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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 35125 times)
miguli
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« Reply #200 on: June 03, 2016, 12:21:18 PM »

There is something eerie about that gate having more 'detailed' texture than other objects. I like it
Tough, I'm not so fond about those new trees, not sure why.
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Cranktrain
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« Reply #201 on: June 04, 2016, 11:34:45 AM »

Interesting, miguli! Thanks for your thoughts.

Did another development video:

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Cranktrain
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« Reply #202 on: June 14, 2016, 07:39:13 AM »

Tentacles! If there are no tentacles in a game related to lovecraftian horror, something has gone a bit wrong.

Monsters arrive in boxes through an interdimensional portal, but I didn't just want them to pop through characterlessly. I really wanted to suggest some horrid creature on the other side that you only see the appendages of.

I don't believe I've ever posted a gif of what the work-in-progress tentacle looks like. So here it is, in all its cylindrical glory:



And it's been that way since about January, I think. And at this point, it's the last piece of clearly prototype graphics that's still in the game, so this is a nice little mini-milestone. (The user interface is still a big work in progress, but at least that's presentable right now.)

Here's where the tentacle has progressed to:



I had experimented with using a 3D model for the tentacle, but it just didn't pan out as an option. Instead, rotating the portal gave me the chance to use a 2D tentacle, and it fits so much better. The tentacle itself is a Spine object, using mesh deformations:



That was a helpful test animation to ensure the sprite was deforming fairly well. I've got a number of plans for the tentacle, I hope it'll show up in some other situations! For now though, I've successfully binned the prototype graphics from my project. Hooray!
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ActualDog
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« Reply #203 on: June 14, 2016, 08:13:46 AM »

That tentacle looks great! Love the way it wiggles back into the portal.
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oldblood
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« Reply #204 on: June 14, 2016, 05:04:56 PM »

Love it! Looks amazing and really fits the whole mood and aesthetic really well...
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nathy after dark
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« Reply #205 on: June 19, 2016, 06:32:43 AM »

The interdimensional portal looks excellent, and I dig the tentacle as well.

Quote from: Cranktrain
Tentacles! If there are no tentacles in a game related to lovecraftian horror, something has gone a bit wrong.

Whoops. My game is actually a failure. Tongue
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Shirsh
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« Reply #206 on: June 19, 2016, 07:51:41 AM »

The way how this tentacle appears with boxes and go away after is so cool Hand Thumbs Up Left Kiss Hand Thumbs Up Right
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Cranktrain
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« Reply #207 on: June 22, 2016, 06:52:59 AM »

That tentacle looks great! Love the way it wiggles back into the portal.

Love it! Looks amazing and really fits the whole mood and aesthetic really well...

The way how this tentacle appears with boxes and go away after is so cool Hand Thumbs Up Left Kiss Hand Thumbs Up Right

Thanks all! Glad you think it looks good.

Whoops. My game is actually a failure. Tongue

It's never too late to add a tentacle to your game! Even just a small one!

---

I've been working on a handful of things for the game, some of which aren't quite ready to be shown off yet. But one thing that I have added, and works pretty well, is controller support. I'm using the InControl asset that offers a nice abstraction on top of all the many controllers that exist and that I could never buy to test them all. Gives some nice peace of mind in supporting as many as possible.

One of the nice things about InControl is that it handles rebinding of keys, and even plugging in new devices, at any time. I thought I'd make use of this feature when it came to the contextual key system I talked about on the previous page, and switch the context when the use switches between the keyboard and the controller:



The colours just reflect the XBox controller (and Steam controller) buttons, but later maybe I'll support the PS4 controller afterwards. The UI is still all placeholder, since it's very hard to freeze a design when so much is still up in the air.
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nathy after dark
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« Reply #208 on: July 03, 2016, 09:08:15 AM »

I just read a short story that made me think of your game: "Blind Alley" by Isaac Asimov. Have you read it? If not, you should! I think it would make for some good inspiration. Smiley
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Cranktrain
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« Reply #209 on: July 04, 2016, 02:30:58 PM »

I just read a short story that made me think of your game: "Blind Alley" by Isaac Asimov. Have you read it? If not, you should! I think it would make for some good inspiration. Smiley

Having read and enjoyed some Asimov before, I had a Google but couldn't find Blind Alley! Looks like it's only collected in 'Early Asimov'? Is there anywhere to buy it as an ebook? Would like to have a read.

---

Worked on some plumbing today involving events that I can schedule to happen during the day. For example, once a day, a bunch of visitors might turn up. I got this working, nodded in satisfaction, when to eat some food, and came back later this mess:



I think I'll have to cap the visitors!
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nathy after dark
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« Reply #210 on: July 05, 2016, 11:04:36 AM »

I read the story in Isaac Asimov: The Complete Stories, Volume 2. Which I actually picked up from a free library box (take a book, leave a book) in my neighborhood.

For me, Google turns up a document containing the story here (published by some university and just available for download, maybe with questionable legality).
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Cranktrain
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« Reply #211 on: July 11, 2016, 04:23:40 PM »

I read the story in Isaac Asimov: The Complete Stories, Volume 2. Which I actually picked up from a free library box (take a book, leave a book) in my neighborhood.

Finally had a read of Blind Alley. It's a satisfying read! I was expecting it to go in a direction that meant that alien creatures were deeply misunderstood, leading to some twist, but I like the deeply underestimated route the story took. Thanks for sending it my way!

---

Spent the last few days untangling some particularly nasty threading bugs. There was one moment where adding a print statement actually fixed the problem, which you know is fun.

Upgraded to the latest Spine runtime after leaving it for a few weeks (for others to find bugs!) and have no implemented a coloured, animated version of the game's logo. So before it looked like this:



And a coloured version:



The background, the tentacles and the text all animate separately, so it doesn't loop clearly in a gif but looks nice in-engine.
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deab
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« Reply #212 on: July 11, 2016, 09:49:40 PM »

Great subtle animation on the logo, very effective.
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Cranktrain
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« Reply #213 on: July 12, 2016, 09:35:35 AM »

Great subtle animation on the logo, very effective.

Thanks deab!

---

One aspect of the visual direction that's been bugging me for a little while has been the particle effects for when a wall is emerging out of the ground. I added this effect back on page nine, and it looked like this:



This was back before I had moved to dynamic lighting, new trees, new shaders for the terrain and the day and night cycle.

Those dark days.

What I was finding now that all that work has gone in, is that the transparent particle effects sort of turned into the purpley blurry mess. They weren't very distinctive and looked unkempt when comparing to the sharper edges and brighter colours of the rest of the visual direction. It's interesting to me that in that gif above, it doesn't look so bad, but there's so much more in the world now, so much more going on visually, that it was time for a change.

Allow me to go on a slight detour, if you will...

A new feature I've been added is a delayed zoo expansion. Originally my game design was going to just randomly expand the zoo every now and then, but I've now changed my mind on going down that route. Instead, I think I'm going to have the player be able to pay to expand their zoo, but they still won't have control over which direction the zoo expands in. I think that'll be the best balance between randomness that can't be planned for (I want some of that) and being able to count on some stability in the zoo simulation (I want quite a bit of that, too). But the delayed nature of the zoo expansion is one that interests me. The player needs more space! They buy a zoo expansion, but it doesn't happen right away, they have to wait a day or a few days before it actually does expand, forcing the player to plan ahead. In the mean-time, I need some kind of effect on the series of walls that are going to expand, and this brings us back to particle effects!

Since I was adding a new particle effect to designate the magical zoo expansion, I thought I'd revisit the alpha-blurry issue and move towards something new, with solid particles:



So first, you see the walls coated with some magical particle effects. Then when the expansion time has come, the wall destruction particles kick in, both of these now using solid particles, rather than ones that fade out.

I'm cautiously deciding that this is an improvement. It's clear that it's still a work in progress, both particle effects are using different purple values, not sure which one I'm going to for right now. The wall destruction effect is also a bit much, with too much y-axis velocity. Worst of all, the first particle effect just straight-up vanishes, rather than stop emitting particles, it's just destroyed. I'm sure there's plenty of tweaks and polish coming soon enough!
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Cranktrain
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« Reply #214 on: July 20, 2016, 10:37:34 AM »

 • Higher res video



Quite a tricky effect to pull off, this, involving two interacting Spine-based animations and objects. Like many other aspects of the game in the current build, it's 'good enough' and probably needing revisiting and polish later. It required some changes to the play rig, so the eyes can move, and different mouths can be displayed. I do like the colour adjustment to a purplish, otherworldly hue.

The idea here is that this is a game-over scenario, in which the zookeeper's curse fully takes hold, removing him from this world and leading him to another.

At least he gets to discover what the tentacle is actually attached to! That's... that's a good thing, right?
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nathy after dark
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« Reply #215 on: July 21, 2016, 12:19:53 PM »

Quote from: Cranktrain
At least he gets to discover what the tentacle is actually attached to! That's... that's a good thing, right?

In a Lovecraftian world, knowledge and discovery are never a good thing.  Shocked

That animation is looking pretty great! Wouldn't mind hearing more about how you made it.
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Cranktrain
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« Reply #216 on: July 21, 2016, 01:19:01 PM »

That animation is looking pretty great! Wouldn't mind hearing more about how you made it.

Sure!

Needed more control over the zookeeper's face, so split the head up a bit more than I had previously, adding a bone to control the eyes:






The tentacle animation rig has a floating bone that represents the place the zookeeper is expected to be, so the animation script can get that bone's world position and move the player object accordingly.



That's the player animation, which plays much slower in-game. In hindsight I almost certainly ought to have not only got the tentacle bone's world position but also the rotation too, as you can see I'm animating the whole rotation in Spine.

That's essentially how the 'game over' sequence takes place, two Spine animations playing simultaneously, with a script to position things. The tentacle animation has an event that triggers the player to get picked up.
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Cranktrain
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« Reply #217 on: July 25, 2016, 06:33:30 AM »

Here's a fun thing about adding that eye pupil bone to the human rig. When the player ragdolls, it's treated just like any other bone -



What a goofball!
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Cranktrain
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« Reply #218 on: July 30, 2016, 04:19:40 PM »

I've been revisiting the Blueprint Fence construction side of things! My aims -

  • Stop player from being able to build outside of zoo.
  • Articulate to the player where they can build and where there is an obstacle blocking.

The solution has been a grid projected onto the terrain around the player, with blue lines for empty space, and red lines for blocked locations.







The most difficult aspect of this work has been the need to optimise it almost immediately. To begin with, whenever the player moved, I'd have all the lines Destroy()'d and recreated, causing an awful framerate spike. Each line segment is a mesh with a material, and building that mesh, sorting out the normals and the UVs, loading a texture, etc, was too much. So as the player moves, only the new ones are deleted and created, but still this was too slow. In the end I came up with a lightweight 'pooling' style compromise, wherein the old meshes aren't destroyed, but saved away, and when a new line needs to be drawn, just the vertexes of the mesh are moved about, rather than creating a whole new object from scratch.

Runs quickly, and I'm all set up for some future plans of mine regarding this construction-mode.
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Cranktrain
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« Reply #219 on: August 11, 2016, 12:19:58 PM »

A big, key, crucial element to this game is how the monsters feel. You want them to be relatively content in their little prisons, because agitated monsters turns the game from a peaceful management sim game into a Jurassic Park type scenario. A monsters can be frustrated or spooked by a number of different factors, and each monster type has differing requirements. In my dev panel, I've been able to watch these values change, but to the player, there's been absolutely no feedback on exactly what's wrong with a monster that's freaking out.

Until now.

In order to give players a view into the heads of the creatures, I mocked up an idea to play with, a floating thought-bubble containing a pictoral representation of their need:



Created a Spine model in-game to see if I could represent this:



What I like about that is the physicality of the bubble, the way it hangs in real world space, casts a shadow.

Next, I've hooked it up to an emotion display manager, which is a bit immature right now, but functional. Here's a monster that's been placed in too small an enclosure:



When the monster flips, the speech bubble blends from a left-facing animation to a right-facing animation, which lets me deform the bubble as it hangs in the air however I like, giving it an organic feel.

Plenty of work to do, lots of emotions can not yet represented in the bubble.
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