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1021662 Posts in 40866 Topics- by 32443 Members - Latest Member: Kinjo

July 11, 2014, 09:05:10 AM
TIGSource ForumsFeedbackDevLogsExcruciating Guitar Voyage 2
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Author Topic: Excruciating Guitar Voyage 2  (Read 4222 times)
floatstarpx
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« on: December 14, 2010, 05:01:19 PM »


We've started work on Excruciating Guitar Voyage 2!
It's an adventure game, with sprinklings of 2D platformy action!
Developers:
ME - programming/scripting/writing/design & construction
Kev - scripting/writing/design & construction/some programming
Tim/Emily - art
Various - voices & faces


Hooray!

I wrote a quick blog entry on some of the stuff I've done so far:
http://wickedworx.wordpress.com/
Quote
We’ve started work on EGV2. There’s no point keeping it secret. We’re working on EGV2 right now!

A few things have changed and improved since the first. We’re making a real effort to bring the characters and the whole EGV world to life… we’ve got better animation (including animated mouths!) which gives a lot more weight to the characters.. and we’ve made a few changes so the whole world feels a little less flat.

I started the week with the worryingly talented Daniel Gallagher (Dan Flashbang) recording some new material for the game… it worked out a lot better than we expected, especially given the time constraints we came up against on the night. We may have used a little too much time eating tacos (yes, really..) and watching “Hotel Inspector” (ugh), but we got the job finished by 11pm!

Then we’ve got this really great scene at the beginning of the game…. I don’t want to spoiler it yet, but I’ve been working on that.. There were a few technical challenges – we’ve got a far improved camera system, which has allowed us some really nice dynamic camera choreography for the intro scene… I’ve also written a pre-cache for our level geometry, which means we can do some neat dynamic effects mid-level.. instantly change the shape of whole buildings, etc.. with absolutely minimal overhead, as all the vertex buffers for the change have already been generated. A fairly obvious thing, in a way – but we hadn’t needed it in previous projects as level geometry had remained relatively static once created.. Not this time!
« Last Edit: April 16, 2011, 06:49:35 AM by floatstarpx » Logged

floatstarpx
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« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2010, 03:45:16 PM »

TRAVEL OVER THE SEAS FOR A BIG SURPRISE
AND DISCOVER THE SECRET OF THE SPECIAL PIES
A THRILLING ADVENTURE JUST FOR YOU
EXCRUCIATING GUITAR VOYAGE TWO
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floatstarpx
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« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2010, 03:14:03 AM »

I don't want to post too much in-game content quite yet, as we're building a special "early preview" version of the game...and it'd be a shame to spoiler it..
but in the mean time - here's a nice picture of our scene editor - "Componentiator"


the "plus" symbols you see everywhere show positions of objects (whether they are just nodes for camera work or spawning objects later in scripts, or actual physical world objects.. sprites, decals, characters, etc..)

the top right box shows the list of objects in the scene.. the 2nd box down shows the components the current object is made of, and the 3rd box down lets you edit the parameters sent to that component on create.

there's also a slider for zoom which i shoved in the middle 'coz it didn't seem to fit anywhere else.

oh - and here's a picture of our animation tool:

characters in EGV are made up of floating parts which we move about to create nice animations.
for EGV1 we didn't have an animation tool... we just hand edited all the .anim (xml) files.. this meant that some animations were more simplistic than if we could've had a visual editing tool... animations in EGV2 are more slick and detailed!
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shig
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« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2010, 04:56:04 AM »

\m/ \m/ booooooooooooooo

I still have got to play the first one, man. It really got me curious and it looks like it's funny as fuck.
I saw that cutscene with a guy singing about his love affair with a chimney sweep and it was amazing.
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floatstarpx
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« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2010, 05:16:53 PM »

\m/ \m/ booooooooooooooo

in emoticon form:
 Hand Metal Right Hand Metal Right  Screamy

I still have got to play the first one, man. It really got me curious and it looks like it's funny as fuck.
I saw that cutscene with a guy singing about his love affair with a chimney sweep and it was amazing.

Cool! Hope you get a chance to play it... it's probably around 90 mins to 2 hours length all the way through, with reasonably frequent (every 10-15 minute) checkpoints! So, if you get an evening or two free give it a go!
Haha yeah - we were initially worried about "spoilering" the game with that scene, which is why we didn't initially use it to promote the game...

We're at an interesting point now, where we're starting to focus on the flaws/weaknesses in the first EGV (I still believe it's a great game though!) so we can improve on them for EGV2.

We've made the step of making the game slightly 3D (the original is completely flat 2D apart from little bits of parallax with the sky / background buildings). in EGV2 solid walls, and some other objects are 3D...but the characters & animated objects are 'flat' within that world - it looks pretty neat so far.

Dev-log from today
Mainly working on dialogue and camera choreography for the opening 10 minutes... we've learnt a lot about pacing from the first game, so we're really making more of an effort to bring the excitement and tension in early... I always felt the best (well, my favourite) bits of EGV came around 25-30 minutes in - which was great, for those that bought the game..but not so great for those that just played the trial.
so - the camera work, dialogue and story all kicks off a lot quicker.. we're throwing the player in a little more "at the deep end" (but not too much!) to begin with as well, which I think will work nicely... and we've also got a super secret surprise which turns some of the stuff from EGV1 on its head altogether..

The camera choreography has been improved by the introduction of Camera Behaviouroids .. that is, using the component system to have multiple components for camera control, and a camera selector which chooses which Behaviouroid is currently active.
In scripting we can send XML data (converted to our 'fast data node' in game format) directly to the current Behaviouroid in order for it to perform the actions required...
So, during a scene we may say:
Code:
+ switch to standard object follow camera behaviouroid
+ send XML data instructing it to follow 'PX' and 'door_1' (the camera knows to zoom out to make sure both are always on screen)
... a little later, when something happens
+ switch to rumble camera
+ send XML data instructing it to match current camera position
+ send XML data instructing it to rumble for 0.3 seconds
... a little later
+ switch back to standard behaviouroid
etc..etc..

so far we have 4 camera behaviouroids.. i'm not sure how many more we'll use in the end!

it could have been that we put all the behaviours in one camera - but as they tend to be 'switching' anyway (i.e. you don't usually have two behaviours running at once as they would only override each other), having them all as separate behaviouroid (on top of our current component system) reduces code bloat and improves readability.

screenshots soon Smiley
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floatstarpx
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« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2010, 09:03:17 AM »

first public screenshot!
« Last Edit: December 20, 2010, 09:09:49 AM by floatstarpx » Logged

floatstarpx
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« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2010, 01:10:34 PM »

well, I took most of xmas off - I figured my brain could do with a little cooldown... it's always very tempting to load up VS/Componentiator and do some more - but I know a few days off will do me some good... I've been playing the Fallout New Vegas DLC and Donkey Kong Country Returns....and I watched some films. rock on.

but here's another pic in the mean time!

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Sir Raptor
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« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2010, 02:04:45 PM »

Just out of curiosity, is EGV1 selling enough copies that you feel people want a sequel? Supply and demand, hombre.
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floatstarpx
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« Reply #8 on: December 26, 2010, 05:36:06 PM »

Just out of curiosity, is EGV1 selling enough copies that you feel people want a sequel? Supply and demand, hombre.

Excellent question. I could just write "Yes", but occasionally I think it's important people understand what we're doing, and why...

Yeah, it's sold well so far...and it continues to sell. It's set at a very reasonable price, considering the amount of content you get in the game ($3 for 2 hours or so, and that's a densely packed, non-stop 2 hours).. I've paid more for a coffee, and I don't even like coffee - so I think we got quite a lot of 'impulse buy'... we also got a lot of traffic from 'cynicalbrit' (totalbiscuit / totalhalibut, or whatever his usernames are) doing a video playthrough...so much so that it took our site down for a good half day (while I was asleep, none the wiser).

...and the people who liked it, really liked it. (example)

That being said, I reckon we'd be developing this whatever the case... EGV2 can only be an improvement on the first. - and I actually think it'll help solidify understanding in the first game (for those who are lacking it, currently)
EGV is something we (myself and Kevin) actually believe in - and, hey, if I was only out to make a quick buck, I'd be doing something other than this indie game development stuff.. Wink
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wogan
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« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2010, 07:23:08 AM »

will there be more songs?
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Yeaaahhhh WOGAN!
floatstarpx
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« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2010, 07:18:16 AM »

yeah! there will be... in fact, we had Dan in just the other day doing some recording! it sounds great.
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floatstarpx
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« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2011, 09:27:07 AM »

PORTING FROM XNA 3.1 to XNA 4.0

so, this (above) is what I've been doing over the Christmas holidays!...
well, it was actually only an hour or two's work, but here's a summary of things that we had to do:

we've moved to the latest version of Box2D.XNA, which is XNA 4.0... I'm not sure when they switched, but I just grabbed their latest source. There was only really one change I had to make here, relating to the raycast callback function.. other than that, it "just worked". Great!

There are minor changes to XNA's graphics API - most of these seem sensible ... vertex buffer's contain their vertex declaration, so less chance of a programmer slip-up.. and the way in which you change the current 'render state' / 'blend state' etc.. has been changed slightly.

I haven't gotten on to updating our save game save/load functions - but it looks like there are a few changes there.

less of a headache than expected, so far!  Hand Thumbs Up Left

NEW UI

Some of the feedback we got for EGV1 was relating to the text-based UI... it didn't match the rest of the feel of the game, and (while perfectly functional) felt a little tacked on.. we're addressing this in the sequel by changing to an 'icon based' expandable context menu..
as you move near an object/NPC you can interact with, it lights up.. if there is only one interaction you can make - pressing SHIFT will start this interaction.

if there are a number of interactions you can make (e.g. twist right, twist left, use breadknife), pressing SHIFT will expand the menu to show all possible options.. pressing left/right will change the selection from the interactions, and pressing SHIFT again will perform the selected action.
actions you cannot currently perform (because you don't have the inventory item, or whatever) will not be visible.

so far it's looking much more flexible, and easier for a new player to understand... there is no longer a concept of "currently selected inventory item", as this is not really necessary.

ANIMATED MOUTHS

(possibly not final images!)

we've got animated mouths! EGV1 didn't have this. EGV2 does.
for the majority of dialogue situations, the mouths just open and close non-stop while the player is talking (not sync'd to words)... but for a couple of more key/dramatic moments - we've actually got the opening/closing of the mouths in time with the speech.. this is really noticeable in the opening sequence of the game.
we've got a tool for recording the timings for this - which means it's very quick to knock up lip-sync data for the ComponentMouthCoordinator to read.

it's amazing the difference this had made already...it's a lot clearer who is speaking at any given time (in EGV1, the heads would 'bobble' as characters talked).. and it allows us to have characters speaking while running, sitting, or doing anything else, without worrying that it may be unclear who is speaking. GREAT.

we found that moving the whole of the chin caused the characters to LOSE THEIR SOULS, and look like puppets. it was really freaky..kinda creepy.
but by moving just the lower lips (angling slightly), adding a few teeth (taken from someone else.....), and using a couple of frames - we can actually create quite a nice cartoony talking effect...with the characters still looking 'alive'.... although I'd imagine it's hard to see that from just the heads, out of context... - in the context of the game, it looks really neat! (and not at all creepy)
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floatstarpx
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« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2011, 03:26:48 PM »

DYNAMIC LIGHTS & SHADOWS

today, while working on a SPOOKY area of the game, I implemented these awesome stencil-buffered dynamic lights/shadows
YOUTUBE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9jH-vb1WyM

not a very exciting clip, but it shows they're working!
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knight
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« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2011, 12:00:03 PM »

Hey I just bought the first one and am wondering if you could add a dialogue skip button in this one.
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floatstarpx
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« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2011, 03:29:30 AM »

Hey I just bought the first one and am wondering if you could add a dialogue skip button in this one.

yeah - we've added this now! not a lot of people requested it - but a few did, so I think it's a good idea for those who read faster.

backspace (on PC) or back (X360) now skips dialogue, whether you've heard it already or not. in the original you can skip it if it's being repeated.

hope you enjoy the game! Smiley
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