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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsA Cat's Manor - Creepy Atmospheric Platform Puzzler
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Author Topic: A Cat's Manor - Creepy Atmospheric Platform Puzzler  (Read 14219 times)
leblackdragon
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« Reply #20 on: August 28, 2015, 07:59:43 AM »

I've always wanted to further expand animation range of the main characters head. I wanted to add looking up and down. It's even there in the very, VERY first concept sketches I made for this game. It's the looking down frame, and I really dig it.


Expanding the animation frames is also an excuse to clean up the sprite sheet and merge them together to reduce draw calls.


Further more, since the head is an independent object I made possibly to look up and down in all states, idle, walking, jumping:


Here's an animation of an early trail:


I wasn't too satisfied with the looking up frame, so I decided to redo it to make it look more in line with the head structure of the looking down frame.


I made a few tests to see which would look better, and finally decided on the middle ground:


... and here's a picture of a "self-rocking-rocking-chair" I'm proud of, complete with unnerving creaking SFX.


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« Reply #21 on: August 31, 2015, 11:22:25 PM »

Man, this is creepy as hell, great job!
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« Reply #22 on: September 01, 2015, 12:46:38 AM »

Thanks dude!

I revamped the title screen. Gone is the 3D sequence where you fly through the house. I felt it didn't really fit with the theme of the game and it was more just to play around with 3D. The new one is based on puppet shadow theaters, and I'll admit it's a helluva lot more creepy, and eerie. The former was more sad and melancholic.

So here's a simple composition of the Title Screen Scene. I re-used assets from the game world. I stripped the manor from the game's logo and upped the contrast.


But obviously that wasn't enough. I needed to really give it more life. For that I decided to animate the camera in a way that mirrors a shaky hand cam. I wrote a script that I can control with some simple variables where the position and rotation within a specific constraint would randomly shift around at, again ,random times. The results were quite pleasing:


I still felt it needed something more, and by pure luck, a glitch caused the camera to bounce around instead of smoothly transition between random points. This "jerk" reminded me of some creepy music videos by Nine Inch Nails (what an awesome band). So I added some more variables that introduce a jerk at random times, and the result:


Now the Title screen really came to life. Yet still I needed to tie it in to the game more. The obvious choice was to add a shadow puppet representing the most distinct character in the game. Again, to add more life and realism to the puppet, I sectioned it up into limbs, torso, pigtails and connected them via hinge joints. I made the only animated part the stick holding it up. That way the motion would be exaggerated down the joints, and the puppet parts would play around more as it moved.


For sheer freakishness, the graves on the hill were animation, and the large tree would shudder every now and then.

The final touch of realism was to blur out the edges of some of the elements. In a real puppet theater, the puppet would never be completely flat. They'd always start to shrivel at the edges, and that gave a distinctive look as they are positioned on the theater screen.


Now for the only interactive element, the Start button. It started out with an encompassing frame, but that ate up too much of the screen. So I settled with decor elements on the sides, which looks better really. Then to fit the art style, I blurred it a little, but then the text "start" became a little hard to distinguish from the rest of the screen. So I added a little scaling animation to it to attract the player's attention. Still, the text was hard to see. So I removed the blur from it, and voila! That did the trick.


While it looked good in the editing view, in-game as the camera was shifting and jerking, the Start button would get partially overlapped with the scenery. So I shifted what I could away from it without hurting the screen composition too much, as well as upping the brightness on what I couldn't move. So now the middle area of the screen is mostly clear and the Start button is very distinct.


Worth mentioning is that the logo and the start button are children to the camera. It doesn't matter how erratic the camera movement is, the logo and button will always be stationary.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2015, 01:20:30 AM by leblackdragon » Logged

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« Reply #23 on: September 05, 2015, 10:15:41 PM »



One thing I've been dying to include in my game from the very beginning were animated avatars for the dialogue interface. While the avatars were of a good quality, I still felt ashamed of its lack of animation considering games even during the 16-bit era of gaming had the mouths at least move.



The problem with animating them was creating the multiple hand-drawn frames for them. A daunting task considering the art style didn't feature solid color shading. After all, each portrait took at least half a day to draw and paint. And even if I drew the needed frames, there would be no flexibility in animating them, and the frame rate wouldn't fit with the fluid art-style of the game.

So here's what I did to work around the problem. I converted the sprite based avatars into 3D meshes:


I then constructed the edges and vertices of the polygons to follow the features and creases of the characters avatar. That way I can manipulate the vertices of the mesh and it would stretch along their natural lines:



I then make multiple copies of the mesh, and assign them as morph targets. That will allow me to apply them as individual weights. So I make a copy for individual elements of expression. The eye brow, the blinking, a smile, a nod, a frown, an opened move pronouncing a certain vowel, etc:


And here's a few of the final results. Not too shabby! And each one takes 2-3 hours to make, and after that I can animate them in the engine to my hearts content!


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leblackdragon
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« Reply #24 on: September 09, 2015, 09:28:04 PM »


While we wait around kicking our feet I thought I'd share some progress shots. Here's a shot from the corner of the secret underground passage. I don't know if you can call it progress as much as you can call it just a change in art style. Still, learning how to do lights on on backgrounds with bump/normal maps was the prime reason this area of the map got the darkness treatment:


Here's the Rat's den in the basement. You can clearly see just how low the resolution was in the original version! Fundamentally, this place hasn't changed much. The rat still hoards items here and bargains for them. Hehe!


Also, doors are pretty neat to work with now. Without coding, I can now specify where doors lead to, if they are locked or not, and which key opens them. In addition to how they sound when opened or unlocked:


Cheerio!
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« Reply #25 on: September 12, 2015, 12:46:31 AM »

For screen shot Saturday!

A dirty part of the map gets a nice upgrade with better lighting, more elements, more depth, and trash bags!
In this area, the interior of a large trash bin, you can dig in the dirt, and hopefully a useful random item will pop out! lol


Who turned off the lights? I really like the ambiance in this picture, everyone staring at the motionless disco ball:


The house's directional light map. This greatly enhances the ambiance and mood of the locations. The game has two maps. One dictates the color, the other how and where the light fall on characters. It's a great thing to fiddle with and watch how lighting changes in game.


And finally, a simply improvement in code greatly increase the smoothness as you walk over an uneven surface. This has been bothering me since I implemented object rotation on surface. Yesterday I finally got around to work on ironing it out.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2015, 08:18:06 AM by leblackdragon » Logged

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« Reply #26 on: September 12, 2015, 01:12:05 AM »

Awesome!  Smiley
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« Reply #27 on: September 12, 2015, 02:24:31 AM »

Been watching this before, but forgot about it. Still looks amazing. *-*

 Hand Thumbs Up Left Smiley Hand Thumbs Up Right بالتوفيق
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leblackdragon
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« Reply #28 on: September 12, 2015, 03:38:00 AM »

Been watching this before, but forgot about it. Still looks amazing. *-*

 Hand Thumbs Up Left Smiley Hand Thumbs Up Right بالتوفيق
بالتوفيق؟ o_O

Thanks for passing by.  Hand Thumbs Up Left
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« Reply #29 on: September 12, 2015, 04:13:21 AM »

I thought you'd تتكلم اللغة العربية? Sad
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leblackdragon
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« Reply #30 on: September 12, 2015, 04:22:21 AM »

I thought you'd تتكلم اللغة العربية? Sad
بالعكس, أتكلمها. ولكن تفاجأت بأن أحدا هنا يتكلمها أيضا.
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« Reply #31 on: September 12, 2015, 05:53:20 AM »

I thought you'd تتكلم اللغة العربية? Sad
بالعكس, أتكلمها. ولكن تفاجأت بأن أحدا هنا يتكلمها أيضا.
Wink فقط قليلاً من الفصحى
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« Reply #32 on: September 12, 2015, 07:54:36 AM »

Looks amazing!
What's the animation tool?
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« Reply #33 on: September 12, 2015, 07:59:55 AM »

Wow! (O_O)
It's fantastic! :-)
Keep up the good work. d(^_^)b
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leblackdragon
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« Reply #34 on: September 12, 2015, 08:14:37 AM »

Looks amazing!
What's the animation tool?
Inkscape, it's traditional handmade/drawn 2D animation for the cat. The tail was later redone in 3D Studio MAX, but outputted as a sprite sheet. The other NPC's are bone based sprites that are hand key framed in Unity3D.

I hope that answers you question?
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« Reply #35 on: September 12, 2015, 08:18:32 AM »

Wow! (O_O)
It's fantastic! :-)
Keep up the good work. d(^_^)b
Thanks a lot!
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leblackdragon
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« Reply #36 on: September 12, 2015, 08:37:08 PM »

I added a little puzzle involving a furnace. The furnace features two particles one in front for the fumes coming out of the grill, and another one behind the exhaust piping to convey volume and shape. Attached to it is a local light that illuminates the immediate surroundings. The light is animated to convey that it is being emitted from the flames. Like was, the interior of the furnace is also attached to it and brightens in sync with the light. 


Here I added the assets involved in the puzzle. The wheelbarrow in the back, a lighter, and a log.


Solving the puzzle activates another set of assets tied to an event later down the line. I like how the floor grill shadows animate. There's two layers of shadow to convey depth. The lighting is unrealistic, but it's there for effect.


I keep a log of everything worked on. Here what was done on that particular day.
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« Reply #37 on: September 13, 2015, 08:21:31 AM »

Inspired by the work of Prinsessa in her thread Vatnsmyrkr - sad SUBMARINE exploration (NOW: "3D" water), I decided to try my hand at creating a dynamic light cone that casts real-time shadows.

Here's my attempt at setup up the ray trace burst to collect coordinates for my vertices. I'm using 80 rays here:


And here's my first ever dynamic light cone!


And here it is in action in glorious wide camera shot.


Now I need to figure out how to texture it!
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« Reply #38 on: September 14, 2015, 09:52:22 AM »

Woot, I'm an inspiration?! WTF

Mayhaps you'll want to read through the replies I got after presenting my method as some didn't think it the best idea, but hey, premature optimisations and all — if it works well, it works well, pretty or not.

That's an interesting effect. Is your light effectively bringing out a normal map and/or texture in the background that's completely invisible in the absence of light otherwise? Or what is that thing behind the cat? What exactly is going on here?

Nice, anyhow! c:
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« Reply #39 on: September 14, 2015, 08:26:01 PM »

That's an interesting effect. Is your light effectively bringing out a normal map and/or texture in the background that's completely invisible in the absence of light otherwise? Or what is that thing behind the cat? What exactly is going on here?
Nothing fancy at all! This is how it actually looks:

Just a regular mesh plane with a bump texture, with a spot light shining on it.

I just added the mesh resulting from the ray trace with a semi-transparent white texture.
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