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TIGSource ForumsFeedbackDevLogsUndermine - procedurally generated survival horror
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Author Topic: Undermine - procedurally generated survival horror  (Read 2473 times)
snugsound
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« on: October 09, 2016, 09:36:38 am »



Undermine is a procedurally generated survival horror, with roguelike elements and VR support. (enough buzz words for you?) Think Spelunky meets Outlast.

I started prototyping this in fall of 2016 and have since picked up the pace since the launch of my last title, Operation Hardcore.

The basic premise is that you're trapped in a mine and need to find your way out. As you progress, you find dead journal entries that allude to something having gone horribly wrong, and eventually, come face to face with it.

Here are a few random shots and clips from a recent build:




(right-click -> View Image for 1080)






My plan is to try to get this onto Steam via Greenlight, while it's still around (so hopefully within the next few weeks), and then use Early Access to to refine and expand on the concept with the help of players.

Unlike Operation Hardcore, which I released independently, I'm working with a publisher on this one (Greenlight Games). I'm hoping this will help with getting the word out and increasing the player base.

Edit April 22/17: update to reflect current status
« Last Edit: April 22, 2017, 09:35:36 am by snugsound » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2016, 04:09:20 pm »

Interesting! ^_^

I have a few thoughts, if I may:

First, points for (as far as I see) not including a "battery charge" mechanic for the torch, and for the screen not being pitch-black outside of its circle of light. ^_^

As to the actual gameplay, right now it feels a little... empty to me, I think: there are several "rooms" to explore, but they're all more or less the same, and have little to offer. It might help to differentiate them visually, but perhaps more important, I think, might be to include some additional gameplay elements that add some purpose to rooms other than the entrance, exit, and the room that holds the rope. A few ideas, off the top of my head:
 - You might follow traditional roguelike design and include a variety of items (passive or otherwise) that may or may not be found in various side-rooms.
 - You might follow other horror games in providing optional backstory and lore. At their simplest, these might take the form of pages from diaries or lorebooks, or text/images on the walls; conversely, you might implement a mechanic of some sort into them (perhaps representing translation), adding risk to the counter the potential reward.
 - There might be stationary objects that can interact with the monster--noisy things that catch its attention, or that release scents that briefly drive it away, for two examples.
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snugsound
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« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2016, 10:41:51 am »

Interesting! ^_^
First, points for (as far as I see) not including a "battery charge" mechanic for the torch, and for the screen not being pitch-black outside of its circle of light. ^_^

Thank you Smiley

As to the actual gameplay, right now it feels a little... empty to me, I think: there are several "rooms" to explore, but they're all more or less the same, and have little to offer.

Agreed, the above video is a very early prototype that demonstrates the basic level generation, but not much more than that.

It might help to differentiate them visually, but perhaps more important, I think, might be to include some additional gameplay elements that add some purpose to rooms other than the entrance, exit, and the room that holds the rope. A few ideas, off the top of my head:
 - You might follow traditional roguelike design and include a variety of items (passive or otherwise) that may or may not be found in various side-rooms.
 - You might follow other horror games in providing optional backstory and lore. At their simplest, these might take the form of pages from diaries or lorebooks, or text/images on the walls; conversely, you might implement a mechanic of some sort into them (perhaps representing translation), adding risk to the counter the potential reward.
 - There might be stationary objects that can interact with the monster--noisy things that catch its attention, or that release scents that briefly drive it away, for two examples.

Also agreed. The plan is to try to give rooms a more unique look/feel, as much as is aesthetically possible for a mine, and an early incarnation of the journal entry system can be seen in the video above. A few of the items I've been working on adding lately: minimap, beacons (used to mark a spot on the map, and also detect nearby enemies), pick-axe, barrels (can be knocked over to create a distraction).

Thanks for the feedback! I've got some new footage and screenshots on the way soon, stay tuned!

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« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2016, 10:48:43 am »

That's good to read; I'm interested to see what you come up with. ^_^
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snugsound
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« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2017, 08:42:05 am »

Here a few shots from a recent build that show some of the new features (minimap, beacons, rudimentary HUD), and some of the new (placeholder) props that will tie into the backstory (barrels, toxic waste).








Video coming soon, just need to do a few optimizations and deal with a couple more obvious bugs first.

In other news, I upgraded my video card over the holidays (GTX 1050 Ti), and my Oculus Rift should arrive today or tomorrow; can't wait to do my first VR run of the game! :D
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« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2017, 10:12:40 am »

replying for notifications!
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« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2017, 10:39:43 am »

It looks as though progress is being made. ^_^

I hope that the VR experience proves scary!
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« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2017, 02:38:41 am »

Neat! Like a mix between "Outlast" and the caves of classic RPGs.

Great work!
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« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2017, 05:23:04 am »

It looks as though progress is being made. ^_^

I hope that the VR experience proves scary!

Everything is scarier in VR, I confirmed this last night Grin I also confirmed that I need to make some optimizations if I want to play it on my rig without throwing up, heh.
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« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2017, 06:42:49 am »

Really like the look of everything reminds me of older dungeon crawlers.
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« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2017, 02:11:02 pm »

Hey there guys. I'm going to be helping Snug make this thing scarier and juicier, so I figured I'd start by sketching some ideas for props to populate the dark corridors of the collapsed mine.

Here's the severed foot of one of the miners. I'm quite rusty since it's been a while since I picked pencil and paper, but I suppose it's better to get some ideas this way before modeling anything. It's a nice change of pace.

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« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2017, 03:35:42 pm »

That sketch looks like a good start! Good luck in your collaboration. ^_^
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« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2017, 02:45:03 pm »

Working on some new prefabs to add a bit of variety to mines, and of course, build suspense. Bloody writing on the walls, a must-have in any survival horror!

Made directly in Unity using ProBuilder, QuickDecals, and some Megascan textures (among others).

« Last Edit: January 16, 2017, 02:57:47 pm by snugsound » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2017, 11:13:03 am »

That looks good, I feel! ^_^

Writing in blood is a venerable trope, and, used well, I think that it can both add to the atmosphere and provide scraps of story to the player
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« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2017, 04:56:51 am »

Some early environment concepts courtesy of Ricardo:





And a concept for the toxic waste barrels:

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« Reply #15 on: January 19, 2017, 07:51:15 am »

And here's a sneak peek at some of the original sound design and music I've been working on:

https://soundcloud.com/snugsound/sets/undermine-ost
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« Reply #16 on: January 28, 2017, 05:18:01 am »

So I've been debating how best to offer some critical feedback to the player in VR, specifically, health, some key inventory items, and the minimap. Originally I was toying with the idea of a helmet or visor, but I found it to be a bit too obtrusive. And besides, it doesn't really fit with the story.

I'm now leaning towards some kind of watch or PDA. I'm thinking the player will look down, and possibly press a button, to view it. Going to inject a good dose of Alien Isolation and Fallout retroness for good measure.

On that note... introducing the MonPro 2000, the state of the art in vital sign and navigational monitoring! Wink This particular unit in pretty rough shape from a nasty fall, but still works respectably well.



Other than that, I've been focused heavily on the apparently endless number of optimizations that are needed to get a decent framerate in VR. It doesn't help that the levels are generated from fairly small prefabs (2x2 units), and Unity seems to insist on drawing most of them via separate draw calls.

I've been experimenting with dynamic occlusion culling (via InstantOC), but am finding that it's adding a lot of CPU overhead, as well as some undesirable pop-up. May need to roll my own.

The other thing I'm looking at is dynamically combining meshes to force Unity to do fewer draw calls. Not exactly exciting stuff but I figure it's good to get this outta the way early on!







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« Reply #17 on: January 28, 2017, 10:09:17 am »

Do you intend a non-VR version, and if so, how do you intend to have the UI work there? Perhaps a button might cause the UI to slide onto the screen?

[edit] In all fairness, I suppose that looking down might work in a non-VR version too, come to that. ^^;
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« Reply #18 on: January 29, 2017, 09:04:50 am »

Do you intend a non-VR version, and if so, how do you intend to have the UI work there? Perhaps a button might cause the UI to slide onto the screen?

[edit] In all fairness, I suppose that looking down might work in a non-VR version too, come to that. ^^;

Yup, will be doing a non-VR version as well. In both cases I'll probably have a button to reveal the UI (or at least make it easier to see without having to look down).
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« Reply #19 on: January 29, 2017, 09:13:35 am »

An early shot of the MonPro 2000 in action. You can also see some of the new mine details, like the support beams along the walls.

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