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TIGSource ForumsFeedbackDevLogsThe Woodsman - Narrative Point and Click
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Author Topic: The Woodsman - Narrative Point and Click  (Read 8881 times)
cloudgods
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« on: April 11, 2016, 05:59:12 am »


The Woodsman retells Little Red Riding Hood as a narrative point and click game set in a richly haunted forest world. Red has run away from her family and is blamed for putting a curse on her grandmother. You play as the Woodsman, enlisted by Red to assist her in finding an elder tree fruit to save her grandmother regain acceptance. Their shared journey unwinds painful histories of isolation, identity, and the struggles of growth.

The key inspirations for the game are Kentucky Route Zero and Sworcery. I'm pretty enthralled with narrative + vaguely surreal games, and I want to model this into a gently surreal adventure. I also want to explore player autonomy as the ability to choose who the narrative focuses on or explores more deeply.

Design

  • Point and click mechanics with inventory
  • A unique inherent ability to interact with trees for both Red and the Woodsman
  • Multiple endings affected by dialogue choices
  • At key points in the game, the characters diverge and the player must choose to play from Red or Woodsman's perspective
  • Certain parts of the game are text only

Progress

A semester of work so far sees spline-based movement, branching dialogue, inventory, and distance-based shaders in UE4. The current player character is a placeholder! I'm having a lot of trouble lighting the scenes with the current style of art so any suggestions with non-normals shading in UE4 would be appreciated O: !! (as it turns out having normals facing one direction means you can only light everything from one direction which is actually really hard shocking I know)








Concepts + Art

Some of these sketches are slightly irrelevant by now, but they all still give an idea of the world and the development.














Woodsman model -- rig is wip


Red model -- rig to be started

Current Goals / April 2016

  • Rig characters
  • Establish a style that is easier to light /:
  • Write dialogue
  • I'm toying with the idea of experimenting with using Unity for more control over shaders + visuals O': might try a test

Elsewhere

You can find me @jbtuason or follow my art blog on tumblr.

Updates

[to be edited later]

This is quite a project ahead of me, and I really look forward to making progress in the next few months! Thanks for visiting.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2016, 02:38:43 pm by cloudgods » Logged

cloudgods
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« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2016, 01:52:47 pm »

This past week!

  • Woodsman kind of rigged?
  • An idle animation



Coming up
  • Rigging Red
  • Walk?? cycle?? for the Woodsman
  • Continue game outline!
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Pancaek Tho
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« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2016, 08:58:05 pm »

I really like the idea of the retelling of little red writing hood.  The visuals are also cryptic and slightly ominous, which is something I like.  I'm kind of getting a vibe similar to Limbo from this game.  I'll be keeping an eye on this!
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cloudgods
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« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2016, 06:25:19 pm »

I really like the idea of the retelling of little red writing hood.  The visuals are also cryptic and slightly ominous, which is something I like.  I'm kind of getting a vibe similar to Limbo from this game.  I'll be keeping an eye on this!

Thank you! I have a feeling it's a bit overdone as a story, but I'm excited to explore some themes I don't usually associate with the original story. Inside was actually a pretty strong influence on the visuals--but I definitely see the Limbo connection!

Created a more dynamic camera today.


Camera fade in


Camera led by character's facing
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hyperduck
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« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2016, 11:53:04 pm »

Reminds me of a project I was a part of a long time ago that never saw the light of day: Hollows Deep, and that's a compliment, love the dark depth of the forest you're going for here, the foreground scenery too, and the fire is the perfect contrast.
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Thirteen
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« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2016, 04:31:53 am »

I'm loving the atmosphere, nice job Smiley
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cloudgods
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« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2016, 01:01:03 pm »

Reminds me of a project I was a part of a long time ago that never saw the light of day: Hollows Deep, and that's a compliment, love the dark depth of the forest you're going for here, the foreground scenery too, and the fire is the perfect contrast.

Oh wow very cool! Thank you for the kind words!

I'm loving the atmosphere, nice job Smiley

Thank you so much!!

Threw in a mixamo walk animation--not sure if I'll keep this + clean it up, but it looks like a good start. I kind of wish the transition from idle to walk was a little smoother--the way my character moves is either on or off and it doesn't allow for the blend space to give the smooth transition.


Walking


Might consider a listening + talking animation for interacting with NPCS
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mesh
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« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2016, 01:51:18 pm »

interesting aesthetic choice.
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cloudgods
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« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2016, 06:52:29 pm »

interesting aesthetic choice.

Thank you!

---

I spent a lot of time today cleaning up some of the camera wonkiness: Once I had a new camera system I had to fix how the mouse was projecting into worldspace to get the correct location for the character to walk in. In addition, I created a proper target + trigger class for the camera to fix on certain spaces when the character enters an area. It feels much more point and click in style and will be used in areas of focus/purpose. I'm still keeping a follow camera--I think the combination from area to character has a nice rhythm of environment focus and journey.


Focusing on the ever-present campfire of the trader NPC


Transition to focus


Transition to character follow
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mesh
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« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2016, 12:17:55 pm »

interesting aesthetic choice.

Thank you!

---

I spent a lot of time today cleaning up some of the camera wonkiness: Once I had a new camera system I had to fix how the mouse was projecting into worldspace to get the correct location for the character to walk in. In addition, I created a proper target + trigger class for the camera to fix on certain spaces when the character enters an area. It feels much more point and click in style and will be used in areas of focus/purpose. I'm still keeping a follow camera--I think the combination from area to character has a nice rhythm of environment focus and journey.


Focusing on the ever-present campfire of the trader NPC


Transition to focus


Transition to character follow

From looking at your gifs, you've managed to capture the feel of a point and click while adding an eerie atmosphere. The camera looks great too. I'd love to see how you handle  narrative, though i must ask, will all the environments be quite as "dark"? If so, is that because of the theme of the narrative? Also are you going to add varying locations with their own different atmosphere?
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cloudgods
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« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2016, 02:55:26 pm »

From looking at your gifs, you've managed to capture the feel of a point and click while adding an eerie atmosphere. The camera looks great too. I'd love to see how you handle  narrative, though i must ask, will all the environments be quite as "dark"? If so, is that because of the theme of the narrative? Also are you going to add varying locations with their own different atmosphere?

Ahh I'm really flattered to hear that! I really can't wait to get into the part where I get to the design the elder trees and spirits. If you're familiar with Kentucky Route Zero, I think I'll be following a dialogue/narrative system that follows that format somewhat. I really enjoy writing dialogue between characters so I plan to get as much across as possible in their brief exchanges. I'm also toying with the idea of using "text-game" like parts of the game in place of point and click.

On the dark environments: haha... yes, it is a bit of a tie in to the nature of elder spirits and old forests, and I think mood of the environments will generally tend to Weird Dark Forest Vibes. I definitely want to have a variety of forest environments, though, and break the mold of this test scene to have a much broader range of moods to reflect different parts of the narrative. I'm glad you brought this up because I've been meaning to brainstorm a range of environments, and I'll definitely start thinking on those now!

---

More camera tweaking! I've added a lerp in the camera's targeting that allows the camera to be weighted more to focusing on the scene or following the character. It's nice to have the weighting option (and it does look rather nice still having a little bit of camera follow while still having a scene focus!) rather than having to choose between strictly following the character and focusing on parts of the scene.


Weighted more to follow character


Weighted to focus on scene
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justincavenagh
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« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2016, 04:35:51 am »

Really great work. Digging the atmosphere :D

Dialogue and narrative wise, how is that all coming along? How far are you going to deviate from the original source material?
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cloudgods
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« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2016, 04:55:38 pm »

Really great work. Digging the atmosphere :D

Dialogue and narrative wise, how is that all coming along? How far are you going to deviate from the original source material?

Thank you so much!

As for narrative + dialogue...



Fairly uh... fairly enough lol. I'm still writing an outline + dialogue, but the world + plot points have been solidified for some time now. The characters (Woodsman, Red, Red's grandma) are the main similarity with the original story--I had actually planned the themes more around Adam and Eve (trees, devil, temptation). I think the atmosphere of Deep Dark Woods is something I'd like to imitate from fairy tales: the deeper the woods, the more unsettling + surreal.

The narrative is also based around encounters with three elder tree spirits (one of them analogous with Satan or some kind of god): The player must make a decision as either the Woodsman or Red in relation to these spirits. I've posted a concept of one so far, and I've been hashing out ideas for the other two.

---

This week:

  • Red has been (kind of) rigged
  • Animated Red's idle!
  • Ripped a walk cycle off mixamo lmao
  • Cleaned up Red's follow + rotation scripting (unlike the Woodsman, she has a slight acceleration + smoother idle-walk blend)


Red's idle animation


Red following the the Woodsman


Red rotating to follow Woodsman

Bonus:
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Franklin's Ghost
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« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2016, 07:39:58 pm »

Impressed at the amount of detail you've gone into, nice to see. The concept art and camera work is great so it's interesting to see it come together in game.
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cloudgods
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« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2016, 03:34:11 pm »

Impressed at the amount of detail you've gone into, nice to see. The concept art and camera work is great so it's interesting to see it come together in game.

Thank you so much! It's a really exciting process going from concept to game because I don't always know exactly how stuff will look in-game.

---

This week I've been exploring a few ways of depicting curses.


Concept for curses

They're a form of punishment in the game world but also principle points of interaction for Red.


Additive / opaque / translucent

In the current level they're too dark for my liking, but the particle system is a solid start? I'm trying to figure out how to get strands to bloom out a little more or branch out like trees... If you've played Fatal Frame 4 that's kind of the feel I'm about. I'm leaning toward the translucent model right now, but I think the additive is a pretty cool touch. Maybe I can combine them?

I've also started to concept the elder spirits.


Concept for first elder spirit

This weekend our class from last semester is exhibiting games for a campus-wide exhibition. So!! I'll have to see how I can kick out a presentable demo for this game using what little level assets I have ;;\

See ya!

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cloudgods
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« Reply #15 on: May 04, 2016, 03:51:18 pm »

Quick update on the particles.


Character particle test

I had some initial issues with the particles following the character that made them look like a train or something (':


Character particle test fixed

It turned out all I had to do was check a box for the particle system to use local space. I think I need to mess with some more curves to get kind of a branching look.

I also played around with some attractors.


Character particle test with attractor

It has an interesting feel? So I'll keep it in mind. I also want to add some more variable colors + texture!


Elder spirit + curse color concept
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cloudgods
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« Reply #16 on: May 06, 2016, 08:00:43 pm »

Some art!


Concept for first elder spirit




Title cards


Title card fade

Exhibiting demo for class tomorrow morning!
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cloudgods
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« Reply #17 on: May 18, 2016, 05:42:05 pm »

I'm disappointed that I didn't get around to posting any updates for over a week but I just finished finals, packed, and moved into my dorm for the summer. I'm proud to announce that I'm interning at Massdigi's SIP! I'm very excited to work on games this summer! In the meantime, I kicked around a few color ideas.




Second elder spirit concept
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ag radley
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« Reply #18 on: May 18, 2016, 06:04:00 pm »

i love this
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Pixel Noise
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« Reply #19 on: May 18, 2016, 06:42:12 pm »

Wow, great work! Just seeing this for the first time - can't wait to see where it goes Smiley
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