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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsPUSE — follow a kitten through Norway (NEW: butterflies and day jobs)
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Author Topic: PUSE — follow a kitten through Norway (NEW: butterflies and day jobs)  (Read 9733 times)
Prinsessa
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« on: February 08, 2015, 10:49:36 AM »

Besides working on Vatnsmyrkr mostly on my own, I'm also been working on this game with my girlfriend, Marte (depicted by herself behind me in my avatar on here; we've also made the Ludum Dare jam entries Fitzberri & Leif, Screencap'd, AN UNCONVENTIONAL WEAPON, TURN ON THE LIGHT and Untangled together).





PUSE is a sidescrolling story with elements of physics, problem solving and exploration.



Basic plot

Our protagonist – a wee kitten – one day wakes up in the basket with her three siblings. The house, located in the mountainous countryside of Norway, is unusually silent and empty. The humans are missing. They're not the biggest matter, tho. Mother too is gone.

After solving the task of leaving the house – which is easier said than done – the kitten embarks on a journey through said countryside, the woods and the mountains and eventually even into space in order to find her mother and the cause of the disappearances, meeting many other animals on the way, but no humans, as they seem to be persistently missing.

It may sound reasonably cute, but the tone will reasonably early on take on more sadness and truths than one might initially expect and will touch on various subjects dear to our hearts, such as the meat industry.





In line with the Norwegian setting, mountains will be a prominent part of the scenery.



Gameplay

This is a sidescrolling game. Platforming, physics puzzles, problem-solving and conversation are fundamental concepts, and the kitty can walk, run, jump, climb, slide, swing and more.

Here's an outdated GIF (old graphics and physics that stopped working properly after we upgraded to Unity 5), showing off reasonably well a bit of what is to be expected. The level is kind of empty so far and contains temporary graphics and lacks a lot of details that we plan on putting in there, but without further ado:



For comparison, here is some newer stuff, with new kitty graphics:



Nice window with a parallax mountain in the background and birds occasionally flying by, then some chandelier swinging action in order to make a bridge across the curious pit in the floor and on to another inhabitant of the house: a dog. A door leading to the cellar on the way too.

Despite starting out in a house, most of the game will be outside.





Northern lights are also an unavoidable piece of scenery in this setting.



World

The world of the game is going to be largely limited to Norway, besides going into space near the end. The game is going to be taking the kitty further and further up north as it goes on. There are various areas along the way. There are also subsections between those about to be mentioned below, of course, and probably some that we haven't come up with yet.

Countryside

We start of inside of a house. Soon we leave this house and enter the small community that surrounds it. Here we find a river running along, more deserted houses, cars and the like and some other animals, including magpies and daws.



Forest

Crossing a bridge across said river, moving on is a longer section of the game with more different creatures to meet – even some from Scandinavian folklore. The crow family continues with actual crows and eventually the bigger ravens.



Mountains

Both insides and outsides of rocky formations will be explored. It is here that we find the trolls, among other things. Rocky puzzles to solve and the dog from the house returns for you to work together with.



Space

How do we get here and what is there to be found? You'll find out!





Tech

The game is being made in Unity. It's a two-dimensional game with a side-scrolling view. It features physics. It has gamepad support. Target systems are supposedly all that are reasonable, including Mac, Windows, Linux and perhaps eventually some cool console or something depending on what's possible and how serious the game ends up in the end. But it's not a project we intend on rushing through. It'll have to take the time it takes in order to hopefully be a good, interesting game. It's not just a platformer but also a story and hopefully a bit of criticism of various subjects through this story.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2016, 02:21:43 AM by Prinsessa » Logged

Mr Underhill
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« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2015, 12:33:16 PM »

Proudly supporting games with cats!   Hand Metal Left Tiger Hand Metal Right keep it up !
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Prinsessa
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« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2015, 12:50:16 PM »

Yay!

We started working on the first outdoors scene. The rock is a platform that can be jumped on but still be walked through. Platformer commonplace but in the shape of a non-platform! It'll look better once the cat gets a little shadow underneath her, as will her walking on the grass and moss.



There's only the foreground now (which has only been covered with moss and stuff for the width of one screen so far) and the parallax mountains far in the background. We're going to add a couple of different depths of parallax trees as well. And clouds, probably. And bring back those birds that are visible from the window in the first scene.
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oldblood
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« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2015, 12:53:49 PM »

You're working on two games at once? You may be even crazier than I...

Looks like you've hit the ground running though.
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Prinsessa
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« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2015, 01:14:34 PM »

It's pretty good to keep switching back and forth between projects, I think. Helps me not grow tired of either and ideas or experiences from working on one may well be useful for the other. Just working in Unity gives me many ideas for my own C++ engine used for Vatnsmyrkr.

It makes both projects progress slower than the same pace focused on a single one would, of course, but I have no problem with that. I'm not in a rush, and again, I suspect working on one project all the time would eventually make me drop it all together every now and then out of exhaustion, so it might actually even things out a bit in the end.

Plus I'm having fun! And it's nice to do something with 50/50 design decisions and work with Marte! We are having fun.

Throw in a couple of jam games every year (with Marte!) and I think it's a pretty nice amount of focus switching without going all over the places and working on 10 projects.
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Prinsessa
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« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2015, 04:55:54 PM »

Got started on those parallax trees and added some water as well. Also got the occasionally passing birds back in. Also a bit of foreground.



Screenshot:

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Prinsessa
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« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2015, 04:29:22 AM »

Shaders!

I posted recently about getting shaders into my other game, and a bunch of neat visual stuff has been done since then.

Well, I just got around to messing with shaders in Unity now as well, and I managed to clip this rock sprite:



It also obeys the tint colour of the sprite renderer as well as the layer order flag, so that's good! Works like a normal sprite but gives me the ability to shade it as I wish! A bunch of interesting effects hopefully coming up eventually for this game as well.

Clipping was important, tho. The water animation in the little forest creek actually consists of some tall sprites animating their position downwards and they actually extend above the ground which is why we've been covering them with a bunch of extra trees and bushes and a rock behind the water for now. No more! I can just apply a clipping shader now. Nice not to have to pay a hefty fee for one those fancy sprite add-ons when I can just do this myself.

-----

Had to try it on the water real quick, of course. Removing that concealing vegetation (which Marte fittingly referred to as gaffa tape), we can see what the hidden animation looked like before and what it looks like now that we're able to clip sprites.

Before:



After:



So this means we can have programmatic animations of this sort anywhere, even without concealing gaffa tape! And of course all sorts of funky shader effects may now be applied, just like in Vatnsmyrkr. Hype~~

-----

Colours and areas

In other news, there isn't too much to say, but Marte has been making the forest a little more freshly green and a little less desaturated. There'll be a couple of more tree variations, some mushrooms and falling leaves and stuff eventually.



Also started slightly on the first outdoors section just after leaving the house in the beginning. Very temporary ATM of course, but more parallax~~



This section has been a little bit more extensively planned on paper as well, figuring out what to do, whom the cat will meet here, what ways there will be to move ahead and how to get into other houses and what there is to find in those.



-----

Moving between areas

I've also been programming a simple system for exiting and entering between levels. There are two variables set between levels when entering a door: which way the cat will be facing and at what point in the other room the cat will appear. Thus the cat does not appear in the same place when first starting out in the house as when entering back into it from the outside after having left the house, but of course appears by the door. There's no transition yet, but I'll make it a quick, black fade, probably.

« Last Edit: February 21, 2015, 04:39:43 AM by Prinsessa » Logged

jamesprimate
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« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2015, 05:26:55 AM »

Suuuper cute!! Shaders looking nice and  really liking tha parallax effect.

I second oldblood in being impressed at 2 games at once, both with decent progress  Hand Thumbs Up Right Hand Thumbs Up Right
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Prinsessa
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« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2015, 09:16:34 AM »

Being unemployed helps. c;
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Prinsessa
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« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2015, 08:24:49 AM »

Did some work on smoother camera today. Now it follows the character with a nicer motion and shows more of the area in the direction you are facing.



Also screen shakes and extra focus on events such as the falling bookshelf.

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oldblood
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« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2015, 08:34:02 AM »

Like the new camera work and shaders. And hey, if you're unemployed- capitalizing on the time to accomplish work like this is a great use of your time.
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Prinsessa
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« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2015, 02:54:30 AM »

Thanks! Yep. Gotta do something in the meantime.
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oodavid
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« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2015, 04:02:38 PM »

For some reason this reminds me a lot of

...

I really enjoy the bookshelf element Smiley
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Prinsessa
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« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2015, 04:26:41 PM »

For some reason this reminds me a lot of

...
Similar house! House is only the first part of the game, tho, and then it's off to nature!

I really enjoy the bookshelf element Smiley
Thanks! It's nice to have working well now, with camera and all.
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Prinsessa
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« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2015, 03:47:11 AM »

So I haven't really been working on this for a while. Since I got unemployed, it felt necessary for the portfolio to keep working hard on a single project (Vatnsmyrkr) to take that as far as possible. I still don't have a new job, but I went and fiddled a bit with this project again yesterday anyway.

I updated to Unity 5.

This broke the physics. Badly.

So I went and just rewrote the basic moves from scratch. Code is cleaner now and it all works better.



Also new above is wall jumping. It looks weird now without even proper placeholder graphics, but as you can see the cat is slowly sliding down the wall. That's going to be her sticking her claws into it and holding on but still slowly sliding down, able to jump from there. So wall jumps won't require much timing as you can hold on to that wall for quite a while, tho you keep sliding down.
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« Reply #15 on: May 27, 2015, 03:55:03 AM »

I always thought this was a small game about a car in a house and you're making this about Norway Shocked
How big is this game?!
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Prinsessa
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« Reply #16 on: May 27, 2015, 06:16:00 AM »

Not all of Norway. c;

We'll see how big it's get, but it'll take some time, especially since I haven't got much time to work on and since I'm doing it alongside something else. But there's no rush. No rush for either game, really.



Did a quick mashup for the wall slide / jump sprite by combining and rotating bits and pieces from the idle and jump sprites to give you a better idea of how it's supposed to be working:



I'll also add some neat scratch marks on the wall as the kitty slides down.



(same update on Patreon)
« Last Edit: May 29, 2015, 11:32:22 AM by Prinsessa » Logged

Prinsessa
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« Reply #17 on: May 29, 2015, 11:22:57 AM »

Dynamically clad terrain

Inspired by this video about the Rayman Legends level editor, I wanted to do something I've never done before: terrain that's automatically textured based simply on a mesh defining the shape and nothing else; the ability to simply pull the vertices of the terrain and see it generated anew without manual work.

So I started a new C# file in Unity and after a couple of hours it's actually working!



I began by trying to texture a mesh at all, with a repeated and unstretched tiling, taking the vertices from a 2D polygon collider that I could edit in the Unity editor, and that worked out fine and was done pretty quickly:





I went on to the harder part: making grass cover the top of the mesh. After hours of fiddling it was actually working too:





I then took some of Marte's old moss graphics while she made a tiling rock/dirt texture and put it all together:



A bit smudged, the moss, but I think it's a good base that can be helped by further generation, such as patches of grass strands here and there, and by making a couple of different moss images to randomise between. Some of them are already randomly mirrored in this picture and their size is randomly varied. The rock/dirt looks mighty fine, tiling as it should.

Here it is in the editor showing the mesh which is the only thing I've manually edited. The rest was generated around it:



This was fun! I'll keep playing with more generation like I said.



Oh, and I also started on those scratch marks. Currently drawn on the wrong layer in front of the cat:





(same update on Patreon)
« Last Edit: May 29, 2015, 11:30:24 AM by Prinsessa » Logged

Prinsessa
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« Reply #18 on: June 01, 2015, 10:39:28 AM »


More dynamic terrain!



Better-looking grass with more stuff

Instead of the clear patches of moss on the ground in the previous update, there is now a continuous band of green on top of the rocky foundation. There are also grass straws and little stones "randomly" appearing on some pieces. Not smudged any more. Looking a lot better already, m'thinks.



Also the algorithm no longer is truly random but still gives a randomised impression, basing these "random" factors on things like the modulo value of the index of the current segment and other constant input so that while things will be different for each mesh depending on its shape and number of vertices, the same mesh will always look the same, so that the same level doesn't keep randomly changing its look.



Grass on top only with steepness restriction

Had some bugs last time where grass wouldn't only appear on top. Fixed it by checking the angle properly to check whether it's above or below, and also limiting the angle like in the Rayman editor so that angles too steep don't get grass on them but end up as cliff walls.



Some grass levitating a bit there. I think I might have to restrict the steepness even a little more. Maximum is currently < 70°.



Corner tiles

Grass sticking out on the ends get special edge pieces sticking out from the sides of the hill now (compare the same hill in the previous image where this was not yet implemented):





Seamlessness between individual meshes

I made it so that the rock tiles will tile perfectly even if they belong to different meshes so that they can safely be put in front of each other without breaking the tiling:







(same update on Patreon)
« Last Edit: June 01, 2015, 10:48:37 AM by Prinsessa » Logged

Prinsessa
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« Reply #19 on: June 01, 2015, 12:35:19 PM »

Found a neat triangulation algorithm and got it working really well on any arbitrary, even concave, meshes:

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