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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsTinyKeep - Escape the Dungeon (Steam release!)
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phi6
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« Reply #40 on: February 01, 2014, 07:45:03 AM »

Week 22

I spent most of this week preparing for a talk about Random Generation which I presented on Thursday evening. Thanks to the guys from Unity who invited me, and it was a blast seeing other interesting projects on show too!





The talk was filmed so once it has been edited I'll try to remember to post it here - hopefully it will help other developers who may have the same problems I faced during development of TinyKeep. Unity doesn't exactly make it easy to work with procedural content, but there are workarounds.

Next week I will commence work on the first part of Story Mode - really excited about this!
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« Reply #41 on: February 08, 2014, 08:04:03 AM »

Week 23

Voice Actor Confirmed!

We are drawing ever near to exhibiting TinyKeep to the public for the first time in April (at Update Show http://updateshow.co.uk and potentially even Rezzed 2014 - if we manage to get in!). So getting the first level of the Story Mode implemented is currently our top priority.

Up until now we've been suitably vague about what we are including in the storyline. Without giving too much away, you essentially start the game as a prisoner held deep in the catacombs of TinyKeep who has suddenly been set free by your cellmate (who incidentally has escaped a while ago and is nowhere to be seen). Every now and again you stumble across various letters and notes left behind by your mysterious saviour, giving you hints, warnings and other humorous monologues as you continue to make your escape to the outside. The messages are a glimmer of hope which pushes you on through the dark and lonely dungeons.

We've been auditioning various voice actors/actresses over the past few months for the part of the "Other Prisoner", and today I am happy to announce the newest addition to the team:



Kathryn MacColl is an experienced theatre actress and graduate from the East 15 School of Acting in London. Recently, she has developed a strong passion for voice acting roles in animation and computer games, and has since been assisting various indie projects and local game jams across the North West. As you can see from her voice acting showreel below, she has a fantastic repertoire and we absolutely cannot wait to have her narrate TinyKeep's letters.





We think having Kath on board will add to the already quite quirky and whimsical nature of the game, and will also showcase the best female vocal talent that Britain has to offer, something I feel is under represented in the games industry as a whole.

Phi talks about Random Dungeon Generation at Manchester's Unity User Group

As I briefly mentioned on the last update, I was invited by Unity to present a technical talk on how TinyKeep's dungeon generation was implemented in Unity. The event had a great turnout! As promised, the talk was filmed so I've put it online on YouTube if you are interested in this kind of thing.





Apologies for the bad video and sound quality, it was the first Unity event in Manchester so there were some teething issues with the equipment. I recommend you download the slides to make the presentation easier to follow.

Zipped PDF slides:
http://tinykeep.com/images/devlog/random_dungen_phi_dinh_slides.zip
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« Reply #42 on: February 08, 2014, 12:31:55 PM »

Hey just stopping in for the first time to say that I really like what you've got so far.

The "horde" trailer almost made it a hybrid chase/crawler game, which sort of got my palms sweating.  1-2 skellies was okay, but many more than that and it looked like mayhem.  Smiley

I am curious to see how combat will play out - saw some good blocking animations in there...staying tuned.
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« Reply #43 on: February 08, 2014, 02:28:52 PM »

Thanks! Combat will be a little twitchy rather than the click fest of MMOs or Diablo type dungeon crawlers. Blocking, timing and counter attacks are quite important Smiley
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« Reply #44 on: February 12, 2014, 06:07:14 PM »

Really glad to see how this is coming together.
Congratulations for what you've done so far. And keep up the good work.

Do you have a list of features you plan to implement next?
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« Reply #45 on: February 13, 2014, 12:00:21 AM »

Just working on the beginnings of Story Mode at the moment, so I can show off some polished stuff in time for the live shows I'll be attending.

So right now looking at a smooth camera controller for cutscenes, and finalizing a script for our voice actress!
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« Reply #46 on: February 13, 2014, 12:15:03 AM »

This sounds really promising.
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« Reply #47 on: February 13, 2014, 12:29:17 AM »

Week 1 is all about planning, so I made this giant wall chart of month by month milestones which shows what I need to achieve on time lest I run out of money by September next year! I used Post-it notes here which are handy to rearrange, as we all know even the best laid plans can change.


Just checking in on this again, am keen to know if you're sticking to your targets? Project planning is one of the hardest challenges IMO
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« Reply #48 on: February 13, 2014, 03:35:51 AM »

Glad you asked! Let me tell you at all best laid plans go completely out of the window. I'm actually constantly changing my goals, adding and removing features from scope, pretty much everyday. But for me game making is an organic process. So when I do a round of playtesting with friends and family, I uncover issues and ideas that I didn't account for before and often this means I end up taking a different path to what I originally envisaged.

Based on experience of past projects, I anticipated this which is why I am using Post-It notes instead of having something fixed. Because I am on a limited budget (money runs out in September) I cannot really afford to just plug away at the game and include absolutely everything I want and tweak it for years until it is perfect. It's not ideal but I do end up having to sacrifice some features and focus on the most important bits, ie. making the core game fun to play. Of course, it goes without saying that it is still very important to have some sort of plan, if only to remind yourself at a glance of what features left to implement and how much time to do it in. I definitely don't want to (and cannot) push the release date back.

Here's what the wall chart looks like now, but I'm sure it'll change a lot more as we get nearer to the deadline!



I'm actually take a photo of this every few days, I think it'll be fun to put together into a timelapse once the project is over.
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« Reply #49 on: February 13, 2014, 07:03:01 AM »

Ahh, good use of post-it's! Time is the only vector that doesn't change, only scope and order, very wise.

I look forward to seeing the time-lapse :-)
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« Reply #50 on: February 13, 2014, 07:06:37 AM »

This is why I like to have monthly dev cycles (almost like scrum/Agile development) so that at the end of each month I have a polished version of the game. Each month, core features are implemented first, and if I have time then extra fancy bits can be added. So by the end of the year there should exist a game that works, maybe with reduced scope. But at least that's better than having a massive game with a load of unfinished features everywhere!
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« Reply #51 on: February 13, 2014, 07:11:19 AM »

Truly SCRUMptious.

The idea of a fully playable version every month is awesome in itself, I bet there's a lot of benefits for playtesting and motivation. Are you a one-man band? I've tried applying agile working solo but a lot of the practices are geared toward team working; discussions, feedback etc. which can make things quite hard! You've inspired me to do something similar for my game.
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« Reply #52 on: February 13, 2014, 07:16:54 AM »

Pretty much - I do all of the programming and externally contract out art, music, sound etc..

There's no official Agile method here, no discussions or peer programming or anything like that! It's purely just to ensure I get a working version for playtesting every month, and also if I get run over by a bus tomo at least the game can be released as-is.

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« Reply #53 on: February 13, 2014, 11:14:44 AM »

It's a shame you ditched AIR, when I saw your KS I was so happy to find another AIR enthusiast! This game is looking pretty amazing though, even the prototype looked awesome. Any thoughts on porting this to mobile devices?
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« Reply #54 on: February 14, 2014, 10:33:05 PM »

I actually love Flash/AIR! But given the tight deadline and the fact that 3D physics (via PhysX) works out of the box with Unity, it was a no-brainer for me! Actually switching to Unity was probably the single best decision I have ever made for the game. You should try it if you haven't already!

Mobile is a possibility, depending on how sales go. Definitely not planned for this year Smiley
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« Reply #55 on: February 15, 2014, 04:08:48 PM »

I actually love Flash/AIR! But given the tight deadline and the fact that 3D physics (via PhysX) works out of the box with Unity, it was a no-brainer for me! Actually switching to Unity was probably the single best decision I have ever made for the game. You should try it if you haven't already!

Mobile is a possibility, depending on how sales go. Definitely not planned for this year Smiley

I've tried Unity, don't really like it too much. But then again, I prefer coding things from scratch. The game I'm developing is 2D, so switching won't make a massive difference.

I'd love to have this on my iPad or mobile, make sure you keep that in mind for the future Wink
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« Reply #56 on: February 18, 2014, 06:28:58 AM »

Will definitely keep that in mind mate Smiley

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« Reply #57 on: February 19, 2014, 09:01:25 AM »

Week 24

Firstly the bad news! TinyKeep did not get selected to be part of the EGX Rezzed Leftfield Collection, so unfortunately we will not be attending Eurogamer's event this year. Apparently there were over 200 submissions, which made it incredibly competitive and as you can imagine it was very difficult for the judges to pick their chosen 20. However, this now means we can focus all our efforts on the upcoming Update Show in April, as well as submitting our game to other future events as well. So watch this space for more news on that!

Milestone #3 Underway

With that out of the way, I'd like to talk about the work we've been doing for the past few weeks. Our goal for the beginning of April is to have a fully playable "almost polished" version of the first Story Mode level.

This build will be used to showcase the game at various trade shows, so in addition to having a complete playable level, we will also be including elements of voice acting, a fully featured soundscape and last but not least the first incarnation of the player character - our beloved Prisoner.

From Concept to Creation

Chantal Slagmolen, a good friend of mine and an amazing illustrator and digital painter recently offered to help get the initial concept of our prisoner character down. Of course we couldn't refuse so after a couple of iterations we ended up with this:



Sporting a set of dirty ripped clothes and foot bandages, the years have certainly taken their toll on our little prisoner. The original brief was to have a gender ambigious character, so they could be played as either male or female. In the end we concluded that this idea wasn't very suitable due to the amount of detail needed to get the face textures looking right, so right now we are focusing on the male version first. But rest assured in the final game you'll be able to play as either male or female!

The player fully modelled in 3D, taking care to keep the proportions and colours consistent with the other monsters from the game:



Initially we were concerned that the cloth headwrap would look too distinctly Saharan, so we decided to make it customizable so that it could be replaced with a number of other accessories or hair.



For this first demo we're including the headwrap, some hair, a beard, a hood and a medieval nightcap. Expect a more extensive set of accessories in the future!

Our new character customization screen:



A few possible player combinations. My favourite is the forest ranger style!



And finally here's a little sneak preview of the Story Mode, this is me playing as Aragorn in the starting prison cell:

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« Reply #58 on: February 19, 2014, 09:19:39 AM »

Awesome stuff! looking forward to seeing more of this Smiley
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« Reply #59 on: February 26, 2014, 03:01:57 AM »

Week 25

Introduction Cutscene

So now that the character design and model is finished and ready to go, I've been mostly spending last week working on the introductory cutscene. It's going to be a pretty short cinematic, as the game is not hugely narrative based so we don't want it to get in the way of the gameplay.

Here's some screenshots of some of the camera angles I'm experimenting with for the cutscene.





I've never done this kind of thing before, so it was interesting working out how to smoothly move the camera around the scene - this was made even more difficult by the fact that the environment is procedurally generated. The camera would have to adapt to that, no two cutscenes are ever 100% the same.

Modular Wood

For a while now I've been using a set of modular wooden "scaffolding" pieces to create some of my environments. It's amazing how you can create so many different things from just a simple set of beams, planks and supports. Yesterday I made a makeshift prison which will be dotted in and around the dungeon. I wanted to go for the "bodged" thrown together look, so I used a combination of wood and broken metal bars (which was modified from the steel door mesh).



Incidentally, I've been using the same modular wood pieces for the wooden frame of the hanging gibbet cages way back.

Thinking of adding some structural supports and wooden ceiling beams for some of the rooms to add a bit of variety as well. What else can I do with them?
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