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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsImpossible Things (P&C Adventure)
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Sankar
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« on: August 26, 2016, 09:02:20 AM »

First of All... Have a Picture!


Hello Folks, this is the development blog for Impossible Things: A 2D point and click adventure game, I'm using this as a diary of research, experimentation and development. So expect one new post per day, and a lot of experimentation going on!

Day 001:
26 of August 2016

I'm starting from the complete zero and I'm approaching it as a "one man" developing team, I'm doing research, seeking inspiration and just brainstorming with myself. As I'm more inclined to visual arts (or more well-versed in them, if you may) I'm approaching the Art Direction aspect of the project first and doing my research on this topic.

There are some things already decided:
- No realtime 3D.
- Heavily Animated Backgrounds and high level of "visual interaction".
- No Self-Imposed Limitations (I'll use pre-rendered 3D, hand-drawn, vector, you name it)

I haven't really decided on the game engine I'll use, but I'm more inclined for AGS for the moment. Mostly because keeping things simple is a good way to force yourself to not get lost. I won't lie that I wish for Shader Support, but I think I can live without it. The only question is if the engine can handle the stress of multiple animations running at the same time.

I haven't decided if I'll go for a pixel art style or a more animated look. I will try to stay away from the pre-rendered backgrounds look if possible. Mostly because its hard to overpaint 3D and still have an harmonic look to the whole image, but without any doubt I will use 3D in developing the backgrounds and maybe even the characters, with lots of post-work to make it look right in the final style. The idea is to save time and not over-complicate things.

Current Goal: Mockup a proof of concept video.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2016, 04:46:06 PM by Sankar » Logged

Sankar
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« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2016, 07:18:29 AM »

Day 002
27 of August 2016

Do
I started looking more deeply into AGS, found that it can do most of the things that I'm expecting it to. The editor is not that good when dealing with animated objects, so probably scenes would need to be first build and analyzed in a video software. Other than that the code is easy enough. Still didn't managed to really do a stress test, will work on it soon.

Did some tests on the Faux Painting and Pixel Art look, straight over 3d renderers. I was pretty surprised with the results and how well I could draw over without breaking the sense of harmony. The next step is to render a 3d scene as passes and 16bit images and see if I can get a higher level of detail with painting filters.


Look
Did a "look and save" on all of Gabriel Knight's backgrounds, found out that you can change the viewing angle 45 degrees without the sprites looking out of perspective and was pretty amazed to realize that most backgrounds used the same two perspectives: straight on (Gabe's Room) and the vanishing point coming from the lower-right (Bookstore)

Found out: http://deadendthrills.com/ where I got the 3d renders to base my Faux Painting look; There is a nice article about the making of Westwood's Blade Runner. The most interesting fact is that they used a modular approach when developing the backgrounds, only allowing the artists to pick from parts of 3D models from a library and no "build from the ground up".


Thats it for today (actually, yesterday)

Here are some 3D renderers turned into paintings, the games are: ZenoClash, BulletStorm and Alan Wake and the screenshots were taken from deadendthrills website (link up)









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Sankar
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« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2016, 10:05:54 AM »

Day 003
28 of August 2016



Do
Made some tests with my own 3D rendered work, basic stuff, bunch of boxes, squares and circles. Played around with reflection and refraction, pretty amazed how fast 3D renders are today. I was a little bit lazy and only exported the basic render (in high dynamic range), for the best results there is no way around it, I need to render the Z-Depth and the Object-ID. For complex scenes, probably I need a full-on render passes.


Despite the problems with hard-edges (my own fault for not rendering the objects ID and applying the filters per object, not scene) I was pretty happy with how chunky and tasty the paint looks.

Made some tests regarding how I think the character anatomy should be, just sketches so far. I'm gravitating towards a more stylized look, I'm not sure I really enjoy that much the "real-people" proportions that Sierra games had (when It comes to bodies) but I don't want a full-on cartoon look. If I would had to be precise about it, I would guess 75% realism and 25% Exaggeration.


Look
Did some fast replays of classic adventure games, trying to see what I like but specially what I can't stand about adventure games today.
Thinkered with Quantitizers, I was pretty amazed with what PNGYU can do. I'm thinkering with the idea of 2bit animated overlays, like animated shadows or things like that. Filesizes are really small when dealing with such a low-bit settings. But I'm not sure it will turn into a monster when the engine loads it in memory.
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TheFundamentalDelta
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« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2016, 10:19:04 AM »

Art style looks very good.

nota bene: update the main post whenever you have new progress. It's just text right now, a picture or two would help a lot!
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MereMonkey
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« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2016, 12:00:17 PM »

Wow those concept pieces are incredible, going to set one of the as my new desktop background  Wink Very interested to see where you take this game!
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« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2016, 08:05:44 AM »

Day 004
29 of August, 2016


Do
Played Technobabylon from the beginning to the end, noted what I liked and Disliked. I'm compiling a list of "Adventure Game Rules", that detail what kind of puzzles and situations break the immersion and should be avoided... (Great Game by the way)

Found out that Wadjet's Eye next project will be in 640x340 resolution. So I'm taking out "The Faux-Pixel Art Look" from the plate now. As I'm more confortable with higher resolutions, anyway... It's just a matter of stress-testing the engine. But pixel art animations are still very satisfying to see and do, so maybe i'll do a little of both visual styles.

Did another render and this time I exported the Z-Depth information, using it I made a variable-painting effect. It gives more precise results, but still needs tweaking... Exporting Vector Edges could be a nice way to keep a painted look but still have some hard-edges.




Look
http://www.christianlorenzscheurer.com/ - Squaresoft's Playstation era Pre-Rendered Backgrounds were veeery over-painted, I always get inspired when I look at this guy's gallery!

Did an analysis on Lucas Arts and Sierra's Artworks: Lucas Arts Backgrounds feel better constructed than Sierra'a, not on the rendering aspect, but I feel that LA's one used more advanced perspective, with Two-Points and less flat camera angles. On the other hand, Sierra's were more rendered and had more details.


Replies

MereMonkey, Thank you! I'll keep you updated.

TheFundamentalDelta You're absolutely right! I'll edit the topic with some images, maybe a "weekly progress", what do you think?
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« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2016, 03:38:29 PM »

Day 005
August 30, 2016


Do:
Took a deep dive into research about non-photo-realistic rendering, didn't really found anything new or difference, but its always good to do research.
Developed 2 more renders, this time focusing in exporting render passes and trying to find out the best possible workflow for a better "under-painting". My idea so far is to use the 3D render as a base, and edit/paint over it as needed, having more time to focus in detailing and animation.




« Last Edit: August 30, 2016, 06:23:09 PM by Sankar » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2016, 04:43:44 PM »

Day 006
August 31, 2016


Mostly Did Research today.
Found some boundaries in AGS that I'm not sure I can ignore and been looking at Adventure Creator for Unity, specially after watching how fast the author writes back... And by using Unity I can put to work some of my ideas, like normal-based sprite re-lighting.
AGS feels very slow when you add too much to it... but thats not final. I'll keep my eyes open for workarounds.
My main problem with Unity is that I don't really understand how the licensing system works when selling your games. Not that this is my goal now, far from it, but checking your ground is always good for something like this.

I researched some of my favorite directors of photography. I'm taking this experience of developing a game as a way to fine tune my artistic skills too, so a lot of it works as a learning experience.

No pictures today, I'm afraid.


Edit:
Day 007
September 1st, 2016


Nothing really important this day, started to watch some videos on unity and the Adventure Creator extension, and ended up buying it. The rest of the day was mostly rain, lack of electric power, thunderstorms and a good amount of hours installing Unity (for whatever the reason, that Visual Studio download takes centuries).

Made some studies about dealing with facial animation by using keyframes and 2D morphing for the in-betweens. I simply love 2D morphing.

Hope to do more today!
« Last Edit: September 01, 2016, 06:17:10 PM by Sankar » Logged

maruki
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« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2016, 02:24:16 AM »

The aesthetic tests you are doing reveal well the mood you are going for. I like it.
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« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2016, 04:21:24 AM »

Wow those renders look incredible man, looking forward to just looking around these places.
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Sankar
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« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2016, 05:27:29 PM »

Day 008
September 2nd, 2016


Did mostly story studies today, little by little I see ideas taking shape in my head. I'm starting with some things that already feel "definitive" and moving on with it.

Made some character concept studies for a "diva" kind of character, I've already decided that all around the game world you'll see news, ads and etc about this very important singer. I havent yet decided if you ever get to meet her, but I really enjoy having this sort of things. Make the world feel a lot more realistic and lively, and allow the player to explore it if they desire... Kind like Max Payne. you can choose to either dive in and turn on every TV and radio you find, or ignore it.

So i did this study of Rihanna + Lady Gaga with SIA's-esque hair, thats what I ended up with:



I'm working with the idea of the character having Vitiligo, these are the whiteish parts on the skin.

REPLIES

Wow those renders look incredible man, looking forward to just looking around these places.
Thank You! My goal is to make every location as rich and lively as possible!

The aesthetic tests you are doing reveal well the mood you are going for. I like it.
Hey there, querida! Thank you so much for your comment!
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Sankar
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« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2016, 06:55:44 PM »

Day 009
September 3rd, 2016

´
Images

A background rain animation loop (click to open image in new tab, if the animation stops)




A Foreground Rain Animation Loop


Another 3D to Painting Look


Played around with Unity and immediately felt very happy having access to shaders, wrote a little game of life fx and experimented with the idea of simulating some effects like rain drops running down using similar methods, probably not really doable with shader as is (performance issues) but If i'm not mistaken unity has a shader-esque function. Will investigate further.

Adventure Creator is fantastic, as well. had lot of fun watching some tutorials and I can't help but to love it.

Did a breakdown of effects needed for rain, I'm currently in 10 different effects needed. Will probably investigate further, but I'm pretty satisfied with the ideas.
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Sankar
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« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2016, 07:39:25 PM »

Day 010 - September 4rh, 2016



A 3D Render to Painting with heavier overpaint, pretty lame but part of this process is to share my mistakes as well.




A little tweaking on the previously posted rain effects, faux pixel art if you may... I really enjoyed the results

Most of the day I was tweaking this render/animation, This is true for many art forms and games are no exception, post-production/touch-ups are a vital part. A part hard to see because it comes after the "raw work", but so important. Many times something looked flat and uninteresting until a saturation "lever" was moved up, followed by a contrast shift...
It serves as workflow, to not feel frustrated with an result until you tweak it afterwards.

That's all for today, a more philosophical diary today... I guess.
On a more practical note, I've been re-watching Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes movies, and playing the latest BullFrog games... fantastic stuff and very inspirational!



Day 011 - September 5th, 2016

Focused on the relation between falloff shaders and post processing, tweaking around to be able to extract the best lines possibles. Many things are needed for the linework to look correctl, but I feel that I'm on to something.

Not much to report today I guess, but will show results when I'm happy with them.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2016, 04:50:59 PM by Sankar » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2016, 07:39:56 PM »

Day 012 - September 6th, 2016
Day 013 - September 7th, 2016

Decided to skip posting yesterday as most of the day I was unplugged (heavy thunderstorm!)

Spend both days mostly searching for solutions in pre-baking some effects, ended up writing my own "echo" code, that goes like this:

Code:
current_frame = pre_rendered_frame + previous frame;
previous_frame = current frame;

The idea is to simply make an animation that keeps the trails of every frame that has passed. Persistence if you will.

Did some sketches and rendered out a base layout for the first room in the game. My idea is to have 2 or 3 rooms in a free prologue, to use as a beta-test, stress-test and so on...

Well, tomorrow I'll post some images, thanks for reading!
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rj
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« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2016, 07:54:12 AM »

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Sankar
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« Reply #15 on: September 09, 2016, 03:15:38 PM »

Day 014 - September 8th, 2016
Day 015 - September 9th, 2016


Did some heavy testing on the effect of rain going down a window, droplets and so on. Pretty happy with the results.
Started designing the first room in the game. I hope to have a video next-week, in-engine, showing it all in action...

as a mood and effects test, here is the Stanford Dragon with an outline and a painterly effect

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