I worked on the level and camera for Viola this week. The level is now complete, save for maybea little more background art to be added. The camera has been overhauled with a completely new system, and I worked with RPGTalk's developer to get animated portraits.
Read more about these new systems by clicking 'Read more'!
Pro Camera 2D
I've replaced the Cinemachine-based camera with "Pro Camera 2D", henceforth named PC2D, because nobody should name their asset "Pro Anything".
Despite my japes, PC2D is awesome.
PC2D uses "Extensions" to change its functionality, including making assets pixel perfect, creating a deadzone, creating a forward focus, transitions, camera shake, boundaries... It's great and works incredibly quickly.
Cinemachine, in comparison, needed a lot of extra features and code to do specific things. It was easy to move between different camera locations, and you could create a deadzone, but PC2D's "Camera Window" has more features.
Of course, Cinemachine is free, and PC2D is not. But I'm happier with PC2D.
After playtesting, and playing a lot myself, I've decided to make the level a lot more linear. There are still multiple paths, but they more or less become little shortcuts, or paths towards chests. Players would just naturally gravitate to the highest paths, and ignore the other paths. Even I would do this: when playing casually I would always end up taking the same, high path.
So, it was time to kill a darling and cut out parts of the level. I transplanted one part to the upper left, creating an additional secret area, but other than that the bottom of the level is all gone.
The level also has background art now. It could use a little more for some of the more open areas, like the mushroom stacks 2/3s into the level.
I've used RPGTalk to create the dialogue system many months ago. However, one key feature it misses is the ability to display different animations for a single character. I've tried implementing this feature by myself, but I couldn't quite get it the way I wanted. So, I came in contact with one of the creators of RPGTalk, Felipe. He was very courteous and helped me get the feature in. Hopefully it'll be available to all in a future update for RPGTalk, as it works wonders.
Next week is story time and adding details and polish to the level.