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Weekly Update: Fish & Ferns

This week has been a little slow since I was working on another project on Monday & Tuesday, but from Weds on I've been working on more things that can come alive when given color: 



Other bush:

Issam made it so you can stack fire on top of pots without it falling off:

Here's Miles studying the way birds move to help me finish my bird from last week.


Weekly Update: Feedback & Bird Wings

This week we got the opportunity to playtest some of the puzzles I've been working on for the last few weeks! Feedback was good - here are some high level notes:

- In general there are still a few issues with how the player interprets sentinels, which causes some problems when puzzles involve bringing more than just the chameleon through them. We really need to figure out how to communicate their functionality better...

- Fire puzzles are interesting, but it's too hard to see color by firelight right now. Right now the light coming from fire is totally based on the color of the fire (so in most cases, orange), which makes it hard to see other colors. It's also really easy to lose your color in the dark.

- The current chunk of gameplay doesn't convey a good sense of progression, or even really show the player they're on the right track. To some degree this is intentional, and I'm not really interested in having numeric rewards or UI, but I definitely think we could a better job encouraging the player when they progress, so I need to invest some more thought here. 

- Controls are still messy, particularly in cases where you need to operate in tight spaces. For example right now, you have to jump onto the small lip of the fire spawners to get the color from fire, but you can't be standing on the fire if you want to pick it up. It's a little hard. :) Swimming and pushing both need another pass, control-wise.

- Puzzles feel a bit rigid. In most cases right now there's only one possible solution to each puzzle. Ideally, it would be best if we could allow for some more freedom and creativity in puzzle solving. The main blocker right now is that we don't want players to be able to get stuck, which limits choices. I'm going to be thinking about this for awhile...

- Players still aren't very interested in just playing around with color. When Issam and I test the game, we spend a lot of time just moving color around because we find it very satisfying, but players aren't really into it yet. I'm hoping some of that has to do with the fact that we're usually hovering over them, waiting for them to solve puzzles, so they feel some time pressure... but we've been planning to do more with having objects 'come alive' with color, so we're going to start spending some more time on that now to affect the mood. 

This is part of a new puzzle I started off the week with:

On Weds I started working on the idea of making more interesting stuff that can 'come alive' with color. A long time ago we talked about having birds in the game:

So I started modeling a bird, which led me down the rabbit hole of trying to figure out how to make a bird wing fold in 3D... >:( I've got something that looks like this currently, which is *almost* there, but not quite:

Here's a test for size:

We also got our mood rings this week!!!:

We're going to be showing the game at RTX in August and we thought it would be cool to give out color-changing mood rings to people that try the game! :D

Issam is still working on his contract and doing what he can on Color Thief in his free time!

Here's Miles concentrating hard to come up with some water puzzle ideas: 

He's very dedicated.


Weekly Update: Documentary KS & More Puzzles!

Hello! This week, a local filmmaker launched a Kickstarter for a documentary called In Development: Designing Indie Games. It's a film about the indie development process - he's focusing in on Apotheosis Game Studios, Descendent Studios & Trouble Impact, as well as featuring interviews from other Austin indies! Please check it out here!

Moving on to the update: Lots of different puzzle attempts this week!

I made a bunch of puzzles this week that deal with keeping fire out of water (although, secret: right now you can *totally* have fire that burns while submerged).

I started with this one, which is similar to one without water, but the challenge is to light the level even though the floor is covered with water (the light gray in the image). Right now it's waiting on some functionality from Issam to actually be solvable. 

I made this one with the assumption that putting light overtop of the dark areas would light it... but point lights don't actually work that way so I need to rework it. :)

Here's a thing that happened: 

I also spent some time making this puzzle, but when I got it in game I realized that it didn't make any sense :/ Thankfully I have an idea for repurposing it. The gray is shallow water and the black circles and lily pads. 

Issam made me an importer so I can have larger fire spawners, so I made a puzzle using some of those:

This is what happens when you update an FBX while the game is running ;)

Issam added some functionality to the sentinels so that it's now possible to block them with pushables (which is what you would expect to happen) like so:

So I made a couple new puzzles using that concept: 

Also this one from a couple of weeks ago works now :)

Issam is still working on his contract!

Miles has been helping morale by being adorable:


Weekly Update: Dark Puzzles

I feel like I'm finally back into the swing of puzzle-making! This week I've just been trying out a bunch of ideas, so I have a ton of half-finished puzzles that don't quite work. ;) 

Here are some scribbly puzzle designs:

At the beginning of the week I worked a bit more on one of the puzzles I posted last week:

Then I made this room that doesn't look like much yet, which is currently waiting on some functionality from Issam:

Here are a couple that have to do with water and sentinels:

And then I started playing around with fire and light, which is something we'd prototyped a long time ago! This one is just about light:

We use vertex painting to kill the ambient light, so it looks like this in my file:

I've also been working on one with swimming & fire:

At one point I completely broke it!:

And here are some gifs I took while working on it:

Issam is still working on his contract!

Miles has been helping me, of course:


Weekly Update: Getting Back into Puzzle-Making Mode

On Monday we submitted our game to IndieCade - check out our new trailer!!

We focused on polishing up the first section of the game - so now it's time to start getting back to puzzle creation to make some new areas! 

Here are some confusing sketches!

I also revisited my puzzle testing file:

And I got started on a couple of new designs! The first one isn't really 'a puzzle' yet (no thinking is really required), but I like some of the ideas in it:

Right now you can have fire underwater (!!?)

And here's a puzzle I started yesterday! It doesn't work yet, but I think it could be cool: 

Issam is still working on his contract!

Miles is working on his modeling portfolio (maybe another source of income??):


New Trailer!

It's a lot like our old trailer... but prettier! :)


Weekly Update: More Art Polish & Tree Branch Puzzle

The IndieCade late deadline is almost here (6/1)!! It's nice because we've aimed our efforts so that this whole tutorial section should be pretty much "done" (at least as far as level art & puzzle design) when we submit, so I can start moving ahead with the rest of the game (exciting and frightening!)

This week I've been trying to finish up visual polish on the level. Here are some screenshots of the entry way:

The Buddha room was really our first 'art' room, and I hadn't touched it in a long time. I didn't do a lot, I just added some little bits that I've been using in a lot of other rooms to tie things together:

Also I got a little stuck on this room this week. Initially, I'd had a branch running over the top of the sentinel which was key to solving the puzzle, but it occurred to me that it was the only tree that didn't get leaves when you added color. Unfortunately adding leaves made it really hard to reach to add/remove color with the level layout. I fiddled with it for a couple of days, and eventually replaced it with a piece of a puzzle I'd been saving for later, which focuses more on the roots. 

Issam added in the full progression for our stand-alone demo puzzles. He also worked a bit on the fire - now it doesn't burn out, and it emits light again. He also adjusted the bloom settings since there were a few places where the fixed colors didn't really read.

Here's Miles forcing me to take a small break:


Weekly Update: IndieCade Submission Bug Fixing & Art Polish

We're working hard to submit our game to IndieCade on June 1st! Early in the week I made a big list of all of the little visual bugs that I had created from moving so much of the level around earlier this month, as well as some other outstanding issues. 

One of the fixes was to finally add the ivy climbing hint to the outdoor section, so I created this crumbled wall section: 

Here's the rest of the list. I promise I've been doing stuff!

I also started polishing room 7, which didn't have a lot going on... so I added a lattice window and outdoor view: 

Issam is still working on his contract, but at night he's been working on replacing one of my placeholder scripts. Now some fountains have drains you can flood!

Miles is working hard also:



Weekly Update: Big Room & Fountain Room Art

This week I've been continuing to work on the art in the big room, and I've also started on the fountain puzzle room.

Dirt pile in the 2nd half of the level:

Artwork on the walkway at the top of the room:

Artwork in the space between the 2 big yellow doors: 

I also experimented with it with color, but although it's pretty, I think I'm going to stick with black & white: 

I added a doorway to the final puzzle in the level (room 12) that overlooks the fountain room (room 6): 

Here's what it looks like from the other side:

Also I'd always planned on having a crumbled bridge in this room, so I made a bridge: 

Then I made a crumbled version!:

I'll have to find a place to use the unbroken bridge... I like the way it turned out. ;)

Issam is still working on a contract, but he's also done a little bit more work on replacing one of my placeholder scripts to make one of the one-off puzzles work. 

Miles has been dealing with some bugs of his own:

(Too cheesy??!)


Weekly Update: Big Room Art & One-Off Puzzles

I'm back from out of town, so I can write a longer blog post today! 

Issam is working on a contract, so he hasn't been able to do a lot aside from continuing to hook up my effects. He's currently working on replacing one of my placeholder scripts for one of the puzzles we want to include in the IndieCade build. 

As he posted last week, I've been working on the art for the big room that the puzzles branch off of. I'm pretty happy with it right now: 

I do think I need some more variation of gray, particularly in this top area: 

And we noticed that the glow is a little strong in here. ;) 

For the moment, I've taken a break from art to see what state some of our other puzzles are in, since we'd like to include them in the IndieCade build.

Here's the first puzzle where you learn about fire: 

This is the 2nd fire puzzle: 

And another puzzle. There will be 7 in total: 

Here's a vine of me adding sticks to the walls in one of the frog temple rooms: 

Right now we've got a few issues with these puzzles since we haven't looked at them in awhile. There are currently some bugs with pushing objects and picking things up. Also we need some new button prompts, since this will be the first time you do either of those things, and we need to add a way to move the player from room to room. :) 

Here's Miles uh... using his scratching post: