CrossCode Update #46
The plot advances

Another two weeks have passed and the fire of the CrossWeek is still burning.

In this update we have the results of our first CrossQuestion, news on the circuit menu, added features to our development process, plans for new areas, text colors, and (most importantly) advancements in the plot of the game! So let’s get this started!

Results of CrossQuestion #01

First, here is the link in case you missed it: CrossQuestion #01 Striking!

We asked you, which color for lightning you preferred, purple or yellow. And well… the answers sure surprised us. We thought one version would be voted for more than the other. But all the awesome comments added together revealed that the result is 50:50 (including the voting in our team). Well what now, right? What do we use, purple or yellow? A lot of people said because of the environment graphics it’s hard to tell which version is better. And we agree. Hence we decided to leave the purple effect in for now (since yellow was in all the time) but come back to pick the final color when we have more areas to test the effects on.
Thanks for all the great comments and feedback! We’ll make sure to do this again! It was great to read all the different opinions (especially on color blindness, we might want to look into this topic).

Circuit Menu

I finally crossed the finish line with the menu and it’s now fully functional. (minus some problems with the gamepad support) Activating Skills? Switching Or-Branches? Moving through the tree with hotkeys? We got you covered! And of course we have some sweet GIFs for you to enjoy all of the latest additions:

Zooming into the detail tree! As long as you are inside the menu, your camera position for each tree is saved. So when switching between trees, you will always go back to position you were before.

As you can see, activating skills will center the camera on the focused node and show you a menu in which you can activate skills or swap branches.

Once you activated one skill on a branch, you can swap at any time without cost.

Of course you can also switch AND activate Or-Branch skills.

We hope people will use the branching skills a lot. When you mastered most of the trees you might only want to swap an Or-Branch and be done with it. So we added a Quick Or-Branch Swap-Feature. With this you can quickly swap the skills in an Or-Branch, without having to go into the detail view and drag yourself to the Or-Branch you want to swap.

circuit_5 (sorry for the flickering. It comes from the codec I used to record the GIFs, there are not in the actual game)
You might already noticed that each Or-Branch is always located on a panel inside each tree. And now you know why! Each panel becomes a button when you enter the quick-swap mode. Clicking on a panel/button allows you to immediately swap the Or-Branch. Quite handy, huh? As always nothing is really final and we might come back and change colors, adjust animations, implement user feedback and so on.

New Area and Text Colors

A new area in the planning again? Yes! We really want to push content to get the game going. This area might be used in the upcoming demo to give you a place to grind a bit and (hopefully) play until the game is released. We also narrowed down details on other areas, such as the first dungeon and an area that will appear in the demo before the game starts on the cargo-ship. You can look at it like an introduction to the story.

About those text colors… This is actually something small but makes the game so much more awesome to look at. Before we added text colors we only had white for all texts (plus icons here and there). Now with additional colors we’re able to highlight important text markers, something that will come in handy in the synopsis menu for instance. Also we finally have a color to display inaccessible content, like buttons you can’t press. Before this, we simply set the opacity of the button text to 50%. It now looks much better:


That Plot

It is finally time to advanced the plot and Lachsen put lots of effort into new scenes and updating old ones this week. We wanted to give the characters more… well… character! So Lachsen walked through every scene and changed the dialog according to the new character descriptions. Some new scenes include Lea learning about where she is and why she is on the cargo-ship. Lachsen did a good job making sure the world feels real and alive. So, here are some screens for you to enjoy:

Ahhhh… salty air is the best air!

Lea on her way to the bow.

On her way back, she has to clean up Carla’s mess.

Into the cabins! Let the combat lesson with the captain begin!

*Every mistake in grammar is bad and we should feel bad.

Buffing up the Development Process

This is a rather technical topic, but maybe it’s interesting for the developers out there. Since we will target Desktop as one of our main release platforms, it’s important to test CrossCode on desktop often and regularly. However, last week I noticed that it’s a bit hard to test CrossCode on desktop since we normally hide the URL bar to see only the game inside the window. Now this poses a problem: To test maps we usually write a parameter inside the URL. Of course you always have to reload the page, but it worked quickly enough in the browser. But for desktop… there is no URL input and we were left with modifying source files to set up the map to start on… which is very cumbersome. So I added a new feature which allows us to teleport to any map with a simple click or by selecting the map from a list – and all that without reloading the game.

Introducing: Teleport Feature!

Focusing the first text-box lets you put in the name of the map to move to. A drop-down list will appear and show every map located in a specific folder (including sub-directories). We can also type in an optional marker, which the player should be set to when teleporting. Each teleport is saved and accessible via buttons (see Last Locations). Since we also save these locally, we can use them even when we restart the game. This makes it super easier to quickly jump between maps without reloading the game every time.

With this I also added some features we have in the browser but not on desktop. Some of these include reloading the window when pressing F5 or switching to fullscreen when pressing F11. Browsers have a strict policy on fullscreen (We can go into more detail in a technical topic if you like) but on desktop we can easily switch between fullscreen and windowed-mode (thanks node-webkit!). All in all, we buffed up the development process quite a bit. E.g. making all those GIFs has become a little bit easier!

I guess that’s it!

Hope you liked this update and until next time!


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