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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsLife of Sundura - Let's play as an organism from Birth to Death
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Author Topic: Life of Sundura - Let's play as an organism from Birth to Death  (Read 20663 times)
Vakey Rujevic
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« on: March 31, 2015, 06:30:08 PM »


Info

Developer: Vakey Rujevic
Platform: TBD
Development Locations: Orlando FL (2014), Bay Area CA (2015), Taipei, Taiwan (Present)
Website: LifeOfSundura.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/VakeyRujevic
Tumblr: LifeOfSundura.tumblr.com

About

An interactive story of an organism's migration into life.

Sundura is an organism who is born into a habitat that is slowly diminishing due to the extraction of vital resources by artificial organisms. Upon birth she must adapt inorder to unite with her mother.

Prototype Builds

Prototype Build #7: Camera Rotation
Prototype Build #6: Egg Hatching 2.0
Prototype Build #5: Egg Hatching
Prototype Build #4: IndieCade Submission
Prototype Build #3: Intel Level Up Submission
Prototype Build #2: Organism Movement
Prototype Build #1: Camera System



Original Introductory Post


This game is an interactive story driven experience where you play as an organism from birth to death in a habitat that is near the end of it's life.

Setting
The game is set in an imaginary habitat where artificial and organic organisms co-exist. The habitat is slowly diminishing due to the unconscious extraction of vital resources by artificial organisms. Without these vital resources, organic organisms can not survive. Thus, there is constant battle between organic nature and artificial industrialization.

Story
I do not wish to spoil the whole story, thus I will only share the beginning of the first chapter of the game.

The story begins with you hatching from an egg. The egg is located inside your mother who is 100 times larger then you are. Thus you will have to make your way out of her. As you do that, your mother, along with the rest of your family, is attacked by artificial organisms. Large creatures, like your mother, are a great energy resources for them. Inside your mother, you will come across other recently born infants, artificial organisms that made their way inside, parasites lurking within your mother, and natural defense systems your mother has in place that will be chaotic and confused due to the stress of the invasion. Through all this you must find your way out to begin your life. And thus your adventure through the life of one courageous, kind, and yet vulnerable organism begins.


Gameplay and Game Design
The structure of the game (therefore the story as well) will be where you play through 5 stages of an organisms life: Birth, Growth, Purpose, Death, and Rebirth.

This will be more of a story driven experience then it will be a game. And what I mean by that is that the game will not be structured in level based way, nor a way that suggests you must overcome ever more difficult challenges. But instead, gameplay elements will be used, and at times not used, for you to be fully immersed in experiencing the story of an organism's life span. And though certain story elements will require you to defeat another character or solve a puzzle to continue, they are more so dictated by the story structure then by some game design structure.

With that said, the following gameplay elements will be used for you to experience the game:
- Fighting: Your body structure is very fish like with no mouth. Thus your attacks will be limited to head butts and tail swings. Here is a short clip of the fighting: Fight Clip
- Blocking: You will have a shield that allows you to block anything dangerous being thrown at you and also can be used to move dangerous things out of the way without touching them. Here is a short clip of the blocking: Blocking Clip
- Chasing and being chased: Given the relationship of predators and prey, you will be put in situations where you must escape a predator and situations where you will chase a prey. You are not at the top of the food chain, but you are not at the bottom either.
- Puzzle Solving: Certain story elements will require you to solve an environment puzzle to progress (very similar that of ICO and Limbo)


Motivations
I am a sucker for interactive storytelling. The idea of experiencing a story vs simply watching or reading it is something that can only be accomplished through our interactive medium. So I am excited to contribute towards the growth of interactive storytelling.

I was originally born in Serbia and the name of the game, Organizam, is from the Slavic word for organism.

I am also very interesting in the global problem of climate change and the struggle between industrialization and nature. Thus I wanted to make a game on a organism level that addresses those topics.

But I also feel that entertainment is a powerful medium to empower and educate people. One of my biggest idols, Hayao Miyazaki (creator of Sprited Away, Princess Mononoke), says that one of the reason he makes animated movies is to communicate a message that will empower kids. Though his focus is on empowering kids, his movies have empowered me even more so in my adulthood then in my childhood. So this is very inspiring to me because it gives my work a sense of purpose.

Thus, through this game I wish to communicate the message of the need for balance in the ever growing struggle between industrialization and nature.

Dev Status
Currently I am the only one working on this game. And though I have dabbled in game development for the past 8 years, I have yet to truly make a full game. Like many indie developers, I have a full time job while working on this project on the side. I am putting 15-20 hours a week into it.

I have been prototyping and designing the game since September of 2014 and now I am nearing the end of the pre-production phase. Soon I will begin work on the first chapter which will take me around 3-6 months to complete.

I just recently heard about TIGSource and am amazed by how lively the community is. I plan to post regular updates on the development of the game as well as playable builds. Wish me luck.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2018, 08:28:45 AM by Vakey Rujevic » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2015, 12:37:56 AM »

looks interesting. I find it pretty tough working and working on a game to this extent.
the fighting video looks quite chaotic, but I guess you tried to show a video with a lot of head-butting Wink. the shield mechanic does not really yell biological.

good luck with your game Wink
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« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2015, 01:32:55 AM »

LOVE THIS
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Vakey Rujevic
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« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2015, 04:54:02 PM »

looks interesting. I find it pretty tough working and working on a game to this extent.
the fighting video looks quite chaotic, but I guess you tried to show a video with a lot of head-butting Wink. the shield mechanic does not really yell biological.

good luck with your game Wink

Thanks! The fighting mechanics of the game has been the most difficult to nail down. I am still iterating and play testing through it. But my goal is for it to feel organic and reactive. I'll be posting some fight scene builds soon here and hopefully you guys can help him get it just right. Smiley
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« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2015, 10:28:46 PM »

Update #1: Camera System

Been working on perfecting the camera system of the game and am happy with the progress I have made with it so far. Here is how out it works:
- Player does NOT have control over the camera.
- The camera smoothly follows the player while staying in front of the direction the player is pointing at.
- Certain parts of an environment will have the camera anchor to a specific point. This is where the camera locks into that point and not the player, until the player leaves the designated area. The camera anchor points have the option of zooming in or zooming out as well.

**Playable build can found here: http://lifeofsundura.com/#/play/2 (click on "Toggle Camera Debug" to see the behind the scenes wiring)
**Playtesting thread can be found here: http://forums.tigsource.com/index.php?topic=47416.msg1129077#msg1129077


Motivation
I originally built the camera system where the player would control the zooming. However, through playtesting I found that people would forget about it and find themselves frustrated because they are getting shot at from an enemy that is out of their view. Or the wouldn't notice cool details about the game because they are not zooming out or zooming in enough to see it. So a controlled camera systems that anchors to parts of the environment felt like the best solution to this problem. Best part is that it will make it easier for me to tell a story as this is a story driven game.

Camera Following

This took me a while to get it just right. It's easy to get the camera to smoothly follow the player by using Vector3.SmoothDamp function on the camera's position. It's also easy to get the camera to point in front of the player. Just use focusedObject.transform.up  (focusedObject is player in this case) and multiply that by how far in front of the player you want the camera to be. The hard part is smoothing out the camera when the player suddenly does a 180 (by switching from going right to going left for example). When this happens, the camera is so far behind that it rushes to get in front of the camera and just doesn't feel smooth. To solve this, I used Vector3.SmoothDamp on the players facing direction (focusedObject.transform.up). The result is the following:



Camera Anchoring
This one was a lot of fun implementing. The basic principles are:
- The camera needs to anchor to a designated point in the environment when the player enters that area.
- It needs to transition focus smoothly from the player to the anchored point and vice versa.
- It needs to allow for zooming in and out (also transitioned smoothly)
- And finally, I added nudging the camera towards the direction the player is pointing towards.


To implement this, an anchor needs to define two circles. An inner one and an outer one. When the player enters the outer circle, the camera starts making it's way towards the center. Once the player enters the inner circle, the camera should be centered in the middle of this screen. The same holds true for zooming in and zooming out.


Thanks for reading my first dev blog update Smiley
« Last Edit: November 11, 2016, 04:44:29 AM by Vakey Rujevic » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2015, 02:19:38 AM »

I love this. I really do.
Good camera work too, will be lurking this
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« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2015, 07:58:12 AM »

Thanks man! And lurk away. Will be updating frequently.
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« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2015, 05:14:24 PM »

Been working hard on the movement of a snake like organism. Still more work to do, but will be posting a playable build soon of moving around with different sized organisms.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2015, 04:12:37 PM by Vakey Rujevic » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2015, 09:26:54 AM »

Update #2: Experimenting with Organisms

This week I have been experimenting with different types of organisms. And I also implemented the ability to feed on smaller organisms.

Say hello to the organism of light:



Here is a pic of the organism of light feeding on smaller green organisms:



Another version of the organism of light:



Here is an organism inspired by the Koi fish:



And finally a pic of the small green organisms swimming around:



I will have a playable build of these organisms that I want you guys to try out real soon (like in a day or two). But for now would love some feedback on which one of these you guys like the best.

Thanks for checking this out!
« Last Edit: May 20, 2015, 04:11:29 PM by Vakey Rujevic » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2015, 09:31:34 AM »

Wow, this is a really beautiful looking game. Keeping an eye on this one.
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« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2015, 03:46:44 PM »

Thanks man! Appreciate you saying that.
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« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2015, 10:45:46 AM »

Update #3: Organism Movement Build

Over the past few weeks I have been working really hard to make the movement of the organisms feel more realistic and fluid. I have released a prototype build where you can pick to play as one of 5 organisms I implemented. Try it out here:

http://lifeofsundura.com/#/play/3

The originally organism movement, which you can see on the animated gif below, felt very rigid and artificial. I didn’t realize this when I implemented it and it was brought to my attention through some play testing. So took me down a long path of doing research on how fish and snakes move.



And here is how the new organism movement looks like. Note, the animation is all physics based.





Thanks for reading. Please try out the movement build and let me know what you think Smiley
« Last Edit: November 11, 2016, 04:44:02 AM by Vakey Rujevic » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2015, 11:49:40 AM »

The animation is beautiful.  And the style has a wonderful surreal quality.
The controls in the demo are pretty confusing to me though.  My brain wants 'W' to be 'go forward' with 'A' and 'D' used to turn.
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« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2015, 11:10:19 AM »

The animation is beautiful.  And the style has a wonderful surreal quality.
The controls in the demo are pretty confusing to me though.  My brain wants 'W' to be 'go forward' with 'A' and 'D' used to turn.

Thanks for the feedback! You are first person who has expressed to want the controls to be in that way. I am always play testing this and if I find more people to feel the same way about the controls, I shall look investigate into it.
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« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2015, 09:47:38 PM »

Really love how hand-drawn the art is.  Hopefully you keep that aesthetic, maybe even exaggerating it a little!
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« Reply #15 on: May 14, 2015, 03:08:40 PM »

Really love how hand-drawn the art is.  Hopefully you keep that aesthetic, maybe even exaggerating it a little!

I am with you on that one. Really aspiring to give it a hand drawn but also painted like art style.
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« Reply #16 on: May 14, 2015, 04:03:27 PM »

Update #4: Intel Level Up Submission

Two nights ago I went to a game dev meetup in San Francisco and there I heard about the Intel Level Up Game Dev Contest. I also found out that I only had 24 hours to submit my game. After 10 hours of work being put into the submission, I was able to submit a build 5 minutes before the midnight deadline last night. You can play the build here:

http://organizamgame.com/#/play/4



The build is very simply. You can not die. There is no goal nor something to achieve. It’s just a living habitat for you to explore. You will get to
  • Eat small green organism
  • Avoid poisonous food
  • Protect yourself from aggressive organisms that shoot projectiles at you
  • Swim among 5 different species



« Last Edit: May 20, 2015, 03:19:09 PM by Vakey Rujevic » Logged

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« Reply #17 on: May 17, 2015, 09:57:22 AM »

Update #5: Character Design

Over the past month I have been working on the character design for the main character of the game. This update is about my progression towards that and the final result.

Rejected Design

The following are some of the early designs that I experimented with but they never made the cut.





Accepted Design

Here if the final design. The inspiration was to make him look tough and strong. A character that can take a lot of damage before being taken down.





Baby Design

And finally, I based on the accepted design I created baby version of that character.





Up next, I will be working on the first scene of the game, which is where the character hatches out of an egg and is born.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2015, 03:01:10 PM by Vakey Rujevic » Logged

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« Reply #18 on: May 20, 2015, 12:43:19 PM »

Update #6: Website Redesign

I spent the last 3 days redesigning the game’s website. The previous website had like 4 different pages and it’s art style did not match that of the game. So I redesigned it by cutting out a bunch of unneeded content and putting all the information on one page. On top of that, I love how https://www.airbnb.com/ has a video on top of their main page that plays automatically when you get there. So I decided to create a silent montage of my game to play at the top of the page. You can check out the new website redesign here:

http://organizamgame.com/

« Last Edit: May 20, 2015, 03:19:57 PM by Vakey Rujevic » Logged

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« Reply #19 on: June 20, 2015, 04:48:27 PM »

Update #7: IndieCade Submission

It's exactly one month since my last update (been away for vacation), but wanted to check in and talk a little about my IndieCade Submission that I submitted 3 weeks ago.


For those of you unfamiliar with IndieCade, it's a yearly independent games festival that is going to be hosted in Las Angeles this year (I will be there). Since I am still prototyping and experimenting with Organizam, all I was able to release was a prototype build.


The build has you hatch out of an egg and start making your way through the environment. It's a very short demo (about 3-5 minutes to complete it), but it is a simple representation for my vision for the game.

To play the build, go to this link: http://organizamgame.com/#/play/5







Finally, here is a behind the scenes picture of the entire level:

« Last Edit: June 20, 2015, 05:17:48 PM by Vakey Rujevic » Logged

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