It’s still crunch time! Meeting deadlines is a necessity but it can be a bit daunting depending on the deliverables. Over the past weeks, I have been working on tightening up some of the controls and finishing up some animations. I still have some environment work to get done as well as fill in the conversations with all the Gerras. I should be hitting those conversations this week to have those done for a progress review next Monday. I’ve also put together a site with a variety of media for the game here:
There’s the trailer (which should probably be replaced at some point, a lot has changed), some still images, SketchFab models, and an Unity WebGL demo to view a visual representation of what the gallery space will look like when exhibited in April.
I have also been working on some 3D prints of items from the game. Currently, I have a print of Evermore which still needs sanding, painting and mounting.
I plan on having the Scroll of Bode also printed and hopefully Ezra. I would like to print Ezra in 2 pieces and then put a spherical LED ball inside of him but we’ll see on time. For the bases, I’ll probably get some wooden disks and paint them. I would really like to lathe some bases but I don’t know anything about lathing. I may be able to ask a friend to give me a crash course but again, it all comes down to what time I have left. These prints are supplemental to the game. Cool, but not a necessity.
The past month has been pretty busy. A minor setback really through off my timeline. So I have been working on making the game play a bit more concise for an interesting experience while not letting feature creep slow me down. Although not much visually has changed in the past month, there has been a lot of additional functionality. The ray casting realignment gravity system is near perfect now with some odd quirks in the rare occasion BUT nothing game breaking. The boss fight is done minus a handful of sound effects. More sound has been added to the first level. The Gerras found tracker on the home screen is now working to keep track of how many you have found. I still need to decide what each one is going to say. I need to do some thinking about what I want them to impart to Evermore and how it relates to bettering his character; additionally how he would react to the wisdom. All the game animations are blocked in or done. I will be fleshing them out this week. The major parts are animated, the rest of the supporting animations will operate via script calls from the dialogue so that should be pretty simple. The ending is set up for Evermore to return home but the supporting material in between with the Gerras will help get us to that ending resolution. I added in a new game option in case a new user wishes to play through from scratch. There is no loading system though, just either start from where you left off or start fresh. At this point, it’s short enough of a game that it’s no big problem. In the future if it is expanded upon, I would like to have an additional loading menu for selecting different save files. A main focus right now is finishing the design of the exhibition space. This one man show will carry on!
On a side note, Ruina was submitted back in December to the Unity and GDC environment creation contest. Although Ruina was not selected as the winner, the panel was impressed with Ruina and was kind enough to provide 2 Expo Plus passes to GDC so I am proud of that recognition.
Over the past week, I have continued with my plan to finish level 1 and then finish the last level/boss fight so that is done and whatever can be put in the middle will be with the time allotted. Getting into AI development is something new for me so I’m breaking it down in a very simple way. I’m not using way finding for Tiamat. It’s a series of random number generators which choose different events for Tiamat to follow. The way that the battle works is there are 4 light alters around Tiamat that Evermore can cleanse. The alters are something I added last week to be able to trigger puzzles and environment traps. Since the Gerras are the keepers of light, there are these light orbs in the scene that have been doused with ink from Tiamat. Evermore can cleanse them with his scroll. So during the boss fight, Evermore must cleanse the 4 alters to weaken Tiamat to the point Evermore can actually damage Tiamat with the cleansing power of the scroll. Tiamat can douse the alters in more ink making Evermore have to cleanse them again. Tiamat can swipe at Evermore if he gets too close. He can also spit ink balls at Evermore from far away.
Over the past couple weeks, I have been hammering away at programming. There is so much to be done. All the interactions that need to take place to tell the story, the dialogue, elements within the world to give it life, sounds. . . The name of the game is “shift and refocus.” With the a solid deadline that needs to be hit, it’s all about rolling with the punches. I reorganized my schedule to complete the intro and first level, then to move on and complete the final boss fight and game wrap up. All the levels in between then can add additional background and puzzles per the time I have left. There is only so much time but for this deadline, the experience can be fun, short, and engaging with a good story. In the end, this project can always have more added to it. I have grown to really enjoy the bizarre world being created and would like to continue expanding on it. But as an art piece in itself, I need to ensure it conveys to the player the messages about Evermore and how he might relate to the player’s own vices. Much of that still needs added in via dialogue but we will get there.
Yesterday, I ended up with an effect that I am really happy with. I’m adding in these little orb light alters (as the Gerras are the keepers of light). Purifying the alters serves as an effect within the world for puzzles and allowing further passage.
Over the past couple of weeks, I have been working diligently on some larger functionality classes inside of Ruina. One of the biggest accomplishments and time sucks was the dialog system. I wanted to create a system that I could easily define the speaker, their icon by the dialog box, and their scripted lines. The dialog system is working and new lines can always be added to make the conversation longer. It can also be controlled during an animated cut-scene, enabling the animation to halt until the player is finished reading the new text and then when ready, continue with the animation. The only problem with the system as it sits is that there is no way to add in lines of script between already existing lines. I would need to delete everything after those lines and then fill everything back in. The system has that issue and it probably would have been better to create it with an XML script or something external, but I needed to keep moving forward.
The demo I have up and working was submitted to a contest being hosted by Unity and GDC so hopefully a little bit of recognition is found there.
On a separate note, I am considering removing the combat aspects to the game to keep things a bit more minimal. Maybe just use some monsters as traps rather than intelligent enemies. But we will see depending on how much time I have. I’m really trying to keep things reusable model and script wise. So far it’s working out pretty well but at times can feel a little messy.
The To-Do list seems lengthy but I will have to keep at it, shrinking it bit by bit.
The end of this mega sprint is upon me! A lot of hours have been poured into this trailer and we have some smattering of game play in it. Everything is pre alpha footage and may change as the game progresses. My buddy Kyle was able to help with the voice over and it sounds much better now. Over the past two weeks, an enormous amount of texturing was done as well as color correcting, animating, particle systems, etc. There are some updates I already see in the near future but it is an early trailer. Onward! Oh and here’s the trailer:
These last couple of weeks have been pretty intense. There has been a lot of great progress and most of the shots for the trailer are ready EXCEPT for the live game play footage which is in the works for the next couple of days. I still have a couple of textures for finish up for the environment and Tiamat still needs his textures finished. I picked out some sound equipment to get a better audio recording. The guy I was looking to do the voice over seems to have fallen through. Whomp whomp… So I am seeing what alternatively I have ready. I am also grabbing some additional sound effects to add for a bit more depth. The title sequence is coming a long. I have some ideas but need to do a bit more After Effects research for it to work. In the mean time, here are some more screenshots.