A Finnish Fable

A Finnish Fable

What is A Finnish Fable?

A Finnish Fable is a cheery platformer set in Iron Age Finland. Run, jump, and arrow-climb through levels while avoiding squirrels and moose(meese?). Enjoy cloudberries to replenish your health and listen to Finnish folk songs in the background.

Worthy Excuse

Mito's CornerPosted by Mitomon Mon, October 24, 2016 10:58AM
Wes promised to write the dev blog post today, so I'll just post about why progress on my end has been a bit slow. I mentioned my laptop had taken a vacation, but I didn't describe what actually happened. [Warning to mobile users]: Image heavy story in this post.

My laptops LCD screen decided to pop off and when I tried to put it back, nothing happened. I was left computer-less and with an old backup of data on a thumbdrive. I decided to take the thing apart to remove the battery and power cycle it to get rid of static that could potentially be causing the issue.

Laptop after taking off covers:

After the power cycling didn't work, I was extremely discouraged (the laptop covers had SO many screws on them) I basically gave up on my laptop. However, I was not going to buy a new one since I was waiting for the SurfaceBook 2 to come out in Spring 2017. I knew only the screen wasn't working, so I went out to the shed to get an old VGA monitor to hook it up to my PC. I was right, it was only an issue with the screen hardware. With the monitor, I got a newer backup of all my stuff on my flashdrive to have something to work off when I wasn't at home.

Laptop with monitor:
I then realized I should go ahead and get used to my laptops new life as a desktop and modified my work space accordingly.

Laptop in Desktop Mode

After adding Styrofoam to avoid scratching screen:

After around a week of working like this (no mobility whatsoever when I was used to going everywhere with my laptop), I got frustrated and decided to tackle the issue once again. As it turns out, the issue was in a socket on the screen : it had been bent and broken, removing the cable that supplied the screen from the computer itself. I got in there with a knife and some pliers and performed a very risky fix.

Here's me opening the screen:
After fixing the socket, I had no way to safely solder the pieces back together. If I had tried with the bad equipment I had, I might have actually messed up the screen irreparably. So I went with good ol' duct tape.

Here's the fix and reason of why I couldn't work for almost a week:
I then had to close up this cover:
I took out the battery again once the screen was plugged in and power cycled it to get rid of static.

Here's the result:
Since the cover had already come off and didn't want to snap back into place, I went back to my friend, duct tape, and made sure my laptop case was solid.

Here is what my laptop looks like now:
It looks pretty bad and I do get weird looks when I'm working in the library (I got one just now), but hey, it works. Anyways, that's why progress on AFF has been slow lately. This week is crunch time though since the M'Dieval game jam entry due date is coming up. Expect rapid advances in the game with a new and updated download on or before November the first.


Happy Deving,

Mitomon

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Partial Progress

Dev BlogPosted by Mitomon Mon, October 17, 2016 12:36PM
Monday again! Let's get ready for another great work week with some AFF.

Last week was a pretty busy week for the AFF team, however, we did manage to make progress. Wes was a bit busy with midterms, so he wasn't able to make any huge updates to the code. However, we were able to set up a nice framework and a graphical map-making tool. This tool greatly improves upon the text-based one used earlier and yields better and faster results.

Unfortunately, my productivity levels have also been a bit low. You see, my laptop's screen fell off, so my mobile workstation has now been turned into a desktop(I hooked up my laptop to an external monitor). I was able to record rough drafts of parts of our soundtrack though, here they are : Mitomon's Soundcloud. I was also able to Finnish(heh) all of the enemy animations except the knight walking anim. I haven't been able to work on story building or the cutscenes we'll use to tell it. I'm still not sure of what kind of art I'll go for with the cutscenes, but we'll see what I figure out.

Blog Progress: Although I try to avoid it, sometimes the Dev Blog posts can be a bit biased towards my end, so we've created sections for each one of us to post about our sides of development. You can find more technical details about the game at Wes Zone. All other things(art, music, story, the struggles of making a historically accurate game over a badly documented period of time, and some game design at Mito's Corner. Right now these places might not seem well populated, however, I will try to post twice a week on my section.

That's about it, if you have any questions or comments, let us know in the comments below or email me at contact@mitomon.com. For a quick response, I recommend writing in the comments as I only check my email weekly.


Moi Moi,
AFF Team



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Music - GOE and GOD

Mito's CornerPosted by Mitomon Mon, October 17, 2016 12:35PM
These are just a couple terms I've come up with to describe the level themes I've been making for AFF.

Note: The terms below were created by me, although this style of music probably has another name. I am a self-taught pianist, so I am not familiar with terminology relating to music.

GOE stands for Gradual Octavian Escalation. It is the gradual increase of each octave in a song. An example of this would be in my version of Ievan Polkka. The song starts off pretty low, then moves on to higher and higher notes until it reaches the end of the planned escalation (or of my keyboard). The song can be terminated there, restarted at the bottom directly, or transitioned all the way back down.

GOD stands for Gradual Octavian Deescalation. It is the gradual decrease of each octave in a song. An example of this would be in my version of Sakkijarven Polkka. The song starts off pretty high, then moves on to lower and lower notes until it reaches the end of the planned deeescalation (or of my keyboard). The song can be terminated there, restarted at the bottom directly,or transitioned all the way back up.

In both of my arrangements of the Ievan and Sakkijarven Polkkas, I also loop the songs to force them to start at every single octave in the song. In Ievan Polkka, for example, I start at the second octave, go through to the fifth, then start at the third.I then go through the fifth again, but start at the fourth the next iteration. Once I start at the fifth, I end the song and the game engine starts from the beginning. This same process is done in reverse for Sakkijarven Polkka.

Well that's about it. If you are sure there's a name for the things I went ahead and labeled myself, go ahead and post it in the comments.


Happy Deving,
Mitomon



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Hi-Fi

Mito's CornerPosted by Mitomon Mon, October 17, 2016 12:20PM
I have some spare time, so I'll go ahead and write a bit about our game's genre. If you Binged (or googled, yahoo'd) hi-fi, you'll probably get something about audio. While my definition of hi-fi does involve music, it is much more than that.

Sci-fi stands for science fiction. Similarly, hi-fi stands for historical fiction. With AFF, I'm trying to revive an essential part of storytelling : ourselves. Storytelling originated as a way to recount our memories to others, often adding action and excitement for effect. Although I really love sci-fi, I believe hi-fi can be equally entertaining and possibly even more educational than sci-fi- if handled correctly. A good example of one of these games would be the Assassin's Creed series. These games take place during exciting spots in history, namely the French and American Revolutions.

Making a historically accurate game also comes with a set of disadvantages sci-fi writers and designers don't need to think about. As a writer, I must ensure the plot of my tale fits the setting. This can be easily done in well documented events, such as recent wars and revolutions. However, documentation of the geography, biology, and political scenario of a location are not always readily available.

Part of a culture is their music ,mainly folk songs. For sections in time where history was not well documented (looking at you Iron Age Finland), traditional songs can be a pain to find. To simply find a solo of a Finnish folk song on YouTube take hours of work. Those hours don't even include the time it takes to learn the song by ear to be able to remix it for a game. If you ever decide to work on a hi-fi game, go to that country's website, their subreddits (thanks to /r/Finland for helping me find songs), and even their Wikipedia pages. The help is there, you simply have to find it.

Now, back to the "fiction" part of hi-fi. Why take such painstaking measures to insure the accuracy of the game if you're just going to lie about something anyways? Well, the only "fiction" going on in hi-fi, would be the tale of the game itself. Purposely injecting false pieces of information in parts where it isn't necessary would be doing the players a huge disservice. It is labeled historical fiction because it probably didn't happen. It might have. Jasper could have once been a living person in Iron Age Finland that went on to save his people, but it is extremely unlikely. My goal as a hi-fi writer is to successfully embed my work of fiction into history so well, it is as believable as the history itself.

History fiction is a pain with the details but a pleasure to work with. I have not only had fun making a game, but I have learned about another awesome culture in the process. A 2-in-1 deal? I'll take it any day.


Happy Deving,
Mitomon



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AFF Status

Dev BlogPosted by Mitomon Mon, October 10, 2016 01:03PM
Time for another blog post. I'll start off with a brief description on our progress. Since last Monday's much anticipated(by us at least) demo release, the AFF team has been hard at work polishing and adding new game mechanics. Also, in an attempt to spread the word, we've entered our baby AFF into the M'Dieval game jam on itch.io.

In regard to the aforementioned features, the most prominent addition to AFF has been improved art. I've added a new enemy character with walking and attacking animations. This small critter may look adorable when scampering around the castle, but be warned, it will run like a devil after you if you are spotted. Fortunately for you, the current version of this enemy has as much life as a crab; it's easy to kill. Meanwhile, Wes, AKA shogun656, added start and end screens, giving the game a more professional look.

This weekend, my laptop was on vacation, so I worked off of my phone. Making art on a smartphone proved to be quite frustrating, therefore, graphical art production stagnated. However, this allowed me more time to work on the audio of the game. Our current theme song, Ievan Polkka, seemed quite lonely in it's lone spot on the soundtrack, so I set out to learn and arrange another song to keep it company. So far, I've arranged versions of Sakkijarven Polkka, Vem Kan Segla, and Konevitsan Kirkonkellot. These have not been recorded digitally, put have their own spots in my musician's notepad. Sakkijarven Polkka will rival Ievan Polkka's awesomeness as a level song, while VKS and KK will make great cutscene and ending themes because of their innate sadness. While I struggled to find tutorials or sheet music for obscure Finnish songs, Wes was busy working on both the user interface elements of the game, and the gameplay and graphical appeal. He added a damage indicator in the form of a red flash on a hurt character. He also added a pushback when hit, enabling enemies to be shot into the abyss. Adding the title and death screens proved to be taxing on the code, so Wes had to write batch after batch of Java to get them to work properly.

This week, we plan on finishing animations for all of our current enemies, making a teaser video, and adding new art and audio to the game. If you haven't downloaded the demo yet, head on over to the itch.io page and get yourself a copy.

Moi Moi,
AFF Team







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Demo Release

Dev BlogPosted by Mitomon Mon, October 03, 2016 12:34PM
Happy Monday!

There's something awesome about Mondays that makes them superior to Fridays. Maybe it's the enormous potential of progress. Maybe it's because of this blog. What I know for sure, is that this Monday is a special one.

Shogun and I have finally Finnished(hehe) a playable demo of A Finnish Fable, and you can get it at https://mitomon.itch.io/a-finnish-fable. Feel free to comment or email me any questions or queries you may have.

Moi Moi,
AFF Team





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The Beginning

Dev BlogPosted by Mitomon Mon, September 26, 2016 11:36AM
In our first post ever, I'd like to start off by explaining where this game originated. A month ago, when shogun and I met on reddit, we knew we wanted to make a good game. Not only because video games are awesome, but also because we were eager to embark on a quest. We yearned to create something tangible, something useful. We started talking and found out the other's thoughts, and how remarkably similar they were. Here begins the story of A Finnish Fable.

We began by setting realistic goals. These goals encouraged us to opt for an 8-bit theme. Inspired by Super Mario's gameplay and the Legend of Zelda's overall theme, we set off to create a unique sidescroller game with a historical aspect. For about a week, we hammered out the story. We thought about setting it in Germany, or France, or China. We even considered creating a whole new dimension simply so that our story would fit. Then, I got the idea to bend our story around our world. Take a particularly exciting, but not well-recorded time, and create a plausible plot that would appeal to kids and adults alike. Thus, A Finnish Fable was born.

Now, to not drag on or spill too much before our demo release next week, I'll go on and discuss the actual game. Our main character, Jasper, begins at his lakeside house in Southeastern Finland. For the first few levels, you(Jasper) work on your daily routine of hunting. You can shoot your bow while standing and even while jumping. Practice well with your prey, for soon enough, trouble will strike. As you are on your way to town to sell your goods, you are informed of its situation. Swedish vikings have once more decided to invade the weak Finnish settlements to plunder and raid them. What's more, they have taken prisoners! As a skilled archer, you must take it upon yourself to free your countrymen and protect what is left of their villages.

Okay, I did spill quite a bit of info there. Oh well. Have some images from development.
Background Jasper Stone Brick Tile Game Map We should have a demo with our first level showcasing some of our main mechanics ready by next week. If you have any questions, feel free to email me at contact@mitomon.com .


Moi Moi,
AFF Team







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