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Friday
Apr082016

Weekly Blog Update: Push Puzzles' Art

Hello!

This week Issam has been working on how the sentinels interact with water, so I can start testing it. The idea is that water turns solid without color - so you can 'freeze' a sentinel open or closed.

Also, if the wrong color water crosses the sentinel threshold, it will close:

I'm working on the last 3 Chameleon Temple puzzle rooms! 2 of them are *mostly* done. I particularly like this one:

Also this bug made me laugh:

Here's the other room, which still isn't totally done:

Here's Miles doing an office inspection:

Friday
Apr012016

Weekly Update: Chameleon Temple Art Fixes

This week Issam spent some more time on the sandbox/coloring book mode. He added this menu for switching between rooms: 

I spent a little time looking at the Frog Temple to see what mechanics are missing or not working yet, so Issam could work on them for me!

These are some cool picture of glowing water (which unfortunately breaks a bunch of puzzles even though it looks cool, so we have to change it)

I've also been working on art polish for the 2nd part of the Chameleon Temple, which isn't super exciting to look at... but I took some pictures to keep track of small things I needed to change:

And here are some screenshots of recent changes:

Here's Miles uh... melting...?

 

Friday
Mar252016

Weekly Update: Coloring Book Mode Prototype

Sorry for the last post today - Issam and I were working on something important:

!!!!!This week we've been working on something cool! 

We'd talked about adding some sort of sandbox/coloring book mode, so Issam prototyped it out this week! It's really fun! There are some small things that need to be figured out (for example, I think you should be able to color everything in the room - which means creating some way to reach places that were previously inaccessible like the ceiling). So far it's really fun to play with!! :) The idea is that players will be able to take small videos of their rooms and share them!

Also here's some of the art I was working on at SXSW last weekend:

Right now I'm working on the final room in the Chameleon Temple, which isn't ready to show yet!!

Here's Miles flipping through my sketchbook to help me find old ideas:

Friday
Mar182016

Weekly Update: SXSW Gaming Expo 2016

Short update today since we're headed back to the SXSW Gaming Expo today to show the game & do game development demoes at the IGDA Austin Booth! The Austin IGDA graciously shares its space with local devs every year - if you're a local dev, keep a lookout for this next year! (I also usually try to post about it on @ATXGameDevCal - which is also on FB

We showed yesterday from 4-8 - here's our schedule for today and tomorrow!

Fri: 11:30-2pm: Color Thief Demo, 2-4: Development Demo

Sat: 2-6pm: Development Demo

The event is free and open to the public!!

 

 

Also check this out!! My sister Jenna got a 3D printer, and she made a print of our chameleon!!!

Since we're away from the office, Miles is mostly just relaxing:

Friday
Mar112016

Weekly Update: Fish and Breaking Things

This week I've mostly been working on the art for the second half of the Chameleon Temple! 

I still have a lot of work to do in terms of breaking up the geometry and making it a little more interesting looking, but the basics are there.  

Issam spent the first part of the week trying to come up with a good solution for selective ambient lighting in the frog temple. We have a few puzzles that are based on the idea of not being able to see anything until you light fires or move fire - because of this there can't be ambient lighting across the whole level, since it would light the areas that need to stay dark (for a quick explanation - the chameleon temple is actually all ambient lighting + one directional light that casts shadows (so most of the lighting is coming from the ambient)).

After a few days of really digging into it, he wasn't happy with the result - and since it was proving so difficult it made us consider a few of the issues with this puzzle type that we still haven't actually solved yet. Mostly, if a player puts a color down in an area, and then loses all light, will he or she forget that the color is there and think they're completely stuck? We had wanted to do some testing to see how big of an issue it was, but because it wasn't really going well anyway, we decided that we're probably better off just cutting this puzzle type.  

At the end of the week, he switched over to working on adding fish to the game! Right now they're magenta because I accidentally made them inside-out... so once I fix that they'll look cool. :) Also they currently disappear when you take color from them, but they're going to fall downwards and then fade away... at least for now. 

Next week we'll be showing our game at a couple of the time slots at the IGDA booth at the SXSW Gaming expo. If you're interested in stopping by, this is when we'll be there!:

Thurs: 4-6pm: Development Demo (I'll just be working there on a big screen), 6-8: Color Thief Demo

Fri: 11:30-2pm: Color Thief Demo, 2-4: Development Demo

Sat: 2-6pm: Development Demo

Here's a picture of Miles helping me work:

Friday
Mar042016

Weekly Update: Game Intro

In the beginning of the week, we finished polishing the intro and submitted our game to both the Momocon Indie Game Award Showcase, and IndieBits.

That's pretty low resolution, so here's a still also: 

 

There's also a short teaser that plays when you compete the trailer now! It gives you some glimpses at later gameplay and temples: 

Since finishing our submission, I've been working on the 2nd half of the chameleon temple:

Today we also had another interview with Steve, who is making a documentary following us and a few other Austin indie studios as we develop our games. 

 

Miles is just happy that our Momocon submission is done!

Friday
Feb262016

Weekly Update: Intro

This week we're still working on the intro for an upcoming competition! Most of it is put together, but Issam is working on the transition when you press a button to start. Here are a couple of pretty cool tests from this morning:

Now he's working on using pixel depth to use different ink effects, to see if it makes it look more 3d.

We've also been planning on adding a short video when you reach the end of the demo to tease some of the other environments and puzzle ideas. I've started making temple-speicific versions of things like doors, fountains and sentinels. Every temple has it's own symbol for color. 

Fountain:

Work in progress sentinel (green geometry is placeholder):

Issam also made an awesome tool for me to use in Unity! Usually when I want images from the game I take screenshots directly from the game. If I'm ever interested in getting different camera angles, it's a littel cumbersome to create a new scene camera and position it where I need it - so I asked for a renderable camera that matches the Scene view in-editor. It makes it really quick and easy to position a camera. :)

 

Here's a picture of Miles, making sure I stay on track:

Friday
Feb192016

Weekly Update: Intro Work

This week I've mostly been working on the intro to the game! It's kind of all in bits and pieces and not together in engine yet, so I can't show a lot - but the pieces are there!

Here are some screenshots:

(Text size & placement still need work)

I spent today editing some sound effects for it:

And I also spent some time filling in the area you can walk around before you enter the temple. There are still a few gaps you can escape through, so I need to spend a little more time on it:

Issam spent most of the week at DICE in Las Vegas. Expect a blog post from him sometime next week about it!! 

Here's Miles inside of a box:

Friday
Feb122016

Weekly Update: Jumping Around

I've been jumping around this week as Issam and I were trying to figure out our next milestone, so I don't have a lot of actual progress to show!

I started out the week playing around with music a little bit. I don't have any real music-making knowledge, so I was mostly messing around in Premiere (since you can edit audio tracks in it). I kind of doubt we'll use anything I make directly, but it gave me some good ideas about the direction I want the music to take. I'd particularly like to play with layering tracks, so that the more color there is, the stronger the music will be. Anyway, we'll see!

I spent a little bit of time working on the Frog Temple, since I was thinking we should move on to it next. Right now I have an art direction and a rough puzzle layout (with some puzzles missing), so I started making some more art.

I also spent a little bit of time on the 2nd half of the Chameleon Temple. Some changes I'd made to the end of the demo section kind of mess up the 2nd area (windows, etc), so I need to figure that out.

Issam made some small changes based on PAX South feedback. We have an option in the pause menu where you can invert the camera controls - he set it so that now when the demo resets, these options go back to default. 

There were also some bugs related to taking color from water. Sometimes when you jumped into the water when it was still rising, you could get stuck under it. Also the uncolored water didn't show shadows. Both of those things are fixed:

He also set up a new tone-mapping setting for the game. We actually couldn't decide which one we liked more, so we just set it to the new one to see if we liked it more after awhile. ;) I think overall it mostly just increases the contrast:

He also compressed the meshes more for performance, and started working on the way objects are selected for adding/removing color. At first he was trying a sphere check to see which objects were closest, but that doesn't account for objecting being hidden behind other objects (like a wall). 

Today we brainstormed some changes we want to make in the intro/title screen, so we'll probably be working on that this coming week!

Here's a pretty good picture of Miles and Issam working together: 
Friday
Feb052016

Weekly Update: PAX South Feedback

One of the best things about showing our game at conventions is that they're basically intensive, 3 day playtest sessions! Last weekend we saw some new areas that were tripping people up (and some bugs) so we spent this week making adjustments. This post is basically like a sneak peek inside my head when I'm designing things!

1) Confusing wall art. This wall art has been green for a long time - the idea is to give people a hint that they can interact with the plant, but it wasn't really serving its purpose. People already understood that they should approach the plant, which makes it unnecessary to start with - but the real issue is that when they need more green for the 2nd door, they think they need to do some complicated balancing to get the color off of the wall, as opposed to taking the green back off of the first door. This is intended to be a tutorial moment as opposed to a puzzle, so we removed the green from the wall art to eliminate some of the confusion. (Now your attention is focused even more on the plant, since it's the only color, which is good!)

Before:

After:

Here's another example of some wall art that caused confusion. There is actually no reason for these spirals to be red, and a few people spent a lot of time last weekend trying to figure them out... so we just took the color away. ;)

Before:

After:

2) Door collision. We recently made a change which causes all of the doors to stay open - this generally helps the players navigate the space by quickly showing them where they've come from. There are a few cases where you need to take color from an already opened-door, and this first door was surprisingly hard to take color from when I showed the game at the Smithsonian. We ended up sticking some fake collision on there to make it a little easier to grab the color. We'll probably end up doing this to all of the doors (but this was the most important one, since it's the door that teaches you that you can get color back).

Before:

After:

3) The Great Ivy Quest. Ok, this one was really bad this weekend and I felt guilty about it! There's a room right before you enter the temple which is supposed to teach you that you can put any color on the ivy. I tried to make it as obvious as possible by putting blue everywhere, and giving players a ton of opportunities to play with plants before reaching this point - but even though players have usually seen that any color works on plants by this point, they still assume that green is the 'correct' color for ivy. A lot of them view this section as a puzzle and run back to the first part of the level to try to figure out how they can get green across the first two sentinels. A few players spent A LOT of time on this before we stepped in, so to save everyone this pain (since again, this is tutorial and not puzzle material), I added some new wall art which will hopefully make things more clear!

Before:

After:

4) The Siren Song. I put some ivy in this room to make it pretty, but then everyone tried to climb it and a few of them succeeded and fell off of the world.... Solution: ivy removed!

Before:

After:

5) Crushed Chameleon. There was a bug with the sentinels that EVERYONE found last weekend! It was crazy! If you stand on the edge of the sentinel and put the color on the ground, you can force the sentinel to stay open - which breaks multiple puzzles! Issam fixed it so that it pushes you out. 

Before:

After:

6) The Disappearing Wall. This one was just an oversight that I hadn't noticed until this weekend: the sentinels in one of the last puzzles are actually taller than the surrounding walls, so they pop in and out of space ;) I shifted the whole room down to give them space to exist. 

Before:

After:

7) The Mysterious Empty Room. This last one is a two-parter! The purple door in room 12 (the room above) leads to this little side room. I had made this lattice-work window so you could see how the temple fit together (it actually looks down on room 6), but when people are in room 6 they think it's part of the puzzle and get confused. I removed the window from both rooms.

Before:

After:

The 2nd part is that the little side room that sticks off of 12 was always supposed to have art, but it didn't. It also had an invisible wall for some reason?! I added some art this week (foreshadowing!), and removed the wall. :)

Before:

After:

That's pretty much it! Today I'm fixing a few small collision issues we noticed, but next week I'm moving on to some new parts (!!!! I'm so excited!!!)

Oh also did you see that Issam added small streaming videos to our fancy new website?!: http://colorthiefgame.com/

I think Miles is happy we're back. Here he is recovering from the emotional stress of showing our game:

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