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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsDISCO ELYSIUM (we finished it, it's out)
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kinnas
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« Reply #60 on: June 29, 2016, 05:23:38 AM »

More devlog action going down:

I always enjoy learning how other artists work and seeing how images come together. In that spirit I have taken to a habit of saving periodic work in progress shots of my own pieces as I spend time on them. Here’s a rundown on a piece of concept art relating to a more run down part of Martinaise.



There’s a general back and forth over many quick and ugly thumbnails where we get a basic idea of what’s what with the writers. This is where most of the level design gets worked out. We talk through what the main plot points dictate for the area, we figure out pathways how the player should move through the location and make sure there’s elevation changes so the bare geometry of the area looks good and casts interesting shadows. The player is free to pan the camera around as they please but each location is designed with a certain composition in mind. There’s a an abstract shape to each area that subconsciously feeds into the atmosphere and how the player perceives a location. There’s an asymmetric balance to the region where the center of mass lies on the field amidst the huddle of houses with a protrusion leaping out. In artist-speak there’s “tension” in that.



I block the level with basic 3d shapes and we test it in engine to see how good the distances and sense of scale feel. From here it’s pretty useful to just screencap the block-in from the viewport, run a find edges filter on it in Photoshop and use that as the underlay on which to start drawing. The light grey lines up there are just that.



This is the “draw the rest of the fucking owl” step. Finishing up on the linework. When thinking about what exactly to draw and what reference material to gather I want to avoid generic finishing village photos lest it becomes another place you’ve already been. Instead I look for photos of old dachas. Point is that poor people live here, not ye old timey fisherman cosplayers.



Once the drawing is sufficiently far along I start blocking in the shapes with flat fill colors. As I go along I go back and draw some more bits and pieces here and there since I’m impatient like that. But the idea is to start getting some sense of what the scene might actually look like. For convenience I keep every shape on its own layer so I can search around for colours by just dragging the hue slider around on each individual shape and layer.



Another bonus to keeping stuff on seperate layers is I can lock the opacity for each of them which allows me to take a wild textured brush to the canvas without fear of ruining the edges. It’s a good technique in general for more illustrative pieces where the point is to convey practical information rather than to show off the brush stroke of a painting.



The shadows here come from the 3d block in I made earlier. I multiply it over the image and clean up where needed and add bits and pieces to the shadow layer where I’ve drawn new stuff not present in the block in. There’s a bit more to do but it’s mostly just detailwork and cleanup, it’s pretty much done by now.

And here’s the final piece:

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« Reply #61 on: June 29, 2016, 07:31:55 AM »

wonderful!
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« Reply #62 on: July 06, 2016, 01:14:18 AM »

One of our writers Andreas W has written a bit about writing a videogame, I'll post it here for him as well.

How hard can it be?

Writing has never been this hard. Of course this isn’t the sort of talk you’d like to hear. A creation should come into being with natural elegance, should it not? Strain means dull work and the smell of sweat, lack of ideas probably, etc.

Or not. Once I co-wrote a play with a friend (Jaak Tomberg http://smallblueabsence.blogspot.com.ee/). Everything was nearly finished, but three scenes remained to be written. With a clause that it’s me that wants to write them (we generally took turns at writing and switched between techniques, at times either of us wrote every other sentence). My friend was becoming impatient. The deadline was approaching. The clock was ticking.

It wasn’t an old school inspiration thing, it was rather like a chess puzzle you construct in your head with no clear shape, inexpressable as a graphic presentation. The field of text is laid out in your head and lone sentences are situated on it as protruding points of tension. But these are not worded sentences and they don’t express any fully formed thoughts. Everything falls into place at the moment you are finally ready to lay it all out, get it out of your head.

In the end, the time was right. Rather a question of decisiveness than finding a way: „I’m going to do it now.“ Later, when it was ready, I sat on the ground with my back against the wall, as if I had just ran 10 kilometers at my top speed or wrestled for an hour against a strong opponent. The fatigue was aggressive, sudden and physical.

This sort of thing is almost completely absent in game writing. The concentration part is there. The graphical chess scheme of structure and developments is there. The sentences still appear from the darkness. But rest, there is none. Rest always comes when the thing is ready, or, when running, if you can stop. There’s no such moment in game writing. It isn’t ready for months. All relief is temporary. For a moment it feels like something fell into place, that the eternally branching end of the dialogue has somehow logically found its way back into the main hub. But then you realize that the ends of all the other branchings haven’t made it there yet. And they will not go willingly.

So you have to force them. Every moment, all the time, there’s forcing of a logical structure. Like some kind of damn landing of Normandy. Taking it with force.

The main difference from all other writing (and I’ve written much of whatever else, starting with D&D campaigns and ending with opera libretti and scientific articles) is that you have a thousand endings. It doesn’t surprise neither you nor Deleuze, but it takes you to a place our lead designer Robert Kurvitz has described frankly: „While writing a book you always have lots of good ideas which you won’t write because they won’t fit. When writing a game you’re suddenly in a situation where you’re obligated to write down all your good ideas, and you’ll learn with unpleasant clarity if they were good ideas to begin with.“

While engaged in just that, we’ve encountered a little problem with Articy: Final Draft, the program that usually helps us tackle those thousands of branching endings. Sometimes it doesn’t. It seems possible that the size and complexity of our dialogues has reached the limit of Articy’s traction. It’s developers probably didn’t expect interactive literature to sprawl explosively like a borderless field of text (as it exists in the writer’s mind in its proto-being). And now we’re in a situation where we sometimes have to wait for the letters to appear on the screen with excruciating slowness. Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 is almost capable of rendering reality in real time, but Articy has some disagreements with it. We generally hope for Articy’s very flexible team to offer us their helping hand at some moment (and we are well aware it won’t be easy).

Another option is to rework our plans and start working on a dialogue editor instead of the game. You the public wouldn’t like this and you have every right to presume that we will not. However, it certainly couldn’t happen before the thousand ends of No Truce With the Furies have converged into a single concrete mother-node and made accessible to you.



A field of text.
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« Reply #63 on: July 07, 2016, 01:29:01 AM »

the thousand ends of No Truce With the Furies

One. Thousand. Endings.

Ready to be quoted as an exact number and send players hunting and mapping all of them, but instead just finding a couple hundred and feeling cheated by yet another overpromising dev. Tired

I suggest changing it to 1024 to make it look like our galactic ambition ran into an obscure bus width limitation.
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technical artist for no truce with the furies
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« Reply #64 on: July 07, 2016, 04:59:56 AM »

The way the lighting is done is very nice, the concept art and designs are all top notch.
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« Reply #65 on: July 07, 2016, 08:26:28 AM »

I can't believe I hadn't seen this one already. It looks absolutely incredible, exactly the kind of game I want to play/make/read about! The dev log is awesome--I really enjoyed seeing the evolution of the concept art, although the techniques used went right over my head as a programmer. And as I also write my own games, the post on your writing process was excellent as well. Keep up the good work! I want to see this succeed so badly.  Beg
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« Reply #66 on: July 08, 2016, 02:21:13 AM »

The way the lighting is done is very nice, the concept art and designs are all top notch.

In the end it will be the most lit up and concept designed videogame ever made or we ourselves have become abject failures in our own eyes.  Cool

I can't believe I hadn't seen this one already. It looks absolutely incredible, exactly the kind of game I want to play/make/read about! The dev log is awesome--I really enjoyed seeing the evolution of the concept art, although the techniques used went right over my head as a programmer. And as I also write my own games, the post on your writing process was excellent as well. Keep up the good work! I want to see this succeed so badly.  Beg

I know right, it's almost too good to be true! It's as if some contemporary artists are running a long elaborate performance art prank about intellectual vapourware..

Anyways! On with the prank!

We answered some questions for Steve Harris from Orange Bison http://orangebison.com/fortress-occident-developer-interview-no-truce-furies/

Quote
You’ve described the game as “neither fantasy or any kind of punk” i.e. not any recognisable genre and instead have called it “fantastic realism,” could you elaborate on that? Why avoid those genres?

The worldbuilding we’ve done is, honestly, beyond sane. We’ve been working on it since… 2001? When we were 15. First we started out with something I would maybe call bronze punk. Bronze age punk? Early history meets high fantasy stuff. Then, year after year, we started adding: classic era, renaissance era, industrial era elements. But we kept all the previous versions too, those became previous historical eras in the history of this world.

The last thing we put in was postmodernism. So now we have a history of ideas and technology spanning 6000 years of civilization. This means we’re not static. Not a comment on a specific era of human development, like for example high fantasy is for middle ages, but for… well, all of it.
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« Reply #67 on: July 08, 2016, 06:15:45 AM »

Oh wow, the art direction and concept seems fantastic!

I also like how you go into detail with all the technical aspects in your devlogs, they are good reads.
Keep up the good work, I'll be following. Toast Right
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kinnas
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« Reply #68 on: July 12, 2016, 01:05:30 AM »

There's been a lot of art and tech talk so far, it's all kinda dry or saccharine. I think it's time to juice it up by throwing in a proper essay.

THE BENEFITS OF A MODERN FANTASY WORLD

The world of No Truce! (we do have a proper name for it, but we’re shy) is not what you’d call “a generic genre world”. It is not pseudo-medieval stasis, as Forgotten Realms was, nor is it Fallout’s campy barbarism with guns. It is also not a Harry Potter/Batman/vampire fantasy world, which is basically “our world with a secret/special world within it”. Neither is it the tech-obsessed ‘punks’ of steam and cyber. It’s a modern fantasy world, a fantasy world in its modernity, which roughly corresponds to the middle part of our XXth century. Now that kind of thing opens up an array of new possibilities. It is a world with a promise of non-staticness, meaning, things appear undecided — they could go one way or the other. It is close enough to our own world for things to have meaning in it, it is a proper frame in which to explore themes relevant to our own society such as bigotry, power relations, politics, bureaucratic apparati, geopolitical relations, philosophy, ideology, religion et cetera. A pseudo-medieval world is not a proper frame for truly exploring themes of, for example, sexuality, for it lacks 1) a proper concept of sexuality, 2) an actual idea of societal progress and 3) a clear ideological dominant, which would be the place where values come from. All you can do in a static, societally unstructured world is give out-of-place shoutouts to present day communities for cheap popularity (“this is exactly my sexual orientation, how did they know?!”).

We find the ideological dominant missing because the western world is traditionally culturally critical of ideological dominants – critical of both state and religion. Anyhow, a classic fantasy world would feature two main ideologies – the “good” and the “evil”, of which the former is selfless and compassionate, but the other one is selfish and cruel. The attempts to overcome that have given us the Grittywelt – a world in which everyone is an asshole and pessimism rules the day. Unsurprisingly, Grittywelt is also static as hell and meaningful change is foreclosed from it. It is a “protection from false hopes”. As such, it is heavily unrealistic. Much more realistic would be people living in super gritty conditions, but not looking the part, that is, not really noticing the abnormal harshness of their conditions, because they don’t have much to compare them to, and being hopeful towards the next day, because surprise! This is how you do it. Survive, I mean. Being depressed is a luxury. In a way, I’d say we’re trying to create the obverse of the Grittywelt – a world in which everyone is empathizable, sort of a hero of their own story.

The modern era is also a fitting vessel for anachronisms – do we not have actual cyborg limbs and donkey-pulled carts operating in the same world at the modern era? Capitalism can also contain little feudalisms in a way, in which a single man or single family controls the entire economy of a town or a village and profits from it. And at the same time, it can also contain little socialist utopias, scientist villages, in which everything is provided by the State. Aside from being a basic feature of reality (anachronism is nothing more than time failing to fit the stereotype about it), it is also a lovable creative tool, allowing for a plethora of what-if-scenarios. Imagine a modern world, only without television; imagine a modern world in which there never was a global war, imagine a world in which fossil fuels are less available. Now, if you will, imagine one which has forgotten its antiquity, and one, in which there is not just water between the continents, but something worse as well — an anti-reality mass we call “pale” (also more on that later). Now imagine one, which has a legitimate and operative “religion of history” in place, which seeks for people it deems special enough to be the “vessel of progress”. (This is not an alternate history thing, by the way. An alternate history takes place in our world quite recognizably and has no more than one divergence point from history as it happened.)

One might ask, why would we not create an even more modern world, if we wanted to maximise our possibilities? Well one of the answers is that it would have destroyed the necessary element of escapism, another is that we cannot create a good alternate Information Era because we ourselves fail to understand the Information Era (More precicely, we have the information era in its infancy and it works via radio relays). We are too close to it and it is too new to understand it, it is “in progress”. The third reason would be that technology is not a fascinating subject for modern science fiction. It’s become a natural part of our reality. We don’t believe it’s going to save us anymore – it has failed to deliver for too long. I am of the belief that the themes of science fiction today are societal, political and psychological (one could maybe add aesthetical to it, for we also love the world for its beauty). All fantastic or sci-fi elements are means for best exploring those themes.

I have filled my page. That’s all for the time being. Thank you for reading.

Martin Luiga
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« Reply #69 on: July 12, 2016, 09:40:29 PM »

I'd say your world building is going to be extremely interesting to witness. And now my watch begins  Smiley
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« Reply #70 on: July 13, 2016, 01:44:58 AM »

This is a great read, Kinnas. I really enjoy Martin's in-depth explanation on the world. I yearn for more thoughtful fantasy settings which sometimes feels sparse in the current climate.

Currently I'm reading the second book of Lankhmar which is one of the first sword and sorcery settings, but it's so much more than swashbuckling. In the story called "Swords of Lankhmar" the writer concludes that the tyrannical leader of Lankhmar was disposed off by the heroes, yet the new heir quickly gave them a hunch that the new reign would be as bad as the one before it. If the underlying system is corrupt and unjust it will keep giving us the leaders we "deserve". I find that perspective refreshing in fantasy settings that often deal with feudal systems where leaders are romanticised. The same could be said of the Witcher universe (both games and the books). And neither of these two settings mentioned stick to medieval settings (I'd argue that both are pseudo renaissance), it seems that your goal will lead to similar greatness!

One tip for Martin though, spending the first four sentences with stating what Furies ISN'T doesn't really make for a good introduction, especially not when taking cheap jabs at popular franchises. Having played most of the Fallout rpgs I'd say that they are more than "campy barbarism with guns" for example (at least a few of them, hehe). I get that Furies is something new and fresh and tries to break the mold, but getting that point across by diminishing other people's work strikes me as arrogant. Perhaps it's merely a misunderstanding on my part, but the reductive terms that X is merely Y comes off wrong to me. Just wanted to point out how I felt when I read it, I'm not getting riled up just because a fellow indiedev doesn't appreciate the more subtle parts of the campy barbarism in the first two Fallout games (plus Vegas). Wink Regardless if it offends or not, I think starting with what your game IS will work better in most cases.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2016, 04:22:52 AM by Greipur » Logged

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« Reply #71 on: July 15, 2016, 01:37:52 AM »

Say, I was wondering about your approach when it comes to voice acting, I haven't seen any mentions about it here, will you have it at all?  I'm assuming you will not fully voice the game because that would probably cost a lot, or hinder your ambitions of having many possibilities. Personally I think that the push for more cinematic and fully voiced games has severely hampered the possibilities of what rpgs can be, or rather the stories they can tell.

Being a big fan of games such as The Witcher series I really enjoy the cinematic flair, but at the same time I miss the huge dialogue trees of old, in games such as Planescape: Torment. It didn't feel like they were merely info dumps tied to decisions but rather a flowing conversation that could leat to many twists and turns. Yet, having a game without any of that in 2016 could feel barren for modern sensibilities. Will you refrain from voice acting or have some in some portions? And if you'll have it, how and when? This will get a big post later I imagine, but just wanted to ask you now. Smiley
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« Reply #72 on: July 15, 2016, 05:06:53 AM »

Empathy as a world-building technique - I'm in.
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« Reply #73 on: July 17, 2016, 09:06:53 AM »

Quote from: Martin Luiga
A pseudo-medieval world is not a proper frame for truly exploring themes of, for example, sexuality, for it lacks 1) a proper concept of sexuality, 2) an actual idea of societal progress and 3) a clear ideological dominant, which would be the place where values come from. All you can do in a static, societally unstructured world is give out-of-place shoutouts to present day communities for cheap popularity (“this is exactly my sexual orientation, how did they know?!”).

I like this point. I don't think I've ever thought about that--like how rape in Game of Thrones is used more for shock value than meaningful commentary. Since they're writing in a fantasy world, they can't explore how modern society treats rape, because characters and institutions very seldom react to it in any significant way, which isn't true at all in the real world. Is that kind of what you're getting at?

As for whether pseudo-medieval RPGs are really exploring themes of sexuality, I think it's important to note that maybe they don't need to. As a player with a sexuality outside of the societal norm, I don't want every game or story to be about what sexuality means and how it works. Oftentimes I would just like to see the game allow me to express my sexuality how I want to, devoid of commentary at all. In some cases it's more progressive to just allow those sexualities to exist outside of any reason or deeper theme, if that makes sense.
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« Reply #74 on: July 26, 2016, 02:30:26 AM »

This is a great read, Kinnas. I really enjoy Martin's in-depth explanation on the world. I yearn for more thoughtful fantasy settings which sometimes feels sparse in the current climate.

Currently I'm reading the second book of Lankhmar which is one of the first sword and sorcery settings, but it's so much more than swashbuckling. In the story called "Swords of Lankhmar" the writer concludes that the tyrannical leader of Lankhmar was disposed off by the heroes, yet the new heir quickly gave them a hunch that the new reign would be as bad as the one before it. If the underlying system is corrupt and unjust it will keep giving us the leaders we "deserve". I find that perspective refreshing in fantasy settings that often deal with feudal systems where leaders are romanticised. The same could be said of the Witcher universe (both games and the books). And neither of these two settings mentioned stick to medieval settings (I'd argue that both are pseudo renaissance), it seems that your goal will lead to similar greatness!

That's what Martin called Grittywelt. It's kinda like Grimdark. I wonder if there is some fine miniscule difference between Grimdark and Grittywelt or if Grittywelt is just a fun word for the same thing? Point is once you try and go beyond a naive binary Good and Evil system you generally end up having dirt and muck because young adults are cynical assholes. At 13-14 years old (or in the 80s) you just wanna slay some dragons and save the princess but at 17 (and in the naughts) you wanna murder the rapist baron (but later find out what he did was also a ritual to keep some totally evil demons at bay) because dark is verity and different shades of evil is, like, totally mature man. Nolan's Batman is a kind of a high level example of that.

I remember when I was hit hard by my teenage years and as a DM forced my players to pretty much spend an entire session working through how they were going to set up camp on a wet potato field after a gruesome battle. Trying to get warm and dry and to set up their tent with rain pouring down and loose wet mud sliding all over the place. Instead of just doing the sensible thing and saying "alright, you spend a cold wet night with little sleep but morning comes - onwards to adventure!"

Not that I'm trying to shit all over this first phase of post-modernity in fantasy settings, it's just that by 25 for whatever reason the legalities of fantasy feudal contracts become more interesting than forceful shades of moral gray. It's something that G.R.R. Martin sort of understands and last season of TV GoT kinda forgot.

One tip for Martin though, spending the first four sentences with stating what Furies ISN'T doesn't really make for a good introduction, especially not when taking cheap jabs at popular franchises. Having played most of the Fallout rpgs I'd say that they are more than "campy barbarism with guns" for example (at least a few of them, hehe). I get that Furies is something new and fresh and tries to break the mold, but getting that point across by diminishing other people's work strikes me as arrogant. Perhaps it's merely a misunderstanding on my part, but the reductive terms that X is merely Y comes off wrong to me. Just wanted to point out how I felt when I read it, I'm not getting riled up just because a fellow indiedev doesn't appreciate the more subtle parts of the campy barbarism in the first two Fallout games (plus Vegas). Wink Regardless if it offends or not, I think starting with what your game IS will work better in most cases.

Martin's a confrontational intellectual type and despite what Aristotle's logic of definitions teaches us about not defining things via negation it's a very effective descriptive tool. If he says Fallouts (the first ones) are little more than "campy barbarism with guns" it's not a jab, he means it with affection and as a sort of an elevator pitch compact decription of what it really is. Campy barbarism with guns was a good thing to have at the time. If it reads as arrogant I think it's because Martin doesn't bother with the little ends of sentences or little jokes to try and endear himself to the reader but just continues to say what he means to say.

It's refreshing because I myself can't even write a three word e-mail without spending three hours aching over the "tone" of how I'm saying "yes, that's good" :D


Say, I was wondering about your approach when it comes to voice acting, I haven't seen any mentions about it here, will you have it at all?  I'm assuming you will not fully voice the game because that would probably cost a lot, or hinder your ambitions of having many possibilities. Personally I think that the push for more cinematic and fully voiced games has severely hampered the possibilities of what rpgs can be, or rather the stories they can tell.

Being a big fan of games such as The Witcher series I really enjoy the cinematic flair, but at the same time I miss the huge dialogue trees of old, in games such as Planescape: Torment. It didn't feel like they were merely info dumps tied to decisions but rather a flowing conversation that could leat to many twists and turns. Yet, having a game without any of that in 2016 could feel barren for modern sensibilities. Will you refrain from voice acting or have some in some portions? And if you'll have it, how and when? This will get a big post later I imagine, but just wanted to ask you now. Smiley

For voice acting we're trying out some stuff. Good voice acting solidifies characters and gives an extra layer of personality to the text. Diverse accents are especially important because Revachol is a city of the world with people from all over. We're trying out VA with greetings and exits. Enough to give you something about the character but leave you well enough alone to read and explore the byzantine labyrinths of dialogue at your own pace.

Nothing's for certain yet though.


Quote from: Martin Luiga
A pseudo-medieval world is not a proper frame for truly exploring themes of, for example, sexuality, for it lacks 1) a proper concept of sexuality, 2) an actual idea of societal progress and 3) a clear ideological dominant, which would be the place where values come from. All you can do in a static, societally unstructured world is give out-of-place shoutouts to present day communities for cheap popularity (“this is exactly my sexual orientation, how did they know?!”).

I like this point. I don't think I've ever thought about that--like how rape in Game of Thrones is used more for shock value than meaningful commentary. Since they're writing in a fantasy world, they can't explore how modern society treats rape, because characters and institutions very seldom react to it in any significant way, which isn't true at all in the real world. Is that kind of what you're getting at?

As for whether pseudo-medieval RPGs are really exploring themes of sexuality, I think it's important to note that maybe they don't need to. As a player with a sexuality outside of the societal norm, I don't want every game or story to be about what sexuality means and how it works. Oftentimes I would just like to see the game allow me to express my sexuality how I want to, devoid of commentary at all. In some cases it's more progressive to just allow those sexualities to exist outside of any reason or deeper theme, if that makes sense.

The romance and sexuality trend of RPGs stems from when giddy little teenage boys could finally have a go at faking an intimate connection with a wingless fairy in BG2. They were never really "explorations of sexuality". Romance in role-playing games was always more about pandering to romantically deprived teenage boys (and oh boy did I ever get giddy about romancing up them pixels as a kid). Later as internet and society brought LGBT issues to public notice the topic was assimilated into the RPG wishful fantasybox machine, but never with any weight. It's still just pandering.

If you touch a topic you're already making statements about it, the only way to abstain is to truly abstain. As you say at best some games try and make a statement with nonchalance. But this self-evident cool is already a statement and an "exploration". A boring one.
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« Reply #75 on: July 26, 2016, 02:32:01 AM »

My head has been so deep in the game I've been neglecting devblog duties. I'll try and remedy that now.

First Mikk talks about his journeys through UV & Textures land

TEXTURING IN-GAME ASSETS

Since we’re making an isometric game there’s always a constant struggle with readability of shapes and detail. Things get cluttered upon things upon things upon things and because isometric perspective lacks “lens depth” (the picture doesn’t get distorted) it’s bound to get chaotic. Thus we have to make sure that every model, silhouette, and texture of every in-game background and asset is clearly and immediately recognizable to the player.

Quote
ASIDE: TEXTURE FREQUENCIES
Think of a dirty wrinkled face on a smiling old man. Up close it has small specks of dirt which, once you start moving farther, start to meld into the face since the receptors of your eye do not distinguish them any more. At some point in the distance also the wrinkles disappear. In computer graphics we usually get problems at distances on which these kinds of repeating details start to disappear into noisy weird patterns. You might want to look up Nyquist Frequency if you are interested in more theory about this. – Irve

There’s also the added bonus of in-game camera at play, which basically means that all of the detail has to “work” at all levels of zoom ie. a radio and it’s texture has to look the same in the close ups and long shots. Woo!

Now with the “Why?” out of the way let’s talk about the “How?”. Our game has this painterly or as Robert likes to call it “Paintshading” look to it. All of our backgrounds are modelled and textured in 3d, then rendered, then painted over by Aleksander to give it that handmade feel. In-game assets are real time models used within our game engine, thus the applied texture to the them has to look painterly from the get-go. This in turn means painting directly onto our unwrapped UV layouts while trying to be as artsy as possible about it.



Below you see a Villier Pepperbox, a complex gat for a complex man. Just to be clear – the model of the gun is the same throughout all three of the variations.



The first iteration had me painting a somewhat realistic version of the textures – the wood looks like wood, the metal looks like metal, and there’s a decent amount of added detail. As soon as I dropped it into the engine the problem became obvious – it didn’t fit with the visual style of our game. To add insult to injury, since the gun is such a small asset, it basically looked like a bunch overly detailed of noise in the grip of our main character.

The second iteration is a more stylized version of the previous – now the wood and metal feel like wood, instead of just looking like it. The texture is a lot more painterly and I also introduced a bold dab of green into the hand painted mix. Stylistically it wasn’t as much of an eye-sore in-game, but there were still some issues of readability.

The third iteration is a blend of both. Some of the details are exaggerated (ie. the finger rest and the grill) while others were removed entirely. Aleksander advised me to emphasize different parts of the gun by adding a stroke along the shorter axis. The firing mechanism and the round-barrel are a nice example of this while the long barrel received a painterly stroke along its longer axis to make it seem longer. I kept the dab of green and smoothed it out with some off-white milky blue to give the barrel a nice sheen.

This is now in-game and visible in one of our screenshots as well.



Mikk out.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2016, 02:50:39 AM by kinnas » Logged

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« Reply #76 on: July 26, 2016, 02:49:21 AM »

When our writers are tired of writing the “real game”, they write prank phone calls you can make in the game – because why not.




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Our animator Kristjan talks about the pecularities of playing around with kinect mocap:

USING MOCAP

Hi! I am going to briefly talk about how we use motion capture in our development. Now our final playable game will not use motion capture data in-engine at all. Hurray! The reason for this is that it’s not fun to retime mocap and make it loopable if necessary. The animation curves on the mocap skeleton contain a keyframe on every single frame making it a lot less manageable. It is possible to optimize mocap data but the ending result is going to be unpredictable and jittery. So instead we use a custom rig to drive the skeleton, allowing the animator to put in keyposes, control the in-between frames by graph editing and achieve a completely predictable outcome. Also we can’t use mocap because at some point we could decide that we need motion that is really difficult for the mocap-actor to perfectly perform.

Like the title says we somehow actually still use it. Yes, but only as reference. It’s a lot better to see motion from every angle. We also use video as reference and sometimes it’s enough to just look at a coworker or some random people on the street acting stuff out.

When we started working on animation, we got an idea that maybe mocap could be a good way to really quickly get placeholder animations. Unfortunately it was too time consuming and we were not sure if we should invest in proper mocap equipment. The cheapest and fastest way for us was to use two kinects and they did a pretty good job as seen below.

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« Reply #77 on: August 03, 2016, 12:36:44 AM »

I am neck deep in character modeling. Doing folds is a ton of fun I learned. Figured out this process you can do where you cut the flow of the folds into the mesh with the knife tool and then bevel it out to give it shape.



Anyway todays blog post comes courtesy of Markus, the one programmer who doesn't stare at his screen with furious contempt and instead has a kind of a WinkHand Point Right approach to coding.

AUDIO & ACTION

Hi! I’m a programmer. I do this and that. I implement, integrate and innovate. Let me tell you some tidbits about sound and cutscenes.

It would be great if all audio related code and components could operate off of a single central sound manager. Then some customization could be possible in Unity so our sound pipeline wouldn’t be a convoluted mess full of tiny changes.

New conundrums arise while attaching sounds to stuff. For example a case where an action can be performed quickly in succession:

* Do you just play the sound each time?
* Do you just cancel the effect and play it again from the beginning?
* Do you crossfade the second bleep-bloop into the first bleep-bloop effectively making a single bleep-bloop that still sounds nice but indicates a repeated action?
* Do you do something completely different that really fits the visuals but is kind of tricky to construct?

All of these solutions have their uses in certain situations. First two can be implemented fairly quickly. The third one – which seems like a nice general solution – needs to keep tabs on all sounds that are currently playing and perform a crossfade of different sounds. The fourth approach can be a combination of anything and everything. That’s why we are using Master Audio for audio management. It already has these kinds of functions and it’s a component we would have had to craft ourselves if it hadn’t already existed.

So once we had our basic necessities covered we could focus more on our specific needs. The camera and character moving to certain spots should change the ambiance and music in a meaningful and mindful way. So we created something that could be called a sound map! A collection of triggers embedded into the earth which send directions to Master Audio through an interpreter which has information about the current soundscape and keeps the changes logical and deliberate. This sound map can hopefully solve increasingly complex audio situations with relative ease.

Actions that the characters do are more often than not intricately weaved into the dialogue. The dialogue system and articy have “stage directions” (third party support between assets and environments really makes me feel warm inside) which are tools to make sequencable commands. So with a little preparation it would be possible for any member of the team to use these high-level commands to program the cutscenes. This means it’s important that different animations and actions automagically fit together so the whole system is as dynamic and modular as possible. Otherwise our animators would have to redo every animation after each layer of polish.

That’s it for now. Until next time.

WinkHand Point Right
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« Reply #78 on: August 09, 2016, 01:17:30 AM »

I'll just post this here. Lead design Robert writes about l’esprit d’escalier mechanics.

AFTERTHOUGHT SYSTEM FOR DIALOGUES

Since this devlog is all about skinning milk cartrage assets in SKUyA — I make this remark with deep apologies to our technical artists, SKUyA is not a real thing and no one “skins” anything — I thought I’d share a little “RPG stuff” with you. For good measure. It’s this little trick I might have implemented over the weekend. It’s called afterthoughts, because L’esprit d’Escalier was too fussy to copy-paste in this post.

For those unfamiliar, L’esprit d’Escalier or Spirit of the Staircase is a cute french expression for the predicament of coming up with a perfect reply too late. I.e. when the conversation is already over. When you’re walking down the staircase and suddenly the perfect witty reply or devastating argument pops into mind. Well — how would that work in an RPG?

I haven’t, technically speaking, seen it work in engine yet, but I think we have the answer.

CHECK IT

In No Truce, you have conversations with a lot of people. But the person you’ll have most conversations with — is yourself. We use this literary device a lot. We’ve even built special systems to facilitate it. Systems like our sense orbit, that lets skills pop up outside dialogues. Basically, we designate areas and then — if you have a high enough skill — said Skill will pop up there. Click on the skill and you can have a conversation with it (a part of yourself), if you like.

For example: you step on a stage, Drama pops up and asks you if you feel at home. This grounds you in the world more. We can even give conditions to these pop-ups: click on a drainpipe, it says: “rainwater is gushing out.” Then go down the street, Visual Calculus pops up and tells you the street is tilted to east, because the water only streams there. (No click on drainpipe — no get this pop up. Conditions!).

So, using these building blocks, we can do afterthoughts too! Even exactly the same L’Esprit D’Escalier effect I described before. Say you’re in a conversation. With a colleague from the RCM, the Revachol Citizen’s Militia. You get into a little argument over an irrelevant detail, then go back to the main topic. You end the conversation and walk away. So far so usual. But the area around the colleague you just talked to is designated as the area where a medium difficulty Rhetoric pops up if you had the argument before (the condition is met), and you have enough points in the Rhetoric skill. You then click on the little Rhetoric orb on your head, this starts a dialogue. Your Rhetoric gives you the perfect thing to have said. If you’re nice to it. Some skills are touchy. (Yes, really).

Then turn back to that colleague of yours. The argument appears on his main conversation menu. You choose it. He replies with something like: “You literally just came up with that four meters away. I could see it on your face, you made this…” (Makes crooked face) “stupid face, like you were trying to come up with something.”

WHY I REALLY LIKE THIS…

Postmodern tricks aside, afterthoughts let us make our dialogues shorter and leaner. No Truce is a talk-em-up, but conversations still need to have pacing. And under pacing I mean they need to be FAST. The quicker the better, so as not to become chores. On the other hand, we like to pack in as much content as we can for different character builds. The detective with perfect encyclopedic knowledge wants to pick up trivia and discuss that with his colleague. The physical character wants to get Half Light anger flashes (more on that another time) and hound the suspect on a stupid suspicion he has. Putting all these skills in the conversation, however, slows down the tempo and leads you into tangents. This draws attention from the main dynamic of the conversation.

We work on some dialogues for well over a month. In this time a writer-designer gets many weird, adventurous ideas for different skills to add. Afterthoughts could be a way for us to keep dialogues leaner while adding more content for different builds. A win-win.

In theory.

It may be annoying in practice, who knows. Right now I’m quite excited about them. I made a bunch of these micro-dialogues over the weekend. Who knows, maybe there’s even a gif added to the post, illustrating one pop up…

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« Reply #79 on: August 09, 2016, 05:57:37 AM »

Woah that's really cool! I have never seen a game that has a system where you get to think over another talking point(or "talk to yourself") and come back to a character with a new idea.

Also in genereal this game looks very beautiful. Those cloth folds from a previous update look great, and everyone should be excited about making prank phone calls! Ooh that sounds so good. I get very excited about games that let you do stuff you don't get to do in games usually(has there even been a game with a prank phonecall system? Not that I know of!)
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