It’s time for a quick round-up of the latest in-development changes in Lenna’s Inception!

Graphical Upgrade

Jay’s been hard at work on the new art style. So far, the overworld biomes are mostly complete, including (most recently) the graveyard biome and the Autumnal forest:

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Published

24 June 2015

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Here’s an update on what I’ve been doing and what’s coming up for Lenna’s Inception!

Topics:

  • Rezzed
  • Artistic upgrade
  • The plot and the ending of the story (no spoilers)

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Published

17 March 2015

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It’s been a tense month trying to figure out my response to the new EU VAT rules, but in the end Leaf, operator of itch.io came to the rescue! itch.io now offers the option of handling VAT for indie developers, which is really awesome! :)

And finally, finally, I can release beta7 to you today, which includes these lovely new features:

  • The autumn biome has been added.
  • The graveyard biome has been added.
  • Randomized caves have been added to the overworld.
  • An obtainable bicycle has been added. This can be used for fast travel by selecting it on the inventory screen.
  • The coffee break challenge has been added. This is a short (~10 minutes) challenge mode on a single dungeon with a random ruleset from the other challenges. There is no online leaderboard for this.
  • The daily challenge has been added. This is like the coffee break challenge, but based on a standardized per-day seed shared between all players. The leaderboard for this challenge is cleared at the end of the day.
  • New music has been added to the laboratory and the nuclear dungeons.
  • New music has been added to mountain biomes.
  • A new story line chapter has been added to the graveyard area.
  • A new building has been added to the town: the Church of N'GHA.

You can buy Lenna’s Inception on itch.io:

It’s also available via Humble:

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Published

29 January 2015

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I might be forced to halt purchases of Lenna’s Inception through itch.io in January due to new EU laws. The details of why (in my rant below) are quite tedious, but please be assured that:

  • I'm still absolutely committed to finishing the game!
  • I'm currently investigating other ways to make it available (several other stores look like possibilities).
  • If you've already purchased it, your itch.io download page will still work, and you will still be able to access all future updates through there.
  • I still think itch.io is bloody amazing and want it to succeed.

As I write this, you can still get it on itch.io. If you want it soon, buy it before the 31st December:

The owner/operator of itch.io has said that he is working on EU VAT compliance, so it’s possible that nothing might change for Lenna’s Inception come January. Although it is still quite hard for me to imagine what he would be able to do.

If you’re reading this in January, while the game is unavailable, and you really can’t wait for it:

  • Press, youtubers and twitch streamers - shoot me an email
  • Otherwise, have you got an awesome piece of original Lenna's Inception fanart to share? :)

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Published

27 December 2014

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Lenna’s Inception version 0.6 (beta6) is live. Get it from the usual place. (There was no beta5, I’m just doing a Windows 9.)

As per usual, in order to access most of the new features you’ll need to visit the starving artists’ house in the town and speak to the NPC inside to regenerate your maps. This won’t cause you to lose any progress.

By the way: I'm going to be giving at talk about procedural generation at the start of #procjam on the 8th of November. Tickets have already sold out for attending in person, but the talks will be streamed online! Check the website and @procjam to keep up to date on the details for that.

I strongly encourage you to take part in the jam as well if you’re curious. I’m really looking forward to it!

What's New

Features:
  • New story-line character Delvin is introduced during the "save the prince" quest.
  • More story-line content occurs after completing the "bring Rupert peace & quiet" quest, including:
    • A laboratory location.
    • A new NPC.
    • Progression in the main arc pursuing the Archangel that killed Lenna's students.
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  • Unfriendly guards in the main town.
  • New boss fight at the current end of the story-line content. This is the penultimate boss fight, so the final boss is still yet to be added.

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Published

28 October 2014

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Lenna’s Inception version 0.5 (beta4) is live. Get it from the usual place.

As per usual, in order to access most of the new features you’ll need to visit the starving artists’ house in the town and speak to the NPC inside to regenerate your maps. This won’t cause you to lose any progress.

What's new

Features:
  • Random ursine (i.e. bear) NPCs have been added.
  • The shopkeeper is now an ursine person at the start. The shop is taken over by the human shopkeeper halfway through the game.
  • The ursine blacksmith Rupert has been added. (GIF)
  • The Damascus Katana is no longer found in a dungeon. You must do the blacksmith's quest to get it.
  • More story-line and cutscenes have been added (roughly 50% complete now).
  • The chicken pet will now evolve when given a certain item. (GIF)
  • There's a slightly modified cutscene inside the palace if you find the prince before visiting there.
  • There is new music:
    • On the game over screen
    • When you use the Missinglasses
    • In the town and inside certain buildings
    • In the palace
    • By the sea
    • (Some of these require you to regenerate your map by visiting the starving artists' house.)
  • There are new transitions between tracks in some places:
    • When you enter a boss's chamber, the dungeon music fades out.
    • In the overworld, most tracks don't swap immediately, but only after the current one has finished.
    • Temporarily switching into the glitch or victory music will no longer cause the previous track that was playing to reset and start from the beginning.
  • The lost library books "Tursiops Sapiens" and "Ursus Sapiens" have been written.

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Published

16 September 2014

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In the previous post in this series we saw how terrain is generated and how the procgen system decides each area in the world will be connected, which controls the progression of the player through the game. In this post I explain how the contents of those distinct areas are filled. As mentioned earlier, while Binding of Isaac and Spelunky use hand-designed templates to generate this content, Lenna’s Inception takes a different approach.

Spatially-aware room content generation

This part of the procgen system is aware of the spatial relationships between objects. By formalizing (making strict machine-readable rules) the constraints each kind of tile places on its neighbors, the system can choose where to place randomized objects without breaking the game. As an example rule, a cracked rock requires floor next to it so that a bomb can be placed there. If it was placed next to some water, the bomb would sink and not blow up the rock. The system understands this could prevent the player from progressing and will not by default put water next to cracked rocks.

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Published

15 September 2014

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UPDATE 2014-09-15: The second part of this series is here.

I regularly get asked how the overworld is generated. I actually started writing it up in a series of blog posts here on bytten-studio.com last year, but it became difficult to keep this up to date with the implementation. The implementation was changing too much and too often!

Things have stabilized somewhat now, so in this two-post series I’ll give an overview of how the procedural generation in Lenna’s Inception works. I’ll skip over some of the details to keep the length down, but if you need more detail on something specific for your own project(s), I’m more than happy to help you. Feel free to contact me on twitter or by email, but please try to understand that my time is very limited!

How is Lenna's Inception different?

Procedural map generation in contemporary video games tends to fall into two categories:

  • Sequential levels with limited procedural generation, e.g. rectangular rooms and long-thin corridors (Rogue), or stitching together hand-designed templates and setpieces (Binding of Isaac, Spelunky).
  • Open, non-linear worlds with very few setpieces, but where the procgen system has a huge degree of freedom and can automatically produce variety (Minecraft).

Lenna’s Inception doesn’t really fit neatly into either of those, because while it’s linear, it doesn’t rely heavily on hand-designed room templates. It takes the linear gameplay of the first category and and increases the degree of freedom of the procgen system to a level comparable to the second category.

Let’s start by taking a look at the design of some of the most closely-related games that use procedural generation and randomization.

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Published

08 September 2014

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As a bit of an aside before we get into the screenshots, I’ll be demoing Lenna’s Inception at the Cambridge Computer Museum next Friday for a BYOB retro videogame night. If you happen to be in Cambridge (England) on Friday, come along and share a beer with me! :)


Wednesday is the birthday of H.P. Lovecraft, author of “The Call of Cthulhu”! Here’s a Lovecraft-inspired cutscene I’ve been working on:

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Published

16 August 2014

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Quick reminder first: beta3 is available right now. Among other new features, it includes randomized potions and tunics. Go and download the update if you haven’t already!

Screenshot Saturday

If you’ve been collecting the lost library books, you might have noticed the title of one of the books hints at an intelligent race of bears. Although I haven’t written the content of the book yet, these bears are now wandering around in my development builds!

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Published

02 August 2014

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