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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsHavenrise - An Exploration Platformer
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pixelballoon
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« on: July 13, 2015, 12:27:17 AM »

Havenrise is an exploration platformer. The primary focus of the game is a platformer along the lines of Mario or Rayman, but with the exploration and skills from the 'Metroidvania' genre. As a player, you can't kill anything - there are no weapons, no jumping on enemies heads, no hand to hand combat. You have to use your acrobatic skills to reach your goals without harming anything around you.


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-- Original Post
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I'm still in an early phase of development, having prototyped various ideas for slightly over a year. Fresh out of prototyping I'm in early production now - with the game mechanics locked down, story fleshed out and graphical style decided on. I'm currently aiming to have the game mostly complete by around August next year.

The game is set within human manufactured habitat in orbit around Saturn, about 20 years after the humans have all moved out. You play as an AI uploaded into a personality droid, your job is to maintain the habitat for when the humans return. When critical systems start failing throughout the habitat it falls on you to get to the bottom of it.

I'll be posting more information on how the game is made and the tools involved in future posts.







« Last Edit: December 18, 2015, 12:56:02 AM by pixelballoon » Logged

Mixer
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« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2015, 01:17:23 AM »

Wow, gameplay looks good, but boy, those graphics are superb. The colours and, oh, everything, perfect! The story sounds nice too, and I can see it coming through in the background of those images.

I think acrobatics in gameplay is great, and I am very interested in seeing how you are going to implement it into the game! I'll be watching this for sure.
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PedroNunes
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« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2015, 01:26:34 AM »

Love the art style, you've created something that really stands out. Not having combat is a great idea and it seems like you're making really good progress with it Smiley
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pixelballoon
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« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2015, 05:13:39 AM »

Thanks guys, really appreciate the comments!

Currently testing out some changes to the colour scheme that have been suggested by a few people.

Does anyone have any opinions on red vs dark (terrain colour)?




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PedroNunes
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« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2015, 05:17:55 AM »

I personally really like the red one. I like having the character standing out like that and there are quite a few games out there where the character is given the terrain's colour... it does work but it does make any screenshot of your game immediately recognisable.

~ Pedro
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jctwood
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« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2015, 05:19:10 AM »

Dark certainly looks less jarring to me. However without a moving image it is hard to tell whether motion will easily differentiate the character from the environment? Will the environmental dark areas ever be in motion? Very beautiful! Pedro makes a great point about the red being more distinctive at a glance for screenshots and such.
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« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2015, 05:24:40 AM »

I don't think I've seen bloom used so vividly in sidescrolling games before, looks really good. Regarding if everything in the foreground should be a silhouette I think it could work in your game as well. I can really recommend Lotte Reiniger as inspiration if you haven't seen her work before.
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« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2015, 05:44:13 AM »

dark version looks suddenly like a bunch of already existing game which is a shame.
you should keep up with the red version unless there is more in the game that would shine with the dark version.
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Impmaster
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« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2015, 11:11:28 AM »

I like the red version, but I think your main character seems a little too generic right now. She doesn't really have anything to make her feel unique. Also, the lack of detail in the whole piece, while stylized, does make me feel a little as though the level is being greyboxed. I feel as though you need to add a little something, maybe some particle effects or something on the terrain.

TL;DR: I don't think the look you have at the moment is that striking, but with a little of work, it could be great.
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« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2015, 09:22:52 PM »

I think the red one stands out a little too much, although I agree constrast is good. I think I like the dark one because his feet seem really grounded, where the red ones shape isn't quite right.

Maybe that's just me.
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pixelballoon
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« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2015, 04:36:48 AM »

Thanks for all the responses. Definitely much appreciated - the comments when I asked the same question Twitter were very much in favour of the terrain colour, but like many of you I liked the vivid red look. So, I've been trying out playing with a new character design. I've tried to adapt the character to be more unique in terms of the silhouette - with a skeletal chest cavity showing what will contain a beating red gem.

Here's a preview of the character within Spine (See the original vine)


I also posted a vine last week with the older character to show off some of the movement in the opening area of the game. (See the original vine)


So far today I've also been working on implementing Inverse Kinematics in my spine runtime, so that I can more easily animate the character and enemies (back when I started, Spine didn't support IK).

Here's a sample of the first enemy you'll encounter - a spider drone.


Close up of the walk cycle (see original vine)
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jctwood
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« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2015, 04:40:31 AM »

Really love the little spider walker!
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pixelballoon
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« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2015, 05:32:11 AM »

So, it's been a while since I last updated this devlog. A lot has gone into the game in the past few weeks, though primarily in terms of level design, so not huge amounts to actually show! I do plan on posting up some video content soon.

I've been working on locking down the look based on various bits of feedback I've had from here, Twitter and in that place I so seldom see called 'real life'. I've tried to retain some of the bold look that the red player character has, while keeping the coherence of the terrain coloured character. I've done that by injecting some colour back in, as well as applying some colour grading. Any thoughts?


I've also started drawing up some decorations to make the scenes more interesting, such as the mushrooms and grass that can be seen in this shot.


In order to speed up placement of decorations of things like this I expanded my spline editor tools (used for creating terrain, moving platforms, anything that requires lines/shapes really!) to allow for placement of prefabs. So as shown in this example you can see long bits of grass being placed along the spline. The actual definition needs tweaking so that the placement is more natural, but it's a start.


I'm also trying to create a logo, but I'm definitely struggling on this part, as I want something that reflects the story and style of the game. I think I'll create a few over the next few weeks to get some opinions!

In terms of this devlog, I'd like to try and write a few posts about some of the tools I use, and how I've extended them over the next few weeks. I use Unity, as you can see in the previous screenshot, but I've written a large amount of shaders and editor extensions to make my job easier now I'm getting to the nitty gritty of level design.
Examples of some of the topics include -
* Terrain generation
* Context menus and workflow
* Moving platforms
* Level themes, effects and colour grading

If anyone has any interest in one of these in particular let me know and I'll prioritise it!

Thanks all Smiley
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fruitdev
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« Reply #13 on: September 16, 2015, 07:13:04 PM »

The dark silhouette with red details is far superior to both solid red and dark, well done! And the environmental art of the game looks completely amazing, I hope you can keep it fresh with different types of environments too!
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pixelballoon
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« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2015, 07:32:42 AM »

So, it's been a while since I've posted. I've been hard at work developing more content for the game. I've not yet had a chance to write up any of the proper detailed development logs, but I hope to be able to do so over the Christmas period.

I've mainly been working on finalising the graphical style of the game. I've developed the theme further, and have moved it slightly towards a comic book theme, to differentiate it from the general 'silhouette' style. The story is very comic book inspired, and it allows more detail in the characters and scenery too, rather than just relying on the general shape of the object. It makes things a lot clearer when they're animated.

I spent the weekend at Insomnia 56 in the UK, a large LAN event with a small games expo. I showed the game in the indie zone and spent the time watching people play to see where I can improve the level design, and the general flow.

Compared to the last time I showed the game at an expo (at EGX Rezzed I showed an early prototype called The Arc, before it evolved into Havenrise), the feedback was extremely positive. I had a large amount of people come back and play several times, as well as bring their friends and family back to have a go.

I've added a few more themes, to show what I'm planning on in terms of varying the look throughout the game.

You start the game in a dark, desolate area of the space station before moving out into the garden habitats during the day, and then onto the garden at night. I've got all the areas of the game planned out now, and will probably post some small previews of each area (minor spoilers!) over the next few months.

Anyway, onto the interesting stuff - here's some up to date screenshots!











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