Discover more from The Afterschool Studio Newsletter
A new newsletter section for people who want a peek behind the scenes
Making games is hard, and one of the ways to stave off that ever-growing complexity is to develop tools to make working with things easier. Tools helped Cantata be the insane 30-hour tactics campaign it is made with a team of only a handful of people. Tools keep us on track, ship faster, iterate more quickly, etc.
At Afterschool, we’re committed to building out not only internal tools to help us develop games more quickly, but to also release some of those tools out into the wild to help grow the wider game development ecosystem.
To that end, we’re spinning up a new section of this newsletter, Tools, that tracks the progress and development of our tools and other R&D efforts.
We’ve got two posts already available for reading:
First, an overview of the C# game framework we’re working on, Dinghy:
Next is the first alpha release of a skunkworks moodboarding tool we’re developing called Dreamwalker:
In addition, we’ve got two other tools fully available now, both used throughout Cantata, that we have released publicly:
Depot is a data editing tool designed for games that give you the ability to author rich interconnected data in a JSON format but edited like a spreadsheet. We used Depot extensively on Cantata and as such is the backbone of the game as well as its modding format, translation data, etc.
For games of any size, Depot is the tool for you.
Download for Visual Studio Code here (11K downloads!)
Squiggle is a very simple scripting language and runtime that allows you to author and execute sequential commands inside a game at runtime. We developed Squiggle as a lightweight alternative to tools like Ink or Yarn, such that we could author dialog and code-commands inside of Cantata without needing to perform a pre-compile step.
This is a simple Squiggle script:
[playSound knock 1] Carol: Hello! I've arrived! Carol: And I've brought something special! [playAnimation move carol door] [setLights dim]
We’ve got a specific forum section for our tools where you can talk about them/test out new releases here:
We’ve got a few other things in the pipe as well that we’ll be happy to talk about in the future, but just wanted to generally share everything we’ve been up to both in and around game development and hopefully inspire people to make their own tools, and give ours a try!
Lastly, this email was sent out as part of the “Tools” section of the Afterschool newsletter. We’ve gone ahead and added everyone to the newsletter by default to get the word out, but if you don’t want news/updates on our tools, you can unsubscribe to just this section of the newsletter by managing your subscription in Substack.
However if you’re new to us or want more, feel free to subscribe! Thanks for reading and talk again soon!