Hi and welcome to the Santria Retrospect for the year 2019! It marks the fourth year of development (where is the time going?!) and a lot of stuff in my private life distracted me again from gamedev like in the years before so maybe I should stop pointing it out and take it as granted? Haha!

The big milestones of this year were:

  • My work with Sam intensified and I joined her Moonshell Island project
  • Cheekynauts as a brand for our endeavors was established
  • I started to learn JavaScript to code a custom-made editor named AcornEdit to handle huge game data like items, quests and cutscenes (click here for the article)

These milestones already took a big chunk of the year away, in addition to the numerous business trips I took for my day job. Nevertheless I was able to make some progress for Santria and here we go:

New choice!

Samantha worked on a new portrait for the protagonist so now you have the choice what kind of portrait is representing you in-game! I had a fun time to implement this in the game, please look at the gif below where I shared the fun with you!

What do you look like? The big question in the beginning! (February 2019)

Menu madness galore!

Hello, my name is Schotti and I have a problem: I am never satisfied with my menu designs. This is the reason, why I try new iterations for the menus from time to time. Sam’s portraits are too beautiful to keep them in the dialogue box only so I decided to integrate them into the game menu and make it in the same time more lean.

I also used the time to implement a proper settings menu for a lot of functions like for example the screen settings. In full screen mode, you can use canvas elements like in the good old Super Game Boy era.

Game setting menu, category: screen! Let’s change the color of the canvas! (February 2019)

Here you can see the equipment menu and how you can change your cool outfits accordingly.

The new equipment menu. (February 2019)

The PSI ability menu was a challenging one, especially the figuring out of the functionality. You can meet different spirit animals, unlocking special twists for your abilities to adjust them to your play style.

The new PSI ability menu. (February 2019)

The new save/load menu with a lot of readable and important information. I am very happy about the look and feel of this menu!

The new save/load menu! (February 2019)

Environment and stuff

I like to use game dev quality time in the range of 1 to 2 hours for some small environmental improvements of the game. It is fun to come up with small systems to increase the immersion and make the world more lively.

One detail is the implementation of busy little cars, causing some traffic in Pine Falls. The streets are not here for no reason! Still, please be careful crossing the streets, heavy vehicles are dangerous!

A lot of traffic in Pine Falls! (March 2019)
Be careful crossing the street! (March 2019)

Another detail I introduced with some surface magic and blend modes is the lamp interaction in the protagonist’s room. We all enjoy to go to sleep in the dark, right?

Fun with light! (March 2019)

I really enjoyed the idea to change the weather immediately into a threatening rainy storm when you approach the Santria Corporation Building. The company is up to something after all! Therefore I decided to implement this: let the rain begin! Particle systems are very appealing to design in Game Maker Studio 2!

This companies means not only bad news but also bad weather! (March 2019)

You remember the teeth brushing minigame? It was the first mini game introduced in the game and still a thing not transferred from Game Maker Studio 1 to Game Maker Studio 2! I took the opportunity to improve some effects while porting!

Keep your teeth clean and healthy, friends! (March 2019)

Multiple choice dialogue options? This is a thing again in Santria! Hey Tessa, always believe in your dreams!

Some normal conversation with your mom (March 2019)

The last thing I will show is the implementation of a new crate crushing animation (thanks to Sam) including the juicy pop up of LOOOOT. Feels so satisfying to smash stuff from time to time, right?

LOOTING TIME! (March 2019)

Introducing new characters

Sam was not lazy and drew some new portraits in 2019! Here, I am just showing the portraits which I introduced with a small mockup, setting up the mood! The other ones I will keep for a more suitable timing, hehe.

School director Henry is not amused! (May 2019)
Resistance leader Amanda should be taken seriously! (June 2019)
A concept for the Pine Falls sewers (June 2019)
Fan favorite Olivia is finally introduced! (September 2019)
The Count is a suspicious fella! (October 2019)

Asset Improvements

Santria had already a long development time, and so it is logical that some very old assets didn’t age well and need to be reworked to be appealing again. This is also a good time to appreciate the artistic skill grow of yourself and the help others are giving you to find the right pixels (thank you, Sam!). For example, I still remember very well how proud I was after I finished the school building in March 2016. Silly me!

Take your time and enjoy some comparisons in the next pictures! Never forget: just do art and practice, with time and determination you will see how much you can grow by yourself!

Improved Pine Falls High School building asset (March 2019)
Improved grass and stone tileset by Sam (June 2019)
Some improvements with the protagonist’s house (August 2019)

Santria Corporation HQ

It is the middle of December and right now I am sitting at the different Santria Corporation HQ floors with their own theme. It is still in development but I want to close this retrospect with the most recent update possible. Please find three already available floor designs in the screenshots below:

Lobby of the Santria Co. HQ building. (December 2019)
Department of Antarctic Expedition of the Santria Co. HQ building. (December 2019)
Department of Finance and Human Resources of the Santria Co. HQ building. (December 2019)

The last thing to show in this retrospect is the traditional Twitter vs. Time chart.

Followers on Twitter in respect of the time period between March 2016 til December 2019.

Phew, this was 2019 after all! I hope you enjoyed your read as much as I enjoyed the writing! See you next time!

Your friend,

Schotti