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Friday
Aug192016

Weekly Blog Update: Octopus Garden, Camera Controls & Coworking

This week I've been working on the 2nd Octopus Temple room for the Coloring Book! 

Here's an earlier screenshot where I colored in all of the flowers:

Some early problems with fish :)

Issam has been working on the Screenshot Mode for the Coloring Book. The camera controls are pretty robust!:

We also started working at a coworking space this week!

And I did one more Game Art lecture for the kids at Game Worlds Camp! This was the last camp of the summer :(

The only huuge downside to coworking is that Miles can't come... Here's a video of him watching a bird on the balcony

Friday
Aug122016

Weekly Blog Update: Flowers & Events

This has been an eventful week!!

Starting with game stuff, this week I've been adding some more plants to the game! These are all for the Octopus Temple, so I tried to find flowers that grow in the Mediterranean and I went with

Hyacinths:

Lillies (probably my favorite animation yet!):

and Camellias! (We're going to make the leaves a 3rd color)

Issam has been working on the screenshot system for the Coloring Book, and also worked a bug where going in and out of play mode in the Unity editor was taking a million years. 

Last Sunday we showed our game at the IGDA Sponsored Austin Dev Showcase!

 

Tons of our friends were there, including Taco Illuminati, Newmark Software, & Super Duper Game Company

On Wednesday I gave another game art talk at the Game Worlds Camp, and afterwards the kids took turns playing the Coloring Book Mode. Issam and I are going back to judge the kids' games today!

On Thursday Issam gave a talk about Game Rendering at Nerd Nite Austin (it was cool, he programmed the whole presentation in Unity!):

Today we're going to check out a potential office space that we might share with some other Austin Indies. I'll post an update next week!

Miles has found the whole week a little overwhelming:

Friday
Aug052016

Weekly Blog Update: Cedar Tree

This week I've been working on a new Octopus Room for the Coloring Book! To start, I'm making some new plants! I took a lot of process images while I was making the tree, so I thought it might be interesting to walk through my process:

Since the Octopus Temple is in the Mediterranean, I wanted to make a cedar tree! First I gathered a bunch of reference images. 

Next I made a 'leaf' or in this case pine needles by modeling some in full 3d, then projecting them onto a plane to create a normal map. They show up blue in Max because of the system Issam made where the gradient directs how the leaves grow when you add color. 

Then I stuck a bunch of pine needles onto stalks of different lengths:

After that I modeled the trunk and branches. I started with the trunk, which was modeled from scratch. I split most of them into 2 each to create smaller segments. For the branches, I used branches from some of the trees I'd made before - breaking them into small pieces and then attaching them to the trunk:

For my first attempt I worked with this set of needle groups: 

But they looked a little too chaotic and really didn't look like a Cedar:

So I made them into bigger groupings: 

I attach them to the branches using the Object Paint tool in Max, which is really cool! You select which objects you want it to paint (in this case I have all of the above pine needles, and then I set it to paint the objects in a random order)

Here's a vine of what that looks like in action

It paints them aligned to the normals of the branches, so then I spent some time manually aligning them and I get the final product!

 

And here it is in game!!

I also decided to make some new flowers! They are Hyacinths!

Here's a vine of the animations (they don't work in game at the moment):

Issam has been working on the saving & loading menu system! We have save slots for each level, and they are displayed with a screenshot of the current state of the save. Right now you have to manually save, but the plan is to add an auto save. 

Also on Monday I did a Twitch interview with FullMetal372! You can watch it here!!

Miles has been helping me work: 

Friday
Jul292016

Weekly Blog Update: Streams & Arctic Fox Room

This was a fun week!

I participated in 3 different streams of the game! On Tuesday, Beccalaytyo played the demo plus a TON of the Coloring Book mode, which was awesome: 

On Wednesday I Skyped in with LoZelda!

And on Thursday I was in the chat with StrwbryShrtKate! Here's a good screenshot of her being stuck on a puzzle! 

I'm doing another interview on Monday with FullMetal372! Anime Secrets also posted the interview they did at RTX, and TechRaptor posted their interview from Indy PopCon! Doing all of these interviews is so fun!!

In addition to interviewing, I've been working on the Arctic Fox Temple room for the Coloring Book this week: 

Issam has been working on the save system for the Coloring Book! Currently saving & loading works, but he's still working on the UI. He also added a pot which absorbs color (which will only exist in the coloring book - for times when you accidentally pick up the wrong color). 

My sister has been playing with her 3D printer and she mailed me a couple of prints of the chameleon! My friend Sam suggested we sell some paint-your-own chameleon kits at the next convention we go to. :) We will consider it!

Miles and I have been watching Stranger Things together this week! Such a good show!

Friday
Jul222016

Weekly Blog Update: Coloring Book Mode

We started the week working on the Octopus Temple - but on Weds we decided that since the Coloring Book Mode is going to be a part of the final release of the game anyway, we could shift our focus to releasing it as a standalone purchase soon. :) 3 years of development is starting to feel long, so we thought this would be a good way to motivate ourselves, give us an opportunity to share something substantial with players, and maybe build some awareness of the game at the same time.

The Coloring Book is currently functional, but there are a number of things we want to add to make it more fun. Issam is working on a save & load system, and after that he's going to change the way you take screenshots (currently you just get 4 set camera positions, but we'd like to add the option to set your own camera angles).  

We also only have 3 rooms to choose from at the moment, and we are aiming for at least 6. This week I added a new Frog Temple Room:

Now I'm working on adding an Arctic Fox room - which will be good progress us since we haven't done any art for this temple yet. Yesterday I spent some time on research and found some cool stuff. I remembered that Never Alone has Cultural Insight videos that you unlock as you play, so I went back and watched them for inspiration. (If you haven't played it before, it's a really cool game! They collaborated with Alaskan Native storytellers to make it, and you learn a lot about Inuit culture while playing it.  )

I found some reference as a starting point - in particular these sod houses that use whale bones. I had assumed the Fox Temple would have some fire, but now I'm wondering if it might also be a dark level (like the Frog Temple).

I started blocking out the room yesterday and I'm going to try digging into it today. (I'm also taking some time this afternoon to go judge some games at Game Worlds Camp!)

Miles is still in vacation-mode, I think.

Friday
Jul152016

Weekly Blog Update: Frog Temple To Do

Issam and I are still on vacation (although we're juuuuust starting to get a little back into work stuff today), so I don't have a ton of updates, but I can at least talk about what we're planning on doing this coming week!

The Frog Temple has 5 functional puzzles, but there are currently some issues keeping us from playtesting. Most of the puzzles require you to take color from fire, but doing so right now is really difficult since there's no room to stand on the lip of the lamp, and if you're standing in the fire when you take the color, you get collision errors that slow the game down.

We also need to do work on the water shader, since it currently isn't affected by the lights:

There's also a section where you block a sentinel with a pot, which doesn't really work - and you can't carry the fire over the pot without the collision making you drop it. :)

Also just carrying fire and jumping together is hard:

Issam is going to dig into these issues so we can start testing them. Today I'm opening up the Octopus temple to assess the current state of the rough puzzles that are in there, and start finalizing the first five. 

In terms of marketing/interviews etc I did an interview today which will be turned into a YouTube video. We're supposed to do a live interview sometime in early August. Here's a new interview I did for GameSkinny.com - and I'm still waiting on some other interviews I've already done to see when they go up. Our game is also part of the Indie Revolution Expo which is happening today-Sunday online! 

Here's Miles continuing to enjoy his vacation time:

Tuesday
Jul122016

Weekly Blog Update: RTX & Interviews!

Wow I actually did forget to post last Friday!!! Issam and I are both on vacation this week so there's not too much to give updates on, but I did make this recap video from RTX!

Also here is one of the interviews we did at RTX!

The game was on "Jesse Schell Plays Your Game!" the other night on Schell Games' Twitch Channel so I got a ton of good feedback from that (if you're a dev and you're interested in submitting your game, you can go here). I also did an interview on the Indie Game Stand Twitch channel which was fun! GameSkinny posted a preview and should be posting an interview I did with them soon, and a few other interviews from Indy PopCon and RTX may surface in the next week or so. :) 

Miles is also just chilling this week (I miss himmm!!!)

Friday
Jul012016

Weekly Blog Update: RTX!

Whoaah I almost forgot to post this week!!!

We're at RTX this weekend!! Today was our first day and it was fantastic! Thanks to everyone who stopped by and played today! We'll be there tomorrow & Sunday too! We're in the Indie Alley (near the main stage in the Expo Hall)!

Here's what our booth looks like!

The fake plants are Miles-Approved!

Friday
Jun242016

Weekly Blog Update: Indy PopCon & Coloring Book Mode

We're back from Indy PopCon!

We were named a Semi-Finalist in the Reboot Indie Game Awards, which was really cool! 3rd place went to TumbleSeed, 2nd went to Manifold Garden, and Hive Jump won first place!

Tons of people played our game and it was fun! I think our demo is finally in a good place in terms of polish. The only outstanding feedback items are that it's hard to jump out of the water in one of the later puzzles, and people still get confused when they're learning that ivy can use any color. For right now though, I'm really happy to move on to later parts of the game. :) 

 

 

 

 

And here are some pictures from around the convention!

 

 

 

   

This week I've been working on the Coloring Book Mode! It was important to me that the player would be able to color all of the objects - even in places that aren't normally reachable in the game - so I connected some pieces up and I think the result is more fun to play with! 

  

 

 

Also our MomoCon award arrived in the mail yesterday! Look how cool it is!

Next up is RTX in Austin the weekend after next! If you're going to be there, make sure you drop by! We're smushing our booth together with some other Austin indies at the show: Super Duper Game Company,Newmark Software and Taco Illuminati!

 

And here's a picture of Producer Miles busting me for watching Gilmore Girls instead of working!

 

Friday
Jun172016

Weekly Blog Update: Pre-Orders & Indy PopCon

We're showing at Indy PopCon in Indianapolis today through Sunday, so this will be a short post - but I have an exciting announcement:

PC PRE-ORDERS ARE LIVE!!!!

Go to ColorThiefGame.com to pre-order the game! This week when you pre-order, we will also send you the Indy PopCon build - which is an early-access section of the Chameleon Temple!! We'll email the build to everyone that pre-orders by Friday the 24th!

If you're in Indianapolis, come and see us! 

Here's Miles helping me pack: