Welcome to the November 2020 Coral Island development update! Please check out our Steam page to wishlist the game and find out more: swg.gg/corstm Character Reveals Meet Bree, Jim, Randy, Emily, Luke (left to right)! Bree. This model-turned-housewife spends her days doing quality control for her vineyard. She is also an excellent homemaker who loves cooking gourmet meals and throwing parties. With a little bit of light detective work, Bree should be in her late 40s, though she's never directly confirmed this. To this day, it remains a mystery. Jim. As a retired fisherman, he used to supply fish and seafood to local establishments. His son Theo inherited his boat and now fishes, something Jim is indifferent towards. With plenty of time on his hand, he spends the day making killer smoke salmon and helps run the Beach Shack. Randy. As a full-time elementary teacher, Randy's remarkable ability to explain complex ideas in a very simple and easy-to-understand manner comes in handy. When he isn’t at school, he can be found at the Vineyard enjoying a glass of wine with his wife, Ling, or reading at the Library. Emily. She runs the hair salon with Erika and lives on the second floor of the General Store, with her husband, Sam. The couple has been wanting to start a family since getting married, however have been unsuccessful. Emily has a heart for vintage items and thinks mushrooms are disgusting. Luke. Coming from old-money, this bachelor lives with his parents and dog, Taco, in the manor behind the vineyard; a family business that he feels pressured to take over. Not a fan of the silver spoon, Luke runs Socket Electronics in his spare time in an attempt to create a name for himself, separate from his family legacy. The Lineup So Far Farm Animals: Goat and Sheep For Coral Island's Cow and Pig concept art, we went with a cute and kind-looking design, so we thought it would be fun to switch it up to a dignified and brisk look for Goat. Goat. A barn-dwelling animal. They produce Goat Milk which can be turned into Goat Cheese for a premium charge. PS: extra goatee for that extra wise look. Another barn-dweller, Sheep! Sheep can be sheared for its wool every several days. Keep in mind that a bad mood slows down wool growth. Also, we decided to go with four growth stages to emphasize its design. Animation: Cow This month, we want to share Coral Island's cow animation. As shown above, Cow is idling, presumably grazing grass outdoor on a sunny day! Don't worry about leaving your farm animals outside. To retire at the end of the day, cows will walk themselves back into the barn. So, relax and go about your business! Summer Main Theme Music After several attempts to choose the right Summer vibe and countless tweaks to master it, we present you with Coral Island's main Summer music. We incorporate traditional instruments, such as Siter Jawa (from Indonesia). Let us know what you think! What's Next Next month, we will be revealing 3 more characters, some animal showcase, and music. It's also a month away from the announcement trailer! As always, your feedback is appreciated.
August 2020 Dev Update
Welcome to the August 2020 Coral Island development update! Don't forget to check out our Steam page to wishlist the game and find out more: swg.gg/corstm Character Reveals Meet Leah, Rafael, Frank and Erika (left to right)! Leah lives her bachelorette life with her father and stepmom in an old massive house that the locals call “The Mansion.” She is a self-hired, yoga instructor at the community center and takes her online presence seriously. She spends her day wandering around the island with a camera on hand. Dislikes mushrooms and eggs. Rafael, along with his older brother, Pablo, who is also an eligible bachelor, run a local blacksmith shop. As a reserved fellow, Rafael is rarely seen out at town, but on rare days that he does, he can be found at Socket Electronics or Coral Inn, visiting his cousins and niece, Valentina. Frank: He and his brother, Noah, run the tavern at the town center. Though he doesn’t live there anymore, Frank spends most of his time at the tavern, trying out new recipes. Frank is married to his high-school sweetheart, Erika, and the couple live with their 2 cats, Peanut and Butter. Erika: When she isn’t working at the salon or volunteering at school, she can be found around town, lending her ears to those in need, free of charge. She is honest and would say things as is. Perhaps a good candidate to marry if she weren't already married to Frank. Loves all sorts of jam! The Lineup So Far - Almost halfway there, before surprises! Coral Island Main Theme Song We're excited to reveal Coral Island's main theme song. Hopefully this can give you a glimpse of the adventures that await you on the island! [also a look at the title screen for Coral Island's early access launch] General Store Interior & Translucent Walls This August, we also showcase some interior work and how we deal with walls when indoors. Our pipeline is finally clear, so we are kicking interior production into high gear. [walls will disappear when you enter rooms] [Eva works at the General Store, she bakes the best cookies] [work in progress look at the general store interior, polish incoming!] Shop UI There are several shops in Coral Island, each selling something unique. We tried our best to create a shop UI that blends both style and function. Please let us know your thoughts! [this is our bug of the month, you can probably guess this characters name lol. Also a soon to be revealed character] Mining Sneak Peak What's a farming game without mining! Although the level and assets are still a work in progress, we've overcome the hardest part of mining -- building the system itself! We can't wait to show off more layouts when something more polished is here. [a look at the general feel and vibe we are going for in the mines] [we've added several animations that play depending on your point of entry down the rope] Bug Of The Month We will update this post with the bug once we have the video! Whats Next [your next batch of characters!] For September we'll be taking a look at interior customization for players house! You can also expect to see more character reveals and some animation work. As always, your feedback is appreciated. Thanks for reading, Stairway Team
May 2020 Dev Update
Welcome to another monthly development update! Coral Island Key Art We’re very excited to share Coral Island’s key art and cover. We'll be updating various social channels with it, so please don't be surprised when you see it. Please let us know what you think!
Meet More Characters Meet Lily, Scott, Joko and Dinda (left to right). Here is a little bit about them: Lily is an eligible marriage character. Despite having a well-paid remote job, Lily still lives at home with her dad and brother. Usually, she spends her days working at home and would visit the lake or the library on the weekend. Loves bonsai. Scott is an eligible marriage character, and is a city boy at heart. Always up for fun and is never a bore. He found his passion for artifacts and has dedicated his life to it. Joko is a local carpenter who lives in Hillside. He spends a lot of his time after work teaching his son, Archie, skills such as fishing or pumpkin carving near the forest. Dinda is also a carpenter. Other than carpentry, Dinda tends to her herb garden, cooks, and busies herself with community activities such as yoga on Saturday. Tile Visual Guide By default, the tile visual guide will be enabled for gameplay. We've found that it really helps players keep track of which tile they are actively interacting with. However options are a good thing, so you'll be able to disable this for a more minimalist experience. [having the tile guide really helps!] Floaties Drop System Gathering resources is key to progressing in the game -- for example, you can craft items and build new farm buildings with them. Debris now have a chance of dropping resources when you clear them. [we also reduced the animation time for debris to disappear] Holding Item System We've developed a holding system that contextually decides whether to hold items up top or in front of the player depending on its size. Believe us, the egg looked real silly up top! [we added the puff for 'up top' items to make it appear more seamless -- did it work?] Steam Page Coming Soon A sneak peak at the work in progress steam page! [this one image represents our biggest dreams] Boring... But Important Things There is a lot of work being put behind the scenes to make the game, well, a game. One example of this are the NPC schedules. We want the characters in Coral Island to feel more alive than static. Having daily routines that change depending on season, weather and even what the player accomplishes helps sell this! [Each file above represents a unique daily routine that Mayor Connor has, depending on in-game conditions... imagine something similar for all NPC's!] Bug Of The Month There are no words... [well, actually, we could be looking at our first enemy, the rock?!] Whats Next We really apologize (again) for not providing an updated video of farming this month. The truth is, we think it would be a better idea to post the new video alongside the Steam wish list announcement -- which is happening at the end of next month.
Alongside the Steam wish list announcement, we'll also be revealing the default farmer models and the games UI. As always, you can also expect to meet another batch of characters, so stay tuned! Thanks for reading, Stairway Team -------------------------------------------- Stay up to date by subscribing below. If you prefer something more intimate, you can connect with us directly on Twitter (Stairway Games // Coral Island), or join our Discord server.
March 2020 Dev Update
Welcome to our first monthly development update! This post is particularly special because we are finally showing in-game footage of Coral Island. Please keep in mind that everything is a work in progress -- many assets are still placeholder, and lack the final polish the released game will have. All that being said, we hope this gives a solid look into the direction we are taking the game. Here is a short video to kick things off, showing some debris interaction gameplay. We will post another video, with a much more in depth look next month. Your Farm Coral Island is set on a tropical island, and this is the plot of land that you’ve purchased. It comes with a farmhouse of your choosing. You'll have three styles to select from! (Your farmhouse, partial view of your farm land and the initial concept art) Pesky Debris Clear debris to start farming. We use alembic animations to provide tactile feedback for your tools. These animations store complex data while being relatively light weight to run! Custom Characters and In-game Camera Here is a glimpse of the characters you’ll be able to create using the character creator. We are still iterating on the design language of the models, and hope to show you the improvements we've made in future updates. Also attached is a look at the min and max zoom range of the in-game camera. Carrier Birds On Coral Island, most mail is delivered by carrier birds. You’ll start with a trusty pigeon, and will have the option of acquiring and unlocking other birds as you progress through the game. Current Game Performance We have two primary rigs for performance testing that captures a large range of compute power. The results below is from early, unoptimized code and shaders. We’re excited about where performance is currently at! GTX 1050 TI, Ryzen 1700x @ 1080p is averaging 55-60 fps High settings, and 100% resolution scale GTX 2080 TI, i9 9900k @ 4k is averaging 110-150 fps Epic settings, and 100% resolution scale Next Update
We are working hard on our smart tile and grass system, in addition to other exciting things, for the next development update. We'll also be showing a deeper look at the core farming aspect of the game.
Thanks for reading, Stairway Team -------------------------------------------- Stay up to date with by subscribing below. If you prefer something more intimate, you can connect with us directly on Twitter (Stairway Games // Coral Island), or join our Discord channel.
October 2020 Dev Update
Welcome to the October 2020 Coral Island development update! Please check out our Steam page to wishlist the game and find out more: swg.gg/corstm Character Reveals Meet Sam, Ben, Ling, Alice (left to right)! As you may have noticed, we changed the reveal for this month. So, there is a slight change in the silhouette from last month’s blog to the ones revealed. Sam. He owns the general store and lives on the second floor with his wife. Sam usually spends his day off relaxing at home, enjoying home-cooked meals, and working on puzzles. On the rare occasion that he goes out, he visits the Beach Shack to catch up with his friends over chess. Ben is a nomad who lives in a caravan stationed in the forest. If you knock on his window on the weekend, he might have some random things to sell -- be it items he finds scavenging around the island or things that he doesn’t want anymore. Ben spends his money attending the Fall music festivals and green tea. Ling. She spends her day working as a marine biologist at Coral Island laboratory. During time off, she knits cold weather accessories, beanies, scarves, etc. She has dedicated her life to study coral reefs, and how to make them more resistant to rising ocean temperatures. Alice: A bachelorette. Alongside her twin sister Suki, they own, run, and live by the beach in Coral Inn. Running a business is hard, and running it with your sister is harder. Alice spends her days working at the inn, and her free time hanging out with friends in town. Loves minced jackfruit pies. The Lineup So Far Beach Environment Showcase Coral Island has a white sand beach along its coastline. You'll come across various wildlife and scavenge for items that only appear here. Islanders go here to fish, and on the weekends, spend time with family playing volleyball. [Take a peek at Coral Island’s coastline... And a cute little crab!] Ranching This month, we've decided to show off ranching! Showcased here are level 1 coops. Small and cozy, they occupy 7x4 tiles. Before farm buildings are ready for use, they go through a construction phase. To keep ranch animals happy, you have to feed them every day. If you forget to feed animals, it effects their mood. An upset Chicken won't produce any eggs. No fodder, no egg! [PS: The coop interior is a work in progress. Also us before and after coffee] Ranch animals have an indicator to let you know whether they can be petted, sheared, or milked. The Heart emote will disappear once a Ranch Animal is petted.
Imagine having 5 cows and 10 chickens out in the field and not being able to keep track of which ones you've already petted? We think this might help. Ranching in action! Farm Animal: Cow We’ve shared Pig and Chicken back in April (shown animated in July) and now, it’s time to reveal a chonkier, barn-dwelling animal, Cow. [Brown Cow vs. Regular Cow] Coral Island's Cow comes with four different horn designs. The design will be randomly selected when you purchase Cow from the Ranch. We think the diverse horn will give our Cow more identity. When you welcome an adult cow onto your farm, they will come with one of four horn designs. We hope these horns will give your cows more identity, and make them more personable. Once Cow is an adult, it can get pregnant and give birth to Baby Cow. During the pregnancy, Cow will stop producing milk. Keep in mind that Baby Cow can not produce milk until they mature. NPC Activity Animation In addition to having different personalities, each islander in Coral Island also has their own hobbies and professions. Shown below is Theo, a daytime fisherman and an amateur entertainer by night. A look at how Theo spends his weekends, making a quick buck performing live at the Tavern. Bug of The Month Theo makes it to the bug of the month! Is it a bug or mad guitar skills? Twitter seems to think the latter, but we will let you decide on that. What's Next: Over the next 2 months, we are going to have less content to share on the blog. The reason being that the team needs to focus on delivering the announcement trailer, planned for January 2021.
Instead, we will be doing mini updates with character reveals, music, animations and animals. The Diving blog post has been moved to the end of January 2021, to coincide with the trailer release. This means any update until then won't include game features. As always, your feedback is appreciated. Thanks for reading, Stairway Team
July 2020 Dev Update
Welcome to July’s 2020 development update! Don't forget to check out our Steam page to wishlist the game and find out more: swg.gg/corstm Character Reveals Meet Surya, Eva, Zoe, Anne and Paul (left to right). Here is a little bit about them: Surya, an eligible marriage candidate, is a fresh marine biologist graduate who is currently doing a fellowship in Coral Island. Like you, he is also new to the island! Loves Lodeh dish. Eva is a bachelorette. She is a happy-go-lucky baker who works at the general store. She enjoys talking to the islanders, be it local, new, visitors, everybody! And is good friends with a lot of them. According to the islanders, Eva is always a delight to talk to-- a positive ray of sunshine. A fan of red velvet cakes and cookies. Zoe is a wild-life enthusiast, just like her parents. Zoe goes to school on the weekdays and spends her weekend following her dad around. She enjoys a game of volleyball, bird watching, and winters. Anne makes a living by filming wildlife documentaries around Coral island. On the weekend, she can be found at the beach, enjoying the weather and sharpening her volleyball skills. She likes carrots and hummus combo for snacks and a cup of green tea to start the day. Paul is a dad, husband and wildlife enthusiast. Along with his wife, Anne, the couple spends their days capturing wildlife footage around the island. He would leap out of his bed the second he is needed to save animals, without hesitation. Big heart, likes hummus. The Lineup So Far - Moving forward, we will add newly revealed NPC's to this lineup. We hope this makes it a little easier to keep track of everyone you’ll meet in Coral Island. Note: we’re not even halfway there, plenty more to unveil! Fishing Showcase Coral Island features a robust fishing system. You’ll be able to catch fish in rivers, lakes and in the ocean. As you clear the island of pollution, you’ll unlock more species to catch, and perhaps, cross lines with something legendary. [fishing is a great past time] Animal Animations This July, we also showcase some of the animations your farm animals will play. We have a mix of idle and 'rare' animations for you to check out: [chicken is always full of surprises] [d'awwwwwww] [one day the tail shall be caught!] Conversation UI We are really excited to showcase the conversation UI! [hey look, its city boi Scott] There are a ton of personalities to meet, so we want to make sure they look their best! After some experimentation, we feel that showing ¾ of the NPC portrait looks right. Displaying up to 3 lines of dialogue per box also feels good to read. What do you think? Rainy and Windy Days in Coral Island It’s not always sunny in Coral Island -- today we showcase what a windy day looks like, and how the environment changes when it rains. [rainy days are best days] [whoooooooosh] Somewhere in Town Nestled in Starlet Town is a temple -- it is the only one of its kind that is fully intact. Bug Of The Month One does not simply fish in the river. [apparently, when it rains in Coral Island, you can fish chicken out of the river] Whats Next [we swapped July and August character reveals] Next month we'll be revealing Coral Island's main theme song! You can also expect to see more character reveals and a look at the interior of the general store. Last but not least, be on the lookout for mining as well! As always, your feedback is appreciated. Thanks for reading, Stairway Team
April 2020 Dev Update
Welcome to our second monthly development update! There’s quite a lot to share, so we’ll get right to it. Meet Some Islanders Characters are truly at the heart of Coral Island, and we’re thrilled to have David Lojaya work with us as Lead Character Designer to bring them all to life. Meet Yuri, Noah, Millie and our Mayor Connor (left to right). Here is a little bit about each of them: Yuri is an eligible marriage character. When she is not busy keeping the islanders healthy, she can be spotted hanging out or playing chess at the beach shack; She also likes tattoos, pastel hair, and playing pool. Noah is an eligible marriage character. An obvious fan of consistency, Noah was born, raised and settled in Coral Island-- with a brief departure to Pokyo for university years; Now back in town, he spends his days keeping the local tavern running, in flat colored khakis. Millie owns the house in Garden Lane and rents one of the rooms out to Yuri. She works at the Library and likes to spend her free time bird watching. Mayor Connor used to run his own general store before deciding to run for office many moons ago. He loves Coral Island and knows all the islanders. To get a more in-depth look and find out more, follow us on Twitter, or join our Discord server (for exclusive info). Expressions and in-game models abound. Content will be dropped on a weekly basis! Farm House Interior It might not be much, but this house provides a solid foundation for your new life in Coral Island. Customize the interior with unique decorations, change the colors and styles of the floor and wall -- everything you need to find the perfect combination. First Look at Crops What’s a farming game without crops to plant! Coral Island features a ton of plantable’s to keep you busy throughout the seasons. You’ll also come across unique fruits and vegetables that can only be found and grown on a tropical island. Here are some staple crops to checkout: [Strawberry & Potato] [Carrot & Starfruit] (yes, that is what a starfruit really looks like!) [Concept art phase] Farm Animals Sneak Peek Ranching and nurturing animals is a big part of the Coral Island experience. Today we would like to show you an early work in progress look at what the chicken and pig might look like. We’d appreciate feedback if you have them! [Model phase] [Concept art phase] Lighting System, The Day & Night Cycle Coral island features a day and night cycle. Your day start at 6:00AM, and though inadvisable, you may pass out at 3:00AM if you stay up that late. Lighting is dynamic and real-time in Coral Island. This allows for some interesting and soothing scenes: We want to thank BlackSquid Production for helping us with the custom lighting development! Smart Tile System We use the term smart because each tilled soil you make on your farmland is contextually aware of their surroundings. This creates some fun visual feedback as you work on your farm. Bonus: it is also an opportunity to create cool designs! [did you know, there are 16 different textures we use to make this happen] Farm Layout Improvements We’ve also worked on improving the farm layout. Now, the farm area kind of resembles our studio logo -- and it happens to function really well for gameplay to boot -- imagine that! Can you spot it? [lots of new things to spot... and secrets?] Grid & Tile Editor Overlay (Technical) Grids and tiles govern many gameplay elements in Coral Island, but the game is not created in a tile-like manner because of our loose 3D art. To avoid limiting our artist’s creativity, yet be mindful and stay aware of where tiles live and intersect, we created an in-house grid overlay system that is directly accessible in the game engine. The 2D grid itself and all the tiles are drawn in the world space with projecting Z coordinate to the surface. Each selected tile is then saved as 2D index in a data table, from where they can be used by the gameplay systems. Bug Of The Month
We are starting a new tradition here at SWAG. We’ll be sure to include our favorite game bug in each future update for your viewing pleasure: [we call this one ‘home run’] Whats Next Because we missed the farming deep dive, that will now happen next month -- we appreciate your patience! Expect to see more crops and perhaps a glimpse of areas outside the farm. Hopefully there are a few surprises as well!
Lastly, here is a tease of next months character reveals: Developer Interviews
We've started conducting developer interviews to share a little bit more about each member and how they work. Learn more at the links below: Damas Nawanda Thanks for reading, Stairway Team -------------------------------------------- Stay up to date by subscribing below. If you prefer something more intimate, you can connect with us directly on Twitter (Stairway Games // Coral Island), or join our Discord server.
Greetings from SWAG!
Stairway Games (SWAG) is an Indonesian based indie game dev studio founded in March 2019. The studio resides in the remote region of Yogyakarta, nestled between historic Buddhist and Hindu temples. Our team currently consists of 24 passionate talents. This includes a blend of both permanent crew members and remote collaborators, operating across several time zones and disciplines. Soma and I founded SWAG with three main goals in mind: 1. Cultivate a studio culture that is in service of creating polished games 2. Treat our fellow crew as human beings, which means a good work life balance and good pay 3. Help drive growth for the game development scene in Indonesia Developing a game is no small feat, and several members of our team actually had little to no experience with Unreal Engine when we first started out. It’s easy to get overwhelmed thinking about the journey towards the end goal, when what matters most is the resilience to keep at it. The philosophy behind our studio name and logo is just that, the importance of pressing ‘continue’ - analogous to taking one step at a time towards our current goal, Coral Island. Starting this month (March 31st), we will be using our website to post monthly development updates of Coral Island. Our dev updates will be posted on the last day of the month, and recap all the hard work (success and failures) we accomplish. Since we intend to launch Coral Island as an early access title, we want to establish transparency early on and internally adapt to this new working rhythm. Thanks for reading -Jeremy -------------------------------------------- Stay up to date with by subscribing below. If you prefer something more intimate, you can connect with us directly on Twitter (Stairway Games // Coral Island), or join our Discord channel.
September 2020 Dev Update
Welcome to the September 2020 Coral Island development update! If you haven't already, do check out our Steam page to wishlist the game and find out more: swg.gg/corstm Character Reveals Meet Nina, Kenny, Pablo, Betty, Suki (left to right). Nina. This bachelorette technically doesn't live in Coral Island anymore, but still visits her vacation home at the beach, from time to time. Aside from wild rumors around town, she's never talked about her abrupt departure, so it remains a mystery until now. A close friend with Suki. Kenny, a part-time rancher, and full-time bachelor. He grew up in Coral Island and has fostered close relationships with other islanders-- be it people, animals, trees, spirits from the beyond-- all of them. Besides making friends, he loves having lunch outdoors, playing the flute, and cold kombucha Pablo: He and his brother, Rafael, are both blacksmith and bachelors. When Pablo isn’t smelting ores, he can be found around town, lending hands to the townfolks, cleaning up the graveyard, or tossing anecdotes at the Tavern. Hates beaches—Dislikes sands in his shoes. Betty. Back in the day, Betty used to run the Tavern with her late husband, Frank Sr.. Now, she spends her retirement days going around town re-filling bird feeders, educating kids about coral reefs, and baking patisseries. Suki is recently divorced and, according to her nightstand, currently “finding love from within,” and learning “how to expand love.” Focusing on herself, she drowns herself in work, exercise, and building a healthy co-parenting relationship with her ex. The Lineup So Far - We are officially over halfway through our character reveals! Tile Menu Animations Very excited to show more of the title menu. We've added several more animations. You can also check out styling for the options, new game and load game sections. [main screen] [options section] [load game section] [new game section] Interior Decoration System WIP We've been hard at work implementing the logic of the interior decor system. It is now fully functional! Next is designing the UI, paying attention to both style and function. We'll be asking the community for feedback in Discord this coming month. [check out those icons!] [we're still toying with the manner in which players move items] NPC Activity Animation Coral Island features a large cast of NPC's. Several of the islanders have unique professions and or responsibilities in town. We're implementing a wide range of animations that certain NPC's will play. The goal is to breathe life into these characters. Spring Main Theme Music We feel that music can help us to transport you to the shores of Coral Island. Today we are pleased to reveal the main theme song for Spring. Please let us know your thoughts! Town Center Building & House A lot of work continues to be done in populating the game world. Featured this month is the town center, where both the museum, library and communal area reside. Somewhere in town, check out the house belonging to Lily, Theo and [redacted]. Whats Next [your next batch of characters!] For October, we are not yet sure if we will reveal diving or ranching, but it will be one of those! You can also expect to see more character reveals and other areas in game. As always, your feedback is appreciated. Thanks for reading, Stairway Team
June 2020 Dev Update
Welcome to another monthly development update. Before we begin, happy Pride Month! Coral Island Is Coming to Steam We're incredibly excited to share that our Steam page has officially launched. Please follow and wishlist the game here: swg.gg/corstm
Your Next Batch of Characters Meet Theo, Macy, Dippa and Charles (left to right). Here is a little bit about them: Theo is an eligible marriage character. On the weekends, he makes a quick buck performing live at the tavern. He doesn't have what people call a “decent voice,” but he does have “soul” when he performs. Apparently, according to him, that's what's important. Day job: a fisherman. Macy is an eligible marriage character. She grew up in a neighboring island and now lives full time at the Inn. She makes a living by selling images to a visual media company, Pletty inc. She loves simple nights, taking pictures, playing video games and Stephen, her rescued lobster. Dippa usually spends their day looking for inspiration and painting around the island. They do not like night-outs, and think that those days are behind them. Charles, a town doctor, uses his free time catching up with the islanders at the tavern and going around spitting out medical advice. Has pollen allergy, dislikes flowers. Default Player Model Please join us in welcoming version 1.0 of the farmer you might play as. Later this year, we'll showcase the customization options that will be available for your farmer at launch. Let us know what you think! [your farmer will play different idle animations depending on the in-game time of day] UI Showcase The first iteration of our UI has finally made it into the game... So we finally feel comfortable showing you all a glimpse of what to expect. [text temporarily appears above icons when cycling through the inventory] [other screens to give you a glimpse of various UI elements] Improved Character Movement Animations The biggest complaint we received from the initial gameplay snippet was the lacking quality in movement animation. We've tried to improve this by adding locomotion, which blends animations together. Feedback appreciated! [start and end jogging anims are blended onto the new improved base jogging anim] [we've added sprinting into the game, and it comes with a cool stop animation] Tree Chopping & Translucency Being able to see behind a tree is really important in farming games. We've spent a lot of time developing our solution, which both feels good, and keep those FPS up. [there is no such thing as hide and seek with the trees on your farm] [Best Lumberjack Ever] Bug Of The Month MJ does a moonwalk. Chicken: "hold my beer' What's Coming Next Month Next month, stay tuned for more character reveals and a look at fishing in the game. We'll also be showcasing what both rain and windy days look like on Coral Island. As always, your feedback is appreciated. Thanks for reading, Stairway Team -------------------------------------------- Stay up to date by subscribing below. If you prefer something more intimate, you can connect with us directly on Twitter (Stairway Games // Coral Island), or join our Discord server.
SWAG Crew: Damas Nawanda, Co-Art Director
Damas has always loved drawing and was determined to have it as part of his career. Little did he know that he would become Stairway Games' Co-Art Director. Here, Damas breaks down the responsibilities and new workflow he discovered as Coral Island's Art Director. Q: What are the responsibilities of an art director? From my experience, I realized there are three primary responsibilities of an art director: define the vision or look, communicate the vision, and ensure the consistency of the direction. Q: Can you walk us through the three said responsibilities? The first responsibility is every visual aspect of the game, from the crops to the town's architecture. After many thoroughly-detailed discussions from everybody, we decided to have a “never-ending holiday full of fun activities” as the game’s theme. We explored different looks and concepts for the game that may best deliver the resulting theme. It was a bit of a blue sky approach since there was little limitation during the exploration. Let’s say that there were lots of exciting ideas for the concept *laugh*. The concept artists, Reza and I, started to produce multiple lookdev concepts that best visualize that theme. We looked for references in different games and movies that might have suitable elements in realizing that theme. This was one from the many lookdev concept explorations chosen for the game. I went with a very moody and chill vibe for this piece. It was influenced by modern Disney movies, especially for the shapes, colour and mood. To us, it seems like a game that we haven’t seen before and wanted to play. This piece is also the start of my journey as Coral Island's Art Director. Next is to see whether this direction can be implemented in Unreal. Our talented team came up with amazing solutions in realizing the vision and we were pretty excited with the result. This gave us confidence in pursuing the art direction even more. Though, unfortunately, we realized that some of the implementation done here wasn’t able to be carried into the final product due to performance issues. Some have been improved to be better than before. Overall, the direction is still heading towards that initial theme we defined. Our pipeline is pretty unique. Not all concept exploration is done in the preproduction. Our pipeline focuses on validating gameplay as soon as possible. We jumped right onto gameplay-heavy concept and assets that require quick turnaround. Because of this, the other concept exploration is done in the later production phase. The exploration is done simultaneously with the gameplay phase. One such example for us is architectural exploration.
The second responsibility is to communicate the direction of the visual properly. To do it, we needed to break down what our art direction actually is based on the lookdev and identify the right characteristics that describe it best. By breaking down the art direction, we can use it as a guide to future visual assets and designs down the line. Q: Are the characteristics used to shape the game’s “look”? Yes, that's right. The words we associated with Coral Island’s theme are “playful,” “pleasant,” and “rich”. We consider them as an art pillar to realize the art direction. For example, to inject the playfulness into the game, one of the approaches we use are using exaggerated, stylized shape language and use fruity local colours. But what does that mean exactly? How sensational should it be? We say it should be fruity, but what are ‘fruity’ tones? We try our best to explain that in the art guide by making tutorials, showing the dos and don’ts of each approach. For example, we have a tutorial that can guide artists to pop more of the large and medium shapes at a certain proportion while keeping a rounded and wonky line. There are also diagrams, sketches, and reference pictures to help the artists get a more concrete idea of how everything should be.
We need to deliver the visual we identified in such a way that each team member will understand it. I usually compiled them as an art guide. The art guide is the instruction book for different visual aspects of the game. I poured the vision I have in my head into writing and drawings using the team’s “language.” After all, the art guide was made to help not only concept artists but also 3D modellers, level artists, and other visual roles. Q: What about the last responsibility of an art director? The third responsibility is to maintain consistency of the direction. The most common way to do this is to give feedback on the team’s work. Feedback can be done by providing notes or paintovers or solving the problem together at their desks. It would be helpful for both the art director who gives feedback and the artists who create the assets to have a quality checklist. The checklist will allow the evaluator to be stern with the feedback and give a quick reference that can be used as a solution and example. For the artist, this would help them produce more consistent result most of the time, as the checklist is the reference for the design's quality. For some cases, problems we encounter may be more challenging than expected. It may include for us learning their tools just for a better understanding and to speak in the same technical language. But sometimes, when a communal headache arises, stepping back and having coffee together to bounce ideas and boost our energy is the correct approach. Q: What kind of workflow and management skills did you develop as you work on the game? Personally, it was learning to switch between the two mindsets, the art director and the concept artist mindsets. It is quite challenging for me because making concept art is best done in a focused state of mind, and giving feedback throughout the day could break me out of it. My strategy is to have a good routine. Start the day as a concept artist, use the morning energy to focus on creating concepts while I still have it, then later in the day switch to art director mindset to give feedback for the team so they can work on it first thing in the morning. Q: How does working at Stairway Games helped you shape yourself, both as an artist and an art director? I feel fortunate to be able to work with Stairway Games, especially not long after my graduation. They allowed me to step up and make a mark in the industry. The team’s passion has fueled my passion for creating a game that will be enjoyed by many. Nothing can describe the feeling of putting our art into the hands of a lot of players and positively impacting them. Also, most of us have this contagious drive to prove something to the world; we want to show what an Indonesian studio can do on the global stage. Though it may be challenging, it is exciting to be part of that journey.
To see Damas’ works, check out his ArtStation or drop by his Twitter or Instagram to chat with him! _________________________________ Stay up to date by subscribing below. If you prefer something more intimate, you can connect with us directly on Twitter (Stairway Games // Coral Island), or join our Discord channel.