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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsMOONBRIAR | Formerly the "Untitled AAA Visual Novel"
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Author Topic: MOONBRIAR | Formerly the "Untitled AAA Visual Novel"  (Read 8023 times)
Prinsessa
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« Reply #20 on: November 10, 2021, 06:48:30 AM »

Hello again! Hadn't seen this thread. Still feel bad about being supportive in the Masochisia thread only to be utterly unable to play the game in the end, and I think we're looking at the same story here (I absolutely cannot watch stuff like Watership Down) but still wanted to say that this is looking very cool and that I find your work very inspiring to follow even if the end result isn't for me. :') Those designs and animations are looking amazing. Good luck!
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oldblood
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« Reply #21 on: November 12, 2021, 08:42:56 PM »

Hello again! Hadn't seen this thread. Still feel bad about being supportive in the Masochisia thread only to be utterly unable to play the game in the end, and I think we're looking at the same story here (I absolutely cannot watch stuff like Watership Down) but still wanted to say that this is looking very cool and that I find your work very inspiring to follow even if the end result isn't for me. :') Those designs and animations are looking amazing. Good luck!

Hey Prinsessa! Long time no speak! Nice to see one of the old faces still roaming these boards. You were always so incredibly supportive of Mashochisia. This game wont be anywhere remotely as dark as Masochisia, but that probably doesn't say much. This game will be more classic fantasy story but it will definitely have some grim moments. Either way, thanks for the kind words and support. You'll definitely see me stopping by your thread as well.
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oldblood
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« Reply #22 on: November 13, 2021, 10:26:15 AM »

DEVLOG VII - ANIMATING NIGHTSHADE

Apologies GIF HEAVY post!

I'm going to try to keep this one short and sweet. I'll just begin by saying animation is one of my favorite parts of gamedev. Not much gives me a bigger high than watching this process unfold and getting to see this character that originally formulated from my head transforming into a living, breathing creature. I'll try not to ramble too much about that, though.

Once the character art has been finalized and everything is approved, I usually spend a bit of time prepping the art for animation in Spine. This usually involves some basic cleanup and creating any other layer that need to exist (as well as any touchups below layers if we need to create new ones). Once all that is complete the rigging is created, including bones, building out any meshes, IK, etc.

The Rig Created in Spine.

A Closer Look at the Facial Mesh.

Testing the Upper and Lower Body Deformation. "Fake 3D."

Once everything appears to be functioning as expected, we're good to begin creating the animation. For Nightshade, the goal was to create an Idle that would showcase a bit of the 'twitchy' and always on 'high-alert' bits of his personality without those things feeling too over the top. I believe we were successful with that suspicious and antagonistic vibe coming through in the Idle animation.

Unfortunately, I can't showcase how nicely the whole animation comes together very easily without creating a supermassive GIF file, but hopefully this lower-res look at the final animation will help showcase the character. Animation by Jaang Eimyoung.

Nightshade.
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Ramos
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« Reply #23 on: November 14, 2021, 03:29:31 AM »

I was curious about your creation so I thought about checking your thread, I was immediately blown away by the quality of the art and animation, you must have a big pressure now to bring the gameplay design on the same level.

 Gentleman
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oldblood
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« Reply #24 on: November 15, 2021, 05:37:06 AM »

I was curious about your creation so I thought about checking your thread, I was immediately blown away by the quality of the art and animation, you must have a big pressure now to bring the gameplay design on the same level.

 Gentleman

Hey, thank you for the kind words. Yeah, at some level it adds some pressure for sure. It forces me to have to elevate a lot of elements in the game. Projects in the past where I could skirt by with a weaker UI or other visual elements will now stand out a lot more if the quality is not consistent across the board. At the end of the day, its a Visual Novel so I'm not trying to re-create the wheel of game design, but I do need to make the narrative intriguing and the gameplay loop interesting enough so that its not just a boring idea in a pretty package. A lot of the 'behind the scenes' work right now is around the story and user experience. Hopefully more to show on these things in the coming weeks.
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« Reply #25 on: November 17, 2021, 12:57:17 AM »

Great concepts! I really like it!
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Prinsessa
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« Reply #26 on: November 17, 2021, 01:18:08 AM »

Hey Prinsessa! Long time no speak! Nice to see one of the old faces still roaming these boards. You were always so incredibly supportive of Mashochisia. This game wont be anywhere remotely as dark as Masochisia, but that probably doesn't say much. This game will be more classic fantasy story but it will definitely have some grim moments. Either way, thanks for the kind words and support. You'll definitely see me stopping by your thread as well.

Coffee

Thanks! Will keep checking in here to see what direction it takes. Again gorgeous work on the new character, you've picked some real talented people to work with!
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oldblood
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« Reply #27 on: November 25, 2021, 08:17:58 PM »

Great concepts! I really like it!

Thank you, I appreciate you stopping by the thread to comment.

Thanks! Will keep checking in here to see what direction it takes. Again gorgeous work on the new character, you've picked some real talented people to work with!

Definitely been lucky with some of the people I've partnered with on this project. One thing I've learned since Masochisia is to surround yourself with people who can do the things you cant. Its a much different experience with this project, in some ways easier, in other ways much more complicated, but I'm enjoying the challenge.

For anyone curious about the team, I still need a UI/UX Artist. Paid contract work. Currently doing some early Environment tests and hopefully the next devlog will start showcasing the first glimpses of this world. Working on new characters, more animations, more story. Lots of moving parts. Slow-moving, but moving. More details to come soon.

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« Reply #28 on: November 25, 2021, 11:12:58 PM »

Art style (and art in general) is cool and really has a nice flavour to it. Kind of reminds me of ... ... something cool Wizard
I love the way that you take real rabbits as reference images when doing rough sketches. Wish you good luck!
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oldblood
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« Reply #29 on: December 08, 2021, 07:05:36 AM »

Art style (and art in general) is cool and really has a nice flavour to it. Kind of reminds me of ... ... something cool Wizard I love the way that you take real rabbits as reference images when doing rough sketches. Wish you good luck!

Thanks Gunroar! I appreciate the kind words and glad to hear you're liking what you see so far.

DEVLOG VIII - Environment Tests & The Search

Been a little while since my last update. The project continues to slowly plod forward each week. I'm currently working on a few different fronts:

  • Writing & Prototyping
  • Character Art & Animation
  • Environment Tests
  • Searching for Talent

For this devlog, I'm going to briefly touch on where I'm at with those final two points. Trying to make some headway by documenting out all the locations that will be needed in the game and also trying to get a handle on what sort of world we're looking to create. The short answer is that we're looking to create a traditional fantasy world. Obviously, this story focuses heavily on rabbits, and as such, a lot of their world is both above and below ground. I imagined a world where rabbit warrens still exist but on a much larger scale, sort of similar to Dwarf caverns, but more medieval. For that reason, the game will feature both above-ground and below-ground environments. The above-ground assets aim to be bright and alive, which should serve as an interesting visual juxtaposition to the below-ground environments.

Rough Concepts of various Warrens.

A test WIP of a Warren's Entrance.

One thing I'm finding as the early development continues--I'm painting this project (no pun intended) into a bit of a corner with the high-detailed character assets and animations. Effectively, the more detailed we get, the more detailed everything else needs to become for the assets to cohesively work. Rough 'painterly' environments don't tend to mesh well with the characters but overly detailed backgrounds can be distracting and gives the player a bit of 'cognitive overload'.

Essentially, it's going to be more challenging than I initially imagined. Also, the more detailed these environments need to be, the longer they're going to take to create, which in turn, means that either this project will be slower moving than I'd like or I'll need more artists involved. Which leads me to:

I'M HIRING

  • Environment Artist
  • 2D Spine Animator
  • UIUX Artist

These are PAID freelance positions. If you're interested in any of these roles, please reach out to me on here or via email to jonoldblood @ gmaildotcom. I'm happy to do paid tests before we begin any work to see how good the fit is for the project. I'm slightly biased, but I believe this is a cool project, so reach out if you're curious to learn more.
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Alain
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« Reply #30 on: December 08, 2021, 11:21:47 AM »

Nice, love the concepts and I'm sure you have a gread hand for finding talented people to work with!
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Ramos
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« Reply #31 on: December 12, 2021, 12:14:00 PM »

You seem to have a very healthy & organized way of approaching game development.
How much time do you invest weekly in it?
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oldblood
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« Reply #32 on: December 13, 2021, 01:42:01 PM »

Nice, love the concepts and I'm sure you have a gread hand for finding talented people to work with!

Thanks for the kind words, as always. I've typically done more work alone in the past, so this is a significant change to be trying to work with a larger group and hunting for talented people to help. I figured paid freelance work would make it easy to find talented people, but the reality of searching for and finding people, seeing how they work, if it meshes with what I'm trying to accomplish, if they have the availability, fit my budget etc. is a lot more complicated. It eats up a lot of time, a lot more than I expected. Props to the producers of the world.

You seem to have a very healthy & organized way of approaching game development.
How much time do you invest weekly in it?

I don't know about healthy, but I do try to be organized. I work full-time outside of gamedev, managing very large/complex projects and roadmaps. So gamedev is something I've always done on nights and weekends, as such, the time invested fluctuates wildly. I'd guess 20-40 hours a week but mid-20's is probably normal? I probably should track that but I dont.
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Ramos
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« Reply #33 on: December 13, 2021, 02:11:33 PM »


I don't know about healthy, but I do try to be organized. I work full-time outside of gamedev, managing very large/complex projects and roadmaps. So gamedev is something I've always done on nights and weekends, as such, the time invested fluctuates wildly. I'd guess 20-40 hours a week but mid-20's is probably normal? I probably should track that but I dont.


oh, that`s nice to have a balance between day-job and game-dev passion, it offers stability so you won't depend on finding a publisher fast.

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Alain
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« Reply #34 on: December 14, 2021, 12:54:37 AM »

Nice, love the concepts and I'm sure you have a gread hand for finding talented people to work with!

Thanks for the kind words, as always. I've typically done more work alone in the past, so this is a significant change to be trying to work with a larger group and hunting for talented people to help. I figured paid freelance work would make it easy to find talented people, but the reality of searching for and finding people, seeing how they work, if it meshes with what I'm trying to accomplish, if they have the availability, fit my budget etc. is a lot more complicated. It eats up a lot of time, a lot more than I expected. Props to the producers of the world.

I can imagine that finding and getting to know good people is very time consuming. I have recently started working closely with an art director and an artist. We know each other well, they understand the project and we have worked together before, but still it takes a lot of time to establish a good flow of communication (and a working pipeline after that). I imagine that when getting in touch with new people there is the danger that a portfolio cannot tell much about aspects like communication skills and dependability.
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« Reply #35 on: December 14, 2021, 01:34:11 AM »

The animated characters looks so good, love the hand painted with the illusion of 3D! And good luck finding the right people  Coffee
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oldblood
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« Reply #36 on: January 02, 2022, 11:22:34 AM »

DEVLOG IX - New Year Status Update

Thanks for all the kind words Otres1, Alain, and Ramos! I appreciate the encouragement and feedback. As I enter 2022 and the new year, I'm reflecting on what was accomplished in 2021. Transparently, I find that after 4 months, I wish I was further along than I am. You'd think I'd have already nailed down all the various people I need for this project. But, all things considered, progress has been made. My hope is that this game will be completed in 2022, and while I definitely think that is possible, there are still several key variables floating out there which will drive if that is realistic or not. I will know more about timelines as I ramp up the rest of the team and start seeing how quickly assets and writing can get churned out. So, with all that out of the way, here's a glimpse into where I'm currently at on several fronts:

PROTOTYPE

While it has been slow-moving, I'm pretty happy with the prototype at this point. I've been actively avoiding starting to build out the actual VN until the prototype can do everything I need it to. Luckily, since this is a VN, there's nothing overly complex to it. Currently it's doing all the fundamentals I need:

  • Dialogue & Decision Systems
  • Character Selection
  • Map System to move between Scenes
  • Basic UI (Pause & General Interface Menus)
  • Auto-Save System & Loading Save Game

I'm creating this VN with the ability for the player to move around the world and select characters to interact with, hence the map system and character selection functionality. I'm also leaning into decisions being a core part of the game, so save-scumming isn't an option as the game will just regularly auto-save as you play. I know some people won't like that, but my hope is that as long as it auto-saves regularly that players wont lose progress wherever they quit.

Hopefully, once I have the environment artist finalized, I will be able to start sharing some GIFs and screenshots. But since there is a lot of placeholder assets right now, holding off for a little while longer.

ANIMATION

My animator has been busy the last 1.5 months with getting married, buying a home, etc. so there has been almost no progress here the last 6 weeks, but I'm hoping that with the new year we'll be able to start seeing more progress on this front. Hopefully more coming soon!

CHARACTER ART

We're slowly but surely working through the characters needed for the game. We're currently working on the 8th Character in the game, and in total I'm anticipating around 20-25 characters needed. So, we're making solid progress and are definitely on track in this area. Transparently, I'm not sure if that cast of characters is considered large or small for a Visual Novel, but I think it will present enough for the world to feel large and real. Here are some concepts and final pieces that were recently completed:

Some Rough Tests



Really Happy with the Final Characters


ENVIRONMENT ART

The hunt still continues to find the environment artist(s) I need for this project. The WIP test art I shared before was completed but unfortunately, the artist wasn't able to find a way to mesh their art with the character art well enough to proceed past the paid tests. I'm currently doing tests with another artist that are currently a work-in-progress, and I've got another potential candidate that I will likely do a test with in another week or two.

The challenge with using detailed character art and animations is that it really does force the rest of the project to have to 'step up' the look and feel. Essentially it paints me into a bit of a corner (no pun intended) regarding the quality I need for environments. This is extra difficult to balance as you need environments detailed enough to mesh with the characters yet not so detailed as to be distracting from the characters. We'll see. It's going to be a process to sort these out, which is unfortunate as there are 20+ environments to be created and we haven't really begun yet. Hopefully soon! Here are some rough thumbs from the current tests:

What color theme do you like?


Thats it for this update. Hope 2022 is an amazing year for this project, and the same with yours!
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Ramos
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« Reply #37 on: January 02, 2022, 12:28:37 PM »


Rest assured oldblood that we all wanted to be further along than what we are at this moment.

I am curious about how`s it like to have to manage all the team members on your side.

I know it is too early but how will you plan to cover the community management(I assume you will build a community for this beautiful project before the release), will you have time to do it yourself considering all the team management in the background and will you start working on it anytime soon?

Those characters are indeed on AAA level and finding an artist for backgrounds that can measure up to the character quality may be a bit challenging, I wish you find someone reliable soon.

Happy new year oldblood and surely 2022 will be a good year!
Keep on grinding!
 Gentleman

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« Reply #38 on: January 03, 2022, 05:14:41 AM »

The art is really breathtaking, the production quality really shows! The animations too, really cool stuff. What engine are you planning to use, and what tools apart from Spine in general?
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oldblood
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« Reply #39 on: January 03, 2022, 07:49:53 AM »

I am curious about how`s it like to have to manage all the team members on your side.

I know it is too early but how will you plan to cover the community management(I assume you will build a community for this beautiful project before the release), will you have time to do it yourself considering all the team management in the background and will you start working on it anytime soon?

There isn't a huge team involved at this point, so it's not too complicated. I'm handling all of the development, there is 1 character artist, 1 animator, 1 part-time writer assisting me, and I'm looking for 1 environment artist. Might eventually need a 2nd animator or environment artist, but generally it will be a relatively small team by most standards. The process that has been more time and cost-intensive than I realized was hunting for the right people who can: 1. fit the budget 1. fit the schedules and 3. fit the style. That is all way harder and more costly than anticipated.

Community management is definitely something I will need to start on in the next month or two. A storefront, discord, more actively promoting it, etc. Don't really feel I'm far enough along yet to be able to do just yet, but I do want to start sooner than later. That's a tricky balance to strike with not starting too early when its too rough, but not waiting too long. It'll be another thing I have to manage on my side short of some sort of publishing agreement (which I dont anticipate happening).

The art is really breathtaking, the production quality really shows! The animations too, really cool stuff. What engine are you planning to use, and what tools apart from Spine in general?

Thanks for all the kind words! Apart from Spine for animations, its being developed in Unity (like yourself). I'm a visual developer so I tend to use tools like Bolt and Playmaker within Unity. I'm currently prototyping with a few tools to manage the dialogue system. Fungus, which is a free plugin, and Dialogue System by Pixel Crushers. I've used both in the past so not clear which of the two will end up being used more predominantly. How about you?
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