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June 05, 2020, 05:45:19 PM

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electrolyte
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« on: February 22, 2020, 07:12:23 AM »

Hi All

I've been meaning to start this post for sometime now. Over the past 8 months I've been toying with an idea I've had to make an Isometric style adventure game that's room based, puzzle led. It's got to the point where I can see the promise in the idea which has spurred on this post.

So far I've got a basic engine up and running with my main character (Sam) being able to run around and move between rooms.



Interestingly when I started out months ago it was meant to be a third person game but the task of building that soon crippled my progress and after playing with the camera one day the isometric pulled out view stuck. I remembered playing a game called Cadaver by the Bitmap Brothers on my Amiga and loved that view and how you could move around rooms.



The backstory is at the moment it's a continuation to another game I made a while ago called ICARUS.1 - this was a first person game. This new story picks up at the end of the first and explores what's been happening to the colony 'topside'. In the first game you discover that the colony has gone dark with no communication.



Above shows a grey box of a room with the 'tab' being door connections. The current thinking aesthetically is some sort of Diorama because of the room by room view which lends itself well to this. I'm also using HDRP with lots of learnings still to make.

Stay tuned ... twitter http://twitter.com/16bitsperpx
« Last Edit: May 16, 2020, 11:12:38 AM by electrolyte » Logged

electrolyte
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« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2020, 03:11:24 PM »

Been working more on the main players locomotion. They will hopefully have quite a rich move set and I've taken the decision not to have a Jump action but instead make ledges the player can pull them self up onto. My thinking is that I'll be able to weave in some environmental puzzle type play. Making this work across Game pads and keyboard inputs has been challenging but feels like its making progress.

Here I am just running around ... with some creates and stuff. You might be able to notice that the player subtly looks at things that might be of interest (in this case the crates) :D

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Beastboy
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« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2020, 10:10:38 AM »

I like this concept, good luck
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electrolyte
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« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2020, 09:13:34 AM »

Thanks Beastboy

Today I got massively side tracked with graphics and more specifically the HDRP render pipeline. So far I can tick off the main characters locomotion which I'm generally happy with. Full support of keyboard and game pad (xbox controller). Also set up systems to move between rooms using doors.

With this door logic in I can start to grey box out the areas and begin thinking through puzzles. I'm going to systematise puzzles into basic building blocks. Pick up items, drop things and open things. Then extract from there - Item A is needed to open item B for example. I'll also add in some other variable which at the moment will be a players skill tree level ... i think.

Here's a grab of being sidetracked  Wink

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bbtombo
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« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2020, 02:22:24 PM »

woah this is looking cool, interested to see where it goes
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Jasmine
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« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2020, 11:48:43 PM »

I'm really liking the looks of this. The graphics seem very crisp - it makes me think of Deliver Us The Moon. I'm also digging the story matter - dark and with a lot of potential!

You mention the game being puzzle-based. Anything in particular that you have in mind or are you still trying to work out what puzzles will primarily permeate the game?

Keep up the great work!
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electrolyte
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« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2020, 07:30:55 AM »

Thanks bbtombo and Jasmine

Terms of puzzles so far I've just got general interaction shapes such as open, use and pickup. This works great on things like doors, lockers, boxes, switch etc but I'm branching out the same logic to the environment and having to change it in order to progress. My current thinking is a 3 chapter structure. Outside, Inside and a further environment. I've blocked out a lot of chapter 1 and as I continue to develop i find myself changing layouts of rooms multiple times :D But yes still very much working them out as I go. A sort of 'gated' system though.

The main characters move set has things like jumping over stuff and climbing up that again will be used for environmental puzzles.



I'm really into environmental story telling so going to spend a lot of time dressing the rooms - hopefully the fun stuff.

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electrolyte
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« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2020, 06:52:47 AM »

So started to get inventory interactions working (all temp ui). Been getting it to work on keyboard and game pad. Would like the player to be able to pick up objects, use them and drop them. I've also been working along the lines that if the player needs to use a certain item (e.g. a passkey) the item will not be automatically used but instead the player will need to open their inventory and choose what object to use.

A stretch goal will be that using a different item may have very different / unexpected results. From a game design point of view this will add complexity as the outcomes will need to be tracked and created - but lets see.

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electrolyte
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« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2020, 08:49:30 AM »

Hello,

Has anyone had problems with freezing time in Unity (timescale 0) and being able to register keyboard / gamepad input still?

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electrolyte
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« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2020, 02:31:20 PM »

Im starting to love Gizmos! Doors are all set up and can be quickly wired to allow me to make 'rooms'. So far I'm just over 10 rooms for this vertical slice / demo build. Starting to turn my attention to the foes. Some sort of kit bash build androids that were created to help the human colony.

Inventory is all up and running and you can drop items and use them in conjunction with other environmental objects. The current lock down and pulled some focus to what I'm doing which has helped with planning. I've been working on this for nearly a year and really want to focus on getting this demo slice completed.

« Last Edit: April 01, 2020, 04:25:12 AM by electrolyte » Logged

electrolyte
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« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2020, 09:40:31 AM »

Next version of the Inventory UI / UX.

One big decision is moving the mini map into this section so it's not on the screen all the time. The map also fills in as the player enters a room so there's a sort of fog of war exploration. Time slows down to a pause in this mode. I'm going to be writing some colour narrative around each of the artefacts.

« Last Edit: April 01, 2020, 04:25:04 AM by electrolyte » Logged

Jasmine
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« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2020, 09:42:23 PM »

This game is really starting to take shape! I absolutely love the atmosphere! Are these models that you created yourself?

Also, a lot of my developer friends code with particular soundtracks playing in the background. Anything you listen to that inspires the setting of Amiga?
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electrolyte
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« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2020, 12:37:12 PM »

Yeah I listen to all kinds of music when Im deving, headphones on, head down - especially in this period of lock down.

At the moment the game is very much wild track focused with heightened SFX and spacial audio.
Just a side note, 'Amiga' is the platform that Cadaver was released on, an old game that's my vibe.

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electrolyte
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« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2020, 11:17:04 AM »

A lot of refactoring and rethinking the player inventory. Another huge time sink was the save progress. Foolishly kept putting it off and now finally getting around to adding it has been the main cause of the refactoring. Good news is that it's all up and running with players progress, inventory and game state being saved off  Coffee



New inventory UI and a much needed connection to what (or if) the player is currently interacting with anything.
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electrolyte
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« Reply #14 on: May 05, 2020, 11:51:06 AM »

Hi,

So I've been doing some thinking about how moving between room spaces is an important part of Nascent's DNA. Being able to move between spaces on the X & Z horizontal plane is standard and straight forward, but what if you could open up the play space into height? Being able to move between the rooms vertically and from a game design perspective add layers of rooms? I set to work a few evenings ago thinking it was a straight forward dev task, but it ballooned into all kinds of technical issues.



After a lot of work this feature is finally in place. Finally! Players will now be able to navigate up through layers of rooms which opens up all kinds of possibilities.

Crafting

Thinking more about the player inventory and how items work intertwined with puzzles I've decided to change 'Skills' to 'Tools'. Instead of collecting these, it now relays on the players doing some very light crafting - mainly combining two items to create a tool. I'm keen not to over burden the player in this new element so for now it's quite reductive.

I'm sure this feature will remain into vertical slice's launch, so I'll put this through the VS user tests and see if it lands. Below is a shot of ladders in action, finally some vertical movement!



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electrolyte
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« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2020, 08:58:14 AM »

An update on what I've been up to ...

I've now got all the rooms placed and wired up for the first chapter that comprises of the vertical slice release. Nearly all puzzles are in and its a case of testing and refining them. Scratch voice over is being populated and a system built to handle saving. Hold up, I'm just going to say, always think from the beginning about how game states will be saved. I've had to retro fit a system into an 10 month old project and I've been left pulling out my hair to get it all to work!

The design for interactions has been refined with the most recent update conforming all interactions to a verb based system such as 'Open', 'Use', 'Craft' etc. It prompts the players I hope to what their input is about to do.

Crafting, yep there's some light crafting in there now! You can combine items to make tools and this will fold directly into the puzzels. And finally I've added a small amount of camera rotation to the right joystick or mouse input ... add alot to the overall presentation.

Here's a animated gif (sorry it's quite heavy!)



Last things to do are to continue placing VO, refactor some of the interaction items and finish of all the inventory item icons. All most there for Chapter 1's release  Smiley

Oh yeah, and I'm trying the title 'NASCENT PROPHECY' out for size ... (it does fit in with the overall story arch that's being fleshed out as I go)  Coffee
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electrolyte
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« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2020, 07:06:58 AM »

Hi,

Lots has been happening recently as I've been slowly picking away at development. It looks like all the rooms on chapter 1 are now plotted in which forms a big milestone in this sprints development. This content forms the vertical slice that I'll be releasing to listen to feedback and see what the interest is like.

Scratch VO is being hooked up which is starting to help set the tone and underpin the narrative. There's still a lot of writing to be done but what content there is currently is proving a boost. Another new feature has been adding stamina and I've also doubled down on the crafting which is all up and working. A big change has been the addition of allowing player some control over the camera. Using the mouse or right stick enables you to rotate around the player to get a different view as illustrated below:



[ Above ] The standard viewpoint ...



[ Above ] Rotating the camera around to get different perspectives.

This again has added a lot to the feel, I just need to make sure any scenery holes are plugged with this freedom given to the player! I've also been working on a lot of refactoring of stuff behind the scenes, things that aren't visual but need to be addressed. Its proving a lot of fun dressing the 'rooms' and thinking about how to double down on story elements with set dressing.

That's all for now and thanks for reading. I'll leave you with a screen grab of one of the newly dressed :D

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GlacierEclipse
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« Reply #17 on: May 22, 2020, 08:06:58 AM »

Wow this looks absolutely gorgeous  Shocked
Good luck with the development!
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vdapps
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« Reply #18 on: May 24, 2020, 04:05:34 AM »

Hi! Visuals are gorgeous! I'm looking forward to see some gameplay mechanics animations.
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« Reply #19 on: May 24, 2020, 11:14:28 AM »

Great visuals so far. Top-notch atmosphere!
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