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Friday
Jul242015

Weekly Update: Banners & Octopus Temple

Super quick update today since I'm leaving in 15min to help Issam move! ;)

I started working on the visuals for the Octopus Temple this week! It's been a little slow going, since I'm not really sure exactly where I'm headed with it yet:

We also ordered some banners and postcards since we're going to be showing the game at RTX (8/7-8/9). We bought Megagrab from the Unity Asset Store to get high res (7680 x 3800) screenshots. It works well. 

Banners: (We'll probably just display one - we're just not really sure what the space will be like yet)

Postcards:

Back of postcards:

I've been hearing some feedback that our title font needs work... so I guess I should get on that. ;)  

Issam also made the flowers grow with color in game, but he didn't check it in... I will post it next week!

Here's Miles being fierce:

Friday
Jul172015

Weekly Update: Plants

This week continued the trend of making more living things that can react to color! I made a couple of different types of flowers to try out, as well as a butterfly. They're not currently hooked up in game, but here are the animations:

The idea is that the butterfly can fade in after awhile when flowers are given color. Or maybe it will only happen after an area gets a certain amount of color? You won't be able to take color from th butterflies though, since they are so small. 

I also started placing some grass in the first outdoor area, which will grow when the ground has color. I want to get a little more creative with it - like having it grow up the sides of walls, etc - but it's pretty tedious and I don't want to spend time on it right now. ;)

Halfway through the week I started making the switch back into puzzle-making mode. Issam is still working on a contract, but in his limited free time he's been hooking up some things I had asked for awhile ago. Now I need to start using them!

Here's Miles trying to invent a new, low-energy typing style: 

Friday
Jul102015

Weekly Update: Bird Wings

So the week before last I thought I'd just make a bird for the game, no problem. Unfortunately I completely underestimated how weird bird wings are, and got caught up in trying to make a correct wing fold, which looks like this (at the 2min mark you can see the fold on a real bird): 

I tried to copy this, adding extra bones so that I had more control over the 'feathers' when the wing folded, but I just kept fighting with the skinning for like a week:

I feel like I got pretty close and maybe could have continued fiddling with it until I got it right, but Issam suggested just making a really quick version even if it was incorrect, just so we could put the bird in game and see if it was even worth it. I ended up with this version: 

Honestly, even though it folds incorrectly and the skinning still looks a little wonky when the wings are extended, it seems to work well enough for something that is basically a prop.. 

Animations: 

Also, just to freak you out, I've once again used a biped rig as my base rig, which leads to a really freaky looking skeleton under there:  

(Also here's a bonus hilarious example from a few months ago:)

I've also started working on some flowers... but they're not very far along yet. :) 

Issam is still working on his contract.

Miles is.. still 'studying' water

Friday
Jul032015

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: 

Fish:

Fern:

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.

Friday
Jun262015

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.

Friday
Jun192015

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:

Friday
Jun122015

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:

Friday
Jun052015

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??):

Monday
Jun012015

New Trailer!

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

Friday
May292015

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: