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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsShape Of The World - A psychedelic and relaxing first-person explorer
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Author Topic: Shape Of The World - A psychedelic and relaxing first-person explorer  (Read 2111 times)
shapeoftheworld
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« on: November 18, 2017, 12:30:10 AM »


Hello TIG!

I’m Stu Maxwell, I work as a VFX artist on Gears of War during the day and an indie dev at night. I found out about TIG recently, as I was trying to get more eyes on my project and collect valuable feedback. Stumbling upon a community of engaged, hard working devs, all ready to share their ideas and help each other out is a fantastic find! Anyway I decided that only good things can come from being part of this, so here’s my first post and a little bit about what I’ve been working on.

After 3 years of plugging away, I’m close to the finish line with my game, Shape of the World. It’s a first-person explorer designed to be a serene place to relax in as you explore a world that fills up with colors, strange creatures and procedurally populated plants.

I’m working closely with Brent Silk on the music and sound design, as sound central role in creating the right ambience. Here’s a sample of his work:

Sample 1
Sample 2

Here is the sales pitch (basically, what I’m putting on the steam page for now). Feedback more than welcome!







Without you, will the forest still come alive?


Shape of the World is an exploration game where a rich and colorful world grows around you, a relaxing and interactive escape about getting yourself pleasantly lost. Your presence is the driving force behind the procedurally populated environment as you establish permanent monuments to mark your journey.






Game Features

First-person explorer:
Wander in relaxing and surreal environments that beckon you to explore, hinting at distant landmarks and encouraging you to delve deeper into the woods. Amble, swim, drift and fly at your own pace: no ticking clock or perils laying in wait will prevent you from enjoying your journey here.

Play with an organic and mysterious ecosystem:
Interact with curious creatures, ephemeral flora, and grand monoliths. Your actions will alter the world you discover in vibrant and unexpected ways, leaving you wondering what will happen with each path you forge and every hollow you stumble upon.

Procedural population:
The forest only materializes around you when you get close, and it regrows in a new way each time you pass. The compellingly colorful world shifts continually into new biomes and moods. What will you find when you retrace your steps?”

A dynamic soundtrack that responds to the player’s travels:
The music evolves along with the visuals, providing an enveloping aural experience to match your psychedelic journey and completely immerse you into the world.









Well, I do hope the concept resonates with you! In any case, here are the mandatory links if you wish to follow to be updated on the progress, release date, or even just learn a bit more about the project.

Links:

Twitter
Facebook
Steam

I plan to update this little blog with a few posts on the tech that I’m using behind-the-scenes. That way I hope that I can contribute my little piece to TIG, while hopefully getting a bunch of feedback from you. On that subject don’t hesitate to reach out, I would really appreciate an honest opinion from another dev and am happy to get back to you on any questions you might have for me.

Take care,
Stu.
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taj
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« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2017, 09:33:40 AM »

This looks beautiful Stu - good work!!!
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Voltz.Supreme
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« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2017, 08:48:46 PM »

Ooooooo!! Very nice!
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archgame
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« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2017, 10:31:31 PM »

I remember when this was on kickstarter and following it on tumblr. The visuals and animations were always super superb.

What kind of feedback are you looking for? Is there a demo somewhere to play with? Or are you looking mainly for marketing/visual feedback?
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shapeoftheworld
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« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2017, 06:52:03 AM »

I remember when this was on kickstarter and following it on tumblr. The visuals and animations were always super superb.

What kind of feedback are you looking for? Is there a demo somewhere to play with? Or are you looking mainly for marketing/visual feedback?

Hey, thank you!

I'm thinking that any and all feedback is good, however at this stage focusing particularly on the marketing side of things seems more appropriate. I also want to share what I'm doing and have a place to chronicle this last leg of the journey.

For the demo, no, not right now. We're considering doing one, but are worried about the impact of a demo on the overall player experience. It's a limited world and I wouldn't want to spoil the discovery of the environment with a poorly executed demo... I'll definitely do a post on the decision process either way.
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shapeoftheworld
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« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2017, 01:56:31 PM »

Hey everyone,

Tomorrow I'll be showing off Shape of the World at the PlayStation experience, we're lucky enough to have some room at the event because our publisher has a small booth there with another game called Hover.

I think we're reasonably well prepared for the trip with printing taken care of, a bunch of buttons to give out and some press meetings lined up. However I'm wondering if anyone else has exhibited at this show before and if anyone has any last minute ideas on what we should and shouldn't do over the weekend?

If not I'll try to pull together a postmortem on what we did right and what we could have done better, post show. I think there could be some useful learning that we can share about the specifics of doing a single platform show like this in the future. While I've done some more general shows before it will be interesting to see just how much traction the PSX gets for smaller more experimental games like Shape of the World.

Anyway I would appreciate any kind of feedback or ideas about the event and will come back soon with anything I learn while I'm there.

Stu.

Here are the buttons I made up. There was an issue with the printing, but that's another story!
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io3 creations
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« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2017, 02:56:10 PM »

A quick search brought up it being mentioned William Chyr's Manifold Garden devlog but not actual description.  He hasn't posted here on TIG in a couple of months, so I'd contact him on twitter or other places where he's more active.
I was curious but only had a little time.  Maybe there are others as well. 

Regardless, I'd be interested in your experience.
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shapeoftheworld
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« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2017, 12:51:22 AM »

A quick search brought up it being mentioned William Chyr's Manifold Garden devlog but not actual description.  He hasn't posted here on TIG in a couple of months, so I'd contact him on twitter or other places where he's more active.
I was curious but only had a little time.  Maybe there are others as well. 

Regardless, I'd be interested in your experience.

Yeah i had a bit of a dig too but didn't find a lot of info, so I thought that doing a postmortem might be more useful for everyone, especially focusing on how we got a spot, what they're after and the cost breakdown. Will check out William's post and bump him to see if he has anything he wants to add to the discussion.

Thanks for looking around for me!  Toast Right
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Grhyll
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« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2017, 02:45:22 AM »

Oh wow that's absolutely beautiful :D Pretty sure I've already seen a gif on Twitter. The music seems to be quite nice too Smiley
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sidbarnhoorn
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« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2017, 03:08:00 AM »

This looks beautiful, Stu! Good luck with its development. Smiley
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« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2017, 05:35:39 AM »

It looks just lovely, in the spirit of Proteus.  I look forward to playing it.
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« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2017, 09:08:48 AM »

A quick search brought up it being mentioned William Chyr's Manifold Garden devlog but not actual description.  He hasn't posted here on TIG in a couple of months, so I'd contact him on twitter or other places where he's more active.
I was curious but only had a little time.  Maybe there are others as well. 

Regardless, I'd be interested in your experience.

Yeah i had a bit of a dig too but didn't find a lot of info, so I thought that doing a postmortem might be more useful for everyone, especially focusing on how we got a spot, what they're after and the cost breakdown. Will check out William's post and bump him to see if he has anything he wants to add to the discussion.

Thanks for looking around for me!  Toast Right
Your welcome! Smiley

Did a little more search and found a Giant Sparrow blog post http://www.giantsparrow.com/blog/?p=471  mentioning being at the Playstation Experience with What Remains of Edith Finch in 2015 but nothing along the lines of what you are looking for.  Interestingly Manifold Garden is mentioned being there in of the tweets.
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bombjack
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« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2017, 05:10:34 AM »

It looks really amazing Smiley
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« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2017, 09:58:19 AM »

The art style is lovely! As Mochnant said, made me think of Proteus a lot too. Really looking forward to that PSX postmortem!
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shapeoftheworld
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« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2018, 07:28:02 AM »

Hey friends,

As promised, I wanted to give you my feedback on the whole Playstation Experience I had the chance to attend last December.
While the obvious fact remains that it was absolutely exhausting,I still have very fond memories of the event, and I really enjoyed meeting great developers and fans, and overall feel it was worthwhile.
 
Day 1 was a straight 12 hour shift. Day 2 was another 8 hours, but I was still fatigued from the first day. I try to be quite upbeat and positive while I demo the game and meet people, which may actually not be the best strategy for endurance. Of course I could take breaks thanks to the other team in my booth (representing Hover) but naturally that's when Polygon is going to walk by so it's always nerve-wracking.
 
In hindsight, the usefulness of the event was maybe not so much about getting good press. I had one on-camera interview, a few prearranged meetings, and entertained several members of the press who didn't explicitly announce themselves as such, but the resulting stories didn't go viral or anything.
 
Instead, what I got to see was how players were responding to the game. This is priceless. I've never seen so many people play the game in it's practically finished state, and the difference was palpable.. I feel more confident now, as everyone played it for a nice, long time and seemed to find a personal way of engaging with it.  
Since this was a Playstation event, most people seemed familiar with Flower and Journey so maybe they were already sold on the genre, I guess we’ll find out on launch day.
 
I also found a few bugs, some PS4-specific. Poor players didn't realize I was using them as QA, but it was great to see how many actually took the time to point out what was going wrong and try to understand why.
 
What else? Unlike E3 and GDC, I did not see any industry parties on the 2 days the floor was open. Networking was limited to the people you met at the conference. However, I found Twilight Tickets to Disneyland for $80 for the evening of the second night, so that was fun!
 
So when all was said and done, I would say that the confidence boost, intense playtesting, meeting up with other devs and the few influential hands I did manage to shake was all worth the significant cost in time and energy.

Signing off on one my current favorite screenshots of Shape of The World.
Take Care!


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« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2018, 07:35:04 AM »

Hey very neat esthetic you've got going on.
Reminds me of my game's procedural trees and how they appear out of the ground. Smiley

Really digging the mix of pastel tones with high saturation for contrast.|
It's all very pleasant to look at, which should make exploration captivating.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2018, 05:38:53 PM by Bones » Logged

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« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2018, 11:01:12 AM »

Thanks for the postmortem! Glad you could get something out of the event, even if not the expected good press. Have a pretty long way to go, but hope I get to participate in the PSX someday!
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« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2018, 02:29:39 PM »

Thanks for sharing your experience! Smiley
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« Reply #18 on: January 18, 2018, 04:49:39 PM »

Damn, this is totally my jam. Really liking how it's shaping up. And I totally agree that player feedback is absolutely gold, though it's not quite as gratifying as really good press coverage.
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shapeoftheworld
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« Reply #19 on: May 25, 2018, 05:54:27 AM »

Heya there,

Hope everything is going well for you! Here, I’m preparing to release the game… in less than two weeks now. 5th of June for the PC and Ps4 version, 6th of June for XboxOne and Switch builds, 4 years after the beginning of this adventure. Damn!





If you’re interested, I’m releasing a short demo of the game in the wild on Gamejolt. It’s only the first level, but it’ should give you a fairly good idea! If you do play, don’t hesitate to let me know and give me some feedback here.

Here is the link: https://gamejolt.com/games/Shapeoftheworld/342003

My friend and sound designer Brent Silk has also made the soundtrack available on Bandcamp. Give it a listen, it’s honestly amazing. 

https://brentsilk.bandcamp.com/album/shape-of-the-world

Take care,
Stu.



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