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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsThe Eldritch Zookeeper - Ticket Booths! Benches! Litter Bins!
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Author Topic: The Eldritch Zookeeper - Ticket Booths! Benches! Litter Bins!  (Read 36341 times)
Cranktrain
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« Reply #120 on: January 20, 2016, 10:21:42 AM »

Gastroquins now have their own box type, and boxes now have some extra polish, if items are rotated the wrong way, they orient themselves, much like monsters do when they are flipped:



I then went in and added a magical little particle effect, combined with fading the box out, to make the sudden appearance of a monster a little less abrupt:

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Canned Turkey
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« Reply #121 on: January 20, 2016, 11:08:00 AM »

Looks great!
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Cranktrain
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« Reply #122 on: January 21, 2016, 03:37:40 AM »

Thanks Canned Turkey!

Today I'm wrestling with how the controls and the User Interface will work, and work together. Right now the game plays with a keyboard, and with debug-keys mixed with the actual input, and I'd like to pair things down to what the real input will be.

Really keen on hearing some feedback on this, because:

1. I've never designed controls for a controller, and I'd like to make them first-class citizens for input in this game.
2. I'm planning on working a lot more on the 'sim' elements of the game design in the upcoming months, and sim/management mechanics are usually best suited to the Mouse, and I want to not have the mouse used very much, if at all.

Which all means this is a tricky design puzzle!

Here's a mock-up of a basic UI, with zero prettiness:



In the top-right is the basic Zoo information. How much money to do you have to spend, what day/time is it, and how many visitors are in your zoo? The "life tokens" bit is how many guests are allowed to die before it's Game Over.

In the top-left is the player's inventory. The player will be allowed to carry a limited number of objects and switch between them. I'm wonder

In the bottom-left there's a minimap. In this example it's displaying the whole zoo, but I imagine for bigger zoos that's not going to be sensible, and will just display the nearby area. The 'notification' text above displays important developments in your zoo, with an (!) sign appearing on the minimap. Because the minimap can't display the whole zoo, there will likely, almost certainly) need to be another button to bring up a much larger overlay showing the whole zoo, in a clearer fashion.

And here's what I'm currently considering as an input scheme:



Item Switching: On the keyboard it just seems sensible to use the classic number keys to jump to a slot. On the gamepad, I'm wondering whether using the bumpers to toggle across the slots is sensible.

Use: Alternatively, 'Yes' or 'Activate'. If the player is holding an item, the 'Use' button is how they activate its function, whether that's swinging a hammer, or using a fire-extinguisher. If the player isn't holding an item then the player interacts with an object in some way, such as opening a box on the floor or speaking to an NPC.

Pick-Up/Drop: Alternatively, 'No' or 'Cancel'. If the player is holding an item, the 'Drop' button drops it, if not, it can pick up an item.

Map Button: Bring up the big map overlay.

Climb: Hold to jump a fence. Can't be done when holding a box.
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« Reply #123 on: January 21, 2016, 04:30:21 AM »

I've been reading for a while and just wanted to say that it looks great! This is shaping up to be one of my favourite devlogs.
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« Reply #124 on: January 24, 2016, 01:12:43 PM »

Will there be different fence materials with various creatures they work well with?  Will some creatures benefit symbiotically from being in an enclosure with other species?  Might some creatures produce beneficial resources--eggs for instance--if cared for properly?  I'm not sure what you have in mind, but I feel like it would be cool to discover certain interactions and living arrangements that appear when complexity increases (for example, a creature which is happiest socializing in the day, but becomes hostile at night and needs to be kept away from other species).  It would be cool to see what solutions people come up with when you give them a big toolbox (automatic gates, conveyor belts, etc.).  Awesome game by the way, can't wait to see where you take it.
Thanks!
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Cranktrain
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« Reply #125 on: January 25, 2016, 10:09:13 AM »

I've been reading for a while and just wanted to say that it looks great! This is shaping up to be one of my favourite devlogs.

Thanks Oats!

Will there be different fence materials with various creatures they work well with?  Will some creatures benefit symbiotically from being in an enclosure with other species?  Might some creatures produce beneficial resources--eggs for instance--if cared for properly?  I'm not sure what you have in mind, but I feel like it would be cool to discover certain interactions and living arrangements that appear when complexity increases (for example, a creature which is happiest socializing in the day, but becomes hostile at night and needs to be kept away from other species).  It would be cool to see what solutions people come up with when you give them a big toolbox (automatic gates, conveyor belts, etc.).  Awesome game by the way, can't wait to see where you take it.
Thanks!

Thanks multivac486! Yes, lots of your ideas are along the same lines as my plans. I'm hoping to get the simulation as complex (or perhaps a better word might be 'rich') as I can in the time I've got to make the game. As you say, lots of monsters, lots of tools, that's what I think the game needs.

Got a lot done over the weekend and today. In my last post I mocked up what I thought might be a nice idea for a game interface, and decided to go implement the Inventory section. First, I worked on the item switching:



Quite happy with how that looks.

One thing I hadn't worked out until today was how items-that-are-held-but-aren't-boxes would work. Thinking it through, I went with building each item into the Spine character model, which gives perfect positioning and the hands look the most natural for each item. Combined with the GUI above, and a simple item-switching animation, this is how it appears:



A bit mechanical, but it works. There's also some preliminary code in there for dropping these items and picking them back up again, and you'll also notice that the Mallet item is currently used for building fences, as the semi-invisible blueprint fencepost appears.

To the delight of flames everywhere, the fire-extinguisher currently does nothing.
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Cranktrain
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« Reply #126 on: January 27, 2016, 11:25:35 AM »

Starting work on the animated version of the Behemoth today, made a lot of progress. Here's the obligatory test sketch to check the scale between Photoshop, Spine and Unity:



The Behemoth is the biggest creature in the game, and the first quadruped I've got to animate. Got pretty far whiteboxing the limbs in:



And now I'm working on a walking animation. Hopefully be done with Mr Behemoth tomorrow.
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Cranktrain
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« Reply #127 on: January 28, 2016, 07:51:41 AM »

A walking Behemoth:



That's the 100th screenshot of the devlog so far. To celebrate, here's a Behemoth reversing in an angry fashion:

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Cranktrain
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« Reply #128 on: January 28, 2016, 11:07:00 AM »

Wasn't terribly happy with the walk-animation, or the colour choice, so I'm making adjustments:

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« Reply #129 on: January 28, 2016, 11:30:17 AM »

The art looks so smooth and original in 3D!
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« Reply #130 on: January 29, 2016, 02:16:18 AM »

Really like how the art style is coming together, has a unique look.
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Cranktrain
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« Reply #131 on: January 29, 2016, 06:23:02 AM »

The art looks so smooth and original in 3D!

Thanks! The gifs are all captured at 30fps, so it looks even smoother at 60.

Really like how the art style is coming together, has a unique look.

Thanks, I'm looking forward to seeing how it looks in a couple of months, a lot of art still to go!

The new Behemoth now has a box to emerge from:



One of the main unique things about this monster is its sheer size. It's possible to build an enclosure that is too small for it once it is released from the box, so some extra work had to go into the 'growing' stage to ensure that the player (and the zoo visitors) are appropriately endangered:

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Cranktrain
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« Reply #132 on: January 30, 2016, 02:04:30 AM »

Leaving the Behemoth for now. All the monsters are currently quite unbalanced, it is hard to keep them happy, but when I've got a good number of monsters in there, I can go in for a big polish pass on the behaviours, and then I'll come back through and clean-up some of the rough edges in their appearance. That's the plan, anyway.

Started work on a new monster, this one is called a Grondomut, you would have last seen an early version back on page 3 of this devlog. It's the most friendly of the monsters planned, it doesn't eat meat, and it needs company. But if it gets lonely, or riled up, it's still big enough to cause some damage in the zoo.

Here's the original scale-test -



And then white-boxing in the parts of the body via Spine, ready for some animation!



(Missing two back legs right now.)
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Cranktrain
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« Reply #133 on: January 30, 2016, 12:36:59 PM »

Got a walk-cycle for the new Grondomut in, and am now experimenting with colours:



I like the idea that the Grondomut is a gelatinous creature, translucent and a bit viscid. Needs a lot more work, but could be an interesting idea. A work-in-progress!
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« Reply #134 on: January 30, 2016, 04:41:07 PM »

Cool. Really cool. Looks like jello became a dinosaur!  Smiley Hand Thumbs Up Right
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« Reply #135 on: January 31, 2016, 04:41:43 AM »

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Cranktrain
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« Reply #136 on: February 01, 2016, 03:17:38 AM »

Thanks for following miguli!

And thanks Crabby, yeah, I like the idea of a jello (or 'jelly' to us Brits) based monster.

I did some extra work on the Grondomut, adding some more greens and binding the innards to the spine/neck bones so they animate together. There's also now a box for him:



This is the sort of monster where I see so many ways to polish the animation up. I'd love to stick a beating heart inside too, and animate the eyes since they're quite expressive. The surface of the Grondomut could ripple very, very slightly as if formed from a gelatinous substance.

All things that will have to wait for a future polish pass!
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Cranktrain
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« Reply #137 on: February 03, 2016, 05:48:11 AM »

Spent a good portion of Tuesday staring at Unity's profiler and optimising slow routines. Also killed some nasty occasional spikes in the frame rate, so the game's back to running at 60fps, whereas busy zoos would drop to 30.

One thing it was possible to do in the simulation was to start dragging out some fence posts, allow some visitors or a monster to wander into the path of fences, and then complete the build, spawning rigidbodies inside the visitor/monster physics body. The physics simulation then tries to sort this dependency out, accelerating the non-fixed body outwards, and sometimes upwards. Not good!

Best way to solve this was to not allow builds to complete when objects are in the way:



Too many colours to make that a nice gif! But you get the idea.
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Cranktrain
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« Reply #138 on: February 03, 2016, 01:25:16 PM »

Been working on assorted things today. Got some ambitious user interface stuff coming up, so decided to strip out the Unity default UI.Text and replace it with TextMesh Pro:



Noticeably smoother, with all sorts of fancy options for making it look pretty. The backwards '℈' symbol is what I'm using for a currency symbol. I was browsing a table of unicode symbols and thought that it looked suitable, and was pleased to find out that it's the symbol for a 'Scruple', a unit of measure at an Apothecary. I like it!
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« Reply #139 on: February 03, 2016, 10:12:57 PM »

TextMeshPro is brilliant. Also moving from the default Unity Arial font to a something else makes a huge difference to a project.
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