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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsETHERBORN - 3D Gravitational Exploration Platformer - CROWDFUNDING ON FIG!
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Author Topic: ETHERBORN - 3D Gravitational Exploration Platformer - CROWDFUNDING ON FIG!  (Read 8370 times)
joemusashi
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« Reply #20 on: July 04, 2016, 09:17:12 AM »

Hi!

I was able to play it the other day at Gamelab. Coooool game, really nice graphics and sound, and with a great mysterious touch.

Keep the good work!

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Sentionaut
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« Reply #21 on: July 05, 2016, 09:11:25 AM »

Hi!

I was able to play it the other day at Gamelab. Coooool game, really nice graphics and sound, and with a great mysterious touch.

Keep the good work!



Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it. This version is better than the one displayed during the E3 MIX, since we've improved a couple of things in the level design Smiley

By the way, we have great news: Etherborn was elected as the best game from the Gamelab Indie Hub! This makes us incredibly happy, because it's our first award. It also proves to us that people is finding our game quite enjoyable! I want to thank to anyone that stopped by our stand to play the game (not only during the Gamelab, but also the MIX), and of course, specially the people that have voted for us at the Indie Hub. Smiley

And now, some pictures...

Carles (right) and me (center) receiving the award completely by surprise (they actually delivered it to us at our stand):



For those who don't know it, the Gamelab mascot is a flea with a moustache:


He's observing us while we work...



Bonus track: Maybe I'm just plain stupid, but I really like the fact that the flea has a butt.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2018, 02:11:41 AM by Sentionaut » Logged

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« Reply #22 on: July 05, 2016, 10:44:22 AM »

Congrats on getting into the E3 MIX again. I hit you up on either YouTube or Twitter before.
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« Reply #23 on: July 05, 2016, 11:16:11 AM »

The aesthetics are pretty stunning.

Wow. I agree with Ashton. Some Devlogs really shine! I personally love the camera focus element. Having the blurred distance =  Hand Thumbs Up Left Hand Thumbs Up Left Hand Thumbs Up Left Hand Thumbs Up Left

I'm not really a graphics person and I wouldn't have noticed that for myself, but now that I see it, I can tell that it adds a lot to the feel of things! Little details like that are awesome.

As for the gameplay, I'm interested to see how you design the puzzles! My one issue with Monument Valley (although it's been a long time, so maybe I'm mis-remembering) is that the puzzles were too focused on trial and error, and that by the end of it, it was starting to get boring. That would be something you should look out for, and avoid.
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« Reply #24 on: July 05, 2016, 03:35:38 PM »

Oh wow this is looking phenomenal. Cool gravity mechanic, and really awesome color schemes!
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« Reply #25 on: July 06, 2016, 05:49:58 AM »

Congrats on getting into the E3 MIX again. I hit you up on either YouTube or Twitter before.
Thanks! Yep, sometimes we can be a bit slow answering, sorry for that! But we're really happy to receive feedback Smiley


@Natman:
Well, that depends on which part of the game mechanics we’re talking about, and what you consider an “error” in the game. Etherborn mostly consists in exploring ambiguously structured worlds through platforming interaction and a bit of logic. Our objective is to stimulate the player’s “sense of wonder”, so, regarding platforming and eye-hand coordination, we’re working to avoid trial-and-error design, as it would distract too much from our goal (I know there’s Dark Souls out there and I’ve actually played them for a couple hundred hours, but we’re looking for a quite different kind of world and a lot more subtle anxiety peaks).

Because of that, we also encourage players to explore and try different routes until they fully understand the level structure. Obviously, there are other ways to stimulate this “sense of wonder” while providing all the clues in advance, but we’re more interested in giving the player the experience of feeling lost and ignorant of the surrounding world until you’ve explored enough of it. What we don’t want, anyway, is making the player feel excessively anxious or disoriented, and I think achieving this while making the kind of game I’ve described might be the biggest design challenge in this project. Smiley

Thanks for the feedback! I'm glad you also liked the graphics ^^

@jordanchin: Thank you!  Grin
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« Reply #26 on: September 29, 2016, 05:38:34 AM »

This game's art looks so good, I love the atmosphere and the main character's design, and I am glad to see game graphics inspired by some no-developer artists, though the game art references are nice too.

I am specially curious to know how you made the volumetric sun light shafts that you are showing with one of the first page gifs, it looks amazing.

The main mechanic is appealing too, I hope you keep developing it, I will definitely follow your devlogs. And congratulations for the Gamelab award and the E3 Mix Smiley
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« Reply #27 on: September 30, 2016, 10:14:33 AM »

Thank you for your kind comments! Yep, we're still developing the mechanics, and everything else too. We haven't posted in a long time, but that's because we'll be attending the Barcelona Games World, and we've been working a lot in our new demo. There are some new mechanics, although they won't be available yet. Anyway, I can't wait to have some time and post more screenshots, since there have been a lot of changes!
I hope I can do it this weekend...

By the way, the sun shafts are made with the regular camera effect provided in Unity 5 with the Standard Assets Effects Package. Anyway, that will probably be changed, because we're considering to switch from the default lightning system to the "Hx Volumetric Lighting", created by Hitbox Team.
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AnaGuillenFdez
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« Reply #28 on: September 30, 2016, 10:25:37 AM »

Thank you for your kind comments! Yep, we're still developing the mechanics, and everything else too. We haven't posted in a long time, but that's because we'll be attending the Barcelona Games World, and we've been working a lot in our new demo. There are some new mechanics, although they won't be available yet. Anyway, I can't wait to have some time and post more screenshots, since there have been a lot of changes!
I hope I can do it this weekend...

By the way, the sun shafts are made with the regular camera effect provided in Unity 5 with the Standard Assets Effects Package. Anyway, that will probably be changed, because we're considering to switch from the default lightning system to the "Hx Volumetric Lighting", created by Hitbox Team.


Thank you, I will look into those filters, I'm sure they will become handy someday. We will be in Barcelona Games World too, we hope to see you there!
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« Reply #29 on: October 05, 2016, 08:54:05 AM »

Quote
Thank you, I will look into those filters, I'm sure they will become handy someday. We will be in Barcelona Games World too, we hope to see you there!

Sure! We'll have a stand there Smiley

---

Finally, I had some time to make new screenshots, although they only reflect some changes I've been doing with the lights. During the summer we've been making some new mechanics, and we'll show them when we have convincing prototypes, obviously.  Smiley

I've been experimenting with baked lights in Unity, since all the previous screenshots had real-time lightning. I've also changed the colors in the Desert level, because they're weren't quite well combined.
Additionally, the tutorial level has been completely redesigned, since it was the first level we made and it was really, really bad. The newer one is a lot better, because now we have a greater understanding of our own mechanics and the problem that players usually face. It's very short and easy, and it's mostly to let the player get used to the character's physics.



I used a subsurface scattering shader for the stone, which looks nice. Anyway, I'll probably have to add more detail to the level in the future.



And this is the new version of the desertic level:





I really like how some corners look now with the baked lights.





My favorite screenshot. It's from a short cinematic, in which the structure of the pool emerges.



By the way, what do you think about that green acid/poison? We've had some problems in the past while testing, because with the previous color scheme (with white foam, and with less light emission), people didn't realize it was dangerous until they died the first time. It seems that it just looked like green water the first time. Do you think it looks dangerous in these screenshots?

Oh, and also, if anybody knows something about implementing flow maps in Unity, I'll appreciate it a lot.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2018, 02:12:28 AM by Sentionaut » Logged

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« Reply #30 on: October 05, 2016, 09:31:03 AM »

Regarding the poison/acid: Since there's a glow on the rocks inside the acid, it reminded me of various ooze/slime seen in various animations/movies e.g. Simpsons, Ghostbusters, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and and my first impression is that it's could be a "radiation glow" so probably something to avoid.  But if I haven't seen those types of animations/movies, then I could just think that it's a glowing surface. 

That brings up the interesting issue of how to indicate that something is dangerous without trial and error.  Pointy thorns or spikes are a fairly obvious example but acid/poison seems trickier.  One obvious idea would be to show that something falls into it and disintegrates e.g. melts into pieces.  But that may not be feasible.  Another idea regarding acids is that there are bubbles forming in the liquid and pop as they reach the surface.  In movies there also tends to me a "menacing" fog/smoke emanating from the liquid so you could try that.  I'll try to think of other examples and would be interested in hearing others.
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« Reply #31 on: October 06, 2016, 03:12:51 PM »

@ io3 creations

Well, I'm glad it looks a bit more dangerous... And yes, I can confirm this kind of stuff is really tricky: today we tested the game at the Barcelona Games World, and wow... it was the first time that nobody jumped on purpose to the green stuff mistaking it for water.  Cool

By the way, it already has a "smoke" particle system on it, but it might not be that obvious looking at still images... I'll try to do a GIF when I have some more time.
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« Reply #32 on: October 07, 2016, 10:07:14 AM »

Sounds like you got the response (or lack of it) that you were looking for with the new acid look! Smiley

I'm looking forward to seeing the animated versions.
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« Reply #33 on: February 13, 2017, 11:29:40 AM »

Hi there! I’ts been a long time since my last updates on the project, more than I wished… But I must say that we’ve been working a lot these last months, since a lot of things have happened. During this time, we’ve started developing the game for Xbox One (yay!). We also won the AzPlay Best Creative Design Award at Bilbao, and, best of all, we’ve been chosen by Microsoft to be at their GDC Loft Press Event, which will take place on February 28th.
It’ll be our first time at the GDC -and my first time at San Francisco as well! -, so, we’re REALLY excited about it. Can’t wait to be there! :D

Welp, regarding the game itself, we’re quite happy too, since there’s been some major improvements. There’s some puzzles, mechanics and levels being prototyped now, which I might show in further posts. For now, I’ll post some screenshots and stuff showing what we’ve already improved.



For example, the character’s animations have been completely redone in collaboration with Pixel Cream, another studio from our city, Barcelona. However, the most obvious changes are the ones related to shaders and illumination.
I’ve included some nice flow maps -using the Unity asset Flow-, fixed a bit the color scheme, improved the level design and visual model of the first level and, above all, lightmaps look a lot nicer.


As some of you already know, the lighting system in Unity (Enlighten) qualifies with flying colors as a new kind of psychological torture, and if you want to learn how to use it without help, the main challenge you’ll face will be trying not to kill yourself in the process. Anyway, after many failed attempts and some good stuff, I must say it’s not as bad as people usually think, and I’m including myself here. It’s kind of buggy, the automatic UV unwrapping is unreliable -sometimes, objects are left black unless I make my own UVs in 3DSMax-, and almost every variable has to be checked manually. But hey, once you understand how it works, it’s generally OK, while providing very beautiful results -I haven’t made any specular lightmaps though; that might be my next challenge -. I’d say its biggest flaw is baking times, since it makes it a lot harder to use: one mistake -or one bug- and you’ll throw away 5-20 hours of your life. I think that’s the scariest part. Theorically, future Unity versions will allow to bake one particular region to see how it looks before doing the whole thing, which is a great idea. For now, I’m still on 5.4 and it’s painful when used without a lot of care.


I’ve talked to many devs that have struggled with Unity’s Enlighten, until they just surrendered and started using realtime lights for everything, so I’ll give a couple of tips below to make the process much smoother. They may be obvious to many devs, but as I said, not for everyone.


My first advice is to use the Automatic Baking -if you don't have a very powerful machine, mark the option when you're not going to use the computer for a while-, because of two reasons: since data is stored in the cache, it facilitates further changes in the scene, and you don’t lose all the bake data if Unity crashes -now that I think, I don't remember if it was preserved after a crash, but I believe so-. If you’re going to make a high quality lightmap, there’s a high chance it’ll crash. I’ve seen many people not recommending Auto because it slows down the computer while working, but for me it has been the best idea. You can always mark this option and go watch the TLOR trilogy again -twelve times-.
 
Also, I’d strongly recommend to start baking with a very low quality, in order to increase speed and waste less time if shit happens -and it’ll happen-. Once you have the desired overall look, you can start increasing the texel and map resolution, and finally, Build the lightmaps.

I'm happy with the current look of the game, but there's still a lot of things to do. I hope you liked what you saw  Smiley
« Last Edit: April 18, 2018, 02:13:10 AM by Sentionaut » Logged

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« Reply #34 on: February 14, 2017, 03:27:33 AM »

While there's a ton to take in from your latest post...

CONGRATULATIONS on going to GDC!!! That's huge! Have fun and take it in as best as you can :D :D :D
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« Reply #35 on: February 14, 2017, 04:03:53 AM »

FAN.
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« Reply #36 on: February 15, 2017, 04:04:16 AM »

@amanfr01 @Nugget Team, thank you!  Grin

By the way, I just updated the original post, since all the images were really outdated.  Smiley
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« Reply #37 on: February 17, 2017, 10:24:53 AM »

I just thought that it might be interesting to show some things about our design process.
We don't really have a single design pipeline, but instead, we use the tools we feel are more comfortable for each situation. Depending on the needs of the particular design we're making, it might be better to work first on a 2D sketch, or directly on a 3D model. When designing a puzzle or a puzzle-esque structure, it's usually better to start making a 3D model, since it saves time and you have a better spatial view. But, obviously, there're still plenty of situations where it's easier to make a simple drawing, since 3D tools can feel too clunky sometimes.

For example, some roughs below are more focused on defining a structure that looks interesting with a particular point of view, while others try to solve design problems we were facing on particular areas.



There're other situations where 2D roughs are not the best idea, anyway, like in the protype below (note that the white balls should disappear when you grab them, but the code wasn't fully implemented in this scene).




That prototype was actually scketched with a pencil. Although it was fun to do, it wasn't the most efficient choice, for obvious reasons:


Finally, we started experimenting with LEGOs, and it turned out to be extremely helpful for exploring 3D spaces. Sometimes, it's more about aesthetics, since our level design also needs structures that are interesting to see, but in other occasions, it's also a great tool for creating puzzles and challenges.


Haven't I said yet that I LOVE LEGOs? well, now you know it.


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« Last Edit: April 18, 2018, 02:13:36 AM by Sentionaut » Logged

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« Reply #38 on: February 20, 2017, 09:54:24 AM »

Well, this isn't strictly an update on the development, but look what we've received...



So happy right now  Grin
« Last Edit: April 18, 2018, 02:13:48 AM by Sentionaut » Logged

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« Reply #39 on: March 17, 2017, 06:10:55 AM »

Love the look and feel of this... especially since switching to baked lighting, it really looks physical, tactile.

Great idea using Legos to hash out level design ideas too Wink

Have you considered using ProBuilder and possibly SEGI for prototyping?





Not cheap, and I'm not sure how well any of that would carry over into your workflow, but it's very satisfying to be able to do rapid prototyping in-engine.

Looking forward to playing this -- will it be on Steam, or are you leaning toward XBox One exclusive?
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