Chapter 1 for SOOO long :sweat_smile:.
We're making some good progress now that lots of our systems are in place.

Hope to share some more info and details soon enough.

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Small update to share what I've been working on.

Over the past few weeks I've been able to get a lot of time to work on tile art and I think It's going well.
At least in adapting from references, I'm getting a lot better.


Buildings

When I started making Comet I used an asset pack on itch that was made for Pulp where the tiles were 8x8.
At the time I didn't think I could get very good looking buildings so I felt they were good enough.
This building for example was flat but it did the job.
image

Many of the assets from the pulp build of Comet got adapted for the SDK build just so we could get it off the ground.

Now on the SDK, I have layers and 10x10 tiles. (And much better tile management to boot)
So I felt like I could come back to and see what could be done to make them look better.

First I started working on new roofs.



Which turned out really well I think.

Then these little triangle sections so I could square them off and use my current building fronts.

All of this looked good in isolation but when attached to a building felt really busy.
image
image

So with some feedback from the team, I started trying to design some building fronts that were more plain.

I think these look great but at this stage they're unique for each width (8-4).

These will be iterated on again in the future but for now they work


Some minor world tile tweaks

Cliff shadows

Before & after

Parts of the map that didn't make logical sense so I've worked to fix them up.

Land heights

Before & after


Likely not noticed by the player but it keeps things consistent world.

Cliffs connections

imageimage

Special transition between tiles
As I build out new areas I'm trying to balance using the tiles I have vs making new ones.
But in this area here I needed to merge how corners blended in with the wider cliff face.

All in all, things are looking a lot better.

Just wait until you see the new sprites!

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That's looking fantastic!

Meet the new and improved Stella!
Stella_Idle

Created by our new artist Maria @toahiddenplace.

Development on Comet continues slowly but some exciting stuff is coming together. Drew (@Drew_Loe), Will (@FlipDock) and I are stoked to work with someone as talented Maria. I'm lucky that Team Comet is a diverse mix of people from around with world.

Idle

Check out Maria's ArtStation

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Stella looking stellar!

Some more updates

Stella_walking
playdate-20230426-172537

I love Stella's walking animations here.
Normally this is only used in cut scenes and indoors but I used it outside for this gif.

This gif represents work from all of the team coming together recently. @FlipDock's great writing (Not really given time to shine in that gif) @Drew_Loe's great systems work. & @toahiddenplace's top notch sprite work.

You can also see an emoji system that we've been working on.

We have 30 different animated bubbles and grow in and out
These can be used in dialog on Stella or the target. (Think NPC or dog)
Group

There are also looping versions of these which can be set on objects or NPCs.

They disappear the moment you interact.
dot_dot_dot

Here's how the NPC entity looks in Level Design Tool Kit right now.

I just love using ldtk.io Thanks @Nic for making the importer.

Hope to have more to share soon.

Thanks for reading :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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We're thinking of using a journal theme for some of the menus in the Comet.

Here is my blank page mockup.
Left Flip Tint Pulp Rez2

And some fonts I tested out tonight.

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I'm always a big-and-bold fan on PD! Fibberish looks particularly "journally."

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I mean, you're not wrong, but as you can see, you can only fit one or two words on a page.
At 2x res options are a little tricky.

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Yeah, if that represents the actual UI, there are tons of good smaller options on there!