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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:

Friday
May222015

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:

 

Friday
May152015

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??!)

Friday
May082015

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: 

 

Friday
May012015

Weekly Update: Art and .gif 

Cat left me in charge of the blog post this week and I nearly forgot to write it :) This will be a short one, sorry!

She is out of town for the next few day, but before she left she was working on adding more art in some of the rooms that we have. 

yep, I took a screenshot of a tweet because I could not figure out how to embed it :)It's really impressive how even adding a few decoration in the room makes it feel a lot less empty. With her changes we are seeing more of the sky, I think we are going to need to figure out a way to make it less static (maybe some cloud?)

I have been working on a contract this week, but I was able to add 2 quick things: .gif support and attached some of the effects that Cat did last week. We want to use gifs to show our game in motion, especially since we can embed them in a tweet. Luckily someone had written a lot of the code for this: https://github.com/Chman/Moments

Here's an example showing the first pass effect for swimming:

We can capture at different resolution and length, but this is what works best for twitter.

Miles is helping me upgrade Cat's computer:

 

Friday
Apr242015

Weekly Update: Mish-Mash of Stuff

Hello! Issam is still away this week - but he just started working on a new contract, so I don't have any updates from him!

On Monday I watched Monkey Kindgom! It's.. technically a documentary (with a sort of weird forced narrative), but it's set in Polonnaruwa, which is one of my main influences for the chameleon temple! It was pretty cool!:

I started off the week by making a layout change to the beginning of the level to teach the player that you can turn ivy any color: 

I think the crumbly staircase could read better visually, but first I should see if this actually teaches the player what I want it to.

I took this screenshot while I was moving stuff around :)

I also finally made this ivy climbing hint, but I haven't figured out where to put it in game yet (which is why it doesn't have color):

I spent a little bit of time thinking about some more narrative bits I can tell through wall art, which resulted in these scribbles. Maybe you can decipher them!

Later in the week, I spent about a day combing through some royalty free music sites online for look for something a little better to replace our placeholder music (but still placeholder!). Right now I kind of like this track

Here's a mess I made while playing that music in the background to see how it felt. ;)

And then today and last night I've been making some effects! They're not hooked up yet, so it's hard to show them! I was able to make this video of the water ripples though!:

Issam and I also wrote out a list of some stuff we'd like to have in the game to submit to IndieCade!

Miles helped!

Friday
Apr172015

Weekly Update: Bloom & Monkey King Story Panels

Issam is away visiting his family this week, but he's been working on our rendering!! He finished up the deferred rendering and added bloom which is stronger when things are in direct sunlight. He also did tests for fog and depth of field. 

Right now he's making it so that the chameleon can push objects while swimming underwater.   

I finished up the octopus model and rigging it using CAT (he's made out of tails!)

Skinning him was a big pain... 

Next I made a Tufted Gray Langur for a story I want to tell through the art:

And here are the first three panels of the story! Still working on it.

Here's Miles enjoying some time in the sun: 

Friday
Apr102015

Weekly Update: Character Models & Rendering

Hello! This week I've been modeling a bunch of characters! The idea is to use them in wall art (like this kind of stuff) We want to really start working on showing more of the narrative of the world through the environment, and the first step is making some characters to tell stories with. 

I finished up the White's Tree Frog from last week

And made my Golden Crab Spider:

Then I spent a couple of days trying to rig her...

First I looked at the premade spider rig in CAT (Another of Max's rigging systems), but it was missing some leg joints that I needed:

Then I did a weird experiment with Biped where I tried to make 2 bipeds work together, but Max ignored my skinning information:

Then I made a custom CAT rig that I thought was good, but the legs weren't really bending correctly:  

So I finally made one with the bends built in and it works!:

Here she is skinned:

And here's the current lineup:

Now I'm working on the octopus: 

She looks a little angry right now ;)

...which will finish off the main 5 characters/temple animals. After that I'm going to need to make a few non-color-changing animals. There will probably be a monkey. I'm not sure what else. :) Maybe a crocodile??

 

Issam has been making our game work with Unity 5's deferred renderer so we can easily handle multiple lights casting shadows. As part of this he's been spending time fixing our shader and trying to figure out better HDR/Tonemapping settings.

We can currently have spotlights and point lights that cast shadows, but he's still working on the HDR settings - right now he feels like the lighting looks too overblown (or dark at the other extreme). Also the HDR settings affect the colors a lot, so he's spending a lot of time on it.

Testing out multiple shadow sources:

 

 

Here's an image from earlier in the week when he was playing with the ambient lighting and tonemapping settings.

 

 

Here's a weird thing that happened where he accidentally inverted the shadows:
And now he's away visting family!

 

Airport working!

 

Miles has been diligently protecting the office/apartment from potential invaders:

 

 

Friday
Apr032015

Weekly Update: Moving to Unity 5

This week we decided to move our game to the new Unity 5, there were a few reasons for this:

- We still have a long development time, there was no point in staying on a version that will not be updated anymore.

- Unity 5 has better support for consoles. With Unity 4, each console build required its own version of Unity

- We wanted to try the new realtime global illumination as soon as possible, we felt like it would be really good for our game. (Spoiler: I am highly disappointed by it) 

 

This is how we handled the move to Unity 5:

- Updated the asset store plugins we use to their latest version while still in Unity 4 (NGUI, Sunshine, Master Audio)

- Deleted the library folder and any files generated by our custom importing. Opened the project in Unity 5

- Fixed our custom importer scripts to work in Unity 5. In cases where an FBX depends on another asset, we added a way for it to wait before importing itself and removed all calls to AssetDatabase.Refresh() during importing. We also submitted a bug to Unity about an error that happens when trying to re-import an asset when the inspector tab is open (it's a harmless error but still annoying to get).

- A few scripts got "auto-upgraded" to the Unity 5 API when opening the project - mainly all the scripts used by the "standard assets" that ship with Unity 4. There were still a few scripts that needed to be manually fixed but nothing that required more than 1 line change.

Running in Unity 5! (looks the same as Unity 4 :))Once we had the game running in Unity 5, we decided to try the new realtime global illumination (GI) system. Our game involves changing object colors, so it would be really good if we could get a nice bounce light effect that reflects that color change. The way the new GI was advertised I assumed it might work for us, but once we started trying it we found some limitations:

- It only works for static objects. For dynamic objects you still need to manually place a lot of light probes in your scene. 

- It requires a long offline baking time, which was one of the reasons lightmaps are out of the question for us. Cat is our only artist (and designer, and co-owner and social media manager ... so her time is important :)). Anything that has a really slow iteration time (in this case more than half an hour) does not work for us.

So while GI is advertised as realtime, in the end it requires someone to spend a lot of content time on it. It might be good if you have someone in your team that has time to spend on manually setting up lighting each time your scene changes, but in out case we don't.

Unity 5 does have a better deferred renderer support, we are going to spend some time trying to figure out if we can use it to have multiple lights casting shadows. Currently the forward renderer in Unity 4 (and 5) is slow when using multiple lights.

 

Cat has been working on our game narrative. We are trying to get something she can use as a base when creating environments.

She also as been working on new models for the other temples (for the temple artwork - not playable characters). Here are some work in progress screenshots:

 

Maybe having Miles' office at Cat's place was not a good idea...

 

Friday
Mar272015

Weekly Update: Swimming Controls & Starting Fox

This week Issam has been working on the swimming controls! He tried a couple of different variations throughout the week, and we've landed on one we'd like to playtest. He also added the ability to take/give color while underwater, and worked on the collision detection while swimming (for awhile, the chameleon was getting stuck in the walls...)

Moving forward, he's going to work on ice - we're also going to start thinking a bit about how we can build a hint system.

I've been working a little bit on the narrative (so I don't really have a lot of pictures to post!) and starting to brainstorm ways we can reveal information about the world through the environment. Starting off, I do think I'm going to want to feature some of the other animals in the wall art, so I've been trying to figure out what they'll look like. The other color changing animals are White's Treefrog, the Common Octopus, the Goldenrod Crab Spider and the Arctic Fox: 

I started modeling the fox. It looks pretty bizarre at this stage, but I think I can save it. ;)

I had a friend visiting from out of town on Monday - so Miles spent most of the week recovering from this traumatic event: