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JobLeonard
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« Reply #740 on: May 23, 2022, 01:58:52 PM »

55

Culture

Something infernal is in the air! Who, Me? I come back to the forums after weeks away, and one thread shows burning mechanics and another a cosy fireplace. And here I am to discuss flames as well.



Some fire I made some time ago. Might use a similar technique for this game.

I haven't really worked on the game per se since last, but coming up with names for characters I got inspired to get back into working more on the language stuff, which informed new ideas about the culture, and in turn some things for the actual game.

So how about some lore story time in the interim? Smiley

Fire

Game plays out in a seaside town. But a deeper history permeates the cultural sphere of the area. The mountainous backdrop of the setting is the link to the original homelands, where volcanic soil offered fertile ground for settlements, making the fiery craters kind of a big deal, also for being, well, dangerous.

Maybe eruptions are precisely why some people moved away. But they took their fire, and their reverence for it, with them. And the new settlement remains built around a central hot spot.



Hopefully I can show this shrine with an actual fire lit soon enough.

The same word, mee refers both to fire and to the centre or core of something, such as this town square. In the home this would be the hearth, in the middle of a combined kitchen and living room. Where it’s not necessary or practical to have a literal fireplace, a symbolic mee can be seen, such as a fountain, a flowerbed, or a chandelier.

Water

Of course in the new location of our previously rocky friends the sea is also a big deal.



Updated 3D blockout of Appa with fancy filters to mask the incompleteness. The reality is far more colourful!

The town, like the game, is named for this, ảo meaning salt or sea, and Appa (Ảhba) being a derivative thereof. It also refers to kelp and other edible seaweed, which are cultivated and harvested here.

Of course besides all the stuff powered by naturally flowing water, this has also led to a nautical way of life for many residents. Ships and other boats. That lighthouse where our main character lives, itself a kind of mee on the water.

Anchors

Sailing around on them ships, occasionally finding another spot in the area to live on, the expression "to drop anchor" came to also mean "to settle down". In a fusion of the extended senses of "devoting oneself to something" and "settling on an agreement", the word ảdla today refers to the task of our good friend from the previous devlog update, the town coordinator, Atwa. Settling agreements. Making deals. Coordinating people's devotions.



Atwa, Ảhdo, literally means anchor. There is no difference between titles and names.

Thus people in town who are able to contribute something to the community go through the coordinator to figure out how it can best benefit everyone. Again our main character as we know has settled, or cast their anchor, in the lighthouse, helping shippers to safely do the same in the literal, original sense. Cheesy

Steam

If you're not heading to sea, perhaps you're going back deeper into the hilly mainland. As old meets new so does fire meet water as you hop on a train cart pulled by a locomotive with a steam engine (both the same word: dodsa).



Another spiced up image of the 3D blockout. Can't wait to design a proper train!

Ceremonies

Another collision of the two times and places in history greets us early in the game as we see the funeral of one of the characters in the first witness account from none other than Atwa. Once again the big mee on the square is involved, lit up in the evening as attendees of the rite bid their farewells. A torch is lit from the bonfire and the boat holding the honoured is set ablaze and allowed to drift to sea while the same is done to paper lanterns that accompany the vessel into the night.



Have some happy whales instead of an actual funeral. There will be more houses so not quite as clear a view.

The bonfire is also used on less unfortunate occasions, or even just as a nice place to gather on a cold winter's day. Depending on the purpose, substances are used to colour the fire and the smoke in different ways. When there is no fire, it may be decorated as a flower bed, again with meaningful variations. It may also serve as something of a wishing well but with the offerings consumed by flames, another leftover from the volcano days.

We can also see these dualities represented in Appa's emblem, of water and fire, wet and dry, dark and light, night and day. It goes on. The sun rising between the ancestral mountains and setting on the horizon of the new home by the sea. Old and new~ Nothing we haven't seen a million times over in the real world, and perhaps cheesy, but I like this sort of stuff! Gomez



Anyhow, that's enough filler content! Cheesy See you again!


3D Blockout? You mean http://blockout.net/blockout2/ ? Tongue

But seriously, great update as always!
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ChrisLSound
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« Reply #741 on: June 01, 2022, 08:04:40 AM »

Wow, amazing update! It's incredible that you have a custom language on top of a custom engine on top of doing everything else yourself.

I love the thoughtfulness behind everything. Can't wait to explore this town and culture.

And yeah, gonna need to see that train ASAP Who, Me?
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oahda
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« Reply #742 on: June 10, 2022, 09:41:17 AM »

Thanks for all your great replies c': Hope I can get the light right. And the train.

Some of this stuff is older than the game so I'm glad I was able to mesh it all together and make everything more developed as a result.

(and that old blockout game is cool!!)
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oahda
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« Reply #743 on: June 27, 2022, 12:29:43 PM »

Took another month-ish break but back on it again.

No big update yet but a little preview:

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oldblood
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« Reply #744 on: June 27, 2022, 01:01:45 PM »

Hey, welcome back! Glad to see you're trying to find work/life balance on all this. And wow, thats so awesome! Love it. Looking forward to seeing/reading more in your next update.
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kevin andersson
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« Reply #745 on: June 27, 2022, 08:27:28 PM »

Glad to see you're still working on this. And nice to hear that you're working on your work/life balance, it's important!
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Alain
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« Reply #746 on: June 28, 2022, 12:03:23 AM »

Nice, looking forward to hear more about the scheduler/sequencer. It looks quite elaborate!
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RealScaniX
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« Reply #747 on: June 29, 2022, 07:47:28 AM »

Ah, that is a cool behaviour editor. Will it react to collisions with other people or objects? I mean is there a pathfinder used for the segments? Will it pause to talk to the player and resume the path afterwards?
I think this can be used to bring the town to life in a nice way if you create lots of different action nodes to be used in the path. Like:
Person 120: walk to town square, buy flowers, walk to person 152, talk to person 152, walk to pub.
Person 152: idle on town square, if talked to by person 120 -> reject flowers, laugh
 
^^
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vdapps
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« Reply #748 on: June 30, 2022, 09:04:05 AM »

Nice to read news from you! Good job with that editor. Gentleman
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oahda
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« Reply #749 on: July 03, 2022, 04:20:49 AM »

Thanks, everyone! Yeah, this is also just (one of) my spare time project(s) so yeah, it can be hard to find the time or energy sometimes but these bursts are better than nothing Smiley

RealScaniX, that's more or less how it used to work, but since I decided that you can no longer interact in the past (it's more like walking through 360 footage now) it's no longer necessary, which means I can premake all of this stuff, serialise it, and easily jump to any point in the timeline without simulating up to that point, which is going to make it easier to work with.

The old system will still be used a little bit for interactions in the present timeline tho. You can still make changes to the past by coaxing additional info out of your witnesses, but it's just a "branch" system now so also premade and thus needs no logic, just needs to check a flag for what branch to use. That said it's hopefully going to be quite sprawling and provide almost the same effect as a truly dynamic system.
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oahda
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« Reply #750 on: July 07, 2022, 08:30:50 AM »

56

Schedule editor

Hello! Still lots to do but past this point I have to do some thinking, so here's the update on the recent sneak peek.



This update focusses on the editor functionality so please excuse the surrounding jank Cheesy I've disabled the watercolour shader, the collisions are a bit off, and that's not one of the new character models since they're not animated yet.

Why?

After all the prototyping and hand-coded schedules it's finally time to get some real content into the game once and for all! Gomez

I'm rushing through making this editor as fast as possible. It only needs to be just good enough for me to be able to add stuff visually without frustrations. It's all the same underlying data and systems as before, now with an interface.

How?

The editor has always been on top of the actual game so playback is running the same simulation code.

For now the schedules are saved with the scene using the same serialisation system as everything else. I might want to adjust that later to keep memory usage and file size down, but it was a nice way to get up and running with this immediately.

In short, basically everything was in place already to make this a fairly easy addition at this point, which was nice!

What?

Hopefully the GIF speaks mostly for itself. It's basically like a video editor timeline where the "clips" are the different schedule event types. Moving, waiting, talking, changing animations…

You jump into recording mode and you can start adding stuff. Some event types are missing but these are the most useful ones besides the kind used to set situational metadata for the snapshots we've seen before.



Things are as automatic as possible, for example precalculating a movement path on the navigation mesh and setting a duration based on the distance and "gait" (walk, jog, run…).

Where and when?

Everything is colour-coded so that the timeline matches the gizmos in the 3D viewport so I can see time as well as place of an event, also highlighting the currently active one by giving the label a background in the timeline and making the gizmo bigger in the scene.

Hand Fork Left Here's a still of another test with a right skewer-looking pile of gizmos:



Whither?

Where does this all lead? Here's the result of the above in game, tho again with all the jank mentioned at the beginning Tongue



I still have things to add especially regarding synchronising multiple schedules.

I also need to set up animations for the new models and bring some stuff over from the Unity prototype. So there will probably be at least one or two more update cycles before I really get going. But things are looking good! Smiley

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oldblood
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« Reply #751 on: July 07, 2022, 10:00:08 AM »

The schedule editor is very cool, even with all the "jank", and a surprisingly intuitive way to manage events just like a video editor. I didn't see it in the GIFs but I assume you can select and modify or remove things from the timeline just by selecting them? Or is that more just using the backwards and forward arrows? Looks like you're making a lot of progress towards being able to start actually getting the game and narrative in! Nice work.
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Alain
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« Reply #752 on: July 08, 2022, 02:28:10 AM »

The editor looks really polished and like such a productive way to make schedules for your NPCs. "Just resting a bit" in the gif made me laugh :D
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oahda
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« Reply #753 on: July 09, 2022, 09:35:17 AM »

Thank you both Smiley No select/remove at the time of writing but yes, that's the plan~
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JobLeonard
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« Reply #754 on: July 10, 2022, 04:09:30 AM »

> hello talk talk

Hahaha, peak writing, it can only get worse from here. Time to ship it! :p
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oahda
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« Reply #755 on: August 26, 2022, 08:04:03 AM »

57

Rescheduling

Hey. Been having a bit of a rough time. Before that I did some work on something that's too early to cover but I have a different update for today.

I'm okay, but not feeling very social, so I'll probably just leave this here and go back off the grid for a bit again. As always thanks for the last reply <3

Schedule editor updates

So I got back into doing some work on this to keep my mind busy. I sort of powered through most of the rest of the schedule editor functionality over the last week and a half or so.



Same silly events as before to bring some levity into this. All working pretty nicely now. Almost done. Hand Thumbs Up Right

Schedule implementation updates

Been able to simplify a lot of the code and data format for this. Could straight up delete lots too. There were some special cases before that don't need to be there now. Some of it did make sense when setting schedules up programmatically but the visual interface changes things.

  • "Wait" events are gone and the game simply deals just fine with literal time gaps between events now instead.

  • Events can just overlap now instead of there being special "multi" events. The code makes sure they're sorted by starting time so no more events than needed are visited every frame.

  • Animation state events and "verb" events (see below) were previously done with one instant event to enter the state and another to exit. They are now single events, with a set duration, that enter the state on start and revert it on end. This way I can't forget to exit a state and don't have to worry about always moving two events together.

  • Interactions between characters are not a special game state anymore since those "verb" events already keep track of who's involved with whom and there are other ways to deal with cinematic camera movement if needed at all anymore. So there's no longer a dedicated system there which is great. There's still a generic "queue" system that can do cutscenes or non-past timeline conversations just fine and can still be combined with schedules.

This made the editor easier and faster to finish up too since it doesn't need to take any of these things into account now.



The "verbs" are what contain the situational information in these nodes used to ask present timeline characters about going-ons in witness accounts. They're simply placed in the schedules with as verb events in the timeline editor (but that's one button I haven't added yet).

Game design updates

Originally I gave each NPC a fully dynamic script where they could reschedule themselves on the fly based on player interactions. I don't need this anymore since you can't interact in the past now.

However in the new design you will see changes to the timeline based on your interactions in the present. These changes are instead written beforehand so can be done in the editor too. Scripts gone!

The "branches" in the editor sidebar are for when different witness accounts disagree on what an NPC was doing at some point in time. The first branch is always used but may contain gaps where other branches take over depending on which account you're viewing. New ones unlock based on additional non-past conversations with the witnesses (e.g. getting them to admit something based on evidence).

I've worked out a lot of how the player will actually see and manage this stuff, but that's a future update of its own… Blink

Upcoming updates

While I can already start blocking out some of the past timeline now, I feel more like programming at the moment, and I want to channel that into some really long overdue cleanup of the very core of the engine code before it really comes back to bite me.

I know better than I did years ago starting the engine and there are some really big annoyances that I've been wanting to deal with for ages but I didn't want to halt progress on the game. I think I've figured out a way of sneaking this in incrementally without breaking higher level code (like this schedule editor or the actual game logic), so I hope to be doing a little bit of back and forth. New shiny engine without actually rewriting the engine and throwing away years of progress or taking too much time from the actual game! It's going to benefit the editor lots too.

I already started and I don't think the first (but most important) stage will take too long. As with the modified schedule code, I'm more so looking at what I can remove than at what I can add~

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Alain
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« Reply #756 on: August 26, 2022, 10:37:25 AM »

Hey. Been having a bit of a rough time. Before that I did some work on something that's too early to cover but I have a different update for today.

I'm okay, but not feeling very social, so I'll probably just leave this here and go back off the grid for a bit again. As always thanks for the last reply <3

Still can't get over how much I like your schedule editor. Thanks for keeping us posted and there is no need to always be super social. Take your coding time, we won't go anywhere Wink
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oldblood
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« Reply #757 on: August 27, 2022, 06:54:15 AM »

Hey Prinsessa, stay off-grid as long as you need! Prioritize yourself.

While I can already start blocking out some of the past timeline now, I feel more like programming at the moment, and I want to channel that into some really long overdue cleanup of the very core of the engine code before it really comes back to bite me.

I know better than I did years ago starting the engine and there are some really big annoyances that I've been wanting to deal with for ages but I didn't want to halt progress on the game. I think I've figured out a way of sneaking this in incrementally without breaking higher level code (like this schedule editor or the actual game logic), so I hope to be doing a little bit of back and forth. New shiny engine without actually rewriting the engine and throwing away years of progress or taking too much time from the actual game! It's going to benefit the editor lots too.

One of my friends who has been developing his game for several years on his own recently went through this same process for a few months. He wasn't exactly excited about it because it doesn't always feel like 'progress' or even things he can show, but it has really paid off with a much more stable and optimized experience for both him as the developer and the eventual players. So I think this is a great approach, especially if you're really in the mood to program. Good luck!
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JobLeonard
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« Reply #758 on: August 29, 2022, 01:12:56 AM »

What the other guys said: thanks for the update, and definitely take care of yourself first. Sorry to hear things are rough IRL, hope you'll get into calmer waters soon!
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ChrisLSound
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« Reply #759 on: August 29, 2022, 10:38:17 AM »

Wishing you the best! This all looks/sounds great Hand Thumbs Up Right
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