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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 658163 times)
Harem
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« Reply #400 on: November 18, 2014, 04:39:13 AM »

Brute Force

The way the game is set up now, it's possible to brute-force all the fates. There are a lot of fates, and going back to check the first page takes a long time. But if you're down to just a few names and a few known deaths it will be tempting to just guess. I'll spend some time working on a way to prevent this but I'm not sure how far to take it. I like the immediate feedback of knowing when you got something right. Brute-forcing is cheating yourself out of the game's puzzles but I can understand the temptation.
I like immediate feedback too ... I think rather than trying to make it inconvenient to check answers, it might work better to just make an easy but explicit way for people to check answers, and to note how many times they guessed incorrectly?  So we can cheat if we want to, but the game kinda makes it obvious that it knows we're cheating (even if it's not going to do anything about it) ...

If the number of fates that are solvable are linked / limited to the players current in game progress ( i.e. only 2 specific solvable fates allowed at this players current storyline position) then I can't see brute force being a problem. The character count added to the amount of fate combinations makes it not worth it versus just playing the game

Edit. Another thought, maybe introduce a mechanic that punishes a player in some way for x amount of incorrect fate guesses. Like the books condition deteriorating with each incorrect entry until it is unreadable or something.  Would mean you'd really have to pay attention to the story that is being told and can't just skim through without consequence   
« Last Edit: November 18, 2014, 05:25:58 AM by Harem » Logged
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« Reply #401 on: November 18, 2014, 05:17:56 AM »

expressing my excitement for your new project!
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« Reply #402 on: November 18, 2014, 01:36:15 PM »

Edit. Another thought, maybe introduce a mechanic that punishes a player in some way for x amount of incorrect fate guesses. Like the books condition deteriorating with each incorrect entry until it is unreadable or something.  Would mean you'd really have to pay attention to the story that is being told and can't just skim through without consequence   
I have a knee jerk reaction against actually punishing the player for incorrect guesses because it's so annoying when Phoenix Wright does this (it just makes the player re-play a big chunk of the game).  Which isn't to say it couldn't work, just ... if you do go down this route, please make sure to find a punishment more interesting than wasting the player's time by repeating linear content!
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Kamikaze
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« Reply #403 on: November 18, 2014, 01:45:31 PM »

I saw a timelapse of how was the IK for the arm made, and it was extremely complicated. Also, the 1-bit rendering looks great! It preserves the details and the depth with only two colours. Continue doing amazing things dukope!
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Harem
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« Reply #404 on: November 19, 2014, 11:48:47 AM »

Edit. Another thought, maybe introduce a mechanic that punishes a player in some way for x amount of incorrect fate guesses. Like the books condition deteriorating with each incorrect entry until it is unreadable or something.  Would mean you'd really have to pay attention to the story that is being told and can't just skim through without consequence   
I have a knee jerk reaction against actually punishing the player for incorrect guesses because it's so annoying when Phoenix Wright does this (it just makes the player re-play a big chunk of the game).  Which isn't to say it couldn't work, just ... if you do go down this route, please make sure to find a punishment more interesting than wasting the player's time by repeating linear content!

Absolutely!
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Innomin
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« Reply #405 on: November 19, 2014, 12:20:32 PM »

Really like this graphical style, I originally read through this to see how you did that high-contrast shadow wireframe. Right now everything feels great to me, and that hand animation was so unique and immersive that I was sold without any gameplay revealed yet.

Since no one has mentioned this yet, my only issue is the head bobbing in your walking simulation. Because you're taking the maximum of two feet, when you stop walking completely it feels a bit like you're sinking into marshmallow. This is the lowest point the head reaches, while in real life standing still is closer to the highest point (the legs are both vertical when standing, while they tilt when you move around).

I walked around my house a bit and tried to visualize the position of my head. When running you get a sinusoidal shape in Y that most animators are familiar with, but walking was different because there was always one foot on the ground. I found I shifted my weight to be over the foot on the ground, and created a narrow infinity-symbol shaped loop. When walking slower it bent that shape into a wider smiley face, with the upper limits becoming sharper. This X motion might be too realistic to play properly, but it was interesting to me how it changed with speed.

I would alter the head position to support this ruleset. Y position should be highest when one foot is directly on the ground (close to this height when standing), and represent more of a sine wave than the current abs(sin())? curve. X position should shift over the leg that is currently on the ground, so weight it by inverse-speed and the average height of each foot (left when only left foot is down, etc). X movement might make the left-foot-first approach break down, so randomizing that is necessary, unless we're approaching a level of realism that feels wrong to play.

Anyway, I doubt this is something anyone else cares about, but that's my feedback. Oh, and please add individual axis invert controls, because I tend to invert only Y.

This devlog is fantastic by the way. I've been watching all the annotated videos, and the step by step posts are beyond informative. Thanks so much for doing this.
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dukope
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« Reply #406 on: November 20, 2014, 11:41:27 PM »

@Harem & Zaphos:

Yeah, I'm the kind of player that finishes shooters with way too many rockets. I hate worrying about limited resources and my usual solution is to just not use them. If I limit the number of fate guesses in any way, I'd expect people to just not make guesses until the very end; where they'd lose out on any in-game conveniences. I'll find some other more implicit and hopefully more natural solution.

@Innomin:

Those are all good observations. The walking sim in the dev build has been tweaked a bit since the devlog post. The main problem I ran into is that having other characters (frozen) in the scene makes any height change very obvious. Whenever you'd stop to look at a character's face, the view would sink down and you'd be looking at his chest. If you play the dev build it should be clear that you don't sink like that when stopping any more.

The two important things that I found were that the footstep sound needs to play at the sharp low point of the curve, and that the view needs to return naturally to 0 offset at rest. Here's what the curve looks like now:

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dukope
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« Reply #407 on: November 21, 2014, 01:54:48 AM »

Dust

After getting the basic gameplay down for the dev build, I wanted to add something to enhance the sense of volume and 3D-ness in the flashbacks. The gimmick is that you're able to walk around in something like a 3D picture. That's not so special when you're already walking around in the same environment before and afterwards. It needs something "otherworldly."

My first thought was to invert the colors. Bad thought. Next, I tried just putting a bunch of particles floating around the player. That got the basic idea across but actual particles aren't well suited for low resolution 1-bit rendering: they pop in/out and they scale with distance. Those two problems led me directly to the idea of using a "true" point cloud:


Dust cloud in a test level


The points need to be exactly one pixel in size, no matter how far from the camera. Unity's built-in particles can't be restricted like this OOTB and they also have a lot of extra logic that I didn't need (almost everything), along with some stuff I couldn't turn off (lifetime). So I threw together a custom solution that surprisingly worked well right away.

To render the dust cloud, I generate actual little quads on the CPU. Each of the 4 quad points has the same 3D position with different UV coordinates to specify which corner of the quad it is. That gets picked up in the shader and transformed to be exactly one pixel in screenspace.

Code:
v2f o;
o.pos = mul(UNITY_MATRIX_MVP, v.vertex);
// convert from homogenous
float3 screenPos = o.pos.xyz / o.pos.w;
// push corner out based on UV
float2 screenSize = float2(640,360);
screenPos += float3(1 / (screenSize * v.texcoord), 0);
// convert back to homogenous
o.pos.xyz = screenPos.xyz * o.pos.w;
return o;

Even with huge meshes and tons of quads the performance is really good. Probably because GPUs are optimized for churning through large static data sets like this. And that's another advantage of a custom solution over Unity particles: it's completely static, generated once at asset import time.

To make the points more legible in various situations, I invert their color against whatever's behind them. That took some finagling (and one of the renderbuffer color channels), but the whole greyscale/1-bit thing helped again here since there was a channel to spare.


Transparency

One of the things I'd been holding off with this 1-bit rendered was support for partial transparency. Unfortunately, the public dev build has a gun-firing scene right at the start that calls for some kind of smoke/muzzleflash. So this needed to be tackled sooner rather than later. My first attempt was to just model and texture the smoke shape, apply an alpha shader, and render as usual:


Modeled smoke with transparency shader (lined)


Nope. Second try, remove the lines:


Modeled smoke with transparency shader (unlined)


That's much better from the side when you have a simple bright background, but completely illegible from the front. The poor mix of transparency and 1-bit-ness makes the shape completely disappear on an unsuitable background. Also, moving around the clearly-defined shape of the smoke makes it look cheap and fake. More-so than usual anyways. I tried a few shader tweaks to fade out the edges or otherwise mask the shape, but nothing helped much.


Dust Come Back

After messing around with the modeled smoke a bit, an idea came to me: why not use the dust clouds for this instead of trying to fake it with surface geometry. At 640x360, you can put enough single-pixel particles onscreen to suggest exactly the shapes I'm after.


Modeled dust cloud in-game


The tricky part to make this work was figuring out how to take the procedurally-generated dust clouds and enable modeling their shape manually. There are dedicated point-cloud editors but that's not something I want to deal with.

The solution ended being pretty simple. In Maya, I model the shape and subdivide it a bunch until there's an overkill of verts. Export that to Unity where an import script picks it up, shifts each vert randomly, and converts each vert into a full quad for the dust cloud system. The original shape's triangles are discarded. It's a lot of data but again, GPUs eat this shit up.


Cloud modeled in Maya

In another stroke of pure luck, this technique is much easier production-wise than modeling and texturing traditional geometry. My favorite kind of solution.


Action Lines

Replacing transparent shapes with dust clouds turned out ok visually, but not objectively great. The real win comes when using this same system to indicate lines of action. I found these a great way to make the scenes feel dynamic, even while perfectly static.


Action line in-game and modeled in Maya

This meandering path from otherworldy clouds, to transparency replacement, to action lines is one of the fortunate surprises that I really enjoy in game dev.
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Armageddon
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« Reply #408 on: November 21, 2014, 02:04:33 AM »

I thought there was already frozen muzzleflash/smoke in the current build? Reminds me a lot of Dishonored when you freeze time right when someone shoots. Looks really good though, the dust should really make the space feel more volumed.
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Romain Rope
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« Reply #409 on: November 21, 2014, 03:03:23 AM »

I Just finished the demo and it was damn good!

As mentioned before, I also had this feeling that the boat was not moving.
So maybe if you add some cracking wood sound at random time it should do the "trick"

just saying Smiley
« Last Edit: November 21, 2014, 03:15:27 AM by ropesound » Logged

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« Reply #410 on: November 21, 2014, 03:31:19 AM »

I thought there was already frozen muzzleflash/smoke in the current build?

Yeah, the dust system is in the public dev build. Just didn't have time to post in the devlog about it until now. There's one more thing I want to talk about in that build (sound and voice stuff) but I'm not sure when I can do that.


As mentioned before, I also had this feeling that the boat was not moving. So maybe if you add some cracking wood sound at random time it should do the "trick"

Were you playing with the sound on? It currently plays a good number of creaking wood sounds, mostly audible inside the cabins.
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Romain Rope
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« Reply #411 on: November 21, 2014, 03:51:06 AM »

My bad, i didn't notice them with my laptop speakers.
Of course it's way better with headphones.
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ROMAIN ROPE

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« Reply #412 on: November 21, 2014, 06:20:59 AM »

Love the dust effect, and really love the detailed devlog.
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« Reply #413 on: November 24, 2014, 02:24:37 AM »

Just tried the dev-build of, it's really cool. The graphical style of it works really well for the kind of setting and story that the game has. But even without the "fancy" graphics I would still want to play this just to figure out what happened.
Very well done.
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Ticebilla
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« Reply #414 on: November 25, 2014, 01:53:32 PM »

Aaaaaaaaaaand following.

I'm really looking forward to seeing more of this.
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« Reply #415 on: November 26, 2014, 11:28:34 AM »

Hello!

I just tried the alpha version of this game and it seems very promising.

- The graphic style is amazing and the visual reminds me of Paper sorcerer. We are immediately immersed in the atmosphere from the first few seconds.

- About the possibility of Brute-forcing the fates, it doesn't seem to be a problem to me. The interest of the game is in the experience, not in the end results and if the player wants to cheat, he can as well go check a walkthrough.
And I don't like having a limited number of tries, I always finish RPGs with hundreds of potions.

- Finally, two concerns / suggestions:
As mentioned in previous posts, the only informations are currently located in the audio. Furthermore, the clock seems to last too long when we already know the scene, why can't we just go back to the present when we want ?
To make exploration more interesting, I think we should just have the opportunity to visit a large part of the ship when we go back in time so we can see what some other sailors are doing (maybe this is what you had in mind).
This way, we could pick up little scenes, like seeing a sailor pouring poison in the bottle of another character for example.

In any case, I am very excited about this game and the dev log is amazing, thank you for sharing all this.
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« Reply #416 on: November 26, 2014, 05:42:01 PM »

Played the demo, saw the art style and instantly fell in love. Decided to stop there so I wouldn't spoil myself on the rest of the game. There aren't many games on here I can say that about, good luck dude Beer!
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« Reply #417 on: November 26, 2014, 07:26:24 PM »

There aren't many games I play early builds of and immediately think "I want to play this, in full, RIGHT NOW". Keep up the great work.
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« Reply #418 on: December 11, 2014, 03:01:03 AM »

This project is amazing and fills me with all kinds of hope. I love the fresh direction and the massive amount of innovation and clear game play you are bringing to the world of PC gaming and gaming in general. I often find my self wishing for the games of yesteryear with there quirky game play and focus on puzzles to hide the fact that some of them could fit on a post-it, your game however looks to combine the best of both worlds with a focus on puzzles and a pleasing while currently albeit limited environment.

The only trouble I had was when I started focusing on the puzzle I realized that the character models aren't very identifiable from certain angles, something I put down to lighting and 1-bit rendering. Maybe it is an extra level of puzzle but at the same time with around 80 fates to establish it might be nice if I didn't have to circle each character a few times to see if they have long hair. In this regard I refer to the captain, who from the back has no distinguishing features despite having longish hair from other angles.

Keep it up, I look forward to more early releases and the chance to play this amazing game as it is built. I feel like we are all part of something very special here. 
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« Reply #419 on: December 11, 2014, 10:59:24 AM »

This is so fabulous!
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