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December 16, 2018, 05:59:13 AM

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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsUndermine - procedurally generated survival horror
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snugsound
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« Reply #180 on: May 03, 2018, 02:27:47 PM »

In other news, I'm pleased to announce a new addition to the team: Dan Hunter! Dan worked as a VFX artist on Bioshock 2 and Halo 4, among other things. I'm really excited to have him on board, I just know he'll help bring the visuals to the next level and beyond!

You check out Dan's impressive demo reel here:




Welcome Dan! Toast Left
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« Reply #181 on: May 03, 2018, 05:10:42 PM »

Congratulations on the new team-member! I hope that you work well together. ^_^
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« Reply #182 on: May 19, 2018, 04:18:36 AM »

Totally overhauled the toxic blood particles for enemies. There's now support for both light and heavy bleeding, depending on which weapon they're hit with. As well, blood particles now emit from slightly within the mesh, where previously they would emit from the bounds of the hitbox, often looking like they were emitting from thin air.

Here's the "light" blood emission:

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« Reply #183 on: May 19, 2018, 03:36:54 PM »

Oh yes, that looks much better, to my eye! I looks appropriately "fluid" and "material", I think. ^_^

My only (rather minor) critique is that--especially for "light" blood emission--is that the blood appears to be firing out from the enemies at a rather high speed. I might suggest slowing down the movement of the particles a little. However, I may well be off on that, and even if not, your intended aesthetic may direct otherwise.
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« Reply #184 on: May 20, 2018, 04:08:59 AM »

My only (rather minor) critique is that--especially for "light" blood emission--is that the blood appears to be firing out from the enemies at a rather high speed. I might suggest slowing down the movement of the particles a little. However, I may well be off on that, and even if not, your intended aesthetic may direct otherwise.

Fair point. I do like things to be a little bit over the top but this may be a tad much Smiley
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« Reply #185 on: May 25, 2018, 04:03:05 PM »

Nothing really exciting to report lately, I've mostly just been focused on reducing build time as it was going far beyond "coffee break" time and well into "lunch break" territory. (I'm talking 40+ minutes in some cases!)

The biggest culprit seems to be shader compilation (and/or compression) time. Specifically, the number of uber-shader variants that are getting included... like 360mb (uncompressed) worth!

The first thing I did is set up a build script so I can at least continue working while building. The build script basically calls Unity via command line against a separate working directory. Nothing fancy, I'm just using Unity's standard BuildPipeline, but I've also built in support for doing standalone vs. Steam builds.

I'm now doing a bit of clean-up trying to strip out any WIP-ish stuff that's causing unused materials, and therefore shaders/variants, to be included (i.e. inactive game objects in prefabs and the like).

Last but not least I plan to install an SSD dedicated to the project, and perhaps upgrade my CPU as well. Currently, I'm running an AMD FX-6100 (3.3ghz 6-core), but I'm seeing an FX-8350 (4ghz 8-core) on sale at NewEgg...  Undecided

Oh and I finally got around to refreshing images on Steam and the website! I think I can capture some even better shots, but it's certainly an improvement over what was there. I'm still working on capturing some video--the build time issue is making it especially annoying to make small edits/revisions--but will hopefully wrap that up soon esp as I get the issue under control.
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« Reply #186 on: May 26, 2018, 05:31:29 AM »

Oh yeah, something else I finally got around to: adding support for hold-to-interact mechanic!

So far I'm using it for the following:

  • flipping switches
  • swapping weapons
  • resetting consoles (below)
  • using rope to exit a level

Basically, anything that requires confirmation, or anywhere it creates a bit more tension. (for example: previously it was a bit too easy to dash to the exit and instantly end the level--this new mechanic requires a bit more gusto)



P.S. also added some flashing lights to the console, kind of a must Smiley
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« Reply #187 on: May 26, 2018, 09:49:44 AM »

Forty minute builds--oof, that does sound bad. I hope that you manage to bring that time down, and I'm glad that you've found at least somewhat of a workaround in having it build in the background!

As to "hold-to-interact", that does sound like a useful feature for your game. I'm intrigued by the idea of "hold-to-interact" being used for swapping weapons--in a game intended to build fear, the potential for the player to accidentally mess up a weapon-switch seems like it might be advantageous, not to mention the effect of the down-time between weapons.
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« Reply #188 on: June 02, 2018, 06:27:20 AM »

I'm intrigued by the idea of "hold-to-interact" being used for swapping weapons--in a game intended to build fear, the potential for the player to accidentally mess up a weapon-switch seems like it might be advantageous, not to mention the effect of the down-time between weapons.

Just to clarify, I mean swapping your current weapon for a different one found in the environment (you can only carry one at a time). The intent was to make it harder to accidentally swap one weapon for a weaker one, but your point is well-taken and it's something I'm on the fence about (I actually have it disabled right now).
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« Reply #189 on: June 02, 2018, 06:59:47 AM »

In other news, I've added hands to the MonPro 2000! I'm pretty happy with how it turned out and I think it goes a long way in terms of adding more realism (and of course, will help improve the marketing assets).



I hope to do the same for the weapons at some point, but obviously that will be a much bigger endeavor as they will need to be animated down to the joint level.

Something else I've been spending time on recently is separating weapons from beacons. Previously, you could throw a beacon while holding a weapon, which didn't make a whole lot of sense. They are now separate "weapon slots". As part of this change I've also added the concept of a "beacon launcher". Basically, a cannon of sorts that shoots the beacons.

Ther are a few benefits I can see to this approach:

  • it saves me having to animate the player throwing beacons, which would be a very complex animation (likely more complex than the weapon animations referenced above)
  • it adds a form of a "gun" without actually adding a gun (I'm pretty adamant about not having this become a shooter!)
  • it more easily facilitates having different types of beacons (this would be harder to convey if the player was throwing them, it would probably require additional complex animations)

With respect to beacon types, so far I have the following planned:

  • regular beacons: mark the map on the MonPro and also detect enemies
  • freeze beacons: slow any enemies that enter its radius
  • explosive beacons: self-explanatory, basically like grenades
  • decoy beacons: produce noise to distract enemies

My plan is to have beacon schematics scattered around the mine and have them persist between runs, i.e. on your first run you can only use regular beacons. I think this will add a much better sense of progression, as well as encourage subsequent play-throughs. I may actually go one step further and do the same thing for gear (i.e. you have to find the MonPro and beacon launcher).

Here's a sneak peek at the beacon launcher launching explosive beacons (total placeholder model for the beacon launcher, in case you can't tell):

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« Reply #190 on: June 04, 2018, 10:19:47 AM »

Just to clarify, I mean swapping your current weapon for a different one found in the environment (you can only carry one at a time). The intent was to make it harder to accidentally swap one weapon for a weaker one ...

Ah, I see--but is that likely to be a problem? Or at least one that's not quickly remedied? I've seen such things happen in cases where multiple items are available to pick up (or another usable item nearby), but if there's only one item on the ground, how likely is it that the player will accidentally hit the "use" key with a weaker weapon selected?

My plan is to have beacon schematics scattered around the mine and have them persist between runs, i.e. on your first run you can only use regular beacons. I think this will add a much better sense of progression, as well as encourage subsequent play-throughs. I may actually go one step further and do the same thing for gear (i.e. you have to find the MonPro and beacon launcher).

Your game is a roguelike, so that makes some sense, I think--as long as there's enough in a first run for it to remain interesting, without those additional items.
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« Reply #191 on: June 04, 2018, 10:29:23 AM »

Just to clarify, I mean swapping your current weapon for a different one found in the environment (you can only carry one at a time). The intent was to make it harder to accidentally swap one weapon for a weaker one ...

Ah, I see--but is that likely to be a problem? Or at least one that's not quickly remedied? I've seen such things happen in cases where multiple items are available to pick up (or another usable item nearby), but if there's only one item on the ground, how likely is it that the player will accidentally hit the "use" key with a weaker weapon selected?

Nah probably not, and that's why I'm on the fence and more or less backtracking on it Wink
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« Reply #192 on: June 04, 2018, 10:47:39 AM »

Hah, fair enough! Tongue
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« Reply #193 on: June 24, 2018, 02:05:41 PM »

Hey TIGfolk, sorry for the radio silence over the past few weeks! The Switch version of my last game, Operation Hardcore, came out around that time and I've largely been supporting the marketing efforts. A few issues with the build have also come to light since the release, so now I need to switch (Well, hello there!) my focus to preparing a patch.

To be honest, I had originally thought the port would be largely hands-off, as the publisher had a team doing most of the actual porting development, but hindsight is 20/20! Ultimately it's my baby, and nobody else is going to care about it as much as I do, so realistically I don't think I can be hands-off.

It's now got me thinking that I should really be trying to maximize the return on my investment in Operation Hardcore while I have a captive audience (the Switch release has also renewed some interest in the Steam version). As such, I'm debating pausing Undermine for a little while. My time is already fairly fractured as it is, trying to split it more will further reduce my ability to deliver anything in a timely manner (great little article on the matter that really started this line of thought).

What I mean by maximizing my ROI in OH: there are some things I could do by way of small content updates that I believe would drive more sales (and if I really wanted to go crazy, I have some ideas for a small DLC... but one thing at a time).

It also got me thinking: I've created small games that I'm proud of but not actively trying to sell (or even promote the free version of). With a bit of spit and polish, I could be selling them on Steam for, say, $1.49 (I love this story about the guy who made Bit Blaster XL and other small games released with this strategy).

Bottom line: I'm wondering if it's the right time to be working on something as big in scope (and production costs) as Undermine, or if I should just work on smaller things that I can ship quickly and with a very small (or even no) team or budget.

I welcome any thoughts from others on the matter, especially somebody's who's faced a similar decision! (which I'm sure is pretty much like every independent game developer ever Grin)
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« Reply #194 on: June 25, 2018, 11:14:30 AM »

I don't have any specific insight to offer, I feel, so let me simply say this: if pausing Undermine is what's best for you, then--speaking for myself--I have no argument with your doing so. Whichever path you choose, I hope that things go well for you! ^_^
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