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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsLumo - Isometric Arcade Adventure
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Triple-Eh?
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« on: January 21, 2014, 06:30:33 AM »

Hi there, I'd like to introduce you to Lumo:


About Lumo

Lumo is an old school, 'Isometric, Arcade, Action Adventure' game.

I'm not sure what that genre descrition brings to mind these days, but back in the 80s - when I first started playing computer games - it was used to describe seminal exploration games on the Spectrum, CPC and C64, many of which you may recognise: Knightlore, Pentagram, Chimera, Head Over Heels and Monster Max.


With the move to full 3D presentation, these sorts of games have largely stopped being made. Lumo is my answer to the question "what would Head Over Heels look like, if it was developed today, and had a bunch of shaders thrown at it?"


Prototyping Lumo

Lumo started out as a very quick prototype called Arse Over Tit that I put together at the end of November 2013. Here's a short video of how the game looked after a couple of days:





The player character was bought from the Unity Asset Store, the textures were sourced from Gametextures.com, and the whole thing was very quickly thrown into Unity just to get a feel for how an old school isometric game might look and control on a modern system.

The results kinda surprised me... I was pretty sure, even after a couple of days, that this was something that would be a good project for me; Head Over Heels was the first game that I ever owned, and I remember spending a summer, back in '87, mapping the game before drawing out a whole new world that I wanted to add to it! So, yeah, it's fair to say that this is an idea that's been in the back of my mind for a while... :D

I spent 3 more days tidying up the initial prototype, finding the right mood and lighting for the game, and put together the first scripted sequence; spawning the player. Here's a quick video, taken 1 week into development:





This sequence gave me the confidence to pursue the idea, and bar the Xmas holiday, I've been working on this solidly since mid December.

Story and Setting

'Lumo' is the Finnish word for Enchantment, or Enchanted. It's kinda [roughly] being under some form of magic spell, and that, coupled with the English connotations of 'Light' kinda gave me the right feel for the game.

Story-wise, there's still a lot to work out here, and my feelings about exactly how the story will play out are evolving. At the time of writing, the overall arc is that the player character - a small child - has become lost in a museum that they were visiting with a parent/guardian. The fact that the player character is actually lost will probably only become clear toward the end of the game, so most of the time will be spent with the player believing they're a wizard in a big, spooky building.

I want the location itself (the 'museum') to lean more toward 'real world', with the fantasy aspects being a mix of what a small child would imagine and what you'd actually find in a dusty old building. It gives me a good location for numerous references to the old 8bit Isometric titles, which I've already started sneaking into the screenshots that have been released, as well as the freedom to put pretty much anything I want into the locations. Kids have wild imaginations :D

And again, subject to continued evolution, the Museum will be split up into several layers:

The underground passages:


The Crypt:


The Dungeon:


The Castle:



Along the way I'll be throwing in some puzzles, collectable items, unlockable special zones and all the types of mechanics that you'd expect from one of these games. It won't be laid out in a Metroidvania style of constant back-tracking, but I do expect to have the player revisting certain locations after they've made some fundamental changes to the world.

It's pretty much what you'd expect from an isometric adventure, minus some of the old-school fiddly controls and pixel perfect jumping. I think we've all progressed a bit since then... Smiley


Who's developing it & where we're currently at:

Lumo is primarily being developed by (me) Gareth Noyce, with music and some 2D aspects (such as the logo) being produced by Dopedemand. I'm getting some help with a new player character, which I hope to be able to show quite soon, as well as additional props from my friend, Toni Pippola. But the majority of the code/sfx/gfx and marketing/etc work is on me...

Since deciding to put as much time as I can on Lumo I've been pushing hard to implement a series of rooms that each show off a different mechanic that will be used in the final game. So far I have about 20 rooms, with at least another 10 or 15 planned for this month. I've yet to really do much that's super experimental and I'd describe the feel - in its current form - as a bit like a mix between Head Over Heels & classic Zelda dungeons.

I want to share, as much as possible, what I'm doing while I'm developing the game, which is why I'm here Smiley

Immediate Future:

My current plan is to try and get a gameplay video together, some time in late Feb, and enter the game into the Greenlight process. After that I'd like to start getting Alpha builds into people's hands sometime during the summer, just to get some solid feedback, but to do that I really need to have a large chunk of the castle in-place rather than just a bunch of discrete rooms dotted about. I also need to provide a lot more variety in how the game can be controlled! Anyone that's not played an Isometric game before tends to struggle for a while with the orientation... Q,A,O,P and Space just won't cut it, unless you grew up on a Spectrum, of course Smiley

But yeah, the there's a lot still to do Smiley


Following Lumo Updates:

I'll update this thread on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, at the very least to explain what I've been grappling with at any given time, and to share the latest screenshots and video updates.

But, I'm also posting on:

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/korruptor
Tumblr: http://triple-eh.tumblr.net
IndieDB: http://www.indiedb.com/games/lumo
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lumo8bit

so please, follow me, give the page a like, and help spread the word Smiley


If you have any questions or initial impressions, please let me know. I'm more than happy to discuss any aspect of the development process Smiley


Thank you very much for reading this far!




« Last Edit: April 05, 2014, 06:28:31 AM by Triple-Eh? » Logged
moi
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« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2014, 06:42:33 AM »

nice bumpmapping
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« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2014, 07:00:57 AM »

Nice. I love the "one isometric room at a time" genre as well! Smiley
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« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2014, 02:00:22 AM »

This week's been pretty productive:

The main character was originally an Asset Store purchase, so I needed a new model that was high enough detail for me to get the camera in close to him for ceremonies, like when you pick up something... He's being worked on by a friend, Paul Large, who sent over a shot of the ZBrush sculpt for me to look at, which you can see below. This still needs to be textured, rigged and re-animated, but hopefully I'll be able to get him in-game within a couple of weeks.

He's looking a little stressed, but then, he is lost in a castle...



I spent all day yesterday experimenting with rooms that build themselves around you. This isn't something I'll use very often, but for forced scrolling corridors, or secret passages, I figured it could look quite cool. Here's the first shot of this in action:



You really need to see it move, to appreciate it, but I'm holding off putting any more videos out for a couple of weeks... This still needs an audio pass, and for particle effects to be added when the rocks lock in place. But it's already looking quite cool.

In addition, I've had a little more fun with fire:



And put in another couple of rooms:





So, I'm happy with progress this week. Unfortunately, next week, instead of 3 days, I'll only have one to work on the game, so I'm not sure how much I'll get done. Sad




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« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2014, 10:22:27 AM »

Ive had a bit of an education, the last two weeks, as I've had to learn how to rig, skin and animate the new character. The skinning turned out to be a bit fiddly, and I'm constantly noticing verts that have the wrong weights, or pop out at certain angles.

For the most part this isn't a problem, as the camera never gets too close, but I've been working on the ceremony for when you find your wand and as it's one of the few times the camera gets close-up, I'm going to have to tidy up a few wiggles.

Here's a shot of how the character's looking during the pick-up ceremony:



He's a very serious young man  Smiley

So, lots of animations to put into the build over the next couple of weeks, as he has to have the full set of character actions with and without his wand. I'm really enjoying animating though, it's a lot of fun. Wish I'd tried it sooner.

High resolution version of the image can be found here: http://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/29/28229/Lumo_WandPickUp_Final.png
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« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2014, 05:25:30 AM »

This week I've finished off the area where you'll find the wand and lamp items - you'll need these to light up the darker areas and manipulate objects - and I've added the animated ceremonies for each.

Took a while to hook up, and I've re-done a bunch of the textures in this area, but it's starting to look how I want it.







High res versions of these are up on the IndieDB page: http://www.indiedb.com/games/lumo

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« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2014, 05:46:24 AM »

The main guy's face kinda creeps me out some. What with the doll eyes and baby face. I have an irrational fear of dolls though so it's probably just me.
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« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2014, 06:52:32 AM »

Yeah, you're not alone, someone said something similar to me last night. I don't have a problem with the eyes, but I do think he's looking a bit *too* serious.

I need to work out how I can animate his face simply, especially for those kinda close up shots, then I can give him a bit more life which might stop the freaky doll vibe. I think I can do it with some blend shape animations in Max, but I've no idea how to get those through to Unity.

It's definitely on the list tho, so thanks for bringing it up.
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« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2014, 11:20:14 AM »

Dopedemand, who's working on the soundtrack for me, has jut uploaded a little taste of the music. You can have a listen on his soundcloud page: http://soundcloud.com/dopedemand/dopedemand-lumo-becoming
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« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2014, 02:34:37 AM »

Lumo's First Look gameplay trailer is now up on You Tube (is there a way to embed it in a post btw?):





And I've also submitted it to Steam Greenlight: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=237539942

Obviously, I'd love any feedback you have on the video. It's still early days developing this game and I'm really looking forward to a couple of months of getting my head down and just cranking out some rooms. Smiley

Also, if you like the music in the vid, the official soundtrack has been released on Bandcamp: http://dopedemandit.bandcamp.com/album/lumo

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« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2014, 01:00:06 PM »

Solid trailer. It's good that it shows off a variety of player actions and it really shows off a lot of the cool lighting effects. Maybe you could put a bit more text in there to give the player some idea about the setting/story?
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« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2014, 01:20:05 PM »

Yeah, the current trailer is very much a sneak-peak at what's been developed so far, which is why there's no real description of the setting/story. Plus, I'm not 100% decided on what I'm going to do with the story atm. I've got a couple of competing ideas, but I really want to give the player a lot of space to make the story up for themselves. Which kinda goes against what a lot of people are asking me for.

One thing I might do is a dev blog style video, where I play through the scenes and talk about what my plans are, which could go some way to helping give out more info. But that won't be for at least a month. It took much longer than I expected to put together the first trailer.

But you're right, I need to do a little more work on explaining the game.
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« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2014, 06:48:36 AM »

Sorry for the lack of updates, but things are progressing well. Lumo's now in the Top 100 on Steam's Greenlight, so a massive thanks to everyone that's voted!

Development-wise: I've spent the last couple of weeks tackling the introduction to the game and teaching the basic controls to the player. There are now 3 different orientations, depending what your preference is, and joypad support also works fine with these.

The early structure I've been working on just reinforces this for the player - a few of my playtesters have bumped into walls quite a lot - with some simple orientation and jumping excercises to let the controls settle in.

I've also snuck in a few little surprises for the first half hour, including a short warp zone that's had me laughing all week. That'll be shown in the next gameplay vid.

So, some new screenshots:








These 3 shots are taken from the basement zone of the castle, and from here you'll enter the crypt before slowly working your way back up to the top.

High resolution versions are on my IndieDB Page: http://www.indiedb.com/games/lumo/images

Again, thanks to everyone that's voted for Lumo so far, and if you've not done so already, please check out my Greenlight page:

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=237539942
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« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2014, 05:20:16 AM »

This week has mainly been about steam, pipes, engines and unlocking the next section of the game:



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