We’ve just launched our new Kickstarter with cool rewards including T-Shirts, Artwork as well as more digital and physical goodies! All backers will get the game one week early.
This thing just became real! The Land of Eyas is now officially Greenlit! The team from Happy Square Productions would like to give a special shout-out to everyone who voted for us and who gave us all the kind words. We’re going to do everything that we can to make this game amazing.
We currently hope to get The Land of Eyas out by the end of Summer 2015.
If you are interested in getting the box-set edition, soundtrack, artwork or a bunch of other goodies, then a new Kickstarter page just might be in the works for you.
Thanks again for helping us turn this into a reality. This all happened because of YOU!
See you on the Steam network.
-The Team from Happy Square Productions, LLC
Please become greenlit. Please become greenlit! =D
A “new” layering effect has been added to The Land of Eyas recently, which seems to be quite the enhancement. This “new” concept is that an image can now be set for a background layer that never pans. What’s so great about that? The best way to understand how this effect looks and why it is so neat is to actually play this game (or to play virtually every game in existence as this feature is very common). A quick Google search for “parallax” might yield some good results for you to start out with or you can check out the video below, which prototypes the feature (pay attention to the cityscape in the background):
Now it’s worth mentioning that having multiple background layers where each layer further to the back moves slower than the one in front was implemented in The Land of Eyas like forever ago. However, this is the first time that there has been a background layer that doesn’t move at all.
If you understand what I’m talking about, then you’ll probably ask us why we -i.e., Stephen the Programmer (me), didn’t implement this a long time ago. Well, actually we did. However, it was a total disaster. (Way to go Stephen.)
Why would something so simple as rendering a background image that never moves off the screen seem to be as disastrous as it was? Well, the two options for implementing this feature were 1) stretch the background image so that it would always fit the display dimensions, which would result with different horizontal and vertical stretching based on the display’s aspect ratio or 2) do not stretch the background image based on aspect ratio in order to get a consistent look as far as the stretching is concerned but risk the boundaries of the background layer being visible.
An example of how the latter method can be problematic is if a background image is created that is 1920×1080 and the operator is using a display with a resolution set to 1920×1200. (This game uses the resolution set in the operating system.) Then the background would appear to have a 60 pixel gap from the top and bottom of the screen, even though other objects in the game can potentially be rendered in those areas. If we detect this and stretch the background image so that its dimensions are 2134×1200 (to mostly maintain the aspect ratio of the original background image), then the background wouldn’t align with the foreground objects consistently on different platforms. This is similar to the problem that we have with the first approach.
However, the latter approach was mostly a problem because until recently The Land of Eyas was allowing any resolution to be used for displaying the game. This changed slightly as of a few months ago. We finally made the decision that if the display exceeds either a width of 1920 or a height of 1080 that a letterboxing approach (those black horizontal and vertical bars that you sometimes see when watching a DVD) would be used. The specific resolution of 1920×1080 was chosen so that the game would be optimized for platforms like the Xbox and Playstation consoles.
So as a result of making the maximum resolution 1920×1080, we no longer need to worry if the operator is using say a 1920×1200 display. Furthermore, if we display the background image as a 1920×1080 image, then we know that the boundaries will never be visible.
However, note that if the operators now use a 1280×720 display, then this means that they will not be able to see the entire background image because the Land of Eyas ensures that each sprite in the game will always occupy the same amount of pixel real estate regardless of the display’s dimensions. This method was chosen so that images won’t appear decimated on lower resolution displays. The obvious side-effect is that operators who play on displays with resolutions lower than 1920×1080 are at a disadvantage because they are unable to view as much of the map. However, the game is currently being tested at 1280×720 resolutions in order to ensure that it is just as playable as if it is being played with a 1920×1080 or above resolution. Furthermore, this approach will ensure that the background alignment is always consistent regardless of the screen resolution that is used.
Another problem that we ran into in the past is that our initial implementations appeared to be giving us headache and motion-sickness inducing backgrounds. This problem was probably mostly attributed to the images that we were using as tests for our backgrounds though. Using very detailed, high contrasting, or very loud colored backgrounds can draw attention away from the foreground while the operator is playing and cause these headaches or motion-sickness-like symptoms. Another problem is that this can distract the operators from the hazards in the foreground layers, which is precisely what the operators are supposed to be paying attention to, which fundamentally has a negative impact on the gaming experience.
Anyway, long story short, the latest implementation for this game seems to be working extraordinarily well without any of these really bad issues. Furthermore, as a result of having this new feature implemented properly it is now almost as if we have a new layer to play with. We actually still have the same number of layers as before. However, we just made one of our layers way cooler! By having a background layer where the image doesn’t pan, you are providing a way to display gorgeous high resolution imagery that can literally turn the world that you are creating in your game into a seemingly infinite universe.