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December 12, 2019, 02:33:26 PM

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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsThe Resurrection - A game about (re)building the past
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Pseudavid
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« Reply #40 on: March 16, 2019, 09:11:27 AM »

A very uncommon and interesting concept! I really hope we get to see more of this. I like the style and I really want to see how the thing is really played, it could be fascinating.

Concerning branching, I'd like to say that it's not exactly true that branching narrative has to be overwhelming to a writer. Are you into interactive fiction, amasinton? If you're not, I'd recommend you reading about branching narrative structures by Sam Kabo Ashwell [1] and delayed branching by Choice of Games [2]. These are real mines for ideas about how to do branching and variation without going crazy in the process.

[1] https://heterogenoustasks.wordpress.com/2015/01/26/standard-patterns-in-choice-based-games/

[2] https://www.choiceofgames.com/2011/07/by-the-numbers-how-to-write-a-long-interactive-novel-that-doesnt-suck/
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My interactive fiction is at pseudavid.itch.io

The Master of the Land, 6th in IFcomp 2018. It creates a seemingly dynamic world, gives the player complete agency within that world and then says ‘go
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« Reply #41 on: March 18, 2019, 03:59:55 PM »

Oh, wow!  Thanks for these.  They're treasure.  And thanks for the encouragement.  It means a lot.  And (lots of 'ands') I have been thinking of IF a little in relation to this game, but you've encouraged me to think a little more strongly about it now.
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amasinton
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« Reply #42 on: March 19, 2019, 03:33:19 PM »

So, this week and last week were me figuring out saving and loading.  Who'd have thought it was complicated?  (Everyone.  Everyone.)

I'm at that stage in development now where I'm moving on to content rather than systems, but this also means I need a way to jump into the game at any point to make sure the new content is doing what I think it should be doing.  So, a save and load system is the way for me to do that.  I was going to have to do this eventually, so I just settled-in and did it.  And when I say I did it, I mean, I used Moodkie's amazing EasySave3 (https://assetstore.unity.com/packages/tools/input-management/easy-save-the-complete-save-load-asset-768) for Unity (worst every penny at twice the price).  But, I still had to figure out how to save the state of the game when some of the content is (semi)procedural and how to reliably load it.  I think I've got that, but I haven't done extensive testing.  Anyway, hurrah!

Here's a lovely screenshot apropos of nothing.  I just like it.


Also, I've been trying to get a handle on the flow of logic, or data, or whatever in the game.  I code and don't use visual scripting systems, but it might be handy to have a way to visualize the connections.  So, I've had a go at visualizing the flow or relationships or consequences of the first two mouse clicks of gameplay.  (BTW, draw.io (https://www.draw.io) is a fantastic tool for this!)


Spaghetti code visualized.  I'm afraid I make mostly spaghetti. (The image is blurry because it's a scaled-down snapshot of the graph.)

Finally, thanks to the feedback and discussion here, I've been making progress on using artifacts and architecture to tell stories.  I'm toying with some interesting ideas, the consequences of which I'm not entirely certain of.  Time will tell!
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JobLeonard
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« Reply #43 on: March 19, 2019, 11:44:56 PM »

Oh wow, this concept sounds so amazing and so different from what I am used to in games! I really hope this game comes to life!

In a way, it sounds like sets of related artifacts could be an alternate implementation of side quests. Are there any "side stories", or is it all relevant to the "main story"? Maybe another way to frame that question: what is the end-game like? What determines when you're done?
You know, this makes me think: if you are a small community of humans, everyone's life is like a thread and they are all interwoven. Sure, you can take some out and not explore them, but you'll never get a picture of the complete tapestry that way. And things that may seem insignificant at first can come back later to have unexpected results.

Wouldn't it be the same for architecture?
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ChrisLSound
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« Reply #44 on: March 20, 2019, 07:31:32 AM »

The screenshot is lovely indeed, and something about seeing all the possibilities of a single action is really exciting. Smiley

if you are a small community of humans, everyone's life is like a thread and they are all interwoven.

This is a cool way of thinking about it. Being a musician, I can't help but think of potential musical parallels and consequences... Adding layers to the base music as artifacts are recovered... Basically this. (timestamped - 7:32-10:20)
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« Reply #45 on: March 20, 2019, 03:39:29 PM »

Oh wow, this concept sounds so amazing and so different from what I am used to in games! I really hope this game comes to life!

You know, this makes me think: if you are a small community of humans, everyone's life is like a thread and they are all interwoven. Sure, you can take some out and not explore them, but you'll never get a picture of the complete tapestry that way. And things that may seem insignificant at first can come back later to have unexpected results.

Wouldn't it be the same for architecture?

Yes!  Absolutely.  That's what I'm going for, the interconnectedness of things, buildings, and people's lives.  There are no buildings built without some kind of reason and no buildings changed without someone needing to alter their own environment in response to changes in their life.  We leave traces of our stories in the things we touch.

So, if you see a building that seems oddly-located, or with a feature that seems to not make any sense (blocked doors and windows, odd corners, stairs to nowhere, etc.) that building is telling you someone's story.

(Sorry to wax all poetic!)

This is a cool way of thinking about it. Being a musician, I can't help but think of potential musical parallels and consequences... Adding layers to the base music as artifacts are recovered... Basically this. (timestamped - 7:32-10:20)

Oh my, that's quite a compelling idea!  I've been working on this thing centered on a time capsule with 'hero' artifacts which keep appearing over and over in different time periods and in different contexts...
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JobLeonard
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« Reply #46 on: March 21, 2019, 05:06:39 AM »

(Sorry to wax all poetic!)
Don't apologize, this is the whole appeal of the game concept right here!

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This is a cool way of thinking about it. Being a musician, I can't help but think of potential musical parallels and consequences... Adding layers to the base music as artifacts are recovered... Basically this. (timestamped - 7:32-10:20)
Oh my, that's quite a compelling idea!  I've been working on this thing centered on a time capsule with 'hero' artifacts which keep appearing over and over in different time periods and in different contexts...
Both of these ideas sound great!

So would the 'hero' artifacts be like the relics of saints in Catholicism?
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amasinton
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« Reply #47 on: March 22, 2019, 01:20:07 PM »

So would the 'hero' artifacts be like the relics of saints in Catholicism?

That's a really good observation!  Yes and no.  Yes, in that they gain meaning and significance as they pass from owner to owner, quickly becoming something 'other' than whatever they were when they started.  But no in that they aren't infused with divine power (virtue, as it was called by medieval theologians); they aren't talismans (although, now the I think of it, maybe I won't close off this avenue entirely...).  But, in another sense, yes again because I have the time capsule buried under the high altar of the church, which is where local saints were normally buried.  And altars always have a small relic of some kind enclosed within them (which sanctifies the altar and makes it fit for Mass - which custom is still done today (correct me if I'm wrong, though)).

Whenever I find an artifact on-site my imagination is immediately fired and I begin to ask and imagine how that artifact ended up deposited, and who the people in the chain of the artifact's 'life' were and what it meant to them.  The little things I find the most evocative - rings and knives especially.  I'm trying to capture some of that wonder here.

A colleague of mine was once digging an abandoned ancient city in the mountains in Greece.  They uncovered a domestic house within the city which had collapsed after an earthquake (or a fire, or the city had been sacked - I forget now), preserving the positions of the artifacts within.  They found a number of objects, including a bronze sword and a medallion.  What was really interesting was that the sword was much, much older than the house, of a type not used at the time of the house's destruction.  And the medallion commemorated a victory in a battle from long before, too.  There were other things present, I think.  But, essentially, these two objects suggested that there was a kind of small 'museum' in the house, or memorial, in which artifacts from the past, which had significance for the occupants, were displayed.  Who they were and what all of this meant, of course, we'll never know.  But I've thought and thought about that house for many years.

That's the sort of thing I hope the players of this game will experience, too.

And then there was the time when we found a 4th century vampire's skeleton literally nailed into its grave...  (I'm absolutely serious.)
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« Reply #48 on: March 22, 2019, 03:08:05 PM »

The everyday realities and tiny details of personal lives are the most interesting part of the subjects of history and archaeology for me, and I feel they're far too often glossed over in favor of the epic narratives and grand timespans. I want to know what it looked like and felt like, who the people were and what they thought and felt themselves... I'm glad to see other people here who seem to feel the same way, and certainly glad that there's a game being made about that very notion.
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« Reply #49 on: March 22, 2019, 06:53:32 PM »

The everyday realities and tiny details of personal lives are the most interesting part of the subjects of history and archaeology for me, and I feel they're far too often glossed over in favor of the epic narratives and grand timespans. I want to know what it looked like and felt like, who the people were and what they thought and felt themselves... I'm glad to see other people here who seem to feel the same way, and certainly glad that there's a game being made about that very notion.
It IS encouraging!  Also, your comment is so interesting, coming from someone who is building a galaxy - working on a tremendous scale - to see that the very small scale is also fascinating, too.  Games are a broad church.
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« Reply #50 on: March 22, 2019, 07:06:32 PM »

So, I'm just about to head out on a family vacation - which will be an enforced break from the hand-on of the game for a week.  I got an unexpectedly large amount of work done on the game this week, but it's all code and so there's nothing to really show for it.  So, because I did behind-the-scenes work, here's a screenshot I just liked (rather like the previous one) showing the editor-view of some ruins.  You can see that much of the scene is actually invisible (does that make sense?).  This is all thanks to my shader which clips geometry based on a bounding cube which scales with the zoom level of the camera.  I hope to do a post on the camera and rendering stuff in due time.


The forced vacation will be a good thing as I've lately been distracting myself with creating a save/load system.  During the vacation I will have a chance to really think about how the buildings and artifacts will work together to tell stories.  I'm constrained by my lack of experience in character modeling and animation (I do environments, of course), so that the people are 'implied'.  I'm okay with this (I'm not, but I'm putting a brave face on it) because only having buildings and fragments and artifacts, but missing the actual people, is all we ever get in archaeology - which is part of what makes it compelling.

I'm expecting to sketch out a lot of diagrams of interweaving stories.  I'm really looking forward to doing this while the family bakes in the Arizona sunshine.
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JobLeonard
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« Reply #51 on: March 23, 2019, 07:20:25 AM »

A colleague of mine was once digging an abandoned ancient city in the mountains in Greece.  They uncovered a domestic house within the city which had collapsed after an earthquake (or a fire, or the city had been sacked - I forget now), preserving the positions of the artifacts within.  They found a number of objects, including a bronze sword and a medallion.  What was really interesting was that the sword was much, much older than the house, of a type not used at the time of the house's destruction.  And the medallion commemorated a victory in a battle from long before, too.  There were other things present, I think.  But, essentially, these two objects suggested that there was a kind of small 'museum' in the house, or memorial, in which artifacts from the past, which had significance for the occupants, were displayed.  Who they were and what all of this meant, of course, we'll never know.  But I've thought and thought about that house for many years.
This could be the opening narration of the game, or its trailer, and I would be instantly hooked.

EDIT: Although you risk provoking Chekov's Gun by naming the sword and the medallion, I guess. But if I imagine this being told to me by some kind of mentor figure as I'm about to embark on my own first project (being the setting of this game), it works perfectly
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JobLeonard
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« Reply #52 on: March 23, 2019, 07:24:10 AM »

People following this thread might like this:

https://aeon.co/videos/music-was-ubiquitous-in-ancient-greece-now-we-can-hear-how-it-actually-sounded
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« Reply #53 on: March 25, 2019, 09:48:20 AM »

Wow, this is easily my favorite thread right now.

A colleague of mine was once digging an abandoned ancient city in the mountains in Greece.  They uncovered a domestic house within the city which had collapsed after an earthquake (or a fire, or the city had been sacked - I forget now), preserving the positions of the artifacts within.  They found a number of objects, including a bronze sword and a medallion.  What was really interesting was that the sword was much, much older than the house, of a type not used at the time of the house's destruction.  And the medallion commemorated a victory in a battle from long before, too.  There were other things present, I think.  But, essentially, these two objects suggested that there was a kind of small 'museum' in the house, or memorial, in which artifacts from the past, which had significance for the occupants, were displayed.  Who they were and what all of this meant, of course, we'll never know.  But I've thought and thought about that house for many years.

That's the sort of thing I hope the players of this game will experience, too.

I can imagine your eyes lighting up when you heard this story. Now you're taking that essence and passion, and making a game all about it. It's just so cool. You have a great way of telling these stories too, so I'm very excited to see how you do it in-game.

This could be the opening narration of the game, or its trailer, and I would be instantly hooked.
...
if I imagine this being told to me by some kind of mentor figure as I'm about to embark on my own first project (being the setting of this game), it works perfectly

Absolutely same here.


This was fascinating. Thank you for sharing!
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« Reply #54 on: April 01, 2019, 09:31:35 PM »

I'm back from vacation and there's so much interest and encouragement here for this game!  Thank you!

This could be the opening narration of the game, or its trailer, and I would be instantly hooked.

This is intriguing and something I will add to the mix of things to consider - I hadn't thought of 'hooks' for trailers or game openings.  I have a very particular frame for the narrative (such as it is), but something like this IS a good hook.  Hmm.  I'll think about it some more - I like it!

Also, thank you for posting that Aeon link about recreating ancient music.  I've done acoustic reconstructions of medieval churches for various research projects in the past and am well familiar with how hearing the past can bring it to life instantly.  I just recently worked on a project where we made eighteenth century prisoner graffiti literally speak as visitors explored the pictures prisoners had scratched into the walls of their cell 250 years ago.  People immediately connected with the past in that place through that project.

Wow, this is easily my favorite thread right now.

Cheers!  That's a good sign and I'm glad you're enjoying it so much.  So am I!

There will be more archaeological anecdotes to come.  Its unavoidable.
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« Reply #55 on: April 01, 2019, 09:47:11 PM »

Post-vacation report:

I really focused on the core narrative of the game and have discovered that at its heart are six artifacts.  Most of these I have taken from real-life, my own experience, and the work of my friends, because I am most familiar with these and they always seem to come up when I talk about how places and objects tell stories.  I'm very pleased to share with you that I have permission to include one of my favorite objects: the Star Carr pendant - an 11,000-year-old piece of decorated jewelry that colleagues of mine found a few years ago at the important Mesolithic site or Star Carr in Yorkshire. 

Check it out here: http://www.starcarr.com/pendant.html

Illustration by Chloe Watson

Also, while away, I began drawing more diagrams, to help my thinking and structuring the game.  This time, I've been diagramming the paths of these core artifacts through time and across the island.  It has been tremendously helpful.

One of the big challenges in designing this game is to strike a balance between directly telling the player a story and letting the player discover a story for themselves.  This is a hand-crafted game but also, sort-of, procedural.  Creating a framework where I provide the outline and the players the specific details is difficult.  The same holds true for how these artifacts work within that balancing act.  As narrative devices they run the risk of being over-powered.  But they're some of the pillars of the design, so they have to be powerful.

Anyway, diagramming their shifting temporal and spatial paths has been so refreshing, and helpful.  It also helps to structure the side-narratives represented by other artifacts and places.  So, expect more diagrams from me - and also so more real progress on the gameplay and environments themselves.  (I just have to figure out why my save system isn't saving and loading meshes ... should be easy, right?)
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« Reply #56 on: April 02, 2019, 03:17:57 AM »

This devlog is <3

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I'm very pleased to share with you that I have permission
Out of curiosity: what do you need permission for? Isn't an 11,000-year-old piece of decorated jewelry "public domain", so to speak?

Quote
This is intriguing and something I will add to the mix of things to consider - I hadn't thought of 'hooks' for trailers or game openings.  I have a very particular frame for the narrative (such as it is), but something like this IS a good hook.  Hmm.  I'll think about it some more - I like it!
I want to clarify: I don't think it has to be connected to the actual in-game narrative in any way. It just works as a text that "sets the scene" thematically and sucks you into this right mindset, without necessarily having any concrete connections to the story. It gives the feeling of the game being part of a larger, richer world than just the concrete gameplay in front of you.

It could also be a bit like the Grunwalski scene in La Haine (spoilers if you haven't seen the movie). Two of the main characters, Vince and Hubert are having an argument, and suddenly this old man intervenes with a seemingly unrelated story (but if you listen closely you can tell how his tale does relate to their situation), then disappears from the story completely.



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amasinton
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« Reply #57 on: April 02, 2019, 10:28:48 PM »

It could also be a bit like the Grunwalski scene in La Haine (spoilers if you haven't seen the movie). Two of the main characters, Vince and Hubert are having an argument, and suddenly this old man intervenes with a seemingly unrelated story (but if you listen closely you can tell how his tale does relate to their situation), then disappears from the story completely.

That's amazing.  (The scene from the movie (with which I am not familiar) and the larger point you're making with it.)  The way you're thinking opens up a lot of flexibility.  It's 'loosely-coupled' to the narrative of the game, but still a good hook into the mood or the frame of mind ideal for engaging with the game.

Mind blown.

Thank you.
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JobLeonard
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« Reply #58 on: April 03, 2019, 02:21:43 AM »

Thanks, glad the conversation is opening up doors of new possibilities in your mind! Grin

I mean, my thoughts are in response to your ideas this dev thread too, and that can be said for everyone else who replies. So you can take some credit for your work inspiring this type feedback in us Wink
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« Reply #59 on: April 07, 2019, 03:34:54 PM »

Not a tremendous amount of progress this week, I'm afraid.  All of my dev time was eaten up by tax return preparation.  Joy!

However, I have started building low-poly cliff faces (without benefit of sculpting then decimating, which would be the smart way to do it, but I'm insane and like the challenge of building them low-poly native from scratch).  Nothing worth showing a picture of yet, but there's a vignette in my mind I'm working toward, so I'll post when it's a little more presentable.

Also, I just came across this about the world's oldest museum (also, a bit of professional embarrassment that I had to learn it from gizmodo).  Echoes that story I told earlier of the shrine or museum my colleague found in a ruined city in Greece.  World's oldest museum

Finally, I forgot to answer why I asked for permission to use the Star Carr pendant.  The pendant is absolutely public domain after 11,500 years, but as a courtesy to my friends and colleagues who discovered and published it, I asked permission.  More as a 'blessing', I suppose.  Just good professional practice.

Hopefully I'll have something more interesting to post late this week!
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