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February 27, 2020, 07:19:44 PM

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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsThe Resurrection - A game about (re)building the past
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amasinton
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« Reply #120 on: December 27, 2019, 04:28:12 PM »

Sounds like you had a ton of work cut out for you!

I was actually thinking more in terms of you having given yourself a really high work-load for having to make finely detailed architecture that also crumbles in realistic wasy.. but I guess that may affect the players too

I'm SO good at giving myself a really high workload!  As one friend told me once, I'm good at creating "rods to beat my own back with".

The crumbling architecture is not too difficult to create though.  I'm relying shamelessly on Cinema4D's Voronoi fracturing system.  I once did a very brief tutorial on how buildings crumble in real life depending on construction technique and materials in response to a question Mark Mayers had posted - and now I've happily gone and totally ignored my own advice!  But, this part is fun.

 It's sorting through the bugs in my time travel logic that's getting to be a grind right now...
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« Reply #121 on: January 07, 2020, 05:22:51 AM »

Ways to Encourage Players to Take Their Time


The past couple of weeks have been filled with Holiday celebrations and activities.  But, in the gaps there has also been time for bug-fixing, a bit of art, some UI brainstorming, and some prototyping (my favorite).  There’s not a lot that’s visually interesting to show for it, though.  So, here’s a montage:



The one thing that is slightly interesting is the image in the upper right corner where I’ve desaturated the sky background.  The richness of the color in the sky changes subtly according to player choice (it works like a morality system).  It’s a feature I’ve wanted to implement for a long time, and I’m pleased it wasn’t terribly difficult to do.

Oh, and the image in the center is proof that I squashed a very stubborn problem in my time travel logic.

Encouraging more meaningful play
I'm very eager to hear in detail what your ideas are for this. I imagine the way you first introduce mechanics to the player (the "tutorial", I suppose) will strongly influence how they interact with them as they move forward. Of course there needs to be more than just this to solve the above problem, but it should at least set the tone.

How to encourage the player to slow down and to explore but without forcing them into a loop where there’s just a lot of busywork to extend the runtime?  I don’t like grind and I don’t want to force the player to participate in it if they don’t want to.  At the same time, I would like to offer something to players who want to go deeper.  I want to reward exploration without forcing it.  A lot depends on the individual player, of course.  And a lot depends on how the whole experience is framed (as Chris noted, above).

Also, I don’t want to tear apart the core systems I’ve already created.

It seems to me that a UI-centered approach might offer a way forward here, and I’ve been prototyping some ideas over the last couple of weeks:

1. Let the player know their options
When a player hovers over part of a building which can be rebuilt a ghosted version of the rebuilt part appears.  In many cases the player can cycle through a series of options and select one.  What they don’t know is that some options do not appear because what is available to them depends on their previous choices and on what they have picked up.

What if I let players know the total number of potential options they have?  This breaks with the way dialogue options are presented in most games, but we don’t have to slavishly follow convention.  I’ve created a set of dots which appears under rebuildable parts on mouseover.  The number of dots indicates the total number of options potentially available and hollow dots indicate options which are not currently available.  The player will hopefully eventually understand that by doing a bit more exploration, they may be able to unlock more options.  We’ll see.   



2. Lore inventory
Lore!  Not my favorite thing in games.  I loved The Witcher III because I could either ignore deep lore or really dig into it if I wanted to, because the crafting system didn’t really matter to core gameplay (you could get by just fine without it), and because much of the lore was in the inventory.  I gather that lore in Dark Souls was this way, too.

Still, lore can be enriching and rewarding and lots of people really do like it.  For those who enjoy it, lore can encourage exploration without feeling like grind.

So, I’m trying to forge an alliance with lore in the inventory system of The Resurrection.  As you explore the island, discover new sites, rebuild, and time travel you will come across items to pick up.  These come in two varieties: architectural fragments and artifacts.  Arch frags are rarer but, when collected, usually unlock new rebuilding options for specific parts of specific sites.  Artifacts have the potential to unlock new time travel options.  All artifacts also ask the player to choose a word or phrase which they feel best describes it.  This choice influences the “mood” of the world (of which the color saturation of the sky is one expression, see above).  So, it is in the player’s interest to hunt around for these pickup items.  So, the player will naturally spend a little time in their inventory and with what amounts to lore in the brief text that accompanies each artifact.  Hopefully the hints and clues in the inventory will also encourage the player to slow down and explore a bit.  I’m toying with the idea of collecting sets of arch frags and artifacts which will reveal further sites and time travel destinations which are optional but there as “side quests”, I suppose, for those who are really interested.

3. Stingy saves
You know what I don’t like in a game? Arbitrary save points and limited save files.  You know what I’ve gone and done here?  Limited save files.  (But I do have quicksave at any point in the game – how nice of me!)  I offer three save slots.  Why would I do this?  Because I want the player’s choices to matter to them a little bit.  I actually want to discourage outright save-scumming.  But, I also want to encourage exploration, so, the option of having three saves on-the-go seems like a decent compromise.  Or maybe I’m just being stingy.



4. To map or not to map?
Although I haven’t played through it all, BotW has had a strong influence on parts of this game.  (Little bits of it pop up everywhere.). This includes the map system.  I really, really like that the player puts the markers on the map themselves.  I’m toying with the idea of including a map of Archangel in the menu system which will allow the player to name known sites and to mark potential new sites.  This will encourage the player to take charge of the story they are (re)creating.  It will also serve as a nice visual record of their progress.  But it will be a tremendous headache to implement (ugh, map interfaces are hard to do right – I’ve tried on other projects).  Do I really want to do this?


In real archaeology maps are vitally important work tools on-site and interpretive tools during analysis and publication.  But are they vital here?

5. Reading the bones
Finally, I’ve been trying to think of a way to present the player’s playthrough as a coherent narrative, one that is their own, one that they can share, but one that isn’t a right pain for them to record.  And also one that isn’t a right pain for me to build.  I’m not even close to a prototype of this system and, like the map, I’m wondering if it’s really going to add anything meaningful.  I like the idea, but perhaps the reality will just be, meh.  I reckon I’ll find out when I get into prototyping.

As with maps, recording and interpretation are vital to realworld archaeology.  Fieldwork is just one tiny (and very fun) part of the job, but it’s all for nothing if it’s not recorded, interpreted, and published (alas, my personal backlog of unpublished archaeology work!). 

So, I’ve been thinking of a mostly automated system that rides along with the player, interpreting what they recreate automatically.  In archaeological writing, the basic way to interpret a site is to split its development into a set of phases, based on the evidence you have recorded.  In the game, the player rebuilds the island site by site.  They encounter sites in their “final” form and rebuild them at their notional greatest extent before abandonment.  This means they will rebuild many sites as multi-phased.  The game knows about these phases because that’s what it uses to represent each site across time according to the player’s choices.  So, it doesn’t seem like too great a leap to have a system which writes this all down for the player.  The player gives the site a name, rebuilds it, and then the report is generated on-the-fly.  This might come with a handful of questions about the site which might encourage the player to explore a bit more and to link up narratives across sites, eventually weaving together the story of the island.  It’s the island story – which, as a summary of all of the sites the player has rebuilt – could then be shared, along with screenshots, as a kind of report for other players to read.

Sounds great!  Also, sounds like a great deal of work.  And, is it necessary?  (Also, it’s just asking for localization problems.)  Again, we’ll see.

I don’t expect all of these features to make the final cut.  I hope only the ones that add true value to the experience will, and I hope I’ll have the clarity of vision to know the difference.  But, for now, these are my thoughts on how I might encourage the player to take their time, enjoy the view, sit and wonder a little while as the sun moves across the sky and the shadows sweep across the little world before them.
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« Reply #122 on: January 07, 2020, 06:05:18 AM »

I'm new here and delighted to find a game that has really made me think about design goals. I love that your game scratches your archaeology itch and I'm curious to find out how the narrative is built over a number of successive rebuilds. Looks great!
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amasinton
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« Reply #123 on: January 07, 2020, 08:20:01 AM »

I'm new here and delighted to find a game that has really made me think about design goals. I love that your game scratches your archaeology itch and I'm curious to find out how the narrative is built over a number of successive rebuilds. Looks great!

Thank you!  I'm curious to see how all of this narrative experimentation will work out, too.  (In fact, there's a feature I've been cooking for a while, which might make the final cut, where there's antagonistic rebuilding going on too, but that's a ways off yet ...)

Thanks for joining me on this journey.
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« Reply #124 on: January 07, 2020, 09:13:37 AM »

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3. Stingy saves
You know what I don’t like in a game? Arbitrary save points and limited save files.  You know what I’ve gone and done here?  Limited save files.  (But I do have quicksave at any point in the game – how nice of me!)  I offer three save slots.  Why would I do this?  Because I want the player’s choices to matter to them a little bit.  I actually want to discourage outright save-scumming.  But, I also want to encourage exploration, so, the option of having three saves on-the-go seems like a decent compromise.  Or maybe I’m just being stingy.

Ever seen the Papers Please savegame system? It has a limited number of branches. Maybe a variant of that would be nice?
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« Reply #125 on: January 07, 2020, 10:11:07 AM »

4. To map or not to map?

Without playing the game myself and getting a feel for it, it’s hard to tell how useful a map would be. I will say, though, that I often find myself frustrated when maps are involved in a game. In most cases, I’m staring at the map/mini-map/ far more often than I’m looking at the actual world. BotW is one game where I didn’t have this problem, and I think it’s because a) you can see your markers in the actual world, b) icons aren’t added to the map until after you’ve discovered them, and c) finding new stuff is easiest when you look for clues in the world itself, not the map.


5. Reading the bones

I always like these “journal” features in theory, but in practice I’ve rarely stopped to actually read through what’s been recorded. That could be due to the way the games make me interact with the feature, or it could just be personal preference. However, I do think having some way of reminding the player where they left off is a great feature, which I wish more games would do.

Actually, this reminds me of how Final Fantasy XV uses photos as a sort of “procedural” personal narrative journal, and how they ultimately tie it into the story in a beautiful and wholistic way. I’ll hold off on explaining that here though, since it’s a bit spoilery and potentially long-winded. Tongue
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amasinton
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« Reply #126 on: January 20, 2020, 03:51:56 PM »

Ever seen the Papers Please savegame system? It has a limited number of branches. Maybe a variant of that would be nice?

You know, I have Papers Please but only played it once (once!) because it was too intense.  My family and I were going through an immigration crisis in the UK and the game was just a bit too relevant.  My wife and I played it, thought it was amazing, but it made us a little nervous.  (Don't worry, everything worked out, we weren't deported or anything.)  So, I never got round to exploring the save system.  Lucas Pope is a genius, of course.  If that's going too far, then he is, at the very least, a very very good craftsman.

I'm going to have to think about this kind of save system for The Resurrection.  I like having limited save slots (and it's easier to code) and I think I like the meta-game where the player knows their choices are semi-permanent.  But this branching system just seems to fit so well with the concept of this game...  (and it looks fun to figure out how to write that system, too.)
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amasinton
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« Reply #127 on: January 20, 2020, 04:06:35 PM »

I will say, though, that I often find myself frustrated when maps are involved in a game. In most cases, I’m staring at the map/mini-map/ far more often than I’m looking at the actual world. BotW is one game where I didn’t have this problem, and I think it’s because a) you can see your markers in the actual world, b) icons aren’t added to the map until after you’ve discovered them, and c) finding new stuff is easiest when you look for clues in the world itself, not the map.

Ditto.  When I started playing AC: Odyssey I tried to stay away from the map and to just let myself understand the world naturally.  That worked for the first island and then I just fell back to the map and now I'm in the map every few minutes, sometimes, chasing markers - which kind-of collapses the whole vast world into a checklist (this is pretty standard criticism of the genre, I know).  Unlike you, I find myself relying on the map in BoTW too much, though.  Even though there aren't many more markers than what I put on it myself.

I'd like to not go to all the trouble of making a map.  Maybe there's more value in my original plan of just letting the player explore on their own.  I've been playing through Kentucky Route Zero in the past week (to prepare for the release of the final act next week) and I'm just so impressed with how they accomplish so much with so little.  Like Lucas Pope, those three guys are excellent craftsmen.  There's a map in KR0, of course, but when there's a map, it's the only interface in those portions of the game.  It's not something you toggle between.

I'd really like to not do a map.  Maybe I won't do a map...

I always like these “journal” features in theory, but in practice I’ve rarely stopped to actually read through what’s been recorded. That could be due to the way the games make me interact with the feature, or it could just be personal preference. However, I do think having some way of reminding the player where they left off is a great feature, which I wish more games would do.

You know, I never read the journals, too.  Which is what I was thinking when I thought of a journal here.  The voice in the back of my mind said, "But you don't read the journals."

Again, maybe I'm just creating busywork for the sake of busywork.  Maybe it's okay if the game moves at a fair clip.

Still, I want to provide some way for the players to reflect on the story they've discovered through their decisions.  And it would be great if there was some way to encapsulate that and share it.  There's a third-act twist I have planned which might help them summarize and contextualize, but I don't know about share.  There's a moment in The First Tree that I've been thinking about stealing because it sort-of accomplishes reflection and sharing...

Actually, this reminds me of how Final Fantasy XV uses photos as a sort of “procedural” personal narrative journal, and how they ultimately tie it into the story in a beautiful and wholistic way. I’ll hold off on explaining that here though, since it’s a bit spoilery and potentially long-winded. Tongue

I ought to play that game.  I'm afraid of the grind.  I only have time in my life for one long game per year.  I was thinking Red Dead Redemption 2 might be that game for me this year, but FFXV kind of intrigues me in a way that none of the other FF games ever have (I remember the original on NES and I was not a fan...)
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« Reply #128 on: January 21, 2020, 02:24:12 AM »

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But this branching system just seems to fit so well with the concept of this game...  (and it looks fun to figure out how to write that system, too.)
Right? That was my thought too: why not treat savegames like branching timelines (which, really, they essentially are, it's just never exposed that way) and integrate that concept with the gameplay somehow.
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« Reply #129 on: January 21, 2020, 01:55:03 PM »

Finally looked through what I've missed since last time. You did a lot! Looks amazing as usual. Kiss

Bit confused about the map discussion since I feel like all I've ever seen are these little isolated square blocks of land with one building on them that I don't get what a map would be used for—I feel like I'm missing something! Shocked
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« Reply #130 on: January 23, 2020, 09:07:37 AM »

Oh wow, I missed several replies here. Not sure why I didn't get emails...

Still, I want to provide some way for the players to reflect on the story they've discovered through their decisions. 

You know, I think this works best for me when it's a natural and recurring part of the game loop. Some sort of "previously on" when opening a save, or a short-ish summary of where the story is at while waiting for a loading screen. To bring up FFXV again, I think the photo system has been most effective in this way. Whenever you rest at a campsite/etc, you're presented with your photos from that day (ones taken both manually and automatically by the AI). You can choose to save or discard any of them, but the point is it naturally incorporates reflection into a common recurring action. I also found it occasionally made me want to look through all the photos I've saved, which lets me reflect on all the preceding events.

I hope all these comparisons and examples don't come across wrong. Just trying to help brainstorm, tossing out my experiences in hopes it gives you ideas. Smiley

FFXV kind of intrigues me in a way that none of the other FF games ever have

It's still a lengthy game, but IMO it's significantly less of a grind than the traditional FF games (many aspects of which I personally can't stand). XV's combat is very different - more action-oriented, engaging, and visually interesting. You also need to have some openness to open-world in order to get the most out of the story. I haven't played RDR2 so I can't speak for that, but FFXV has my full recommendation. Smiley


...I really need to play Kentucky Route 0...
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« Reply #131 on: January 23, 2020, 03:27:09 PM »

Right? That was my thought too: why not treat savegames like branching timelines (which, really, they essentially are, it's just never exposed that way) and integrate that concept with the gameplay somehow.

Yes, and thanks!

New idea: Save games are represented as artifacts - because those are how time travel works in-game.  What If I made the save games part of the inventory?  (But without being intrusive, or difficult to find and use and understand, of course...)

I like this a lot - it's exciting.  I have to think about this for a bit, though...
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« Reply #132 on: January 23, 2020, 03:35:38 PM »

Finally looked through what I've missed since last time. You did a lot! Looks amazing as usual. Kiss

Thank you!

Bit confused about the map discussion since I feel like all I've ever seen are these little isolated square blocks of land with one building on them that I don't get what a map would be used for—I feel like I'm missing something! Shocked

Good question.  Those buildings and isolated blocks of land are part of an island - so, they don't stand in isolation, but they can seem isolated via this clipping/cross-section shader you see running in all of the screenshots. 

I love the cross-section shader effect so much, but, for the past year or so, I've also really been wrestling with the thought that it's one of my darlings I need to kill.  There are few reasons for this, but the biggest one is that it's just confusing in terms of exploration.  I've come up with some ways of dealing with this. 

Just last night I started playing the brilliant A Short Hike, with its explorable island and it's isometric-locked camera perspective.  I like that because there's no in-game map (that I've found, at least) so you have to just get to know the island naturally, but the isometric-locked camera means you're viewing it clipped by the edges of your monitor.  It works very well in that game, so perhaps my cross-section shader has some mechanical (and narrative) value.

Sorry such a long-winded answer...
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amasinton
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« Reply #133 on: January 23, 2020, 03:51:59 PM »

You know, I think this works best for me when it's a natural and recurring part of the game loop. Some sort of "previously on" when opening a save, or a short-ish summary of where the story is at while waiting for a loading screen.

You've got some ideas going in the back of my mind now.  Not sure what shape they're taking but ...

To bring up FFXV again, I think the photo system has been most effective in this way.

I do like in-game photos.  There was something similar done for Firewatch which, if I'm remembering correctly, played during the credits.  Does that happen in Life is Strange, too?  More thoughts are simmering away...

I hope all these comparisons and examples don't come across wrong. Just trying to help brainstorm, tossing out my experiences in hopes it gives you ideas. Smiley

I love 'em!  And I'm grateful for them.  I don't get to talk about this much IRL, and the community here has been so helpful.  Keep 'em coming!  Hand Thumbs Up Right

...but FFXV has my full recommendation. Smiley

Well, okay then, it's on my wishlist.

...I really need to play Kentucky Route 0...

Yes, you do.  Top-to-bottom a masterpiece (but maybe one that takes getting used-to).
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« Reply #134 on: January 24, 2020, 12:55:21 AM »

New idea: Save games are represented as artifacts - because those are how time travel works in-game.  What If I made the save games part of the inventory?  (But without being intrusive, or difficult to find and use and understand, of course...)
Save games are personal notes you can take at any moment for later reference? Like a written memory?

Ooh, or maybe saving a game should be done with an instant camera (to work in the screenshot)
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amasinton
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« Reply #135 on: January 24, 2020, 08:17:30 AM »

Save games are personal notes you can take at any moment for later reference? Like a written memory?

Ooh, or maybe saving a game should be done with an instant camera (to work in the screenshot)

Yes, yes, yes! 

Save games as photos, with notes, laid out on a timeline!!!  (I'm not kidding, actually.)

All the things at once!

Seriously, though, this REALLY has me thinking.
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« Reply #136 on: January 24, 2020, 08:57:25 AM »

Save games are personal notes you can take at any moment for later reference? Like a written memory?

Ooh, or maybe saving a game should be done with an instant camera (to work in the screenshot)
Save games as photos, with notes, laid out on a timeline!!!  (I'm not kidding, actually.)

I love all of these ideas.
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« Reply #137 on: January 25, 2020, 03:35:39 AM »

Yay, photos!
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« Reply #138 on: February 12, 2020, 10:12:52 PM »

Sounds Like Design Questions

Pardon the long delay.  I had a devlog post about audio almost done, but then ran into a few things which wouldn’t take but a morning or two to solve, and then I would post it.  Three weeks later and here we are.

(This is a looong post.)

Happy Anniversary!!!
This devlog is one year old!  I began it back in February 2019 for so many reasons.  I’d been working on the game for a couple of years, but the devlog was a means to share progress as well as to record the process for myself.  Also, I deal with regular depression (yay!) and last February was pretty dark.  The devlog was one piece of my life-raft.  I’m happy to report that this February is much brighter and that the devlog continues to be a source of joy and inspiration.  Thanks, everyone!

I should post some now-and-then comparisons, but I don’t think there has been a lot of change to the visuals of the game.  There have been significant changes everywhere else, but, visually the tone has been pretty steady.


Left: This was the whole world one year ago.  Right: Now, this is just one site of four.

What’s been happening over the past month?

Save Systems Please
The save system is still slot-based.  I just made a few tweaks to it, but I want to experiment with a branching save system a-la Papers Please.  And I want each node in the branch to be a screenshot of the moment the player saved their progress.  I have no idea how to lay all of that out graphically and programmatically – and how to limit it (each save takes up quite a bit of space – because I’m inefficient).  But I think it’s a brilliant way to visualize saves and it fits thematically with the game.  Thanks, everyone, for the stimulating discussion!

Modelling Help
I’m so pleased to announce that Geoff Arnott has agreed to contribute to the 3d content.  Geoff and I have worked together for … gosh … thirteen years on 3d projects for heritage in the UK.  We worked in the same office and on the same projects at the University of York for ages.  He has been interested in the game for a while and has offered to donate some of his time and skill, just because he doesn’t get a chance to work on things like this very often.  Also, he’s a Romanist at heart (which I am not) and he jumped at the chance to build the Roman signal station for the island.  So, we now have four sites: the parish church, the signal station, the hermitage, and the little Roman temple tomb!


Geoff Arnott’s Roman signal station (WiP).  Think “light the beacons!”


All four sites.

Audio
So, I’ve jumped straight into audio work and that’s where most of my dev time has gone for the past month.  This is a new area for me and that really shows in terms of the current quality of the sounds themselves.  But, I’ve been learning, which is a huge motivator for me.  I’ve also been learning that there’s so much I just don’t know.  And that’s okay.  The audio source material, for now, is placeholder.  When I find some funding it’s going to be so exciting to turn this stuff over to someone who knows what they are doing.  Thank you, everyone, for the kind offers of help.  When I can pay you, you will hear from me.  I want to make sure I don’t ask people to work for free (except Geoff, who said he’d donate for now).

Source Material
I’m getting source material primarily from freesound, which is an amazing site.  You never know what you’ll find.  And, if you’re an audio engineer, you can build on it.  I am not an audio engineer.  Nevermind.  I’ve also recorded some noodling around on my out-of-tune 1905 Gramer upright.  So, I’ve also learned a bit about the art of recording (mainly by being not good at it).  We had the piano tuned after I made the recording, which prompted it to go quickly further out-of-tune.  If we ever get it back into tune, I’ll re-record all of the music so far.  It’s just placeholder anyway.

Audio Systems
If the audio source material has been a little frustrating, the audio systems themselves have been a joy.  I like making systems.  Also, John Leonard French’s gamedevbeginner has a treasure trove of clear, high quality, introductory tutorials and tips about audio in Unity.  I have learned a lot from him.



The audio is composed of four interlocking systems: Music, environment, sound effects, and drones.  They are governed by a metronome to time audio events.  The metronome can also be used to time non-audio events, too – which has a lot of potential.  The game has a kind of heartbeat.

The music and environment systems are uncomplicated.  They listen for in-game events, or Ticks from the metronome, and queue audio accordingly.  They will grow as needed in the future, but they’re robust and good enough for now. 

The sound effects system is a little more complex.  The main feature is that it manages a pool of audio sources which get sent out into the 3d locations of events in the world so that sound effects have some sense of sounding near or far to the player.  Also, I made a loop of collapsing debris sounds which plays continually, and the volume fades in and out whenever a portion of a building is rebuilt.  Because it’s looping, you never start in the same place of the loop twice, and this helps keep the sound from being too repetitive (ironically).  I hope.  Same thing for the twinkling sound when artifacts are uncovered.

Drones
Drones, however, are a different story.  They are what has delayed this post for three weeks.  I had this “Great Idea” to incorporate a background drone to help establish mood and a sense of liveliness in the world.  I was thinking about Dunkirk’s sound design.  I built a system that pitched a single looping drone sampled from my piano anywhere along three octaves.  The pitch was tied to player actions and to the overall “mood” of the world.  It literally set the tone of the game.

Drones are stupid-powerful things.  I am not qualified to use them.  They overpower everything else in the game, even when barely audible.  After two weeks of code and experimentation, I’ve turned off the drone system entirely.  At some point I might feel confident enough to turn the system back on – but they have to be used VERY sparingly.

Audio Leads to Design Questions
In which I struggle to convey how audio builds worlds in the player’s mind.
The other thing that has stalled this update was that the sound system led to questions about some key aspects of the overall design and feel of the game.  This is as it should be.  The biggest issue is that I want the player to feel – not always consciously – that their choices really do impact the world they are (re)building.  Audio, mainly music, is an important part of setting the game feeling.  Drones are great at setting a mood.  But, they’re overpowering (see above) and I don’t have the skills to handle them properly.  Also, not every action a user takes will affect the mood of the world – it would be unmanageable and meaningless if they all did.  This is a design question beyond audio alone.

This game has always shared the philosophy of meaningful user choice expressed in Kentucky Route Zero.  Choices are meaningful to the player, but they do not always result in branching the narrative.  Most games which ask the player to make a narrative choice strongly imply that choice means a player will miss content.  KR0 is less interested in branching systems populated by unique content than it is interested in the player’s connection to the story, forged through little choices that are meaningful to them, personally.  The Resurrection does have content that will be missed depending on player choices, but it doesn’t want that to be a source of tension or concern for the player.  This is the player’s (re)construction and it’s okay that not all content will be encountered.

The player’s expectations should be treated with care and respect.  So, I don’t necessarily want the player to be conscious of the impact of all of their decisions, but I do want them to be conscious that the feel of their playthrough is evolving as they play.  So, some of their choices affect an invisible “World Mood” score which in turn affects things like the pitch of a drone (if I ever turn that system back on), which fragment of music plays, the saturation of the background color, the character of the weather.

Trying to manage this balance through audio pushed me toward having the player affect world mood as early as possible.  In fact, their first official act in the game now affects mood.  Immediately after starting a new game, the player is presented with three words to describe the island they are about to explore.  There is no “wrong” choice.  But each choice has a subtle effect on the world mood, and, hopefully, on the player’s own feelings as they move into the game proper.  From the first moment, the player is shaping the world.  The fragment of music the player hears as they encounter the ruins for the first time is based on their choice of word on the opening screen.  Word selection moments will become familiar to the player, because a choice of three descriptive words will be presented each time they discover an artifact.  So, this starting screen serves as a tutorial as well.


What would you choose?

Conclusion
It looks like I have done quite a bit more over the past month than I thought.  I feel like I’m pushing steadily toward a vertical slice, playable demo.  And it also feels like I have the core design nailed down, and so have more of a structure for creating the rest of the island.  I’ve said this before, so it must be true.  Here’s to another year!

Thank you for reading!
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Prinsessa
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« Reply #139 on: February 12, 2020, 11:57:34 PM »

What a nice read to start off my morning! Fun to see that our devlogs both have anniversaries at around the same time. Congratulations! Your update was quite a bit more detailed than mine, haha. Coffee

Can relate to the ups and downs, and how working on something like this can be a very helpful thing there. Hope you're doing as okay as you can right now. <3

I'd be really interested to hear some of that audio stuff, even the drones that you ended up deciding against, just to hear what it was all about.

Cool to hear you've got some help on the game now! Hello, Geoff!! Gomez Your work looks great too!

I like those choices for starting a new game, and how they're so similar to each other. Does make it tricky to make a pick tho! Not sure what I'd choose.

Best of luck going further! Still so very excited about this. Kiss
« Last Edit: February 13, 2020, 01:59:11 AM by Prinsessa » Logged

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