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September 21, 2019, 02:12:45 PM

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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsJack Move. A cyberpunk JRPG - Demo now available!
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Author Topic: Jack Move. A cyberpunk JRPG - Demo now available!  (Read 32296 times)
Beastboy
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« Reply #240 on: February 15, 2019, 04:30:28 AM »

Will main character visual change if he equips stuff?
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empika
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« Reply #241 on: February 15, 2019, 11:20:53 PM »

Will main character visual change if he equips stuff?

No she won’t I’m afraid, that would be a lot of extra work at this point. Smiley
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empika
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« Reply #242 on: February 21, 2019, 08:16:40 PM »

Hey champs!

It's been a big week in the shader department...

The first thing I worked on was a water shader. This is something that I've wanted to do for a while but never had the time, so thought I would give it a crack whilst I was rebuilding the other shaders. The things I wanted out of it were some nice dynamic movement, and edge foam. My previous water shader wasn't specifically made for water, but was a general wobble effect, pushing a texture round with sine waves. I wanted something that would look a bit more natural, perhaps using some kind of normal map or something, but still cartoony, kinda like Windwaker.

After doing a big old google I found this great blog post https://roystan.net/articles/toon-water.html I got most of the way there with the basics but was completely stumped when it came to the foam. The depth texture wasn't quite right when using the orthographic camera...



You can see that when using the perspective camera the mapped depth texture is linear across the surface.



...but when using the orthographic camera the depth is mapped incorrectly and darkens as the plane it's on recedes in the Z axis.

This completely stumped me. I could see what the issue was but had no idea how to fix it. Trying to add/subtract the obvious parameters of the plane's vertex didn't work. The excellent folks over on the official Unity discord helped me out, particularly Matt Dean. This was super lucky as I had been looking at Matt's toon shader which includes a great water shader that works in orthographic, I just couldn't figure out how what he was doing different.

Turns out I needed to subtract the Surface Depth/Eye Depth (-UnityObjectToViewPos( v.vertex.xyz ).z). This did the trick and I was then able to implement the foam and depth stuff correctly!



I'm really happy with the result and think it's going to look great once I get it in to some actual game environments. The above gif looks a bit funny as the mesh underneath the water isn't a great shape.. you get the gist though :D

The next shader to rebuild in Amplify was the original wobble shader I was previously using for water and some other effects. This was pretty simple to get done Smiley



My last task for the week was to rewrite a bunch of localisation stuff. For some reason I thought it would be good to store every string in it's own separate scriptable object WTF so I wanted to rewrite this to store all the strings in a big string database object for each language. This was simple enough but I also wanted to move away from loading that data with Unity's Resources.Load after having done a lot more research for some contract work. Turns out that using Resources can be real bad and you should probably be using AssetBundles. AssetBundles are a right pain though so I wanted to find out exactly why Resources is bad.

From the unity docs on the subject:

Best Practices for the Resources System: Don't use it.

Theres no real explanation of why this is the case though. Just that it will increase build and app load times... but why and by how much? Luckily one of my bestest pals and Brighton Indies co-organiser, Kerry, works at unity and has super in-depth knowledge of this stuff!

Quote
Everything in any Resources folder gets built into your binary every time you build. This takes time! Also it's very easy to end up with unnecessary files here, bloating size and build times.

On startup, a table of everything in Resources is created and this table remains in memory throughout application lifetime. If you have a lot of resources and you're on a lower end device, this can be non-trivial in terms of CPU time and memory.

Finally, because the files become part of the binary and are not deterministic or byte-aligned, using Resources is VERY BAD NEWS for differential-based patching (i.e. consoles).

I hope that helps a few people out. Kerry answered my question on Twitter, so you can see the whole thread here: https://twitter.com/empika/status/1098249043979849728

I'll probably have 10 or less language files and they'll all be like 10mb. So using Resources for the time being is probably safe enough. If I need to load any other data at runtime in the future i'll move over to assetbundles, but for now I'll continue using the resources folder for this Smiley

I do have a ton of other files in the resources folder. All the item, magic equipment data etc. This is all there so that I can grab their ID's in the debug menu and created them etc. As these are already in the build, I'm just going to make a big inventory Asset that has a reference to them all for the moment.

So that's been my fun week! This next week I have a couple more shaders to port. These are the glitchy one that I sue on the main title screen etc. This one should be fun to build and improve upon! I also need to take another look at how I'm composing the camera, currently I just use screen overlay but have hit some funny issues with pixel perfect so might take a look at rendering it out to a texture and then compositing that over the gameplay, this should allow me to do some cool effects on the UI too.

If you'd like to watch me scream in to the void about getting shaders to work then come join the Discord! I'm most active during the mornings (UTC+8) but hang out in there all day Smiley https://discord.gg/DA9PkQ7

Hope you all have a great weekend. Peace out girl scouts! x

« Last Edit: February 22, 2019, 02:52:01 AM by empika » Logged

empika
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« Reply #243 on: March 01, 2019, 01:54:14 AM »

Hey folks,

Not a huge update this week. Lots more housework...

Last weekend I was on a panel at the local Taipei indie game meetup IGDShare, you should be able to rewatch the twitch stream here https://www.twitch.tv/videos/385849066 among the topics was open development and I was encouraged to be more open and get the game out there, so my primary tasks at the moment are getting the demo I have and things in to a state where I can release it. The demo is in pretty good shape I think, but I still need to tidy up my website, itch page etc.

Part of this process has been transitioning my tasks to a public Trello board, that way you can see what I've been working on, what I have coming up short term and bigger design ideas. You can see all this here: https://trello.com/b/axnkM5bZ/jack-move-public-tracker
I'll be adding more features, software/magic, hardware/equipment and enemy ideas over time, I've never really had them anywhere except in notebooks so it will be useful to go through them and formalise a bunch of stuff.

I've also added Trello and Bitbucket integration to the Discord server so you can see when stuff happening... though it's a bit spammy at the moment so I think I might need to transition to something a bit more custom that filters messages.

Other than that I've been fixing a bunch of bugs and issues to get the build ready. The biggest one (and one that's plagued me for a while) was an issue where you were able to get in to the Execute/spells menu if you didn't have enough mana. This was caused by all magic actions being added and removed on the player as monobehaviours, occasionally it wouldn't add the correct items back and the check for if you had enough mana to use any spells would return incorrectly, then the game was soft locked as you were in a menu you were unable to back out of.
I think I need to move over to using pure ScriptableObjects for spells (their data is already backed by scriptable objects), but that will involve a big refactor for another time. One for the backlog.

Hop on the Discord over here, I'll be posting the link to the demo there first!: http://www.soromantic.co.uk/discord

Cheers, hope you all have a lovely weekend!
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empika
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« Reply #244 on: March 08, 2019, 10:34:25 PM »

Hey champs,

Exciting news!! The Jack Move demo is available for you to play right now!! Head on over to https://soromantic.itch.io/jack-move to grab it! Or if you want to grab a key to keep the game updated in the itch.io launcher then head over to the discord! http://www.soromantic.co.uk/discord

I spent most of the week prepping for the launch, getting all the store assets ready, updating the store page, updating my main site etc. Lots of work! I also released the demo to the folks on Discord early so that we could hammer it for bugs and things. There are still a few left but I think these are just cosmetic.

The Trello board has been updated with a bunch of feedback, so if you play it please let me know your thoughts below and I can add that too!

Really looking forward to hearing what you folks think!

Cheers, and hope you all have a great weekend!
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beetleking22
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« Reply #245 on: March 09, 2019, 04:07:17 AM »

Holy crap that water looks amazing.
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empika
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« Reply #246 on: March 14, 2019, 06:44:06 PM »

Holy crap that water looks amazing.

Thanks man!
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empika
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« Reply #247 on: March 14, 2019, 07:53:21 PM »

Hey folks,

It's been about a week since I launched the demo of Jack Move so I thought I'd try and do a bit of a post mortem of things that went well, things that didn't and things I learnt!

So I only had a very vague plan of what I wanted to do. a) Make the demo public, b) Tweet a bunch, c) Post here, d) Post on the itch.io announcements board, e) post an itch devlog, f) post on a few sub-reddits. This was kind-of ok, until I realised that maybe I should contact some press and things.

So, things that went well:

Releasing the demo to folks on my Discord early was great, this helped me catch some bugs that I wouldn't have gotten otherwise, and got people hyped for helping spread the word when the demo went public.

Itch.io featured the game on the front page, this was awesome and got the game a lot more exposure that I think it would have done otherwise. Looking at the analytics, this is where the bulk of people got to the game page.
One thing that I think really helped was changing the main store image. Originally it was just the title, green text on a black background but I changed it to an in-battle gif with the title overlaid. I think this helps to show people what to expect. I've no idea if this helped in the long run, but I'm guessing it did a little. I should have kept track of the analytics, though it probably wasn't the time to be doing crazy A/B testing!



So far there have been 6 let's plays posted up on Youtube, this has been really exciting to see, and a bit of a surprise to be honest (though maybe it shouldn't be this day in age). I'm not sure what kind of impact these have had as they've been from quite small channels. Still, it's super useful to be able to watch people playing and see what they enjoy, where the pain points are etc. Any play testing where I don't have to stand behind someone cringing is great!

Here they are:







https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdzLHFIy6L0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-hy0TtfZ-c
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGrHEV4Ok18
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BrcpSoMldI

I had a write up on Rock Paper Shotgun which was really nice. The writer really got and understood what I was going for with the game. It's really useful to have someone else understand and describe your game, it shows where I could improve on the way I describe it myself.

Things that could have gone better:

I should have prepared and sent the demo out to press earlier than the release to give them time. I've contacted about 10 outlets, from big sites like PC Gamer to small fan run rpg sites and so far only had the RPS writeup. Though I'm hoping more articles will show up in the next week or so as folks get round to taking a look at the demo, I'm not holding my breath.

I should have tested on more devices, or at least asked the Discord server to send me some gameplay recordings. Unfortunately my other laptop with windows on it only arrived in Taiwan this week so I've been unable to test on windows. IKR! I should have tested on windows... but it's unity right?! You just press the button and a perfectly formed windows build pops out Grin
People that were helping test in the discord let me know about some obvious bugs early on, but there were things that only I would have been able to spot. For example, battle transitions and ambient occlusion just weren't working on windows at all. The former was fixed super quickly once I was able to see logs and things, the latter is a unity bug so gotta wait on that one. The problem was that people just didn't know what should be occurring, there was no graphical glitch or anything, just the absence of the effect Shrug I only spotted these once people started posting Let's Plays. Hopefully I'll be able to avoid some of these issues in the future now that I have a windows machine to test on.

I was hoping the response from reddit would have been bigger. I posted about the game there about six months ago and got  great reaction, so was hoping for similar this time round. Perhaps because it wasn't quite as new and exciting people weren't that fussed?

I think that about covers it!

You can grab the demo here: https://soromantic.itch.io/jack-move
Join the discord here: http://www.soromantic.co.uk/discord

Hope everyone has a great weekend!
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empika
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« Reply #248 on: April 01, 2019, 08:24:54 PM »

Hey folks,

Bit of a delayed update as I've been super busy with contact work. Not a whole lot to report though, I've just been steadily fixing bugs...

The biggest bug fix has been save file loading. This was due to a combination of test procedure and unity! Firstly, do not use unity's Resources.FindObjectsOfTypeAll to get all your resources of a type. This only returns items in memory. I actually had a TODO next to this line of code telling me to fix it from a year ago too Cry I was trying to load the template session data that I would then copy the values from the save file to. When I was testing, I would start a game, quit and then try and continue which would work fine because that dummy save file was already in memory

* Fix issue using the perspective preview editor when playing
* Flatten and smooth actor normal map
* Spawned enemy timers should be at the back of the queue
* Speed up battles - reducing movement time, pauses etc

The new build is already up on itch: https://soromantic.itch.io/jack-move

The other thing I've been slowly doing is creating a trello board for all the content in the game. So one list for each area that then lists all the maps, enemies, npcs, cutscenes etc that need to be created, most of this info is in various sketchbooks and notebooks, so it will good to get it all in one places and organised!

Think that's about it! As ever, come join the discord if you'd like to chat about the game etc http://www.soromantic.co.uk/discord

CHEERS! X
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empika
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« Reply #249 on: September 19, 2019, 11:37:14 PM »

Hey everyone!

It's been so long! I'm so sorry! The game isn't dead though! Far from it! I've been super busy with a lot of contract work, but have been doing small bits and pieces in my spare time, but now my contract stuff is finished, I have time to work on Jack Move full time again! Hooray!

Some other great news Joe back on characters animation again! I've also been able to add a new writer to the team! Amalie is super good and she has been punching my story in to shape, giving the characters more depth and generally making it an excellent story rather than a mediocre one!

The next big news is that we finally have a Steam page! Like, subscribe and wishlist!!

Even more huge news is that Jack Move is coming to Switch! I was lucky enough to get my hands on a dev kit in July and was able to port the game pretty quickly. I was able to show the game at Taipei Summer Game Show on Switch and it went down really well :D



There's been a huge chunk of changes over the last few months too.

UI:

I Changed the default rendering resolution from 480x270 to 640x360. This is because i was originally targeting Vita (christ, how long ago was that!), but it makes more sense to target the Switches native resolution which is double 640x480 and will also bump up nicer to 1080 too. Having bumped the resolution, this gave me a lot more screen real estate, so I overhauled most of the UI too.
This was all actually kicked off by realising that I need to increase font size in order to accommodate anything other than roman stuff. The smallest you can get away with for chinese/japanese etc is about 12 pixels tall. So having swapped to the excellent Silver font by Poppy Works, i then needed to bump the resolution in order to fit everything in!

Optimisation:

I did a bunch of optimisation to get stuff running at 60fps on Switch. I can't remember if I've been over this before? I did a bunch of optimisation work last year in the hopes that one day I'd be able to get it running on Switch one day. Well that day came, and all the work came in real handy. Most of it involved baking all my maps and items, both in terms of reducing the amount of meshes being drawn as well as then baking the light in to them.
I'd be happy to to do a more detailed post on optimisation if anyone would like?

Fishing!

Yes! According to Yoko Taro, JRPG needs fishing. So I knocked up a quick prototype for a fishing minigame. It's not super polished yet, but hopefully you'll get the idea. I'm not sure if it will actually end up in the final game, but hopefully will be a few different fishing spots and you'll be able to get extra rods and things! (not show in the gif below is the rhythm mini game to reel the fish in)



New Noa:

Joe has tweaked the main player sprite for Noa based on Gary's original design. Now she's all bouncy, trouncy, flouncy, pouncy, Fun, fun, fun, fun, fun!



Bits:
I've squashed a ton of bugs, done a ton of production planning stuff and started on a new area for the Town...



Rebuilt my glitchy UI shader as a proper fullscreen effect, adding some nice noise and scanlines that give it a bit more texture



I'll be back to posting weekly devlogs from now on, so look forward to those. With more folks on the project, I should have more great work to show too!

You can grab the demo here: https://soromantic.itch.io/jack-move

Wishlist this wiz biz here: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1099640/Jack_Move/

And come join the discord, see more work in progress gifs and images and chat about the game (and how good Links Awakening is!): http://www.soromantic.co.uk/discord

CHEERS! Have a great Links Aweekending everyone!
« Last Edit: September 19, 2019, 11:46:22 PM by empika » Logged

Ishi
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« Reply #250 on: September 20, 2019, 09:27:43 AM »

Great news about the Switch port! Congrats on the continued progress. A happy Links Aweekending to you, too.
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empika
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« Reply #251 on: Today at 05:28:22 AM »

Thanks Ishi! I'm stoked to be back working on it full time  Kiss
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