The below text is from an Archive of Rabbithole Productions previous website - Rabbitholeprod.com - before it was rebranded to Chaotic Play
The embedded videos and pictures didn't transfer correctly, but you can get the gist of what was on the website before it was taken down.
It is a little sad to let all the work go on that site, but that is how we grow.
Sept 1st, 2017 - February 18th, 2018
Play Alice on Itch.io
After the untimely death of your family from your house fire, we were beginning to think you had forgotten about us living here in Wonderland. Donít worry though; we have been here, waiting for your return. Hopefully, you will save our Wonderland once moreÖ or die trying.
For Christmas of 2017, I wanted to try a linear adventure platformer game similar to Alice the Madness returns. It is by far the most complex, longest, and complete project I have ever created. It ran a little over my original timeline, but I learned a ton in the process.
Depths of Oceania
Ludum Dare 39 - July 2017
Game Download Page OR Ludum Dare 39 Page
Have you ever wanted to be on a scuba diving mission all alone in search of buried treasure? Now is your chance! Hop in and prepare to drift down to the sea floor, but be warned, you are not alone in the water and every action toward your goal has some consequence to your submarineís life.
For Ludum Dare Compo 39, we had to use the theme of "Running Out of Power" in our game play for this 48 hour game jam. For my use of the theme, every action you took toward the sunken treasure had some sort of negative affect on your ship.It was a very enjoyable first Ludum Dare. I will be posting a summary of scores once they are finalized in August.
Pulling Your Own Strings
GMTK Game Jam - July 2017
GMTK Jam Page OR Downloadable Page
The middle of July was the first Game Maker's Tool Kit Game Jam. It was a 48 Hour Jam that lasted from 6pm Friday, July 14th - 6pm Sunday, July 16th. The theme of the jam was dual purpose controls, having a button or a move set used in multiple ways. An example of that could be jumping and shooting at the same time, or having to move in order to power up a weapon. My approach was through music, using your Harp, you had to solve puzzles and fight off enemies in order to reach your final destination. For my first timed + submission jam, I was very pleased with the result and accomplished quite a bit. I'm looking forward to the next jam! I hope you enjoy the finished product!
Game Jam - June 2016
This was the project that was created during a 30 hour game that provided several key components that will be in the game such as the art style and the spell collection/utilization system. More features will be added including open world mechanics and collectibles.
Game Jam 8 hours - December 2015
Prior to the completion of Plum Grove, I participated in a game jam with a couple of my friends. We tasked ourselves with making a game in 8 hours. We settled on a super cheesy film-noir style of game with our team of a couple writers, a musician, and a programmer to create this walking simulator. It uses several assets from Plum Grove, but with a different feel. You will need to turn the sound up to hear anything... sorry about that!
Plum Grove - December 2015
The original intent of this project was to create an open world/GTA style game where you could go into every building on the map as it was my largest game to date, I had severely underestimated the amount of time that I had. I started this and a couple of other projects to give away as Christmas gifts for the year, but this was the only one that I was able to complete. This was my first time using and importing assets from Blender, so it was progress!
Super Marble Ball - March 2013
As part of a mini-project that took one month to complete - Super Marble Ball was my attempt at a Super Monkey Ball clone. For better or for worse, I was content with the completed work.
May 12th, 2019
Just a quick animation project this week. I found a new channel called Mix and Jam which takes elements from various games and tries to replicate them. My favorite has been the Persona 5 All Out Attack. In it, he references a site called Mixamo which has animation rigs ready to go for various projects or characters. I found a couple baseball ones I liked and decided to make a little homerun scene. I had to remember how to do event animations, Animator flows, and a bit of scripting to match the timing, but I liked the way it was quickly thrown together. It is not pretty, but it demonstrates what I was going for.
May 7th, 2019
First update since the start of the year! No major projects, but I have ideas and items I would like to be working on. Currently, I'm in the middle of leaving my job, moving, planning for a vacation, and competing for the State Championship for chess in my state. Lots of irons in the fire, but game dev is there and nagging at me to get back to it. I want to spend the time to sit down and study, I'm struggling to find the time. Be on the look out - perhaps a new website with a rebranding may occur in the future!
January 1st, 2019
It has been a while since I have been back to update the site. So long in fact that Google forgot my password and my own website had disappeared from my search history.
2018 had been a year with an emphasis on Game Development in the first quarter of the year, but after that, it was a real challenge to get back into it. I tried several mini projects but I was not proud enough or finished enough to post them anywhere. And to be honest, the latter half of 2018 was focused on chess and my chess tournament playing (which was a remarkable good year for it!).
As for 2019, I would like to get back into development. I do enjoy the hobby. I enjoy learning about the various aspects of it, but there are other elements going on in my life that need to be addressed first before I can sit back down and open up Blender and Unity. There are many classes I want to take and many projects I would like to do, but I'm getting to a point where I need to make some life decisions first. If I continue on this site, I'll keep posting, if I move to another host, I'll do another update on this page.
Anyway, that is the state that the website is in now. I appreciate the patience.
August 19th, 2018
It has been a while! It is funny how life has a way of getting in the way. I found out today that every weekend from here until October is booked, however, in the last couple of weeks I was informed of Extra Credits' first Game Jam taking place on August 18th and 19th. Since I am getting a little rusty, I threw my hat in the ring for the event.
The Theme for the event was "Awesome Per Second" emphasizing the focus of your play on something small but awesome rather than long and drawn out. Some of the examples they used were with a combat emphasis, narrative emphasis, art, emotion, calm, and others. Knowing myself and my lack of action coding capabilities, I stuck with writing and tried to place an emphasis on the narrative elements.
The Jam started locally at 10pm Friday night. I spent a couple of hours trying to work a story around. For some reason, the vision kept drifting back to a female protagonist walking down a hospital corridor slowly to see their significant other in a dying state. I kept trying to figure out a way to tie the story in so the audience would think it was the protagonist's fault, but the more story you come across then you start to see it was your significant other's doing/fault. The original angle was going to make him an abusive individual, but I didn't know how to hit those emotions effectively in the 48 hour window I was given.
Instead, I placed the emphasis on an accident where you are asked to say your goodbyes. The rest of the game is then told in a non-linear fashion going through your development as a couple - good times, bad times, childhood memories, and events leading to the accident. I pulled the non-linear aspect from Beyond: Two Souls and the way they told their story. Mine probably isn't as effective, but it was worth a shot.
The coding is similar to what I used with Alice with the Dialogue system. I ran into quite a few issues making it work for some reason. It seemed each playtest it would result in a different error even without me touching it which was growing rather bothersome and threw me further and further behind.
The original "Awesome Per Second" was to achieve your project and understand the key elements after about 5 minutes of play. As per the usual, that didn't happen. And as per usual, I bit off much more than I could chew for this session. I ended up creating 10 chapters and creating a rough coding/art outline for 7 of them which means I didn't submit the game which sucks, but - hey - I can still use it as a major springboard for my game that I will create by the end of the year! This way, I can go back through and place more emphasis on the narrative elements and clean up the scripts since they were getting sloppy.
Overall, this was a much needed excuse to get back into development. I'm not sure when I will have time to get back to it, but I want to keep pursuing the idea.
July 1st, 2018
For the back half of this year (hard to believe the first half of the year flew by). This was another week in which no progress happened in the world of game development.
For the back half of this year, I want to try something a little different. I structured my goals list into Quarters with several game development items on that. What that means is there is no set timeline for completing items in the next 90 days, but there are quite a few items I would like to try and do.
Quarter 3 Game Development Goals:
A lesson in bumped textures
A lesson on branching dialogues
UDemy Course - Legend of Zenda
A lesson on Fading Between Scenes
A lesson on Particle systems
A lesson on Dissolve and Hologram shaders
A lesson on Daz Studio
A lesson on lighting
A lesson on Photorealistic materials
A lesson on Min Max Behavior / Alpha Beta Pruning
Preparation for September's Christmas Project
Begin September's Christmas project
Again, I can't promise an order to the above list, but in the next 90 days I hope to have examples ready to go of each one. Updates from here on may be sporadic, but I'm still here! Thanks for sticking around!
June 24th, 2018
I will be honest, not a thing happened this week. Didn't open Blender, didn't open Unity, didn't look at tutorials. Nothing. Sorry to disappoint! Personal stuff kinda got in the way, hopefully everything calms down for the next week!
June 17th, 2018
Again abandoning The June Project, I dug a little into my Watch Later list and found a couple of tutorials from Brackeys that I hadn't seen. The first of which was a line rider tutorial. The concept was similar to a Line Rider tutorial I had followed last year, so that wasn't something I wanted to get into again, but what he did put an emphasis on that I found interesting was the Post Processing effects of using MK Glow which accents different elements in your scene and allows them to stand out and pop.
Keeping MK Glow I followed another tutorial on how to use Portals in Unity using some math and shaders to show what was on the other side of the Portal. The concept is really cool! I tried to flesh it out into a full - Portal - type level, but the application was not as easy as I was looking to for the amount of time I spent on it so I decided to pass.
Couple of items to note - I am thinking of undergoing a name change to the company. Rabbithole Prod doesn't have the greatest role of the tongue, the logo is a little lackluster (no offense to my former self), and I want to start to upgrade the look to be a little more professional. Nothing is going to happen right away, but just something to keep in mind so stay tuned!
June 10th, 2018
I feel like I am in the middle of a little mid-year burn out. The weather is nice, I've worked hard on various project already this year and my main job is starting to take a toll on my energy so when I get home, I don't really want to keep on working. I know that is what it takes to succeed, but it also requires a little self-care so I don't hate everything I touch.
This week, I started with the best intentions of trying to replicate a system similar to that of Beyond Two Souls. Apparently, it has been a little while since I last tried to create a mini project and I could not figure anything out. It took me a full day of trying to work with the camera systems to get 2 working ones then another day to try (and fail) to clamp the angle of those cameras so they wouldn't flip all over the place. Overall, it was not a productive week. This coming week, we will see if I keep pushing or if I decide to just pull back and use this month as a down month to just recuperate. Sorry this was not what you were looking for, but I am trying my best over here.
June 3rd, 2018
Already in the 6th month of the year, look at that.
I ended up finishing my portion of Paloma Faith's Upside Down this week. I stopped right at the halfway point just due to overall timing of my calendar and overall, I was quite happy with how it turned out! True, there are some items that don't line up and I took a couple short cuts along the way, but it was excellent human configuration practice. I could tell there were times where the movement felt completely organic and other times it felt a little forced, but I can see and feel the difference now which is an excellent piece to progress in! Overall the project was a success!
Now that we are into June I am going to take a shot at a video game project. I have a list of about 6 concepts I want to try and integrate, but rather than pound all 6 in, I'm going to start with one - the core gameplay mechanics of Beyond: Two Souls - then if that story is finished, I will branch out to other items that I want to work on. Stay tuned for updates on The June Project!
May 27th, 2018
Great progress this week! Running a little behind schedule, but good progress!
This week, I am taking a shot at doing a shot for shot remake of Paloma Faith's Upside Down. It involves animating 5 humans for 3:14. As of writing this, I am exactly halfway through it with a little less than a week left so the odds of finishing it on time (especially since the song increases in difficulty the further we get along) is going to be difficult, but I must say, I am very pleased with the work so far!
I knew going into this that it was going to be difficult to make the video seem exactly like the music video, but there are elements where it does feel organic. Like that person really could be spinning like that, moving like that, walking like that. They are few and far between, but nothing can really be that feeling of 'realism' especially in a low poly build like I am doing. It isn't perfect, but I am very happy with it considering where I was a year ago. Progress is awesome to see!
May 20th, 2018
And here we go! Kicking off the most ambitious project since I completed Alice earlier this year. For the next couple of weeks (hopefully by the end of May), I will be trying to dump several hours a night into recreating a shot by shot representation of Paloma Faith's Upside Down. The purpose of this mini-project is not to have super detailed or super accurate models, but more so I can practice animating.
The song is a little over three minutes with 5 humans on a closed studio set. This will give me ample opportunities to try and work quickly on reproducing human movement and quick camera work. This could translate into future video game animations or cutscenes.
The song is 3:14 in length. Currently I am planning on running the animation at 24 frames a second which will mean a total of 4,656 frames. Wish me luck!
May 13th, 2018
Happy Mother's Day!
Lot of stuff going on this week but I did manage to wrap up another quick animation using the updated parts of Blender 2.79b to create a wall of text that can be washed away using water. The elements are new to Blender 2.79b, but after watching a couple tutorials, it uses very similar processes to those in the previous tutorials especially the coffee cup one from last week.
This week will probably be a lighter week. May is one of my busiest months in the year, but hopefully in the back part of the month, I will be working on my largest Blender Project to date - I will be trying to recreate the Paloma Faith music video for Upside Down in Blender. Should be a big learning experience!
May 6th, 2018
Happy Birthday to me!
This week, I had let me computer run on the coffee cup/steam animation and found it was taking waaaaaaay too long to complete the rendering process. By Monday I was 30 frames through the 450 frame animation. By Tuesday, I was at 40. Wednesday 45. I stopped it and kept reducing the quality of the renders until it could've been completed in the week which meant the overall quality of the images dropped quite a bit but for this demonstration the final product isn't what was important, it is the concepts that were picked up. Evidently water and smoke stem from the same system in Blender so it helped with another project that I was working on this week I'm looking forward to that one coming out next weekend!
April 29th, 2018
On the plus side this week, I was able to sit down with Blender and I was going to create a 15 second scene in a cafe with a cup of coffee that is steaming and has bubbles in it then I would create the surrounding counter/bar area then flesh out the restaurant.
In reality, I quickly ran out of time for the completion of the entire vision I was looking for, but the key element I was striving for was creating a cup of coffee with steam and particles acting as the bubbles without looking anything up, to that, it was a success. Now I just have to wait for it to render out. There are 360 frames rendering at about 7 minutes each and the render started today soooooo... No video today, but here is a screenshot of the project!
April 22nd, 2018
With the amount of chess I am trying to accomplish this year, there will be some weeks where I just won't be able to do any game development. This week was one of those weeks.
At the start of the week, I was knocked flat with a flu/cold that kept me away from work on Tuesday and half of Wednesday then from Friday until Sunday, I was way up in northern Iowa for a chess tournament. Now though, things are calming down, I can knock some laundry out, I have big plans for this weekend to try and watch some coding videos and I'm going to take a shot at an animation hopefully all of that can be done in a week! We will see!
April 15th, 2018
The other was an image using Voxel which is similar to Minecraft in that you build 3D models based on individual blocks/pixels. It was a really easy tool to pickup and learn and the rendering was much easier to use (though with slightly fewer options) than Blender. I might have to look into using it for future projects!
April 8th, 2018
After having just gotten back from a 2 day chess tournament, I have nothing to report as to working on game development this week, but in an effort to still post weekly, I wanted to throw something on the website! This next weekend there are a couple of items in the pipeline that I hope can be finished up for next weekend! Stay tuned!
April 1st, 2018
Happy Easter and April Fool's Day! I just walked back in to my apartment after taking a long weekend down to my grandparents, but before that, I was able to shake the rust off and complete my March goals list by creating an ocean scene in Blender. I really needed to get back into using the program since I hadn't done any 'real' work in it since last spring when I was making short animation clips. I followed a tutorial on how to do the cycles renders and background images, I picked up a couple of cool tricks in the process and created the short 100 frame animation.
The unfinished (and probably will never be finished) work from the week was trying to create a subway system image. The modeling/ setting up of the scene itself was not difficult, it did take a little time and I found a couple new tricks in the process, but what threw me off was the texturing. I'm still not sure how to import the textures so I can scale them using the cycles renderer settings in Blender (you can see the lines of the texture on the backwall and the right wall). I was happy with the lighting, shadows, and general setup, it was just the textures I couldn't get working.
March 25th, 2018
This week was another quick project was we near the end of March. Following another of Brackey's tutorials, I was able to knock out the app game called Fruit Ninja.
I had never played the original game, but I knew enough of the concept and after the tutorial I expanded on the fruit flying up, cutting it, and having it fall off again by adding more fruit for variations (that I modeled) and a score system based on a timer. When the timer ends, a menu pops up that slows the game down, if you press the button, the level restarts and you can play again.
Looking into April, it will probably be a bit of a lighter month. There are a couple of big chess tournaments that I will be participating in and preparation for that will occupy quite a bit of my free time. The aim is to still try and knock out a weekly mini-project just to make sure rust doesn't settle in.
March 18th, 2018
This week's mini-project was a game I lost a ton of time to during high school - Cut the Rope.
The idea behind the game is you have to feed Om-Nom the candy while you collect the stars for the level. Brackey's made a tutorial on how to make the core components of the game including the key element - HingeJoint2D - for the rope scripts. He stopped the tutorial once the rope could be connected to the candy and that was where I ran with it.
I tried to replicate a couple of ideas from the original game by adding the original sprites and animating them when the candy was close or Om-Nom was eating it. I added the three star feature which doesn't allow you to progress to the next level unless you have collected all three and fed Om-Nom. Some barriers and spikes were added that restart the level if the candy is off screen or hitting obstacles. Lastly (and hardest) was the bubble mechanic which alters the gravity of the candy when it enters a bubble. Since I didn't copy the game completely, there are elements of the rope that are still attached to the candy when you have cut a rope. Because of that extra disproportionate weight, it alters the path of the candy which isn't good...but it works!
Starting from scratch at 8pm and finishing the project by 10:30pm, I can definitely tell I am building on concepts I have learned in the past and running with it at a much faster speed than I had in the past. Progress!
March 11th, 2018
Well a little bit of progress is better than no progress, right? This week the only item I had time for was a Typing Game. A bank of words is built into a queue that the computer chooses randomly, you type them as they are falling across the screen and the more words you complete the faster the words begin to fall. Currently, there is no score system, fail state system, or basically any other feature outside of 'it works', but I will take the progress where I can get it!
March 4th, 2018
I will be honest, I did absolutely nothing game development related this week. With February wrapping up, March starting, NaNoEdMo starting, and playing in my first rated chess tournament in two years - game dev slipped off the priority list for this week. Things should calm down a little this week so I can crank through a demo or two so stay tuned!
February 25th, 2018
No rest for the wicked! It is time to plunge forward on more projects now that Alice is done. First off, I would like to say the response to Alice has been, in my opinion, positive. While the people playing the game is not very high, in fact, I'm not sure if anyone has played it... but the trailer has been seen over 40 times in a week which is a good increase to previous projects! In the grand scheme, it isn't good, but progress is progress.
This week, I got to turn my attention to a couple of mini-projects. The three games this week are Doodle Jump, Flippy Knife, and a Sliding Block Puzzle. Doodle Jump features several different types of platforms, a high score/top score element, and a menu that appears when the game is finished. The Flippy Knife, also a mobile game clone, includes a mini score system and a system to allow you back to the menu. Lastly, the Sliding Block puzzle is a puzzle with one piece missing. You press a key to scramble the puzzle then when you solve the puzzle, the missing piece is filled in. All three project were nice quick and easy projects to knock out in a week and they are fun to spend a couple of minutes!
February 18th, 2018
And just like that, Alice is done! This last week had a major push to finish up debugging including doing close to a dozen different builds of the game. I am not sure what happened between the editor and build, but quite a few items we breaking that had never broken before. For example ñ my action triggers I used on the Vorpal Blade for attacking, flipping switches, holding a conversation, and carrying objects around decided to not work at all. I went in and tweaked what I could, but the only way I could get it to work was re-tooling each individual system that was breaking including having to completely cut the chess problems I had created (and the subsequent Cat riddle that went along with it) because the mechanic just wasnít working. Again, no idea what caused that or the major lighting glitches that were occurring, it is something for me to look into in future projects.
I completed a Build for Windows, Mac, and Linux, posted it onto Itch.io and will be sharing it to friends and family. As a whole, this game is the longest I have worked on a project, the most complex one to date, and the most stable one. I am very pleased with how it all turned out and I cannot wait for everyone to see it and hopefully play it! I even threw together a quick trailer using Windows Movie Maker and splicing apart clips I took while I was recording a playthrough of the game.
Now that it is done, I would like to take a little time to reflect on some lessons that were learned in the process.
This was my most adventurous coding project to date. Using what I learned during my Hogwarts project where I put all of the modeling in up front then was burned out when it came time to code, I did the coding first and made sure it worked before moving onto art. Because I was fresh and didnít feel the pressures of deadlines, the quality was high and everything that I wanted Alice to do in the original blueprints, she could do.
Outside of Alice, it was nice to be able to think efficiently where I could create one script that would serve several different purposes or be used in different situations. All of the enemies used the same basic script, Alice and the Red Queen are nearly identical, many of the cutscenes and dialogue actions use the same two scripts and so on. It was nice to know that I was going to create a level - drop these couple scripts here, then know it would work so I would move on. It helped with efficiency quite a bit!
Using Blender again as my main source of modeling, for this project, I created everything from scratch. Every tree you see, texture on the ground, Vorpal blade detailing, it was all from my computer. I was able to drop in a couple of assets I created from previous projects to save on time, but for the most part, everything was new.
There was a system of creation ñ I would create a checklist of what each level needed, if there were similarities between levels, I would make it once, open the Test Level I worked in, created an instance of the asset and attached it to the script that the coding was already working on then I would click the Apply button and it would ripple through to the rest of the game saving me time of going into each individual level and changing/adding/dropping them. Once the frequent assets were done, I would break into each individual chapter and work on detailing.
It is important to note that I did not do all of the modeling and animating in the order it was supposed to be in. Instead, I bounced around the game creating assets for specific levels then going to others. That way, when the fatigue kicked in, there was a nice baseline of art throughout the game rather than starting strong and ending poorly. I thought that was a nice adjustment. It did take a lot longer to get all of the art in place than I had planned, so something to keep in mind for next time.
While the story was a little weaker than I was intending for it to be, there was a coherent story that was there that rippled through the game. It was a challenge to determine pacing between the different characters, their voices, their own world issues, and amount that Alice would be talking. I think that is why I like using the Cheshire Cat as the anchor point/narrator in the game to help ground it. He is everywhere and nowhere at the same time. And as an added bonus, the ending has two possibilities based on what the player selects. That was borrowed from my Mr. Agent demo I did last spring (where I got my Rabbithole Logo from). The original idea was to base it off of memories which is a subtle backstory element, but that would be too cumbersome for the player to have to play through again just to find a different ending. This way, the memories are used to an achievement and as a way to change the ending based on how many the player picks up.
So in this particular project, the story was there, but it was not a key emphasis. Perhaps in the future, I can attempt a more story based narrative.
Lessons for Next Game
Backstory: Two years ago, I had a problem with Building the running the game to the point where I had to cut entire levels because the game would crash. Last year, similar concept once I built and ran, things would start to break. This year, it was a similar story, I was making sure and doing Builds along the way as a backup in case the game were to crash, but I wasnít doing anything to the builds. Had I gotten ahead of the problem this time around, my lighting wouldnít be broken in the final build and I wouldnít have to cut large sections from various levels because the Building feature didnít allow them to work.
Solution Idea: Perhaps at the end of each level I finish, I would do a build just to make sure everything was working before I moved on.
Problem: Integrating Art/Animations and Coding
Backstory: For my Hogwarts project, I created all of the art first then switched over to the coding side which resulted in burnout and poor coding structure and a very broken game. This year, I flipped the system and did all of the coding in every level first before even touching the art work. The effect was a large increase in both coding and art quality, however, when it came to integrating the art and coding, there was some issues that I couldnít figure out how to work around without re-doing large scale assets. The main example is with Alice ñ with her attacks, her body does the motion and the weapon does the motion, but they do not happen in sync because the coding and animations were done prior to the art.
Solution idea: Integrate the coding and art for key elements together or re-do assets and coding in order for assets to appear both when and where they are needed (see the RPG project you created and the Blender files made to show how all of the assets are made with the animations in mind)
Problem: The time table was incorrect
Backstory: An adage in the game industry ñ if you are budgeting time or money, take what you think it will take and add 25%. I started this game in September thinking it will take 5 months. I ended up finishing in the middle of February which is 7 months. While I am happy with the project I created, I am disappointed it was not done on time. Given the size and the scope and my skill level at the time, I am not sure it would have been possible for me to knock it out in 5 months, but if that was the deadline, then that is what I needed to aim for.
Possible Solutions: There are several possibilities here:
Slightly smaller scope: maybe instead of 10 unique chapters, it is brought down to 8?
Shrink the level size: Just because a level is big doesnít mean it will be fun or better. Consider the quality over the quantity. Pack more into smaller levels and make it dense so people enjoy what they are doing in one spot and make them want to stay in that one spot rather than wanting to see what is next.
Tune in the core concepts: Does Alice need 10 abilities that were strewn together? Yes, it does make for varied game play, but if you find yourself using the same weapons over and over again, the varied abilities donít do anything for you. If you tighten it up to one or two good ones and build on that, it will be more fun. Think more Dive Kick or Two Brothers rather than an MMO with rows of buttons.
Balancing: For this game, I wanted weapons and an upgrade system so I built weapons and an upgrade system. Ö before I built any enemies or had any idea of their health. It is quite difficult to increase the difficulty of the game when testing if I just use base abilities. While playing, it became very apparent some enemies were under powered, some weapons were vastly over powered especially after upgrades, but I didnít have a system in place to check that as I went. Instead, I basically winged it, and the result is a very-imbalanced mess.
I know I am being critical of myself with the last couple of items, but there is always something to be working on and always something to improve upon. I made tremendous strides with the tid-bits I gathered through the year and applied into the project. I am getting to the point where whatever I can imagine happening in the game - I can put into the game which is an amazing boost of confidence. I have raised the bar extremely high for myself this year, we will see where that bar can take us next year and for future projects!
February 11th, 2018
This weekend, I decided I just needed to sit down and power through the sounds and music for the game. I think between Saturday and Sunday I put in close to 20 hours on the project, but it is done! All of the sounds, sound effects, music, and changes that are going to be in the game are in the game and for the most part, they seem to fit the theme of the game!
I enjoy music and I have a general idea of the tone I want to set in each level or situation in the level, but I do not have the software or skills to create it on my own. Luckily, the internet exists and I was able to look up royalty free songs or clips and add them in. Overall, it is close to the theme I was looking for. There are a couple of instances where the sounds are too heavy or too light for what I was aiming for, but everything is in now and it is all working!! Cross that major roadblock off of my to-do list. Now the only thing that is left is debugging! Yay!........
I would like to get the game out this week. I have been taking notes of what problems have been happening in each level as they have been coming up and for the most part, I have ideas on how to fix them so hopefully it should only take a week to knock out... Hopefully. We will see. Nevertheless, we are on the downhill slide and I am super eager about that!!
Alice: Development Log: Week 22
Office, Main Level, Boss
Intro, Main Level (boss), Outro
Intro, Platform-ing, City
Chapter 6 Boss
Theatre portion, Walrus fight, Carpenter fight, Outro
Ocean, fighting, platforming, Maze
Each room has their own song
Main Menu, Epilogue, Credits
February 4th, 2018
Wow, we are already into February. Tomorrow will mark the 10% through the year demarcation. I don't really know how to quantify that. I am already way beyond schedule and my desire to keep working on the project did not come back up while I was out for work this week. When I got the energy back to work, a little progress was made, but I will need to spend some serious time in the next couple of days to keep forcing myself to move forward on this.
As of right now, I have 4 boss fights that need sound effects, a hand full of environmental objects, then all of the levels need music. Once those checklists are completed, I can move onto debugging and that list seems to grow by the day. The new date for release was originally going to be February 14th, halfway through the month, but we may be pushed back into Friday of that week...or later. I don't know. I am having a hard time forcing myself through this. It is happening, slowly but surely, but we are well beyond the point that this was fun. There is nothing left to do but keep pushing myself forward though.! Onward and upward!
Alice: Development Log: Week 21
Rabbit on treadmill
Rabbit boss fight
Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum boss fight
Chapter 4 Intro
Throwing on bottle
Belt to latch Alice into place
January 26th, 2018
Little early this week, but I will be leaving for Cincinnati tomorrow and will be out of town for a week for work. This week has been...a week. I knew this before the project started, but this past week confirmed it - in order of creating a game my favorite to work on is the coding and art design. My least favorite by a long shot is sound design and music. Now in professionally made games, I love music and how the environment comes together to aide in the story. Now do I know how to replicate that? Not at all... Nevertheless, the project needs sounds so that is what I worked through even though I knew I didn't want to...
Half of my sounds list is integrated -- the player and Red Queen have fully integrated sounds for their actions, every enemy has a walking, damage given, damage taken, attack, and dying sound effects, and each of the collectibles and pickups in the game have sound effects. I don't really think any of them really flow with one another, but I have to work with the tools I have through freesound.org.
I will be honest, I feel like a walking zombie this past week. I'm pushing maybe four hours of sleep a night slogging my way through a part of the game that I have no skill or interest in making, frankly, I think I am just burned out on this project. I need a break. Luckily, I'm getting a week away from all of my projects. Maybe then I can catch up on sleep and just allow my mind to relax as I get into the final stretch that will be waiting for me when I get back.
Alice: Development Log: Week 20
Alice ñ all sounds integrated
Red Queen ñ all sounds integrated
Currency, Memory, Health, Bomb, Enemy Bomb
All generic enemies Chapters 1-10 have sounds for moving, taking and dealing damage, and death
January 21st, 2018
It is a little light on the content side this week. I did manage to power through and complete the second Prologue which is supposed to have the most amount of detail of any level since it is the first level everyone will see so through fatigue and general not-wanting-to-keep-working attitudes, I pushed through and finished it by Wednesday night. I knew Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings would be gone due to family events and today, I had my to-do list ready to go, but... it didn't happen. So this is not a week I am entirely proud of, but we are nearing the end if I can only -- just -- keep working -- then I can finish it by the end of the month.
What do you mean work wants me to go out of state to help a co-worker for the entirety of next week?
Yep, my boss came into the office early this week and requested I help a co-worker for an event taking place in Cincinnati next Friday to the following Friday. The event itself should be fun, I get to learn a lot about the industry of my current position, but in terms of getting the game done by the end of the month, those hopes are pretty much dashed.
On the bright side, at this point, it is only sounds and debugging. If I keep focused this week and force myself through the fatigue and get sounds integrated this week, I can come in the first part of February and knock out debugging then get this project out the door. I am insanely proud of what I have accomplished these last 6 months, but I am eager to jump into a couple small projects to shake everything up again. The February pipeline is prepped and ready to go!
Alice: Development Log: Week 19
January 14th, 2018
Earlier in the project, making progress was quick and easy because it was clear to see the difference between was was old and what was new, the needle seemed to move much faster. Now that I am getting to the end of the project, it is becoming more and more difficult to keep working at the same pace as before. The gas tank of motivation has been depleted for about three weeks and now I am running entirely on discipline to get this game out by the end of the month. Instead of getting overwhelmed by the amount of work that needs to be done between here and now, I just needed to take a step back, breathe, and take it one day at a time or a week at a time as my timeline is typically laid out.
The original goal for this week was to complete Chapter 2 (my least favorite one in the game) and Chapter 1 (the most important level in the game and the shortest). Chapter 2 presented problems as I was unsure how to structure the art for the level, but rather than sitting and spinning trying to make it perfect, I just needed to get assets in the game and move on. The level is definitely not AAA quality by any stretch and it is hardly "indie" level either, there is one floor asset that is recycled over and over and the gears on the wall are the only background decoration. There are quite a few bugs that will need to be knocked out in the next couple of weeks, but in the meantime, it is sitting the shelf with the approved stamp until bug fixing.
Thursday morning, I prepared to leave for my Accounting job, but due to the weather from the previous day, my parking lot had turned into a sheet of ice making it impossible to get out of the lot safely. I was given the day off of work and I used to my advantage to work ahead. From 8 am until about 7 pm, I powered through Chapter 1, the first one that is in color and very heavy on contrasting forest and lighting elements. Even with the level being so short, I was very happy with how it turned out. Of course, there are still a couple of bugs that need to be worked out, but the art I was more than happy to be satisfied with. And -- as an added bonus, Chapter 1 only took me one day to complete leaving me this weekend to catch up and do Chapter 10.
If Prologue 2 and Chapter 1 are the most important levels on the front end of the game, Chapter 10 is the most important level on the back end and given how much work needed to be put into this level to make it look decent, I was not too keen on spending my weekend working through it with the motivation in the tank. Rather than taking it easy and playing Rocket League, I powered through the level losing most of my weekend in the process. Today alone, I was working on it from 8 am - 6 pm with no breaks, but at the end of the day, the level is done! Most of the assets have been recycled from previous levels and there are of course bugs that need fixing, but overall, I am fairly pleased with how the level is set up and how the art works. Even with the simple shapes, the color scheme seems to fit together and I am pleased with the few art assets I did create.
The goal for this upcoming week is to knock out the last level of art -- Prologue 2 -- then at the end of the week work through fixing player controls and animations before working into bug testing at the end of the week.
Alice: Development Log: Week 18
January 7th, 2018
I was under the impression that I was making really good progress this week on my to-do list in order to get this game out by the end of the month, but a couple of events happened over the weekend that caused my planning to go awry. Because of those events, Chapter 10 has been kicked down the road to... I'm not sure when. Chapter 9 was finished this week and Chapter 6 was completed this week. In the coming week, Chapter 2, Chapter 1, and the Prologue will be completed. Hopefully I will be a little ahead in my planning at that point to be able to squeeze Chapter 10 (and the vastness that is that chapter, in at that point, but I wouldn't hold my breath. I'm doing everything I can to keep pushing forward on the game, but I can definetly feel the creative well for this project beginning to run out with how many hours I am dumping into it trying to get it out of the door. I love what I am making, but the deadlines seem to continue to stretch on and on and on and on to the point where every time I am seeing a bug, I groan a little inside due to the work left. Oh well, that is part of the game, right? Just keep pushing, it will all be worth it in the end!
This week was a bit lighter on the matter of quantity of levels, but instead, two levels were completed, including the longest one - Chapter 6 - the underwater level which has 5 different sections. I also learned that the bane of my existence is nature. No, no, not just the outside nature, but the replicating it in a believable fashion in video game nature too. I know rocks, trees, plants, stumps, they should all be easy, right? I can never seem to grasp control of how the are supposed to look, so when the do come up, I am forced to choose one or two that look half-way decent and run with those, it isn't the best strategy, but it is the only way I will be able to keep pushing through to the finish line. Here is to another couple of chapters to be knocked out this week!
Alice: Development Log: Week 17
Walrus house completed
Town square completed
Intro segment completed
Sidescrolling segment (and fog adjusted) completed
Platforming through level completed
Jellyfish, Whale, Dancers, Snail, and Underground Sections completed
Chapter cleanup/Debugging of major items
Castle modeled and added
December 31st, 2017
I have the BallDrop up from Times Square on my second monitor as I am writing this. We are ending this year still working through the project and we are still pushing through! From the original plan in September, I was looking for this week to be a wrap up of the project and the year as a whole, but since the project is still underway, I wanted to do a little reflection on how this year as a whole has gone.
In terms of the 'real world' and getting a job, that has been my largest struggles of the year. My first job of the year let me go after two months, I spent a couple months on unemployment, picked up a contract job, that one finished after two months, spent more time on unemployment, and just in the last couple of weeks, I have landed my third position of the year and it is by far the best one I have received in the year. The financial goals I had set were quickly disrupted as I wasn't able to get a real flow going through a steady income, and overall, I was feeling very down through most of the year and feeling as though I was just not meant to do anything as I watched friends and family get raises, collect promotions, start having a family, buy a house, it stung to sit in my apartment not 'doing anything'.
Rather than letting that negative energy consume me as sat and spun, I decided to channel that energy into creating games and learning on how to make them better. I spent the first couple of months during the year learning basic coding and creating basic micro projects that helped reinforce ideas I was trying to learn. Soon those micro projects turned into mini weekend projects. I did my first couple of timed game jams and people got to play and I collected feedback on, then I started work on Alice. Alice has been... quite the task to tackle.
I tried to learn my lessons from my last year's project in scaling down the scope considerably, but with my increase in skills, I was finding it difficult to determine where that line was. Both art and programming had 'leveled up' to the point where it was no longer a question of - "how am I going to do this" from a lack of knowledge to - "how am I going to do this" from the tools in my toolbelt to solve the problem at hand. Now, anything was possible. Any problem was ready to be tackled. I was no longer asking for help on every problem (though my search history does contain quite a few queries of "how to do x, y, z in Unity). I was blasting through barriers I didn't even know I could. I was integrating everything I wanted to and then some, but the problem was time.
During my unemployment, I was working from 8am-10pm for six to seven days a week. I would wake up, go to my computer, and work until I was bleary eyed and couldn't see or think anymore, then I would write my list for the next day and go to bed. However, with starting the new job right before Christmas, I had to restructure my schedule. My game development turned from 14 hours a day to about 5. There could have been no way to keep working at the level of detail I wanted in order to get everything in that I wanted, so I had two choices -- One, I could very well have blasted through problems with bandages or created less than quality art for the sake of it being 'done' or Two, keep the steady pace, work through problems and create quality levels for something I would be proud of, so I am doing just that even though it is past the deadline.
As 2017 draws to a close, I must say, I couldn't be prouder of the work I have done in game development this year. I have created so much more than I thought was possible and it almost feels as though the job losses have helped me more than I ever dreamt it could. I have my list of lessons to learn, mini projects to create, and even ideas for next Christmas' game. Here is to an excellent 2018!!
For this week on the project - it was not as productive as I was hoping, but after a couple of setbacks, it sure finished strong. With Christmas, the job, catching a cold, and New Year's Resolution lists created (New Year's is my 4th favorite holiday behind Christmas, Thanksgiving, and MLB opening day), I didn't have a lot of time to work. However, with my last vacation day in a month and a half occurring tomorrow, I am taking full advantage of the weekend to crank out as much as I can.
It is awesome creating an atmosphere that just feels fun and unique. This week I tackled Chapter 4 and Chapter 9. Chapter 4, is all about being shrunk down and having to navigate through various objects to reach the end of the level. There are countless ways to traverse through the table, everything except the table top has a collider on it. Want to play hopscotch and hit every object? Sure! Want to speed run and get the achievement? That is there too! The scale of it all and the final boss battle had me smiling as the last couple of pieces came together.
Chapter 9, while not finished yet, also has a unique atmosphere. You start washed up on the beach since the last conscious level in Wonderland was Chapter 6, the Underwater level, then you enter the castle grounds mixed with greys and concrete. You then move to the castle wall with the Executioner literally bursting through a window pane to attack you. You have your fight, navigate through a maze (which, again, was a pain to create), then hop back up to the broken window to finish the level. It just looks and feels complex and I am very proud of that!
Alice: Development Log: Week 16
Level Completed (minor bugs will be fixed)
16 unique assets created and added
Level Completed ñ except for Castle
8 assets created and added
Executioner modeled and animated
December 24th, 2017
Happy early Christmas to everyone! I will be keeping this fairly short since it is Christmas tomorrow and I have a full day planned and I'm trying to get over a cold that snuck up on me late in the week. On the down side, despite my best intentions and starting a new job and spending time with the family, the game is not done. We are making more and more progress each day, but as it stands right now, Alice is unfinished for delivery for Christmas. It does not look good for finishing by the end of the year either, I am going to keep pushing this project until it is finished, but the new due date as of right now is unknown. I have found myself working these last couple of weeks on various assets and animations saying to myself - why not just hurry and push this through and keep moving? I have to stop myself and say - No, take your time, do it right. Let the player enjoy the experience, don't try to blast through for an arbitrary deadline just to get it done, work through the problems, build the skill set, it will come in handy down the road. So that is what I have done. I've spent time modeling assets to fit the location, made sure it works every time and looks good, then I will move on to the next element. It takes a lot longer, but looking at the video this week, I couldn't be prouder.
It is funny to see images that I have been taking during the course of development and seeing them with the art assets applied. For example, the Card Guards were the first enemies I created and they were the second to last model to be modeled and animated, skills have increased through the project allowing them to be much more menacing than the blocks that were created when the project began. Another set is Chapter 3 in general, the pictures show the difference in what art can do for a game, the blocks were interesting when I started to show the denseness of the forest, but after spending part of an evening working on trees and buildings, the level's atmosphere just seems to come to life.
For the next couple of weeks, I will keep my head down and keep moving forward. I still have about 30% of the art assets left in the game, music to be added (since there is no more deadline, I can add some environmental stuff to it), and bug testing (A LOT OF BUG TESTING), but one day at a time. I'm going to enjoy the holiday, beat this cold, then hop back to work. There are many more projects to be done, but they won't be started until this one is finished. Happy Christmas!
Alice: Development Log: Week 15
Asylum Model added
Liddell home modeled
Birch trees added
Duchess house interior and exterior completed
Wall created around imps
Chapter 4 Intro
Pine Trees added
Dining table and chairs added
Pine trees added
Background elements added
Chapter 4 Outtro
Pine trees added
Dining tables and chairs added
Oak trees added
Door underground added
Card guard no shield modeled and animated
Card guard with shield modeled and animated
Wall around Card Guard added
Dining table and chairs added
Card guard no shield modeled and animated
Card guard with shield modeled and animated
Talking indicators added for all chapters
December 17th, 2017
Final stretch! The game is supposed to be completed in one week's time, and it is bizarre, there are times where I don't know if the game will be done by the end of January, yet there are other times where I am cranking out assets and I am thinking to myself - "You know, I could probably add another feature or two" - basically, I have no idea what is going on in my mind. There was a ton of progress last week and I could feel myself getting burned out a bit due to the overload of work, but I am proud of the work that I am churning out. The only time that I felt as though I had to push through and put something into the game that I was not proud of this week was in the NPC's of the prologue, 10 individual people had to be created, animated, and integrated... not fun... I think it was close to 3am before I completed it, but it was in.
The largest wins for this week were the Chapter 6 Boss level. The entire cutscene is done and it integrated well into the rest of the fight. The animations are lined up, the models are doing their job, and I am just proud to sit and watch that scene play out. Given more time, I could flesh it out better, but for now, I am happy with it. Another large win was the integration of a Save system. This was something I had dabbled with in the past, but could not figure out of to do it for a large project (my Hogwarts game last year had it, then it was broken). But at 11pm one week night, I sat down and powered through it this time around. The player can now Save which saves: Memories unlocked/Total memories, Currency collected, Achievements unlocked, Levels unlocked, and Cat Riddles that have been solved so the player can exit the game and come back in and pick up where they left off.
With one week left and starting a new job on Wednesday, I'm eager to keep pushing forward. This week should be primarily asset creation and integration with minor tweaks to coding along the way. If everything is done by Sunday (current confidence level isn't too high on that), then I will take another week and create music and incorporate that before burning it to a disc, creating cover art, creating a trailer and calling this project complete. It is crazy how much has been done these last five months, I have learned a lot, but there is still a ton to do. Time to get back to work!
Alice: Development Log: Week 14
Doors, floors, Asylum padding added
Train Created and Train Station fleshed out
Hay bales, beds, walls, trees, grass, and windows added
NPCs modeled and animated
Slugs modeled and animated
Rabbit modeled and animated
Statue, treadmill, and boss fight
Entry area ñ signs, desks, and chairs added
Walking Watch modeled and animated
Slugs modeled and animated
Imps modeled and animated
Angry Tea Kettles modeled and animated
Theatre mission checkpoints added
Objective items added
Marionettes modeled and animated
Walrus modeled and animated
Carpenter modeled and animated
Populated theatre with fish NPCs
2D Ship, Jellyfish, and Snail segments ñ Checkpoints have been added
Whale, Snail modeled and animated
Theatre interior nearly finished
Dancers modeled and animated
Crab modeled and animated
Chapter 6 Boss
Walrus modeled and animated
Carpenter modeled and animated
Populated theatre with fish NPCs
Whale and Snail modeled and animated
Theatre interior finished
Dancers modeled and animated
Piano and Rope added
Walrus scythes modeled and animated
Crab modeled and animated
Doors, candles, flooring added to opening scene
Beds, walls, trees, grass, windows, and NPCs added to second half of scene
Executioner scythes modeled and animated
Painted Rose Trees added
Walrus, Carpenter, Rabbit added and animated
Angry Tea Kettles, Imps, and Marionettes modeled and animated
Mirror Room turned off when not in use ñ helps with performance
Rabbit and Caterpillar added
Beds, walls, trees, grass, windows, and tables modeled
NPCs added and animated
Bug fixed: If you restart level with Drink Me activated, player could not move, now they can
Bug Fixed: Alice and Cat were not animated when you returned to the title screen, now they are
Saving, Loading, and Clearing of Data integrated ñ I believed it would be a cut item, now it is in!
December 10th, 2017
We are approaching very quickly to the under two week mark until Christmas. The season is starting to pick up, lights are out on people's porches and trees are in the living room window. I spent most of the week locked in my apartment working - in fact - Tuesday through Saturday, I left my apartment exactly two times. Right now, it is one in the morning on Monday. If this is what crunch time is for game development, I suppose it could be much worse.
The largest accomplishments this week were in the Main Menu - specifically the achievements, and settings arenas. Achievements have always been one of those pipe-dream type of ideas for me. It would be nice to get in, but let's get the game done first. The more that I thought about it and starting thinking of various achievements the player could do in each level, I started structuring the code of how it could. On Wednesday, I spent most of my day implementing the 17 accomplishments the player could feel proud of from picking up all the memories and solving all the riddles (both of which now turn off permanently once you have found/completed them) to speed running a level, to killing a certain number of enemies, I tried to mix it up and make it feel more fun to do.
The other large win was the settings menu and completing my first build of the project and not having it go completely wrong. The Settings allow the player to set the Resolution for their computer screen so they can best see the game which has been locked to a 5:4 aspect ratio - that way items on the edge of the screen don't fall off when playing. The player can also toggle full screen and graphics quality elements to suite them and their computer's needs.
Time is quickly running out and the to-do list seems to be getting longer the more items pop up that need resolving. There are only a couple of more Level 1 priority items remaining on my list then I can get back into doing the art work. I hope to have all of the NPC characters done by the end of this week as well as halfway through the large structures. As of writing this, I am unsure if I will be able to include music or sound effects. It is at the bottom of the list. Hopefully I can, but I would rather be realistic in this situation. T-Minus two weeks!
Alice: Development Log: Week 13
Start - Loads Prologue1
Chapter Select ñ can go to any previously unlocked chapter
Extra ñ links to concept art, work in progress art, and credits page
Achievements ñ 17 achievements added and implemented in all chapters (and they all work!)
Settings ñ allows player to set Resolution, full screen, and graphics quality based on the aspect ratio I have locked the game to
Quit ñ box to confirm if you want to quit or not
There is now an intermediary step between each playable level for a loading screen to help ease the game into loading the various scenes without overworking itself
Most instances it is not needed, but rather be safe than sorry
Added Dr Bumby, Asylum Alice, and Guards
Mr Morrison modeled and animated
All NPC characters have dialogue Alice an interact with
Sheep modeled and animated
Farms and Barn Silos have been added
Fixed Player intro animation, player turn on and off points, and color schemes
Duchess modeled and animated
Cauldron modeled and animated
Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum modeled and integrated
Paint image added for Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum during the boss fight so you can see their faces
Doors, Gates, and Farms added
Intro ñ Hatter Modeled and Animated
Main Level ñ Hatter modeled and animated twice (once for the level and once for the boss fight)
Outtro ñ Hatter modeled and animated (different animation)
Caterpillar modeled and animated
Hookah and mushrooms added
NPC models for fish conversation added
Sharks added in the 2D sidescrolling session ñ models were taken from game jam ñ ìRunning Out of Powerî (Depths of Oceania)
Jellyfish modeled and animated
Mr Morrison, Nurses, and Doctors modeled and animated
Put finishing touches on the level
Baked the lighting
Tweedle Dee/Dum, Duchess, Caterpilar, Hatter all added to conversation table and animated
Hatter, Nurses, and Doctors added and animated
Restructured enemy attack patterns ñ player will no longer be injured when attacking unless hit with an attack
Once Memories are collected, they are completely turned off
Required restructuring of code between memory, master script, and UI elements
Once Cat Riddles are solved, they are completely turned off
Air vents modeled and added
Paint Brush now has a visible UI to see how many times you have left
First Test Build (and it didnít break!)
December 3rd, 2017
We are into the final stretch for this project! Less than a month until delivery. This weekend was supposed to be used to focus on the Ludum Dare 40 that was occurring. Friday night and Saturday morning I was working on an Overcooked type of project to fit the them of -- the more you have, the worse it is -- the idea being each NPC character that would walk in would expect to be fed within a certain amount of time. If they were, they would give you a positive review, if they weren't, they would give you a negative review. If you got a lot of positive reviews, more NPC's would come, meaning each of their wait times would be increasing leading to negative reviews if they were not served and negative reviews mean less customers coming in. The goal would be to be able to pay rent by the end of the month based on the customers and paying for food costs.
Friday evening was an excellent night for coding, I was trying to stick with the Overcooked idea of pulling out ingredients, preparing them, and turning them into a dish, but I could not figure out how to get the colliders to work when all of the ingredients were prepared. In the Overcooked game, you simply picked up an ingredient and ran it into another ingredient to make the dish. I spent close to 6 hours trying to figure that coding out since it was the crux of the game, but I couldn't get it. Everytime I would run the code and see it not working or see errors a nagging thought in my mind would pull saying I should be working on Alice. You need to be working on Alice. There is so much work to do in Alice. So at 10am on Saturday, I scrapped the Ludum Dare game and went back to work on my main project.
That Saturday, I was working on this project from 10am until 2am barring an hour and a half break for dinner. During that time and the rest of the week, I was working on the Alice model, animations, weapons, and integrating them all together through code and a blend tree. That was the primary victory of the week. With relative ease, the formula could be copied for Orphan Alice and the Red Queen. Throw in the Cheshire Cat and several other smaller assets here and there throughout the game and it is starting to look really pretty if I do say so myself. Personally, I am very proud of my work on my main character, she is much more efficient than the model I attempted months ago and the animations (while still off and could use some major tweaking) are more complex than anything I had attempted before and the best part -- it works!! I could not stop myself from sharing it to a couple friends and family members when I had finished it up.
This week, everyday I will be trying to work on three elements -- knock out major assets with animations, work through the bug list, and create a handful of smaller items. By scattering my art focus around, I am not front loading the first couple of chapters with detailed art then realizing I am out of time for the last couple - instead, by doing a couple assets from one chapter, a couple from another - the quality of art looks rather uniform through the project. I'm making some serious project and I am very pleased with how it is all coming together even if I had to skip out on the Ludum Dare to do it.
Alice: Development Log: Week 12
Modeled and Weight Painted
Animations ñ 17 of them ñ Idle (x3), Run, Walk, Jump, Falling, Hovering, Blocking, Dashing, Death, Vorpal Blade 1,2,3, Paint Brush, Pepper Grinder, Hobby Horse 1,2,3
Integrated Alice from the place holder as well as the blend tree with all Animations
Cloned Alice to create Orphan Alice ñ when not in dream sequence
Cloned Alice and Alice abilities for Red Queen in final chapter
Vorpal, Hobby, Cannon, Umbrella Block, Umbrella Glide, Paint Brush, Paint Bucket, Bomb
Weapon Unlock Art has been added by taking a screenshot of each weapon
Actual Weapon available as a pickup rather than a place holder
Vase of Red Roses created whenever a riddle is answered correctly
Drink Me and Eat Me assets created and implemented
Pepper Grinder target replaced with a target
Three types of doors were added and one lock style was created
Cheshire Cat ñ modeled body and head
Head tracks player wherever they are in the level
If within a certain distance, rest of the body appears and conversation can begin
Alice updated to be Orphan Alice model with animations
Chapter 4 Intro
Alice placeholder replaced with Alice model and a unique animation path for her in the cutscene
Cheshire Cat Added
Drink Me Added
Clam asset added to the clam trap player can walk into
Chapter 6 Boss
Alice Stable ñ Replaced the placeholder and will remain stationary for the cutscene
Alice Moving ñ Activates when cutscene is over, Alice will run and jump to get onto the stage when animation is over, the controllable Alice will be activated
Two versions of the Unconscious Alice were created for the cutscene
Backs of the cards were created and (pain staking-ly) added to each individual card since no models were created
16 versions of the front of playing cards were added (again pain staking-ly to the 300+ cards in the level)
Chess pieces were added to ëlobbyí of the castle when the drawbridge is lowered and the enemies come out to give the illusion it plays into the lobby of the castle in Chapter 10
Chess pieces were added to the front lobby
Door models were upgraded to a higher end asset
Locks were installed in the chess puzzle room that fall off when a puzzle is completed as a visual representation to the player of how many are left
Red Queen models added to
Initial conversation, Phase1, Phase 2, Phase3, and Dying Red Queen
Red Queen animations integrated and a blend tree was created to go back and forth between animations
Red Queen weapons upgraded to be the same weapons that Alice uses rather than the placeholder objects
Added two models of Alice to reflect the ending they chose
Added Red Queen and Cat models based on number of memories collected
November 26th, 2017
A little late to update the website, currently it is a little after 12 in the morning, but we have some solid progress this week. Not as much as I wanted to, but I was able to push through both the physical boundaries of not wanting to work anymore as well as the mental boundaries of thinking the game was garbage in order to finish both the final Chapter, Epilogue, Credits, and the coding along with it which in of itself was rather intense. I even was able to dabble in art on Sunday which is a good start as I now have less than one month left before delivery.
My highlights for the week, not aiming to brag, but are quite a few -- the Mirror Maze, while a little clunky, is doing the job of disorienting the player while they go in and out of it to find a key to unlock the Chess Room. The Chess Room - I thought of four Mate in One puzzles that the player will have to solve by picking up a piece, seeing where all of the possible squares are, and placing the correct one on the correct square to move on. There is no funny algorithms or anything, just a lot of possible squares that it can be placed on, but only one matters. After three (or four) puzzles, you go into the boss fight where you have a conversation with a bouncing camera, then fight the Queen. She is divided into three stages, two of which are copying your skills - she hits you with a Hobby Horse, can shoot with the cannon, dodge attacks with the shield, dash, everything. The other stage is letting Alice face copies of all the enemies faced in the game up to that point. When the fight is over, you have another conversation and she gives you a choice. That choice reflects how the ending cutscene will go and, depending on the number of Memories you picked up in the game, will create ... something... as a reward to the player.
Overall, it was a very code heavy week that concluded late last night. Today, we started with art work. A couple minor elements were put in place today before starting on Alice's actual modeling tomorrow. I will be trying to knock out as much as I can this week since this weekend is Ludum Dare 40 starting from 8pm Friday to 8pm Sunday, after powering through a game in that time period, I don't know how much time I will need to recoup before bouncing back to Alice, but we are into the final stretch! Just keep pushing through and don't look at the overwhelming To-Do list that still needs to be done.
Alice: Development Log: Week 11
Mirror Maze ñ a little crass, but the goal is to disorient the player both into and out of the maze to find a key to unlock the chess room
Chess Puzzles ñ something that needed to be included as it is the Red Queen and referenced in the novel
Puzzles are all mate in ones, the player is to find the proper piece to deliver checkmate based on the possible squares. If the square is not correct, the piece will snap back to the starting square and the puzzle will reset
There are three puzzles needed to unlock the room that can be done in any order
When all three are completed, the door to the final boss battle is opened and a fourth board appears ñ that board unlocks the riddle room
A conversation room where you can see every boss/main character you have met in your journey to the castle
Boss Battle (not in video)
Have a conversation with the Red Queen
Three stage fight including two where the Queen has your own abilities
When completed, you are presented with choices as to how to end the game, those choices carry over into the Epilogue
Epilogue (not in video)
Multiple Endings relating to how the player played the game and made decisions
Based on your selection from the previous screen, a different ending will play. It is in the same room, but the camera angles and people present will be different
Quick Credit Scroll listing before taking player back to a currently non-existent Main Menu
Started On Art this week ñ knocked out a couple easy items first
Chess Pieces (white and red) as well as their landing squares
Chapter 5 Theatre ñ each scene has its own artwork and characters
White Rose for currency (changes colors if max random value is selected)
Red Rose for health
Memories ñ Portrait item created and integrated at every memory in the game (70 total)
November 19th, 2017
To say this week was difficult if a gross understatement. I feel as though I have hit a wall in which the burnout period is starting to set in. I don't want to keep working right now. I am so close to the end of the coding then the art and music and menus and debugging, the list doesn't seem to be getting any shorter and my energy to keep working on the game continues to deplete.
The goal was to knock out Chapter 9 and Chapter 10 this week, but I was lucky to even slog through Chapter 9 and even going back and playing it - while there are some cool features and I pushed my skills to add checkpoints and various cutscenes - the level feels sloppy and hastily put together. I even went so far as adding UI elements to tell the player what to do rather than manipulating the world so they knew what to do. It looks and feels ugly, but that was what it took to keep moving so that was what happened.
This week, I really need to do/finish Chapter 10 and the Epilogue so I can get into the art as soon as possible. It doesn't help that we have a Holiday in there, but I need to keep moving. Ludum Dare 40 is taking place the first weekend in December, hopefully that is just enough of a break so I can get back into work and power through.
Alice: Development Log: Week 10
Incorporated the tree painting element as an unlocking method through the level
Card Guards and Card Guards with Shields have been added (in various sizes and health)
When landing in front of the window to the castle, a cutscene plays introducing the player and Executioner
Boss ëbattleí with Executioner built on a timer when the timer is complete a cutscene plays providing the player with the next step
Maze ñ player must navigate through a maze with enemies, pickups, and the Executioner following which can faze through the hedges as if cutting through them
At the end, you have a large ëEat Meí that puts you and your weapons at the same size as the Executioner you need to cross back across the maze, find a Drink me, then platform up to the window where Chapter 10 will load
Checkpoints have been created and added to each of the first 9 chapters. If you die/run out of health, you are taken to the most recent point to which you hit and are teleported back to it
November 12th, 2017
I will say it! I was very proud of my progress this week. I was extremely pleased with how much I got through - the boss of Chapter 6 is complete, Chapter 7 and Chapter 8 are done, and I got around to some bug fixing/minor detail items.
The boss in Chapter 6 is intense - the cutscenes are based on timers that will only display text after a certain animation has played, it will not move on until the player has progressed it and read the dialogue, then the next animation will play. I was very happy to have figured out how to do that...only for it not to work once I started working in the actual battle, so a complete restructuring later and I got it up and working again (and I understand how the code is working a little better). The battle itself is also intense - two enemies each with various stages firing different enemies/bullets at the player. I was pleased with how it turned out!
It was bizarre, the items for this week were probably the items that the player will spend the least amount of time in per the rest of the game, however, I tried to make them memorable. In Alice the Madness Returns, there are a couple of moments where - even though you are done playing, your mind automatically drifts back to those levels - I think/hope that was what I created this week.
Chapter 7 and Chapter 8, as expected were fairly short. Chapter 7 is two cutscenes split up across the level where at Chapter 8, through code it was not difficult at all, but it was extremely tedious of having to animate each card that came into the player's jumpable range. I do like the floating cards though, it brings a neat little aesthetic to the level.
We are on the final stretch for the coding of the game and getting the bones in place. I hope to have Chapters 9 and 10 done this week... we will see if that happens, but after that - we are down to the Epilogue and bug fixing before we can jump into art!
Alice: Development Log: Week 9
Cutscene before battle ñ based on timers and animations, canít skip ahead until previous portion of cutscene is complete
When cutscenes are complete ñ player is available to move/control
Walrus: Three phases
Shoot directly at player
Shoot in a wide path
Jump around the stage on a previously determined path
Carpenter teleports around
Each time he teleports, crabs appear (develop sense of urgency for player)
If player stays in same spot for too long, piano is created above their head to hurt them
Ending Cutscene ñ when Walrus dead and Carpenter dead, Carpenter creates a cutscene and it drops a piano on the playerís head ëknocking them outí
Cutscene 1 ñ plays in a looping corridor, player fades in and out of consciousness
Player loses consciousness, time for scene 2 to set up and camera to move to proper location
Cutscene 2 ñ plays in a hospital bed with moving NPC people, when cutscene reaches a certain point in conversation, player loses sight, when the conversation is completed, the level is moved on
Level laid out with 40+ individual animations on each of the cards that are in the level allowing for player platforming to occur through the level
Bug Fixing/ Detail items
Adjusted Dr Bumbyís placement in Prologue 1 to animate when Train is approaching
Visible display for the Bomb Count
Baked Lighting in every scene
For each shark killed in the 2d submarine portion from Chapter 6 will create currency
Display of Objectives for Chapter 5 since they can be done out of order
Display of Objectives for Chapter 6 since they can be done out of order
Bomb placement added for Chapter 6
Added a ìReorient Cameraî explanation to the controls page
Every player ability that is collected in the game now displays what the item can be used for and certain circumstances that it can be used for
Lowered the enemies in Chapter 3 so they are not floating
Chapter 3 ñ added post conversation/interaction dialogue if you go back and revisit them
Added schools of fish and floating cards to Chapter 5 and Chapter 6 that follow a certain point in a flocking system
Created a User Interface element to show the player how overheated the Pepper Grinder gun is
November 5th, 2017
Is it true? Are we in November already? Are we also on the exact 2 month mark of this project? Did this weekend include both National Novel Writing Activities and Extra Life? Am I currently running on 1 hour of sleep in the last day and a half? The answer to all of the above questions is, Yes! Yes, everything is true.
I would love to sit here and say that Chapter 6 is done and the stretch goals from last week of getting Chapter 7 and 8 done as well are completed, but the scope on Chapter 6 continued to get larger and larger. A typical level from the previous 5 chapters have been between 2-5 segments - be that platforming, combat, puzzle, combination, boss battle, or some mix of the above, last chapter I introduced a new Character Controller when you are at the Play. In this Chapter, there are 10 sections featuring 4 different character controllers, all of which were made, tested, and implemented this week, but now everything is in and the level is standing at about 22 minutes long...before you get into a three stage boss fight which is slated to be completed this week. Once that is done though, Chapter 6 is done and I can move onto Chapter 7 and 8 which...again... should be fairly short by comparison. Different tones and different atmospheres. I just need to get through this boss battle first.
If we are looking for complete transparency, I am starting to get nervous about finishing everything in time. I have been trying to keep a loose macro plan of when everything needed to be done in order to have plenty of time for testing. Well, I have been integrating the testing in as I have been going, but the daunting tasks of Art, Music, Sound, and QA are starting to become a dark cloud along the horizon. I need to have these three Chapter done this week and the two done for next week leaving just the Epilogue for coding. When all of that is completed hopefully in the next two weeks, I can move onto art. I have about a month budgeted for art which is about two to three days per chapter including weekend. When that is completed, I will move onto the Main Menu, Music, and Sounds. If we are looking at the middle of November to finish coding, a month to do artwork would put us at the middle of December, I would have about 2 weeks to create all of the sounds and music for this game before getting into the QA work. These next two months are going to fly, but I can't get overwhelmed. Just keep the head down and continue pushing forward.
Alice: Development Log: Week 8
Segment 1: Platform over to talk to the Mock Turtle and his ship
Segment 2: 2D side scroller ñ escape/survive from the sharks
Segment 3: Platform over to city using new tools and mixing ability capability
Segment 4: Town
Explore the town, locate memories, talk to the people in the city, speak to Carpenter in the theatre for next instructions
He informs you to find the Walrus, Dancers, and Orchestra and bring them back to him
Segment 5: Walrus
Locate the 5 pages of his play from around his home
Ending Conversation ñ unlocks door to next area
Segment 6: Dancers
9 Clams spawn, clams damage you once you touch them and stay in contact too long
Need to locate and make contact with 5 dancers in the shells without getting hit by clam or the bombs scattered throughout
Ending Conversation ñ creates bridge to next section
Segment 7: Whale
Initial Conversation ñ locks door behind you, opens new door in front of you
New enemy: Crab ñ steps back and lunges at you, low hit points
Cat Riddle located behind a phasethrough door
Locate the cork
When touched, doors barricading player into room fall and 6 crabs appear
When crabs killed, door is opened and a path back to the Whale is established
Ending Conversation ñ door opens to next Segment
Segment 8: Snail
Based on GMTK Game Jam ñ Pulling Your Own Strings
Creates 4 music measures with varying tempos, must play tempos correctly
If note is missed, lose health
When all four measures are correct ñ Ending Conversation is started
Segment 9: Jellyfish
Based on similar controller set up to the Play from Chapter 5
Tuning items created
Must slide tuner back and forth to be in correct zone, if you are there for 5 seconds, you move onto next section
If you run out of time, tuner is moved to a random place and you lose health
When the 5 tuning segments are completed ñ Ending Conversation is started
Segment 10: Reunite with Carpenter
Load next scene
October 29th, 2017
Overall, not one of my better weeks. In the original planning for the game, I knew I wanted a level with the Caterpillar and an underwater level to reference the Carpenter and the Walrus. This was the week that I arrived at both of those chapters and while I knew what I wanted, I had zero idea how to get there. It took me two days to think of an idea for how to handle the Caterpillar (I have been budgeting 2 hours for level planning), what abilities to unlock, how to move the story forward, how to lay out the level, etc. That way when I am putting the level together I don't have to 'think' I can just drag and drop elements where the need to go.
Eventually, I decided on an idea that the Caterpillar will be resting in his cocoon. In order to do that, you need wood to base the cocoon on, silk to wrap him up in, and a stuffed animal because it gets lonely in there (I know that isn't how actual caterpillars work, but I needed a third element). The stuffed animal comes from completing a play which I was rather please how it turned out. You need to not only move to the proper location, but when you get there, a box pops up asking for the world to complete the line from Romeo and Juliet. I had to create an entirely new 2D controller and implement the Riddle question/answer situation for each of the 5 lines along with a time limit. If the timer hits 0, the player takes damage and is moved to the start of the phrase again.
Chapter Six is running into a similar situation. I have gone through 4 iterations already of the level design and I am still not completed. I was growing frustrated and completed the design on Chapter 7 and 8 so hopefully they are fairly quick. Ideally, by the end of the week I will have chapter 6, 7, and 8 completed allowing me a clear conscious to participate in Extra Life this weekend. Then next weekend is Chapter 9 and 10 putting me at the middle of November for starting art on the project. Time to keep moving forward!
Alice: Development Log: Week 7
Introduction conversation with Caterpillar ñ once the conversation is completed, the three 3 chapter objectives are turned on
Locate: Wood ñ Found in the middle of the forest. Once entered, a square of fire pops up preventing progress until enemies which also spawned, are destroyed
Locate: Silk ñ Found in a secret underground area of the level. You flip a switch to gain access, fight enemies, when they are all defeated, a door opens to Silk. Use switch to open door and escape
Locate: Stuffed Animal ñ Theatre. 2D segment where you have to move your character to the correct position on the stage. Once you are in that location, a dialogue box pops up, you need to finish the line of the play before the timer runs out or you lose health. Complete all 5 sections of the play and the stuffed animal will appear
When all 3 objectives completed, Exit Caterpillar created.
Memories added and scattered through level
Cat added with another riddle in a nice hidden location that is in plain sight. I would be surprised if anyone finds it during their initial playthrough
Exit Caterpillar provides you with a conversation. At the end of the conversation, he drops the Hobby Horse pickup and puts player into a pseudo cutscene to load the next level
Still being worked on. Was re-written 4 times with a new level design each timeÖ Iím working on itÖ
October 22nd, 2017
I am beginning to sound like a broken record, but I was very satisfied with my progress this week. Not only was Chapter 3 wrapped up, but Chapter 4 which was both my physical and mental halfway point in the game was knocked out. That progress mark may not be entirely correct, but from conception to completion, Chapter 4 was my most difficult level(s), that I have made.
What made this chapter difficult was the level design. It is one of those chapters where you have to have it in the game if you want to do an Alice in Wonderland theme - the Tea Party. Alice is shrunk and tossed on the table. She cannot touch the tablecloth or else she dies (the floor is lava), so I had to think of level design features to force the player to use the environment. I tried forcing it to be strictly linear, but I needed to keep increasing the height of table objects which lost the atmosphere I was aiming for. Instead, I opted to allow shortcuts or speedrun options for the player at the expense that they will not be able to grab all of the collectables. I thought it was a fair trade off.
The boss battle was also something fun to try. Alice needs to survive three rounds with the Hatter in an isolated location where she has to balance attacking and dodging to make it through. Overall, I was overjoyed with the level design and ending fight to fit into the atmospheric vibe I was going for.
To top this week off, my first rendering was completed for the Chess Project I was asked to be a part of. My longest animation to date has been completed! Currently, it is unlisted on YouTube so I cannot share the video, but more should be coming in the near future!
Alice: Development Log: Week 6
Boss battle added ñ TweedleDee and TweedleDum ñ
Two cycles - one in which they are rotating in a circle in a random direction, bouncing off of walls, if they hit you, you take damage. The other, they stop spinning and sit for a random amount of seconds.
Once you kill them both, the door will open and you can proceed with the level
Updated Enemy ñ Slugs in the Duchessí garden now conduct a similar orbiting and waiting pattern but cannot hurt the player
New enemy ñ Imp ñ they attack side to side, chase the player, have damage, drop loot, etc.
Cleaned up level, added out of bounds boundaries (both visible and invisible) and added doors to prevent backtracking
Chapter 4 ñ Split into three sections
Complete cutscene using five camera angles, 3 player animations, picking up the Umbrella item, and hurtling a tea pot (basically a copy of the formula from the first Prologue)
Transitions right into the main level
The illusion is that the player has shrunk down to the table top, but in reality, everything is just scaled out like the background trees, the Hatter, and the table items
Cutscene to start level and give player idea of what happened from previous level
Umbrella ability unlocked (block shots and glide)
Menus were integrated, memories were scattered and integrated
In order to stay away from the player falling too far out of bounds, a ëfloor is lavaí game was created forcing the player to use the environment
Original idea was to create a strict linear path, but that was difficult since the flow of the level wasnít working, instead, it turned into a multiple paths system which, while clunky, gives the player choices
Angry teapot enemies integrated, still a little clunky, but they are functional
Cat riddle added, only took 5 minutes of dragging and dropping this time
Boss Battle ñ most complicated one I have completed
Quick cutscene before battle starts
Camera changes to a more top down view to aid in seeing the table
Bombs drop from sky at random intervals in random locations
Hatter has three phases
One: Two hands that track the playerís location, after a period of time, they stop following the player giving them time to get out of the way before dropping to the ground. They stay there for a period of time before going into the air again and repeating.
Two: Two arms float above table. After period of time, they snap to table, one arm moves across, then the other before they meet in the middle and go back to floating above the table.
Three: One hand and one arm going back and forth with bomb frequency picking up
After phase three has been completed, a cutscene camera is triggered to show the arms falling onto the table then the chapter 4 outtro is played
Scene copied from Intro, player can move, memories added and tied into the general chapter 4, links to chapter 5, dialogue option with Hatter after battle is done
October 15th, 2017
Another solid week of progress! Chapter 2 was created and completed, a little bit of testing is still needed to make it 'feel' good, but all of the bones are there and in proper working order. The only items that are not functioning as well as I would hope are in regards to the Switches and the Vorpal Blade attack, both are in the bug pile to be fixed later.
Chapter 3 would probably have been done this week as well (I did some shuffling and re-ordered when the player received certain abilities), had it not been for a free-lance assignment that I picked up. I was asked to create a chess animation for little kids featuring each of the pieces. It is taking quite a bit of time to complete the assignment, but I am very happy with how it is turning out, after all, it is my longest and most complicated animation clocking in at 4400 frames (about 2.5 minutes). The worst part about it is the rendering process. My computer is averaging 50 frames an hour so at 4400 frames for this one video and I have another 5 or 6 to do in the series... this may take a while, but keep the head up and be glad I can keep working! Now it is just a balancing act trying to get everything done because naturally, both of them contain a deadline of Christmas of this year.
Alice: Development Log: Week 5
Chapter 2 ñ Level Created
Memories incorporated - 8 in this level
Cut Scenes - for the Cheshire Cat (x3) and the White Rabbit and one together
Eat Me/Drink Me incorporated - as well as puzzles involving when to stay small and when to get big
Treadmills - once you step on them, you cannot jump and you must ride it to the end. If you step on it the wrong way, it will kick you off. Puzzles were introduced to make you aware of which way the treadmill was moving to know when you can or cannot walk on it
Crushing blocks - a staple for any factory type level - these blocks will crush you if they land on your or even touch you. When you step on a treadmill, you are locked into it, you need to stop the blocks before you can progress
Enemies cannot see you if you are small - a couple lines of code to make for some interesting playable moments and secrets
Out of bounds areas will get you killed - a staple for each level, not allowing the player to get too far out of bounds or they die
Bombs incorporated - these went in with a bang. ... Sorry, had to do it.
Final Boss for area - the hardest part of the level
Enter Original Cutscene - Switch camera, freeze player when animation over, turn Main Camera back on and open player movement
Must set Bomb on button - a feature I picked up from Alice the Madness Returns.
If you donít have bombs, one will be created for you to use to blow up button - A tricky bit of coding needed because I don't give the player an unlimited amount of bombs
After you blow up button, more bombs donít spawn
Once button smashed with button ñ play animation to disrupt Rabbit from running in wheel - this changes the phase from pre-battle to battle
When Animation over, replace Animated Rabbit with Boss version of Rabbit - a little clunky, but everything was working so I moved on
Boss version of Rabbit will charge player and drop 4 bombs at a random distance around them ñ if player is hit, player will take damage. Boss will take damage to both a bomb blast and Vorpal Blade attacks
When boss is defeated a ragdoll dead version of the Rabbit is created and a door will open allowing player to proceed
Terrain showing a pathway to a door have the final cutscene with the Cat, move onto next level
Chapter 3 ñ Unfinished, not in video
Terrain created ñ level built with blocks and cubes then built the terrain around it
Main path leading to a forked road, player has the choice to go to either path - they will need to go to both, but they choose which one is first
Tweedle Dee/ Tweedle Dum Path
Cut scene ñ once completed, door will open
Air vents introduced - allowing the player to gain altitude without having to climb stairs
Minor platforming with invisible walls to help player - using the airvents to make it become second nature
Pick up Dash ability - now you can go through walls and dodge enemy attacks
Use Dash ability on Wall to progress
Cut scene ñ once completed ñ Pepper Grinder gun will drop and door will open
Must kill 5 slugs in garden, targets are also in garden for easy currency boost
Memories incorporated - much deeper than the memories from the other chapter
Chapter 3 doesn't have the zest of 'fun' that most of my games seem to lack. Perhaps I'm starting to run out of gas or perhaps I need to add some spruced up/more challenging/ more rewarding gameplay... that sounds harder, but I think it is the right move.
October 8th, 2017
There is a long video this week! I hope you enjoy! It is both the Prologue and Chapter 1 elements of the game, but probably more importantly, the pieces are finally coming together!
Probably the largest win this week was integrating the dialogue system (!!) and not only having it work, but understanding how it worked to be able to manipulate it to how I need it to behave.
In looking at the video, there are several ways the dialogue system is used. In the prologue, each of the 7 conversations is tied to one of the 11 camera animations, when the conversation is done, it moves to the next animation. In the second half of the prologue, it is used to inform the player of what needs to be done from a farm hand and where to go. When you reach Mr Morrison on the ground floor, he has 3 conversations that are turned on and off depending on which of the 3 missions you are in. It is still a tad clunky, but for the most part it is working out splendidly!
Alice: Development Log: Week 4
Set up 6 cut scene - sets inside the scene that the camera snaps to during the animation
There are 7 player driven conversations
11 camera animations are tied to the 7 conversations and will progress when the player is ready to progress
Black and White post processing added to give it a different feel to the game
When finished with conversation, load to Prologue2
Built House, barn, property, surrounding areas (side note: this will be a ton of asset creation for a short scene...)
Farm Owner ñ Mr. Morrison
3 stages to his missions - and three conversations
Must do them in order / You cannot do them out of order
First Mission: Collect Tools - pick them up, when have 4, report to Mr Morrison
Second Mission: Push plow indoors - help your teammates push the plow, once the plow hits a trigger, Mr Morrison's condition is satisfied and the gates are opened to herd sheep
Third Mission: Sheep - collect 10, 9 are in one pen, if you hit one of them, they will follow a path located in front of the barn door when they hit that point they go to the path point located in the barn, once 9 have been saved, door opens for 10th
10th sheep, when hit, starts walking back to barn, lightning happens from a different camera, gravity occurs on the tree branch due to the lightning strike, fire starts in tree, once the tree hit the player, cut to black
Dialogue is a little clunky still
Integrated Post Processing Effects to keep with the black and white
Fixed Player abilities, now player cannot use non-unlocked skills in first level
Rain Clouds/ Rain (all particle system based)
Cutscene to start and end level
Pause menu re-integrated with certain features turned off that will not be used in this level
Integrated generic game design elements to introduce player to new concepts of jumping and vorpal blade usage
Doors open/player advances only after they have demonstrated skills
Final door contains an Enemy Count script ñ when all enemies killed - open the door to the next level
Re-integrated pause menu - with all features open
Intro Cut Scene
5 memories placed and integrated into the Memory system
Link to Chapter 2 ñ currently not working since Chapter 2 hasnít been built yet
Lighting hasn't been baked yet and Post Processing not added. Will be fixed later
October 1st, 2017
Happy October! This week centered much more on trying to make sure everything was working before I started jumping into levels. I created 3 types of enemies, one that attacks with a sword and shield, one that shoots bullets, and one that uses their arms to attack. Each of them presented their own quirks in how to be programmed and how to be scale-able.
The original idea was to have a generic enemy health script and drop that on each type of enemy similar to the Intractable Script from Brackeys. Granted, I wasn't following the directions since I didn't fully understand it, but I tried my best to replicate it aaaaaaaaaand... it didn't work. Enemies were dying when I wasn't close to them, several were dying at once when I was attacking a completely different enemy and the enemy that I was attacking wasn't taking any of the damage I was trying to do to it. Couple that with my misunderstanding of how the Animator Event system worked in Unity and this week turned into a lot of trial and error. Eventually everything was up and working and I created copies of the player and all general game elements so now we can move onto the level design!
Alice: Development Log: Week 3
NavMesh (Navigational Mesh)
This was the first time Iíve used this ñ in essence, I created a floor plan of the level telling the game engine where enemies can or cannot walk so they wonít walk off of cliffs or walk through walls, they are confined to their surroundings
Enemy will follow player, take and deal damage with animations and wonít go through walls
If the player is out of range or they cannot see the player, they will not move
Enemy will walk along a pre-determined path unless following player, take and deal damage with animations from sword
If the player is out of range or they cannot see the player, they will return to their walking path
A variation of the enemy is seen with their shield that can only be destroyed using a heavy hobby horse attack once it is destroyed, it falls to the ground and turns into a regular card guard enemy
Borrowed from Alice the Madness, this enemy will be on a walking path and if the player is within range, the enemy will turn and begin firing cannonballs at the player
Walking Watch Enemy
With and without waypoint
This enemy swings their arms around to attack the player, they must be within a very small radius to do any damage
A slight tweak to the player taking damage formula
Once the player is hit by an enemy, they cannot be hit for a certain period of time, now the playerís mesh will flash on and off during the invincibility phase to indicate to the player they canít be hurt
Color Changing Trees
A cute puzzle mechanic borrowed from the books where the Card Guards would be painting white roses red to accommodate the Red Queenís instructions
Here, you go over the paint can (green box) and pick up a paint brush that turns all other power ups off, then you have 3 uses of the paint brush to paint red trees to turn them white before your abilities are toggled back on
Enemies, once they are within range, they will turn the trees back to red
Effects on Bomb and Hobby Horse Attack
A minor aesthetic change to the Bomb and Hobby Horse attack to include a particle system to demonstrate to the player how far the range is on the attack
Total Memories Collected
With Memories being the focal point of the game, I wanted to give the player feedback on how many they have collected
The system is a little broken now and will have to be re-tooled when levels get built since everything is resetting after the level starts, but the bones are in place now, just need to build on it from here
Retooled Attacking/Damage/Health system for player and enemies
This one took a little work, Iím still getting used to the Unity Animator triggers, I have used them before in various projects (mostly in Depths of Oceania), but not at this scale
The idea was to use certain points in the animation to deal damage to both the player and the enemy, but I couldnít figure out how to get it to work properly and enemies were dying that werenít close to the player
How I have fixed it ñ I went into each enemies code and altered the way the Health calculation was determined as well as restructuring the player attack system to be on timers rather than purely on timing now the player has a window of time to land an attack rather than at the point of contact
This is probably not the best strategy, but this is all I knew how to do for a workaround
A last minute item to help with player scaling and level testing, I have the ability to have the player abilities be turned on and off with a simple checkbox
Now if I am jumping into level 5 and the player has x, y, and z abilities unlocked, I donít have to manipulate coding to test it, I just have to check the boxes
Prefabs of Player
We are ready to start building levels! A player copy has been made, now I can drag and drop them into each level and save me the time (ideally) of having to re-do the player each level
September 24th, 2017
Looking back over this last week, it doesn't feel as though I have been working very hard on the game. I have spent a couple hours a day churning through problems, but it didn't feel like progress. It wasn't until I was doing the write up for this week that I realized I had actually gotten a lot more done in this week than I remembered and the problems that I have been tackling, each of them seemed to be increasing in complexity or they were just on the quirky side where I didn't know exactly how to do them, but I would work through it and I would find a solution.
This was also another week of working in the test level making sure everything would work, creating a prefab of the object, then moving onto the next item on the list. The goal for this week is to finish up in the test level then move onto the actual level design. As much as I want to start creating art assets and start to add some color and life to the game, I am putting those onto the back burner. This way - I can focus on making the actual game first then adding the art to make it pop. I do not want a repeat of last year where all the art was more or less done before any of the coding took place, by that point in the project, I was too burned out to do much of anything. This year will be different. Get all the difficult items first then move onto the fun stuff.
Alice: Development Log: Week 2
Eat Me, Drink Me
Taking from the book, these two items are meant to be used for puzzles and getting out of situations. One of them you shrink, one of them takes you back to your normal size
Dash Ability Revisited
In order to accommodate the Eat Me, Drink Me puzzles, I couldnít have the player walking through walls all the time so now you can only go through Dash Walls which are in blue, all other walls you will be blocked. This puts the emphasis back on dodging rather than puzzle manipulation
Weapon effects on game play objects
On the third strike from the Hobby Horse, you can activate a button that plays an animation and will have some affect on the environment
If you hit a switch with the Vorpal blade, the switch will move back and forth depending on the number of times you hit it
Was fixed ñ now it shoots in the direction you are aiming and can deal damage to targets that may be too far away for the player to get to
The Umbrella is now blocking test items so it does not hurt the player
Weapon effects on Enemies and environmental objects
Generic enemies have been created and each of them take damage to all of the weapon choices including bombs
Once destroyed, they drop loot
When an enemy or a destructible environment is destroyed, there is a percentage chance that they will drop between 0-5 items ranging from a heart pickup to 5 points of currency (those are dropped in gold)
Upgrade system was touched up to increased User Experience and now the upgrades have an effect on the weapons so if you upgrade the Vorpal Blade, Vorpal Bladeís damage is doubled
Player health has been introduced copying a style similar to that of the Legend of Zelda where you have heart containers that drop if you are hit by an enemy, you die if your health reaches zero, your health increases if you pick up a heart drop, and if you pick up a heart container your overall health is replenished and your health increases by one
As also a bonus to prevent the player from being juggled (hit several times without being able to escape or react), an invincibility feature was added that prevents you from getting hurt again for 1.5 seconds after taking damage.
There are currently 5 tabs on the Pause Menu that freezes the game
Chapter summary ñ giving you the chapter and a summary of the information contained in the chapter
Continue ñ returns the player to the game, un-freezing the game
Controls ñ listing out the controls for Xbox Controller layouts and Keyboard layouts
Memories ñ listing all of the memories, the level picked up, the message the memory contained, and how many are in each level for the 100 memories that will be tied to the final ending
Restart Level ñ restarts current level
Main Menu ñ not built yet, but will link back to the main menu
Right now, the menus are only accessible through mouse input ñ maybe I will change that to keyboard and controller support, but right now I am happy with keyboard
If the player steps on the air vent, they are lifted into the air
On R3 on the Xbox Controller and clicking the middle mouse wheel using the keyboard, the camera snaps behind the players head to the default position
September 17th, 2017
New project needs a new title card, right? The image off to the right was made by Su Blackwell and it is much better art than anything I have right now, but I am getting a touch ahead of myself!
This week was trying to implement the skeleton of the Alice project. A vast array of items were built in this test scene which is serving as an excellent breeding ground for code efficiency, script communication, programmer art, and countless ideas that will die in a burning fire. Once it is working the way I would like it to, a prefab (a copy that is stored in the game code) is created then it is left alone until I can drag and drop it into the levels as needed.
A full list of the items that were implemented this week are listed below. I figured it was easier going about it this way than rambling for 1,000 paragraphs --
Custom Character Controller
Movement, Mouse looking/Mouse Orbiting, Jumping (only once in the air), XBox 360 controller support, and no Camera clipping (meaning the camera can't go through walls or allow the player to see behind/around objects)
Vorpal Blade and Hobby Horse
Swift attack and heavy attack
Both use a three part animation that plays depending how fast you hit the button. If you stop pressing the button in the middle of the animation process, it will not go all the way through, but if your timing is correct and you play all the way through the animation, there are functions that will have you do more damage if you hit an enemy
Pepper Grinder Gun
Low damage, high frequency.
This... still needs some work. As you can see from the video, the bullets go everywhere it clips through the player, isn't bound by a turning radius, etc. etc. etc. ... I'll work on it!
These were kindof a late feature. You can pick up a bomb then drop it, it will play an animation, then explode causing items nearby to react with physics to the explosion. I'm planning on using this for both fighting and environmental items.
This was the first item created. A couple weeks ago, I did a weather simulation using particle systems with different characteristics to represent weather.
I used the same concept only instead of particles, I used butterflies.
Now you can move forward at twice the speed and you have the ability to phase through walls. I'm planning on using this more for dodging and puzzles... but you can clip out of bounds very easily with this so we will see.
This took some work...
The gliding portion wasn't too bad. If you are in the air, you can hold the umbrella key and you will fall as a slower speed
The hard part was the blocking which wasn't in the video. If you are on the ground, you were supposed to play an animation, but since you were always on the ground, the animation never got past the first frame and would continue to loop. I got around that by just having a different object act as your shield than the one you use when you glide, but since they can't be activated at the same time, it creates a decent illusion.
Something I wanted in last year's game but didn't know how to do. Now, after a little testing, this will be the core crux of the game (as of now). In order to achieve the different endings, you will need to find the collectibles scattered around the levels.
Right now, there are two test collectibles, each activating a different item in the master file kept on a separate object. Each displays a different message and will be displayed for a different length of time.
As with most games nowadays, I have currency! This will be scattered in the environment and from enemy drops. If you step over currency, you collect it and can spend it!
Using what I learned from the Stock Simulator I made in April. If you have currency, you can spend it to upgrade your equipment, it will deduct it from your total and prevent you from upgrading if you donít have enough money. Soon I will add the damage modifications and art work to go along with it.
If you are out of bounds, a death animation will play using a similar concept to the Dash ability
Overall, lots of good bones in place! I'm going to keep churning through my list of items to get through. The idea right now is to 'complete' this test level and have working items of everything I want in the game (I know, hold the laughter because I definitely won't create more stuff along the way), by the end of the month. Let's keep working!
September 10th, 2017
We are starting off on the right foot! I have learned quite a bit about the game making process in the last year and I wanted to switch it up for this project.
Last year's Christmas project consisted of completing all of the artwork, the world, the general movements, then doing all of the coding once I was burned out. To prevent that from happening, I have started my Unity Project, written the general story in which general gameplay mechanics are introduced, which characters/enemies you meet, and thought of general combat and puzzle ideas.
With all of those ideas already written down, it gives me something to shoot for with the coding. I have already begun the coding for each of the mechanics and I am binding them to an XBox 360 Controller (I'm trying to keep in mind that the target audience for this project consists of PC, Linux, and Mac, I'm trying to make this as user friendly as possible). This way, all of the difficult coding elements are already in the game and bugs worked out before I start implementing them to the different levels and scaling it. Plus, being fresh into the project means I can start my code off clean which is a notorious problem I have with these sort of projects...
So, for now, there is nothing to show but pieces of paper demonstrating where the story is going and a bare Unity scene. By the end of the week, I would like to have all of the button mechanics in and working in a test scene so we can see where we go from there!
September 3rd, 2017
With the start of September upon us, that means it is time for me to start switching gears into my Christmas Project for this year! As you can see from the previous couple of weeks, I would like to be taking a shot at an Alice in Wonderland style of project. With any luck, this project will be similar to that of Alice the Madness Returns with probably a couple book-ish elements tied in as well. I have been accumulating a list of ideas so I can start implementation as soon as possible, but with my job ending on Sept 1st, progress may be a little slow to start, but we will get there and the ball will be rolling very soon! I'm very eager to get this one kicked off!
August 27th, 2017
This week we got back into the groove (which will be shattered at the start of next week, but that is a next week problem). Quite a few evenings were spent sitting at my computer watching different tutorials, following along, then adjusting them as needed to help create my main character. During the week of August 13th, I showed an image of my starting female character. Now, I am about 95% done and while I am amazed at the progress since my main character of last year, it feels as though she has fallen into the Uncanny Valley where she looks human, but something just doesn't seem quite right... I don't know what it is, but I'm going to keep tweaking her until I find something I like in it. I have also begun work on my Cheshire Cat and starting to jot down ideas and game mechanics. Overall, I'm pleased with the progress, but it isn't 'right'. I will keep you posted!
By comparison to last year, my main character was a little less than 1000 polygons. Alice right now is around 35,000. Granted, I believe it is a very inefficient 35,000 (Ellie and Joel from the Last of Us are made with less polygons than this character). I also had to downsize the file since it was originally 50,000, because of that decimation my faces got a little off. I may need to go in and adjust them later, but for now, I think it will work. But progress nonetheless!
August 22nd, 2017
At the end of July, I participated in my first Ludum Dare Game Jam. The experience as a whole was amazing and the community of builders that encompassed the site was a delight to be a part of. As part of the LD experience, you need to play other peopleís games and they get to play yours. You need to obtain at least 20 ratings overall for your game to be rated in the overall standings at the end of the play period which expired yesterday.
I was blown away by the responses that I received during the rating period of the jam ñ so much so that my game had reached the 20 rating minimum within the first 48 hours. It may have been the game itself was ëgoodí or the fact that I played a truckload of other games in order to boost the metrics of my game, either way, the ratings went soaring past twenty, then thirty, then forty ñ each person it seemed left a positive comment or a suggestion to make the experience better.
On Friday night, I ticked over into the 50+ overall ratings bucket which was flat out unheard of. During the GMTK Game Jam, I was ecstatic with 1 person playing it and giving me feedback, but 50!? JustÖwow!
Today, the playing period closed down and the final ratings were tallied and announced. I was blown away once more by my overall placement. Out of the 2351 people participating, 990 of which were in the Compo section, I was rated 450th overall. My best category by far was the graphics in which quite a few people had commented that they really enjoyed (average score was a 3.8 out of 5, rating of 116th out of 990). The worst percentile score I received was the "Fun" factor.
I got some good feedback on how to improve the concept, improve the shooting, make the instructions more intuitive, so I feel as though I did earn the 554th place on that one. The lowest score I received was humor hovering around the 2.2 mark, not really something I was going for, but still something keep in mind for the future. Overall though, I was very pleased with the results for my first time and I got some awesome feedback on how to keep moving forward! Looking forward to the next one in December!
August 20th, 2017
Well... on my calendar, I had the best of intentions of expanding upon my female character model, but that quickly fell off the rails. Outside of game development - I am a huge chess enthusiast so with one of the largest classical and blitz tournaments happening in my backyard, I spent every afternoon of the last week watching that tournament and playing. I don't even recall opening Unity or Blender for any project, actually. But now the tournament is over, a new job search is about to begin, and I will hopefully be getting back on track! Thanks for hanging in there! I will keep you posted with more information!
As a side note, the ratings for the most recent Ludum Dare will be closing/winners announced on Monday at 8pm. My game has a little over 50 ratings right now, I am almost certain that I will not be in the top 100 in any category, but the feedback that I have received has been excellent to move forward with.
August 13th, 2017
This week was a great little week for Blender modeling. Not a lot of coding took place, but I learned quite a few Blender tricks and spent some time trying to prep some assets for my Christmas project. At the moment, I am leaning on an Alice in Wonderland/Alice the Madness Returns sort of game. Third person, action/adventure, revisiting events from the books and creating some of my own along the way. I haven't 'started' the game yet, but just testing concepts and ideas to help the project along the way. Below, you can see a couple of different Blender items I have been working on, a couple of them were tutorial based, a couple of them were completely free hand. This week will probably be a little more of the same, I'm getting eager for Sept 1st to kick around!
August 6th, 2017
Hard to believe we are into August already. It has been a crazy year so far! Looking at the beginning of the blog that I started here, September 10th of last year was when I had started work on the Harry Potter game that I was going to do for Christmas last year. The scope of that project got a little crazy and the project sort of fell apart. However, armed with my new knowledge and experience, I'm ready to jump back into it. I'm thinking that the start of September I will start my Christmas project for the year. A couple concepts are bouncing around now to start to get ready for it, but I'm excited to start another long project!
As for this week, there has not been much in terms of game development. Most of the week has been taken up by either family activities or by playing other creators' games for Ludum Dare as well as resting up. At the current count, I have played close to 50 different projects and have received a little over 40 reviews on my game. A lot of them have been awesome little spins on the theme, some have blown me out of the water in terms of graphics, overall, it is just fun to play and learn from other people who are in the same boat that I am in their game development journey. Voting still occurs for another two weeks, but we are off to a great start!
I have a couple of ideas for this next week, nothing too crazy, but probably some Blender work and following along in the Brackey's/Sebastian Lague tutorial for an RPG series. I will keep you posted! I hope you have a good week!
July 28th - July 30th, 2017
This past weekend was my first time participating in Ludum Dare, a global game jam that has two groups a Compo (a game made solo in 48 hours) and a Jam (made by a team in 72 hours). I decided to do the Compo that took place from Friday the 28th at 8pm to Sunday the 30th at 8pm. The concept behind the jam is to make a game from scratch in 48 hours. No previously made assets, no pre recorded music, no half started projects, you must start from scratch and see what you can build in two days.
After work on Friday, I got all my shopping done for the weekend and sat at my computer reloading the Ludum Dare homepage waiting for the theme. It appeared as though everyone else had the same thoughts as the page was moving at a snailís pace due to the traffic. Eventually I got through and saw the theme ñ ìRunning Out of Powerî.
It didnít take too long to begin thinking of ideas of ways to incorporate power. A couple quick ideas were involving batteries, cars, or torch lights, but I thought other people might think of those so I tried to expand a little further outside the box.
The idea that formulated was Space. Having a space ship fly through zero gravity where you had to monitor two different bars ñ your health and your shipís power ñ but trying to formulate that into an idea that wasnít Space Invaders, a Top Down Shooter, or a Side Scroller was a bit of a challenge. I liked the concept of having several bars so I tried to think of what else I could use.
That was when the idea of a submarine came in. I could use the same concept of energy and health, but I could add cabin pressure to it to make all the bars wrap around the screen in a claustrophobic setting. A goal could be to reach some sort of buried treasure. And the obstacles in the way could be various fish that lurk in the bottom of the ocean in a super dark setting where the only light you had to go off of was your ship and the fish around you. Maybe if the energy got to be too low, the screen would start to fade to black too, then you would be traveling into complete darkness. Braced with that concept, I jumped into the design of it.
Friday night was spent working on the UI set up. I created a sphere in the middle of the camera, added some basic up, down, left, right movement, then began adding my three bars that acted as the main mechanics. The health bar was easy enough, start at 100, if you hit something it went down. The pressure bar was also fairly straightforward, start at 0 and every time you go down, it increases and every time you go up, it decreases. That left the energy bar, that too was fairly straight forward. Once you begin your descent, you start losing energy. Then I added some animations to the bars if they got below certain thresholds. For example ñ if your health was below 25%, the bar would begin flashing letting you know you were in trouble.
One last touch on the day, I opened up my general ideas project from May and grabbed the code for making the waves and put a wave into my game to make the ocean feel more ocean-y. Once all that was in, it was close to 11. Having been up since 4, I decided to call it a day. Before I went to bed, I threw together a list of items I wanted to incorporate by the end of tomorrow.
Today is the day to get a bulk of the work done.
I got up early, hit the gym, showered, got around, had some breakfast, then planted myself in front of the computer. First thing to get knocked out was the player model. The look I was going after was based on Insideís submarine portion, a yellow sub that has a player inside of it, just large enough for one person.
It took a little time, especially the transparent part. I havenít worked with the transparent textures in Blender all that often and when I imported it to UnityÖthings would break. A nice work around was to create the sub in Blender, import it to Unity, then add a semi-transparent texture in Unity parented to the sub. That worked out splendidly!
Next up - the projectiles. I needed some way for the player to shoot enemies and harvest/pickup their energy. Again, borrowing from Inside, was to use a cannon to shoot. I took my own spin on this and added a second cannon that shoots exactly opposite of the other one. The trickiest part of this was trying to get the cannons to follow the mouse movement. I couldnít seem to locate the right axis for it to rotate on so it was a lot of trial and error. Eventually (and I do mean eventually, this took like 2 hours), I got them to work! I whipped up a quick bullet script, gave the bullets a lifetime and a light blue texture, then I did some quick modeling on the cannons and the bullet feature was done!
A couple more tweaks to my player including adding some lights to help ease the darkness in the environment I was trying to create and adding a boost bar that would speed your player up for a given period of time at the expense of increasing your pressure and depleting your energy. A couple lines of code to the Energy script were added to count down every time a bullet was fired and to continuously count down if the lights were on or if Space was pressed and the player object was finished!
Moving right along ñ in Blender, I got scaled out a cube, added some divets to the wall, added some color to a couple of the faces and extruded some pieces of seaweed and there you have it ñ a wall that blocks the player into a certain playing area. I added 5 variations of it to make it feel different that way it was not the same repeating wall texture over and over again. There is a left set, right set, straight with sea weed, straight with fungus, and a bottleneck set. I coded an array so every time the player hits an invisible platform, a new/random set of walls was created just off screen. It added a smidge of variety and didnít cost too much time.
Next on the list ñ Enemies!
I wanted a couple different variations on the same style of enemy (listening to Quill18ís Pre-Ludum video providing tips ñ a little variation goes a long way). With that in mind, I knew I wanted an Angler fish that chased the player, a squid was also on the list ñ a squid that shot out ink would be the icing on the cake. Electric eels ñ their blue would fit in to the color palette I was aiming for plus ñ the variation on the eel could be to take energy away rather than taking health away. Kill two birds, you know? I set each one of them up to have their own model, rigging, damage to the player, damage received from the player, and speed. Then each one of them dropped either a heart or a battery which took no time at all to make.
Lastly, I wanted a boss. I was hoping that I could figure out a Lochness Monster with each arm doing a different attack/defense/move/ swipe/whatever, it would be a complex creature set next to the treasure chest, but I wasnít quite sure how to implement it so I put it on hold and went onto making the end of the game.
I had fun making the model for the treasure chest and the shipwreck, I had done chests before (box and a half cylinder), but the ship wreck was interesting. I started with a boat in one piece, when that was finished, I did a loopcut right down the middle of it and moved the two sections apart and began sliding wood fragments back and forth to give the illusion it split down the middle. Add in a broken mast and an anchor and you have a ship wreck! After a couple tweaks to the model to make sure they were in frame for the game, and we were set!
By this point, we were beginning to get into the late afternoon, the brain was getting fried and I still wasnít coming up with a good idea for the final boss. No matter how I sliced it in my head, the Giant Squid idea just wasnít working, plus, I had already used a squid enemy and I wanted a little more flair to it.
Stepping away, I decided to play with the fog in the game and play with lighting a little bit and break for dinner. While eating, an idea hit me ñ why not use a shark? New variation, different type of fish, can be used as a boss character, much larger than the player. It all seemed to work.
Shaking myself awake, I started modeling the shark. Overall, it wasnít too difficult! The rigging too wasnít too bad! I needed a refresher on how to do multiple animations in one animation file, but other than that, I had a swim animation and a bite animation ready to go!
Getting it into Unity thoughÖ That was a bit of an issue. The base rotation had gotten off, whenever I wanted the shark to follow the player, it would move sideways. As a work around, I had the shark follow an empty invisible object so the shark would always be looking at that. I then provided the empty invisible object with a path to follow after the player had reached a certain point. That way, the player wouldnít see the shark until it was time to fight it. Lastly, I gave the shark some strength ñ making it much stronger than the other enemies and much more powerful to take damage from. I also tweaked with the animation to get the shark to bit when it was close to the player, but that wasnít working so the animations just loops between idle and biting while following this invisible object when the player gets close enough. Confused yet? So was IÖ but it was working and I didnít want to touch it anymore. As an added bonus, the fog that I had made created a very neat effect of the shark looming in the distance and slowly coming to the player so you could see the model for yourself. I was rather pleased with the effect.
As a last touch for the day (it was close to midnight), I added a barrier that prevents the player from going down any further until the shark is defeated. Looking back, I probably could have added an onscreen indicator to let you know you had to beat the shark before proceeding, but too late for that now!
So at midnight, I had most of the game put together ñ the player was moving, shooting, taking damage, losing energy, gaining pressure. There were walls that changed every time you played. A timer and a depth finder to tell you how you were doing. I had several enemies each with their own unique flair. There was an end state and a boss with a cool effect. Not a bad day in my book as I went to sleep drained but again drifting off to sleep after having created my list of clean up items for tomorrowÖ
Last day of the jam! Submissions were due by 8pm. I woke up early and began work on the actual player model (the person who sits in the sub) before I took off for the gym for some serious racquetball.
Getting back to work around 1030am, I finished up the player model, gave it some animations, then ported them over to Unity to begin work on the death animations. Overall, there were 3 ways to die and one way to win. For the pressure death, the player suffocates, the camera zooms in, then the menu pops up with a hint as to how to not die from that again. For the energy death, the sub turns on its side and the camera zooms in and an array of hints pops upÖ at least it did until I broke it, then it went back to being just one hint. Lastly, the health death. This one took some work, I wanted some gingerbread in the process so if the playerís health was below 40% a spurt of smoke would come out, if it was under 25%, a second smoke stack would come out, then at 0, an explosion happens, the player turns off, and the camera zooms in and displays a hint to prevent them from dying.
Now that the dying was out of the way, I threw together the winning message in about 5 minutes. The message only. What took close to an hour was remembering how to use the Player Preferences option in Unity to save your time when you hit the bottom every time you played. It wasnít working, wasnít working, wasnít working, then when I was about to cut the feature, I realized that one of my greater than or less than signs was backwards. Then it worked!
The main game was now done! Onto the main menu! This one didnít take too long either ñ I used the same wave code as before, same assets as before, same player model as before (with a simple up and down idle animation), I added a controls page, and buttons for each of the actions before saving, testing, and moving on.
Going back to the main game, I wanted to add a pause menu, but the method that I chose to do, broke all of my other on screen menus so nothing was working and the game wasnít starting. Definitely not my intention. It wasnít hard to fix, it just took a lot of time resizing everything to where it needed to be. When that was finished, I was on the downhill stretch!
Now the part that I was dreading ñ the music. I love music. Whenever I can, I have music in my ears, however, I am not the greatest composer in the world. As a matter of fact, I would hardly say I was a composer period. But I still wanted to try. For the better part of 3 hours, I made two themes, an abyss sort of sounding track, several small sound effects for picking up batteries, taking damage, etc. then putting those themes into the game so they all worked. I was pleased with the result, but it still took a long time.
We are now a little after 4. I did some last minute tweaking to some variables, added air bubbles to help the player with energy in case they were running low, I copied and pasted several of the walls and began building a quasi-backdrop to add depth to the depth, and added a school of fish that zips in and out of the shot to help build some detail.
By six I was play testing and making sure everything worked. I got the lighting baked, the screen resolutions set, I tried to break it and see what would happen, just overall testing and fixing until 7.
During my final build and run, I was trying to get onto the Ludum Dare site, but it was slow once again from traffic. It took a solid 40 minutes for my file to be uploaded, but it was up with 20 minutes to spare!! I had done it! The Ludum Dare 39 Compo was finished!!
Looking back a couple of days, I was very pleased with the pacing on this jam. In the Game Makerís Tool Kit jam, I had tried to focus on quantity of items which effected the game play quite dramatically. This time around, I focused on small pieces first. Get the player moving. Player elements. Walls. Enemies. Boss. End Game. Then go in for details. Then test. It was very methodical and it seemed to work out all right.
Now it is my turn to go play some other peopleís games and learn what they did so I can get better along my journey! In a couple of weeks, I will give an update on the feedback I had received. In the meantime, thank you for reading and I hope you have a good day!
To Vote on the Game: https://ldjam.com/events/ludum-dare/39/depths-of-oceania
For Source Code Files: https://cnoble.itch.io/depths-of-oceania
July 24th, 2017
About a week ago, I participated in the first Game Maker's Tool Kit Game Jam with my game Pulling Your Own Strings. It was my first timed Game Jam with other people and as part of the challenge, I needed to upload my game to allow others to play it in order for it to be judged and a winner declared.
The judging was based on 5 categories: Innovation, Theme, Aesthetics, two Overall categories, and Feel. I finished in a 17 way tie for 487th out of 772, not a great score, but I was happy with it for my first time around! Looking a little closer at the scores, both Innovation and Theme were at a 4, Aesthetics and my overall scores were around 3, and the Feel was last at 2. I had a feeling the Feel would be last since I tried to create a project that was slower in nature which probably isn't the best idea for a Game Jam concept, but I got some awesome feedback so I am ready to keep moving!
Link to the Page: https://itch.io/jam/gmtk-jam/results?page=50
July 22nd, 2017
Not as much activity this week rebounding from the Game Maker's Tool Kit jam from last week, the main highlight can be seen in the newest Quidditch update video (see right). This concept started a little while ago, but I didn't 'finish' it up to a presenting fashion until this week. It was actually due to this concept that I was able to think it was possible to do the changing keys feature in the jam even though it isn't exactly the same thing.
This character customization involves a couple different elements. First, I would like to thank MakeHuman - a free, open source character modeling software. That helped me create the models quickly. In the customization option, you have the Male/Female button, each button toggles a body on or off based on what the other fields are at that given time.
Next you have the skin color choice (currently based on three). I struggled on this one more than I should have as I was trying to create whichever model was on based on the 42 models (male/female, three skin colors, and 7 years of size). I quickly realized that would be both a waste of memory and I wouldn't figure out the code on getting it to work properly. I switched gears and decided to go with just changing the material color rather than the model itself. That cut the models from 42 down to 14 (male/female, and 7 years) and was working like a charm in less lines of code (always a good thing).
The last working feature that I got in there was fairly easy, just a bit tedious. Being at Hogwarts, you are a student from age 11 to 17 which means I needed different models for each sex and age as humans develop quite a bit during those years. At the end of the day, I created a model for each of the combinations, saved them, imported them, added a block as a temporary cloth, then turned all of them off except the 11 yr old boy which is how the code is set to start. From there, you select your model then select Proceed.
Up next, after hitting Proceed, I need to construct the memory of the game to save the character's selections to load them when we reach the actual game after the player selects which team they are set to be on. That will come... Eventually. In the meantime, I need to get prepped for the Ludum Dare 39 set to start Friday night!
July 14th - July 16th, 2017
Wow, Iím exhausted! For the last 48 hours, I have been participating in the first ever Game Makerís Tool Kit 48 Hour Game Jam from 6pm Friday to 6pm Sunday. The theme for the event was Downwellís Dual Purpose Controls which meant the main focus for controls needed to have some sort of a double or triple purpose. For example ñ if your character jumps, their will shoot their gun at the same time, or giving your player 4 moves that needed to be recharged by moving, those sorts of ideas.
When the jam was first announced, the top comment was requesting that the theme NOT be music oriented since they did not have skills in the music area. Reading that comment, I realized my major weakness was music/music design (I had always outsourced it to computers or friends), so I started to think of ways to do music oriented games ñ just on the off chance it was the music theme. Well, the announced theme was not music, but I was still thinking of various elements for a music game.
Now incorporating the Dual Purpose Controls idea with a music oriented game - that didnít take too long to think of an idea of using music as both a puzzle and a generic action element.
The puzzle would be arriving at doors, having to play music in rhythm, if you did, the door would unlock. Building on that rather quickly was the idea of certain doors only being opened with certain music keys. Those music keys could be picked up by actual physical keys (see what I did there?). I also wanted to build on the musicality of it ñ quarter notes, eighth notes, half notes, whole notes, rests, etc. Then if you played the proper note, the corresponding note from the music software would play.
I thought I knew how to do those elements ñ create the measure, have a count off, then start moving a bar across the screen to the beat, if you hit the note at the same time the bar was over it, the note would play, if you missed it, if would turn red. Evidentially, the collision detection in Unity is a little shaky when you are using the User Interface to do it. So that idea needed to be reworked to the tempo marker jumping to designated positions which worked perfectly!...kinda.
The way the original code was written, it was not scale-able. This meant if I wanted more than 4 notes, I needed to rewrite the script which was not fun. Combine that with the tempo marker only moving at the quarter note pace rendering any other music note useless without destroying the script or not working, yeahÖ that part of the game quickly became my least favorite part of the project.
The second element incorporated was the action portion of the game. With it, I wanted the character to hit Space and create a music cord depending on what key you were in (and it played the do, mi, so, do chord) as well as shoot a bar of music at the enemy. With that, I needed enemies.
For my enemies, I was very pleased with the 4 that I made. Each of them are unique, have their own music, have their own model and associated rigging, and have a variable health that looks like a tempo marker that can only go down if the player is in a certain key. To date, that is probably some of my best rapid modeling and rigging. The Tuba is slow and lethargic, the flute has ballet shoes and move towards the player, the timpani/drums use his eyes to play the drums (he was supposed to shoot at you, but that got scrapped due to time), and leading them all is a Conductor who has 3 stages of health, each in a different key. Once he loops through his animation, he creates a clef somewhere in the room that he is in, that clef, if left alone, will create one of the other three instruments (treble, bass, and percussion clefs). You need to stay on top of it or the room gets rather chaotic rather quickly.
The action portion of the game is a little weak. The enemies donít put up a fight, there is no health option (though it was in the original blueprints), and the music is a little repetitive (I can only make so many chiptune songs in 48 hours, give me a break J ).
There was another feature that I started to play with that I really wanted thrown in, but cut due to time constraints. Across a suspended bridge, there are 8 keys that you can walk on. When you step on it, it lights up and plays a note. I wanted to incorporate that piano element to a puzzle type situation where you had to play chords in a door opening sequence. You had to locate the right key and play your key at the same time. You would use jump (which would be tied to space) to play them at the same time, but alas, ran out of time so it was cutÖ
Lastly, the ending stage, I wanted the curtain to open to a large expansive audience in a large auditorium with stage lights, gold, seats, characters watching as you played a complicated piece where you would have to adjust keys in the middle of a song ñ yeah, that was a stretch tooÖ As it stands right now, there is an ending, if you complete it, you are sent back to the main menu. Not great but functional.
Overall, I was very pleased with how this jam went. Comparing it to last yearís Wizard Game Jam (check out the video under the games for a refresher) I have made a ton of progress. For a quick comparison ñ the most complicated element I did last year was unlocking spells by referencing them between scripts. In this game, that was one of the first things I did to give you your harp, it then happened close to a dozen other times with variables for doors, enemies, keys, and chests. In terms of the modeling, the overall quality and quantity increased from 3 models with 2 of them being animated to modeling and animating 4 enemies, this time I created all the music myself, all the textures myself, and I didnít steal any code from anywhere. It is quite a large amount of progress for a yearís worth of practice.
The item that I was most proud of was creating a creating a List which is similar to an array, this List needed to be on screen with buttons to move up and down to determine your key (but not let you get out of range on the list), I needed it color coded for easier player understanding, it also needed to be added to whenever a new key was picked up, and reference it through various scripts to ensure they match at doors and enemies in order to proceed. Iím sure future me will look back at me and laugh, but for having never worked with Lists too much before, I got them to work and be a rather critical portion of my game!
Who knows if there will be a second Game Makerís Toolkit Game Jam, but for me, this was an excellent learning opportunity and with Ludum Dare occurring at the end of the month, that will give me enough time to recover and jump back in! Thanks for reading!
July 8th, 2017
With the best of intentions for this week, unfortunately, I do not have much to report. Sunday afternoon, while making lunch, I decided it would be a good idea to slice open my thumb and get stitches in it. Because of that little mishap, working on computers has been a bit of a challenge. Instead, I took a little time to go visit family in southern Missouri. With that long car ride, I was able to think of ideas of how to keep gameplay fast in order to make the gameplay feel quick as well as how to incorporate the character customization into gameplay.
I'm not expecting too many miracles on the Quidditch project this week with my new job starting Monday and the stitches being removed on Wednesday, but I am excited to participate in the first ever Mark Brown Game Jam which will be taking place from Friday, July 14th at 6pm to Sunday, July 16th at 6pm. I have never participated in a formal game jam before so I am super excited to see how this plays out.
In the meantime, I hope you have a good week!
July 1st, 2017
Overall, the past month has been a bit busy. Lots of interviewing, reading, and dog sitting, but now I have a new job close to where I currently live and I will be starting in the middle of July. During the hiatus, the idea was to take a step away from development for a while and figure out what direction I should be headed in and what steps I needed to get there. Well, it only took a couple of weeks before I was opening Unity again and trying a new idea.
For the past couple of months, I have been doing several micro-projects learning a ton in both the 2D and 3D aspects of Unity. With the newly acquired knowledge, I wanted to throw together a small/medium sized project to work quite a few of the ideas in and see how it turns out.
In September of last year, I started work on a Harry Potter game. I wanted it to be an open world with lots of spells, classes, cutscenes, levels, you name it, I tried to fit it in. Needless to say, the project was a bit too ambitious and it more or less burned me out and exploded in my face. Well, with the 20th anniversary of the first printing of the Sorcerer's Stone a couple of days ago, I wanted to stick with the Harry Potter theme but shrink the scope way down. The resulting idea was to tackle Quidditch. The main sport of Harry Potter.
I started modeling ideas after the Quidditch World Cup game and Harry Potter 2 both on the PS2. I also started working on this one at a slightly slower pace to avoid the burnout from the previous long project since there is a lot going on in this game.
Right now, the Snitch/Seekers are in following a similar concept found in HP2 in order to fly through rings to increase speed to get closer to the Snitch that is traveling along a designated path. The tech for that one was found in May 7th's security demo. Also in now is the Beaters/Bludgers which fly around the field trying to knock people to the ground or knock the Quaffle out of their hands. Both the Snitch and Bludgers have a special move that the player can utilize if certain playing credentials are met adding elements from Quidditch World Cup and to vary gameplay.
Again, taking it slow trying to see how everything goes and trying to completely segment different parts of the project to prevent myself from getting overwhelmed. Overall, I am liking how the project is underway so far. I hope you do as well!
General Player Movement, Scoring, Quaffle Management
Bludgers in Place, Bludger Special Move, Bludger Interactions
Seekers/Snitch in Place, Snitch Search in Place, How to End Game
May 31st, 2017
Nothing to report today, but more of a reflection.
Over the last two months, I have been trying to experiment with loads of different ideas, genres, animation styles, learning different tools, putting my work out there for other people to see, and I have learned a lot from the process. In preparing a flash drive to send to a couple friends, I noticed there have been 14 games that were made, 6 videos/animations that were completed, and 6 high quality still images from the last 60 days.
As a whole, I'm very pleased with the progress that I was making, there were lots of concepts that would have taken weeks or months that I was starting to churn out in a matter of days. Towards the end, I was writing code without having to look any of it up. If I needed to add something or I recognized a bug, I would jump right in and solve it rather than searching through videos or forums.
There are a couple of issues going on in my world right now so I will need to step away from this for a while to focus on their resolution, but I hope with any luck to be back in a little more than a month with some new ideas and new concepts ready to go. It is worth noting - looking through one of my old shelves, I found a game that I did with my brother from 10 years ago. It will be interesting to see what sort of project I can complete for this Christmas to show progress.
May 27th, 2017
Another quick video clip using Blender 3D. I had not made an actual animation since the beginning of the month so it was time to brush off the rust. This time, we are looking at a link of chains that are falling onto a table. Some nice quick and simple Rigidbody work to keep me distracted from everything that is going on in my world. I am going to try and complete a couple of other small projects, but there are some major life elements occurring right now so unfortunately, game development and animations are falling to the bottom of the list. I will continue to do what I can and I will be back as soon as I can with more information.
May 24th, 2017
Getting the day started right! Today's image is of a stuffed bear using the Blender image. The design of this bear was rather straight forward with the aid of a tutorial and it was a successful attempt using the in-engine hair mechanics. It is not a lot, but I can build on these concepts going forward. Hope you have a good day!
May 17th, 2017
I will be going on vacation starting tomorrow until Sunday so I wanted to upload a quick update before I left. On May 10th, I made a comment that I made a quick ugly demo demonstrating a couple of topics. Well, it is still ugly and still quickly made, but I wanted to throw a quick video out demonstrating what I wanted to accomplish.
In the 80 second video, I show waves that replicate water, scrolling text to display a message, a post that releases the image of a girl when you are close, an in game cutscene, and an elevator that transports the player up and down to various floors using buttons and locking the player in when they select a floor.
Again, I know it isn't pretty, but as part of documenting this game development journey, I wanted to get it out there! I will see you after I return!
May 15th, 2017
Wow! Hard to believe it has almost been a week since the last update. Late last week, I was watching tutorials on Procedural Generation and how to make realistic hair in Blender. With where I am at skill wise, both concepts were just outside of what I felt like I was capable of doing. I was watching the tutorials, but I was more or less copying what they were doing rather than trying to learn what they were doing. Feeling a little unmotivated on Friday night, I opened up Binding of Isaac Rebirth for the daily run when an idea hit me -- why not give Binding of Isaac a shot? After all, most of the projects of the last couple of months have been 2D so I was starting to feel a little more comfortable with the differences in the layout so, why not?
For most of Friday evening, all day Saturday (until 4am on Sunday), and most of today was spent getting this demo thrown together. I got to use lots of different concepts including - arrays, Animators, unique scripting on all of the enemies, choices after you beat the game (if you can win the game), sprite based health, and a host of other elements. Check out the quick playthrough to the right!
Side note - I did not create the 2D artwork. I found all of it online so that was what I went to work with. I also want to thank JukeDeck for the song selection!
May 10th, 2017
For the last couple of days, I have been working on a Flappy Bird clone thanks to a Quill18 series. There were several similarities to this game compared to the Stack game, and the Endless runner clone where once the items are off screen, they are looped back to the right hand side of the screen - for the pipe locations, at the start of the game, they are placed in a random range of locations vertically then as you fly through, you are hitting an invisible trigger than increases your score and increases the speed of the game. I feel like it is a faithful recreation of the original game.!
Also in the last couple of days, I have been working in a small ugly demo just to try and get some new ideas rolling. In that mini 'project', I created a scrolling text (like a typewriter that types one letter at a time) - that can be cut short and the full message would display, I created a character selection screen that carries over into the next scene (no help on that one), I got a leader board created and it works, but I am still not quite understanding the concepts of how it works for another instance. Lastly, I managed to figure out how to get a fully animated cutscene/movie into a unity scene. I had originally thought that was a Pro only feature, evidently not!
Overall, today marks the 1 month date that I was let go from my previous job. So far, I am rather happy with how many projects and ideas I have been able to get through. Hopefully this can continue in the future! ... and get a job too...
May 7th, 2017
Getting back into the swing of things, I wrapped up the tutorial from Sebastian Lague to do a Stealth Game. This project has a player object trying to reach a safe zone at the other end of the map. The player has to avoid the guards and their respective lights, if they don't, they are sent back to the beginning. This demo helped fill in the gaps of a stealth game that I experienced when I made the Mr. Agent game on April 29th. Now, rather than sending out a single raycast to see if the player is hit by the enemy, it is sending it out in an angle and if the player stays in that angle for too long, they are captured.
This tutorial also helped bridge the gap - in the Mr. Agent game, I manually created animations for each security officer which took quite a bit of time. With Sebastian's method, I am using empty Game Objects that are set in a path. The computer only has to follow the path then when they are finished, it will loop back to the first way point in their walk cycle. No animation required.
May 6th, 2017
Happy Birthday to me! I was not at my desk most of the weekend since i was busy doing family stuff, but Thursday night, I wanted to try an in depth model of a fountain pen to see how close I could get it to the actual thing. For those curious, I was aiming for a Mont Blanc pen stand, ink well, and a Meistershuck 196 as the models. I was a little amazed that the single image took over a day to render, but I was very happy with the way that it turned out. So, I had my celebration, now here is to another year of learning!
May 3rd, 2017
It may seem like not a lot of work has gotten done in the last couple days since the only thing I have to show for it is an 8 second video, but that 8 second video took nearly 2 days to fully render (I may or may not have pulled some of the settings drastically up just to see what they did). Overall, I was happy with how that quick little animation turned out!
While Blender was tied up, my PC didn't have the processing power to start complete Unity projects so I did some clean up/bug fixing on a couple of the other smaller projects I have worked on. In my Stock Trading game, I added a speed option, now you can trade at x1 speed, x2, or x4 speed with the days, stocks, and news circulating up to 4 times faster than original. In Mr. Agent (the stealth game from Apr 29th), I did some bug fixing that I noticed when I had some family members test it, and in my endless runner from the 1st, I tightened up the music by adding a better track that speeds up the longer you go and cuts off the moment you die and plays a record scratch (that took longer to get the right clip working than the other two combined).
With that animation out of the way, Blender is back open for business! I've got a couple more ideas on the to-do list that I want to keep cranking out while I am still interviewing for a new job. In the meantime, back to work!
May 1st, 2017
Kicking off May with another clone! This time an endless side-scroller similar to the Impossible Game. I have FlatTutorials to thank for getting me kicked off the ground with it. About halfway through I sort of went my own direction with it.
In this project, you jump on top of boxes, avoid spikes, and try to increase your score by simply surviving and by picking up stars (the stars also increase the speed of the game). I was pretty happy with the random selection of stages in the array to determine which obstacle to choose next. If you would like to play it yourself, let me know and I will be happy to send the demo your way!
April 29th, 2017
I did not know that this weekend turned into a game jam. Well, I am a week over due on the Ludum Dare so I suppose the timing is fitting. On the 27th, I watched a raycasting video and wanted to dabble a little more into that to see if I could try some simple enemy line of sight elements. Little by little, the project spiraled out of control and I was making a miniature game called Mr. Agent.
The gameplay of Mr. Agent is a simple (simple) stealth game. You avoid the security guards, cameras, lasers, then proceed to the next area until you have to make a final decision as to which side you are supposed to help. The gameplay itself isn't anything to get excited about. Quite a few new ideas were implemented including a level unlock system, multistep animations, detailed/cute Blender models, puzzles using real gameplay ideas, and counters that occur on screen. I don't want to put up the full walkthrough right now since I was pretty happy with the twist at the end, but check out the video and pictures of the animations, and models!
Overall, it seems like a very fitting end to this month long push into learning more about game development. I am thinking I may implement a similar concept for May to build lots of ideas and mini projects to continue my understanding of this field.
April 26th, 2017
It is a two for one day today! Early this morning I finished up a quick falling blocks project led by Sebastian Lague where the objective is to dodge falling blocks, display a game over screen if you are hit, and restart the level and the game timer so you can start again. It is a fairly easy project broken up into 4 different pieces, but the teaching style of the video was very much learning oriented. He wanted you to pause the video and try to figure the next step out before he completed it. I was doing fairly well with it. The syntax may have been a little off, but the general idea was there. An image of that project can be seen off to the right.
The second project of the day was another Brackey's video doing a Balance Rider similar to that of Happy Wheels where you can't flip over the car and if you hit your head the level restarts. That was another hour long tutorial using wheels and motors which were new projects. That was a cool one to learn about. A couple topics flew over my head, but the end product is still completed. Once his tutorial was done, I didn't want to create new levels (he had used Photoshop to create the original level) so I used the same level, but created a for loop to increase the number of obstacles in the way that dropped in various locations. That added some variety and spice to the game. An image of that can also be seen off to the left.
April 25th, 2017
This was just how you draw it up in the books. I had my idea for how this week was going to go, but then an idea hit me to do a Stock Simulator and I proceeded to throw the other ideas further along in the week.
The simulator (my full playthrough can be seen off to the right), features 9 different companies that can start at a range of prices that are adjusted by the daily fluctuations in the market. Some are more volatile than others, some are more positive, some are more negative. Those fluctuations are then met with 14 different news elements that can pertain to each company and has a resulting effect on their stock. For example - if the CEO, CFO, and COO are arrested and leave the company, the stock takes a turn. If the stock performs better than expectations, the stock will increase.
Your goal is to make as much money as you can trying to read and predict trends. I was rather pleased with my earnings, but since everything is randomized, the exact combination may or may not work in the future. Overall, for a 2 day project, I can't complain by how it turned out!
April 21st, 2017
Rounding out the week of Game Demos with Angry Birds! Another Brackeys tutorial and we have a rough clone of the mega popular mobile game. In this clone, we have a player with 3 lives aiming at enemies of varying number and health, we have obstacles with varying size and health, levels can be restarted with 'R' and if you fail to complete the level in 3 lives, you restart the level. I could have made an unlock system in the main level select screen or a scoring system/star ratings, but I was fine with not doing that with this mini project. How it is right now, if you complete the level, you are automatically moved to the next level until Level 5 when you are taken back to the glorious UI menus that I have created. Anyway! Hope you have a good weekend!
April 20th, 2017
Today is Line Rider! After following the tutorial, I'm still not quite following how everything is working on the whole line drawing mechanic, but once that was up and running. I went beyond his tutorial and added a win condition, a random Vector2 to determine the new winning location and player location, and a 'for' loop to help reset the room and create levels that were unique. A couple of them are unfair, but I think that adds a little fun to it. A quick demo can be seen off to the right!
April 19th, 2017
Continuing with the tutorial week, today I had some time between interviews and worked through a tutorial from N3K EN to get a working stack clone! Pardon the crappy UI, but I was pretty happy with how it turned out! I was rather amazed when he threw most of the game into one script which sits on the 12 blocks that continue to repeat. The project took about 3 hours to build and had quite a bit of math that was a little over my head, but I learned some new coding formats out of it. Another project to throw under my belt!
April 18th, 2017
Another tutorial thanks to Brackeys and I have a working Frogger demo! It is rather simplistic, a couple spawn points of where they can get cars. You can move forward, back, left, and right as you jump through traffi. If you are hit by a car that travels at varying speeds, the level will reset and your score resets. if you make it to the end, you are given 100 points then the level resets and the frog jumps back to the beginning. I've got a couple of ideas on how to make it more complicated, but I am happy with it now.
April 17th, 2017
Thanks to Brackeys I got an AA Clone up and running. A lot of the concepts were fairly straightforward. The tutorial covered rotations, parenting, cross script referencing, a couple of tags, and only 5 items in the game. I definitely recommend this guy if you are looking for a quick tutorial!
April 16th, 2017
Happy Easter everyone! I hope you have had a good day! This week I started Persona 5 and I have fallen in love with it so I wanted to give another shot at a quick project at the Social Links that they use when you interact with certain characters.
In the demo off to the right, you can see the player movement, the days of the week/calendar and how the character we can interact with only shows up on certain days of the week and you can only interact with them/advance the Social Link one day a week. When you step into the conversation, you are given the choice to start the conversation and an image pops up including the NPC, their name, their text. If you participate in the conversation, you are given text to read then presented with another choice. If you select the positive choice, you will level up the Social Link. If you select the wrong one, she will get upset and her image shows that as well.
Similar to the Persona style, I wanted a Story Event that moves the player to a certain location on a certain day and has part of the story they need to read through. It is a little messy in the coding, lots of bouncing around and hidden variables, but I did it!
April 12th, 2017
With the start of the baseball season (and the Cubs home opener), I wanted to do a baseball score simulation! This project look about a week and a half to do the three iterations that you can see in the video off to the right. The first one was a random score with two teams then organizing whichever team was in first in the standings. The second was dealing with 4 non-repeating teams with weighted runs, hits, and errors to select a winner. Then the third and final iteration ran them into standings with dates. Overall, I was very pleased with how it turned out! Maybe the next time I do it, I can throw in 8, 16, or the MLB current 30 teams.
April 10th, 2017
Today, I had a little bit more time on my hands than I had originally intended so I wanted to throw together an idea that has been in the back of my head since playing Gravity Rush 2 of having a character that can change outfits using a toggle-able menu...and an array. Couple that with a cool tutorial on how to do a small and a super jump, I thought I could whip a quick demo out this afternoon!
April 9th, 2017
This was a gooooooood week of game development. The original idea for this month would be to do a small weekend project for the entire month, but I wanted to try an idea that I had lurking in my head for a while so I started a small demo during the week (I want to finish that next weekend). This weekend however, I wanted to try a boat/water tutorial and an explosion to see if I could do the animation properly. Well, "No Battle Plan Survives Contact With the Enemy".
The idea was to create a player, have them hop in the boat, drive across a lake (swim if they want to), then watch an explosion. What happened was - a player starting a timed round to find one of five combinations to one of five bombs scattered around the map. The player could walk, run, swim, or boat over to the bomb and if they deactivated it, they received a point. If they didn't... they got to look at an ugly particle system. I was very pleased with it! Not quite what I had envisioned, but I got to learn new skills along the way!
Carson, I want to thank you for your help on the coding when I had questions (I think I'm getting the hang of arrays!), and Dakota thanks for the music! If you want to play the game, there is a Dropbox link to the .exe file (called ExplosionProject). Feel free to let me know what you think!
April 2nd, 2017
This weekend, I decided to dig a little into Blender and try a couple of new concepts. With the quick animation you can see at the right, I touched on the fluid simulator, a little animation, rigid body with some dice, and I threw some poker chips and a moving camera in for good measure to see if I could do it on my own without the help of a tutorial. I was baffled by how long it took since this was my first animation bake (the ten second clip took about 6 hours to render), but I learned a lot from the process.
March 31st, 2017
For the month of April I want to try something a little different! Instead of trying to work on one game for a solid month, I have a handful of mini-projects I want to take a shot at. Some may work, some won't, but they are ideas that have been sitting in the Youtube Watch Later list for a while that I finally want to take a crack at. By doing this, I want some fresh, quick ideas on hopefully a weekly basis then I will put it on a shelf and move onto the next idea. I'll keep you posted in a couple of days!
March 5th, 2017
Today I tried a new type of project, just a quick little 6 Hour Game Jam to see if I liked a Persona Style Conversation Oriented topic. While I didn't get everything in that I wanted to, I was pretty pleased with the result. I know I didn't grasp the true Persona style, I know I can use the ideas in other types of games. You can see the demo under the Games link.
February 15th, 2017
This week was not as productive as I had hoped. The only new progress was late last week by getting the music incorporated into the game. There is now a cycle of three songs in the background music that picks one at random, plays it through, then chooses a new one. I also lined up my music with the questions from class and there is a soundtrack for both fighting and figuring out puzzles. I have jukedeck to thank for creating the soundtracks.
As the week progressed, I found myself more and more disliking working on this project. We were getting into the elements that I wasn't seeing any progress on and if anything I was causing more damage. I didn't get any general debugging done, no camera fixes, my save and load features are still broken. I just feel burnt out from this project. I feel the spark has been extinguished as of now. I think what I am going to do is not worry about it the rest of this month then come at it fresh with a new project next month. I feel bad putting this one off to the side, but I just don't want to focus on it right now, there are a couple of other more important items that are creeping up in my life at the moment that require attention.
If you have been following along this long, I appreciate it! I do enjoy making these sort of projects and I am definitely going to use what I have learned going forward, but for now, I need to take a little bit of time off and just relax before jumping into a new one. I already have loads of ideas for new games to make that hopefully are more fun. I'll be back soon enough.
February 8th, 2017
Little rocky getting back on the horse, but made some progress this week!
I kicked off the week by adding sound effects to my spells and adding a Random.Range for the way that my main character says the spells she is casting so now she can say it in version 1, version 2, or remain silent (which... granted is rather difficult for a first year, but I was impressed I got the coding to work).
I spent the latter half of last week entirely re-tooling the classroom questions. Beforehand, they had been set on a timer and if you didn't answer the question in time then it would kick you back to the classroom. That doesn't make that much sense in a game like this so I re-structured it to be much more Persona-esque where you have an unlimited amount of time to answer the question before it brings you back to class. Building on that concept, I needed to get some assistance from my brother to do the Final Exam portion of the questions where it is 5 questions back to back, but the hardest part was displaying your score based on the number you got right. It isn't quite how I originally pictured it, but it works so I am leaving it alone.
I then hit the down part of last week. On Friday night, I did my first 'official' playthrough, start to finish, taking notes as I went of everything that was broken or glitch-y. I knew I had been putting it off the more and more content that I was throwing in the game, every line that I wrote down felt like I was taking more and more steps backwards to the point where I didn't touch it at all over the weekend because I didn't know how to start on the 4 full pages of notes. It just felt overwhelming. Last night, I just took a deep breath and began powering through it with some easy stuff to at least get started. Then today, I knocked out nearly half of the list as well as getting the monsters to play a sound effect if I am within following distance, when the take damage, and when they die so I will chalk that up as quite a bit of progress!
The more that I do look at that list of items to still fix/do over, the more I really want to just re-tool quite a few other systems. In my playthrough, it just felt boring so I need to find some ways to spruce up the fun and fill the world a little more. The end of Feb to finish the game is now looking a little iffy as the wishlist of getting things done keeps increasing. I still want to do other projects, but I don't want to abandon this one after I have spent so much time in it. I want to do this one right. Time to get back at it!
Above: Is the Persona style question I was trying to emulate.
Below: Is the question style that I have in the game. The question takes up the full screen, and rather than moving up or down to select your answer, you hover your mouse over it and select it.
Bottom: In my playthrough, my game may have gotten a little broken...
February 1st, 2017
That was a totally unplanned holiday/month off, but now I am back!
For the month of January, I took off of work to relax and enjoy some free time. Little did I know, I may have enjoyed it a little too much and I ended up getting absolutely nothing done except vacationing and playing video games. It was one of the best months I have had in a long time.
But now I am refreshed, I have my new job up and going, and I am ready to get back in the saddle again! I want to finish up this game by the end of this month then I have some other ideas of what I want to start to do that I can hardly wait to get going on so February will fly quick, but I am eager to see what I can tackle next! Thanks for sticking around!
December 21st, 2016
I know this was a short week, but I will be leaving tomorrow evening to spend the holidays with my family and will be away from my computer in the process.
In this short week, I was not able to get very much done. On Tuesday, I put in my notice to be leaving my job and next week I will be packing up my apartment and moving to start a new job after the first of the year so I will apologize if the next couple of weeks progress is slowed quite a bit, but life has a way of getting in the way, doesn't it?
I do have some good game related news to report about! I was able to get a loading screen completed as well as locate my second female voice actress (my first one fell through due to scheduling conflicts), now we can get back on the horse and keep moving!
Another huge couple of wins were getting the introduction cutscene taken care of as well as the credits scene accomplished. During the creation of both of those, I hit a very new mental space where I was beginning to think - 'All I need to do is this, this, and this and hey! It worked!' as compared to the usual - 'How do I do this...' It was very refreshing and the results made me very happy. I am adding the prologue cutscene off to the right.
To wrap up, not a lot of progress this week. Between turning in my notice, the holidays, and moving to start a new job, the next update or two may be a little slim, but I will still keep working on the project. I am definitely going to adjust the Christmas deadline, but I am going to keep pushing through! Have a Holiday Season!
December 18th, 2016
We are getting closer and closer to my deadline that I had set back in September of trying to have this game done by Christmas well... I don't think that is going to happen. There was phenomenal progress this week(!!) don't get me wrong, but the mountain to climb in less than a week is almost insurmountable.
Tomorrow, I will be asking a new voice actress to be assisting with completing lines, I have 2/3 of the lines completed and recorded, but without that third part (one of the main characters), I can't begin splicing lines apart to add them into the final project. But that is just one of the couple of rather major items still impeding progress between now and my deadline.
Getting the negative stuff out of the way, let's flip over to the positive stuff! This week we saw the main menu get created (with the game's title! It isn't creative, but, hey, it fits the theme), then we saw that main menu get broken, but then fixed! So I am marking that down as a win.
In terms of story and cutscenes, I have three cutscenes left (the prologue/intro scene, a Quidditch Match, and Finals/Exams). One of the major wins for this week was knocking out the final boss fight. That one I had to get creative and bounce variables between several different scripts of the 6 phase battle, but I am pretty happy with the results! One of the phases can be seen off to the right, that took quite a bit of code manipulation to get to work.
Another win was getting the first Quidditch Match animated and put into the game. I will be honest, it looks like a mess with no sound effects, music, or voice acting to show/tell what is going on, but it is done!
But by far, the largest win of this week was getting a save system incorporated. I am rather proud of myself for figuring out how to get it to work, but as of right now -- if you press the save button and exit the game, you can open the game back up and press the load button and it will load your player location, your objective location, objective value (to keep track of where you are in the story), how many spells you have unlocked, and Camera location. They were all working until I tried to link them up into the main menu then everything decided to break, but I still have it working in my demo so hopefully (fingers crossed) it is just a matter of dragging and dropping new information over into a fresh start on the live game.
By proxy, I think I am going to have to scrap the idea of including Wizard Cards as a collectable. With my current save system, it is not set up to store the value of every card and every location and I do not have the knowledge of how to save a list with all of their appropriate locations. So, I could put them in, but once you exit the game, the game won't know where the cards are that you have picked up or how many you have picked up so in essence it wouldn't work.
Another area that was scrapped entirely was Diagon Alley. I am planning on doing a stroll through during the prologue, but the idea of going into each individual shop to pick up supplies is a little far fetched at the moment so I deleted all the assets to open up memory.
I also thought it would be fun to throw in some concept art to show how a scene is set in my mind vs. how it appears in the final game, you can see that to the right as well.
Over all, it was a very productive week. I am going to keep trying to push through and see how much I can get done this week before I go home for the holidays, but overall, I am very happy with how much I have been able to get done working everyday on this project. Currently, I won't be able to promise a deadline as to when it will be done for the next two weeks of my life will be highly chaotic and I am not sure how often/when I will be able to have internet access. In the meantime, I will keep working and I will continue to update weekly/close to weekly as I possibly can. Thanks for sticking with me on this journey! It has been quite a ride and I have learned a ton!
Feel free to let me know your thoughts and comments!
December 9th, 2016
It is a little after one in the morning as we get into Friday and my window of getting this game completed by Christmas to the level that I want it to be is quickly slipping away. On the bright side, the missions that I am creating are turning out really well. I am loving the animations, and work arounds that I am running into for problems that I haven't had to deal with before. On the downside, those problems throw wrenches in the game which push the time table out.
Currently, I am still waiting on two of my voice actors to return lines to me as well as getting music incorporated in the game. Because of that, I am having to do some shuffling of my schedule so story based missions are taking precedence right now and I only have nine left (!!) before I move onto the next step which (hopefully) is voice acting. If they are not in yet then I will go back and start testing/general code and animation clean up. I also want to get my collectables, long cutscenes, and side missions incorporated in the game. ... Did I mention I feel a little behind? ... We will get there! I have faith that things will start rolling. I may have to extend the deadline a little bit, but I want to put out a decent product rather than rush it due to deadlines.
Christmas is in 2 weeks and two days. That is plenty of time to get some major stuff still done. We are almost there!!
December 4th, 2016
We are into the final month which means all hands are on deck to try and still hit this by the deadline. I have been alerted that my voice acting lines will take longer than expected so that will put me behind schedule so a couple of schedule juggling slots will need to be considered.
This was a good week! All of the cutscenes are done, all 87! Then this weekend the four spell levels were created trying to implement ideas of alternating between puzzles, recovery, enemies, recovery. I also built on each of the ideas so the first level used the first spell, the second used both the first and second spell, and so on and so forth resulting in some interesting puzzles and situations where enemies (which were also created with their own health, attack patterns, and speed) can either charge or shoot at you in order to move out of the way to help complete some puzzles. I was rather impressed!
This week there will be some adjustments, but it will orbit around getting the other 12 gameplay scenes done. No promises that all of them will get done, but a definite dent will be made. We are almost there!
November 27th, 2016
We are now less than a month from my original deadline and I am going to do everything in my power to still stick with that idea. This last week, I took some vacation days to try and start to plow through the 87 days worth of cutscenes that occur in the game in various shapes and sizes. As I am going, they are getting more and more complicated which is taking more and more time to complete and do accurately, but at the same time I am discovering new methods that are faster in order to get camera angles, NPC's, and animations played through, on the down side, the larger that the game is getting the harder and harder it is getting to debug along the way.
My current solution to the problem is to do between five and ten scenes then do a playthrough and try to force my way through anyway that I can. If I can't, then I stop and go back and figure out what went wrong, but if I can get all the way through, I take lots of notes to figure out what is/isn't working, what the next steps are, how to hit a certain trigger and so forth. I am starting to feel overwhelmed with less than a month to go, there are 40 cutscenes left to create, all 87 need voice acting, the songs need to be put in, the levels need to be created and tested, then hopefully have some time to debug and do some build and run tests to make sure everything is working the way that it should. Like I said, feeling a little overwhelmed, but I am still going to try to get the game done by the December 25th deadline. Wish me luck!
November 20th, 2016
Lots of progress this week!!
The first couple of days we designated to finishing/writing the entirety of the story, those 25 pages have been sent off to voice actors so they can record their lines and give it back toward the beginning of December so they can begin to be incorporated into the game. I was also in contact with a musician to help write a couple songs to provide the feel and the ambiance of the castle rather than the filler music that I currently have now. That was Sunday through Tuesday.
Wednesday and Thursday were allocated to getting my Day Manager/Story Manager in the correct positions as well as telling the player where to go from the beginning of the game to the end. So right now, there is a large brown/orange block that keeps teleporting around the world, that will be changed at the end of the project, but right now I need the visual cues.
Then Friday and this weekend, cut scenes were starting to be implemented along with the corresponding scripts. Now the first night has the sweeping camera shots to set the tone then it loads the next scene where you can walk the player to Gryffindor Tower then it enters another cut scene to end the day. The goal for this week that I have off of my full time job is to keep pushing through all of the cut scenes in the game, I probably won't be able to get through all 87 of them, but I'm going to try!
November 10th, 2016
I am heading home for the weekend so I wanted to update the site before I left.
More progress again this week! I got the death animation to work if the player has 0 health and with the press of a key, the player is respawned to the most recent checkpoint with full health back in her idle animation. I also got the Booleans to work on the spells, now the player will have 'dud' spells until she finds them through her lessons.
But, the major victory this week can be seen by the video -- I got a pause menu in! The pause menu does not do much at the moment, there will be some severe modifications going in the future, but for now, the stones have been placed to build large buildings. Currently, pausing the game will freeze the game time and any animation that is in progress. The music that you hear can be turned up or down with the slider, and the Quit button will take you back to the main menu! ... That last one is still broken, but it is on the list to be fixed along with the Save/Load game features. Those are... in the works.
This weekend I will be drafting the final copy of the story, creating dialogue, and contacting voice actors to help further the concept along. Little over 6 weeks left!
November 6th, 2016
First week in November! Let the sleep deprivation begin!!
This week I had planned on getting all of the movement, spells, and health integrated into the game along with the Diagon Alley Missions, but the more I think about it, I think I am going to cut the Diagon Alley missions. Haven't completely decided yet, but I am very quickly running out of time to get everything in that I want to get in.
But for this week, quite a bit of progress was made on the micro level that can be dragged and dropped into scenes to get them to work so down the road I can drop in the features necessary to complete the level.
Some of those items are - a Blend Tree on the player to seamlessly move through the wand, walking, running, and idle animations. Incorporating the four different spells that I will use in the game - a general knockback (in blue), a switching spell (red), a levitation spell (yellow), and a shied/defensive spell. The spells were both integrated and their actions/coding were taken care of as well.
Lastly for this week, Player health has been established. A GUI is on the screen with a health bar. I also have a health pickup and checkpoints in case you are knocked out along your journey through the story.
I am working on what the next line of work is since I sort of went out of order, but that is where we are at now! Lots of progress this week! Let's keep the momentum rolling as we keep going through November!
October 30th, 2016
As we wrap up October (where did this month go!?) I do have some things to report!
This week, there aren't that many additions to the art department to showcase in terms of pictures, but the player character's movement has been updated/corrected so now she can move forward and turn left and right as well as run with a camera that follows and can be zoomed in and out. Once that had been completed, colliders and rigidbodies were created so the player doesn't faze through solid objects and can climb steps. When debugging was done there, the script was adjusted to bounce back and forth between the different floors so now the player can walk into every floor of the castle! That is quite a large victory.
This week - I am going to aim for wand/spell animations implemented, Diagon Alley missions and side missions in the castle. If I can get those three items done this week that would be a big big win.
October 23th, 2016
Well, it has been a while, but I am back!!
Last week I took a vacation to my grandparents for the weekend then it was back to work on the project. Throughout the week I was creating characters, professors, schedules, and animations and incorporating them into the game. I managed to get all the way through the school each of the students were placed, colliders were added, and tags were added so they only appear on certain days to create the allusion that the student body is moving around the school. Currently there are no walking animations implemented, so they appear to just be standing around and talking.
The goal for today was to get the day-changing script to work to help ease into the creation of story oriented events, but it decided to only half work. And by half-work, I mean - I did everything to match it from the demo I created, and half of the students are appearing/disappearing when the need to, but the other half are staying put. All variables are the same, all the everythings are the same, it just isn't working. So that has been put on the backburner for a while.
This week - the goal is to figure out the main characters walking cycle and camera follow scripts. If those can be up and working, then it will be onto mission building, oooooo, ahhhhhhh. I'm getting excited!!
October 12th, 2016
Shortened week, I know, but I'm going on a mini-vacation starting tomorrow until Monday evening. In the five days since I last updated the site, there have been quite a few minor changes that have been going on.
First off - different seasons have been established for the outside of Hogwarts - winter, summer, and fall are all present and thoughts are being tossed around to include snow or rain now that I have learned how to do those. A concern could be that it is a memory hog, but I don't know how to check that right now until the final build so what is out there right now is going to stand.
Next - teleportation has been adjusted, now if the player hits a trigger to go to the first floor, they will be teleported to the next floor and they will spawn in the appropriate location. The math and excel spreadsheets have been broken out for them but no testing has been performed.
Third - floor previews! Similar to how Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets on the PS2 told you what floor you were on prior to going through the door, I have implemented a GUI system on the Grand Staircase that lets you know what floor landing you are currently standing on along with what classrooms are on that floor.
Fourth - Wizard Card locations are being drawn up and continually added. Wizard Cards are acting as my collectibles. They are not in the game yet, but their coordinates have been chosen for 32 of them at the current moment.
Lastly - A current work in progress is getting the player models and subsequent NPC models incorporated with bones and rigging. The main character can move and has both and idle and a walking animation attached to her. So far, four students have been made with the plans (depending on memory allocation) of including another 12-16 more from the different houses.
Overall, a very productive week. Running a little behind with the NPC's but I hope to make up for that when I get back into town.
October 7th, 2016
This week, I knew would be very heavy on work since it was quarter close. Probably 60 hours were dropped into work this week alone. Because of that, progress needed to be slowed down a little bit to accommodate for basic things like sleeping... but that does not mean progress stopped completely!
Over the course of a week, I got the outside of Hogwarts more or less done. Depending on time constraints, I would like to go back and add different seasons to the outside, but for now, I am calling it done. Hogwarts castle, the suspension bridge, the Quidditch Pitch, Whomping Willow, Hagrid's Hut, the Boathouse, and the Herbology classrooms have been modeled and implemented. Add on top of that, the general terrain, Forbidden Forest barriers, nighttime lighting, and other non physical barriers that help channel the player to go where they should/shouldn't go. It isn't the prettiest work that I have done, but running on a nearly empty battery from work, I will call it a win.
With this next upcoming week, I hope to start working on characters and tightening up general castle elements before taking a mini-vacation next weekend then we will get up and rolling on the 'fun' stuff!
October 1st, 2016
Heading into the weekend with good news, all of the internal works of the castle have been completed. That would include the dungeons, basement, the Entrance Hall/Grand Staircase, a ground floor and every floor from First to the Seventh. The only major artwork that is still needed to be completed is the grounds of the castle which is slated for early next week as well as smoothing out the transition between the art styles on the different floors.
As we get into October, the plans shift from doing art work to moving into beginning to code NPC's (non-playable characters) as well as the introductory scenes. The current objectives this month are getting the 'receiving Hogwarts letter', Diagon Alley, sail across the lake, and getting the side missions put into the game. Once all of those are in and fundamental scripts are updated, then I can dive into the story elements, voice acting, and spells that can be learned.
So for now, artwork is more or less completed, just the grounds left and starting to move onto basic/beginning missions.
September 25th, 2016
I am going to call it a night. It is midnight on Sunday so technically the date should be September 26th, but I am ready for bed. This weekend's original goal was to create and build all of Diagon Alley on Saturday as well as the shops then Sunday would have been creating the grounds of the castle...That did not happen. Diagon Alley ended up taking the entire weekend. However, it is done. The main area of Diagon Alley as well as the internal stores of Madame Malkins, Gringotts, Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, Olivander's, the Magical Menagerie, and Flourish and Blotts are all completed. Ideally, they are all incorporated into the game (that is the plan right now anyway).
I am aware that it is not my best work on the rooms, but I wanted them done by the weekend so some corners had to be cut. That is not the right attitude, I know, but from Friday evening until Sunday evening I have spent close to 40 hours working on it and am ready to put it down for a couple days then by Tuesday I will come back and work on it with a fresh set of eyes to go back to the castle. But... progress!
September 23th, 2016
Giving my first update on the game! In the last two weeks I have been busy putting the world together. This is not a one night process, I have been working nightly on trying to get rooms built, accurately lit, unique, and playable. I like to think of it in this instance of building a movie set. There are no characters, no script (both story and code based), no music, or anything, I am just building scenes.
I started with the Grand Staircase/Entrance Hall and that was my basis for the art, the location of the rooms, and the general flow of the game. Toward the end, I may go back and update it with new assets that have been created, but I needed to start somewhere. From there I started from the dungeons then moved up including the basement, first floor, and so forth. The most recent room I created was the Sixth Floor (skipped 5, I'll come back to that). To the right, you can see a couple of the screen shots of some of the rooms. Granted, the aren't perfect, but I am very pleased with how they are turning out.
Friday night was spent working on drafting the remaining rooms, Diagon Alley, and the grounds of Hogwarts. Hopefully all of them are able to get into the game, we will see how time goes, but I am super excited for how they are shaping up!
September 10th, 2016
Today marks the commencement on my game! The deadline is Christmas day of 2016. Currently, the plan is to have a Persona day/night cycle with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (PS2) open world elements. Those elements consist of an open world castle, collectables, classwork, side-missions, and a main story.
The written plan at the moment is to have 17 days in the school year - one day representing each week. I have been working on a demo to establish basic principals to ease in the integration into the final product. Those principals included - loading new floors, collectable pickups, spell learning, moving days forward and changing the weather to reflect the days. The goal is to create an experience of continuing the Hogwarts legacy long after the story of Harry Potter has concluded.
The ultimate stretch goal will be creating an international MMO where students can live and breath Hogwarts.