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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 35944 times)
Cranktrain
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« Reply #80 on: December 09, 2015, 08:54:20 AM »

Blended in a basic, rough animation for picking things up. The movements of the bones in the arm override the usual running/walking/idle arm animations:



One thing you'll notice is how bad the intersection of the 2D player and the 3D box looks. I'm certainly going to go back to having the box be a 2D sprite, as I did on the first page of this devlog, and I'm fairly sure it'll look much more natural.

The second thing you'll notice is the stutter-y nature of the animation. After recording that gif I realised that forcing the animations to transition like: Walking -> Idle -> WalkingBackwards wasn't smooth enough, so adding an extra transition between Walking -> WalkingBackwards has cleaned that up.
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« Reply #81 on: December 11, 2015, 04:45:20 PM »

I feel like the goal of this game should be something equally lovecraftian.  Like your character has lived in this unending nightmare for so long that he's trying to impress some old god so that he can earn the mercy of a final death.  Alternatively, maybe your character is attempting to win the favor of some powerful ancient horror to get something (ie. becoming an immortal lieutenant or terror, getting enough money to finally fix his roof, etc.)
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« Reply #82 on: December 11, 2015, 08:40:40 PM »

I'd love to see something like that too; how about one of the goals is to please an elder god by getting enough souls (visitors) to sacrifice?  Evil
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Cranktrain
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« Reply #83 on: December 16, 2015, 05:46:00 AM »

Juskelis, multivac466: There is certainly a story, the Zookeeper character has a specific goal and motivation, and a curse certainly plays a part. What I've been thinking a lot about recently, is getting the balance of the tone of the game right. On one hand, it's light, cartoony, silly. On the other, there's significant influence from various cosmic horror books/comics, which are darker and pessimistic. I don't think I'm going to commit to the 'everything is meaningless, and terrifying incomprehensible' philosophy of Lovecraft, I just don't think that suits my own world-view. I'm sure for true-horror fans this game will appear to be lovecraft-lite, but I'm fine with that because I'm not making a horror game here. I'm merely borrowing some of the trappings to conjure a unique theme, and an interesting (and not unpleasant) place for the player to be.

Spent the last few days removing the jump button:



The previous 'jump' binding was always marked as fixme, it just added some Y force to the player object. I wondered for a while just how players would get into and out of the enclosures, in the least annoying fashion possible. Gates? Opening and closing gates would give monsters the chance to get out/visitors the chance to get in, which strikes me as rather irritating as I don't want the player to have to wait outside for the coast to be clear to be able to move around the zoo. Because the fences are the only thing that need to be vaulted, I thought I'd go with a fence jumping mechanic where the when the player holds a certain button while running into a fence it'll automatically scale it. It feels fluid.

Here's the same motion but moving vertically:



You can see that fence jumping vertically has a different animation than fence jumping horizontally. I'm still being quite strict about 'everything can only face left or right' (for reasons to do with the monsters) so turning away from or towards the camera was out. The horizontal jumping animation looks better just because there's a rung for a foot to be placed, and when jumping vertically there's no way for the sprites to pull off the same effect without introducing new images for all the body parts, and seriously mangling the skeleton, so the vertical animation goes with a jumping motion, rather than a climbing one.

The biggest 'todo' point about the above two gifs are the hands. When I get real player characters in there, I'll have to animate the hands so they look like they're grasping or resting on the crossbeam, but there's no point in putting the effort in with the prototype character.

I'm also not a fan with how the camera just stops during the climb, it breaks the flow of action, but that's an easy fix.
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Cranktrain
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« Reply #84 on: December 18, 2015, 06:51:14 AM »

Getting the first playable character in-game:



I'm starting off with simple cel-shaded colours, and coloured outlines. The shader I'm currently using to render the character textures doesn't receive light or shadow yet, so the colours may change once there's dynamic lighting in there.
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Pixel Noise
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« Reply #85 on: December 18, 2015, 08:34:31 AM »

Jump animation looks pretty good! Though I think the checkerboard pattern to the fencing kind of wears at the eyes. But maybe that's going to change?
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« Reply #86 on: December 18, 2015, 10:42:35 AM »

This looks incredibly charming - and I love the theme and your creature design. Subscribed!
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Cranktrain
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« Reply #87 on: December 19, 2015, 09:40:14 AM »

Jump animation looks pretty good! Though I think the checkerboard pattern to the fencing kind of wears at the eyes. But maybe that's going to change?

Almost none of the art you see in the gifs is final, most of it is placeholder stuff right now.

This looks incredibly charming - and I love the theme and your creature design. Subscribed!

Hey, thanks!

I've added a second playable character:



I'd like to allow a selection of characters at the start, with more able to be unlocked by completing parts of the game.
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Cranktrain
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« Reply #88 on: December 31, 2015, 08:15:31 AM »

Hope everyone had a pleasant Christmas! I've taken quite a few days off working on The Eldritch Zookeeper, but I did manage to get some work done, at long last eliminating some of the checkerboard textures slapped onto cube models:



The walls are now properly textured, with normal maps. I don't think it looks too bad, though I don't know how the slate/bluish-grey colour will fit with the rest of the environmental elements right now.

The grass also got a new texture, with extra detail of grassy sprouts added here and there to break up the green. I think I'll be adding a greater variety of these in the future, perhaps the occasional daisy... or a twisted cosmic-horror version of the daisy, whatever that is.

Also:



Nice fences! Both short ones and tall ones! They were wooden after all. Again, quite happy with how they look, but I'll have to spend a few weeks with them. Right now anything that isn't a checkerboard pattern is beautiful to me.

The illusion is broken as soon as the guests arrive though:



Booo. Go away guests. Come back when you're properly textured.

This process of getting nice(r) graphics in-game has required me to learn some 3D modelling techniques. The last bit of 3D modelling I did was with the Educational Version of Maya about seven or eight years ago. This time I was recommended to try out Modo, on the basis that it wraps modelling, sculpting, unwrapping, texturing, animating, rendering up in a sane manner, and on the basis that if I need to spring for the full-version, it's a third as expensive as Max or Maya. There's also an indie version, Modo Indie, which doesn't do animating/rendering (I need neither for this project) so when my demo version runs out, I'll probably jump to that.

Important thing to note regarding the above screenshots. The characters still do not have a real shader applied to them yet, they cannot receive light or shadow, so they don't really 'fit' into the scene, they look a bit pasted on. When that shader is finished, I can really start working on lighting and colour, and can start to call some of these graphical assets 'final'. Bit hard to tell which those will be, at this stage.
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oldblood
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« Reply #89 on: December 31, 2015, 10:49:06 AM »

Looking awesome. Always great when the placeholders start disappearing!

Cheers to a new years worth of updates. Quickly becoming one of my fav devlogs, looking forward to seeing where you take this next year.
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Cranktrain
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« Reply #90 on: January 01, 2016, 08:45:32 AM »

Thanks oldblood!

Did some scratchy concepts of some playable characters, including SUPER SECRET UNLOCKABLE characters, obscured because they're too secret for your eyes to take.



Unlockable characters? In a video game? Innovation!
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« Reply #91 on: January 01, 2016, 09:53:09 AM »

*hopes you include an ace ventura-inspired unlockable character*

 Beg
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oldblood
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« Reply #92 on: January 01, 2016, 12:27:08 PM »

Hidden character on the far right is..... a penguin? Haha. Pixel sleuth right here...
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« Reply #93 on: January 02, 2016, 10:43:51 PM »

Nice to see it taking shape visually with the replacement of the placeholder graphics, looking great so far. Also that fence climb is working well, like the smoothness of the animation.
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« Reply #94 on: January 03, 2016, 05:24:54 PM »

Even with placeholder environs, it already has a certain charm. That's good sign, especially in regard to the characters.

Good solution for the fence climb on vertical; keeping things in side profile can be challenging with this sort of 2D/3D hybrid - but it also lends character/style.

Look forward to seeing more creatures.
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Cranktrain
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« Reply #95 on: January 05, 2016, 07:34:33 AM »

Thanks Franklins Ghost, benjkers!

Hidden character on the far right is..... a penguin? Haha. Pixel sleuth right here...

I don't know what you're talking about! It's pixelated, which means it's impenetrable!

Got some proper visitors in-game, thought I'd take screenshots along the way to show how the workflow happens.

First, I draw the outline of the each body part in Photoshop. It's in bright red because I'm drawing directly on top of the previous 'template' characters.



After filling in the outlines with solid white, I wanted to see if I could set the colour of the visitor objects at runtime. I could:



(Notice the foot of the player character is from the visitor character. Export mistake!)

I'm colouring the whole character there, which isn't really good enough. For real visitor variety, I need to change the skin, clothing items and hair colour independently from one another, by selecting the individual body parts and treating them as grouped:



Instead of setting the colour randomly, I start to define sets of allowed colours, and applying them to the groups. Having solved some of the unknowns to do with visitor variety, I go back into Photoshop and paint some more clothing variations, different shirts, different shorts, different hair styles. I'm going for a generic 'touristy' look for them:



Here's a wider, less gifier shot:



Still all looks quite 'bright' right now, focusing mainly on shape, form and animation.

Next, got to do the same thing for the female guests.
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oldblood
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« Reply #96 on: January 05, 2016, 08:26:20 AM »

Very cool little process. Adds a ton of diversity really easily. Nice job man...
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« Reply #97 on: January 05, 2016, 02:14:23 PM »

It would be cool if some zoo patrons could be affected by the animals (poison, nausea) and their colors could change to reflect that.
Really cool and concise system for characters though. A lot simpler than some character designs i've done.
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« Reply #98 on: January 05, 2016, 03:57:50 PM »

Awesome! I've been waiting to see what this would start to look like without placeholders - very cool. Now I can't wait to see some of the monsters in game!  Hand Thumbs Up Left
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« Reply #99 on: January 05, 2016, 04:07:39 PM »

looks crazy, i want to put all these people on fire.
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