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November 22, 2017, 08:00:05 pm

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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsUndermine - procedurally generated survival horror
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Author Topic: Undermine - procedurally generated survival horror  (Read 8127 times)
Keops
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« Reply #80 on: September 18, 2017, 08:41:37 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

Oh yeah, the chromatic aberration is part of the stress visual feedback. It's not really part of the explosion but since when I captured that gif I was also testing melee attacks against an enemy, I got the chromatic aberration effect in. We'll keep you guys posted and thanks for the swift reply heh. Cheers!
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« Reply #81 on: September 18, 2017, 08:52:41 am »

Oh yeah, the chromatic aberration is part of the stress visual feedback. It's not really part of the explosion but since when I captured that gif I was also testing melee attacks against an enemy, I got the chromatic aberration effect in. We'll keep you guys posted and thanks for the swift reply heh. Cheers!

Fair enough, and my pleasure, respectively! ^_^
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« Reply #82 on: September 18, 2017, 12:36:20 pm »

For starters, hit/stagger animations have been added to enemies.

We also slow time briefly when you land a hit (0.66 timescale for 250ms), a la Zelda etc. Feels pretty good if I may say so myself.

As well, we slow player movement (to walking speed) when attacking, as it was a bit goofy to be able to run and swing a heavy pickaxe at the same time, kinda broke immersion a bit.
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« Reply #83 on: September 19, 2017, 10:04:08 am »

Both of those sound pretty good--the latter seems as though it might fit well with keeping the player vulnerable during combat. ^_^
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Keops
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« Reply #84 on: September 20, 2017, 01:08:15 pm »

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« Reply #85 on: September 21, 2017, 09:33:36 am »

Strange--he looks unhappy about something...

;P

Looking good--and appropriately horrific--to my eye, thus far! ^_^
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Keops
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« Reply #86 on: September 21, 2017, 03:38:18 pm »

Strange--he looks unhappy about something...

;P

Looking good--and appropriately horrific--to my eye, thus far! ^_^

Too bad he can't look in the mirror anymore to see what's wrong with him Tongue

Here's some more related stuff. We already have it in-game, needs some tweaks but it's there Smiley





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« Reply #87 on: September 22, 2017, 10:53:58 am »

I like the glow in the eyes of the one that seems to be attacking the player in the fourth image down. ^_^

One thing that I will say, given the close-ups that you just posted, is that their teeth look a little "flat" to my eye--a little too much like two-dimensional geometry, rather than rounded, three-dimensional teeth.
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« Reply #88 on: September 23, 2017, 09:16:06 am »

I like the glow in the eyes of the one that seems to be attacking the player in the fourth image down. ^_^

One thing that I will say, given the close-ups that you just posted, is that their teeth look a little "flat" to my eye--a little too much like two-dimensional geometry, rather than rounded, three-dimensional teeth.

Thanks for the feedback about the ghoul's teeth. It's definitely something we could improve further down the line when we enter full steam ahead on a graphics polish pass Smiley In the meantime here are some more updates, now toxic ghouls are in-game too:




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« Reply #89 on: September 23, 2017, 01:31:54 pm »

Looks quite nice!

What kind of stagger animations did you implement? Since you've got a first-person melee system, I feel like the free-aiming nature would play quite nicely with some sort of locational damage. Maybe add in some kind of physics-based animation shake for individual body parts that have been hit.
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« Reply #90 on: September 27, 2017, 03:46:50 pm »

Looks quite nice!

What kind of stagger animations did you implement? Since you've got a first-person melee system, I feel like the free-aiming nature would play quite nicely with some sort of locational damage. Maybe add in some kind of physics-based animation shake for individual body parts that have been hit.

Hey thanks for the feedback! Currently there's a generic stagger animation triggering whenever you land a hit, although your suggestion of location-specific damage is intriguing for sure. I remember we've discussed similar ideas before, like limb damage, lodging weapons in place of impact, etc... So we're most probably going to explore those kinds of improvements as development progresses!

Also, we've been improving the look of the toxic mutant variation of the enemy. Also adding bloated wounds/blisters that can spawn at random. Here are some images to showcase the toxic mutants:






There's still plenty of work to get this tightly integrated, but it's definitely a step in the right direction, as we can have more variety (important for a proc-gen game for sure) for both visuals and gameplay, and down the line we could add more props for even more variation.

See you all around!
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« Reply #91 on: September 28, 2017, 10:20:42 am »

I like the new mutant design, and the idea of randomly spawning those swellings. ^_^
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« Reply #92 on: October 04, 2017, 04:32:21 am »

Adam here with a big update on the current state (and future direction) of our procedural generation logic.

First, a bit on the history:

When I started prototyping Undermine I had this vision of generating insanely organic/random worlds, where every bit of the world was as random as possible, and levels were guaranteed to have very distinct layouts. To achieve this, I decided to generate levels at pretty much the lowest level of granularity possible: effectively, a large grid of small tiles (2x4x2 units). In doing so, I made a conscious decision not to use the common practice of creating a level out of larger modules.

Currently, levels are generated in a few passes:

1. Generate rooms, connecting each room to the previous
2. Add secret rooms connected via tunnels
3. Add random "noise" (random hallways, tunnels, etc.)



Although this has achieved the desired outcome, it's come at a cost:

  • hand-crafting larger rooms is quite challenging as it requires a substantial amount of logic to ensure the right prefabs are spawned in the right places
  • the levels feel inherently "blocky": as above, something like creating a zig-zagging tunnel with varying angles would require more logic
  • optimization is difficult: because a room is made of many very small meshes we don't get the full benefit of static batching, especially once you throw in dynamic lighting and shadows
  • because generation happens at the lowest possible level, it's easy to end up with undesirable behaviour (obstacles blocking tunnels, "solution path" rooms being inadvertently connected to one another, player spawning in plain sight of monsters, etc.). Again, the only way to solve this is to add even more complex generation logic and rules.

While this was a good learning experience, we're starting to feel the above limitations, especially now that we're shifting our focus on refining the visuals and varying the environments.

As a result, we've decided now is the right time to switch to the more conventional modular approach. While this does come with some downsides, we feel they're vastly outweighed by the pros.

The new logic looks something like:

1. Carve a random solution path from one end of the map to the other, placing "modules" (mainly, rooms) along the way
2. Add "connector" modules where needed (hallways, tunnels)
3. Add some random rooms, in particular, "secret rooms" connected via tunnels



Some of the major benefits of this approach include:

  • we can ensure that the spawn room is connected to the solution path via a tunnel, thus ensuring the player never spawns in plain sight of monsters
  • we can ensure that secret rooms are connected via tunnels, and that those tunnels are blocked by obstacles or hazards (rockpiles that need to broken for example)
  • hand-crafting becomes far easier, as does optimizing (one module = a few meshes vs. dozens of small ones)
  • varying the visual environments becomes far easier; something like a windy/zig-zag tunnel is simply a matter of creating an appropriate module vs. adding more and more generation logic

We expect this will set us back about 1-2 weeks, but that we'll be in a much better position when we get through this. Stay tuned for some WIP shots.
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« Reply #93 on: October 04, 2017, 09:43:15 am »

Hmm... I suppose that as long as you have enough modules, and there are few obvious patterns to them, the reuse might not be too visible.

I'll confess that, as a gamer, I'm not a huge fan of the "module-based" approach to procedural levels: I feel that the reuse of rooms tends to become apparent fairly quickly. However, it may be that I've simply not played a game that implements it sufficiently well, or that has an environment that lends itself to this approach (as yours well might, I suspect)--or that I've simply not played enough such games. In addition, I may well be in the minority in feeling as I do.

I will say that I suspect that points (1) and (2) of the listed pros at the end of the above post could be handled under non-module-based generation.

The other two points are more compelling to me, however, as is the overall ease of implementing such as system!
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« Reply #94 on: October 05, 2017, 02:36:25 pm »

I'll confess that, as a gamer, I'm not a huge fan of the "module-based" approach to procedural levels: I feel that the reuse of rooms tends to become apparent fairly quickly. However, it may be that I've simply not played a game that implements it sufficiently well, or that has an environment that lends itself to this approach (as yours well might, I suspect)--or that I've simply not played enough such games. In addition, I may well be in the minority in feeling as I do.

I hear you. This was not an easy decision, and we're still borderline flip-flopping, but we think the pros will outweigh the cons in the end.

I think Spelunky is a good example of modular generation that doesn't "feel" modular, but that's probably due to the sheer number of modules!

I will say that I suspect that points (1) and (2) of the listed pros at the end of the above post could be handled under non-module-based generation.

True, they're just much easier to implement using modular generation. And our previous generation code was already becoming quite complex and brittle, and likely would have needed a major overhaul to be able to do some of the things we wanted to do anyway.

If I had to guess I'd say we'll probably end up with a bit of a hybrid strategy: modular generation, but with additional randomization and some granular generation at the module level.
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« Reply #95 on: October 05, 2017, 09:45:53 pm »

Not so sure how good of a combination roguelike and horror is. Although for most survival horror games, having to replay the same section over and over again, quickly saps out the magic. Having procedural elements seems like one solution to that problem. Although from the trailer this game looks like it leans more towards the survival aspect maybe?

Either way, I like your 6 month EA plan into release. This is the type of game that would do really well on there as well.

Will keep an eye out in the EA new releases. Coffee
 
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« Reply #96 on: October 06, 2017, 10:28:49 am »

I hear you. This was not an easy decision, and we're still borderline flip-flopping, but we think the pros will outweigh the cons in the end.

Fair enough! And you know your project, goals, and intended methods better than I, I daresay. ^_^

I think Spelunky is a good example of modular generation that doesn't "feel" modular, but that's probably due to the sheer number of modules!

That is a good example, I do think! There were a few modules that I recall being apparent, but I think that they tended to be set-pieces (like the deep "pit" in the first region).

True, they're just much easier to implement using modular generation. And our previous generation code was already becoming quite complex and brittle, and likely would have needed a major overhaul to be able to do some of the things we wanted to do anyway.

Ah, fair enough, then!

If I had to guess I'd say we'll probably end up with a bit of a hybrid strategy: modular generation, but with additional randomization and some granular generation at the module level.

That sounds like a good idea, to me, especially the addition of those more-granular elements. I hope that it works out! ^_^
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« Reply #97 on: October 21, 2017, 07:01:27 am »

Hey guys, here's a video update on some of the recent changes to the procedural generation logic, including some before/after footage:




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« Reply #98 on: November 07, 2017, 04:58:46 pm »

Hey all, back again with some more updates. It's been a busy couple weeks, but we've made some solid progress. Here's a summary of what we've been up to:

Hackable Objects
Hacking games are probably getting a bit tired in this day and age but we feel our concept is pretty fresh and will help to add more variety to the gameplay. It's something that relies mostly on reflexes (similar to the Bioshock hacking games), but with a more of a 2D top-down action game influence. Initially, we'll just have one hackable object to test the concept out (a ventilation fan that needs to be hacked to proceed to the next level), but we hope to expand upon on this in the future.





Death Sequence/Quick Restart
We've also added a proper death sequence: the player gasps, drops items, falls down (character controller disabled/rigidbody enabled), a reddish screen overlay is added, etc. As part of this change we've added an option to restart the game from the pause menu. (previously, dying would immediately load a "game over" screen, and the restart option would then reload the main game scene which resulted in a fairly unreasonable loading time.)



Smoke Hazards
To add more variation to the environments, we've created a smoke-filled room in which the player must duck/crouch, otherwise, she'll start coughing after a few seconds, and start taking damage after a few more.



Swimming/underwater FX
Up until now, the player could walk/run/jump underwater, and would not suffer any damage from being underwater for prolonged periods. We've now added basic swimming mechanics, underwater FX (fog, low pass filter), and damage after a set amount of time. We plan on eventually including additional swimming areas, in particular, deep pits full of obstacles which the player must navigate to the bottom and back up in a timely manner.



Marketing
We've agreed to try to spend 50% of our time on marketing, as the numbers (wishlists, etc.) aren't where we'd like yet. It will take some discipline, as neither of us particularly enjoy this aspect of gamedev, but it's a necessary evil. Our plan for this week is to start reaching out to more blogs, and post GIFs more regularly on social media.

Bonus: Trading Cards
We took a few days off from Undermine to add Steam trading cards to our last game, Operation Hardcore, in the hopes of boosting sales (and therefore, funding for Undermine). We're also going to try to measure the efficacy of these in order to determine how much to invest in trading cards for Undermine.



That's it for now, cheers!
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« Reply #99 on: November 08, 2017, 09:59:08 am »

Good progress, by the sounds of it. ^_^

I'll confess that hacking of that sort feels to me a little out of place in the environments that we've seen thus far, but that may be a passing feeling, or I might be in the minority in feeling so.

Spending so much time on marketing does sound like it could be rough--but I hope that it works for you. ^_^
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