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November 28, 2020, 05:31:18 PM

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Prinsessa
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« Reply #700 on: August 23, 2019, 05:49:59 AM »

 Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss
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ActualDog
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« Reply #701 on: January 27, 2020, 05:12:05 PM »

Hey so uh, I've held off posting here for way longer than I meant to. I nearly put this off even longer because I'm in the middle of answering some larger questions about the project, but I decided that even a partial update is better than nothing.

Hello!

Trying to figure out where to even start, but obviously a lot of time has passed. I want to try and be open about what's been going on considering I've been developing this so publicly. The short of it is that I, surprise surprise, got very burnt out on this project. I mentioned it briefly in the last update in a sort of hand wave-y way, but things ran a bit deeper and it resulted in me taking 2 1/2 months to contract on another game to try and clear my head. The good news there is that I wasn't burnt out on working in general (I hadn't been working wild hours or anything), I was just burnt out on working on this game specifically. Just last week I opened the game again for the first time in a while and I'm back at it. I'm currently prototyping a few things and depending on how they go, I'll be figuring out next steps. Being a bit intentionally vague here, but I'll have more to share soon I think.

My initial plan for that 2 1/2 months was to try and pitch Wobbledogs around to publishers while contracting on the other game. That didn't end up happening. The first few weeks I put some of my free time into getting a demo and pitch materials put together, but being so burnt out, things were moving very slowly and I made the tough decision to use that time to take a legitimate break from the project, which I think was very much the right thing to do.

What I can say right now is that the game is still alive and I intend to continue sharing new info as I have it. I really appreciate everyone who's been so patient with me these past few months as updates slowed to a trickle.

And on that note, here's a little dev update from something I'm working on as part of the stuff I'm prototyping right now!

--

I needed the ability for dogs to dig, and as part of that I needed a corresponding animation. In my head I pictured a dog scratching at the ground rapidly with its front paws, and my first test was to just try animating the front legs.



That looked like it was going to potentially work as long as I could tone things down, but the more tests I did, the more I realized my approach was wrong. The biggest issue was that the paws themselves had a tendency to get stuck on the ground as they scraped it, which looked awkward and caused balance issues. Getting the dogs to plant their back feet helped, but it wasn't enough on its own. I decided to try cheating a bit more, and I spawned in some invisible objects and jointed the front feet to those directly, with the intention of animating those objects instead of the feet. The idea was to remove the possibility of the feet getting stuck or having their motion altered by friction as they rubbed against the ground.



Now that the dog was held firmly in place, I could translate the animation to these new invisible gameObjects. At first it was too subtle.



And then it was a bit too wild.



But after some tweaks to the joint settings and animation parameters, I got a decent-looking scrabble!



It's pretty simple, actually. The left/right objects are moving via offset sin curves, and the feet are jointed to those objects with a bit of springiness to give the physics system some leeway. I also tell the dog to focus on the location he's digging. Without that he just kinda looks like he's wigglin'.

Add in some dirt particles and we're good to go!



It could definitely use a few tweaks, but for now I'm really happy with how it's turned out.

I know it's been a while, but that's all I have for today. I'll try my best to post the next update without as much of a time gap!
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JobLeonard
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« Reply #702 on: January 28, 2020, 01:49:31 AM »

Glad that you realized in time that you needed a break - a true burn-out is a thing to avoid at all costs!

And then it was a bit too wild.


It wouldn't be a Wobbledog update without Spike freaking out during one of your debugging sessions
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Prinsessa
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« Reply #703 on: January 28, 2020, 08:45:31 AM »

Self-care is important! And that's not a whole lot of time in the grand scheme of things. But I'm glad to see another update! Kiss Digging looks good!
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« Reply #704 on: March 13, 2020, 04:27:40 PM »

Self-care is important! And that's not a whole lot of time in the grand scheme of things. But I'm glad to see another update! Kiss Digging looks good!

Glad that you realized in time that you needed a break - a true burn-out is a thing to avoid at all costs!

Thanks, yeah it was definitely the right call. I'm feeling way better about working now and it's been a VERY nice change of pace, haha.

--

So, let's talk about why I added digging. Digging wasn't the goal in and of itself, although I do think it's a cool feature and plan to add a bit more to it soon. The real reason I bit off digging was as part of my new goal of adding features that autonomously modify the space you play in. The dogs themselves already change, but your pen has always been fairly static. Sure you can decorate it, but that's a very controlled thing and you can't watch it unfold. It's something you do yourself. Holes obviously modify the pen, but they're also important for another reason, which is generating dirt.

Dirt is, of course, something a dog can eat.



But it's also an important material for dogs in that it's what they use to construct their own personal dens! Dogs will studiously go about their business of digging holes and creating dirt so that they can grab that dirt and bring it back to their den location to slowly construct a little place to hang out.



The idea of having dogs construct little structures like this was really cool to me. Dogs never really had much of a goal other than filling their immediate needs. They needed long term goals as well as short term goals, and I think things like this will make them more fun to watch and make them feel more alive.

My initial idea for dens was that they were little hidden areas for dogs to go hide away. As part of that I needed a way to actually hide dogs. Unfortunately, enabling/disabling active rigidbody chains isn't the most straightforward thing in the world, and since there's a time cost to creating a dog, I didn't want to just remove it and then regenerate it again every time it went into/out of the den itself.

If you just disable and then enable a dog, this is what happens.



Joint constraints reset and everything just generally turns out badly.

After this obviously didn't work, I experimented with just setting all the dog's rigidbodies to kinematic and then moving it out of the game's view. It wasn't that elegant, but it did work.



Some potential issues with this but it was enough to let me prototype the dens in full.

What was immediately obvious, however, is that when implemented this way, dens were actively not fun. I could very easily see people trying to stop their dogs from creating dens, because if a dog was prone to hanging out inside of one, all of the sudden you wouldn't be able to see them or interact with them any more! I'd inadvertently created a feature that papered over the main appeal of the game!

Thinking a bit more, I realized it might not be that hard to make den interiors actual physical locations. If dogs physically transported themselves to interior locations, then you could still watch them. Not only that, but it'd allow for a bunch more behaviors surrounding dens (hoarding objects, laying eggs in dens, excavating dens further from inside, etc, etc) and add a ton to the feature in general.

The road to interiors was... perilous...

The den interiors themselves are spawned outside of the camera clip view. When the camera moves to an interior it changes its skybox to pure black and shrinks the far clip plane so that only the interior you're focusing on can be seen. Dogs are teleported to and from these locations when entering/exiting dens.

Teleporting the dogs is not super straightforward, and going both into and out of dens caused its fair share of bugs.





These aren't fully solved yet, but they're definitely in that "good enough to move on" state, and there's enough error handling to stop things from permanently breaking.

The additional problem here was with object connections. Dogs can hold objects and other dogs in their mouths, and cocoons can attach themselves to objects and dogs as well. This means that has to be keeping track of everything its attached to or that is attached to it so it can recursively handle it all accordingly whenever it teleports. Currently dogs can bring objects into dens with them, but they cannot bring along other dogs or cocoons.



Dogs will go through the entire construction process, and will use owned dens as preferred locations for behaviors such as laying eggs and sleeping. They'll also be discouraged from doing certain things like pooping in their own dens. In general they'll try not to ever enter a den owned by another dog, but personality modifiers are in effect for this stuff as well.

I'm already excited about the state of the feature as it is now, but once I've got real graphics for these things I think it'll be really really cool.

The next step here is getting the dogs to intelligently choose locations for their dens instead of just checking a few canned locations, and then hopefully to make it so they get angry if they see another dog hanging out in a den they own. The feature's pretty close to where I want it for the time being.

And then the other big update is that I've started working with someone on sound and music. I'll share once things are a bit further along, but I'm really happy with how it's coming together and I'm super glad the game finally has some noise! Turns out things are more satisfying with sound. Who knew!


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marcgfx
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« Reply #705 on: March 13, 2020, 11:01:41 PM »

Good to hear you are motivated again. Nice update, I like the digging. I'm not sold on the den, to be honest. Isn't part of the fun to have the dogs interact with each other? Sounds a bit like you would be creating a hidden space that will remove dogs from view. I was thinking the digging could be used to hide toys, dig up bones or just for pure fun of being a wobbledog. Maybe getting dirty and requiring a bath.
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« Reply #706 on: March 14, 2020, 03:06:42 AM »

Quote

Another wobble-dog update, another hilarious existential crisis horror gif. And it came in pairs this time!
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Prinsessa
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« Reply #707 on: March 14, 2020, 07:02:22 AM »

Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss
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ActualDog
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« Reply #708 on: March 14, 2020, 08:19:51 AM »

Good to hear you are motivated again. Nice update, I like the digging. I'm not sold on the den, to be honest. Isn't part of the fun to have the dogs interact with each other? Sounds a bit like you would be creating a hidden space that will remove dogs from view. I was thinking the digging could be used to hide toys, dig up bones or just for pure fun of being a wobbledog. Maybe getting dirty and requiring a bath.

Glad you like the digging!

You're right that part of the fun is having the dogs interact with each other, but dens don't stop that! Multiple dogs can be inside a den at once, so they can still mess with each other if they really want to, and you can peek inside any time you want so it's never actually hidden. The fact that you have to purposefully choose to look inside is, in my opinion, a positive if anything. When the dogs are hidden from view for a bit that creates a natural opportunity for them to accrue mischief, which is important to it feeling like the things they're doing are worth keeping track of. But regardless of that, dens are really just their own little rooms, but with AI modifications so that there are more potentially unique scenarios involving them than standard rooms. They increase the possibility space of the game a bunch! Dogs also won't be in them 24/7. A particularly aloof dog might be more prone to it than others, but most dogs will only go in occasionally. It's just another thing for them to do and you're meant to have a handful of dogs in your pen at once so the chances of them all being inside separate dens at the same time are fairly low.

And if you still really dislike them, you can always block off their entrances or destroy them yourself. I honestly think they're a super cool addition to the game though.
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« Reply #709 on: October 07, 2020, 01:35:20 PM »

Hey! It's been a while...

I gotta say, it's very obvious to me now why so many big project devlogs get abandoned or updated less frequently as time goes on. I haven't stopped working on the game, but the tasks I accomplish keep getting less and less interesting to talk about on average, and there are longer gaps of time between new features or cool technical tidbits, so I've very much fallen out of the habit of keeping this thread up to date.

I don't have any in-depth dev stuff to write up at the moment, and I'm not sure I'll have time in the near future to do so either, but I've been working with some folks to get audio in the game and I wanted to share a video of how the everything's shaping up!





Still have a ton to do (and there's definitely still some temporary stuff in that vid), but the project's turning into an actual thing! I hope to have more concrete info to share in the coming month or two.
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JobLeonard
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« Reply #710 on: October 08, 2020, 01:28:49 AM »

Dude... looks like a TON has changed in terms of polish since the last update  Kiss

What's with those germs on the left by the way?
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« Reply #711 on: October 08, 2020, 08:24:32 AM »

Dude... looks like a TON has changed in terms of polish since the last update  Kiss

What's with those germs on the left by the way?

It's easy to lose perspective since I look at this thing nearly every day, but there really have been a lot of little (and some not-so-little) changes and additions. It adds up!

Those "germs" are gut flora! Pretty sure I've talked about them here in the past, but essentially the things a dog eats contribute different flora to their guts, and those flora change how a dog mutates.
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Prinsessa
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« Reply #712 on: October 08, 2020, 12:23:41 PM »

Oh my goodness, I don't think I've heard the music or the sound effects before, it's all so good and with all those snappy animations! Kiss Kinda jarring that the speech bubbles are hidden behind geometry when everything else looks so polished and basically like a finished game haha, this is really coming together!
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« Reply #713 on: October 08, 2020, 01:44:52 PM »

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« Reply #714 on: October 08, 2020, 05:14:14 PM »

Oh my goodness, I don't think I've heard the music or the sound effects before, it's all so good and with all those snappy animations! Kiss Kinda jarring that the speech bubbles are hidden behind geometry when everything else looks so polished and basically like a finished game haha, this is really coming together!

Thanks, this is the first time I've shown them off!

I definitely don't love the billboarded UI clipping through geometry, haha. Not 100% sure what to do about it though because there are other issues if it displays in screen space rather than world space.



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« Reply #715 on: October 08, 2020, 08:05:59 PM »

Off the top of my head (and with 0 knowledge of what those screenspace issues are) two things come to mind...

First would be just a second camera that only renders the popups, and then some secondary logic to determine which can or can't be displayed at a given time. Some sort of raycast to a few points on it, I guess?

I have also done some arcane and forbidden experimenting with screwing with the clip-space coordinates of meshes before, manipulating the vertices there to kind of fake bringing things up closer to the camera despite them still appearing to be in the same position and size. It's really weird though, and would basically be the same as rendering them in screen-space with scaling so probably not worth listening to
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« Reply #716 on: October 09, 2020, 06:33:10 AM »

If this is Unity (is it?) you could just render the speech-bubbles with a second camera? If it's something else you are using, it would just mean rendering it to a second buffer and then rendering this second buffer onto the main view. Seems too simple, so I feel like I might be missing the point.

edit: looks like NovaSilisko had the same idea
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« Reply #717 on: October 09, 2020, 10:10:00 AM »

Off the top of my head (and with 0 knowledge of what those screenspace issues are) two things come to mind...

First would be just a second camera that only renders the popups, and then some secondary logic to determine which can or can't be displayed at a given time. Some sort of raycast to a few points on it, I guess?

I have also done some arcane and forbidden experimenting with screwing with the clip-space coordinates of meshes before, manipulating the vertices there to kind of fake bringing things up closer to the camera despite them still appearing to be in the same position and size. It's really weird though, and would basically be the same as rendering them in screen-space with scaling so probably not worth listening to

If this is Unity (is it?) you could just render the speech-bubbles with a second camera? If it's something else you are using, it would just mean rendering it to a second buffer and then rendering this second buffer onto the main view. Seems too simple, so I feel like I might be missing the point.

edit: looks like NovaSilisko had the same idea

I'm using Unity, but I should've specified that at the moment this isn't really a technical issue, it's more of a design issue. I've had these pieces of UI rendering over the top of everything in the past, but there are a ton of cases where that feels very weird. At the moment it's a trade-off between the various solutions. While it looks bad when it clips, there are also plenty of instances where it feels worse that this UI doesn't get occluded.

I'm sure there are some better ways of handling this (collision on the UI with controlled offset allowances, disabling or fading the UI if I detect it's inside of an object, screen space display with manual occlusion, etc), but until I can come up with one that's performant and not a massive task to implement and iterate on, I'm probably living with some edge cases here, haha. There's just so much else that I still need to do that I'm not sure I have the time to really dig into it any time soon.
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« Reply #718 on: November 19, 2020, 10:37:37 AM »

Hey so... Wobbledogs is coming to Steam Early Access in January 2021!

https://store.steampowered.com/app/1424330/Wobbledogs/

It's so weird to see it on Steam like this, haha. It feels very real. I've got a ton of work to do still, but it's really exciting to have the next step lined up like this. Can't wait for people to get their hands on this thing!
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« Reply #719 on: November 19, 2020, 10:51:09 AM »

Looks amazing Kiss
Wish listed! I haven't been around tigs in a while, so it seems like you've made big strides! I love the look of digging/dens; the idea of dogs getting to create their own new spaces is exciting.
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