​Joel J Games – Projects Update


I’ve been a little quiet since the start of the new year and haven’t shown much from Fall from Space recently, partly to avoid spoilers (there’s some cool stuff I haven’t shown yet) and also due to a *side project* I’ve been working on. I’ll be back on Fall from Space, don’t worry (you were… right??).


‘New’ project

So I’ve been working on Fall from Space for about two years now but porting my very first game (a homage to games like Wonderboy and Kirby) Tales of Monsterland, to the latest version of GB Studio is something I’d always wanted to, if/when I could work it out. A few things bugged me, some due to the version of GBS in 2021 needed a lot of hacking to get standard platform game features working, and some due to the inexperience and quite frankly bizarre coding decisions of the developer. The tooling improvements since 2021 have been huge and while I wasn’t sure I would be able to port it across to the latest version of GBS, a great opportunity came up around Christmas (more details to follow) that made me take another look to see if I could.

It was a tricky process, a lot more involved than I expected, where pretty much everything things needed rebuilding (I might do a more detailed dev log, ‘Tales of GBS v2>3 Porting’ if it’d be of help to anyone else), but I’m pleased to say that Monsterland is alive and kicking!

 

Tales of Monsterland DX

Anyway, this started off as a minor list of tweaks and fixes of things that bugged me or tripped up other players.

Some monsters didn’t always show in scenes leaving them feeling a little sparse. There wasn’t a ton of utility for the forms. The soundtrack wasn’t bespoke and some players weren’t aware what was water, partly due to during the course of the project having to drop an animated water sprite due to sprite/tile constraints, but I really wanted to fix this pain point. 

These initial fixes grew somewhat, into a full DX version where I dabbled in the previously unspeakable, colour. (I figured blue water, with tile swapped waterfalls would sort out the water recognition issue).

I also commissioned an all new OST from the super talented Incognito/June Wilson (the original used community assets that while I’m very fond of, weren’t bespoke to the game).

So what’s changed? A summary –

  • New original chip tune OST of around 11–12 tracks by Incognito
  • Additional connecting scenes, updated tiles and environment effects
  • More and bigger monsters! (it is Monsterland after all)
  • New coin placements, new collectable 'pages'
  • Unlockable classic views/palettes (Low contrast Gameboy DMG green, Gameboy Pocket B&W)
  • More animations, jump state, new walk cycles etc
  • Improved sound effects (no more beeps and crashes)
  • Moving platforms & proper slopes/diagonals
  • Two save game slots
  • Tons of bug fixes, tweaks and balancing

  

What’s next

Having a project with the structure already set and on a smaller scope, I’ve been able to experiment, learnt a few things and it’s triggered ideas that I honestly can’t wait to implement into Fall from Space to make it better throughout. 

I’ll be promoting ToM DX, have some exciting things to reveal with regards to that and will be getting stuck back into developing Fall from Space and provide more updates on this again.

I also pushed a website live, like a proper Games Studio – www.joeljgames.co.uk.

Anyway, thanks for reading this far!

 Joel

 

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Comments

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(+1)

you did a great job on TOM DX

Thanks Max! (and for the great feedback that helped me with the original)