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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsSon of Nor (OUT NOW / PC MAC LINUX)
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Chris Polus
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« Reply #80 on: January 27, 2013, 03:53:49 AM »

@unsilentwill: OK, got it. We're preparing a new trailer for the press in the coming weeks. I'll consider your comments and I'll try to add the grandeur! Thanks a lot for the constructive critique!!!
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« Reply #81 on: January 27, 2013, 04:08:50 AM »

This week we have clips that show what lighting can do to one's scenes. In one of our last long discussion sessions we had an idea about an additional gameplay element: special crystals elements. We also updated the magic system a bit to make it more usable in fights. After playing with the old one it was apparent what needed to be changed. Basic idea of spell combinations still remains the same, but how you combine and what you need to combine was altered.

  • See the difference in lighting from before and after.
  • We have 1 sunlight and 2 fill lights, one from the directly opposite direction of sunlight.
  • To specifically touch up areas we use spherical lights where needed.
  • We integrated magic crystals that'll play a role in puzzle solving and fights.
  • Updated magic system to improve usability in fights.

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« Reply #82 on: January 27, 2013, 04:11:19 AM »

Looks great man! Am I right guessing it's running on Unity?
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« Reply #83 on: January 27, 2013, 04:11:54 AM »

Yes this is Unity.
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« Reply #84 on: February 03, 2013, 08:55:56 AM »

Not everything we start working on is a big hit from the get go. But of course, you knew that already.
This week, we had some of the more funny fails.

  • We implemented a splash screen / loading screen / game menu. That wasn't a fail, actually.
  • We bought some animations and integrated them. Don't look 100% cool either! What's going on with this animation stuff??!! Argh, can it be so hard?
  • Ragdolls! The rubber man returns. Or alternatively: Our ragdoll model shows what you might get if you answer spam mails in your inbox that promise "enlargment services".
  • For those with claustrophobia. Use the telekinetic blast we implemented if surrounded by enemies. It might be a little bit too powerful.



There's also a new image of modular cave pieces we did this week. They'll probably be shown in next week's episode if we manage to integrate them into the game.

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« Reply #85 on: February 06, 2013, 05:51:40 AM »

Here's a new model that came out of our modeling pipeline: a Sarahul bow and dagger. Everything the Sarahul have is pointy, like their eye slits. It's a big part of their overall design and art style.

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« Reply #86 on: February 07, 2013, 11:29:24 PM »

We're not quite happy with the main character yet. It'll get a new head. The body is fine, but it will probably be used more on townsfolk with toned down colors.

Daniel created a new clothing concept for us, which will be created and implemented in the next cycles.

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« Reply #87 on: February 10, 2013, 01:02:34 AM »

Finished developing a plant randomizer this week. There is a cave system in our tutorial level with plants in it. Every plant looked the same and so the cave looked super sterile. We ended up making variations of the plant in slightly different stages of development. And a script that took a random model of the plant variations, rotated them and scaled them a little and now every plant looks differently.

Here's what it looks like. It's a little bit dark though.
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« Reply #88 on: February 10, 2013, 08:37:47 AM »

It was a very busy week!

  • Julian left for holidays so he worked double shifts.
  • We implemented animation concepts to better judge how animations feel in the game. Does this animation for that activity look good? Or does it look lame if watched 100 times?
  • Rough animations for terraforming, telekinesis, area telekinesis, telekinesis throw were implemented. These animations will be replaced by smoother animations as soon as we know how they should look like.
  • Fire fairies indicate that you stored a fire element and have it active. Don't worry, they're only temporary and will be replaced by a better effect.
  • Logic behind the magic system was programmed. We changed the mechanics slightly for better playability and fun in combat.
  • We're testing the new mechanics with fire magic and implemented a fire blast and enhancing objects with fire magic.
  • Rocks enhanced with fire magic explode. A little too violently.
  • Sarahul now ragdoll, too, when they die.
  • Sarahul lose balance when you terraform under them. For too long in the current build.

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« Reply #89 on: February 12, 2013, 12:38:26 PM »

Ragdolls and very powerful explosions don't mix well. A screenie from a recent video recording session.

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« Reply #90 on: February 17, 2013, 09:40:49 AM »

We played a lot of multiplayer matches this week to record footage to our brand new video overview. The video shows what Son of Nor is about and what players can expect from the game.

What do you think?

After playing all those matches we ended up with a long list of things to fix and improve and Julian did a lot of that already. Namely:

  • fixed movement issues
  • fixed crosshair issues
  • scarabs are now easier to target
  • added level-restart functionality: command "restartLevel"
  • fire enhancement lasts forever now
  • fixed issues with disappearing fire fairies
  • telekinesis movement is now faster
  • levitating objects are avoiding any kind of rotation
  • fixed multiplayer bugs
  • reworked entire TK damage system: mass has more influence now
  • todo: give enemies an aggro system
  • todo: give enemies waypoints to follow
  • todo: make TK objects transparent when in front of the player for better aiming

Don't forget to go HD!
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« Reply #91 on: February 17, 2013, 10:25:06 AM »

Looking awesome Chris!! Really liking how the game is coming along!
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« Reply #92 on: February 17, 2013, 11:30:33 AM »

Really enjoyed the trailer. Not just from game play, but the narration/voice-over was really good and added a lot to it.
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« Reply #93 on: February 17, 2013, 03:35:53 PM »

Thanks guys! We're really thrilled with the feedback so far. It's good to hear some kind words after the last couple of weeks in which we basically did nothing else but planned this video and cranked out features to realize it Smiley
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« Reply #94 on: February 24, 2013, 10:26:59 AM »

We need your help. We try to explore the visual style of Son of Nor further this week.

We now heard several comments after being featured in the press that our game's visuals look old and dated. Is it the visuals? Or is it our unfinished animations? Or what is it? We realize that we cannot compete with top notch AAA teams that have dozens of pro artists. We only have 4! But then, how do we convey that we're an indie team that would like to make an awesome game that also looks great? What style would fit our game, be fun, and be achievable for a team like ours with a reasonable amount of time? Others in our team think we CAN compete on visuals and are working on proving it. Exciting times...

For this week, we put together some styles real quick. Which one do you think looks great? We'd like to hear your opinion to help us in our internal discussion. After all we're making the game for gamers, not only for our personal pleasure Smiley

So, after you've watched our Dev Diary, we invite you to voice your opinion here: Facebook Poll



Of course, you can also voice your opinion here. We're listening!
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« Reply #95 on: February 24, 2013, 11:09:23 AM »

it's not as obvious from just looking at the images you've posted, but from the video, i can see where someone might consider things to look a little dated:

* character animation looks mechanical / inorganic
* character's one foot hovers above rock a little when they are standing on top of it.
* rocks have obviously low polygonal detail

i would see these as more of an issue given then game's ambitious nature and the quality of the rest of the visuals. it may seem a little unbalanced to people who are regularly playing the $60 games made by hundreds of people that take full advantage of their GTX 9999 hyperreality graphics busters.
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« Reply #96 on: February 24, 2013, 11:28:26 AM »

Hey TomHunt

Yeah it occurred to me that the "visuals" might be judged by the weakest link and this definitely is still the player character and the animations. If animations are blocky, the whole game might feel dated.

The thing we're asking ourselves: is our current visual style implying that we're a big team with hundreds of people creating a 60$ game? Many indies seem to pick a particular "indie" look or go the traditional pixel route. Maybe in order to differentiate themselves, make a clear indie statement. Either artsy, sketchy, black & white, retro, pixel...

So is it a certain expectation we're setting with this style that we cannot fulfill internally? What do you think?
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« Reply #97 on: February 25, 2013, 12:55:16 AM »

Thanks Sean. Congrats btw on your Anodyne launch! Read about it in many different places Smiley I hope it works out and I'm super happy for you. Great work!

It's hard to currently put the finger on it of what's bugging me. It might be the animations. I also heard another interesting theory that we have too few details. The world still looks sterile. The floor looks flat, the transition between rocks and ground isn't subtle. There are no pebbles, there's no dry grass. Everything's too clean. Our models (i.e. the drawbridge) look sterila because of the simple and straight geometry.

So one theory brewing within me is that it's not really the GFX style but more the details that are missing. Add some dirt, pebbles, grass. Make the drawbridge not feel like from a catalog but make it feel used, as if used as training ground for decades. Make it look more fucked up, sort of a post-apocalyptic feeling. Currently we don't convey the "at the brink of extinction" feeling very well. Because everything looks nice and clean.

Also, if we were to change the GFX style, fine, we might look different but the question remains. Can we convey the feeling of "at the brink of extinction"? Will the new style look more "alive" if we don't add those details I talked about? After all a place can look dead no matter what the graphical style as long as we don't take care of the little details that make a place feel alive.

What do you guys think?
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« Reply #98 on: March 03, 2013, 12:25:20 PM »

After looking at our Facebook polls, comments on YouTube, IndieDB and thoroughly discussing what to do next while still keeping the project's momentum and pace, I think we found a direction. Especially after Ruben, a new 3D artist from Germany joined the team and showed us some pretty amazing stuff.

The next 2 weeks are going to be special. Adrian (US), Ricardo (Ecuador) and me Chris (Switzerland) came to Austria, more specifically to Julian's place in Innsbruck to talk about next steps, project planning and intensively work on Son of Nor together in one room.

This is what happened during the week.
  • A new 3D artist joined our team from Germany. Ruben has a lot of experience in making things look awesome and he's working on a new version of the player character. Apart from that he's got some environment tasks on his todo list.
  • We're also testing new animations Ruben added after rigging and weight painting the character.
  • After getting to know each other for the first time in real life, we installed a motion capture system in Julian's appartment. We're playing around with it to see if it could help us adding more animations faster.



So, we're trying out iPi Soft's MoCap software (http://www.ipisoft.com/). It promises to be markerless so you can avoid expensive equipment and markers. You need 3 cameras from different directions and you have to carefully place them, reduce any background noise behind the actor and calibrate the system in a lengthy process. It works well for an image based mocap system, but it clearly has its limitations. Best would still be to have an empty room or studio that's well lit.

We first tried it outside but one needs a flashlight to calibrate the system, and sunlight was way too bright. The software didn't find the calibration signal from the flashlight. We set it up indoors, removing a lot of furniture from Julian's living room. It's not the solution to all problems. It's inexpensive (compared to normal marker-based mocap systems) but difficult to setup nonetheless. We'll see how easy it'll be to clean that mocap data as it produces a lot of jitter in the areas no camera can see (behind one's back).

Coming back to the art style discussion. Art Style 6, the style that looks a little Borderlands-ish, was one of the more popular styles, together with the original style we had until now. After having lengthy discussions internally we came to the conclusion that the art style was not really the root of the problem, the problem why the game looked old and unsatisfactory. The main problem was our lack of attention to detail. Any style will look bad if we don't go the whole 9 yards and add details with care. We tried to escape the problem and redo the art style in the hope that everything will look good in another style. But we probably did so only to land in the same spot a few weeks down the line.

The important thing is to make the world look more like a living place. We have no real plants to cover up the transition between rocks and the ground. The ground is flat and uninteresting, no grass to move in the wind. The rocks look nice but are very noisy. Our other models are functional but they don't have a style. They all look clean as if they were just built a few days ago. Lifeless. Without character. All the little things that matter. We decided to first explore our current art style more since it was popular too, to see if we can push it further. Add more character to the models, the content.

Thanks for everybody spotting this, pointing it out and giving us helpful advice on how to push on.
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« Reply #99 on: March 11, 2013, 01:43:16 AM »

Many of us are still in Austria for our crunchy dev weeks at Julian's place: Having fun, playing board games and cooking.
  • Julian coded a new obstacle: quicksand. It's very rough right now but the principle works. Now it has to be made pretty.
  • The run animation looks quite good by now!
  • The jump animation needs some tweaking but comes along nicely.
  • We made canyon walls that look great from afar and from up close (for the first time in Son of Nor). We finally seem to be getting the hang of how to do rocks... It took quite some time.

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