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Brian Wilbur
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« on: May 24, 2011, 04:04:36 PM »


Hey guys! I'm a somewhat new (2 1/2 years exp.) programmer, and I recently teamed up with a couple of artists on a somewhat ambitious project -- 3 developers, approx. a year development time.

"The Pitch:" Wilderbrook is a 2D platforming/puzzle game where players traverse their way through a stylized world painted in watercolors. In addition to standard platforming fare and a slightly surreal array of in-game species, the game houses a unique “seed system”: the player's character can obtain 5 different seeds which can be planted in specific spots -- these act as power-ups which are used to solve the game's various puzzles. Wilderbrook also lightly touches on the themes of "nature vs. technology", loss, and coming of age, through a strict non-dialogue storytelling style.

First proof-of-concept video:



Very early concept of our main character, Ly, as a child:



Ly's pet turtle, all grown up:



Some shots from the Oct. 7th build:


Let me know what you guys think as we go!
« Last Edit: April 07, 2012, 09:31:24 PM by Brian Wilbur » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2011, 04:48:49 PM »

This is the correct place to post a development log, yup!

I really like the art-style so far, and your seed gameplay sounds like it'll be interesting... especially the 'eating' bit. Does eating seeds give you buffs? Or new abilities?
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Brian Wilbur
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« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2011, 05:22:57 PM »

This is the correct place to post a development log, yup!

I really like the art-style so far, and your seed gameplay sounds like it'll be interesting... especially the 'eating' bit. Does eating seeds give you buffs? Or new abilities?

Awesome, I really wasn't sure Smiley Thanks!

In general, planting seeds gives you "external" effects (like rocks shooting from the ground or a void that slows down enemies) whereas eating the seeds gives you buffs/recovery options (like regaining HP or extra attack power/defense for a certain period of time).
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Brian Wilbur
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« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2011, 02:34:40 PM »

Ly is a member of a special race called the Tietoa (roughly translating to "information" or "knowledge" in Finnish). When they are fully-grown, they are the great bearers of all the world's knowledge.


Early concept art for the Ei -- click to view a larger image[/font]

However, they don't start out as all-knowing, towering creatures. Instead, they are born from small fruits planted in the ground. These fruits grow up into the small, furry Ti. Each Ti is eventually tasked with a special quest that is at first unknown to them. As they discover the many facets of the world around them, they eventually grow into the Ei, much like a human grows into a teenager. (More on Ly's "quest" later!)

The Ei are much taller, stronger and more nimble than the Ti. Consequently, and much like a human teenager, they are also more emotional.


Finalized concept for the Ei form of the Tietoa.
Tietoa have poor eyesight. They often operate on an immensely-powerful internal instinct.

Next update, I'll try to touch on Wilderbrook's main gameplay mechanics. Hopefully enough coding gets done this weekend... Crazy Always open to opinions! We want lots of those!
« Last Edit: May 28, 2011, 03:33:40 PM by Brian Wilbur » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2011, 10:02:54 AM »

(Click any of the images in this post to view larger ones)

The main gameplay mechanic we're planning on focusing on is that of "Seeds". Wilderbrook is an action/platformer at its core, but we want to introduce an unusual style of gameplay. Throughout the game world, Ly will be able to find different colored seeds, which he can collect. These seeds can then be either eaten, planted, or mixed together to make new seeds. Ly, the main character, can attack by punching, but it is very weak initially. Seeds are his main method of surviving in the world.


Eating seeds generally gives Ly an internal benefit (like additional attack power or a health increase). Planting a seed in the ground below generally causes a magical effect to occur. This effect could be a defensive barrier, an explosive boulder launching from the ground, or any number of other effects.


Seeds can be assigned to the X and Y buttons, which act as "quick slots" a la the Legend of Zelda. This way, you can easily pick your favorite seeds and use them at will, without having to pause the game.

Seeds can be planted by simply pressing the X or Y button. Ly will throw the seed in front of him, and the effect will occur where the seed lands. Holding the L Trigger while you use the seed will cause Ly to eat it.


We have most of the seeds finalized so far. Here's a little sneak peek of a very basic seed and a more complex one:

Vitaseed (Green)
Eat Effect: Instantly recover 10% health.
Plant Effect: A recovery plant sprouts from the ground. Standing near this plant speeds your health recovery, granting you 30% of your total health over 10 seconds.


Zenseed (Purple + Brown)
Eat Effect: You are completely immobilized, but protected from all attacks, for 5 seconds.
Plant Effect: An Altar of Strength rumbles forth from the ground. 50% of any damage you take is transferred to the Altar until it shatters.


There are 15 seeds in total, and they come in five colors: Green, Blue, Purple, Brown, and Silver -- and then the various mixtures of each. Silver seeds are special and cannot be mixed. Instead, they provide other, more unique benefits...


Next post, I'm going to try and show some early gameplay screenshots...I've finally got a decent XML structure set up now which should make a lot of areas of development a lot simpler for us. There's also a complete movement engine, and the seed system is (almost) done.
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Brian Wilbur
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« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2011, 12:06:02 PM »

Hey guys. Wilderbrook is still in development...we have just been keeping quiet. Hopefully now that we can provide some pictures, there will be a little bit more interest! Coffee



An early concept for our art style.






Some more concepts for the seeds that Ly will be able to use!






Some concepts of Ly's friend Mimpi as an adult.



Concepts for one of our enemies.



We are now totally in development (the movement engine is almost finished!) So expect more (and cooler) updates soon!
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« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2011, 12:29:11 PM »

 Oh my gosh. This looks...so amazing. I love the characters, the art style--EVERYTHING!

And the turtle is my favorite character so far.
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« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2011, 12:33:28 PM »

The seed mechanic sounds great and the art looks amazing. Best wishes guys.  Smiley
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« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2011, 01:09:26 PM »

this looks beautiful so far, and that little guy in the first post is adorable.  i can't wait to see what happens with this - especially looking forward to seeing it in motion.  good luck!
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Brian Wilbur
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« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2011, 12:19:12 PM »

More pretty pictures! This time they are some actual gameplay screenshots from our alpha build.

Click on the gameplay screenshots to embiggen them. Durr...?

Next week will probably be a much more technical post, but for now, pretty pictures!



A few early concepts for the Wilderbrook logo (we're thinking of using the bottom one...we don't quite want to use "WB" because of potential copyright issues)





Some early screenshots of our test environment.





Some alpha screenshots of our first draft of the pause menu.



Our workspace! (At the local community college Smiley )

Next to none of these graphics (particularly the Sparkster sprites, of course!) will be in the final game -- I wanted to get a solid engine down before bugging the artists' brains out for art assets that they wouldn't be able to see in-game.

Let us know what you guys think! Coffee
« Last Edit: July 23, 2011, 01:16:03 PM by Brian Wilbur » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2011, 12:52:10 PM »

So we've been starting to head into the thick of development now, rather than spending our time designing. (Keep in mind that this is a team consisting of a college senior and a bunch of recent graduates -- we work only one day a week)

We decided that pure combat-based gameplay doesn't really suit itself to the watercolor art style -- so we're shifting the focus primarily towards puzzles. The seed mechanic was adjusted to fit this as well.

We removed 10 of the 15 seeds and narrowed it down to one seed of each color.

At the beginning of the game, you pick a color. Throughout the game, the seeds you collect of that color will be greatly strengthened. This acts as a difficulty selector and will also slightly modify the way you play -- for example, choosing Green might make plenty of strong healing available to you, whereas choosing Silver will make the game very high-risk, high-reward. My Word!




Mockups, of course -- text may change (and may be wrong)

Also, some concept art of a small part of the first area (the village of Wilderbrook, where the Tietoa live):


There is a slight difference between styles here since the sprite is a rough draft, and the sketch is...well, not watercolor. But we think it looks great! Hopefully you guys do too -- and hopefully you can give us some feedback as well.
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« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2011, 01:20:53 AM »

This game has my official support. I like the concepts and the art, and the character is unique. Give me a video!
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Brian Wilbur
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« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2011, 08:04:38 PM »

A trailer will totally be here...when we get more assets... Shrug

Hope this post doesn't seem too out-of-whack, I've been pounding code out for about 8 hours now.

Got about a page worth of changelog into the game. Very happy with it. Still mostly filler assets, but I did implement the first sprite outline & the sketch of the first portion of the first environment. I also put in some filler tiles, added in all 5 seeds (no effects yet though) and redid the layout for the seed menu.

Although the menu is still filler assets from Google (except for the actual seeds! yesss!) it's laid out much nicer than before.

The white box will contain little drawings/pictures of the effects of each seed to make them easier to remember.

As of now, you pick a seed from the menu with the A button -- then you plant it with X, or eat it with Y.

If you crouch down, you'll actually plant the seed in the ground next to you like the little furry, nature-y blob that you are. If you stand up/jump/etc., you'll chuck the seed in whatever direction you're facing.

So, two pictures: one is a GIF with all the new seeds in-game; the other is just a little taste of how it all looks in-engine. It looks BEAUTIFUL on the TV, too...so I'm very happy with that. Can't wait to see what it all looks like in watercolor rather than sketchycolor. I need a jittery smiley...I'm jittery. Crazy?




Click us to make us bigger! Please!

Little bit of quality loss there on the GIF...

Let me know what you think!
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« Reply #13 on: September 19, 2011, 12:45:55 PM »

Lovely arts so far!
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Brian Wilbur
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« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2011, 01:13:59 PM »





Also added the link to the first post. We did a TON of work this weekend, and I'll also be providing some screenshots later on as we go. But I was really proud of how far we went with our mechanic in such a short period of time.

The majority of art is filler art, and the character animations are still just outlines of what they will be, but the points are starting to come across now and we're super proud of it! Also, no ugly tiles, etc. in the final product and it certainly won't look quite like this graphically.

I may dub over the video if it's tough to understand what is going on -- let me know if that would be better.

Would love to hear what you guys think.

Also, soon I would like to post up all the different seeds and what they do in text form, for further analysis.  Gentleman Hand Thumbs Up Right

EDIT: By the way, I haven't said this enough: Thanks a lot, guys, for the support. I really appreciate the positive comments and so do the artists. Seriously, it means a lot  Smiley so thank you!
« Last Edit: September 27, 2011, 01:26:03 PM by Brian Wilbur » Logged

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« Reply #15 on: October 05, 2011, 11:10:34 PM »

A few more gameplay changes:

  • We decided to switch the seed effects from "eating and planting" to just "planting". The (essentially) 10 seed uses (which could then be combined for puzzles) was way too much.
  • We also decided to turn seeds into "powerups" instead of "items that can be used". They will work much more like the powerups in something like Mega Man: you can select one and use it until you choose another one.
  • Seeds can now only be switched & planted at specific spots which also serve as checkpoints. This makes your seed choice more important, but also allows you to "die & reset" if you want to do something differently.

More screenshots too! We're playing around with new ways to lay out the art within the levels this time before we set off on the bulk of the game.


Click to view larger screenshots!

Let me know what you guys think! Would love feedback & criticism of any kind. We are planning on having at least one or two solvable puzzles within the next week or two! Hopefully... Crazy
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Brian Wilbur
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« Reply #16 on: October 06, 2011, 09:10:20 PM »

More stuff! Will be posting a newer proof-of-concept video in a week or so.

Background is starting to shape up very nicely. Also added in the "switch seeds" zones.

Foreground and midground still need a bit of work and variance (too many bushes and too much stringy grass!) but the rest is looking pretty good, even since yesterday!


Probably won't be using the little huts for checkpoints, but we are for now!


A rough for the "Quick Switch" menu found at checkpoints


Rough w/additive blending for the Voidseed's effect (enables you to avoid damage for a brief period of time)


Playing w/foregrounds again

I'm very happy with this so far. Hope it keeps shaping up as nicely as it has been!
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Brian Wilbur
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« Reply #17 on: April 07, 2012, 09:31:08 PM »

Reviving this because the thread is super old, but we're still working on it.

2/3 of the team has moved on to work at small game studios. However we are still working on this on the side -- here are some screenshots of what we are doing. We are really happy with our level #3 (the purpley one), so we're trying to do our best to upgrade the other levels to that...level.





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