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January 27, 2021, 05:39:58 AM

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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsDesolus: A Surreal First Person Puzzle Game
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Author Topic: Desolus: A Surreal First Person Puzzle Game  (Read 71563 times)
Prinsessa
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« Reply #400 on: September 14, 2020, 06:44:16 AM »

Great update. Looks so good. Kiss And thanks for sharing all those links!
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JobLeonard
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« Reply #401 on: September 14, 2020, 07:31:03 AM »

How in the world have I been missing this devlog for six years?! Shocked

This looks amazing!
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Mark Mayers
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« Reply #402 on: September 14, 2020, 04:31:33 PM »

Great update. Looks so good. Kiss And thanks for sharing all those links!

Thank you! Glad you found all that info helpful Smiley Toast Right

How in the world have I been missing this devlog for six years?! Shocked

This looks amazing!

Probably because for the first uhhh (three-four?) years this DevLog documented a series of experimental prototypes surrounding similar themes.

It wasn't until around mid 2017 to early 2018 when I started nailing down the concept of: 'Explore a city of Gothic architecture torn between multiple universes.'
I think that's when everything started clicking for me.

 Toast Left
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Mark Mayers
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« Reply #403 on: September 16, 2020, 01:59:49 PM »

Update 157: 09/16/2020

UPGRADE TO LINEAR COLOR SPACE AND HDR



Super quick update, but I managed to finally switch Desolus over to linear color space with HDR.

Since Desolus has been technically the same Unity project all the way back dating to Unity 4, I've been using gamma space this entire time.
Linear lighting allows for much greater color accuracy, and gives better results for dark/light areas.

Additionally, I'm now using HDR which allows for vastly brighter and more well defined colors than before.
I think this was essential for the game's art style, as the game is so reliant on color.

Since I'm using my own Scriptable Render Pipeline, I had to manually program HDR support, but it was worth it.

---




Linear color space allows for more precise lighting, and better lighting for very bright or dark areas.



HDR allows color values to exceed the 0-1 range, meaning colors can have more realistic luminosity.

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« Reply #404 on: September 16, 2020, 10:17:16 PM »

Great comparison images! Love your work. You probably already have the soundscape of your game covered, here's hoping for some dark not-too-cheesy ambient to accompany the exploration :-)
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Prinsessa
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« Reply #405 on: September 17, 2020, 04:17:05 AM »

Surprisingly amazing difference and great improvement!
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Mark Mayers
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« Reply #406 on: November 11, 2020, 02:19:36 PM »

Update 158: 11/11/2020

BLACK HOLES AND WHITE HOLES



Recently, I've been working more on black holes in Desolus with the goal of better communicating gameplay.

From a design perspective, I believe it was previously challenging to internalize a puzzle's state.
  • 1: You couldn't tell what was going on in the other universe without traveling through a portal.
  • 2: Regardless if a black hole was in an on/off state, it always looked exactly the same.

To fix the first problem, I had an idea that black holes should be similar to a portal, to show you what's happening in the other universe.
From an implementation standpoint, it uses the exact same shader as a portal would.
Showing what's on the other 'side' of the black hole at all times hopefully allows the player to think about puzzles more intuitively.

To fix the second problem, I implemented the visualization of a 'white hole' which is the inverse of a black hole.
When you activate a black hole, it will become a white hole, and vice versa. I feel this better communicates a puzzle's state.
The idea is that a black hole absorbs objects from the current universe, and a white hole expels objects from the other universe.

I have been playing around with this idea for quite some time!

This is an artistic interpretation, but:

In Desolus, the parallel universes are inversions of each other linked by black holes and white holes.

White holes are a (very theoretical) mathematical inverse of black holes, and would function identically if time flowed backwards.
If you travel through a black hole, on the other side is a white hole, and a universe where time flows in reverse.
The [portals and black holes] in the game are essentially Einstein–Rosen bridges.

If you want to learn more about white holes, see this video!



---
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Mark Mayers
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« Reply #407 on: November 11, 2020, 02:37:59 PM »

Great comparison images! Love your work. You probably already have the soundscape of your game covered, here's hoping for some dark not-too-cheesy ambient to accompany the exploration :-)

Thanks!! Kyle Landry is working on an original piano soundtrack for the game, although music will be somewhat sparse to allow for puzzle solving.
I plan on having an abundance of atmospheric sounds, however, to make the city you're exploring feel like a real place.  





Surprisingly amazing difference and great improvement!


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vdapps
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« Reply #408 on: November 11, 2020, 03:45:54 PM »

Hi, the game looks rock solid. Hand Metal Left Hand Metal Right Wishlisted on Steam.

Do you have some estimation of gameplay time?
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Mark Mayers
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« Reply #409 on: November 11, 2020, 04:18:58 PM »

Hi, the game looks rock solid. Hand Metal Left Hand Metal Right Wishlisted on Steam.

Do you have some estimation of gameplay time?

Thank you! Glad you like the game Smiley

I'm aiming for somewhere around 3 to 4 hours. It's not going to be particularly long, especially since I'm making the game alone.
However, I feel the novelty of the mechanics and quality of the design and will make it worth people's time!


It could end up longer, we'll see.
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vdapps
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« Reply #410 on: November 11, 2020, 04:21:54 PM »

Totally ok for me. As I'm indie dev as well, not lot of time to play games, so I prefer shorter experiences. Smiley
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Mark Mayers
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« Reply #411 on: November 11, 2020, 04:26:47 PM »

Totally ok for me. As I'm indie dev as well, not lot of time to play games, so I prefer shorter experiences. Smiley

If you give a man a game, he plays for a day; If you teach a man to make games, he never plays for a lifetime.
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« Reply #412 on: November 12, 2020, 12:26:38 AM »

Personally, I love this modern trend of games that respect my limited time Smiley

(even though it's often for manpower budget reasons Wink)
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Prinsessa
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« Reply #413 on: November 12, 2020, 01:34:27 AM »

Great update, might seem like a small thing in the grand scheme but it sounds like such a quality of life change in a game like this. Kiss And, as always, very pretty!
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Mark Mayers
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« Reply #414 on: January 18, 2021, 03:32:54 PM »

Update 159: 01/18/2021

FOUR MONTHS OF PROGRESS



Hope everyone is having a fantastic New Year so far!

I've been working on a build which comprises a substantial portion representative of the final game, which I estimate to be about forty minutes to an hour.
Here are some screenshots of that build, which show the progress made between September 2020, and January 2021.




The city streets of Desolus, Jan 2021 (left) vs. Sep 2020 (right).

As you can see, there have been substantial improvements to the game's visual polish.
 
A great deal of the improvements have been because of the switch from Gamma and LDR color, to Linear and HDR color, which I discussed back in September.
This allowed for a considerably greater control over the game's colors, and allow for an overall softer and atmospheric color palette.

However, I've also added a procedural volumetric snow shader which is applied to the game's architecture.
I'm currently working more on this shader to integrate with the terrain and the game's foliage.  



Speaking of foliage, I recently finished a port of Universal Render Pipeline's SpeedTree shaders, to my custom Scriptable Render Pipeline.
This process took about two days, and wasn't totally painful. Desolus now has fully functional SpeedTrees again, woo!  

I've been pleased with progress so far, and I think the game is really starting to come together.

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« Last Edit: January 18, 2021, 03:38:39 PM by Mark Mayers » Logged

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JobLeonard
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« Reply #415 on: January 19, 2021, 01:31:14 AM »

Dang, you really nailed that snow shader - I can practically feel it melt on my skin when I see it build up Shocked
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Prinsessa
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« Reply #416 on: January 19, 2021, 01:53:58 AM »

Welcome back, and happy new year! Looks fantastic. I'm heavily biased in favour of snow in games—I really find it lovely. Kiss The new fog/distance effect looks great as well, but I think it was very cool before too. Each has its own charm.
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« Reply #417 on: January 20, 2021, 12:30:24 AM »

The snow shader is lovely and this whole devlog seems amazing. I'm looking forward to reading it entirely with a cup of coffee.
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Mark Mayers
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« Reply #418 on: January 20, 2021, 01:38:59 PM »

Dang, you really nailed that snow shader - I can practically feel it melt on my skin when I see it build up Shocked

Thanks! I spent a bit of time on it, I think what sells it most is the fake subsurface scattering on the snow.
I used a modified version of this algorithm which uses a 'thickness map' to determine how much scattering of light there should be.



Instead of generating the thickness map manually, the thickness is actually just the snow height!

I also tried a version which used textures but it ended up looking bad with the art style.
So the snow is entirely without any textures and is lighting and shaders only.

Welcome back, and happy new year! Looks fantastic. I'm heavily biased in favour of snow in games—I really find it lovely. Kiss The new fog/distance effect looks great as well, but I think it was very cool before too. Each has its own charm.

You'll still see the harsher gamma lighting fog in some areas of the game. I can actually reproduce that effect pretty easily with the new linear lighting fog.
Primarily the advantage of the linear lighting is that it gives me more artistic control over the scene. Gomez

The snow shader is lovely and this whole devlog seems amazing. I'm looking forward to reading it entirely with a cup of coffee.

Outside of keeping certain critical elements like the fog/distance art style, puzzles about black holes (in some shape or form), and an emphasis on interconnected level design, the game has changed radically.   

Everything prior to about 2018 was mostly prototype and exploratory work. There wasn't even gothic architecture in the game until late 2017, and the game didn't have the alternate universe idea until mid 2016, yet this DevLog dates all the way back to 2014!   
Definitely be prepared for a big cup of coffee and a winding road, ha. Coffee
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« Reply #419 on: January 20, 2021, 11:30:44 PM »

Definitely be prepared for a big cup of coffee and a winding road, ha. Coffee

Big cup of coffee? Challenge accepted!
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