Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length

 
Advanced search

1287064 Posts in 57037 Topics- by 47999 Members - Latest Member: John Talbot

March 30, 2017, 01:30:11 am

Need hosting? Check out Digital Ocean
(more details in this thread)
TIGSource ForumsFeedbackDevLogsCOLUMNAE: A Past Under Construction (nonlinear steampunk point&click)
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 5
Print
Author Topic: COLUMNAE: A Past Under Construction (nonlinear steampunk point&click)  (Read 17286 times)
jovan.vesic
Level 0
***



View Profile WWW Email
« on: June 11, 2015, 02:19:01 pm »


Hello, I am a member of Moonburnt studio based in Belgrade, Serbia. We are currently on Kickstarter (July 7 - August 9 2016)! Visit our campaign to download playable demo, watch extended video, back us if you can and share, share, share :D You can follow us on twitter, like us on  facebook, track us on indieDB, or take a look at our press kit. Also, take a look at our teaser trailer on youtube: youtu.be/TFB2lWsati8


World and setting

      COLUMNAE: A Past Under Construction  is set in a steampunk world that was ruined (some time after industrial revolution) by a gradual ecological catastrophe that left the surface of the Earth uninhabitable (filled with heavy poisonous gases) more than a century ago.


      The story is focused on a society of people descended from those not able to afford to inhabit the "city in the clouds" (called “Deus”) building of which was funded by public money and plagued with controversies. The aim of project Deus was officially to “build an autonomous high altitude public space for recreation and relaxation with some property reserved for luxury residencies”, but in reality it was intended as a haven for the rich when the inevitable catastrophe happens. It is a town inside a metallic bud-shaped shell, built upon gigantic metal 600m (2000ft) high pillars (“Columnae”). Beneath them, under the ground, huge machine (“Machina”) was constructed with the purpose of automatically extracting and processing resources and sending them (via pipes) through Columnae and into Deus.

      The society now living on Columnae (that is in the columns themselves, not on top of them) settled there after Deus was populated and locked down, in an attempt to escape the lethal environment on the surface of the Earth. Since then they had no access or any contact with the inhabitants of Deus, and they are parasitizing on the resources coming up the columns, without which their life would be impossible. But the people living here are far from innocent themselves - power struggle, corruption, lies, political manipulation and poverty are all present in the society of Columnae.


Classic point-and-click adventure elements

      Main challenge for the player will be puzzles typical for old-school adventures (e.g. Monkey Island). That involves finding and interacting with items and NPCs in the world, combining the items in the inventory etc. But in contrast to those old games we will try to avoid pixel-hunting and “illogical” puzzles (those typically solved only after trying mindlessly to “use” every item in the inventory with everything in the world, or combine any two items owned) as much as possible. We also made sure that at almost any given moment, player have one or more alternatives to the quest/puzzle he’s currently trying to solve on several alternative puzzles - which will, without “dumbing down” the puzzles, minimize the chance of player feeling like he is stuck for “too long” .


Branching of the story and non-linear elements

      There are also some elements typically found in the games labeled as “RPG”. For example, player will have many opportunities to make “moral” decisions, choose between sides in conflicts, make friends and enemies (and decide if he will betray them later). By making those decisions, player will open some opportunities and lock (permanently or temporarily) the others. The consequences of his actions will not be something that could be easily represented by a few numbers (like good-evil & chaotic-lawful scale or even “standing” with different factions). Instead they will manifest as hand-crafted situations, long lasting chains of events and meaningful responses from other characters. Because of this approach (hand-crafting the consequences, or hard-coding them if you will), every possible path (and there will be a lot of them if you include all the little variations in choices) if not necessarily completely unique, will be a story with its own internal logic, and not a pile of unrelated events artificially colored by your acquired “stats”. (Sometime as a gamer I feel like the game is telling me something like this: “Hey, I heard your character likes stealing stuff frequently… so he is now +50 evil alright? Now… I bet you are into this cult that kills and eats unborn children, wanna join? Because EVIL, amirite?”)


      Aside from having different quests and reactions depending on your background, knowledge and previous actions, the character will, as the gameplay advances, start to see the results his actions have made in the world. (For example, at one point you are perhaps (in some game-paths) able to help workers of the factory to get their jobs back by reopening the factory, OR you could help the boss automate the process leaving them without jobs forever, OR you could ignite revolutionary ideas among the workers, OR you can ignore all of it and just advance your story by doing some other unrelated quest. But if the workers started a revolution, then in later chapters maybe your movement will be limited due to raging battles? Or if you helped the boss automate the factory you will become a shareholder and able to attend a fancy private club - or maybe the angry mob will try to murder you?). All of the decisions will lead to around 8 totally unique endings. Of course, the number of possible stories will be much greater, in a sense that any of those endings can be “flavoured” this or that way depending on other stuff that happened or did not happen during that particular gameplay.




Retrocausality

      Game will be separated in eight chapters. Chapter 1 is the first chronologically speaking, in-world it happens before all the others, and Chapter 8 is the last one - obviously. But the twist here is that they are not played in that order. To be exact they will be played in the following order: 4, 1, 3, 5, 7, 6, 2, 8. Now at a first glance, this seem to be just an added novelty with no apparent reason or meaning. But when you take into account non-linearity and continuous branching of the story based on the player’s choices, then it means that you as a player will be able to affect not only the future, but also the past of the character you are playing (and the world). How does that work? For example: when you start the game, first you will play Chapter 4. You will be put in the middle of the story, and your character will know a lot more about world and the current story than you (as a player) do. But some short-term goals at least will be obvious from the beginning and you will work on reaching them. But you will have a few different ways of acquiring this, and by choosing a way, you will also choose the way your character acts, and by the extent build a little bit of his background, his motivations, character (pun unintended).


      For example (not a real in-game situation, so not a spoiler), if you (as a player) decide to avoid being seen by the policeman, then there must be some reason in your character’s past why would he do that. Maybe he’s a wanted person?  Or he distrusts the police just because ACAB? Or he had some not-so-pleasant experiences with them earlier? Or it’s not because the guy is a policeman at all, but because he’s a really boring guy he knows from his childhood? Which of those possibilities is true will be determined by some other actions that the player chooses to do during Chapter 4. And then, when Chapter 1 starts, the character will be placed in an appropriate version of it depending on the decisions the player made during Chapter 4. (Of course, during Chapter 4 you also do some stuff that leaves the usual future-consequences, so it will also affect for example what happens in chapter 5). Things get more and more complicated with every advancing chapter, but luckily this part of the job is already done and I am very happy how it turned out Smiley

This is for me one of the most exciting aspect of our game, at least in a sense that it makes it a little bit different from many others. I see it as the main “twist” in our otherwise pretty standard game mechanics.




Graphics, engine and technical info

      We are using Unity3D but most of the stuff you see in the screenshots are drawn 2D sprites (illustrator->photoshop->unity). We use Unity lights and combination of pre-rendered and real-time FX. We have been experimenting with some real 3D elements for some time, and we are finally happy with the results (at the beginning, the combination of 2D and 3D elements looked really amateurish and just bad but we worked it out). Actually I hope to have some implemented 3D elements to show this weekend already..

      Scripts are done in C#. We are developing it for desktop platforms for now (PC, Mac, Linux).

Screenshot gallery (click for larger image):

   

   

   

Thanks for reading! Feedback and questions are more than welcome! Smiley
« Last Edit: August 11, 2016, 04:14:05 pm by jovan.vesic » Logged


site  |  devlog  |  twitter  |  facebook | indieDB
Faerdan
Level 0
**



View Profile
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2015, 02:30:08 pm »

I am blown away by the attention to detail in those screenshots. If that same attention to detail goes into the animation and narrative (and it sounds like it is), I think this will be a gem.

I can't wait to see some videos.

Good luck!
Logged

Developer of UNION Spaceship Command [Greenlight | IndieDB | Twitter]
jovan.vesic
Level 0
***



View Profile WWW Email
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2015, 04:43:07 pm »

Hey, thanks! Actually we already have some animated stuff done, and we are working on it every day. I'll try to upload some videos soon, along with a devlog explaining the process we went through while making them.

As for the narrative, I am actually pretty confident about it, having worked on it for a really long time now. I will try to write something down tomorrow about the whole background and process that we went through so far making this game. It's the first one for our studio and we went through many trial and error situations, made a lot of mistakes and hit so many dead-ends... so I guess it could be useful (or at least funny) to read for fellow game developers here. Smiley

I am blown away by the attention to detail in those screenshots. If that same attention to detail goes into the animation and narrative (and it sounds like it is), I think this will be a gem.

I can't wait to see some videos.

Good luck!
Logged


site  |  devlog  |  twitter  |  facebook | indieDB
jovan.vesic
Level 0
***



View Profile WWW Email
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2015, 06:21:06 am »

Unnecessarily Long Background Story About Making This Game So Far



How we started


In the early autumn of 2013, my friend and I decided to apply for the upcoming 2-month artist residency “Multimadeira” on the island of Madeira (Portugal), our project being point and click adventure game that we would (with the third friend working from Serbia) hopefully develop to the stage of playable pre-alpha demo in five weeks.

None of us have made any video games before, but we were proficient in all the separate skills needed to do this - or at least we thought we were. Ivan (the programmer) was experimenting with Python for some time and wanted to make the engine from scratch. We somehow convinced Jelena (the artist) to work with us from cold and and windy Belgrade (our hometown) while we swim in the ocean and sunbathe on this beautiful island (it was December, but the climate there is just amazing). We made the main concept together, and the rest fell to me - I had some previous experience with doing animations, and I have been making music all my life so it was only logical that I should do those.

Screenshot from the game back in those days

But it was the decision to let me work on the puzzles, story, characters and world that led this project in the current direction… and I still can’t say for sure if it’s the best or the worst thing that could have happened to this game. One of the first advises you get (or should get) when you start working on your first game is to start by making small and simple games, and we knew that it was a good advice from the very beginning. So we decided to have a simple story of a nerd mechanic trying to repair a minor bug/damage in a huge machine (essential for the survival of the whole city) only to discover that repairing it somehow made another bug appear elsewhere, and repairing that one made the third one appear etc. The story would end in his realization that the machine is imperfect by its nature, and the only right course of action (him being kind of asocial perfectionist) is of course to destroy the machine - which leaves the city without all the essential resources and as a result basically sentences all the people to die - including the mechanic himself. (This was only kind-of spoiler and it happens / is true only for some of the possible paths and endings in our current game, but I marked it anyway)


Messing with playing order of the chapters


This way, the story would end with an “apocalypse” (so it was not post-apocalyptic but pre-apocalyptic back then Smiley ). Soon we got the idea that it would be a cool narrative technique to play the ending (destruction of the machine) first, and then advance backward through time. The player would start the game with this important event, but without knowing the reasons for it, and then gradually (until the end of the gameplay) uncover this chain of events, until he at last realizes it is more of a Kafkian story than an epic one.

We weren’t too happy with anti-climatic (gameplay) ending though, so the next step was to prolong the story after the “apocalypse” (X symbol in the picture) and shuffle the playing order like this:


We would start in media res, and then alternate between going back (to explain the reasons for the apocalypse) and forward through time (to advance the story further). Later we abandoned the apocalypse as starting point completely (eventually,  part of the story originally intended for the main character was given to an important NPC instead, and moved back to the past) - but this was one of the most important points in the structural development of our gameplay.


Branching of the story


It was still supposed to be a simple game though - a short poetic story with clever puzzles and the ending that people would think about and call it stupid or clever or interesting or whatever. Ivan and I both had ideas what does it mean, we talked a lot about it and why it’s the only ending that really make sense (and we both have MA in Philosophy so...yeah). Until one day it was not the only ending anymore. First we decided that the player should be able to choose if he will destroy it or not. But obviously, one of those choices would be wrong. But then again, we didn’t want to have those “YOU WIN” and “YOU LOSE” ending screens, so it would stay up to the player to decide if it was the right decision. Then we decided it should be cool to have more than two endings, and also some of them should be “locked” depending on the other decisions made during the gameplay.... and while at it, why only change the endings? There should be different quests with different prerequisites, and player should frequently be in a position to advance the game in more than one way. Sort of like those “choose your adventure” books, but with a very important twist of retro-causality (explained in the OP). Of course, the player is not explicitly asked to make the choice as in those books (and he’s usually not even aware that he is making one) but is doing so by solving some puzzle this instead of that way, or solving this puzzle instead of that puzzle, or even choosing this instead of that dialog option.




Expanding the world


Now, I am a retired table-talk RPG game master, fond of making my own systems and settings, and writing HUGE documents about the world and everything in it. I am also a fan of George R.R. Martin and his unbelievably complex system of seemingly unrelated stories that somehow come together and do (or will, I hope) make sense at the end. With the endless possibility that non-linear story and retro-causality gave me, I was FREE (bwahaha) to make this world huge and rich in details, and to strategically place little side-quests/stories in it so that they would not reveal the whole truth to the player unless he has played the game a few times and took different paths - but they would still give the player much needed flavour of the world surrounding the story even if he only played the game once. The idea of having this meta-knowledge only attainable by playing the game more than once (or reading about / watching others do it) intrigued me - it’s a state possible for you as a player, but never for the character you are playing. I realized that by using retro-causality we can do this without the player replaying the game: When you play chronologically earlier chapter after you play chronologically later chapter, you as a player have some direct knowledge about the future of your character (and the world), and he does not, so if your (player’s) decisions in his name are based on this knowledge then his (character’s) actions could be seen as irrational in-world (because the character had no knowledge which would explain why he did what he did). This opened some very interesting possibilities for our story, namely adding a possibility of real prophetic/mystic element - giving player the opportunity to act (or not!) as an invisible fate in some situations, and lead the character to make some decisions without him knowing exactly why at the time. But revealing those in more detail would be not just too spoilerish right now but also hard to explain without telling the whole story in detail.

             


Sane decisions

 
After Multimadeira, where we had successfully completed demo and held a presentation, for a year  I worked almost only on the world and the story (or stories to be precise), and after some time decided to abandon the “book” format I was using (which was ~100 pages long at that time) and started writing it as a closed wiki (we use Google Sites for it, and there are currently around 200 articles in it - most of them several pages long). But, before you facepalm (or is it too late?) - the good thing was that I was aware from the beginning that the whole story would most probably be too large to implement in the game at the end. That’s why I made almost everything scalable - so we can just throw away whole paths, some parts of them or just a quest or two - without any additional work. Right now we are in a position that we have material for a huge game, but we can also decide to just implement 40% of the material (or somewhere in between) without having to adapt it. So we kind of fucked things up and planned a game that we will probably have no resources to pull out, but we also did leave an easy way to cut out parts of it.

The other practical thing that we did is abandon our Python engine and build a game from scratch in Unity3D. While it was fun and exciting building our own engine, it was really slowing us down. When we decided to switch it really seemed like we just decided to throw away a lot of work and start from the beginning but in a long run I am confident it was the only right thing to do.

In last few months we were joined by two more people, and now we are working faster than ever and are currently very enthusiastic about this!



tl;dr: we are small studio from Belgrade, Serbia. nice to meet you!
« Last Edit: September 07, 2015, 11:47:58 am by jovan.vesic » Logged


site  |  devlog  |  twitter  |  facebook | indieDB
oldblood
Level 9
****


Hanging around...


View Profile Email
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2015, 03:45:41 pm »

Seen a few of your screenshots pop up on Twitter, absolutely love the visuals you've put together here.

I find it all very reminiscent of a CGI short film I saw a few years back called "The Mysterious Explorations of Jasper Morello". Very similar style with the "shadow puppet" type characters and steampunk atmosphere. You can watch it here:

Logged

jovan.vesic
Level 0
***



View Profile WWW Email
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2015, 08:47:40 am »

Thanks a lot oldblood!

As for the film, it's really strange: none of us have heard about it before, and it certainly looks pretty similar, visually at least (haven't watched it yet, I hope the story is not that similar at least!), but for two years nobody ever mentioned it until yesterday when two of you just a few hours apart from each other left us exactly the same comment (the other guys commented on facebook, and when I read your reply here I first checked if you two are the same person Shocked )


Anyway, would you say it is too similar stylistically? In a sense that we should maybe even try to change the style a little just not to appear like we are copying it?
Logged


site  |  devlog  |  twitter  |  facebook | indieDB
oldblood
Level 9
****


Hanging around...


View Profile Email
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2015, 09:56:24 am »

Anyway, would you say it is too similar stylistically? In a sense that we should maybe even try to change the style a little just not to appear like we are copying it?

Apologies, wasn't trying to discourage the look at all. I think you should embrace the look you have, its quite lovely. When I first saw your screenshots on Twitter I liked it a lot, it took me a bit to remember why they seemed familiar then I remembered the film.

Certainly odd to have heard from two people about the same thing on the same day. But yes, I'd definitely continue with the look. It's resemblance to a short film that came out 8+ years ago (that likely most gamers havent even seen) is nothing to worry about. Looking forward to seeing more.
Logged

JesusFabre
Level 0
**


Marketing Consultant / PR / Social Media Manager


View Profile WWW
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2015, 12:48:21 pm »

Everything you showed here looks amazingly well elaborated, I like the plot and your ideas of playing with time, your actions and the environment.

Keep it rolling!!
Logged

PR and Social Media guy at @AquirisGS (formerly @PixelPiracyGame, @BeautiFunGames, @DarkoutGame and others). Director of the documentary project @TheGamerInside.
jovan.vesic
Level 0
***



View Profile WWW Email
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2015, 06:44:57 pm »

@oldblood No need to apologize, I appreciate your feedback and encouragement a lot! I guess it's a good thing it was a movie, if it was another game I would feel much worse about it Smiley

@JesusFabre Thank you for reading and for the support!
Logged


site  |  devlog  |  twitter  |  facebook | indieDB
Sir Fishelsworth
Level 0
**



View Profile WWW Email
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2015, 07:31:25 pm »

Great concept and art style -- I can't wait to see it in action!

As others have said, the attention to detail is fantastic.
Logged
jovan.vesic
Level 0
***



View Profile WWW Email
« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2015, 04:10:48 pm »

Thanks @Sir Fishelsworth. Well we uploaded a short video

yesterday. It's the first time we used some actual 3D objects (as opposed to sprites), so it's sort of a test. I'll try to write more about this process ASAP.

(On a side note, I'm getting frustrated trying to make decent-looking GIFs under 10MB Outraged)
« Last Edit: June 14, 2015, 05:16:22 pm by jovan.vesic » Logged


site  |  devlog  |  twitter  |  facebook | indieDB
joaorequiao
Level 0
***



View Profile WWW Email
« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2015, 10:04:34 pm »

Fantastic work! I don't need to mention the details and artwork quality... It's obviously awesome! You have a high quality game on the way! I hope I'm not wrong hahaha I want to play it as soon as possible!

Keep it up!
Logged

TIG - Devlog<br />Twitter<br />Facebook<br />
jovan.vesic
Level 0
***



View Profile WWW Email
« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2015, 05:49:09 am »

You have a high quality game on the way! I hope I'm not wrong hahaha
Well, I too hope you are not wrong! Toast LeftGrin
Logged


site  |  devlog  |  twitter  |  facebook | indieDB
ThilDuncan
Level 0
***


Indie Developer at Ghost Town Games


View Profile WWW Email
« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2015, 06:03:01 am »

Wow can't believe I managed to miss this one. Looks fantastic, loving the use of bloom, the muted colours and of course the crisp silhouettes. Can't wait to see it all in motion : )

Intrigued to hear more about the story too, love the idea of being able to affect the past and future events that take place. Sounds great, keep it up!

Logged

jovan.vesic
Level 0
***



View Profile WWW Email
« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2015, 04:07:28 pm »

@ThilDuncan Thanks, I was really not sure if I am overusing the bloom effect, but it goes so well with the atmosphere we are trying to depict, I just can't resist playing with it Durr...?

Well, to be precise, we are actually doing at least 4 totally different environments, and we are still to decide on the degree of visual differences between them, so we'll see. Those are:

Environments

1. Columnae, two variations: a) lower areas: very poor and dirty neighborhoods with heavy air pollution and b) higher areas which are more developed and act as the center of the economy and social life. Around 50% of the gameplay time will be spent in one of those, so it's our "standard" environment.

2. Machina: huge underground machine responsible for extracting resources, processing them and pumping them up through the pipes. Supposedly infallible and totally autonomous. It holds many answers to the questions about the past... or does it?  Well, hello there! This environment will be the darkest, the emptiest and comprised of claustrophobic control rooms/passages and huge halls (think steampunk Moria) filled with organically connected subsystems of enormous pumps, hammers, cogs, wheels etc.

3. The Cliffs: smaller community detached from Columnae. Descendants of those who found their refuge from pollution on "nearby" highlands (somewhat similar to Monument Valley or Meteori in Greece). In contrast to corrupted capitalistic society of Columnae (whose economy is based on the resources coming through the pipes from Machina), those on the Cliffs follow more of a tribal/anarchistic organisation, collect their own resources and grow their own food. Cultural diversity and luxury goods are lacking though.

4. Greenhouse/Dome owned by the Baroness. The only known structure on the surface of the Earth built after the catastrophe. It's in the middle of the wastelands, and is built in a way that enables "normal" living (i.e. not dying of poisonous gases), growing of plants etc. Not so heavenly place other than that, but let's keep this part a mystery for now Smiley
« Last Edit: September 07, 2015, 11:50:59 am by jovan.vesic » Logged


site  |  devlog  |  twitter  |  facebook | indieDB
jovan.vesic
Level 0
***



View Profile WWW Email
« Reply #15 on: June 16, 2015, 08:02:44 pm »

2.5D and 3D, lights and shadows


When we started this project, the idea for the look was to do several 2D planes (with parallax). This is sometimes called 2.5D and the term is "used to describe either:
(1) 2D graphical projections and similar techniques used to cause a series of images (or scenes) to simulate the appearance of being three-dimensional (3D) when in fact they are not, or
(2) gameplay in an otherwise three-dimensional video game that is restricted to a two-dimensional plane.
" (quote from Wikipedia).

Our game was meant to be 2.5D in the first meaning of the term, and when we did our own engine in Python we didn't make it to be 3D engine, but just integrated a mechanic to arbitrarily assign different parallax values to different planes/layers of 2D art. But right now it seems it might end up being 2.5D in this second meaning of the term.

When we moved to Unity, we just decided to do 3D project for a number of reasons, but imported those 2D layers as sprites at different z values (and "order in layer" values) and locked our camera rotation so it would always look straight at them.

We still didn't use Unity lights at this point (we did it in Photoshop before exporting png files), so default sprite material was used - objects would not receive nor cast any shadows. Later we decided it's just too useful to have the option of dynamic lights so we switched to Unity lights. Some sprites we left with their default material (silhouettes, naturally) so they would remain unaffected by lights, and the others we changed so they could now receive shadows.

We still haven't found a way to make them also cast good looking shadows while correctly showing transparent and semi-transparent pixels of the sprite (and not causing other problems). So at this time, sprites in the game don't cast shadows as you can clearly see in the upper, "Scene" view on the screenshot below. Usually this is not a huge problem, but I miss this option in some situations.


Switching to Unity lights also gave us the option to quickly try and tweak them, and added a nice looking kind-of-3D feel of depth to the objects - note that light-shadow border on two objects and the wall is "broken" because of their different z value.

When we started to work on the interior of Machina though, all of the giant rotating cog sprites looked just awful. You could see they lacked any depth and it made the whole scene fall apart. So we did a quick test version of them in blender and made this:


Now, this was of course just something we put in to see what it would look like, and I don't deny there is some weird beauty in this combination of 3D and 2D elements. But it has nothing to do with the style we have more or less already established for our game (for now). The worst thing is - with added 3D elements and their fancy way of receiving shadows, they made other (2D) objects look more flat than before, and actually the whole scene looked much worse. The obvious choice were to test different materials, textures etc, but we didn't want to get so deep into this stuff yet. So what we did was the opposite of what we did earlier with sprites (when we started using Unity lights) - I used default sprite shader on them (and black tint) so they basically became just a silhouettes of 3d objects, (and did not receive shadows any more):


The depth of cogs is actually pretty subtle, you can only really see it in the changing perspective while they rotate and camera moves (see the video

) but it was somehow needed to make them look real enough. On the other hand, by being silhouettes themselves now, they perfectly blend with other (2D) silhouettes in the scene, and don't make them look flat. Downside is that right now source of light have to be in the background, facing camera, because having all those objects as silhouettes visually makes no sense if their visible side (the one facing the camera) is lit.  

« Last Edit: September 07, 2015, 11:52:24 am by jovan.vesic » Logged


site  |  devlog  |  twitter  |  facebook | indieDB
Sir Fishelsworth
Level 0
**



View Profile WWW Email
« Reply #16 on: June 17, 2015, 03:04:51 am »

Thanks @Sir Fishelsworth. Well we uploaded a short video

yesterday. It's the first time we used some actual 3D objects (as opposed to sprites), so it's sort of a test. I'll try to write more about this process ASAP.

(On a side note, I'm getting frustrated trying to make decent-looking GIFs under 10MB Outraged)

Wow, beautiful. Thanks for sharing. I usually use http://www.gfycat.com/ or http://blog.bahraniapps.com/gifcam/ for GIFs.
Logged
jovan.vesic
Level 0
***



View Profile WWW Email
« Reply #17 on: June 24, 2015, 06:22:44 pm »

Silhouettes + 2.5D + "realism" = Problems


Have you ever noticed that in “Limbo” and similar-looking games, your character is almost always placed on top of a non-flat object, or an object whose z-dimension (depth) would be small enough (if it was 3D), and while you are on the ground, it always looks like you are walking on top of little “hills”? I never noticed it until we started developing visual identity of COLUMNAE. Soon I realized that typical ground-level flat surfaces (like concrete street for example) are hard to “realistically” show as silhouettes in 2.5D because you basically have two options for your view angle:

1) the camera is rotated so it faces a little bit downward - this is more “natural” way to show things, but from this perspective you should be able to see the surface in question extending forward z-axis behind the main character (and other objects in the first “layer”) all the way to the “horizon” - or the end of the surface. But this way, if the surface is the same colour as the main character (which it is) without any visible borders, it will “eat” at least the feet of the character, and if it’s large enough it could drown him completely in its blackness. (The same could actually happen even with a wall viewed from certain perspectives if it is big enough and should extend away from camera.)

2) the camera is rotated a little bit upward - to do this you usually have to show the ground as if it was “sliced” for camera to be placed actually under the surface of the earth. It is less “natural” view because we (as humans) are accustomed to usually viewing things from some height.

The idea to raise the whole gameplay above the ground actually came from this realization (but this happened pretty early so it later blended really well with the rest of the story), as having a lot of “hills” in fairly urban, industrial environment was not an option, and we wanted to be able to use the option 2) but without the need for “slicing” the ground all the time. By having people living on the columns, we gained much needed empty space between the camera and the edge of the flat surfaces that the characters are walking on. But still, every now and then we face this problem again when we try to show some huge flat floor, ceiling or wall in the game.

There are other problems with 2.5D and floors, even when you don’t use silhouettes, and we wrestled with a new one last few weeks as we were trying to develop the unique look for one of our four environments (that I mentioned in a post before this). Our artist made these new drawings as the concept for “background” layers:



As we will assign different z values for sprites of different “Cliffs”, the question is: how should we treat the flat ground below as a horizontal 3D object, or only as a fake horizon (part of the “sky” layer). Both solutions have some problems associated with them, so for now we are actually thinking about perhaps not showing the horizon at all, but are still trying different options. Those are some of the first tries in unity:



« Last Edit: September 07, 2015, 11:53:03 am by jovan.vesic » Logged


site  |  devlog  |  twitter  |  facebook | indieDB
unsilentwill
Level 9
****


O, the things left unsaid!


View Profile WWW Email
« Reply #18 on: June 27, 2015, 11:40:44 am »

I have nothing else to say but I'm really impressed with how much work is going into this game!  My Word!
Logged

Mr. Levich
Level 0
**



View Profile
« Reply #19 on: June 27, 2015, 01:10:56 pm »

Good gods, a style as gorgeous as that AND it's an old-school adventure AND with freedom of choice AND with an exquisite and elaborate storyline? Man, I'm out of words. I think I'm in love.

And some extra love for Monkey Island.
Logged

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 5
Print
Jump to:  

Theme orange-lt created by panic