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1324901 Posts in 59754 Topics- by 50975 Members - Latest Member: rochmilla

December 13, 2017, 10:39:06 am

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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsUndermine - procedurally generated survival horror
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« Reply #60 on: June 19, 2017, 10:29:09 am »

After playing around with some splat shaders, I ended up going with ProCore's PolyBrush tool, as it provides the ability to "paint" textures (by vertex) directly within Unity. It's still in beta, but so far it's fit the bill perfectly.

Ah, I see--thank you for elaborating. ^_^

Hmm... I gather then that these shaders do indeed apply to the entirety of the level-geometry? Might it not be a little less performance intensive to apply them only to special "edging" geometry? (That said, I'm far from an expert in shaders, so I may well be very mistaken about that. For one, it may well be that the implementation within the shaders has some means of cutting down on texture-samplings when away from "splatted" areas.)
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« Reply #61 on: June 19, 2017, 12:49:20 pm »

Hmm... I gather then that these shaders do indeed apply to the entirety of the level-geometry? Might it not be a little less performance intensive to apply them only to special "edging" geometry? (That said, I'm far from an expert in shaders, so I may well be very mistaken about that. For one, it may well be that the implementation within the shaders has some means of cutting down on texture-samplings when away from "splatted" areas.)

It's a pretty even trade-off for now in that we're only using this shader (with 8 input textures) for the ground, where we previously had 2 separate ground materials with 4 input textures each. If we start blending walls, ceilings, etc. then yeah I'd prob look at using simpler shaders for tiles that have no blending. That said, I'm no shader expert either (maybe this is an excuse to try to become one)... I suspect there are cases where using a "heavier" but well-written shader might actually a better choice, esp. once you take other things like draw calls into consideration.
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« Reply #62 on: June 20, 2017, 05:24:28 pm »

Fair enough--all of that makes sense, I think!
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« Reply #63 on: June 21, 2017, 05:44:59 pm »

Oof cool! Gonna follow this.
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« Reply #64 on: July 10, 2017, 03:27:34 pm »

Back once again with a long overdue update! Overall, we’re really happy with how things are shaping up, however, some of the early feedback is that the whole experience is a little bit disjointed, so we’ve been focused on ways to address this. Among them:

  • More prompting/cueing the player: while we want “discovery” to be a big part of the experience—especially in the first few play-throughs—we don’t want the player to be confused or completely lost, so we’ve added some hints to the loading screens, on-screen cues when you discover your first item and acquire your first upgrade point, and an indicator when you’re making noise (this is key to playing “stealth” style).
  • Some tweaks to the level generation to ensure level layouts are more consistently interesting, and not too maze-like.

A few other developments worth mentioning:

  • More variation in level types: flooded levels in which you can’t sprint, and switch-based levels which encourage more exploration. We’re kicking around some other ideas as well, like smoke-filled levels, timed levels, etc.
  • A new enemy type: giant mutant rats! These guys are weak on their own, so they’re an easy way to test out combat without taking on a mutant miner, but they can still be dangerous in numbers, and on occasion they will force the player out of the (previously safe-haven) tunnels.
  • We’ve decided to all but drop support for VR. We may still support it as a novelty, but overall, we felt it was too limiting to the things we wanted to do. As a result, we’ve been able to add back in some full-screen shaders (light film grain, and some good ol’ chromatic aberration when “stressed”).
  • The mutant miner AI has been improved: there’s now a “threshold” for spotting the player, where previously it was instantaneous. It still needs some tweaking, as there are cases where it should be immediate (i.e. running right in front of them), but overall it’s still an improvement.
  • Ambient background music has been added back in (previously, it was triggered on specific events, but it felt too linear). Background music now plays randomly, with 30-60 seconds of silence in between, and the music cross-fades dynamically between ambient and a “stress drone” when being pursued.
  • An intro story has been added. It’s just text for now, but it also has ambient sounds that follow along with the story. We’re hoping for an interactive intro, but we’ll see what time and budget allows.

Here are a few shots of some of the new stuff (right-click -> View Image for 1080):





I’m going to try to get into the habit of posting weekly, as we’re trying to ramp up for an early access release and we’d like to have a bit of a community behind this thing first. Our hope is to try to use early access as it was intended: to help shape how we round out the game. We want to use voting as a big part of this process, so it’s important that we have some numbers for this to be effective.

Finally, a big shout out to Mike Rose (tinyBuild, Gamasutra) for taking the time to check it out and offer his feedback. Very much appreciated!
« Last Edit: July 10, 2017, 03:49:32 pm by snugsound » Logged

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« Reply #65 on: July 10, 2017, 05:02:35 pm »

Ah, the progress described seems as though it could make for some decent improvements! I particularly like the ideas of varied level-types, and of the mutant rats--the latter both as "practice enemies" and as a means to keep the player from becoming comfortable in hidey-holes, as described. ^_^
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« Reply #66 on: July 25, 2017, 07:57:53 am »

Back again with another update. I didn’t get a chance to post one last week because Ricardo and I took a week off to work on a just-for-fun prototype (Cosmic Ray), but we’re back to Undermine in full force!

One of the biggest things we’ve been working on is adding support for “large point of interest prefabs”. Point of interest prefabs are placed in the middle of rooms for things like pick-ups, the exit to the next level, or just general details.

Previously, POI prefabs were limited to 6x6 units (3x the size of regular ground tiles), but we found this a bit too limiting as these were too small to add, say, an enclosed room, light platforming elements, etc. The large prefab size is 14x14 units, so lots more room to play with.

In addition to adding variation in gameplay, these larger prefabs will also help break up the visual monotony of the mines, as they will give us a big enough canvas to introduce different textures, larger meshes, etc.

Below is a small sampling of some of the large POI prefabs we’ve prototyped so far. (right-click -> View Image for full-size)

A “toxic pond” with a bit of platforming required to reach the exit:



A small labyrinth/maze with a rope (and possibly some mutant miners!) hidden within:



We’ve also added a climbing mechanic (one of the large POI prefabs is a tower with a climbing segment). This is a mechanic that I had started to prototype for a potential intro scene, and was looking for ways to incorporate it into te main game. As part of this, we’ll be adding fall damage; also something I had been prototyping for the intro scene.

On the visual side, Ricardo has replaced the placeholder for the hanging lights with a proper mesh and cookie:


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« Reply #67 on: July 25, 2017, 10:27:47 am »

Looking good, to my eye! ^_^

I like those new "point-of-interest" prefabs. I do have a question, if I may: will there be any randomisation within them? For example, looking at the maze, will the route to the exit be the same each time, or vary?
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« Reply #68 on: July 25, 2017, 04:28:49 pm »

Looking good, to my eye! ^_^

I like those new "point-of-interest" prefabs. I do have a question, if I may: will there be any randomisation within them? For example, looking at the maze, will the route to the exit be the same each time, or vary?

Hey there Thaumaturge, Ricardo here.

We've been discussing the possibilities and that's something we are exploring. We know we'd like to add more randomization, both for aesthetics (ie. randomizing the size/rotation/position of rock piles for example) and for mechanics/gameplay (ie. stuff like you mentioned, maze layouts or tweaks to the generation algorithm). We are also experimenting with new room types, like the tower Adam mentioned and it's made a huge impact in the game. This newfound vertical exploration opens some interesting possibilities for room types and we're excited to keep iterating on it.

Once again, thanks so much for the feedback. See you around!
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« Reply #69 on: July 26, 2017, 09:36:24 am »

My pleasure, and fair enough! If feasible, I think that randomisation might be valuable for such prefabs; if unchanging, I fear that they might cease to be interesting after a few appearances.
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« Reply #70 on: July 31, 2017, 01:31:02 pm »

Heyo! So a few new things to report over here:

Firstly, we've decided to part ways with the publisher we'd been working with. When we originally signed, it was based on us developing Undermine as a VR-first experience, but as you know, this turned out to be too restrictive and something we felt likely would have hurt the monoscopic experience. Based on this, and a few other factors, we decided it best to part ways. It was a mutual decision, and I'm still discussing with the publisher as to ways we might work together in the future.

So, we'll be going it alone for the time-being. I'm open to working with the right publisher, but failing that, we'll start pinching pennies to ensure we have a decent budget for marketing and promotion (lesson learned from Operation Hardcore!). We've submitted the game to Steam via Steam Direct and are awaiting approval to publish the store page in "coming soon" mode, with plans to launch in Early Access within a month or so.

From a design/dev perspective, we've been focused on tightening things up in preparation for this:

  • tweaking the player attacks so they feel more predictable and consistent
  • tweaking level generation, damage and health to ensure a smooth and consistent ramp in difficulty
  • ensuring all weapons can be upgraded, and all player upgrades are implemented
  • squashing a variety of bugs, performance issues, etc.

On that note, here's a sneak peek at the plank upgrade Wink



P.S. it's true what they say about rats (note: this was not staged)







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« Reply #71 on: August 01, 2017, 10:20:22 am »

I'm sorry to read that you've parted ways with your publisher (although, from your description, it may well be for the better). I hope that you find a way forward that works for you, whether with a publisher or not. One way or another, good luck with Steam Direct and Early Access! ^_^
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« Reply #72 on: August 19, 2017, 05:35:06 am »

Hey everyone! Ricardo here with an update on Undermine.

As part of improvements to the game in preparation for its Early Access release, we've replaced the destructible rock piles with new assets. The earlier version of the rock pile was using lowpoly icospheres with a rock material slapped, and while they where serviceable, they left a lot to be desired and looked a bit out of place considering the realism of other assets (pick-axe, rock wall textures). Also, when the player hit the rock pile it "crumbled" in an explosion of sorts, leaving behind a bunch of smaller icospheres, scattered around with the force of the hit.


Old rocks

So, to improve on this, we swapped the icosphere with a more detailed and organic looking mesh and also decided that to have a more natural looking rocksplosion (sorry) we could just break this base rock into pieces. So after some research, we found a way to do so by using a Blender add-on called "cell fracture". After some tweaking we managed to get a good looking fractured rock with a decent polycount and then proceeded to integrate it in the game. We tested a different implementation of the destruction so that rocks scatter in a more convincing way, facing away from the player and applying force based on how they are impacted (be it with a melee weapon or with an explosive beacon).


New rocks


New rockpile destruction dynamics

Aside from this, we've also made other improvements, such as adding a punch attack so the player can defend from rats/ghouls if unarmed and also replaced the placeholder punch with a more adequate arm model.



Old punch aka. icosphere hands


New punch

We're also working on a new trailer for EA, so capturing footage, editing, etc. Probably will have it done in the next few days, so we'll keep you guys posted.

That's it for this update. As always, feedback/critique is not only welcome, but deeply appreciated. Ricardo out!
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« Reply #73 on: August 19, 2017, 10:13:00 am »

That new rock looks pretty good, to my eye. ^_^

Hmm... One thing: Will all destructible rocks look the same? While perhaps useful in allowing the player to identify them, it could also make them a bit obvious, and perhaps diminish immersion a touch.
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« Reply #74 on: August 19, 2017, 01:36:33 pm »

That new rock looks pretty good, to my eye. ^_^

Hmm... One thing: Will all destructible rocks look the same? While perhaps useful in allowing the player to identify them, it could also make them a bit obvious, and perhaps diminish immersion a touch.

That's a valid point and something we've even considered. We've discussed adding some sort of light randomization to the mesh itself, if possible, and some easier stuff like scale and rotation. However we'd have to do some experimentation to find a way to work that out with the current method we're using OR just brute force it and make more assets, say, two or three additional rock props. We might explore this further later on for sure, but at least we got rid of the basic icosphere rocks Smiley

Thanks for your input once again. See you around.
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« Reply #75 on: August 21, 2017, 11:35:53 am »

That's a valid point and something we've even considered. We've discussed adding some sort of light randomization to the mesh itself, if possible, and some easier stuff like scale and rotation. However we'd have to do some experimentation to find a way to work that out with the current method we're using OR just brute force it and make more assets, say, two or three additional rock props. We might explore this further later on for sure, but at least we got rid of the basic icosphere rocks Smiley

Hah, indeed--even with repetition, this seems likely to me to be preferable to the icospheres! :D

Otherwise, fair enough! It seems that you have in mind already some of the approaches to dealing with this. ^_^

Thanks for your input once again. See you around.

Not a problem! ^_^
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« Reply #76 on: August 30, 2017, 03:01:13 pm »

Phew, after a year of hard work we're just about ready to release in Early Access. The Steam store page is live now, give it a wishlist and/or follow if you are so inclined Smiley

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« Reply #77 on: September 01, 2017, 10:12:26 am »

Congratulations on the milestone of entering Early Access! I hope that it treats you well. ^_^
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« Reply #78 on: September 18, 2017, 08:19:57 am »

Hey there guys, Ricardo here with an update on the game.

After publishing the Steam Store Page for Undermine as part of the preparations for the EA release, we are working on some items we have on the list to get the build to where we want it and also building a list of contacts for our press/mailing list as well.

(@Thaumaturge: We haven't released yet heh. Soon hopefully, but for the time being we wanted to showcase the latest trailer and screens to the Steam audience and start building the wishlist and community prior to the actual EA release).

Aside from promotional work (posting on gaming/dev communities and figuring better ways to reach our target audience) we're making some improvements to game feel. Currently melee attacks (wooden plank and pickaxe) fall flat and lack punch: when they land on an enemy you only get blood particles and while as a proof of concept this worked, it doesn't look as good as it can and it's definitely ripe for improvements (not to mention the benefits to promotional materials).

For starters, hit/stagger animations have been added to enemies. Also blood emission has been improved (and actually fixed in the case of the wooden plank, which didn't trigger blood at all). We've also experimented with adding screenshake, but we're still not satisfied with how it looks and feels for melee hits, and thus we disabled it for the time being. For beacon explosions it does look great though. Here's a sample:



We are probably going to share more stuff in the next few days, as we work more on the feel improvements and get them right. See you guys around!
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« Reply #79 on: September 18, 2017, 08:38:24 am »

That sort of feedback on weapon impact can be rather important, I feel; I'm glad to read that you're working on it. ^_^

I'll confess that I'm not a huge fan of the chromatic element of that explosion effect--but that's a matter of personal taste, I daresay. I like the explosion itself!

(@Thaumaturge: We haven't released yet heh. Soon hopefully, but for the time being we wanted to showcase the latest trailer and screens to the Steam audience and start building the wishlist and community prior to the actual EA release).

Ah, my mistake--I apologise!

In that case, I suppose go back and read my last post when you do actually enter Early Access? Perhaps it was an Early Access response! Tongue
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