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1357831 Posts in 62997 Topics- by 54838 Members - Latest Member: SirTrashyton

March 26, 2019, 05:16:19 AM

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Prinsessa
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Ao
« on: February 10, 2019, 06:28:34 AM »



Ao

After nearly two years of planning, prototyping in Unity and building a custom engine, I've started working on this game for real! Still early days, but I always like sharing the whole process, so hopefully you'll be seeing the mechanics popping into place not too far into the future from now. I thought this would be a good time to start a devlog.

This detective story sees you travelling back in time as a ghostly apparition in order to untangle the events leading up to the devastation of your small seaside town, leaving all inhabitants including yourself dead. Trapped in a time loop starting a couple of hours before the disaster you collect memories with the help of your camera and observational skills in order to interact with people unaware of your presence indirectly and expand the temporal bubble around town and gain access to more events.



Latest

Currently I've got my character and camera controller going, with a little greybox world for testing. The time system is in place, and there are placeholder NPC's running around according to their own schedules which can be wound and rewound using the time mechanics and changed dynamically by player interaction:





Plans and prototypes

Having prototyped and planned for quite some time already, I've got a good general overview of what I need to be doing, and how. One thing I've been spending a lot of time on is developing a shader for the watercolour-inspired art style I have in mind:



I did this in Unity and I've yet to port it over to my custom engine, and I'm not actually planning on doing so for quite a while. But as you can see in the GIF I have been putting some effort into animating and integrating my main character to kick this project off, because they're obviously going to be in the game anyway, and help provide a better general gameplay feel, and serve to balance out the greyboxing that will otherwise dominate the game for some time initially as I work in the main mechanics without too much graphical fanfare~

I'll be explaining further plans and ideas as I implement them so that everything isn't just walls of text! I'll be trying to keep this devlog somewhat lean on updates and details (unless explicitly requested) so if you're interested in nitty-grittier day to day updates, you can follow me on Twitter! c:

« Last Edit: March 12, 2019, 01:19:33 AM by Prinsessa » Logged

ProgramGamer
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« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2019, 09:15:06 AM »

Obviously, posting to follow!
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noomnau
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let's do this, quick and painful!


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« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2019, 09:17:05 AM »

Great shaded art, i like it very much!
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qMopey
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« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2019, 01:41:21 PM »

Following Smiley
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amasinton
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« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2019, 03:11:06 PM »

Very nice.  Love the watercolor shader. 

The idea of investigating your own demise is particularly intriguing.  I look forward to watching your progress!
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Prinsessa
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Ava Skoog


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« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2019, 11:50:23 AM »

Thanks, everyone! <3



Want to keep my main post up to date, so I'm dumping the original post here:



0

I'm kicking the thread off with a GIF of actual gameplay, currently in its humble beginnings with a camera controller (I wrote a tutorial!) and character movement and some animation blockouts having been my focus during the last few weeks:



« Last Edit: March 12, 2019, 01:16:51 AM by Prinsessa » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2019, 12:56:27 PM »

I have to admit I'm more sensible to projects using a custom engine, probably because it's the path I advocate for :p

Can't wait to see the mechanics and more scenery using that watercolor shader.
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ChrisLSound
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« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2019, 10:22:52 AM »

Awesome! Following Smiley
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« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2019, 09:48:16 AM »

Following.  Smiley





Edit: May i ask what happened to that submarine and cat game?
« Last Edit: February 23, 2019, 10:06:02 AM by Zorg » Logged
Prinsessa
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« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2019, 05:03:57 AM »

<3

May i ask what happened to that submarine and cat game?
Cat game was always meant as a collaboration between me and my partner and when she wasn’t really feeling up to it anymore it kind of stopped.

This new game is basically a continuation of the submarine game, the idea just changed so much over time that I wasn’t able to conceive it in the same way anymore. And it was sort of not based on my own premise initially to begin with, so at some point I had to ask myself why I kept working on that out of principle instead of really making what I would actually like to play myself... And at this point I finally feel like I have the skillset necessary to do so! So I’m really excited about this, it feels “me” more than any previous large project I’ve ever worked on. Doing all those LD games over the years now I think I’ve found my style...
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Prinsessa
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« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2019, 04:06:14 AM »

1

Greyboxing and pathfinding

After almost two weeks of downtime I've had a very productive current week!



Here's what I've been doing:

  • Modelling a little greybox world with uneven terrain to start testing slopes and navigation, and adding support for mesh colliders to the physics system so that this model itself can be used as a collider for the character to interact with and walk on.

  • Adding the Recast and Detour libraries for navmesh generation and pathfinding respectively to my engine. A navmesh (navigation mesh) is the geometry that defines where and how an area can be traversed by a pathfinding algorithm, and I'll be using this to move NPC's around without walking through walls and so on after they've dynamically decided where to go.

  • Blocking out code for NPC's to be going about their individual business using pathfinding to find their way around the greybox mesh, using a blocky test model. A start point and an end point can be used to calculate a path on the navmesh that only traverses valid geometry, respects terrain elevation and so on! Different parts of the mesh can be tagged with a cost so that the NPC prefers to walk on lower cost triangles, so they won't wade through water if they can cross a bridge instead for example.



Above, in order: collision mesh, navmesh and a path calculated on the navmesh from A to B!

« Last Edit: March 12, 2019, 01:22:48 AM by Prinsessa » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2019, 08:29:33 PM »

An interesting premise AND you're building your own engine!

My goodness, a true polymath!

It's fun watching this develop; it seems like a very satisfying project - art AND code - something to satisfy both halves of the brain.
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Prinsessa
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« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2019, 01:18:44 AM »

Wow, thank you! Embarrassed
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Prinsessa
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« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2019, 03:21:03 AM »

2

Time loop and NPC schedules

This week I've been porting over a system, that I'd already designed for an earlier prototype, to my own engine: scheduling events for NPC's over the course of the game's time cycle in a way that can be sped up, slowed down and rewound by the player!



Here both NPC's walk along a path, stop for five seconds at the foot of the slope, and then walk along another path, in opposite directions.

As a little extra touch, at the end of the GIF you can see the colour of the sky change over the course of three hours as time is sped up by a factor of a thousand. I'm not sure yet how many hours the player will have to explore town before the disaster strikes, but I do know that I want it to play out in real time like this.

The player is going to be able to make NPC's change their course of action by revealing visions to them through photographs, which is going to have somewhat of a "controlled butterfly effect" as their different choices may in turn affect those of others, and so on, but not to the point where it becomes impossible to keep up for the player, and not to the point where I as the game designer lose control over the game's writing~

« Last Edit: March 08, 2019, 05:33:37 AM by Prinsessa » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: March 08, 2019, 04:55:58 AM »

As someone who loved Majora's Mask for the NPC quests in town, this is looking very promising! Seems like you're going to put your own spin on it though, which I'm even more excited about. I'll be patiently looking forward to more progress on this!
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Prinsessa
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« Reply #15 on: March 08, 2019, 06:29:40 AM »

Thank you! In a way I suppose this will be like a mega version of Anju & Kafei extrapolated into a whole game. Cheesy And yes, while the core mechanic is shared with MM, my hope is to explore what else can be done with it in order to make something hopefully quite different. I've always thought it's a super interesting premise!
« Last Edit: March 08, 2019, 10:15:21 AM by Prinsessa » Logged

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« Reply #16 on: March 14, 2019, 11:13:23 AM »

3

Photography mechanic

Somewhat incomplete but good enough for me to move on to the next system for now, se here's an update! I've been working on letting the player snap photos:



  • Added a first person controller in addition to the third person one, with a different field of view for what the character's polaroid camera sees.

  • Implemented a barebones algorithm to detect who or what is in the photo and whether they can be identified, which will fail if not enough of them is in the frame, if they are facing the wrong way, if something is in the way, if they are too far away and so on.

  • Rendering the actual photo to a separate image that always has the same 4:3 aspect and resolution regardless of what the screen looks like on whatever system/settings the game is running on. Plan on updating the first person view to match, with letterboxing as necessary, and to display in real time what can be seen so that the player doesn't have to be unsure if they were able to capture what they wanted in a photo.



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« Reply #17 on: March 14, 2019, 12:42:50 PM »

It's been awesome watching progress on Twitter. Truly impressive work!

I really like the camera mechanic, but I'm curious how exactly it'll be used in gameplay. What's the purpose of taking pictures from a game mechanic standpoint?
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Prinsessa
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« Reply #18 on: March 14, 2019, 01:47:59 PM »

Thank you so much! ;v;

Alongside the time system, photography is basically one of the two main mechanics of the game. Since you're like a ghost that other people can't see, you can't interact with them directly. Instead you can take photos of people, places or situations of interest and then "possess" people with visions of what's in these photos to make them react (and thereby change their course of action during that cycle of the time loop) or allow you to extract information in the form of memories, which is what this game is all about, unlocking new memories to get access to more information and more places; the town itself is unlocked piece by piece as you get access to memories of what went on that day from people who were there to see it! c:
« Last Edit: March 15, 2019, 02:53:18 AM by Prinsessa » Logged

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« Reply #19 on: March 14, 2019, 05:35:07 PM »

Oh that sounds really interesting! How open-ended will it be? Multiple ways to progres, or maybe something more linear?
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