Q1 2024 Courier Tale Dev Blog

A quarter of 2024 is already done? Wow, must be time for a Courier Tale dev blog…

The past few months have seen Courier Tale featured in some online Steam showcases. The first showcase was The Storyteller’s Festival 2024 at the end of January. It was great to be selected for this event. It’s actually run by another Australian developer called Two and a Half Studios. This was the perfect sort of showcase for Courier Tale to be part of, seeing it is a story-focused event. It was also the most successful event that Courier Tale has been part of, so I can only hope Courier Tale can be included in the Storyteller’s Festival in 2025.

The next online event Courier Tale participated in was RPG Maker Festival. Courier Tale was part of RPG Maker Festival last year as well, so it was good to be able to return to be involved in it again.

One thing I’ve been doing during these Steam showcases in the past 6 months or so has been live-streaming a video to the Steam page. This video was a demo tour where I detailed the features and influences of the game. Well, now you can watch that video more easily by checking it out on Youtube…

All this promo stuff aside, progress has definitely still been made on Courier Tale. I completed the soundtrack, so hopefully there shouldn’t any more music work to be done other than potentially some tweaks to the master. I have now been working on what I call the “tech polish” phase. There’s a lot to do to finish it off, so I’ve broken this phase into multiple stages. The first stage has been completed which included proofreading all of the dialogue. Unfortunately, this wasn’t an automated process, so it was a very manual task. The other thing completed in this stage was checking map transfers. While most of Courier Tale is a mini semi-open world structure, it is broken up into small single-screen maps, and there’s a lot of them! So making sure the player transfers to the right map and doesn’t break the game is important.

I’m now currently partway through the 2nd stage of the tech polish which has included making sure the right music and sound effects trigger when moving from one map to the next. This stage will also be a semi-playtest stage, checking collisions, graphics layers and once again double checking those map transfers are working properly.

There will be a couple more stages of tech polish after that before finally beginning Beta testing. That will truly be the major milestone once I reach it. How long will it take to get to Beta testing? How long will Beta testing take? When will the game release? I dunno. The usual “within 3-6 months” mantra comes to mind, but certainly with each tech polish stage that is completed, it starts feeling very close.

Granted I could have been a bit further along if it wasn’t for the fact I’ve also been doing some work on Studio Kraze’s next game. I hope to start proper pre-production for that in the 2nd half of 2024 once Courier Tale is released, however, there was some work I needed to do on it now. That work is now complete so I can focus fully on finishing Courier Tale for the coming months.

And speaking of months, that about covers the past few months of Courier Tale development. As always, if you want the latest Courier Tale news, make sure to follow @couriertale on your favourite social spam network, join the Studio Kraze discord and don’t forget to wishlist Courier Tale on Steam…

Q1 2024 Courier Tale Dev Blog Read More »

Courier Tale Selected For The Storyteller’s Festival 2024 On Steam 29 Jan – 4 Feb…

Courier Tale has been selected to be part of The Storyteller’s Festival 2024 on Steam from 10:00am PST 29th January to 10:00am PST 4th February!

Courier Tale has always been a story-focused game, so this is a great festival to be a part of as a walkin’ n talkin’ adventure.

Check out the demo which has recently updated music, sound fx and other tweaks, and if ya digging the story, wishlist Courier Tale on Steam…

https://store.steampowered.com/sale/thestorytellersfestival2024

Courier Tale Selected For The Storyteller’s Festival 2024 On Steam 29 Jan – 4 Feb… Read More »

Q4 2023 Courier Tale Dev Blog

Another year has been and gone, so it’s time for the Q4 2023 Courier Tale Dev Blog…

This quarter’s blog is likely shorter than other ones for the simple fact that all I’ve been working on the past few months is finishing graphics. That’s ok though, because a major milestone was hit right at the end of the year. While I’m sure there will be some final tweaks before release, I think… the graphics for Courier Tale are complete!

As such I released a new screenshot. I’ve been hesitant to release new screenshots as I don’t want too many spoilers out there, and also, up until now, the graphics weren’t complete. I’ll likely release more screenshots closer to release, but it’s good to get some fresh visuals out there.

During this process I noticed the way I had been capturing both screenshots and video of Courier Tale had been showing the graphics desaturated. This is due to a colour profile issue on my main monitor with the playtest mode. I’m now using another computer with a 4K monitor for capturing, that represents the colours accurately. As such I’ve updated all of the screenshots, and future trailers will also look more vibrant colour wise and in 4K. Perhaps some people might prefer the desaturated versions, but the new versions are the accurate colour palette like in my original pixel art files.

The graphics took way longer than they should. This is due to the way I choose to approach graphics for the game early on. I could have changed course at some point, but that would have meant having to essentially re-do all of the graphics, which may have taken just as long. And the end result for the players would have been the same quality wise. So I committed to the way I originally chose to do the graphics and it was a slog, that may not show in the final product, but I’m happy it’s done and I can move onto other things now.

As to what’s next? In January I’m going to work on finishing the soundtrack. I was also going to work on finishing the sound effects, but instead I’m going do sound effects during the technical polish phase. It definitely is feeling close to release, but it really probably comes down to how long the technical polish phase goes. Will that take 1 month? Will it take 6 months? Hard to say. My latest target is for a Q2 2024 release date, but then again the game always feels 3-6 months away from finishing. At least at this time, I know it’s definitely closer than it was 3 months ago.

In the meantime though, Courier Tale has been selected for an online showcase on Steam, which I’ll announce later this month. Courier Tale could also be in more showcases in the coming months. Courier Tale is also now on Bluesky, so don’t forget to follow @couriertale on your favourite social media spamming network or join the newly transitioned Studio Kraze discord. And if ya haven’t already, make sure to wishlist Courier Tale on Steam…

Q4 2023 Courier Tale Dev Blog Read More »

Q3 2023 Courier Tale Dev Blog

It’s the end of September so it’s time for the Q3 2023 Courier Tale dev blog…

I’m calling Q3 “events season”. At least here in Western Australia, it’s when the 3 main gaming focused conventions happen, and I demo-ed Courier Tale at them all.

First up in July was XR:WA 2023. This was the second time I had done this event. I was in almost the same spot as last year underneath the skeleton of a whale (it’s at the WA Museum). It was good to see some familiar faces from last year as well as new ones. There was also the the Hovergarden international indie showcase there including great games like Mars First Logistics.

Courier Tale at XR:WA 2023…

I wasn’t originally going to do the next event, Pixel Expo. At the start of the year I had an overly optimistic idea of releasing on 8th of August, which was a few days after Pixel Expo. As such I felt it best to skip that event as no doubt the few days before a release would be too hectic for a solo developer to do an event. However once it became apparent I wouldn’t be releasing in August, a last minute opportunity came up to be able to still exhibit at Pixel Expo.

As a late addition to Pixel Expo 2023, Courier Tale wasn’t in the main hall of the Perth Convention Centre…

Then in late September, it was time for the first ever WA Games Week. Courier Tale was actually featured in quite a bit of the WA Games Week promo including on the website, video trailer and Perth Games Festival poster. Courier Tale was also featured on the Yagan Square Digital Tower. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see it, but that has to be the biggest screen Courier Tale has been on.

A photo of the Yagan Square Digital Tower (by one of the WA Games Week organizers, Caitlin Lomax) in Perth and the digital tower graphic that featured Courier Tale…

WA Games Week featured a bunch of industry talks, the Level Her Up game jam for women developers, the Immerse VR/AR conference and of course finishing off with Perth Games Festival. This was the 3rd Perth Games Festival I have demo-ed Courier Tale at. My booth came with a banner which I used a new design for. People commented on that being one of the first times they had seen colour in my promo. There is a lot of grey in Courier Tale, but there is some colour as well!

Courier Tale at Perth Games Festival 2023…

But it wasn’t all just in-person events the past 3 months. Courier Tale was also featured in the Cat Awareness Sale, a digital online showcase on Steam. It was obviously a very niche showcase, but seeing Courier Tale has cats in, it was “purrfect” for the game. It also gave me a chance to share some of the cats the inspired characters in Courier Tale.

Courier Tale featured as part of the Cat Awareness Sale…
Brashen the cat is one of the cats that inspired characters in Courier Tale…

During this time, another thing that slowed down progress on Courier Tale was that I started working on my next game prototype. Things have been going well for that prototype so far, up until the news about Unity’s new pricing structure came out a few weeks ago. I had been prototyping the new game in Unity, and the change of pricing prompted me to try out other engines like Godot and Unreal last week. I may still end up using Unity for my next game, but I’ll keep testing other engines until I see what’s best for me and the game. Unlike Courier Tale where I started live streaming development straight away, I’ll probably keep my next project under wraps until the right time. I would like to start working on the next game as soon as Courier Tale is released (while still supporting Courier Tale for the months that follow).

So yeah it’s been a slow quarter for Courier Tale work because of all these other things. The Steam demo was updated to the same version being shown at this year’s conventions which includes things like the new menus and title screen. The focus continues to be finishing off the graphics for Courier Tale. It’s not done yet, but I’m getting close. After graphics are finished I’ll be moving on to sound effects and finalizing the soundtrack. I would like to have both the graphics and sound finished before the end of the year, but hopefully some of the final technical stuff too.

September 10 marked 3 years since I started developing Courier Tale. It should be a milestone, but I feel like such a long time in development doesn’t feel like something to celebrate. Sure a lot of games these days take 5 years to make, some even 10 years. And it hasn’t been 3 years full time, more so closer to 1.5 – 2 years full time. But still, it seems like a big chunk of time for what felt at first to be a small game.

That said, we’re on the homestretch here. After missing the August release, I was hoping for a Q4 release instead, but if I’m realistic about it, it is more likely to be a Q1 2024 release. That’s a shame as I had hoped to release it in 2023, but don’t want to rush it right at the end. With all the events for the year out of the way, it’s heads down finishing Courier Tale now. I may be more quiet over the coming months as I focus on getting the game done, but in the meantime don’t forget to follow @couriertale on your favourite social media spamming network and if ya haven’t already, make sure to wishlist Courier Tale on Steam…

Q3 2023 Courier Tale Dev Blog Read More »

Courier Tale At Perth Games Festival 2023 As Part Of WA Games Week | 23 Sep 2023

Courier Tale returns to Perth Games Festival for a 3rd round! I’ve probably said this before, but this will likely be the last event before the release of Courier Tale (though there’s still much work to be done).

Perth Games Festival is a bit different this year. It’s happening at the Esplanade Hotel in Fremantle. Tickets are $10, kids are free. It goes down on Saturday 23 September 2023 from 10am – 4pm. Not only can you check out Courier Tale, but there will also be a heap of Western Australian video games, tabletop games and VR experiences to check out.

It is part of the first ever WA Games week which runs from 17-23 September and features the Level Her Up game jam, industry talks, Immerse Connect Conference, and of course Perth Games Festival. You might even find Courier Tale featured on the WA Games Week website and promo video…

For more info or to buy tickets go to www.wagamesweek.com or check out the Perth Games Festival facebook event

Courier Tale At Perth Games Festival 2023 As Part Of WA Games Week | 23 Sep 2023 Read More »

Courier Tale Is Part Of The Cat Awareness Sale On Steam Right Meow Til 14 Aug…

Courier Tale is being featured as part of the Cat Awareness Feline Sale on Steam from 8 August to 14 August 2023!

Are you aware there are cats in Courier Tale?

Make sure to follow @couriertale on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram as I share some of the cats that inspired Courier Tale characters later this week.

Check out the recently updated demo and wishlist Courier Tale right meow…

https://store.steampowered.com/developer/devcats/sale/catawarenesssale

Courier Tale Is Part Of The Cat Awareness Sale On Steam Right Meow Til 14 Aug… Read More »

Courier Tale Is At Level 2 Of Pixel Expo This Weekend | 5 – 6 August 2023

Courier Tale will return to Pixel Expo this weekend on the 5 & 6 of August, 9:00am – 5pm each day. You will find the Courier Tale demo in the Lets Make Games room on the 2nd floor…

Pixel Expo is an animation and gaming convention featuring cosplay, traders, gaming and more. It is a ticketed event and it sold out last year, so if you’re planning to head there, best to pre-book your tickets.

For more info go to www.pixelexpo.org.au or check out the facebook event.

Courier Tale Is At Level 2 Of Pixel Expo This Weekend | 5 – 6 August 2023 Read More »

Courier Tale Returns To XR:WA This Weekend | 22 – 23 July 2023

This Saturday and Sunday 22 and 23 of July will see Courier Tale return to demo at the WA Museum Boola Bardip as part of XR:WA 2023. The event is free and from 10:30am – 5:00pm each day you’ll be able to of course check out the Courier Tale demo as well as a bunch of other Western Australian developed games and VR/AR experiences. There will also be an international games showcase by Hovergarden as well as workshops and panels.

For more info go to https://xrwa.com.au/ or check out the facebook event.

Courier Tale at XR:WA 2022 last year…

Courier Tale Returns To XR:WA This Weekend | 22 – 23 July 2023 Read More »

Q2 2023 Courier Tale Dev Blog

2023 has been 50% completed, so it’s time for the Q2 2023 Courier Tale Dev Blog…

Since the last blog the new in-game menu has been finished. There was various iterations, but the one I settled on both feels stable and also matches the visual style of Courier Tale. The new menu looks like a mobile phone which seems suitable for a game about a gig economy courier. This new menu has also introduced a new sub-menu which shows what collector cards you’ve collected. I’ve had people say the demo doesn’t feature any collectables, but the demo does have one collector card in it.

Once the new UI was finished, it was onto graphics polishing. This maybe unsurprisingly has been a slow process. I’m hoping the work I’m doing right now is the final versions of things. While the demo is pretty representative of the final graphics, when the full game went alpha last year, there was actually quite a bit of placeholder graphics in it that I knew I was going to have to update later on. The graphics as of writing is not finished yet, but I’m hoping I’m not too far off finishing the visuals.

Speaking of visuals, if you follow @couriertale on social media, you may have noticed the pixel art tribute series I’ve been doing roughly monthly over the past year. These have been tributes to things that have influenced Courier Tale, or are similar, or just things I like. They’ve been done up in Courier Tale art style. The last one was in May, and that will likely be the last one as I focus on finishing the game. The good news though is you can now purchase Netflix approved merch of my Stranger Things design from Redbubble https://www.redbubble.com/shop/ap/140088776 . You can of course also purchase Courier Tale merch from the merch tab on this website.

Earlier this year I said it was unlikely I’d be showcasing Courier Tale at any more events before launch, but things change and Q3 could possibly see Courier Tale part of a few events, both physical and digital events. Once confirmed these events will be announced here on this website, on social media, email list and the Steam page, so keep an eye out. In the lead-up to the next upcoming event, the demo on Steam will likely be updated with the latest UI and graphics updates. This won’t radically change how the demo plays, so if you’ve already played the demo, there’s no need to again.

So why will Courier Tale be at events prior to launch? I started off today’s blog talking about percentages and there’s an old saying that the last 10% of the work takes 90% of the time. Well that’s certainly seeming somewhat true. Earlier in the year I was aiming for an unannounced August release date, but that won’t be happening. So now Courier Tale is targeting a Q4 2023 release. Hopefully by the time of the next blog in October, I might have a release date to announce.

Until then, I have a bunch more graphics, sound and testing to do, so while I do that, don’t forget to follow @couriertale on your favourite social media spamming network and if ya haven’t already, make sure to wishlist Courier Tale on Steam…

Q2 2023 Courier Tale Dev Blog Read More »