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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsOKHLOS A very disgruntled group of people [Dev Blog]
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roketronz
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« on: July 23, 2013, 02:14:02 pm »








NEWS
OKHLOS IS OUT NOW!
We have amazing news! After almost 4 years of Development, Okhlos is out now!
If you want to buy the game, use these links!

STEAM

GOG



Squeeze into your toga and slide on your sandals to rally the angry mobs of Okhlos and bring down the oppressive god of mythological Greece! Your beloved people will not longer stand for the abuse from their deities and take up arms against them and taking down anything and everything in their path. Topple the beastly minotaur, bring down sacred temples, and confront the almighty Olympians themselves while recruiting and balancing your unruly mob with warriors, peasants, slaves and even livestock in their quest for freedom from Mount Olympus! It’s total anarchy in the birthplace of democracy!

Launch Trailer








The people are angry and have united behind the noble philosophers to do their bidding to take down the soldiers, mythical beasts and temples under the control of the twelve vile gods.



Carefully recruit your followers from warriors, peasants, slaves and beasts of burden and unlock special units or swap units for one of 100 legendary heroes to upgrade the mob and increase their savagery. Wield the power of Heracles, Leonidas, Pandora, and Socrates to turn your mischievous gang into a formidable army!



Every campaign against the gods is different with changes to heroes, monsters, and bosses – and even the mob itself – each time you and your followers set out for battle. Traverse eight procedurally generated Greek cities and never fight through the same world twice!




Make your way through all manner of beasts, warriors, and demi-gods to arrive at the feet of the maleficent Olympians and unleash the power of the people in epic boss battles set against ancient ruins before they were ancient!
« Last Edit: August 18, 2016, 01:21:35 pm by roketronz » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2013, 02:23:43 pm »

I noticed it on indiedb and thought it looks really promising like some kind of crazy ancient greece pikmin Smiley
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« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2013, 02:39:57 pm »

Creating gods!

This week we’ve been making the concept art of some of the gods that will appear in Okhlos!  Making concept art is one of the tasks I personally enjoy the most. So for me, it was a very good week!
(You can click on every image to see it’s full size)
 

THE RESEARCH
The approach we have taken was initially to research. We spent three or four days getting to know everything we could about the gods. I can’t emphatize enough the importance of doing a good research of the subject you are exploring. We have researched a lot from Wikipedia, but also from Robert Graves’ The greek myths, which is the most amazing book about greek mithology out there. Also, we explored which were the common conceptions about the gods, and what were the popular belief about them.
This research helped us establish a ground to add our own interpretations. For example, Posidon (yeah, without an E) originally was an Indo-European horse god, which later came to the pre-hellenics cultures. That’s why even Athens it’s a port city, they don’t venerate him so much. All of this gave us new material, and allowed us not to drift into the usual cliches about some gods.

When we finished the research stage, first I drew the majority of the gods, in a very quick and drafty way. This helped me establish an aesthethic line, and the common things which all of the gods will have. This gives coherency between the gods, even when they are not ment to be together in the game.

Click in the picture to enlarge it

As you can see here, there are some patterns that were early established in all of the gods. Also the robes were an important element from which I could part from. These were not definitive, or made with much love, these were quick sketchs, so I spent a lot of time thinking, but not a lot of time drawing, or caring about anatomy or other stuff.
Finally, the best part, making lots of drawings.


ARES
I already had Ares from a few early tests, which coined what could be the god aesthethics.

Click in the picture to enlarge it

I started drawing Ares with different kinds of helmets. Also, I made him very short and kinda fatso. I was thinking of a sort of Gimli/violent dwarf thing. Later, I stilized him. Also, made his tunic to cover him more, so that it could cover some things for the animations.

Click in the picture to enlarge it


ATHENA
Athena was the second god I approached. The complexity about her was very much how the Peplo would interact with her. Should I base the design in the classical peplo/maiden, or should I invest her more as a warrior?
Finally, I haven’t make the choice yet, but I’m feeling very fond of the color version. It’s simple and very clear about her.

Click in the picture to enlarge it

In my first attemp, I tried to change the helmet to a very different thing from the classical statues. It turned out it didn’t work very well, so I based the rest of the designs into the classical helmet.
Also, I dont have a clear solution to the Aegis yet (the shield). I guess that it will give me a lot of work in the future to figure it out.


APOLLO & ARTEMIS
The olympic twins brought me some challanges.
First, I picked up what I drew first, which was very cartoony, and stilized it a lot. I liked the cartoony look, but we wanted more solemne presence for the gods.
Also, I wanted to emphatize the fact that Apollo is in some way, the same god as Helios,  the sun god. So I made some kind of wrist with the sun emblem. But the problem was that I had no intention in making that kind of avatar simbolization into each god. I drew some versions of Artemis with the same concept in mind (but with the moon, as she was the reinterepretation of the triple moon goddess maid-woman-elder).

Click in the picture to enlarge it

As for Artemis, I took the bow to be a lot like the usual RPG super bows, and added some manga style to it. It’s not finished yet, but I think it’s going in the right direction.
Also, I didn’t want to give her a too much of a sexy look, so in the majority of the cases, I tried not to emphasize the boobs too much. The last version shows Artemis as a roguelike archer, maybe it’s cool, but it’s not the right choice, unless we give it a lot of context.

Click in the picture to enlarge it

I had to work Artemis and Apollo as an unit, so i made a lot of ctrl + tab between the files. Finally, I think the toga version, and the wrist version could work with any of the other Artemis.
Also, a lot of Apollo representations were with him naked. And he is like a simbolization of perfection and male beauty, so i went to the censored version. In the game, it would have a black square, like in the concept. We think it’s cool, but it pushes to make it to other gods as well, and the joke would feel over used later in the games.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2013, 04:51:06 am by roketronz » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2013, 05:09:34 am »

HERA
Hera is Zeus’ wife, and considering that Zeus was going to be final boss, we thought of slipping her into one the game’s final stages as well. But later, when we started looking into Hades, we decided to put him near the game’s end (along with Zeus), so Hera will probably end up showing up a little bit earlier in the game.

From scratch I started a much more queensy look that with other gods. She has jewels all over her, and the Polos, which is like a crown.

Plus there was an important fact about Hera that we wanted to emphasize, that she bitterly transformed everyone she did not agree with into animals, so we wanted a grumpy old woman look, but at the same time young enough to match with Zeus.



Also, here is a little .gif of the process.

I start with some basic geometrical shapes to outline the body’s structure, then I make a standard woman body, which I will be using for all of the design tests with Hera. Finally, it's a matter of throwing detail without thinking too much.
 

APHRODITE

Aphrodite was quite a challenge. I spent a lot of time until I found some ground.

First of all, making her nude was not an option. Aphrodite is the goddess of marital love, but also of love outside of marriage, so she has a very robust erotic side. Making her naked would not generate anything erotic, it would had been simple and kitschy (if that's a word). So we wanted to provoke the erotic side of Aphrodite, with some clothes on her.

The basics were a girdle and some cestus. These were both gifts from Hephaestus (worst wife gifts ever), who also forged a lot of jewelry for her.

We first thought of using transparencies, along with the girdle. But it gave her a middle eastern look which didn't quite fit.

Later, we embraced the fact that, like Apollo from past week, they were all kinda naked. The majority of women had her breasts without any cloth. So we tried showing her boobs, and later showing just one. We are thinking of using the censored black box with her, which is a better fit than Apollo.

Also, the most popular conception is that she is blonde, so we first landed there, but later we moved on and tried to make her redhead, which is more suggestive.




HEPHAESTUS

Hephaestus was one of the easy ones, but it still took me some time. The hard part was to find the body posture to suggest all of his illness.

In the first draft, I approach him like a block, which was kind of cool. Like all the gods, he had an stylization, making him less cartoony. In the first iteration, it went out too erect, so eventually I stooped him a bit, I made the body bigger, and his head much lower.

I wanted to made his overall (a constant that he always had) cover with leather and belts, because, belts.

Also, the hammer it's not definitive, I want to make the hammer unique, not some Thor-esque thing, without any joke. We will see what can we do there.

Finally, I did’t have enough time make some more bald Hephaestus, as in the early concepts. I liked the idea of baldness (as the 60% of my characters in Rogue Legacy) for a blacksmith, but it sounded too much of a cliché.




HADES

Finally, for this week, I had to do Hades, which by far, it's the most interesting god I had to concept. I didn't quite nail it yet, but I liked some results enough to put them up here.

The first drafts came out kinda Jerry Garcia, I liked the idea of a good God. All of the gods, are your enemies, you have to fight them, but in the early myths Hades was not much of a jerk, like we can say about Hera or Zeus, he is often depicted as a balanced person, knowing his role in the cycle of life. Hollywood pretty much made us think of him as a bad guy. So I started with the cool, hipster - philosopher kind of guy.

I also tried a more grimmy look. Putting a hood in a character makes him automatically grimmy, so I started with that. Then I thought of chains, which keeping in mind his relation with death, was the logical conclusion.

In later attempts, I put him a mask with no face, and got very very creepy look, maybe a bit too much for the rest of the game.

Finally, it put him a beard, and it suited him well.Anyway, I liked the RobinWilliamsInGoodWillHunting kind of thing from the first attempt.

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« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2013, 05:25:55 am »

DIONYSUS
Dionysus is the god of chaos, disorder, music, orgies and wine. Brainstorming about him and his level was pretty fun, but then, I didn't want to make a fat old drunk. I wanted to make something with personality, and maybe generate the most edgy god (always consistent with the rest of the game). 

So I started with a surfer approach. I thought of him, as cool as a mutant turtle saying cowaboonga (kind of 90's cool). Long hair, party type. Later, I thought that it wasn't exaggerated enough, and I had to push some more, so then I went for the Hippie look. I liked a lot the idea of making him a Hippie, they had music, drugs, wine, everything. I loved the bearded version of Dionysus, until Sebastian pointed out one of the most important aspects of the god. The hippies are all love and peace. And Dionysus is all disarray, chaos, and a little bit of angry.

From there, I felt in what would be the more fitting attitude: Punk. So, yeah, we have a Punk god, who plays the lyre very hardcore.

(Click in the picture to enlarge it!) 


HERMES
Hermes was almost the most difficult god I had to make (spoiler, Zeus was/is). I went through very different concepts, until I found some ground. 

What I had: Wings, a bag, some cloths hanging to make him look quick when he runs.  The initial concept (from the first update, when I made the whole bunch very quickly) was good, but very typical. Also, I hate Jay Garrick's hat very much, which is a petasos.
I had a hard time drawing it in a natural manner (you will see that later concepts have the petasos in the back). The first Flash has a petasos which is kinda of a military helmet and that's not a good reminiscence for our character. 

I had to do an awful amount of Hermeses (as with all concepts here, you only see a selection of  the drawings) and none of them felt godly enough. It was when we added the Caduceus that he gain some bearing. 

Apart from the petasos, the other problem was the he was not only the god’s mailman but also the god of athletes, so my first idea of making him very skinny was not very good. Eventually, I put him some flesh  but I stayed a bit reluctant of putting more, so as not to lose the design constants of the characters (after all, they are a little bit cartoony, they don’t try to be realistic in terms of human proportions).

The final tiny problem was the hair. Sebastian thought it was too much anime-like, so I made a few versions with much shorter hair. There is also a version which has a safari hat. Searching for mailmen to inspire the petasos, I found Jake from Adventure Time as a mailman with that kind of hat, and I quite liked it. 

(Click in the picture to enlarge it!)
Fun fact: The petasos it's like the one that Oedypus has.
 


POSIDON
Posidon (whiteout the E because Poseidon is too mainstream) was the most straightforward and easy god to make. Posidon’s concept was very clear. Water and eastern robes. There were other things associated with him, like the horses we mentioned on the first part, but they were not so important to the god’s look as they may be to his behaviour or the design of his city.

Also, another thing that accelerated the design was the fact that he will have half his body under water during the fight. That gave us the liberty to do whatever we wanted with the bottom half. The underwear fit perfectly, and we think that maybe during some attack, or after he is defeated, the player will see it but first we have to design the temple in which the player will be facing Posidon. Also, having one croc was cute.

The other designs I tried were either too chinesy or too piraty (not on the screens). Making the crown was the most tedious part. He is the only god that has a crown, so we wanted something organic and which didn’t look so much like a crown. Also, we didn't want to fall into the coral trap, having the little mermaid's under the sea look. So we kept the sea references to an indispensable minimum. 

(Click in the picture to enlarge it!)


ZEUS
He was the most annoying god to make. We wanted to be fresh and original so we were friends of the idea of making him lose the beard. The white hair felt good, not because of his age but because we wanted him to be pure divinity. Also, we didn’t want to make him old. He was the younger of the three brothers, and early sculptures depicted him as a middle age man. 

This brought all kinds of problems, it was so different from the popular conception that it ended up not looking like Zeus at all. We even tried some kind of Muay Thai boxer thing with white hair, and stranger things happened. 

To make him more serious, we tried to whitening his eyes with bolts of lighting. This is something we have planned for different types of attacks from all the gods, so we couldn’t make that a design characteristic of Zeus. 

(Click in the picture to enlarge it!)
I was quite happy with the last two results. They were very unique. Unfortunately, here comes again Sebastian to point out that they felt a bit Egyptians, and the dreadlocks didn’t help a lot with the ethnicity.

So I tried different types of long hair (I don't  know why, but IT HAD to have long hair), also, we gave more importance to the laurel wreath and made it golden to integrate it better with the rest of Zeus ornaments.

Finally, I tried a more traditional hair style from those times, but again it didn’t feel quite right. 

(Click in the picture to enlarge it!)
So, sadly I still have some work to do with the hair, but I think the rest of the body and the clothes are fine. 

Well, that sums up the process of making the gods. It's super cool having to draw a lot, but making concepts doesn’t give you the feeling of progress in the project, at best it gives you some rules for when you have to do the actual in-game graphics, which is really cool and necessary, but it's not in-game progress.
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« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2013, 05:33:27 am »

Wow, this is one of the more impressive projects I've seen here. Amazing attention to detail and I think your dedication to research really shows. Very refined artstyle too, I'll definitely be following this from now on.

Prototype video didn't have any music; I'd LOVE to volunteer to be a part of this if you have any interest. <3 Though as far into development as you already seem to be, I'm sure you already have someone in mind Smiley
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« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2013, 06:07:02 am »

Wow, this is one of the more impressive projects I've seen here. Amazing attention to detail and I think your dedication to research really shows. Very refined artstyle too, I'll definitely be following this from now on.

Prototype video didn't have any music; I'd LOVE to volunteer to be a part of this if you have any interest. <3 Though as far into development as you already seem to be, I'm sure you already have someone in mind Smiley

Thanks a lot for the comments! Grin

Actually, now we dont have any musician in mind. The guy who made sound & music from our previous games went to Australia.

I really appreciate your offer, I will send you a PM, but we thought that it's still pretty early to concentrate on the sound. We tried some music, but it always sounded naggin after the second/third loop. Also, the SFX are directly grabbed from  freesound without processing them in any kind. They are put there just to give some feedback for the actions.

Again, thanks for the feedback!

I noticed it on indiedb and thought it looks really promising like some kind of crazy ancient greece pikmin Smiley

Yes, thats the idea! But Pikmin its more about solving puzzles. In Okhlos, you have to choose your units very wisely, and every mob will be different. There will be more than 5 types of units, and a lot of heroes, each of them will give you different perks/abilities.

Thanks for your feedback!
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« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2013, 11:16:09 am »

After last week's update, when we posted the concepts of the final four gods, we finally have the gods' semi-definitive designs. Here they are!

(Click in the picture to enlarge it!)

Some notes about the changes:
APOLLO
Apollo has more clothes on than in the previous versions, but they were no bigger changes than that.


ARES
We have the pixel art and animations already, so we didn't make changes to him.


ARTEMIS
We added a tiara, like Apollo has, and removed the wings from her shoes. Also, we added some green to enforce the "natural" side of her.


POSIDON
Pretty much straightforward, there were no difficult decisions to make once the original design was selected. Here are some very old versions that give him some piraty look.

(Click in the picture to enlarge it!)


APHRODITE
We still don't know what she'll have to cover her nudity, but it definitely will be an icon or emoticon of some kind, or something funny from the game.Also, compared to previous versions, we gave her girdle and cestus more prominence.


HERMES
Same thing as Apollo, there where no big changes here. The hat and bag went bigger.


HEPHAESTUS
The main problem with him was the apron. We wanted something credible, that looked good context, so we tried with the leather thingy. The hammer was another problem. We researched different types of hammers, but we decided to take some liberties and make an original design.


ATHENA
We had a lot of versions of Athena, and none of them quite fitted. Finally, we established some parallels between Ares and Athena so we adjusted her outfit to fit Ares'. The color palette is the same, but they look very different thanks to the different body sizes.


DIONYSUS
I liked the punk hair on him, but the mohawk didn't fit right. So I went for a more Sid-Vicious-like look, and made him grumpier.Also, the lyre suffered a lot of changes. I figured it would be cool to make it like an electric bass/guitar, so I added lots of accessories.
(Click in the picture to enlarge it!)


HERA
Hera was pretty much straightforward. A lot of jewels, a robe and the peplos. I started with the colours inverted, but she stood out too much from the other gods.

(Click in the picture to enlarge it!)


HADES
Thanks to IndieDB's user Duselesco and his feedback about the hood, we decided to keep his hood on, retaining a darker look, only for a first impression, because before the battle begins Hades will transform himself, by taking his hood off.

(Click in the picture to enlarge it!)


ZEUS
We had the problem of Zeus' hair. We tried a lot of different choices, but nothing really persuaded us. Finally we chose a more canonical Greek look.

(Click in the picture to enlarge it!)

So that's all for this week. We'll be getting some new updates from our new team member JoseLuisScolari soon, so stay tuned!
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« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2013, 11:57:58 am »

What's up with the noses? They don't fit the rest of the otherwise quite nice art style at all.
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roketronz
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« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2013, 01:10:23 pm »

What's up with the noses? They don't fit the rest of the otherwise quite nice art style at all.

I exaggerated them, because they are the base for the pixel art.
When I transalate them into pixel art, the nose are like a distinctive feature.

Here is how they will look like


In pixel art, they aren't so grotesque Tongue
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« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2013, 12:08:42 pm »



After doing some research about Apollo we ended with the feeling that he was one of the good guys. He was the god of light, healing, truth, music, harmony. That is almost as good as it gets. But we had decided that our game was going to be about taking down the old gods. About humans (and some demi gods, and some other quasi humans, and some not some humans, and some chickens) breaking free from the tyranny of the whimsical and stagnant Olympians that would not let mankind grow. So it was our job to portray Apollo as the enemy. We could have had the mob simply destroy Apollo's perfect world of poetry and beauty ... and there will some of that ... but instead we decided to focus on the darker side of the god. Sure, harmony sounds very nice and having some order is pretty useful but what if there is too much order?


With that in mind we set out to design the enemies that would populate the level. The first ones we though off were the ones we ended up calling the Rhythmic Adonis: beautiful, athletic giants that would move and strike down people following the music's rhythm. They seemed to embody several of Apollo's aspects (music, beauty, harmony) and looked perfect to serve as guards, patrolling the streets of the city. I always pictured them simply like really big men, dressed with togas and showing off muscles, but when Roque started sketching them, he had an amazing idea: make them out of clay. And by this I do not mean that we are going to star doing claymation (although that would be awesome ... I'll see if I can persuade Roque to start taking some pottery lessons), no the Adonis will still be made out of pixels but they will be portrayed as sort of automatons made out of clay. Shiny, beautiful, clay giants. I already love them.




Apollo, the Rhythmic Adonis, griffon and more

 
Next, were the griffins. They were one of the creatures associated with Apollo so we said: Let there be griffins! This time we thought not make out of clay (nor metal). Just a good old fashioned griffon. Who does not like a griffon? You? Then you are in luck, my friend, because you will have the chance to beat the hell out of those griffins in Okhlos. The griffins will try to snatch people from the mob and drag the away to turn them into griffin food. If you want to save them, you will have to chase them and give them a taste of mob fury before it is too late.

 
There are lots of other things in the level but I this is getting too long and I want to go back to the code, so I will just skip to good part, the boss battle. The mighty clash between the mob and Apollo himself. The ultimate struggle between order and chaos. And so on. This is the moment where the god of prophecy and poetry will show he is not such a nice guy after all. Besides being the god of medicine he is also the god of plague, so he will unleash his pestilent powers upon the mob. He may or may not throw cats at the mob (arrows for sure, but maybe, only maybe, just a tiny little cat once a while?). Apollo will also try to organize your mob a little bit ... but in a very procrustean way so speak. A grim perspective for the angry Greeks of the mob for sure. However, there is something the player can use in his or her advantage, Apollo's obsessive compulsive disorder. If something near his temple gets a little messy during the fight, he will go and tidy everything up before carrying on with the fighting. A great chance for the mob to strike with its mobly power.
 

And that is it for now. As I said, this just but a glimpse of how the first level in the game is going to be (or at least how it is right now in a pseudo prototipical form) and there will be more to come in the future. Until then ... Power to the people!
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« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2013, 12:44:22 pm »

I'm surprised this isn't getting more attention. I love the mix of 2D and 3D and the art is fantastic! Keep us updated (and more videos please  Smiley )
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« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2013, 01:15:02 pm »

Why did just one guy react to this?
The designs are amazing!
Thanks for sharing such in-depth info on your progress and thinking.  Beer!
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« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2013, 01:10:26 pm »

As Sebastian put it last week, we are developing Apollo's level. Every level in Okhlos will be based around a Greek god.

Apollo is the god of order and perfection, so in the game he will have a little OCD. As the city is build up around him, we focused on making it look very neat, and that everything was in order.

First, we chose Delphi as the main city, because it had the greatest Apollo temple in all ancient Greece. The first misconception we had was thinking Delphi was an island (I think it was because the argonauts searched for the Delphi's oracle in a fracking boat). So that made me do a few concepts of an island, that eventually, when I entered Wikipedia and found out, I discarded with a vicious anger.

The good thing, is that the new findings made me go to google maps and search how the city is right now. Amazingly, it is almost intact! We took the original layout of the city, and gave it a more harmonious and symmetrical design (because, you know, Apollo has OCD).


(Click in the picture to enlarge it!)

As you see, the city looks very inorganic, and that's what we searched for. Future levels will have a more organic/city look. Each square represents a tile, which usually is the size of a little house. Also, there are three major elements: Apollo's temple, the oracle's tent, and the main city.


APOLLO'S TEMPLE

The temple will be the scenario where the confrontation with the god will take place. You will have to do some things in order to be able to defeat him.


(Click in the picture to enlarge it!)

This is the max version. As you can see, we try to keep the polycount very low. Not for performance reasons, but to achieve an overall look.

This is how it will look in the game:


(Click in the picture to enlarge it!)

As with other buildings, some of the decorations are sprites, while the main building is a mesh. Also, the bump mapping in the material works perfectly to make the pixel art in the texture more visible.

One of the puzzles to solve in order to defeat Apollo, involves some of the pillars that the user will find around the temple:


(Click in the picture to enlarge it!)


ORACLE'S TENT

The tent will have some encounters with the guardians of the oracle, also, there will be some light puzzle solving around the tent.


(Click in the picture to enlarge it!)
Note that the tent's texture is not final.

Also, you will see that there are some stakes, which again, revolve around solving something in this part.

Well, that's pretty much what we where doing the last weeks. Programming wise, they were doing some other boring technical stuff, but I prefer not to ask what.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2013, 01:19:05 pm by roketronz » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2013, 01:40:22 pm »

Why did just one guy react to this?
The designs are amazing!
Thanks for sharing such in-depth info on your progress and thinking.  Beer!

Thanks for the comment! We hope that eventually the word will spread out and we gain some notoriety. We will keep up updating the post, regardless of the replies!

I'm surprised this isn't getting more attention. I love the mix of 2D and 3D and the art is fantastic! Keep us updated (and more videos please  Smiley )

Thanks again! We will keep you updated! And hopefully, next week we will have a new video!

We are a two people team, we are doing literally everything in the game, and we really appreciate your comments! They push us forward.
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« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2013, 09:51:24 am »

This week was Sebastian's(designer/programmmer) turn to explain a thing or two about the flocking algorithm we use in Okhlos.



When we first started discussing the game’s idea with Roque, and the word mob was mentioned, another word come into mind “empanadas” (because we were hungry, and we always eat some delicious emapanadas on Fridays). But immediately after lunch yet another word come into my mind: flocking. The algorithm that mimics the coordinated movement of bird flocks or fish schools (http://www.red3d.com/cwr/boids/) seemed like the way to go. Sure, people were not going to behave exactly like fish or albatrosses, but the three rules that govern the flocking algorithm, separation, alignment and cohesion, were going to be more than useful to determine how the people in the mob behave.

The boids' three rules: alignment, separation and cohesion

Being the lazy programmer that I am … errr ... I mean, the efficient programmer that I am, and trying to avoid reinventing the wheel, I set out to seek flocking algorithms implementations on Unity. Soon I came across this neat little set of scripts on the Unity Wiki: http://wiki.unity3d.com/index.php?title=Flocking. It was very simple to implement and the use of a centralized controller made it very efficient as well. It allowed to create a mob of several hundred boids at a very low performance cost. So I used this as the mobster’s behaviors' foundation stone. Our early prototypes were all done using a modified version this algorithm.

And so everything was peace and quiet, months went by and the game grew until one day the algorithm was not enough. The game’s needs had changed and it was time to write a new super efficient yet flexible and versatile flocking algorithm … or search the web again. So I did the latter and this time met Unity Steer: http://arges-systems.com/blog/category/unitysteer/
 
One of the older prototypes

Unity Steer proved to be very flexible, you can add or remove different steering behaviour to get different results easily. It seemed just what we needed. But this came at a performance cost. My good old MacBook started to suffer when a couple hundred boids were added.

What I did then was a fiddle around for a while with the different behaviours, to see which combination worked best (and because it was fun to do so, wiiiii, flocking!!!) until I found something I liked and then merged the behaviours together. The next step was doing some more optimization, taking advantage of the mob’s specific characteristics, removing a little bit of this, merging some of that, profiling, adding a little bit of that, profiling again, checking imdb to settle some arguments about Willem Dafoe’s career, removing some more stuff and profiling once more. You know, the usual mob optimization process.

The Cubes are Back

When it was all over, several hundred boids were moving smoothly around the computer’s screen, doing their boiddy things, aligned, separated yet cohesive. The boids were ready to be integrated into the game, to spark some life into those pixelated and angry Greeks. Pure beauty. 
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roketronz
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« Reply #16 on: August 21, 2013, 01:30:33 pm »

Hi


I've sent your guys a mail about a week ago and I was just wondering whether you had received it?


Cheers! Smiley

Yes! Sorry for the late response, i've just replied you!
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roketronz
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« Reply #17 on: August 28, 2013, 10:17:05 am »

I've been, for the last few weeks, trying to decide how we will be doing the environments of Okhlos.

This process was not pleasant, to say the least. It would normally be a cool process, prototyping, trying to decide aesthetics, profiling, etc. But with the IGF around the corner, every method I discarded, made me feel more pressured to have something definitive, and less time I had to have something nice to show.

We are planning on having two "playable" levels for the IGF, where you can have an idea of what will be the overall aesthetic, plus the core mechanic. 

It all started with the buildings (I will do an update on how I managed to get the pixel art in the textures, soon).

We had  some nice buildings. The main problem was that they were too historically accurate. They were damaged, filled with imperfections, and mainly made of stone. The rock texture gave the impression of something old and neglected.

Later, Sebastian pointed out that they were no fit for Delphi, as Apollo represents order, thus Delphi should have been spotless, and showing that everything is in order. I thought that changing the textures should suffice, unfortunately, it required some uv mapping changes, also removing the sprites objects in order to make everything more marble-like, and some geometry changes were in order.

That took me some time, but the result helped the general idea of the level.

Previous house model vs new one. We may utilize the old one for some other levels.

Later, when we had what would be the main buildings of the levels (we could add more variation later) it was time to figure out how to put these buildings into this:

 

First try: Tilemaps

We use 2dToolkit. It's extremely cool, fast, intuitive, yadda yadda yadda. We use it mainly for the characters and ornaments It has some tilemap functionality, but it's not its core.

First of all, setting the map was not very intuitive, we had to upgrade the plugin, which was not that painful, but it took some time, in order to be able to have the new features specially for the tilemap editor. Finally, we figured out how to set a scale congruent with our current one.

Later, we found out that the meshes didn't have normals, so we must generated them by code. (without normals, we wouldn't have shadows!)

And finally, we had the problem of Y (in Unity, Z in Max). Greece was full of mounts, mountains, cliffs, and working in 2d for a map that would be 3d was not practical at all.
We could have discarded the Y, and made all the levels flat, but there was one more main problem, and that was the materials we use for the bump mapping. There was no easy way of setting the normal maps in the atlas we used for the tilemaps. And that is one of the main things I use to take some work form the textures Tongue

Unfortunately, there is no picture, as I deleted it accidentally, and it's a long process to do it again, just for the sake of the screenshot.

I do have here what could have been the necessary tiles for making different roads.

Combinations for a lot of roads! And none of them take you to Rome

And some tiles that could eventually end up in the final version (not in the same way probably) 

Jepegized image! 

Second try: Unity terrain

At first, a long shot, but it could be cool, the contrast. Eventually, mixing high poly mesh, low poly buildings, pixel art characters, was not such a good idea.

The first problem, as always, was setting parameters that would be consistent with our scale. It was not easy, and the values were extremely different.

From the aesthetic side was not good either.

I tried to export some heightmaps, making them by hand in photoshop, and later working them into Unity or Zbrush. Eventually I could set up some kind of pipeline, but it was not very efficient, as the heightmap, when exported into Unity, was not very precise.

(Click in the picture to enlarge it!)

The terrains in unity, are definitively nasty. The vertex painting part is incredible cool, but otherwise, there are just a headache, or just something quick for prototyping (if you are working in the same scale).
 
The third try: Modular and low polyhhhh
Before I came to this, I was really frustrated. I was searching for something consistent within the game, something beauty, and light in performance. Also fast. I wanted to do a few clicks and have something working.

Eventually, it hit me. We are making low poly buildings, for pixel art characters. The environment it has to be all low poly. And as it would be a stupid amount of work making an entire city unique, the best approach was to made it modular.

In this train of thought, I arrived to my second error. The concept (which all of you can see here!) was very vague in some areas. I didn't figure out how all parts would fit together, and the blank spaces in which "I'll put a mountain or something later" were really not helping to gain a big picture.

So I sat, tok the map, and did it again, now having in mind a tile size, and that each square had to be declared.

That helped me figuring out what will be the definitive layout.

(Click in the picture to enlarge it!)

As for the side of the amount of meshes, eventually, I realized what Sebastian was trying to say for a week now. It's not time for optimization. We will have that time, but for now, we can take a few liberties. Also, the performance problems are coming from the physics side, not the rendering one.  
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Dinsfire
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« Reply #18 on: September 02, 2013, 09:10:05 am »

Everything's looking great, but for some reason the tiles are really standing out to me. That's some nice looking stone. u_u
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roketronz
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« Reply #19 on: September 04, 2013, 01:37:50 pm »

I'll be incredibly frank today. I hate writing in English. I'm a lot more comfortable now than before I started the dev blog, having the obligation of writing each week an update helps a lot, but each update that I write, goes trough Sebastian, for some quick spell check, and to make sure that the sentences are understandable. This same text is then reproduced in our page, our IndieDB page, and our TIG post. If you know other cool sites to post our dev blog, let me know!

This whole process isn't helping us reach our new goal, which is the IGF. So I thought that this week, which was quite busy, I could post only some images, to show how the integration between the mesh and pixel art sprites is coming. 

I had a few questions about the technique I use. I really want to give a full detailed description of the process, but unfortunately, it takes a lot of time. So, maybe in a few weeks, I can post something about this. 

Just to give you a sneak peek of the explanation, the technique is:
-Make the structure in your favorite 3d software.

-Add some sprites in Unity.

-Enjoy your pixels 


(Click in the picture to enlarge it!)

The text between the pictures has no importance whatsoever.


(Click in the picture to enlarge it!)

This text is added only to make the post look cool.


(Click in the picture to enlarge it!)

Putting two images together and no text in between is wrong! "(Click in the picture to enlarge it!)" Doesn't count


(Click in the picture to enlarge it!)

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diam nonummy nibh euismod tincidunt.


(Click in the picture to enlarge it!)

Lorem Ipsum was one of the possible names for Okhlos.


(Click in the picture to enlarge it!)

I know you are reading these texts. Please Stop. Just focus on the nice pictures


(Click in the picture to enlarge it!)

This text has been read 18 times.


(Click in the picture to enlarge it!)

Every time you read this text, A kitty dies somewhere


(Click in the picture to enlarge it!)

Thankfully, this is the last filler text I have to do. I ran out of ideas.


(Click in the picture to enlarge it!)

Well, that's pretty much meshes + sprites.  Thanks for not reading the in-between texts!  
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