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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsUndermine - procedurally generated survival horror
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« Reply #140 on: January 16, 2018, 02:58:37 pm »

The beta testing sounds interesting.  Do you have more info about Betabound (i.e. what their service includes, how it works)

When you made your post, did you ask questions whether the player likes your type of game (since many of the answers would depend on that)?  i.e. to try to make sure that the target audience is playing/testing the game.
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« Reply #141 on: January 16, 2018, 03:08:34 pm »

The beta testing sounds interesting.  Do you have more info about Betabound (i.e. what their service includes, how it works)

Yeah, I just came across them via Google and saw that they were quite active: https://www.betabound.com/

No charge to list. It's offered by https://www.centercode.com/ and I assume they're using it as a means to promote their paid services.

When you made your post, did you ask questions whether the player likes your type of game (since many of the answers would depend on that)?  i.e. to try to make sure that the target audience is playing/testing the game.

Sadly not, and kind of regretting it now as we received a lot of responses that were outside of our target audience. We were able to weed many of these out via the "Why do you want to get involved?" question, and identify those in the target audience by their references to similar games, etc. but obvs this is quite a bit more tedious than asking some more direct questions.
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« Reply #142 on: January 16, 2018, 03:49:38 pm »

The beta testing sounds interesting.  Do you have more info about Betabound (i.e. what their service includes, how it works)

Yeah, I just came across them via Google and saw that they were quite active: https://www.betabound.com/

No charge to list. It's offered by https://www.centercode.com/ and I assume they're using it as a means to promote their paid services.
Thanks.  Yeah, that'd make sense.  So, from the tester's perspective, the benefit is that they can play the the current beta game?  Do they also receive a key to the final game?

When you made your post, did you ask questions whether the player likes your type of game (since many of the answers would depend on that)?  i.e. to try to make sure that the target audience is playing/testing the game.

Sadly not, and kind of regretting it now as we received a lot of responses that were outside of our target audience. We were able to weed many of these out via the "Why do you want to get involved?" question, and identify those in the target audience by their references to similar games, etc. but obvs this is quite a bit more tedious than asking some more direct questions.
Well, you know the saying, "Live and Learn!" Wink
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« Reply #143 on: January 16, 2018, 03:59:14 pm »

The beta testing sounds interesting.  Do you have more info about Betabound (i.e. what their service includes, how it works)

Yeah, I just came across them via Google and saw that they were quite active: https://www.betabound.com/

No charge to list. It's offered by https://www.centercode.com/ and I assume they're using it as a means to promote their paid services.
Thanks.  Yeah, that'd make sense.  So, from the tester's perspective, the benefit is that they can play the the current beta game?  Do they also receive a key to the final game?

Betabound encourages some kind of reward in exchange for testing. In our case, we're providing a free copy to those who complete the post-play survey.
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« Reply #144 on: January 16, 2018, 05:18:53 pm »

Hi everyone! Ricardo here with an update on the work done to improve the look and feel of crates.

In Undermine the player can break crates by hitting them with a wooden plank or a mining pick (no bare hands!) and there's a chance to find a Beaconator Deluxe inside. When the crates where first implemented they just disappeared when you hit them, and if destroying them spawned a beacon it just fell to the ground in-place:



So with that added to the game, the next logical step was to cut the crate in pieces and have them flying around when destroyed. The first iteration of this had the crate sliced into faces and while it was a step in the right direction it looks rudimentary and had a negative side-effect: The faces could fall on top of the dropped item, covering it and making it hard to interact with and loot:



To improve this, we made a new crate in Blender and sliced it into more pieces. We didn't go fully detailed as-in having every single wooden piece as an individual mesh, but we made 4 pieces for each face of the crate.



This doesn't only make it look a lot better, but also helped a lot with the covered loot issue. At first the smaller pieces stayed on the ground but then we decided to have them clip to the ground and be destroyed, leaving only a smaller wooden piece where the crate once stood:



We're probably going to revisit the crate down the line and further improve its look and behaviour. Personally I want to tweak the texture and maybe some furter refining for the geometry of the pieces. We're also evaluating if we have some better options for keeping some or all of the pieces around as the debris/clutter density not only looks great but adds to the atmosphere and persistence of the game's world.

As an entertaining aside, I ran into some bugs and weirdness when implementing the changes to the crate and I captured a couple of GIFs for posterity. Enjoy!


Unbreakable crates?


Huge crate complete with weird physics


That's it for now. Since the first round of beta testing is starting now, I'm sure we'll have some more interesting stuff to share with you all soon. See you guys around. Ricardo out!
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« Reply #145 on: January 16, 2018, 06:42:44 pm »

The discussion regarding beta testing is interesting; I don't have much to add right now, I feel, but I'm following the conversation for the moment!

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

Heh, I'm working towards doing the same myself. ^^;

(I currently have it in mind to start with a small, TIGSource-based test of the demo that I'm working on, followed by a crowdfunding demo.)

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

I'm glad if I've been of help. ^_^

...

That was an interesting history of the crate mechanics! Thank you for sharing it. ^_^
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« Reply #146 on: January 19, 2018, 03:48:24 pm »

The beta testing sounds interesting.  Do you have more info about Betabound (i.e. what their service includes, how it works)

Yeah, I just came across them via Google and saw that they were quite active: https://www.betabound.com/

No charge to list. It's offered by https://www.centercode.com/ and I assume they're using it as a means to promote their paid services.
Thanks.  Yeah, that'd make sense.  So, from the tester's perspective, the benefit is that they can play the the current beta game?  Do they also receive a key to the final game?

Betabound encourages some kind of reward in exchange for testing. In our case, we're providing a free copy to those who complete the post-play survey.
I see.  Thank you for your reply. Smiley
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« Reply #147 on: January 19, 2018, 04:00:32 pm »

When you made your post, did you ask questions whether the player likes your type of game (since many of the answers would depend on that)?  i.e. to try to make sure that the target audience is playing/testing the game.

Sadly not, and kind of regretting it now as we received a lot of responses that were outside of our target audience. We were able to weed many of these out via the "Why do you want to get involved?" question, and identify those in the target audience by their references to similar games, etc. but obvs this is quite a bit more tedious than asking some more direct questions.
Well, you know the saying, "Live and Learn!" Wink
Just a follow up thought: it'll probably useful for other


I'm getting close to but haven't yet implemented feedback.
-Did you include a way to report bugs (e.g. on screen button or Pause menu item)?
-Have you looked into using Unity Analytics.  I remember seeing heatmaps that could be used to determine places where some/many players tend to spend more times than others or perhaps seeing how longs it takes to complete levels.  This would be anonymous data but there are probably ways to collect data for each players that might be more useful if players play the game multiple times or the number of players is low.
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« Reply #148 on: February 03, 2018, 06:37:44 am »

I'm getting close to but haven't yet implemented feedback.
-Did you include a way to report bugs (e.g. on screen button or Pause menu item)?
-Have you looked into using Unity Analytics.  I remember seeing heatmaps that could be used to determine places where some/many players tend to spend more times than others or perhaps seeing how longs it takes to complete levels.  This would be anonymous data but there are probably ways to collect data for each players that might be more useful if players play the game multiple times or the number of players is low.

We did not include a way to report bugs/provide feedback/etc. directly through the game as part of the beta but it's something we plan to do for Early Access, yeah.

We're collecting some basic analytics via Unity Analytics but we didn't have a much of a need for it during the beta since the survey was quite detailed, but again, something we plan to lean on more heavily during Early Access.
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« Reply #149 on: February 03, 2018, 07:07:23 am »

So the beta went fairly well. Approximately a 40% response rate to the survey, which doesn't sound great, but it's roughly what I was expecting. Nothing really eye-opening from the feedback: most of the responses echoed how we feel about the game in its current state, and validated our proposed pricing. Not a bad thing.

I suppose the biggest takeaway for me was that players wanted more hand-holding/direction. Given the nature of the game, this is something we've been trying to avoid, but we may need to bite the bullet on this one.

In other news, we've started prototyping an entirely new type of area: an industrial area in an expansive chasm. We still need to work out exactly how this fits into the story/setting, other than "it looks cool", but I'm sure we'll figure something out. Grin Here's how it's shaping up so far:











The general idea is that we will have a few of these areas in the course of a play-through. They will be sub-areas adjacent to the mines rather than standalone levels, which will help break up the monotony of the mine setting without feeling disjointed. (Once this is integrated we may look at adding some other one-off sub-areas, like caves.)

We're also contemplating adding a new type of enemy for these areas: something "spectral". It's a bit of a departure but we've been talking about adding a bit more occult/supernatural stuff to expand the lore of the game. (The WIP/placeholder version of this is floating ghostly skulls that can be repelled with the flashlight, but this may evolve; we'll share some shots/GIFs as it's firmed up)

Lastly, we're also looking at ways we can "automate" trailer creation a bit more, as we'll probably need to do a least two more (one for Early Access, one for full release). One idea we're toying around with is a fly-through scene of the mine. We're thinking we would combine this with some clips from the intro scene, along with some other scripted segments (player attacking, being attacked, etc.). This would allow us to capture consistent footage for future trailers without having to record and sift through hours of gameplay footage.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2018, 08:40:16 am by snugsound » Logged

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« Reply #150 on: February 03, 2018, 09:25:34 am »

It seems that the beta went pretty well, I'm glad to read. ^_^

I like the new area (and the table-flipping error screen)! ^_^
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« Reply #151 on: February 03, 2018, 10:11:09 am »

I like the new area (and the table-flipping error screen)! ^_^

Thanks Smiley It's just a placeholder for now (random Google image) but we'll probably make something original that's similar... I love that kinda goofy stuff to break the tension
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« Reply #152 on: February 03, 2018, 10:58:59 am »

I love that kinda goofy stuff to break the tension

That's a good idea, I think: I suspect that nothing but constant tension may become a little tiring--and thus tiresome--eventually.
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« Reply #153 on: March 01, 2018, 08:39:46 am »

Hmm, well I'm not doing too well at these so-called "regular" updates! Facepalm But anyway, we're still plugging away at getting ready for the creation of a new trailer.

As I alluded to last time, in an effort to "automate" some parts of the trailer creation we've been experimenting with using Cinemachine to create fly-throughs, but after several days of work I'm still not 100% happy with the results. I think a fly-through of the wide-open "industrial chasm" area may be good, but it feels a bit weird/out-of-context otherwise.

On the plus side, the work that we've done on the fly-throughs has resulted in the creation of a "staged" (non-procedural) scene that we can use to showcase specific prefabs, items, types of gameplay, etc. My hope is that we can lay it out in such a way that we're able to capture really good footage in as few takes as possible, and repeat the process for future trailers.

We've also done a few extra detail passes to add more visual (and atmospheric) variation to the mine environment, including:

  • dead end hallways
  • recessed room walls
  • replacing simple mesh webs with cloth renderers
  • chains hanging from support beams (thanks to DS3's "Irithyll Dungeon" for the inspiration, heh)
  • more spikey stalactite/stalagmite things (including some that are purely decorative)
  • make-shift "cells" with mutant miners rocking back and forth
  • more gore (torsos and skulls on spikes, puddles of gore, etc.)
  • flies that buzz around piles of gore

Evil

Here are a few shots showcasing most of the above:









As for what's next: we really need to get back to our 50/50 marketing/dev split, as we've kind of strayed from this and are starting to feel it (drop in wishlisting, Discord activity, etc.).
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« Reply #154 on: March 01, 2018, 09:46:14 am »

The new areas sound (and look) like good additions, I think. ^_^

I hope that you make good progress with the trailer, and that it turns out well! ^_^
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« Reply #155 on: March 05, 2018, 02:22:10 pm »

Experimenting with adding "choke" points between modules via broken gates (passages that are too small for mutant miners to fit through). These should help reduce the likelihood of being tailed by a mutant halfway across the level while trying to find a place to hide. As an added benefit, they also create some neat silhouettes and shadows, and some rather tense moments when you end up in a completely gated room filled with multiple mutant miners.








I've also moved away from global dust/haze particles in favour of module-specific. I find this helps to create a better environmental contrast when moving between rooms. I've taken advantage of this new approach by differentiating the particles based on the type of room (i.e. flooded room gets misty looking particles, as seen below)




Last but not least, I've started creating prefabs to add a bit more weirdness to the later levels. In this case, toxic sludge dripping down the wall and pooling on the ground.

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« Reply #156 on: March 05, 2018, 04:15:43 pm »

Ooh, all of that looks good, to my eye! Each of those adds a bit of visual interest, and I particularly like the room-specific particles. ^_^
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« Reply #157 on: March 26, 2018, 12:38:44 pm »

Well, still plugging away at the new trailer/marketing assets. After a bit of fighting with Unity's static batching (or more specifically, my understanding of it), we're back on track. Most recently, we spent some time revamping the enemy materials and textures:

  • the mutant miner was using a custom third-party shader, I've swapped it for the standard shader (realizing now that I should have done this long, long ago!)
  • added stains and a microsurface to the miner overalls
  • added microsurface to the mutant miner (veins)
  • boosted the emission for the toxic mutant
  • redid the textures for the skin blisters, added additional veins
  • softended the hair on the mutant rat

Here are before/afters shots. Both are under the same lighting conditions, which should give you an idea of how dramatic the shader change was! (right-click -> View Image for higher res)

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« Reply #158 on: March 27, 2018, 09:47:40 am »

Wow, that is quite an improvement! Why were the miners so dim previously--was there some limitation in how the shaders represented "shininess"/"specularity", or something like that? (I notice that the skin of the miners matched their clothes in dullness under the previous shader.)
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« Reply #159 on: March 27, 2018, 03:29:22 pm »

Wow, that is quite an improvement! Why were the miners so dim previously--was there some limitation in how the shaders represented "shininess"/"specularity", or something like that? (I notice that the skin of the miners matched their clothes in dullness under the previous shader.)

Hey there! The original shader employed by the skin material didn't have much in the way of tweaking parameters easily. I imagine editing the shader code itself you could've achieved similar results but I believe opting for the standard Unity shader was a much better option and the results def. show it heh

Thanks for dropping by Thaumaturge. I'm going to be posting some updates myself soon Smiley
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