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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsARCHAICA: The Path Of Light - Beautiful puzzle, Two brothers team, Custom engine
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Author Topic: ARCHAICA: The Path Of Light - Beautiful puzzle, Two brothers team, Custom engine  (Read 9009 times)
pturecki
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« on: June 01, 2016, 08:57:55 am »

Archaica: The Path Of Light






The Game
Archaica is a puzzle game with lasers and mirrors that has been enhanced with a touch of storyline and beautiful graphics. The idea for logical puzzles is to adjust the mechanisms and, in most cases, cast light through all the crystals on the board. This brings to life mechanisms created by the Ancients.

The Story
During the game we become the Chosen One, who has to chose a legendary Path Of Light and save the world from destruction, by reviving ancient mechanisms once more. Yet we explore secrets hidden by the Ancients and discover true destiny of The Path along the way.

The World
The game world contains of six realms. Each of them is defined by unique graphics and type of puzzles. Those are as follow: Hills (tutorial), Desert City, Islands, Crystal Mines, Jungle and Temples. In addition the game has two highlighted objects: Portal - Archaica’s World Map and Totem - a mysterious device which represents Chosen One’s progress through the journey.

Key Features
- An extraordinary atmosphere of an ancient and unknown civilization.
- 80 interesting and unique puzzles
- Ancient artifacts and secrets waiting to be discovered.

Short facts:
- Development time: 2 years (and a bit more for the engine)
- Platform: PC
- Planned release: end of 2016
- Engine: custom



Hello everyone!

Together with my brother, we founded a small gamedev studio - TwoMammoths - and make our first game.
I'm a programmer ( Piotr Turecki ) and my brother is an artist ( Marcin Turecki ).
Also there are a few people who helped or are helping us on various parts of the project (sounds/music, story, translations etc).

Plan for the nearest future is in short: make a game mechanics more interesting and put more life into the game world.

We will post here some informations about the development from time to time. We invest a lot of work and all our passion for this project. Hope you will like it Smiley
Kind Regards



Links:

Greenlight campaign: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=691876517
/edit: Archaica has been greenlit! We took 21st position and collected 3,6k votes Smiley (in 12 days).

Archaica page: http://twomammoths.com/archaica-the-path-of-light/

TwoMammoths page: http://twomammoths.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TwoMammoths/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TwoMammoths

« Last Edit: August 16, 2017, 01:10:59 am by pturecki » Logged

sidbarnhoorn
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« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2016, 10:49:10 am »

This looks great! Smiley
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Siddhartha Barnhoorn
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Award winning composer

Composed music for the games Antichamber, Out There, The Stanley Parable, Semispheres and more.

Website:
http://www.sidbarnhoorn.com
Soundcloud:
http://soundcloud.com/sidbarnhoorn
Albums:
http://siddharthabarnhoorn.bandcam
Michael Klier
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« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2016, 12:59:54 pm »

I agree, really cool visuals! Kudos to your artists!
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pturecki
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« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2016, 03:31:28 pm »

Thanks!

Quote from: Michael Klier
Kudos to your artists!
Artist is one - my brother Wink (and we run company together)
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Michael Klier
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« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2016, 11:26:25 pm »

Artist is one - my brother Wink (and we run company together)

Hah, my bad! But he must be doing the work of two Grin!
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bdsowers
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« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2016, 06:01:28 am »

I made a game with a similar concept about 7 years ago, though considerably less refined, so kudos to you for making a game like this look super sleek and professional. Looking forward to seeing how it turns out!
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pturecki
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« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2016, 07:41:01 am »

Quote from: Michael Klier
Hah, my bad! But he must be doing the work of two!
I think he is doing the work for even three or four Wink

@bdsowers: Thanks! What is the name of your game?
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pheres
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« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2016, 01:00:34 am »

:jawdrop:  Who, Me?  Waaagh! Hand Thumbs Up Left Hand Thumbs Up Right
Simply stunning!

Was wondering how do you play it? is it like fixed view to the puzzle, or a free roaming camera?
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pturecki
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« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2016, 05:05:16 am »

@pheres: Thanks! Camera is fixed now but we are going to let the player move it a bit (and it will be needed to find a secrets sometimes).
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pturecki
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« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2016, 03:10:53 am »

Hi! Sorry for posting right under my other post.
I prepared an effect (actually not in-game, but it's quite cool, so maybe we will add it somewhere...) for promotional purposes (in reference to greenlight campaign). It's pure shader based effect. What do you think?

Greenlight strikes the Archaica world:




Regards
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TheWanderingBen
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« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2016, 12:40:16 am »

Simple concept, expertly executed. Voted for you on Greenlight. Good luck, brothers!
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pturecki
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« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2016, 08:16:50 am »

@TheWanderingBen: Thanks!

This topis has started a little late in the development progress, so this is how the game has changed over time. All screenshots was taken from the first Archaica level (click image for full resolution).

late 2014
2015
2016

And here is a screenshot (also from the first level) from a very first version of the game that we showed at digital Dragons game conference in the middle of 2014 (click for large image):



The game has changed a lot - the most from the visual side (as you can see), but not only. Here are the more important changes:

World map:

At start there was a simple menu just to select a round to play.
Now it is an ancient Portal device. You have to solve all tutorial rounds to activate it and gain access to five very different realms.

Levels:

At the beginning every level had a single stage with static camera. Now there are levels with two or more stages, with cutscenes and smoothly moving camera between them. Some of the levels are really big (as for our game). There are moving platforms too and generally a lot variety (more complicated chains of dependency; eg activating the crystal can start a lot of actions).

Gameplay:

We added a few devices since the beginning (eg teleports) and a few special devices (eg The Signpost which shows the way to another realm). Also we remove one device. We added cool help/hint system. Secrets was added too and the whole new mysterious device - The Totem - which represents Chosen One’s progress through the journey.

Storyline:

We didn't have a storyline at start. We added it and it cost us two months of work (really). But it was so hard to make/invent a consistent story in harmony with the game world and gameplay that we removed it (again - really :/). Maybe we wanted too much from this element.

Plans for near future:

We have a lot of ideas on the new devices (= new puzzles). We have to make a secrets to be really secret (and add a lot of variety to them). And we are going to add back a touch of story to the game.

Regards,
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SimonFelix
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« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2016, 10:20:46 am »

The game looks fantastic, great job! Will the game be heavilly story-driven? It's something I miss sometimes in puzzle games, and something the Myst-franchise for instance did really well Smiley
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pturecki
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« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2016, 01:29:15 pm »

@SimonFelix: Thanks! We have tried to add quite extensive story but we failed (in short; we don't have time for it). Extensive story must be really good, and when you want that every element in the game world has an explanation in the story it is only more complicated and harder. It's one thing. The second is that today presenting the story in an interesting way is very time expensive (and financially). As I said, we tried it - it took us two months - and we resigned from it. We showed a version with story - and the very common feedback was that it's unnecessary. Of course story and its presentation was not perfect, but it means that more and more time was needed fot it (and we didn't have a time).

Actually we are going to add back more story to the game, but not too much (probably). We will focus on gameplay.
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SimonFelix
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« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2016, 11:30:08 am »

Ok, good to hear! I agree that story implementation is very difficult in gameplay-centric games. I'm sure the end product will be great though, keep up the good work Smiley
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io3 creations
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« Reply #15 on: June 09, 2016, 10:53:48 am »

Myst and similar puzzle games can benefit from a story as the story can tie the variety of different puzzles together.  However, puzzles that focus on a single core mechanic don't really need a story as the main reason people who play puzzle games ... mainly like to play for solving the puzzles themselves.

Having said that, adding a story might be beneficial if it can enhance the experience. Setting up a lore and motivation as to "Why am I playing?", "What am I playing for?" can give that extra something.  I agree that for your game it isn't necessary to tie every level in with an elaborate story.  However, you could still have a few cut scenes after every "chapter" if you want to indicate that the player has accomplished something significant (in the story), something has changed (new game mechanics added) or become limited when there's some form of loss in the story.  

Since you already made the visuals really good looking, Smiley  at least a "little" story would be beneficial.  Perhaps something along the lines of moving comic book like images instead of a full 3d animation.


I see you mention using a custom engine.  If you started the game now, would you still create your own custom engine or perhaps go with Unity, Unreal or other available one?
« Last Edit: June 09, 2016, 11:00:41 am by io3 creations » Logged

pturecki
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« Reply #16 on: June 14, 2016, 08:00:50 am »

Sorry for late reply.

@SimonFelix: Thanks!

@io3 creations:
Thank you for an extensive comment! In our game there is one core puzzle mechanic (there will be also other mechanics but minor and additional, mainly for secrets and story). We want to do with the story more or less what you say - a short story fragments after a characteristic moments in the game (form of comics is possible but probably we will stay with just a text + simple cutscenes). Additionaly we plan to add a brief story background as a small secrets on some levels which you can find (or not). So we of cource agree that "at least a little story would be beneficial" Smiley

Archaica started as many other indie projects - after hours (now full time). Because I love creating tech-engine-things (and Unreal wasn't available at that moment) it started from engine - a game was not defined well then. With brother we started creating a game and it evolved from a simple concept into what it is now (and it's still evolving).

Now (and especially without own engine) we would start with UE4. After Archaica release (and possibly some extensions) we will have to make a hard decision (for me ;P  ) about engine for the next project.

/edit
I forgot to mention that Archaica has been greenlit! We took 21st position and collected 3,6k votes Smiley (in 12 days).
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pturecki
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« Reply #17 on: June 22, 2016, 09:32:55 am »

Hi!

We took a little break from implementing sounds and made some improvements to ground materials. Until now all ground materials in Archaica had max two layers. We added support for third layer (both "only a normalmap" and full material) and better layer mixing (by heightmap) for more natural results. Here are some test screenshots showing the difference (click to view full size):

Simple blending using paintable texture:



Blending using paintable texture and heightmap of the second layer (notice the sand in the cavity between the plates):



As above and additionaly third layer with normalmap only to show the game board grid:



And a bit of shader code for mixing first two layers (for now third one uses always simple blending by paintable texture):

Code:

// layerFactor - 0..1 sampled from paintable texture
// height - 0..1 sampled from heightmap texture

blendFactor = lerp(saturate(layerFactor  - height), 1, saturate(layerFactor  - 0.75) / 0.25);


// Small comment: saturate(layerFactor  - height) means:
//
// greater layerFactor => greater blend factor
// greater height => smaller blend factor
//
// lerp is needed to ensure that blendFactor is 1 when layerFactor is 1 (probably there are many other
// ways to achieve this). Value 0.75 (=> 0.25 = 1-0.75) is selected experimentally.


What do you think? I'm curious if there is a better/simpler/more intuitive (in editing) method for mixing layers by both paintable texture (could be baked in vertex data too) and heightmap? I will be grateful for any tips Smiley

Regards,
« Last Edit: June 22, 2016, 10:10:45 am by pturecki » Logged

goshki
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« Reply #18 on: June 26, 2016, 11:53:10 pm »

What do you think? I'm curious if there is a better/simpler/more intuitive (in editing) method for mixing layers by both paintable texture (could be baked in vertex data too) and heightmap? I will be grateful for any tips Smiley

I don't know much about shaders but I really like how the grid becomes visible in the last screenshot. It's easier to read the map and it plays well with the sharp edges of stones at the edges.
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pturecki
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« Reply #19 on: July 06, 2016, 06:26:41 am »

@goshki: Thanks! (and sorry for late reply). Currently not all of the maps has grid, but I think finally all of them will have it. As you said: it's easier to read the map. And it's clear now that adding grid is not equally easy for different kinds of materials (eg for sand it significantly changes the material appearance).

Recently we added a possibility of moving the camera in game:





The original plan was that the camera always shows the whole puzzle (so it's easy to think on the puzzle). But we are adding secrets and other elements (story etc) - not necessary for the player to finish the game (but they add immersion and thmosphere) and it's a very cool idea to hide part of them them behind the borders of the screen (still the default camera shows the whole puzzle). Moreover, moving the camera is very cool Wink
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