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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsFeducia - Classic 1bit Horror Adventure Game (Updated: Apr 14, 2021)
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Author Topic: Feducia - Classic 1bit Horror Adventure Game (Updated: Apr 14, 2021)  (Read 770 times)
s.b.Newsom
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« on: March 28, 2021, 08:09:09 PM »



It's the end of the week. Work was rough, and your husband set up something nice for you to come home to. Time to relax and enjoy the start to your weekend.

Warning: Feducia will be a short 30 minute horror game that explores some uncomfortable themes with shocking imagery. Jump scares are not aggressively loud, just unnerving and at times shocking.

Latest Screenshots:
n/a

Notable Posts:
First Devlog Post - March 28th, 2021
Where I'm At Now - April 6th, 2021
I Found The Happy Medium - April 14th, 2021


FIRST DEVLOG POST!!!

I need to get more involved with the dev community, and so, its been 20 years since I even came on here. Finally, I'm starting up a devlog for this project.

Feducia started as a GameJam project for Brackeys Game Jam 2021.1 Submission.
https://sbnewsom.itch.io/feducia

Demo was done in one week, so a lot of my ambitious goals would not be met (mainly aesthetic/design). The theme was "Stronger Together" and my immediate thought on it was to do the opposite. Build upon the concept of people telling you that we are stronger together, but in the end you put yourself on the chopping block when you give your all to others, sacrificing your own well being. This was the concept I wanted to give, where the player can choose how they deal with said concept, all while affecting the outcome in the full game (TBA).

Here are the original screenshots from that game jam. Instead of going for a 1 bit look, I settled for grayscale half-tone to cut down on work. This gave it a "dithered" look but not my intended art style, though people still liked the look.



After the gamejam voting concluding, I began working on the full game. A lot of things I wanted to change, including readability of the scene. This required starting from scratch with the post-process, how to handle low-resolution rendering and so on so forth.

This ended up with this. Able to capture a proper faux-1bit look, with the ability to change color schemes that restrict the palette. Since the original color scheme will have colors, I left the 1bit look to the optional palettes.

Here is where I was at two weeks ago. (Click for full resolution)


Yes, Obra Dinn is a major inspiration for the technical side of things. The first game I felt that could capture the Macventure look in a real-time interactive environment. Pixel perfect love that I've always wanted to tackle ever since I played the original demo. (Hence the "theDoom" color scheme on the bottom right of the above image.)

A lot has changed since then, with new modified user interface, better dithering (especially proper blue noise) to capture the look and feel of those 1bit mac adventure games that used photographs instead of cad drawings. Those updates will come later though. I hope you all get a chance to give the old gamejam project a try and leave some feedback.

Looking forward to hearing from the community!
« Last Edit: April 14, 2021, 06:53:04 PM by s.b.Newsom » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2021, 01:05:39 AM »

I love the art direction of your project!

Looking forward to your updates
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vdapps
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« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2021, 07:17:43 AM »

That's super nice! Reminds me of 'Return of the Obra Dinn'. Hand Metal Left Hand Metal Right Looking forward for more updates.
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s.b.Newsom
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« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2021, 12:14:09 PM »

I love the art direction of your project!

Looking forward to your updates


Thanks! I really appreciate it. Smiley

That's super nice! Reminds me of 'Return of the Obra Dinn'. Hand Metal Left Hand Metal Right Looking forward for more updates.

Absolutely. Fell in love with the Apple ][ style since I played the demo way back when. Although I'm not tackling the same level of technological feats Lucas Pope did (because Obra Dinn is a full camera movement sort of game), I am met with different obstacles that thankfully can be helped by his TIG posts.



Where I am at now...

Since I haven't posted any of the latest content since most of what is in the original post is almost a month old now. I'm going to drop some new screenshots of where I currently am at.

Some notable changes. Some static cameras can rotate, by clicking on either sides of the viewport. This allows me to offer more gameplay mechanics and have more tense moments during the later parts of the game, while adding more detail and exploration.

I've also redone the dithering system to be higher resolution. Still working on a better Sobel Edge system more on par with Return of the Obra Dinn.

New HUD, with that fun ol' Retro "HUD convolution". While some pertains to immediate gameplay mechanics, others just there to fill out the lore/atmosphere, including a dynamic heart rate monitor that'll display your heartrate at any given moment. (Already connects with the Heartrate system and audio.)

Context Interaction of various actions. Every time you interact with something, to drive home the retro feel, every interaction (except light switches, because you use them a lot) will display a context menu on the right asking what you want to do. This will offering some interesting actions and analysis events to create an interactive novel like horror adventure.

CRT Strength Button. Not everyone wants Chromatic effects, so you can one click the CRT strength button to cycle through 0-6 options.

Click to Skip Movement Animation. Not everyone wants that Resident Evil "opening door" drag. It works in some games, but I feel like that's something that should be up to the player. So you can skip these moments while exploring the house.










I would love to hear your thoughts on the direction it's going. What's working and what's not. Smiley

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« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2021, 03:53:10 PM »

I think you already got a clear vision of what you try to create and that is more than enough.

I love the retro aspect of it, just remember to be balanced and adjust, for example having no mouse in the main menu(use keys) was used by many retro games in the past and many try to emulate that now but most people find that annoying, so keep it old school but know when to adjust, that is all I can say + again: beautiful visuals. Got any gifs/animations?
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« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2021, 04:17:37 PM »

I think you already got a clear vision of what you try to create and that is more than enough.

I love the retro aspect of it, just remember to be balanced and adjust, for example having no mouse in the main menu(use keys) was used by many retro games in the past and many try to emulate that now but most people find that annoying, so keep it old school but know when to adjust, that is all I can say + again: beautiful visuals. Got any gifs/animations?

So many retro games get hamfisted when they go that route and forget that, as you put it, a balance to what the style presents. All the pros and pretty much every con (primarily controls/input). I'm making it mouse only to eliminate input convolution and rely on what you do, instead of what you're press from the input. It's something I'm always conscious about in my work. UX and Style.

Last week, when I implemented context choice to interactive objects, it got real annoying to have to confirm a choice on Light Switches, especially how later in the game, the lights will be turned off randomly. It proved to be more frustrating than scary because of that extra step on specific objects. But I'm quite fallible so when I get to alpha testing stage, i'll definitely take into account the high use areas and see what works to cut down on Context Choice fatigue.

Something that I've been thinking about is "transition actors" (Doors, Change Between Rooms, etc). Like the above screenshots, it has context choices. Maybe instead of Context Choices, I could had a custom cursor, that when you click, it'll change to a "Confirm" cursor, so you can double click to move while preventing people from accidentally clicking on the door and moving when they didn't want to.

I'm hoping to get animated gifs up when I finish implemented the final pieces from the Game Jam demo into the current version. Various things needed to be changed for optimization and to integrate the save system.

Thanks for the critique and comments. I greatly appreciate it Ramos. Smiley
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« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2021, 08:35:58 AM »

Certainly great direction! I love this combination of horror and 1-bit rendering. Apart of Obra Dinn, reminds me of Elvira/Waxworks but this one looks even more stylish. It also recalls me of one horror game from very old times (I had PC XT back then), but I can't recall the name. It was also some house, static screens viewed from first person and quite spooky at the time.
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« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2021, 08:52:34 AM »

Certainly great direction! I love this combination of horror and 1-bit rendering. Apart of Obra Dinn, reminds me of Elvira/Waxworks but this one looks even more stylish. It also recalls me of one horror game from very old times (I had PC XT back then), but I can't recall the name. It was also some house, static screens viewed from first person and quite spooky at the time.

Elvira/Waxworks was one of my all-time favorites! I'm unsure if it was on the PC XT, but were you thinking of The Uninvited?
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« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2021, 09:50:42 AM »

It was my first PC heh with 20MB hard drive and 360kB floppy disk. Kiss

I checked Uninvited and it's not that. After checking MobyGames (IMO best DB for old games), I think it's "Last Half Of Darkness"





Anyway, your game is in very good company. And even in that company it's standing out by art style.
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« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2021, 09:53:16 AM »

It was my first PC heh with 20MB hard drive and 360kB floppy disk. Kiss

I checked Uninvited and it's not that. After checking MobyGames (IMO best DB for old games), I think it's "Last Half Of Darkness"





Anyway, your game is in very good company. And even in that company it's standing out by art style.

haha, LHoD. Haven't heard that name in a while. There were some new games of it, but didn't enjoy it as much as the original. Thanks for the kind words Vdapps. Smiley Definitely stay in touch. Always need a different perspective on things. Smiley
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« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2021, 05:44:51 PM »

I Found The Happy Medium



So, it's been a long journey finding a way to get a solid representation of classic CAD like wireframes much like how Lucas Pope did it in "Return of the Obra Dinn". So I developed my own system to get that wireframe look...and I am quite happy with the result.

I'm using the built-in material editor to handle these calculations. I tried using custom shader code, but in the end couldn't get it working the way I wanted. Then I went back into working with basic Sobel Edge kernel matrices. Lucas assigned a color to each individual object that needed to be separated blended with the World Normals. Excellent...how do I do that? Then it dawned on me, lets changed the SceneTexture for the Sobel Edge to...DiffuseColor....then something happened. It was taking into account the Value of each pixel. So I jumped into my test scene and started creating materials for each value. A 0.1 incrementation, up to 1. I added a different material to each object in the scene.

This was the result...a perfect 1pixel wireframe for the whole scene.



That was the first test. Right now, it's only creating edges for each individual color which was manually set and only taking into account the value of each pixel. It doesn't create edges on the objects themselves. The problem is, I had to set each value manually and choosing SPECIFICALLY which object receives a specific value. I need more, I need color, I need it to be automated.

Lucas Pope...Thank You

So we came to this. I took the shader in which Lucas Pope posted in his Obra Dinn DevLog found here and translated it to UE4...through the material editor.

With much trial and error working with the finicky control and some limitations in UE4...I came to this point.


What you see here, is a master material that generates color based on object position with camera vector. In the center is a custom model I used to test vertex coloring in Maya, preventing curved meshes from generating a ton of edges. It works wonderfully as you can see here.


There are two problems here. One, there is weird random pixel doubling (Probably because of how its not using depth to generate the Sobel Edge so anything changes on the image will generate a pixel outline outside its origin). Second, is that normals aren't taken into account, so we only get edges around the solid colors. Also the fact that the green vertex channel is used on the center mesh (Cloth and Cylinder) it will blend together (Will be fixed by separating the objects). The pixel doubling will have to wait, as it seems like something that can be fixed later. Nonetheless the normals needed to be fixed.

And so I did just that.


Pixel doubling is still an issue, but i'll save that for another day. For those interested in the material I created to get this effect, you can check it out here.


Combining Layers

Since I don't want these colors interfering with the actual diffuse, I'll be storing them in other render layers that are unused by this game. Subsurface Color. Yes, I could use one of the Custom Data outputs and code it in, but I'm not working on a custom engine build, so it's tougher to do that, on top of learning everything there is to program it...I am not much of a programmer on the shader/rendering side. It stores color and allows me to grab it from the post process for use.

Back to the Viewport Post Process, I combined the edge detection with the updated dithering system and this is what I got.

Cleaner lines with the ability to say what needs to have an edge and what doesn't.


And for those curious, this is what it looks like in Editor.


Whats next?
Well the Original "color scheme" will include colors not generally 1 bit. This is my intended palette. The other color palettes are 1bit and 2bit variations. So the next task to perfect the look is a custom 4x4 or 8x8 color palette that could be swapped in an out depending on the scene/camera.

Another thing i'm going to be working on is custom screen distortion functions for various backdrop visuals to heighten specific scenes. More on that later.


« Last Edit: April 14, 2021, 07:00:06 PM by s.b.Newsom » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2021, 12:13:17 AM »

The style is intriguing!
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« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2021, 03:00:17 AM »

I like to see this kind of passionate devs, very good progress, and thank you for the preview behind the game courtain, may I add that even the editor view is visually looking good but a different style altogether  Gentleman
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