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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 33893 times)
Cranktrain
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« Reply #240 on: November 28, 2016, 12:46:52 PM »

Another devlog! The second in November?


My last one involved explosions and visitors dying, and in this one it... doesn't get any better for the poor humans. Just a lot of burning. The visitors aren't terribly clever and wander into fiery danger quite frequently, so perhaps it's their fault?

The fire visuals need some more work, most obvious is that the fire doesn't cast any light, and so even when the whole zoo is ablaze, it all looks quite flat. I think I need to concentrate on a more substantial update to the lighting in the game for the next update.
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deab
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« Reply #241 on: November 28, 2016, 01:03:37 PM »

Very nice, I'm looking forward to adding fire to Tacticrawl, leads to some nice mechanics.

Does the fire extinguisher have a negative impact on the mood of the fire creature? Imagine it would be pretty pissed if its flames were put out. In fact, will there be rain in the game? You'd need a covered enclosure.
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Cranktrain
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« Reply #242 on: November 30, 2016, 10:13:54 AM »

Thanks deab! For now, I'm leaving the fiery creature impervious to the fire extinguisher, though I know that doesn't make much sense. But what I want to prevent is a scenario where an angry or panicing creature is spreading fire around the zoo, and by trying to put the fire out, the fire extinguisher just makes the situation worse. Will have to continue working out how I'll design that.

And since I always post new gifs, here's a bug from when I was adding the eating animation:

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Cranktrain
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« Reply #243 on: December 10, 2016, 11:24:48 AM »

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Franklin's Ghost
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« Reply #244 on: December 17, 2016, 12:10:49 AM »

The camera movement works so well, like how it moves in and changes angle.
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nathy after dark
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« Reply #245 on: December 24, 2016, 12:18:04 PM »

The camera movement is nice, but the tentacle grip animation doesn't seem quite right. It's uncurled at the end before it disappears into the portal, so it shouldn't be able to hold the player. Also, the player disappearing looks pretty odd because it happens almost all at once. Maybe it would be better if the player shrank more to give an illusion of depth in the portal.
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Cranktrain
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« Reply #246 on: January 04, 2017, 08:50:20 AM »

Thanks Franklin's Ghost! Nathy, I think you're right, I'll have another pass of that sequence soon enough and sort it out.

---

Happy New Year all! I've done another devlog:


I'll be interested to hear whether people do agree the update/refresh/redesign was indeed worth the effort!

As a post-script to the video, it didn't actually take too long to strip out the old work and replace with an entirely new character with an entirely new rig/animations, if you're interested in the timescales of such things. I had come up with a concept and nearly painted the thing in Photoshop within a day, and by the end of the second day I had it moving around in-game with a walk-cycle. The third day was speant on secondary animations (idling, tentacle animations) and other important bits like the eating and hopping around angrily animations, and the final fourth day was spent cleaning things up, polishing, updating other objects like the box the monster comes in, that sort of thing.

Four days to redo something of this scale makes me far less scared to rework things in the future, especially since I hardly touched the code or the physics setup on the character at all.

A final other thing about the old design that I forgot to mention in the video, because the old design was longer, it would occasionally flip over because: physics. So, one way to fix a maddening physics-based issue, redesign your entire character!
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Cranktrain
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« Reply #247 on: January 16, 2017, 12:19:32 PM »


The key bit for me from this update is that bit at the end with the non-descript grey cube. Really looking forward to letting the player build things like bathrooms for the visitors, shops to buy food and drink and t-shirts and umbrellas for when it rains.

There's a bit more work that needs to happen for that to be feasible, getting visitors to queue (and want to queue) at one of these built shops, allow the player to rotate these constructable buildings, and a few other bits, but... I'll get there bit by bit.

Also considering using that same tech for a ticket office outside the zoo, so visitors don't just wander directly into the zoo, there's a little delay before they all get in. I always liked that about the Bullfrog Theme Park games, that was a nice touch, I always thought.
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oldblood
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« Reply #248 on: January 16, 2017, 06:47:26 PM »

Looking great! Love the new temp menu too. Your UI work is really good...
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Cranktrain
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« Reply #249 on: February 09, 2017, 09:33:22 AM »

Looking great! Love the new temp menu too. Your UI work is really good...

Thanks Jon! The UI work is all very temporary still, the final design will probably be very similar but less 'black and white' and a bit more polished than it is now.

---

Another devlog update (which seems to be the only time I post here nowadays):


While all the weather effects are really a visual thing (right now, at least), there was a lot of behind the scenes work that went in. You can't just generate a random number to either stop or start some weather, otherwise you might end up with no rain all spring... or nothing but rain all spring. I already have an 'events' system built into my game simulation so that certain things can happen at certain times, like the interdimensional portal opening up once a day, so I extended this system to support weather. At the start of every season, the event manager spreads a certain number of weather events of differing lengths and intensities throughout the season, based on a weighted-random distribution. I think I'm getting close to balancing 'weather distribution feels natural' with 'weather distribution feels random'.

My plans for the fog variations are the ones I'm most excited to work on, I think that'll be the first piece of weather that really ties into the rest of the game simulation and effects things.
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Cranktrain
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« Reply #250 on: April 25, 2017, 02:08:47 PM »


And another devlog - talking about lampposts and light intensity and that sort of thing.

The light intensity manager thing was a fun bit of engineering to do. I sat down and wrote the whole thing in one sitting, in four hours, one of those times where you really get into the zone and crank it out, and it more or less just worked. The lights fade to their target intensity smoothly, so there's no big jarring lighting changes. Lots of controls built in there that I can adjust for performance, like the number of shadow-casting lights per some-size-of-area.

I do like that there are more things for the player to build, anxious to expand that list to include many more structures and helpful placable objects; shops, restrooms, etc. Understandably I've more been focused on getting the interaction between visitors and monsters cohereing thus far. But soon, I'll be adding those!

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Cranktrain
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« Reply #251 on: July 03, 2017, 09:30:02 AM »



Today I released the very first trailer for the game!

There's now a Steam page up as well. Starting to see some wishlisting happening there, which is encouraging.
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nathy after dark
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« Reply #252 on: July 03, 2017, 02:20:54 PM »

Wishlisted that shnazz as soon as I saw your tweet. Hand Money Left
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Cranktrain
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« Reply #253 on: July 24, 2017, 06:50:54 AM »

Thanks nathy!


Another devlog there ^

I've spent the last couple of months pretty focused on the trailer, getting a good-enough final cut takes loads of iterations, and hours and hours of recording footage. The final thing did what it needed to do, and it got covered by PC Gamer and Kotaku and a few other places. Phew! All sorts of things I wish I could improve about it, but the approach has to be head-down, keep on working on the game.

So, so much polish gets thrown into the trailer build, most of it not interesting enough to talk about in a development video, but the one thing a trailer is very, very helpful for is making you think about how presentable a game is. The game is still ages away from completion, but if I don't tell people about the game, I don't end up selling enough copies, and if the trailer shows the game in too incomplete a state, that's no good either.
I'm enjoying watching the wishlists increase on the Steam page. That's a big part of the #strategy #bizdev (eurgh) for a Good Launchâ„¢.

I think I'm going to have to do another two trailers before launch, at least, ideally another four, to get the visibility I require.

As usual, happy to answer any questions about anything, that anyone might have!
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nathy after dark
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« Reply #254 on: August 21, 2017, 10:12:05 AM »

Oh snap. Remember how I mentioned your game is like the Jurassic Park simulator they never made? Looks like someone stole my pitch  Wink

According to AV club

I wonder if this would have an impact on your release, though you were already planning to launch before next summer, right?
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Cranktrain
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« Reply #255 on: October 25, 2017, 07:45:09 AM »

Quote from: nathy grrrl
I wonder if this would have an impact on your release, though you were already planning to launch before next summer, right?

Haha, it looks like a great game, especially since it's made with the Project Coaster engine, I bet it'll do really well especially with the Jurassic Park license. I doubt it'll overlap much with my weird indie monster zoo game. I did consider the idea of a dinosaur park, but thought a strange universe of monsters and curses would set it apart from other projects a bit further and I think that's paying off here.

---

New video!


Larger buildables like shops have been coming for a while, I think the first related lines of code I wrote back January, but it's taken a while to flesh out to the point where there isn't just a grey block sitting in the world. It's a complex piece of work! Take queueing, visitors have to line up, and move forward in the progression, but visitors can get pushed out and have to get back in line - it's pretty hard to not have would-be shop patrons fight over a single queue position, and lots of tweaking is required to resolve those sorts of conflicts.
A stretching piece of work like this really deepens the whole building side of the zoo management, and it's really easy to extend to however many other structures (drinks, umbrellas, zoo maps, toilets) that have queues I need, they just need different models and textures. The hard behind the scenes work is done, in other words.
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Cranktrain
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« Reply #256 on: May 28, 2018, 01:27:14 PM »

Oh hey, remember this game? I'm still working hard on it, but mostly behind the scenes stuff.

Here's another development video:


One thing I haven't been able to do for a while is test how the game works at scale, so I've put some time into making sure performance is at least 'acceptable' with ~20 monsters and ~150 visitors. My current definition of acceptable is above 30fps, and I'm at around 40 with that sort of load. That's improvable, I think, especially with all the work Unity themselves are doing recently with the Job System, ECS and the Burst Compiler.

If you're interested in performant code in Unity, definitely take some time and read up on that, have a go at a few experiments. The API isn't quite finished yet, but it's quite exciting to think that Unity as a whole is going to be moving towards a faster, data-driven model.
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nathy after dark
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« Reply #257 on: May 30, 2018, 04:53:49 AM »

I'm so happy this is still going! Smiley
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Cranktrain
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« Reply #258 on: June 12, 2018, 10:53:06 AM »

Thanks Nathy! At this stage, I think I'm updating this thread just for you.

Here's another video:

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Mochnant
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« Reply #259 on: June 12, 2018, 11:22:38 AM »

Looks like an interesting idea! 

Any plans (I may have missed them in earlier threads, if so sorry!) to add more interesting zoo enclosures?  And how that might affect gameplay?  I'm sure the wooden fences are temporary, but with such nasty monsters, seems like something more powerful is in order.
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