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February 21, 2018, 08:57:22 am

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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsUndermine - procedurally generated survival horror
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Keops
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« Reply #120 on: November 24, 2017, 10:30:01 am »

I see.  In that case, while having less features than the full game is reasonable, I still wonder about the speed on the enemies.  If the enemies in the full game move slower then that could give a very different impression of the game.  Similarly, (only skimmed through the devlog and might have been answered) will there be slower/faster enemies in the full game?  Starting with slower enemies might be more beneficial for new players in the demo also.

In terms of marketing, if someone comes across the demo webpage or game, there doesn't seem to be anything linking it to the Undermine game.  If I was coming across the demo without prior knowledge of Undermine, I'd think it's an actual ad for a product called *MonPro 2000*. Grin

Hey there! About enemies chasing the player: In the full game enemies do chase you when they spot you and they are also very fast, so it's not misleading. Although it is true that you have lots more options in the full 3D game, you can crawl into narrow tunnels or just kill them with your attacks (of which the beacon is also one).

There is a link to the Steam Store page (the BUY NOW button) although it might not be that obvious, and I guess we didn't want to add an explicit link to the game's site or the Store page because that would've broken the fake corporate site jam I guess. Any suggestions how we might go for this?

Also a small update: I've been hard at work, still improving the assets and replacing placeholder-y stuff. This time I've been focusing on the table where you find useful items while exploring. We had a basic table built with primitives and just slapped the wood texture on it. This time I took the scale and refined the model and put a lot of work into a better wood texture, added more sweet details like nails and a broken chain thing



(you can also check the 3D model here)

We wanted to add some blood and extra details, but we're probably going to do that via decals instead of baking them into the texture. This is probably a better idea anyway since we could re-use those assets for other props too.

See you guys around!
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« Reply #121 on: November 24, 2017, 12:07:00 pm »

Hey there! About enemies chasing the player: In the full game enemies do chase you when they spot you and they are also very fast, so it's not misleading. Although it is true that you have lots more options in the full 3D game, you can crawl into narrow tunnels or just kill them with your attacks (of which the beacon is also one).
If the speed is representative then that's fine.


There is a link to the Steam Store page (the BUY NOW button) although it might not be that obvious
Are you referring to the *BUY NOW* button on  http://allmine.undermine.info/
I was referring to the itch.io webpage that you posted  https://snugsound.itch.io/monpro-2000  There I don't see the *BUY NOW* button.


and I guess we didn't want to add an explicit link to the game's site or the Store page because that would've broken the fake corporate site jam I guess. Any suggestions how we might go for this?
Yeah, in a way it makes sense.  But the question is, will it give you the result that you expect?  If you looked at marketing (even a little), you probably know that people's perception and behavior tends to vary.  So, ideally, one way or another, you'd look at the results.  For example, how many people played the game and then how many followed through (i.e. clicked the *BUY NOW*) or do some sort of surveys.  Realistically, that's not always possible but certain things can at least be checked (e.g. how many people played the demo and and have tracking links (e.g. bitly) for the *BUY NOW* button)

With that in mind, my suggestions are mainly my opinion and you might find that they may or may not work the best. 

In terms of a demo, I prefer if the demo game is self-contained and doesn't need description or links outside the game itself.  Of course, those can be there but having made many Flash games that were spread by other websites taking them, most of the time you didn't have the option to ability to customize what is added to the webpage around the game.  For that reason, I prefer to have all the description and the *BUY NOW* button in the demo itself.  Inside the demo, I'd start with a main menu:
-"Product description"
-"TEST PRODUCT" button or maybe *Play Game/Demo* button
-note about the Full Game with Steam icon link

True, that'd be different approach from your "fake corporate site jam" approach but might be "more obvious".  Or course, without tracking results, it's just a guess.


Speaking of marketing, you could add the demo link to your signature and also add *Play the Demo* (or something similar) to the devlog title. Wink
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« Reply #122 on: November 25, 2017, 05:25:05 am »

That is a really nice table model, to my eye. ^_^

(I won't weigh in on the matter of marketing, as I don't have much experience there myself.)
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« Reply #123 on: November 26, 2017, 05:30:23 am »

Speaking of marketing, you could add the demo link to your signature and also add *Play the Demo* (or something similar) to the devlog title. Wink

Those are some good points you make there, I'll try to edit my signature to point to the microsite but the character limit is well, very limiting. Thanks for the input!

That is a really nice table model, to my eye. ^_^

(I won't weigh in on the matter of marketing, as I don't have much experience there myself.)

Thanks! I'm pretty satisfied with seeing how I keep improving at this whole modeling + texture mapping work. Also investing in tools has paid off for sure, workflow has improved tremendously and I'm sure I'm only scratching the surface.

As for updates: Aside from further graphic improvements and tweaks (I'm revamping texture maps for some older props with the new tools to make everything look better) Adam upgraded the post-processing pipeline for the project and now we get some sweet effects like motion blur, bloom, ambient occlusion, improved lighting. It looks great! I'm sure we'll show some new screens and GIFs soon Smiley
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« Reply #124 on: November 27, 2017, 08:27:34 am »

Just one point regarding effects like motion-blur and bloom: unless they're part of the gameplay, I strongly recommend including the option to disable them; not everyone likes those effects, I believe. (Motion-blur perhaps especially.)
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« Reply #125 on: November 27, 2017, 03:03:56 pm »

As for updates: Aside from further graphic improvements and tweaks (I'm revamping texture maps for some older props with the new tools to make everything look better) Adam upgraded the post-processing pipeline for the project and now we get some sweet effects like motion blur, bloom, ambient occlusion, improved lighting. It looks great! I'm sure we'll show some new screens and GIFs soon Smiley

Aye, here with before/after shots.

Before post-processing stack (film grain, bloom, tonemapping):



After post-processing stack (film grain, bloom, color grading, ambient occlusion, eye adaptation, motion blur):



Overall, fairly subtle, as it was mostly just an upgrade to the new tech, but I am quite happy with the results nonetheless, especially the level of "definition" that the ambient occlusion adds.

I've also swapped out the chromatic aberration shader we were using (to indicate player "stress") for one that supports full-screen.

Before (edges only):



After (full-screen):



Much more dizzying/disorienting, IMO, which is what I'm going for. My ultimate goal is to implement something along the lines of what Frictional uses (more like a "drunk/drugged" kind of effect), but this will do for now.

Just one point regarding effects like motion-blur and bloom: unless they're part of the gameplay, I strongly recommend including the option to disable them; not everyone likes those effects, I believe. (Motion-blur perhaps especially.)

Agreed about motion blur. Not sure I agree about bloom though because I feel it's an essential part of setting the mood/atmosphere, which is key for a game like this.
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« Reply #126 on: November 27, 2017, 03:23:28 pm »

Must have missed an update somewhere along the way, because I hadn't gotten any alerts from this - decided to drop back in and wow! Great progress, this is really taking shape.

Watched your last video update from a few weeks ago, and I think the new levels definitely do look better, even with sacrificing the more organic level design. Once you add in a few of the other touches you talked about, I think they will look fine. The only major pitfall I personally see from this approach is trying to keep the modules from linking up in too predictable of a pattern; like, if Module X almost ALWAYS  leads to module Y, the players get used to that, expect it, and now they feel somewhat safe and comfortable, and you may lose some of the uncertainty of the horror aspect.

Cheers! There are only a few hard and fast rules for the current generation logic:

  • player must spawn in a "safe" room (well, safe from mutant miners; mutant rats can still wander in)
  • secret rooms must be connected with blocked tunnels
  • rope room (rope is used to access the exit) must be at the end of the solution path
  • max of one module type per map

Otherwise, modules of any type can be spawned anywhere along (or adjacent to) the solution path, and the solution path gets longer and more winding as the level sizes increase.
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« Reply #127 on: November 28, 2017, 09:35:22 am »

Before post-processing stack (film grain, bloom, tonemapping):

...

After post-processing stack (film grain, bloom, color grading, ambient occlusion, eye adaptation, motion blur):

...

The new version does look better, to my eye: there's a little more form to dimmer areas, making them less murky, I think.

I've also swapped out the chromatic aberration shader we were using (to indicate player "stress") for one that supports full-screen.

Before (edges only):

...

After (full-screen):

...

Oof--I don't know what it looks like in full-screen, but I much prefer the older version: I find the new to be a little unpleasant to look at, and less in an "I feel as the character does" way and more in a "I want to stop looking at this" way. :/

That said, this could well change in motion, or may be specific to me.

(This could even be another options setting, come to that!)

Not sure I agree about bloom though because I feel it's an essential part of setting the mood/atmosphere, which is key for a game like this.

That's a good point, I think. (As long as it's not over-done, of course, which doesn't seem to me to be the case thus far.)

Hmm... That said, another point that occurs to me is that it might be worth allowing players to disable this (and other such things) simply for performance reasons, allowing the game to run acceptably on lower-end machines. But then perhaps I'm overestimating the performance impact--this may reflect my experiences with older generations of computer. *shrugs*
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« Reply #128 on: November 28, 2017, 11:02:14 am »

Oof--I don't know what it looks like in full-screen, but I much prefer the older version: I find the new to be a little unpleasant to look at, and less in an "I feel as the character does" way and more in a "I want to stop looking at this" way. :/

That said, this could well change in motion, or may be specific to me.

Yeah, the effect is "pulsed", and the intensity of the effect is based on the player's stress level. What you're seeing is the most extreme you'd ever see, and only for a few frames. I'll try to capture a GIF tonight.
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« Reply #129 on: November 28, 2017, 02:29:02 pm »

I'll try to capture a GIF tonight.

Here ya go, transition from 0->100% stress:



For the record, I do want it to be somewhat unpleasant, but of course not to the point where it would deter somebody from playing.
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« Reply #130 on: November 28, 2017, 03:04:55 pm »

In other news, I'm revamping our intro scene (previously, a very uninspiring white scrolling text on black background!)



The backstory is that our protagonist is a rock climber, and she's taken a boat to a small rocky island where she ultimately discovers the entrance to the mine.

My plan is to have the camera orbit the island as the story is displayed. Initially, you'll see a boat docked in the water, but when it reaches the back-side we'll show toxic waste barrels, the entrance to the mine, "do not enter" signs, and maybe some other more morbid stuff (miner's helmet, blood, gib, and/or a skeleton).

Currently, the island looks rather small, but it's mostly because there's no point of reference; the objects described above should help to anchor it.



Here's the initial idea for the music/ambience to go along with it (minus the water SFX). I wanted to go from light to dark as the story progresses. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out and how quickly it came together:

http://snugsound.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Undermine-intro-riser.mp3

Current story text:

Quote
It's a beautiful Saturday. You're rock climbing, something you do most weekends.

You thought you'd try some place new today, some place a bit off the beaten track.

As you near the plateau you come across a small cave. Despite the warning signs, your curiousity gets the best of you. You decide to enter.

As you step forward, you hear a crack. <cue SFX> And then a crash.
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« Reply #131 on: November 28, 2017, 03:23:37 pm »

Currently, the island looks rather small, but it's mostly because there's no point of reference; the objects described above should help to anchor it.


Actually, there are a number of things that make it look small.  For example, those would have to be HUGE waves for the island to be normal sized. Wink  Perspective and camera location might also play a role.
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« Reply #132 on: November 28, 2017, 03:25:50 pm »

Actually, there are a number of things that make it look small.  For example, those would have to be HUGE waves for the island to be normal sized. Wink  Perspective and camera location might also play a role.

Heh, yeah, I know. Reducing the wave size is on my list of things to do as well Smiley
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« Reply #133 on: November 29, 2017, 10:32:23 am »

Here ya go, transition from 0->100% stress:

...

For the record, I do want it to be somewhat unpleasant, but of course not to the point where it would deter somebody from playing.

Hmm... That is less unpleasant than the static image, I do think, if still not fun to watch. How it will feel in play, however, I don't know. I do wonder whether the pulsing might not induce headaches in some--but that's speculative.

I think that this may come down to play-testing--see how actual players take to it.

As to the intro, aside from the points already made above, that seems fine thus far (and indeed an improvement over simple white text). ^_^

Hmm... I wonder whether a bit of distance-haze might not also help to convey the size of the island?
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« Reply #134 on: December 06, 2017, 03:00:54 pm »



Hey guys, we're excited to announce that we're starting registration for the closed beta! If you're interested, please complete this short form.

A few things to note:

  • Closed beta is for players only, not press. We're using this is an opportunity to gather initial feedback, not publicize the game.
  • You will receive a free Steam key in exchange for your time, on the condition that you complete a short post-play survey.
  • We have a limited number of spots, so first come first served. There's an optional comments field in the form that we recommend filing out to ensure your spot.

The exact start date for the closed beta is TBD but we're hoping for within a month or so. Any questions? Leave a comment here.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2017, 08:00:42 am by snugsound » Logged

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« Reply #135 on: December 24, 2017, 07:09:35 am »



Hey there guys, Ricardo over here with a holiday update!

First, I want to wish you all the happiest of holidays! Hope you all have a fantastic time with your family and friends. Also want to remind you that registrations for the closed beta are still open. If you're interested all you need to do is fill this short registration form and you'll be contacted with details once everything is ready.

Ok, now to the updates!

Intro scene polish



So the waves are now fixed. Also added more props and details to the scene to give more context, like a rowboat (used by our protagonist to reach the island), some vegetation and floating debris, bloody props and a proper entrance to the mine itself. We're quite happy with this scene, and while it will certainly be revisited later on for further improvements it's shaping up well and gives the player a proper introduction to the events of the game.




New collapsed elevator module

The game features a placeholder module that serves as a hiding place for the player. After discussing how to replace the placeholder asset with something that made sense in the context of the game we decided to make a collapsed elevator.

So I had to do some research, find references and then come up with some sketches before tackling the 3D work.




The work in the model itself proved to be (and still is, since it's ongoing) quite a challenge, but we've gotten from this placeholder:



to this:



Other updates

Assorted updates and fixes here and there, like hiding the interact UI when dead, logic for not having repeated rope and exit modules on consecutive levels, improvements to gamepad controls and new textures. All as part of the preparations for the closed beta build.

I think that pretty much covers the stuff we've been doing with the game. As usual all feedback and opinions are very appreciated. See you around and once again, happy holidays and best wishes for the new year!

Ricardo out.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2017, 07:19:41 am by Keops » Logged

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« Reply #136 on: December 26, 2017, 08:40:02 am »

Happy Holidays to you, too! I hope that you have been enjoying and continue to enjoy them. ^_^

The island looks much better, to my eye, and the collapsed elevator looks pretty good already, I think. ^_^
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« Reply #137 on: January 15, 2018, 04:54:55 pm »

Well, it's been a few weeks, figured I should pop in and share an update! (and hopefully start trying to abide by my own rule of posting more regular updates!)

We've been busy getting ready for the closed beta. Nothing particularly exciting to report from a dev perspective, so I'll mostly talk about how we're running the beta.

For registration, we created a form on Typeform to collect name, email and have registrants agree to a couple terms. We initially publicized the form on Steam and social media. The response was fairly slow at first (only a dozen or so), so we started exploring avenues to get the word out. The first was Betabound--we posted there and within a few days had a couple hundred registrants. Subsequently, we received some (unsolicited) coverage from a couple other sites, which further boosted registrations. All told we're currently sitting at 369 registrants, with that number slowly increasing (we've "closed" registration, but left the form open for those who are interested in hearing about future betas). From there I exported the list and loaded to a Mailchimp mailing list, which I've been using to send updates about the beta, and which gives us a solid mailing list to promote future betas, give-aways, etc.

For our first beta round we've selected 20 registrants and plan to send out keys in the next day or so. Testers will get one week with the game and are asked to complete a post-player survey (again, via Typeform):

  • How long did you play?
  • Did you beat the game?
  • How would rate the: difficulty, controls, user interface, playability, "scariness", performance, and stability?
  • How much would you pay for Undermine?
  • Would you recommend Undermine to a friend?

Depending on the number responses we receive, and how positive or negative the responses are, we will run additional beta rounds until we're happy with the results.

As an aside, it's clear that many of those who signed up are just looking for a free game (one of the questions on the form was "Why are you interested in beta testing Undermine?"). Not really surprising, and we've been weeding out the obvious ones. We've also had some issues with a few individuals hassling us for keys, signing up multiple times with different names/emails, impersonating streamers (even though we clearly stated this beta is not for streamers), etc. The usual stuff. Oh well, such is life.

On the dev front, mainly just tidying up and house-keeping type stuff. A few of the highlights:

  • integrated Steamworks.NET for some basic DRM (and to support achievements in the future)
  • upgraded Unity to fix a memory leak that was causing crashes (lesson learned: don't stay on patch versions for longer than you need to!)
  • cleaned up a bunch of warnings that were spamming the logs and likely having adverse effects on performance
  • tweaked player attacks and colliders to make landing hits a little bit easier
  • broken crate pieces now fall through the ground to prevent loot from getting stuck underneath rubble (less immersive, so we may revisit, but it solves the immediate issue for now)
  • plus a variety of small bug fixes and "quality of life" improvements

That's it for now.

P.S. we've got a Discord server that we're trying to get off the ground, feel free to pop in and say "hey" Smiley
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« Reply #138 on: January 16, 2018, 09:47:42 am »

I hope that the beta-testing goes well! ^_^

(I'll confess that it's a stage that I'm quite nervous about with my game. ^^; )

As to the broken crate pieces, could you not perhaps remove their collisions (at least with the player's picking-ray/whatever), allowing items to be taken "through" them, and maybe add an icon over them when an item is available, so that items aren't obscured by them? That way you may get your immersive debris, but with reduced impact on item-collection.
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« Reply #139 on: January 16, 2018, 01:43:19 pm »

I hope that the beta-testing goes well! ^_^

(I'll confess that it's a stage that I'm quite nervous about with my game. ^^; )

Thanks! And yeah, we've probably been putting this off for longer than we should have, so, time to bite the bullet Wink

As to the broken crate pieces, could you not perhaps remove their collisions (at least with the player's picking-ray/whatever), allowing items to be taken "through" them, and maybe add an icon over them when an item is available, so that items aren't obscured by them? That way you may get your immersive debris, but with reduced impact on item-collection.

Yeah, good call, if we revisit we will prob explore this option further.
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