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Friday
Jul252014

Weekly Update: More Brainstorming & Sentinel Puzzle

We started out the week with more brainstorming, particularly dealing with fire and ice: 

The idea of pouring out any sort of water is probably too big of a headache to deal with, but brainstorming is brainstorming!

We're particularly interested in the idea of having little animals to interact with, especially since there won't be any other characters in the game (click here to see birds). A loong time ago we made this weird little prototype of "birds" coming to life with color, and it was kind of neat. :) I also hadn't considered the interaction of water and fire (vs. inactive fire) before and I think there are some puzzle ideas there. 

This page is obviously a little less fleshed out. :) Just thinking!!

I also did another pass on the final puzzle in the second section - splitting it into 2 separate puzzles. I had Issam play through them for the first time this afternoon, and it's still a bit off, so I'll do another pass on the design. 

When I tested the second area the other week, we realized that there are still some readibility issues with the sentinels, that made it really hard to figure out a bunch of the puzzles in this section - so Issam has been playing with the idea of having a visual "line of sight" that appears when the sentinels see you: 

Unfortunately this is a bit more heavy-handed than we thought it would be... While we were looking at it, we tried to do a quick effect to make the eyes "glow" but that's pretty awful too. :)

We have some more subtle ideas to try out - like making the head start looking at you from farther away, and lightening the color of the chameleon statue so it doesn't blend into the pillar as much. Also maybe making the actual pupil of the statue a different color (sort of like the failed eye-glow).

Miles spent the majority of the day sleeping in this bag: 

Friday
Jul182014

Weekly Update: Brainstorming & Prototyping

So we know we have some mechanics that work, and so far it seems like we can make them into levels that are interesting, but one of the main ideas for this game is to keep repetition to a bare minimum. We'd like to keep riffing on ideas and introduce new mechanics (that are logically connected) as often as possible. For example, the start of the first temple is mostly learning about color manipulation, doors and sentinels - the next section is all puzzles that deal directly with manipulating the sentinels, and the third part will revolve around fountain puzzles. (That's the initial plan anyway.) This of course means we need some more ideas proven out besides sentinels, fountains and fire... so we're taking some time now to brainstorm and play with other ideas. Here are the ideas from this week: 

Issam started playing with the idea of opening up vines/cloth curtains: 

He also hooked up the block pushing animations: 

I also started trying to replace a boring puzzle in the end of the 2nd part of the temple. This chaos is what currently exists in the game... ;)

Miles helped us set up our new modem:

Friday
Jul112014

Weekly Update: Playing with FinalIK

Things have been a bit slow as we've struggled to build momentum back up after IndieCade & Issam's trip to Montreal! This week we went swimming a lot...

One of the new mechanics I didn't post about last week is that the chameleon can now push blocks. Here's the placeholder functionality:

And I'm working on some quick animations now: 

Issam bought FinalIK from the Unity Asset Store and has been playing with it: 

It's pretty fun to mess with:

Here's Miles helping Issam with his laundry:

I promise next week will be a more substantial updaaate.

 

Friday
Jul042014

Weekly Update: Section Two Playable & RTX

Today's update will be short since we're going to be spending our weekend at RTX (Rooster Teeth Expo)! If there are any good pannels I will try to post some notes on Monday. :)

This week has been a little slow, but the second section of the temple is playable and I've started designing the third part. I took this vine this morning of Issam's first playthrough of section two. There's some stuff I need to fix (like.. doors that shouldn't be there....) but it all works!

Here's what Miles has been up to: 

Friday
Jun272014

Weekly Update: Section Two Blocking

This week I've been blocking out the next seciton of puzzles, which doesn't make for very exciting screenshots... but I'm really excited anyway! ;) This next section is primarily sentinel-puzzle based.

 

Issam just came back from visiting family in Montreal, so I don't really have any updates from him.

Miles has mostly been hanging out in this bag:

Friday
Jun202014

Weekly Update: New Area Design

I forgot to mention in last week's update that I updated the Color Thief game page! There are some new screenshots, the trailer, and a new game summary, which we wrote for our IndieCade submission.

This week, Issam did a little bit of work on the camera system before heading to Montreal to visit his family. 

I've been working on the designs for the next couple of sections of the Chameleon temple. I took some time going back through my sketchbook for old ideas. Here are some of the scribbles I collected. ;) 

I've got the next section planned out - now I just have to see if it actually works in game at all like it works on paper. :) This next section is very sentinel focused. The third area will have a lot of fountain puzzles.

Here's Miles playing next to my desk:

Friday
Jun132014

Weekly Update: IndieCade Submission

Quick post today since we're working on submitting our game game to IndieCade (the deadline is Sunday)! Here is the trailer I made for our submission! (Play it in HD!):

 

And here are some new screenshots: 

Friday
Jun062014

Weekly Update: Start of Level Art & Playtest Notes

This week I worked on the first couple of rooms in the game! Here are some screenshots!: 
Here's a bit of work on the first outdoor area (still need to do a lot more!): 
Because I've been putting so many trees in there, Issam has spent most of the week working on performance.
We also had a playtesting session on Tuesday night. Here are some notes: 
  • People still aren't getting the sentinel. We have some ideas on how to fix it!
  • Get rid of pushable blocks. They really aren't needed for any of the puzzles yet, so right now they're just confusing people.
  • Lots of players want an area where they can just play around with color. The plan was to use the outdoor area for playing, but it might be too early - maybe put more color in the Buddha statue room. 
  • Desaturated orange and desaturated tan are easy to mix up, so try not to use them too close together (at least at first). 
  • Some Questions:
    • Is there a way to communicate that a room is "finished"? Should we do that?
    • Some players are getting stuck on the first door that already has color (they think they need to do something and don't try to open it...) 
    • Some players want more direction. "Am I trying to put a palette together? What is my goal?" Can we get some story stuff in there before IndieCade?
    • Is there a way to have a mini-map? Maybe it could draw as you see new areas, so you at least know where you've been if you get turned around (it's currently very easy to get lost)
Based on some feedback I changed one of the later puzzle rooms to use a tree instead of ivy, and I thought it came out pretty neat (although from this angle, that long branch seems awkwardly straight):

It even pokes into one of the other rooms, which creates some interesting possibilities.
Also I need to fix this area, which is currently completely overtakem by trees. :)
And here's a weird bug Issam just got. Spooky!
Here's Miles contemplating pushing my controller off of my desk: 
Friday
May302014

Weekly Update: Shaders & Trees

This week, Issam made a water shader and worked on the transition between solid and liquid that happens when you take color from/give color to water:

He also put in a pause menu, and made a shader for the leaves:

I spent the first part of the week replacing the modeled leaves on our trees with normal-mapped polys, and started laying out the first outside section of the level.

This is how the trees look in Max now: 

And here they are in game. (Yeah, that frame rate is still pretty low... we're working on that!: 

We also started working a bit more on the game's backstory. I spent most of Wednesday writing something up, but after talking it through with Issam I decided I didn't like the direction it was heading. We brainstormed a bit, and I've convinced him to take a crack at it. There will never be cutscenes or narration explaining the backstory, but we'd like to have a more solid sense of what happened in the world to make it the way it is - and where you are, and what this place was used for. I'd really like to give a sense of history through the environment. 

Miles has been exploring the laundry room. He's not allowed in there anymore.

Friday
May232014

Weekly Update: Control Scheme & Leaves

This week Issam finished up the color transfer effect - now you can see the color move through the chameleon as well:

Also I forgot to mention last week that you don't need to be standing completely still to get the option to interact with color anymore (although if you are moving, it stops you). This speeds up the pace of the game quite a bit. 

We also used to have a separate button for taking color and giving color, since there were cases where you could be holding half a chameleon's worth of color. We took that out because it was confusing people, and went ahead and put giving and taking on one button.  

Issam also spent some time fixing an issue where players would easily fall through collision - it usually happened when you jumped towards a wall. If you try really, really hard, you can still make it happen, but it's much better than before. 

He's also started work on menus for the game, since we want to submit our game IndieCade (June 15th is the deadline for late submission). So far we have a pause menu where you can adjust the volume of the music and SFX separately. We're planning on adding graphics options, an inverted camera control option, and color blind options (palette swapping).

 

I've been working more on the plants. I made a couple new trees:

And some bushes!: 

Right now, all of the leaves are modeled - but when I started placing them in the beginning of the level, we realized pretty quickly that it was going to be too many polys. You can see from this wireframe view in Max how dense the geometry is:

Our solution has been to create simpler polys for the leaves, and then put alpha and normal maps on them. Here you can see the difference in geometry in Max:

And this is what it looks like in game. Modeled leaves are on the right, normal mapped are on the left. There's an issue in this picture where the leaves are slightly transparent, which we've corrected (although we do want to play with maybe having light shine through them at some point): 

I haven't replaced all of the leaves yet, but that's my next task. 

Since I did a couple of animations this week, Issam wanted me to post this picture of the chameleon rig, since it's so weird. :) It's just a biped - but it looks kind of freaky with that human skull in there...

 

And here's what Miles has been up to: