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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 8026 times)
Ramos
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« Reply #80 on: April 19, 2022, 12:10:23 AM »


Yes, that is a very valid point. I've been prepping a Discord, and I've got a webpage going but... one key thing I haven't nailed down that I really need to: A NAME. Which makes it quite tricky to roll out anything without a name. Usually these things come to me pretty quickly but havent had such success with this project yet. But hopefully that will change sooner than later, though I'd be lying if I said that wasn't aggravating me.

Don't think 'Untitled AAA Visual Novel' is going to stick.
 

I will strongly disagree.
Think long-term, do not make your Discord name the name of the game but rather the name of your game studio. Imagine that you want your fanbase to also be invested in future projects. This is a long-term investment so take full advantage of this and work on your branding as well(I too wanted to make my discord name after the game but after more research, I changed it into my company name)
But for a Steam coming soon page yes you need the game name
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oldblood
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« Reply #81 on: April 23, 2022, 11:43:17 AM »

I will strongly disagree.
Think long-term, do not make your Discord name the name of the game but rather the name of your game studio. Imagine that you want your fanbase to also be invested in future projects. This is a long-term investment so take full advantage of this and work on your branding as well(I too wanted to make my discord name after the game but after more research, I changed it into my company name)
But for a Steam coming soon page yes you need the game name

That's a very valid point, Ramos. I might not need a name for Discord. I had already setup the Discord name for the studio, rather than the game. Similarly with Twitter, I don't like making accounts for game-specific things. Think that's trickier to manage multiple accounts than one. So I probably need to at least get that up and running regardless of the name status.

DEVLOG XV - 2D Rigging & Animation Update - GIF WARNING

I'm going to keep this one a little short as I'm low on time this weekend, but I did want to showcase some character animation work on the two characters that were introduced in the last devlog, Hedgenettle and Oxalis. We do all animations in the game (including both character and environmental) in Spine, which utilizes skeletal animation. Every character or location is rigged with a skeleton, and where necessary, meshes are created for deformation.

Lots of Bones

Example of Mesh

Traditionally, skeletal animation is subpar in comparison to traditional frame-by-frame animation, but it can be a very effective way to animate 2D art much faster and more cost-effectively since you're just using a single piece of art. Much like traditional animation, the quality of the final animation will depend on the animator. We're very lucky to have some talented animators on this project, including Jaang Eimnyoung on characters and Arman Harutyunyan on Environments. One of keys to making skeletal animations look their best is how well their rig is built.

Rig Test - Faking 3D with Mesh Deformation

Oxalis Idle Test


Hedgenettle Idle Test
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Prinsessa
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« Reply #82 on: April 25, 2022, 04:41:51 AM »

Just wow. This is so cool just from an end result standpoint, and seeing what drives it all behind the seen is just as impressive. Must take a lot of work! Not to mention actually designing and writing the characters in the first place.
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Alain
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« Reply #83 on: April 26, 2022, 03:55:47 AM »

The vividness of Hedgenettle is through the roof. I showed this to some friends who do also do digital painting and animation and they totally lost their sh*t!
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oldblood
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« Reply #84 on: April 28, 2022, 05:18:09 PM »

Just wow. This is so cool just from an end result standpoint, and seeing what drives it all behind the seen is just as impressive. Must take a lot of work! Not to mention actually designing and writing the characters in the first place.

Thanks Prinsessa! Yeah, it's not the quickest moving by any stretch, but I'm definitely happy with the results so far. It means a lot to hear you're liking what you see. We're currently working on the first non-rabbit character, so that's been fun to explore something different. There wont be a ton of non-rabbits characters, but a few of them just to showcase that this world isn't limited to just rabbits, and that they're many other creatures and civilizations out there. Who knows? Maybe that will also open the door to other ideas to explore in this world if it manages to recoup its costs haha. Smiley

The vividness of Hedgenettle is through the roof. I showed this to some friends who do also do digital painting and animation and they totally lost their sh*t!

Hahaha, that is very encouraging! I appreciate the feedback and for sharing this. Hopefully that's a perspective others will have as well and means we're on the right track. Thank you for being so supportive with the feedback. Helps keep me feeling like this idea of a fancy VN isn't 100% insane. Maybe 90% but not 100%.
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mobilelast
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« Reply #85 on: May 02, 2022, 02:10:23 PM »

I can only agree with the previous commenters about the characters. They look incredible. They are actually so detailed that it’s probably a huge job to make the background equally vivid.

And I can’t help thinking how a subtle bump mapping with real-time lighting would suit the characters...
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oldblood
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« Reply #86 on: May 07, 2022, 10:42:09 AM »

I can only agree with the previous commenters about the characters. They look incredible. They are actually so detailed that it’s probably a huge job to make the background equally vivid.

Thanks so much for the kind words! The environments are definitely a lot of work to match up, and honestly it took me quite awhile to find the right artist. Pretty sure I lamented and moaned about just that for a few devlogs... I'm excited to showcase some new environment art soon.

DEVLOG XVI - Conversations

Can't believe we're already a week into May, but I wanted to share some videos and GIFs as I attempt pulling together the first real conversations into the game just to get a feel for the dialogue boxes, cameras, etc. If you'd like to watch a high-res video of this first test conversation, you can watch it here:





It's not the most exciting video, but it definitely starts to give me a better sense of how conversations will feel. Obviously, the final result will also include SFX, music, and voice-overs--so hopefully all of that will help make the world feel even more alive. Additionally, VO's should help the folks out there who don't like to read, as the game will feature a lot of text.

After watching the video a few times, and getting feedback from some Devs I trust, I went ahead and made some adjustments to the positioning of the dialogue boxes. Essentially keeping them out of the way of the characters (as really the art and animation shouldn't be hidden). I also positioned it a bit higher now that it isn't in front of the character. I'm pretty happy with the end result.

! LARGE GIF WARNING !

A Cozy Fireplace - Animation by Arman Harutyunyan

Low Res GIF - New Conversation Format

I'd love to hear any thoughts or feedback you might have. Thanks to everyone who has been reading and following the devlog. It's always super encouraging to hear from everyone.
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Gibberish
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« Reply #87 on: May 07, 2022, 11:10:25 AM »

Its looking very beautiful. Something feels a bit of with the conversation tho, maybe it's just the lack of context but it feels very disconnected somehow.
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Alain
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« Reply #88 on: May 10, 2022, 05:07:34 AM »

The scene is looking really nice in HD! I like the flickering lights under the table and at the fireplace. My two cents would be that the front of the fireplace could maybe use some flickering indirect illumination from light bouncing back at it. And maybe an occasional spark flying further away from the fire could go a long way to make the scene even more vivid.
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oldblood
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« Reply #89 on: May 10, 2022, 05:51:24 PM »

Its looking very beautiful. Something feels a bit of with the conversation tho, maybe it's just the lack of context but it feels very disconnected somehow.

Hey Gibberish, thanks for taking the time to comment and I appreciate the kind words on how it looks! Without specifics on what you feel is disconnected about the conversation--and to your own point about not having context of the conversation--I'm not sure how to answer your feedback haha. But, if its a consolation, any dialogue at this point is essentially first draft to start getting it into the game, and its all subject to change. At this stage, I'm really just trying to get a better feel for how long a short conversation might be in game-terms, how comfortable the camera movement, dialogue, and decisions all feel etc. I will absolutely be all ears on story feedback once we start testing this all more. Smiley It's pivotal in a Visual Novel that the story carry it's weight.

The scene is looking really nice in HD! I like the flickering lights under the table and at the fireplace. My two cents would be that the front of the fireplace could maybe use some flickering indirect illumination from light bouncing back at it. And maybe an occasional spark flying further away from the fire could go a long way to make the scene even more vivid.


Thanks Alain! Glad to hear you're liking the visuals. I'm pretty happy with how the characters, environments, and animations are all meshing together. That's a really great suggestion, I'll definitely share that with the animator (he's currently heads down on animating a few other locations).

One the environment animation challenges is that all of the interiors (which make up about half of all environments) have minimal movement as most of the rooms are naturally still. However, since all the interiors are in underground warren cities, that does mean that every interior requires fires, torches, lanterns, etc. since there are no windows. So making sure the fires and light reflections animate well is important because there isn't a lot of other movement we can add. Although in this scene, there are a few other very subtle animations happening beside the fire and lanterns. The hanging plants are swaying very gently and the table clothes also have some VERY subtle movements to them. But to your point, its going to be the small details in the environment animations that really elevate them as there isn't a ton we'll be able to add to every scene.
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marcgfx
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« Reply #90 on: May 11, 2022, 01:27:28 AM »

Lovely work! What are the main challenges to create this kind of character? Being able to animate a pretty drawing this well is impressive. 
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Alain
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« Reply #91 on: May 11, 2022, 11:49:56 PM »

The scene is looking really nice in HD! I like the flickering lights under the table and at the fireplace. My two cents would be that the front of the fireplace could maybe use some flickering indirect illumination from light bouncing back at it. And maybe an occasional spark flying further away from the fire could go a long way to make the scene even more vivid.


Thanks Alain! Glad to hear you're liking the visuals. I'm pretty happy with how the characters, environments, and animations are all meshing together. That's a really great suggestion, I'll definitely share that with the animator (he's currently heads down on animating a few other locations).

One the environment animation challenges is that all of the interiors (which make up about half of all environments) have minimal movement as most of the rooms are naturally still. However, since all the interiors are in underground warren cities, that does mean that every interior requires fires, torches, lanterns, etc. since there are no windows. So making sure the fires and light reflections animate well is important because there isn't a lot of other movement we can add. Although in this scene, there are a few other very subtle animations happening beside the fire and lanterns. The hanging plants are swaying very gently and the table clothes also have some VERY subtle movements to them. But to your point, its going to be the small details in the environment animations that really elevate them as there isn't a ton we'll be able to add to every scene.

It did not occur to me that all the underground places take away your chance to add windows for some movement, that's really an interesting challenge. The very subtle animations you already have in the scene that one could miss on a first glance are great. The player may not "see" them but I am sure they feel them, because they make the scene feel like a real space as a whole.
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Prinsessa
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« Reply #92 on: May 21, 2022, 09:04:33 AM »

Wow, it's really coming together! Very cosy backdrop. Cool how they move in that more twitchy, exaggerated fashion, like, well, rabbits. Gomez
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Rin
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« Reply #93 on: May 23, 2022, 04:26:44 AM »

This is looking beautiful! Certainly keeping a close eye on this. Great work!
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oldblood
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« Reply #94 on: May 23, 2022, 11:45:47 AM »

Lovely work! What are the main challenges to create this kind of character? Being able to animate a pretty drawing this well is impressive.

Thanks for the kind words, marcgfx. Honestly, the biggest challenge with the art style in this project is trying to keep it consistent throughout. We started with a great character artist, but that made finding a talented environment artist who could match styles very hard. Now, we're looking for a 2nd character artist to match the style of the first, and that's very hard. Getting animations of similar quality, etc. Long story short: if you make one element really nice, now everything else has to be really nice and that gets out of hand quickly.

It did not occur to me that all the underground places take away your chance to add windows for some movement, that's really an interesting challenge. The very subtle animations you already have in the scene that one could miss on a first glance are great. The player may not "see" them but I am sure they feel them, because they make the scene feel like a real space as a whole.

Thank you, as always, Alain. That is my hope as well, that some of the more subtle animations will be 'felt' even if they arent noticed.

Wow, it's really coming together! Very cosy backdrop. Cool how they move in that more twitchy, exaggerated fashion, like, well, rabbits. Gomez

Glad you like it, Princessa. I'm really happy with how that whole scene turned out visually. At some point, I'm probably going to become sick of rabbits, but for now... I'm quite happy with them haha.

This is looking beautiful! Certainly keeping a close eye on this. Great work!

Hi Rin, thanks for stopping by this thread and taking the time to comment. I appreciate the kind words!

SMALL UPDATE - HIRING 2ND CHARACTER ARTIST

I'm currently in the hunt for a 2nd Character Artist to come on board for this project. While out Lead Character Artist is still involved on this project, she's also juggling other work and life so things have moved slowly on that front. As such, we're doing this to try and speed up the character creation process as the current trajectory with the number of characters remaining could delay the whole game.

As you can imagine, finding another character artist who is capable of mirroring this art style is a challenge. I spent several weeks just going through hundreds of portfolios and building a list of 'dream' artists to reach out to. Unfortunately, the better the artist and more established they are, the less likely they are to be available anytime soon. Mostly, that has proven to be the case. I am currently doing a couple paid tests right now with some artists, so hopefully one of them will be able to provide a good quality match. It would be wonderful to be able to start accelerating the character creation process.

I'll try to post another general devlog in a week or two. We'll see where all the character art tests net out. I expect it will probably be mid-June before any of that is fully nailed down. So, more details to come. If you'd like to apply, please send me your portfolio and rates.
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oldblood
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« Reply #95 on: May 28, 2022, 08:47:40 AM »

DEVLOG XVII - Non-Rabbit Characters

I've had a few people ask me if this game will only ever feature rabbit characters, but actually the world this game is set in is filled with pretty much all kinds of animals. Now, this particular story is focused on a singular warren of rabbits so rabbits are (of course) the primary characters you will encounter throughout. However, there will be at least two or three non-rabbit characters in the game. I want the player to understand that the world extends beyond just the rabbits, so it was important for me to feature several other animal races in the game.

One of the first non-rabbit characters you will meet is 'Mull', a mole. Technically his name is far more complex than that, but mole naming-conventions are typically elaborate and incredibly difficult to pronounce, so its uncommon for non-moles to use nicknames for their mole friends. Moles tend to be clever creatures who 'see' far more than their weak eyesight would suggest. Mull is a traveling peddler who moves from one Warren market to the next. He operates in news and secrets as much as he does in wares and antiquities. As such, Mull can be a valuable source of information--at a price. He is also an eccentric collector who often keeps all of his valuable oddities with him at all times. As the player, you may be able to leverage his interest in oddities and trinkets to your advantage. Below, you can see the evolution of this character.

Exploring Mull's Look-and-Feel

Color Pallette & Styling Whisker-Mustache

Mull Comes to Life (Minus the 'Stache)

The Warren Market - Where You're Most Likely to Find Mull

OTHER UPDATES

1. As mentioned in my last post, I'm currently in the middle of the very difficult task of trying to find a 2nd character artist to join our small team to expedite the creation of our characters. I've had some early tests done and while the character artist was very talented and the end result looked good, it wasn't quite able to match the current style of the characters to the degree I felt like we needed. I've got another artist lined up who will be doing more tests starting the end of next week. I'm feeling excited for those tests, as the artist is quite talented--but we'll have to wait and see. But, if all things go well, we might have the 2nd artist lined up in the next two weeks. But, hope for the best, expect the worst.

2. Making good progress on starting to get a lot of the First Act scenes written out and I'm in the process of implementing the scenes where I can into the game. Right now, its a bit of a patch-work feeling with random conversations with different characters in different scenes and I'm really building them in no particular order (other than if we have the assets ready). Once a lot of them have been built out, I'll need to go back through and tie them all together--which will probably be the hardest part. But, it is very encouraging to see some of these first conversations play out and getting that feeling that it is actually a game.

Thanks for reading!
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Alain
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« Reply #96 on: May 29, 2022, 10:57:46 PM »

I already spotted Mull on Twitter. Awesome job again on the art and animation!

Technically his name is far more complex than that, but mole naming-conventions are typically elaborate and incredibly difficult to pronounce

:D I really like this specific piece of lore, it makes your world feel very alive.

I hope you will soon find a second character artist that fits into your team!
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Ramos
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« Reply #97 on: June 07, 2022, 03:44:28 AM »

It seems I missed a lot of your updates because of my recent inactivity here, I totally love the new environments and how immersive they are. And that feature where you press on the character and slowly move the camera to center him + combo with the old movie screen edges is a simple but very solid polish touch that adds a lot on impact factor.
Good job sir!

 Gentleman
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oldblood
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« Reply #98 on: June 09, 2022, 04:40:36 AM »

:D I really like this specific piece of lore, it makes your world feel very alive.

I hope you will soon find a second character artist that fits into your team!

Thanks Alain! Glad you're liking the little bits of lore, I havent really talked much about the story thus far and probably should work a little of that into a devlog at some point. And yes, the search for the 2nd artist is still ongoing. I've had one round of tests with one artist and I'm currently doing some more tests with another artist. It's been a slow process for a variety of reasons like: good artists are hard to find, good artists you find are typically already booked, good artists who are available still have to match up with an existing art style. All easier said than done. Fingers crossed!

It seems I missed a lot of your updates because of my recent inactivity here, I totally love the new environments and how immersive they are. And that feature where you press on the character and slowly move the camera to center him + combo with the old movie screen edges is a simple but very solid polish touch that adds a lot on impact factor.
Good job sir!

Glad to see you stopping back by the forums and the thread! Hopefully you've been getting in a little recovery time in your absence. I appreciate all the kind words and encouragement. Glad you're liking what you're seeing so far! I was a fan of the letterboxing during conversations, so glad to get a little validation that I'm not alone with that being a nice effect. Smiley
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Prinsessa
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« Reply #99 on: June 10, 2022, 09:25:34 AM »

Another great update with more cool lore and art! Fun to see the concepts too. Surprisingly windy in that cave Shocked

Almost two weeks since that update now, so hope you had luck with the artist, or that you will soon if not Smiley
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