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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsReturn of the Obra Dinn [Releasing Oct 18]
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Author Topic: Return of the Obra Dinn [Releasing Oct 18]  (Read 718775 times)
tuglaw
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« Reply #140 on: June 21, 2014, 11:45:45 AM »

Sorry, I must have accidentally skipped your previous post.


Turning a bit to look down the (empty) deck.

If you stand still it's a little worse since the line dithering clutters things up, and distant geometry is _really_ hard to read. After playing with it for a bit, I eventually felt the constantly changing lines were, although neat, too distracting. I'm going to do my best to make the basic inverse-lit lines work first. There's something about the simplicity of it that I really like. Sorry guys!

It does look interesting.
Having distant geometry hard to read would play into the darkness of some corners of the inside of the ship, so it's hard for me to say that it's a problem without experiencing it, but your word is enough. Smiley
Are the lines distracting because they flicker when they change due to the dithering?

I don't know why you're apologizing, that concept of "darkness" where only the edges are lit up would be strange to most players in the beginning, not sure of how many, or any, would embrace it in the long run. Better solutions will come!  Hand Thumbs Up Left
« Last Edit: June 21, 2014, 12:33:18 PM by MurderOfPoes » Logged

happymonster
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« Reply #141 on: June 21, 2014, 11:59:56 AM »

I like the last screenshot, but ultimately it's your game Smiley
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Thotep
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« Reply #142 on: June 25, 2014, 01:10:01 AM »

Reading about all your experiences with Maya makes me wonder why didn't you just use Blender (which you seemed to like).
I love the art style, but I'm even more interested in the story and gameplay hook, which you mentioned but didn't want to talk about yet.
Your devlogs are a great inspiration! Thanks for sharing your process.
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@thotep, made Prophour23, currently working on PANZERBOMB. My blog: http://thesecretpie.com
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« Reply #143 on: June 25, 2014, 08:09:10 AM »

I think it's better without inverse lines, and there's no problems if you make sure to light everything important.
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dukope
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« Reply #144 on: June 25, 2014, 08:19:12 AM »

Reading about all your experiences with Maya makes me wonder why didn't you just use Blender (which you seemed to like).
I love the art style, but I'm even more interested in the story and gameplay hook, which you mentioned but didn't want to talk about yet.
Your devlogs are a great inspiration! Thanks for sharing your process.

For this project I want to try paid software for everything in the critical path. Especially with the new reasonably-priced Maya LT. I've used and enjoyed Blender, but it still had issues related to being free software.


Story, Gameplay, & Spoilers

I'll wait a big longer before going into the story & gameplay. And it's a good thing I haven't said anything about it yet. My core mechanic ideas have already changed quite a bit since starting. I haven't prototyped anything gameplay-related yet either so it could all change some more. What I've got in mind now seems ok enough so the next steps will be to prototype it. If things work out, I can start fleshing out the narrative using that mechanic.

Actually, revealing the core mechanic will ruin a large surprise near the start of the game. Part of me wants to keep everything secret until I release. But there's not much point in running a devlog like that so the core mechanic will become public when I start prototyping it. The full story will likely stay mysterious until the final release though. Similar to the Papers Please dev process I guess.


Technical Features

I mentioned in the OP that I want to experiment with some technical features. At this point, there are 3 of these:

  • 1-bit rendering
  • Walking simulation
  • Hand-reaching environment interaction

The rendering is mostly taken care of. I'll be tweaking things for a while but the basics are done. The hand-reaching (not around) I'll describe in detail a little later. I worked on the walking today.


Walking Simulation

Sound will be a big part of creating the atmosphere and filling in the holes left by the visuals. One of the things I want to get right is the footsteps across the wooden ship. The game won't have a run button (the ship is too small for it), so the player will be plodding along everywhere. I thought it would be fun to make a simple little simulator to drive the footfalls, scuffs, and head bobs. Something to tie them all together in a logical way. Here's what I came up with:


Walking sim foot discs

There are two discs, one for the left foot and one for the right foot. The circumference of each disc matches the player's stride of 0.5 meters. As the player character covers ground in the game, the discs "roll" along the ground.

In the gif, each disc has a red arc that represents when the foot is on the ground. The bottom of the discs are resting on the ground, so when the red is down, the foot is down. As the black hole passes over the bottom, the foot is in the air. The "foot" of each stride is connected by the line. The dot follows whichever foot is higher. The left foot always leads (for now) and the right foot follows behind. When the player stops walking, the discs return to their natural orientation with the hole at the top.

So with this simple sim, I can attach some events:

  • Red arc first touches ground point -> Foot fall
  • Red arc just leaves ground point -> Foot rise (scuff)
  • Center dot -> head bob
  • Disc speed -> effect volume

The only input to the simulator is the delta of the player's position. There are two neat tricks that make this work well:

1. The radius of the discs starts out small and gets larger quickly as you walk. This isn't visible in the gif, but the idea is that you take a few small steps as you get up to speed. So the initial stride may be 0.3 meters before you're at top speed of 0.5 meters/step. This is simple to model by just changing the disc radius.

2. The y coordinate of the player position delta is scaled by 3. This makes the sim think you're covering much more ground when going up or down slopes and stairs. The result is that the player takes quicker steps in these cases. You can see it in the gif as the screen gets darker when I go down some stairs. It also adds little extra quick steps as you go over small bumps, which is a nice effect.

It's only been tested with temp sounds right now; I'm curious to see if it holds up with proper foley sounds. I expected to spend a few days on this but ended up happy enough at the end of one day that I'll move on to the next tasks.
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« Reply #145 on: June 25, 2014, 02:05:12 PM »

That's some crazy detail with the footsteps, very impressive!
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« Reply #146 on: June 25, 2014, 02:33:00 PM »

I think the walking deserves a video.
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« Reply #147 on: June 25, 2014, 09:13:34 PM »

That little 'sea legs' simulator is awesome.

I love the way the dithering reminds me of the hatching on old woodcuts and the b&w Mac look makes the game feel antiquated in a way that suits the subject matter. Even though the Age of Sail clearly pre-dated the Age of Macs... It's a kind of psychological trick, I guess, but I don't mind having tricks played on me when they're this elegant. Smiley
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« Reply #148 on: June 26, 2014, 12:53:19 AM »

The mechanic underlying the walking simulator is really fascinating, you have done a great job in synthesising it in this model.

I am looking forward to experience how will it feel in-game.
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« Reply #149 on: June 30, 2014, 07:19:37 AM »

I loved Papers,Please and this one looks great as well.I absolutely love the art styles and settings that you come up with in your games... Tears of Joy
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« Reply #150 on: July 06, 2014, 06:19:08 PM »

It's been a pleasure to watch this dev log progress, thank you for including us in the process. The combination of nostalgic visual design combined with what is shaping up to be very nuanced interaction has me excited for what is to come.

People have had some great questions and comments about technique and direction for the project, but the questions I have are a little more mundane.
  • How have you been planning the project from the highest level?
    Do you have a master plan you set out with, or are features and solutions more ad hoc?
  • Do you use any bug tracking software or service?
  • Do you find yourself dividing time between work and personal life, or is your mind pretty much always on the project?
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« Reply #151 on: July 07, 2014, 01:09:56 AM »

How have you been planning the project from the highest level?

I started with a rough mental picture of how the entire game would play out. Visuals, mechanics, progression, events, story elements, etc. Then I just sit down and start picking out bits that I want to work on. I guess that's a big advantage of working alone. I can jump around between tasks to keep myself interested.

Quote
Do you have a master plan you set out with, or are features and solutions more ad hoc?

Yeah there's a master plan but big parts usually end up changing as I go along. Gameplay mechanics are the big question since I don't know if those will really work until they're implemented. For this game in particular, I have an idea about the core mechanics, and some confidence that they'll be ok but, there's always the chance they won't work and I'll need to come up with something else.

Quote
Do you use any bug tracking software or service?

Not yet. I just use git for version control. I'm not a huge git fan but SourceTree makes it bearable. For Papers Please I set up a FogBugz account for bug testing near the end. I may do that again or I may figure something else out. I don't remember being either impressed or disappointed with FogBugz.

Quote
Do you find yourself dividing time between work and personal life, or is your mind pretty much always on the project?

More and more these days I have to divide my time. Recently I've spent a lot of time on Papers Please - creating the Steam trading cards, dealing with support issues, and making a new build to fix some compatibility bugs. I also have a fairly packed personal life and working from home means that it's hard to find long uninterrupted stretches to work. A big part of how I work is based on speed though. If I spend too long on a project I'll lose interest and end up with an unfinished game. And even when I'm not physically working on the game, my mind is always thinking about it. Maybe that's why I get burned out so fast. I seriously cannot stop thinking about the game until I'm completely sick of it. That takes 6-9 months. The clock is ticking.



Hand Reaching

So despite having other stuff going on, I have been pecking away at the hand-reaching implementation. I thought it would be interesting to record a timelapse of the entire construction and coding of this feature. It's not done yet but it's close. Hopefully I can post that in a day or two. Here's a lame teaser:


A door. What wonders lie behind.

The idea is that the game won't have a HUD or item highlighting. Any interaction with the environment will happen using the player's hand. Most of the time the hand isn't visible, but if you get near something interactive, you'll reach for it. Get within range and you'll grip it or hover it. Click the mouse button and you'll open/pickup/etc whatever it is there. So all the interaction is context sensitive.

There's some pretty big limitations to this approach that I'm hoping I can plan around.
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eobet
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« Reply #152 on: July 07, 2014, 10:28:16 AM »

Everything about this is crazy good as it is presented, but just as with Wings of Nazaire (which also presents everything in small forum bite sized screenshots), what happens when you go 1440p or 4k? Some of the classic retro "high resolution" pixel art effect will surely get lost?
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dukope
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« Reply #153 on: July 07, 2014, 08:25:33 PM »

what happens when you go 1440p or 4k? Some of the classic retro "high resolution" pixel art effect will surely get lost?

As of right now, the resolution is fixed at 640x360. In fullscreen it's scaled to fill the monitor and you just get bigger pixels. The main thing that breaks down at that size is the dithering, which is why I'm focusing on reducing it at much as reasonably possible.
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« Reply #154 on: July 09, 2014, 12:23:56 PM »

But can we see our feet? Durr...?
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« Reply #155 on: July 09, 2014, 03:03:05 PM »

this is looking nice nice nice! thanks for posting that rendering breakdown too, it is cool to see how that stuff works in the real world Smiley
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« Reply #156 on: July 10, 2014, 03:12:36 PM »

Liking the visuals and the way you're handling the walking is really interesting, great to see your thought process in it.
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dukope
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« Reply #157 on: July 10, 2014, 07:24:01 PM »

But can we see our feet? Durr...?

I've never seen feet that look good in first person and I don't feel up to tackling that myself -> No feet!

The hand/arm isn't just cosmetic so I feel the payoff is better anyways.
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tuglaw
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« Reply #158 on: July 11, 2014, 02:09:08 AM »

I've never seen feet that look good in first person and I don't feel up to tackling that myself -> No feet!

The hand/arm isn't just cosmetic so I feel the payoff is better anyways.

What if it were peglegs? Durr...?
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« Reply #159 on: July 11, 2014, 05:00:11 AM »

I'm dying to see this look moving/animated- keep it up! Smiley
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