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TIGSource ForumsFeedbackDevLogsARCHAICA: 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 7344 times)
pturecki
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« Reply #20 on: July 16, 2016, 12:08:53 am »

Hello!
This time I want to show you how lava is made in the Archaica.
Generally it is a flowmap technique. Every game level has a special texture (mapped on a horizontal plane) which can be painted in editor. One of the channels is used by lava shaders and determines its speed. The model rotation (with assigned lava material) determines the direction of lava flow. So it's not a full flowmap but it's sufficient for our needs. (also the lava speed determines color, faster = brighter).

Here is a very short video recorded in our game editor:




Here are sample source materials describing a flowmap technique:
Water flow in Portal 2: http://advances.realtimerendering.com/s2010/Vlachos-Waterflow(SIGGRAPH%202010%20Advanced%20RealTime%20Rendering%20Course).pdf
Animating Water Using Flow Maps: http://graphicsrunner.blogspot.com/2010/08/water-using-flow-maps.html

Depth buffer is used for automatically mark hot (brighter) lava borders. Lava material can by applied not only to planes (second screen) but it works better on planes (and there is no need to refine this aspect, it's acceptable).




Here are the same shaders and textures but different color parameters:




Disadvantages:
The single period of animation takes one second, and when lava is static (not moving) the transition between two layers is clearly visible (but still acceptable). Adding more layers probably will eliminate this problem but I think we will stay with what we have now.

Do you know any other cool techniques for making lava?

PS. You can click on any image for its large version.

Best,
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MereMonkey
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« Reply #21 on: July 23, 2016, 12:39:04 am »

Whoa that flowmap technique is really cool, thanks for sharing! The game is looking stunning by the way, I love light reflection puzzles haha  Kiss
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pturecki
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« Reply #22 on: July 25, 2016, 06:07:22 am »

@MereMonkey: Thanks for nice words! Smiley Here is another interesting post about water flow I have found just a few days ago: Flow Map Generation. If anyone is interested in this topic I recommend to take a look on it Wink


A few days ago my brother post this image on some facebook groups etc to get some feedback, so I post it here too (click to see a large version).

Which view is better: more epic (top) or more bound to gameplay area (bottom)? Which one do you prefer?
(But, probably we are moving in the direction of quite a lot of freedom in setting the camera by the player.)

Which view is better?



Another image for feedback is this one (also click for a large version).

What is better: day or night? The images come from the last realm in our game - Temples; and the color settings is not definitely selected yet.

What is better: day or night?



I would be grateful for feedback / comments Smiley
Best
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Interactionman
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« Reply #23 on: July 25, 2016, 06:53:28 am »

From a 'looking at screenshots' perspective, I like the top image because it shows more of the location, but maybe it would be more practical when actually playing the game to be closer. I do like the ability to move the camera myself generally, so that would be the best of both if you could choose while you're playing.

The 'day' version is much better because the colours are complementary. In the 'night' version it's all a bit the same so either you could change the light beam colour to something that complements the blue environment, or make it more contrasting by desaturating the environment and/or making it a bit darker so the light beams stand out more.
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MereMonkey
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« Reply #24 on: July 25, 2016, 07:07:42 am »

Ah thanks! Shall check this out this evening Wink

The top view feels nicer to me, though it would have to depend on each level as some probably are larger than others, and you don't what the player to feel to far away from the 'action'.

I like the daylight scene, though why not have both of them in-game to keep things feeling more fresh for the player? You could even have a mix between the to.
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pturecki
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« Reply #25 on: July 27, 2016, 10:00:48 am »

Thanks a lot for useful feedback!


Quote from: Interactionman
I do like the ability to move the camera myself generally, so that would be the best of both if you could choose while you're playing.

This is what we are doing at the moment. The one problem is that with the ability of the camera movement we must add some gameplay elements in places behind the very gameplay area/center. The advantage is that the game mechanics will be more interesting. Initially we want add some of such a elements on the map, but having moving camera we can even make a small secrets from those elements.

Quote from: Interactionman
The 'day' version is much better because the colours are complementary.

Indeed you have right. We put significantly more time into day version. We will improve a night version in the near future.


Quote from: MereMonkey
I like the daylight scene, though why not have both of them in-game

It is rather easy in our game to make weather/color settings transitions between two settings but not as easy to make this test quick to implement. For example many lights have different colors for day and night. Also we have realtime generated envmaps and it's a bit slow process, so they would have to be duplicated (and cached). And probably a few more things...


And a new thing: today Marcin my brother (=artist) finally used new shaders and made improved version of the grounds on a sample map (new version has grid).
What do you prefer? Ground with or without a grid? (click for large image).


What do you prefer? With or without a grid?


I would be grateful for feedback / comments Wink
Best
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Cakeprediction
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« Reply #26 on: July 27, 2016, 10:15:20 am »

I actually quite like the grid and think it might even make the ground look a bit more attractive. Both look awesome though Smiley
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pturecki
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« Reply #27 on: July 27, 2016, 02:11:32 pm »

@Cakeprediction: Thanks for the opinion! Indeed the version with grid looks more attractive - we think so too Smiley

PS. We asked this question on twitter and facebook too, and everybody prefers grid Wink
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pturecki
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« Reply #28 on: July 30, 2016, 04:17:15 am »

Hello. We started (at an accelerated pace) designing new GUI, more intuitive and visually nicer. Here are the screenshots (click for large version):

Old GUI


New GUI


Old GUI:
- simple bottom bar with text on dark background (too often overlooked, and thereby with the forced to click option very uncomfortable, additionally without button on the bar)

New GUI:
- still rather simple look,
- centered on screen (no chance for overlook),
- always with button, forced to click to continue
- color of the decorations matched to the game level for more interesting look

What do you think? We just started redesigning it, so any comments are very welcome Wink
Best,
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MereMonkey
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« Reply #29 on: July 30, 2016, 04:24:21 am »

Looks very nice, one thought that came into my head when looking at them was there may be too much text on screen at once. For example in the first image of the new GUI you could get rid of the second line of text entirely since that is rather self explanatory in my opinion.
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TheWanderingBen
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« Reply #30 on: July 30, 2016, 04:50:52 am »

If you want people to read the tutorials, there isn't another proven way -- you have to do it middle screen, action to continue, or else users will inevitably miss instructions. The switch to the new UX was a good one!

That said, a lot of puzzle games very slowly add elements, thus teaching without a tutorial at all. Even complex patterns can be taught without text (take a look at Hitman Go for a really complicated system near the end of the game that never shows any prompts). If you do need text, I agree with MereMonkey, the less the better.

Just in terms of style, the new GUI looks much more complimentary than the old one, so well done there! Smiley
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pturecki
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« Reply #31 on: July 30, 2016, 05:38:56 am »

Thanks for the opinions and nice words! Smiley

Quote from: MereMonkey
For example in the first image of the new GUI you could get rid of the second line of text entirely since that is rather self explanatory in my opinion.

You have right (but tests showed that some players didn't get what the hint does so we wrote it). This text comes from "hint tutorial" which is built into second level and we are cutting it out now, because tests showed that it is very bad Wink We need to make it in some other way.

Quote from: TheWanderingBen
there isn't another proven way -- you have to do it middle screen, action to continue, or else users will inevitably miss instructions

Indeed. First version was that you can click on any point on the screen (not only on the bottom bar) and almost every player missed it. So we forced players to click on the bar - and definitely it is not good too (even with flickering bar tint - players still missed it).

Quote from: TheWanderingBen
That said, a lot of puzzle games very slowly add elements, thus teaching without a tutorial at all

We are redesigning tutorial too. Maybe we will reduce it to the necessary minimum. It's not easy to make it smooth. The more smooth it is for the player the more work is needed to make it :/ And agreed - the less text the better.


Again, thanks for useful comments!
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thekosmonaut
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« Reply #32 on: July 30, 2016, 06:18:47 am »

I just wanna say - the color range of the whole image (not the popup tutorial) looks really really good. Great visuals, really.

Will all the puzzles be static or will timing elements be involved? (Like rotating hovering islands, chrystals that activate doors/walls for the lasers for a short time etc.)
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pturecki
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« Reply #33 on: August 02, 2016, 08:18:15 am »

@thekosmonaut: Thanks and sorry for late reply.

Quote from: thekosmonaut
Will all the puzzles be static or will timing elements be involved? (Like rotating hovering islands, chrystals that activate doors/walls for the lasers for a short time etc.)

There will be no timing elements in the main story line (we plan to add a bit time-limited puzzles in a secret levels etc). But that does not mean the game is totally static. There are plenty of dynamic elements like elevators, doors and ancient devices, but these elements do not require "quick thinking". We don't want Archaica maps look static, so we do a lot of work in this matter.


And a small upgrade of another map: this is the first level from Desert City realm with grid added to the ground (click for large image).




So you can see that with grid it looks definitely more interesting.
Best,
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Interactionman
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« Reply #34 on: August 12, 2016, 02:52:44 am »

To avoid the 'too much text in the tutorials' thing could you maybe replace the text with a simple icon style illustration? It could fit in with the art style of the world then too, so it seems more like part of the game world. If the text is too complex to describe in a simple graphic, maybe it's too complicated an explanation to begin with so it's a good exercise in keeping the instructions simple.

Also it saves you time and money with language translations too  Grin
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pturecki
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« Reply #35 on: August 13, 2016, 03:59:28 pm »

@Interactionman: Thanks for this comments!

Quote from: Interactionman
To avoid the 'too much text in the tutorials' thing could you maybe replace the text with a simple icon style illustration?
We tried this (one simple and quick test - maybe too quick Wink  ). The icon was cool but didn't fit with the rest of the art well.

Quote from: Interactionman
Also it saves you time and money with language translations too
We already started to write an upgraded story to the game, so there will be quite a lot of text (as for a puzzle game). A few instructions will not make a difference Wink

Actually we already started to make a short tutorial (a few boards) before the actual game. Probably not the best solution, but rather simple to make and solves a few problems (one important problem - basic tutorial built in the initial gameplay mixes badly with story introduction). Tests will show whether it is good.
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internationalfish
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« Reply #36 on: August 13, 2016, 06:06:31 pm »

Quote from: Interactionman
To avoid the 'too much text in the tutorials' thing could you maybe replace the text with a simple icon style illustration?
We tried this (one simple and quick test - maybe too quick Wink  ). The icon was cool but didn't fit with the rest of the art well.

If icons are something you'd seriously consider using, then do consider them seriously: Step back and, rather than just dropping one in and taking a look, consider where and how they could be used to make the game feel consistent and intuitive. If you just stick one in somewhere, of course it won't fit with the art style; keep in mind that you're still establishing the game's style right up until (and sometimes after) it's released.

If you consider it and it doesn't make sense, then hey, it doesn't make sense. Or if it's just not something you want to do, which is entirely valid. It's your game, but if you're considering something like this, do yourself the favor of considering it carefully rather than cursorily.

Quote from: Interactionman
Also it saves you time and money with language translations too
We already started to write an upgraded story to the game, so there will be quite a lot of text (as for a puzzle game). A few instructions will not make a difference Wink

It's definitely worth noting that, while it's easy not to realize if you haven't been involved in translating something like this, a wall of text is easier to translate accurately than single-word buttons/actions/etc. With a lot of text, you have built-in context. With individual buttons, you have to spend more effort both 1. providing context to your translators and 2. ensuring that the translations you get actually make sense in context. This means proportionally more time spent with native speakers in every language you want to target for every menu item that needs copy.

You also have to be careful that you're not reusing translations inappropriately. For example, if you have two buttons with the English text "Apply" in different screens within your game, assuming they'll translate to the same word in other languages is fundamentally flawed.

These are things that are absolutely worth doing, but localization is a seriously heavy task. Making assumptions about it up front can significantly increase the pain and effort involved with it later.
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pturecki
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« Reply #37 on: September 14, 2016, 06:24:36 am »

@Interactionman: Really sorry for so late reply!

About icons - we will try it again a bit (in tutorial parts).

About translations - You have right and thanks for pointing it out. Sometimes we try to translate just a few words and often it's a hard task to maintain the meaning of the original words. In long texts it is not so important. Definitely translation is a hard and big task!

------

And some development progress Smiley

Here is a short actual gameplay from one of the tutorial levels. New GUI and working Story Fragments. Also a few new sounds (still many is old / missing). Hope you like it:




And here are a few devices. If you have any ideas for naming them we would appreciate suggestions! We have a place in the CREDITS for the authors of selected names! (PS. Click for large images).

Hint slots:




Source Of Light:




Simplest Mirror:




Signpost:




Any suggestions are welcome!

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

Regards,
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pturecki
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« Reply #38 on: September 15, 2016, 08:00:28 am »

Hi! Here is another device - Teleport. Any suggestions for a better (and more ancient-like) name? We are working on the story now which includes coming up with device names... PS Click for a larger image.



Example names - not all - (from twitter and facebook) for previous devices (see previous post). Sorry for not linking to the authors (see twitter and facebook):

Hint Slots:
Gem Aperture, Receptor, Harmoniser, Aethernode, Crystal Cache, Lodeout, Sheath, Receptacle, Crystal Chamber, Crystal Vessel, Gem Attunement, Aligner, Crystal Constellation, Chrysalis, Archnode/Archaica Node, Data Synths, Wisdom Pylon, Smelter, Crystal Socket, Coaster, Catalysts, Crystal Compound, Shard Receptacle, Node and more...

Source of Light:
Corona Array, Covenant's Gaze, Halcyon Glare, Conturnion, Prism of Power, Gaze of the Void, Watcher's Trail, Eye of Judgement, Lightgiver, Lightbringer, Aurora Light, Eye of Aurora, Light's Succour, Atar Conduit, Lux Foci, Solduct, Particle Gate, Energy Accelerator, Beam Director, Gaze Beam, Epitaph of Light, Particle Prism, Obelisk Oscillator, Lumen, Incendo, Cradlux...

Simplest Mirror:
Guardian's Eyepiec, Parabolic Entity, Spectral Path, Light Deviator, Reflector, Light Repeller, Radium Recenser, Chevalet...

Signpost:
Pointer, Marker, Chaperone, Menhir, Beacon, Obelisk, Monolith, Link Stone, Gateway, Rift key, Awakening Stone, Portal Stone, Key Stone, Riftway, Realm Gate, Rift Gate, Realm Beacon, Dimensional Obelisk, Valhalith, Glyph Stone, Starlith, Way Stone, Guide Stone...

Do any of these ideas is extremely cool? Suggestions are welcome!
Regards,
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pturecki
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« Reply #39 on: September 16, 2016, 04:34:20 am »

Hi. Sorry for spamming (I'll try that next post will be about development). Here is another device - a basic Crystal. Almost whole game is about illuminating crystals and this name is really good. A question is - could be better? Remember that the game world setting is an alien ancient civilization. Thanks for any suggestions!



Regards,
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