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JobLeonard
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« Reply #160 on: December 22, 2021, 09:06:50 AM »

Do you plan to have some kind of epic lake-side landscape to look at behind the dam before going into the caves? Just wondering of what kind of mood shifts you are going for.
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baftis
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« Reply #161 on: December 22, 2021, 09:57:57 AM »

Hey, Leonard.

Yes, as a matter of fact I have a very, very specific idea in mind about what kind of lake view to implement. Something very similar to this:



You see that tunnel entrance in the picture? Something very similar would be the entrance to the cave. Slightly elevated and rotated 90 degrees so that it's perpendicular to the lake instead of parallel, like shown in the picture.

The background would not be similar to the picture because the world has to revolve around the gameplay, BUT there will be the mountain visible at the very very back. Certainly, the foreground will be something very very close to this. Can't really guarantee for the background (the hills and forests, more specifically).
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baftis
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« Reply #162 on: January 03, 2022, 02:30:42 PM »

DAY 62

Hey, all. I wanted to start off this post by wishing you a Happy New Year and may all your endeavors come to fruition. And I also hope you guys had a great holiday.

I know I did, but sadly, the holiday season is over. Which means that  now it's time to get back into the thick of things. And back into the thick of things I went.

Today I continued work on level design. Since I did enjoy my holidays and don't want to get back to working on the game aggressively, I felt that I should be continuing what I had done prior the break. Ease your way back in to work, guys, don't go full gung-ho on it.

Here's how the level looks now:









NOTE: The arrow shows the entrance to the level. The screenshots where the player character is present show the entrance.

So up until now, I've made 2 levels with modular pieces that serve as "cave" levels. For the player, it provides a break in pace, mood and feel. It also provides contrast: up until now, you had big, lush and wide open spaces and now you have tight, but expansive passageways. For me as the developer, it provides a showcase for level design and (hopefully) in 3D modelling. But what's more important, for the project It means a breather when it comes to assets population. This would allow the project to "throw out" any previous areas.

So I figured it's time to both "do the same old song and dance" (doing a cave level) and mix things up just a tiny bit (it's not actually a cave level). And I present to you... the mines.

What you see before you is (hopefully) a showcase of "restricted use of modules". I only used 4 different modules out of a total of 9 in the construction of this level: the L shape, the T shape, the square shape and the + shape. There are one-offs of the octagon shape and of the C-shape because of necessity, but that is pretty much it.

What is not "pretty much it" is the level itself. What you see here is about half of the level. And I'm beginning to think these levels are getting out of control, dimension-wise. For the 4th and final cave level, I'll have to restrain myself and not make the level so big. Big does not always mean good, design-wise.

Speaking of "design wise", the mines feel pretty disorienting, which is both a good thing and a bad thing. It's a good thing because it challenges your sense of space and orientation and it's bad because if you (as a player) generally lack a sense of space and orientation, it has a lot of potential to be a frustrating experience. Then again, it's just the empty layout with no gameplay to speak of...that comes later. Even so, precautions must be taken when set dressing and making the puzzles for this level. I'll simply have stripe decals of varying colors on the walls to guide the player, for now. Maybe these will evolve into something different, but having decals...it's a start.

All in all, 2022 started great for the project. Tomorrow I'll tackle some cloud materials and a monkey bar mechanic.

That's all I have for today. See ya in the next post. Bye.
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JobLeonard
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« Reply #163 on: January 04, 2022, 03:21:09 AM »

Happy new year to you too!

Nice progress. What is your plan for how the player going to scale the caves vertically? Anything specific and different to the outside world?
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baftis
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« Reply #164 on: January 04, 2022, 04:02:01 AM »

Hey, Leonard. EDIT: Thank you for the greeting.

Well, mineshafts have elevators in them, right? Some will work, some will only partially work, some will be missing and some will not work at all. The last type mentioned will require you to fix something so that the elevators can work.

For the shafts missing an elevator, there will be a combination of wall climbing, ledge climbing, maybe the monkey bar (which I'll document in the next devlog), platforming, jump pads and so on. I've even tried the paragliding and it works well design wise (makes you feel like you went around a problem, therefore smart); functionality wise, I'll have to make some changes: dropping straight down and using the paraglider will cause the player to paraglide forward instead of slowly descending.

This might not actually be a problem at all, because a paraglider is not a parachute. So for the moment I'm leaving it as it is. In fact, I'll post a clip of it in action in the next devlog and hopefully get some feedback as to how it looks and feels. To me, it's just OK functionality wise, it does the job.

The aim is to keep the mechanics as grounded as possible, but not necessarily deliberately omitting fantastical/sci-fi or otherwise extraordinary mechanics. I've thought about having a portal at the end of each shaft end that teleports the player to the central piece (the octagonal shaped room) because backtracking is a real problem in this level and I want to avoid it as much as possible.

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baftis
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« Reply #165 on: January 04, 2022, 02:13:16 PM »

DAY 63

Hey, guys. How's it going? Today I have finished up the greyboxing for the mine level and let me tell ya, it's another monstrosity of a level. Here's how it looks now:

This is the view from the entrance of the level (south is towards the bottom of the SS)


This view is from the left side of the level


This view is from the right side of the level


This view is from the east wing


This view is from the west wing (I'll explain what's with the enormous looping shaft later)


This view is from the level exit (north is towards the bottom of the SS)


This view is from the bottom of the exit area


As I've continued to work on it, I realized that I might have gone a bit overboard on the whole twisting-turning layout of the level. I made a conscious decision to simplify the exit area as much as possible, so instead of going intricate, I went bigger shaft size. So the shafts at the exit area are double in size compared to the entrance of the level. The exit area will feature 2-3 blockades (I don't know if I used the word correctly) where the straightforward path is blocked (obviously!) so the player must resort to using the side shafts.

It goes without saying that the whole vibe to this particular level is "disorientation". I mean just look at it, how could you not be disoriented? :D So far, it felt like "good" disorientation (if such a thing ever exists) but I'm very reserved about this feeling. A very accurate representation would be made by the people who will playtest it.

OK, so in the screenshot with the west wing, you might have noticed a ridiculously long shaft that starts from the bottom and ends at the top. Well, that would be the shaft to the elevator that will send the player near the octogonal shape room (which is near the beginning of the level and "coincidentally" is also where the west wing part of the level begins. This was made to avoid making the player backtrack the entire way up. Instead, the player will have a feeling of progression and he/she will be sent near the beginning of the level without the need to backtrack. I just remembered that the east wing does not have this feature, so I'll update it as soon as possible.

Speaking of updates, I promised you guys an update on the cloud material and the monkey bar mechanic.

Cloud Material: Scouring Youtube for tutorials for me to learn about Arrays and whatnot, I came across a tutorial that taught Cloud materials. It looked super-awesome in the thumbnail and said to myself "I've gotta do this". And so I did. Luckily, it was an easy tutorial that yielded great results. See for yourself: 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1QMcL9tG2WRS8iSe143TX4frd0l37rVtD/view?usp=sharing

Pretty cool, right? There's one tiny little problem, though. It's a little bit on the expensive side. The base shader has about 150 instructions, but other parts of the shader (2 other parts, if I remember correctly) have almost the same amount of instructions. Having a big number of clouds like this might get super expensive on the GPU, so there's room for optimization to reduce the amount of instructions. Otherwise, it's damn cool and has a lot of detail due to the post-process that is in the project.

Monkey Bar: This one was sort of made on a whim some time ago. I figured "If I can make the player character jump slightly up as well as jump forward a lot, I could replicate the Monkey Bar thing from Doom Eternal and the branch jump from the recent Tomb Raider series". And so I did. Check it out: 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1b1OqHMsPtkkOBUff-gubaGdFu8RZLRs3/view?usp=sharing

It's slightly exaggerated but it feels OK. I exaggerated the intensity of the jump because it felt too much like the jump pad (which is what the monkey bar script is based off of, like an extra connection from the character movement, but to the X axis AND the Z axis....seriously, that simple). What it does great is that it contributes greatly to player momentum. And since it's rather small in size, it can fit in all kinds of tight places.

Also, before I forget. Leonard, I promised you a clip of the paraglider in action in the mineshafts. Here's how it looks: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1bU7ZSnF1NRJKLFBZ-72BuAJYJmxjBzWi/view?usp=sharing

It looks a bit clunky and I also discovered some bugs while attempting this "run".

So, that's it for today, guys. See ya in the next post. Bye!
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Prinsessa
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« Reply #166 on: January 04, 2022, 04:45:44 PM »

Happy new year from me too! Smiley Really impressed with how consistent you've been on this! I like that you're adding very different environments like this too, and I can't wait to see what the tunnels will look like with the elevators and everything in the end. That photo of the real dam is gorgeous too.
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baftis
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« Reply #167 on: January 05, 2022, 02:28:26 AM »

Happy New Year, Prinsessa! And thank you, I try my best at giving the player as much variety as possible.
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baftis
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« Reply #168 on: January 10, 2022, 03:48:38 PM »

DAY 64

Hey, guys and gals. How's it going? Hope y'all having a great time. As for me and Against The Mountain...well, more work has been done on the level design department. And surprise surprise, I've been dabbling into the story a bit. Well, more specifically the main villain. And even more specific, the main villain's motivation. Let me tell you about this first

Now, I've written dialogue in the past for a previous project, so this is not new territory for me. What is new territory is the complete freedom I have to take the story wherever I can fall in love with. And what's also new is that I have the opportunity to create a villain. As a bonus I do not have a time-frame for completing it, which is amazing. In the previous project that I did, I did not have the luxury of time nor having villain. Imagine having one week to work on dialogue for about 10-15 missions and you can figure how that turned out (spoiler alert: bad). But not here!

What I did accomplish was to crystallize the main villain's motivation for doing the things that he did. Because I do not want to give you any kind of spoiler, I'll keep it both specific enough and vague enough. I hate vagueness with all my being and I don't like telling you guys anything remotely vague, but it's the story we're talking about here and I need to keep as closed of a lid as possible.

Anyway, so the villain's gripe is that he essentially despises people who destroy things others have built and will go out of his way to get rid of people like this. In his main motivation monologue, he will reference an event that happened in his youth about how people enjoy destroying things and how people generally revel in any sort of destruction. This, coupled with the fact that he considers himself a builder and anyone who interferes with his work is automatically labeled a destroyer makes for a grounded, believable and dare I say relatable villain. 

This is as much as I can say without spoiling anything. Told you guys it's going to be vague.

Anyway, moving on to the level design progress. To give you some context, I am in awe with sequoia trees. I've never seen one in real life and it's on my bucket list to see one with my own eyes. They also make a great subject for any artistic medium, whether it be film or photography. But I haven't seen many games that have sequoia trees. Maybe there are some out there, but haven't really seen them. So with this in mind, I've started to build a level based on a sequoia tree. More specifically, inside the tree and outside/around it. Here's the scale of things:


Now, I've done my research and found out that the tallest tree is about 95 meters / ~310 feet tall. There were bigger trees, but this one would be the tallest tree still standing. Well, the tree in the game (which actually has a name, "Father of the Forest") is 200 meters / ~650 feet tall. The tree's bark thickness is 4 meters / ~13 feet thick and I did not calculate the circumference/girth, all I know that the radius is 20 m/65 feet. I intend to give it a backstory as well, when the time comes.

Anyway, so the gameplay implemented is inside the tree and here's how it looks like:





While testing it, I found that it's both very fun and absolutely infuriating at the same time. There are a lot of places where you can near miss the jump and (because of the wall-run mechanic) accidentally start to wall run again. Now this is technically an issue, but as you might remember, the wall run will always work on exactly 90 degree angles, which is what the cylinder placeholder currently has. Now it occured to me that I could've used a cone BPS, chop it's top and make it so that the base and the top are not equal in size (top must be slightly smaller).

With the restrained space, I found that I can vary the mechanics a lot and it would create a desire in the player to chain these traversal mechanics. Evidently, this is something I want to explore further. Also evident is that I should keep this in mind for all levels, like DUH!

Though I haven't spent that much time on it, I did have a blast figuring out the gameplay. If it's as fun to play this level as it was working on it (even though I barely started) then by all means, Gods Of Computer Games, bless this level.

Here's some more shots:







Anyway, that's all I have for today. See ya in the next post, bye!





 

   
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JobLeonard
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« Reply #169 on: January 11, 2022, 03:00:33 AM »

Oh that will be fun to climb up! Any idea what kind of tree you're going for in terms of looks?
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Prinsessa
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« Reply #170 on: January 11, 2022, 03:07:15 AM »

Sequoia trees are so cool, that's a great concept for a climbing level! And looking forward to seeing more of the story unfold. Smiley
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baftis
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« Reply #171 on: January 11, 2022, 03:34:07 AM »

Oh that will be fun to climb up! Any idea what kind of tree you're going for in terms of looks?

Hey Leonard. If I did my research correctly, redwoods are the most believable type of trees that can pose as sequoia. So redwood trees would be the answer. In terms of the outside looks, I'll have to have the prototype level done in order to figure this one out. A normal sequoia tree crown would be the target to achieve, but if the level ends up having twists and turns on the outside of the tree bark (yes, the player can go outside and around the tree bark), then I might go for a scary look. But if I go for a scary look, I'll have to go for a scary look for the level that will precede this tree level.

Sequoia trees are so cool, that's a great concept for a climbing level! And looking forward to seeing more of the story unfold. Smiley

Hey, Prinsessa. Thank you. I'm also looking forward, since I'm beginning to uncover the story bit by bit and I'm quite enjoying the process. To be honest, it's harder than I thought, but still enjoyable.   
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« Reply #172 on: January 11, 2022, 10:36:30 AM »

Nice progress from last time I checked out! Looking back through posts and I have to say this is probably most persevered devlog here currently! Gentleman

Regarding story, yes, your setup deserves strong story (I think I already mentioned that it reminds me of Firewatch, even if your gameplay will be different, but probably this setup in nature makes reminiscence).
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baftis
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« Reply #173 on: January 11, 2022, 01:34:10 PM »

Nice progress from last time I checked out! Looking back through posts and I have to say this is probably most persevered devlog here currently! Gentleman

Regarding story, yes, your setup deserves strong story (I think I already mentioned that it reminds me of Firewatch, even if your gameplay will be different, but probably this setup in nature makes reminiscence).

Hey, vdapps. Thank you for the comment, that really means a lot to me. I try my best to work on the project as much as I can and also when inspiration strikes.

And yes, it does deserves a great story, and hopefully the dialogue will be voiced as well. Hopefully, I'm not making any promises here :D
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baftis
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« Reply #174 on: January 12, 2022, 03:18:02 PM »

DAY 65

Hey, guys and gals, how's it going? Here, things are going well. Continued work on the tree level and here's how it looks:













It went the same as yesterday: quite fun to make and fun to try out different paths and scenarios. In my testing, I have also timed how much gameplay is here as well. So far, with all that you see in this level, there is exactly one minute of gameplay if you know what you are doing.

Now, I'll have to give you guys some context for this level. This tree serves as one of the villain's "well hidden" makeshift facility. And quite possibly the first that the player will encounter. There will be some desks, some laptops, some desktop computers, some desks, some beat-up sci-fi looking, some  machineries and stationery and so on. Also, there will be items that can be inspected as well as notes, documents and letters as well.

While playtesting, I've discovered a bug with the monkeybar in that it only throws you on the positive X axis, no matter where you approach it from. It's supposed to throw you in the direction that you are walking. I'll look into this, it should be a quick fix (though it usually never is).

Well, that's it for today. See you guys and gals in the next post, buh-bye!

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baftis
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« Reply #175 on: January 25, 2022, 12:48:23 PM »

DAY 66

Eyooo, what's up guys and gals? Hope you are having a great day.

As you have noticed, I took a break from updating the devlog because of a lot of various IRL stuff I had to tend to. Nothing serious, tho. But I'm back with a small update.

I left things off in the tree level, so naturally I went back to it and added more stuff to it. Here's how it looks:











It wasn't necessarily a deliberate thought, but the first thing I went for was mixing things up in this level. At the beginning of it, platforms and mechanics were pretty tightly place in relation to one another. Keeping things is fine for a period of time. But keeping them tight for the duration of the entire level is not good for level pacing.

So to mix it up, platforms and mechanics are now more "loose" and far apart. And to be honest, it feels slightly better. Just slightly. What this allows me is to chain certain mechanics together to create some momentum. What also kind of holds me back is the relatively tiny space for chaining these mechanics. Or it might be a challenge, not a hold-back. We'll see.

If you guys see some empty space in between some platforms that is unreasonable to reach to, that's where the wall running mechanics comes in. Also, thhose white meshes? those are for ledge climbing. Random purple circle? That's a jump pad.

So with the work I did today, I'd say we're about halfway done with the first iteration of the tree level. That's all for now, guys. See ya in the next post. Bye.
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Prinsessa
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« Reply #176 on: January 25, 2022, 01:23:56 PM »

Breaks are good! Smiley Tree seems to be coming along nicely, looking forward to seeing traversal in motion. And getting increasingly curious about that villain.
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baftis
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« Reply #177 on: January 25, 2022, 02:12:21 PM »

Hey, Prinsessa!

I'm curious about the villain as well Smiley) Seriously now, as of this moment, what I have for the villain is his character pillars:

- overgrown ambition
- paranoia
- self-aggrandizement
- genius/smarts

The goal would be to have a motivation that you can’t simply argue with or find faults in it. This kind of villain motivation would probably be the goal for every aspiring writer, therefore a rookie mistake, but that’s still what I’m aiming for.

At the moment, I haven’t the slightest idea how he is going to look like except that he will be a human and a male...oh, and he's in his late 40's. I’m hoping once I get his personality fully fleshed out, I can base his appearance on his traits. And since I only have a half-vague/half-concrete vision of his personality, I can’t do that right now.
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JobLeonard
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« Reply #178 on: January 26, 2022, 02:07:32 AM »

The latest screenshots feel properly huge, good feeling for the idea of scaling a gigantic tree
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baftis
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« Reply #179 on: January 26, 2022, 10:50:49 AM »

Hey, Leonard.

I hoped this translated well from screenshots alone. There is much work to be done here. After some playthroughs, the feel is kinda double sided: it's either fun or frustrating. The frustrating part is what I want to figure out if it's the good kind of frustration or the bad kind.

The thing is most of the frustration is caused by the wall-run mechanic. Because the angle at which the wall run triggers is 90 degrees, give or take .001 degree deviation, the wall run triggers in an awry manner (basically when you do not want it to). This is easily solvable by having a cylinder with a base of X units and a top of Y degrees, so that the difference in bases create an angle of 89 degrees. This way, it will not accidentally wall run. Moreso, placing an invisible wall where a wall run should occur would render the mechanic functional. An iteration with this particular element is in the works as we speak.

Now, the more infuriating part would be the ledge climbing. Because it's still bug riddled and I did not have the time nor the energy to fix that mofo, I'm currently stuck with it like this. The ledge climbing has this thing where it would send the player into 0,0,0 if the player jumps on a ledge that barely touches another asset. This I don't know why it happens. There's another bug in which the camera rotation does not rotate relative to the player, but rather in relation to the world. This I know why it happens and I'll hopefully fix it soon after I've done some more investigations.

There are a lot more issues, but the fun is there. It could be more fun and I'm working on making it so.
   
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