This week we continued the work of replacing old animations with the new ones which add a lot more personality to the game. Walking on quicksand and the visual feedback of that action, for example, was something we needed to improve, in terms of animation and also in shader work. We’re currently working on that, but it isn’t finished yet. In the meantime, we are also doing some experiments with stylized water shaders to use in small lakes or shallow streams, for example.
On a different note, the cutscene system was fine tuned, and now there is an option to skip forward those events.
Knock,Knock, who’s there?
The new areas are developing smoothly, and although there are many assets to create, concepts like the one below help us to establish the mood we’re trying to achieve in advance. In this case, the image depicts the stage of a bloody battle.
Previously, we’ve shown the concept for an armor used by a new kind of enemy the player will be facing. The “game ready” model of this equipment is already finished:
In-game soldier with full armorset.
The new environments for Chapter 2 are evolving smoothly, and the art team has been hard at work producing all the required content to really develop unique locations for the players to explore. One of the current challenges has been to come up with a different kind of architecture to contrast with the stern Ancestor-built ruins of the previous areas. This time we went for a more “rural look”, loosely based on the Portuguese Traditional/Popular construction.
Using the Amplify Shader Editor and Vertex Painting, we’re able to quickly put together houses like the one shown below, while making them feel different from each other by making texture variations.
House in the woods.
Meanwhile, our master puppeteer has improved upon the existing running animation by tweaking the position of the arms and spine of the Girl while she is equipped with any type of weapon available. This way, the particular weights of both short and long swords, as well as maces, hammers or bows, really come through as the animation contextually adapts.
Upper torso bow base animation – blended with walking and running animations in real-time.
Run cycle variation.
A short devlog this week, ’cause the team is away during Easter. Chapter 2 is going great in terms of art, in the next devblog we will show you some cool screenshots and a glimpse of what the central hub village could look like.
Meanwhile, Andre did a complete revamp of the logic AI system. We were aware of some performance issues that were aggravated with the constant additional complexity growth of the AI. Sometimes, the best way to fix something is to scratch what you have and start again. Obviously a lot of states were recycled, but it’s a different approach in AI handling. In the gif below, using the old AI logic, we could hit an outrageous 25ms time of processing time, now it’s around 1ms. The problem used to happen if the build ran for long periods of time with various AI agents active.
Overcrowded combat – DEBUG MODE not actual gameplay.
Until next week, have a great Easter!
Once again, we are working hard on polishing a lot of aspects of the gameplay and fixing bugs. The camera collision was improved when in small spaces, mounting and unmounting was also tuned and the transitions are much more fluid. Like we’ve shown in the previous post, our animator is replacing all the placeholder animations, and this week it was time to replace the ladder climbing animations.
We are also working on a Lore driven collectible which we are calling “Echoes”. They basically consist of recorded memories of certain characters. As the player finds them throughout the world, these Echoes will be made available in a specific tab within the inventory.
The cursed soldier model is “game-ready”, and this is the version you can see in case the enemy has no armor equipped. Like in the first chapter, we have a dynamic armor placement which makes the enemies feel different in every encounter. This time around we will also add a destroyable armor mechanic – each piece will be destroyed as the player keeps striking.
Cursed soldier In-Game model (No armor).
Here is the concept of the fully armored cursed soldier. This armor set can be looted from the enemies and equipped by the Girl.
The full armor version of the cursed soldier.
Climbing ladders new animations.
This week a lot of small tweaks, balancing and gameplay polishing was done: the stamina behavior was improved (now it takes a while before the stamina is regained after it was completely drained), the parry detection is more efficient, as well as the hit detection on enemies. Changing targets when locked is now more intuitive and the player can choose easily what target they want to attack.
Since it was clear that being immediately expelled from the Elk’s back while near enemies was frustrating for the players, a small change was made in the Elk’s stress behavior so that now the stress simply increases much faster instead, making the experience of riding more manageable.
Direct swap items on the Elk’s inventory is now possible, so there’s no need for the poor design decision of dropping the item and then picking it up again.
In the art department, the work on the new enemy is advancing smoothly. Here is HighPoly model:
Cursed soldier Highpoly.
We are also coming up with a new foe for the Girl to fight with, a big armored Ancestor that will require careful planning in order to be brought down.
Meanwhile, we also continue to replace old animations with fresh ones, such as this:
Pushing unlocked doors.
Since PAX East, our art team has been working on the new chapter. Hopefully, just by looking at the first enemy concept you can tell it’s going to be very different from the previous one. A more medieval approach, with epic battles and battlefields. We already have this area blocked out for quite some time, but both the look and feel of the enemies are still in the works. Also, some level design refinement will be done. As previously mentioned, the story and mood will get darker as the adventure progresses, and the upcoming environments will reflect that change.
Cursed soldier – Under-armor concept.
We are working hard polishing some aspects pointed out by some players during PAX (thank you for playing and giving us honest feedback!). A lot has been done in combat fine-tuning and camera behavior. Parries now work much better and are fun to use, and defending with shields now works properly, taking into consideration the direction of the attack (this applies to the player and the enemies alike). We also added some more visual feedback when an attack lands on bigger enemies (for example, if you hit their legs, they react to it subtly by twitching).
Like we’ve mentioned in previous updates, every time the player gets killed in the game, the Girl will awaken from a “nightmare” in the last checkpoint. That specific animation has already been implemented, as you can see below.
Waking up from a nightmare.
PAX is definitely something else, we could not have anticipated the amount of feedback and visitors that we got. It was well worth all the countless hours spent on an airplane and the harsh Boston temperatures, we strongly recommend it to all developers and visitors. The organizers and support team at PAX and the Indie MEGABOOTH were some of the best that we ever had the pleasure to work with.
PAX is MASSIVE! Boston does get quite cold at times.
It was also a great opportunity to mingle with developers, it’s always great to be able to share, and learn, from others. It’s a great place to get in touch with publishers, artists, marketers, and fans. Our only regret is not being able to play most of the games available, there was simply no free time, even with 3 of our team members there.
Our humble booth and a small crowd checking out the awesome games at the Indie MEGABOOTH.
If you are an indie developer looking to boost your visibility and establishing critical contacts, PAX is the event for you. Be sure to plan it appropriately, it will save you quite a few troubles. Get power adapters beforehand, take 2-3 times more flyers or giveaways, use rollups or take appropriate hanging material. Due to lack of professional grade duct tape, we ended up using Velcro everywhere, not a great solution.
Some assembly was required.
If you have not already, be sure to check the new tabs available for additional Story, Gameplay and Media. We will be back next week with new development updates.
We’ve been having a very busy week – preparing everything for PAX, making posters, testing, bug fixing and adding new improved material.
New fresh sounds were introduced, and we hope the american audience will be able to notice them 😛
Final look of the current buildings.
Mostly it has been all about polishing what we’ve got. Small additions like flag vertex animation and candles’ behavior, or the placement of simple props laid out strategically allow us to enhance the mood and fine tune the visual storytelling.
Cool illumination effects with particles.
This is a small devblog post, there are way too many last minute things to do right now!
The flag says it all.
Wish us luck! Next week we’ll write about our experience at PAX.
We are extremely excited to announce our game will be played at PAX East on 10-12 March in the IndieMEGABOOTH space. Our first overseas adventure to showcase Decay of Logos. Here’s the lineup: http://indiemegabooth.com/indie-megabooth-pax-east-2017-line/
This week the team was polishing and finishing the art and the gameplay for the area prior to the end of Chapter One.
Exploring sometimes is worth it.
We decided to design banners that bear the Coat of Arms of one of the Princes, and we placed them on specific locations. By doing this we wanted to convey the feeling that the Ancestor ruins you find throughout this part of the Realm have been occupied and repurposed by the Prince’s men. Additionally, the banners allow us to really show how windy the area we’ve been working on really is.
Path to dangerous encounters.
There’s a trailer in the works, and we aim to show off some of these new areas in full glory and display a dramatic and accurate feeling of this game!
Keep smashing till you have stamina!
This week we’ve done a bit of enemy balancing for the Windmills’ area. Some ranged enemies were placed here in order to keep things challenging, but in a way that won’t make it too frustrating. The Woodified Enemies have been completely revamped with new animations, so the feeling of the first part of the game is getting close to what we had envisioned in the beginning.
Also, the Wanderer has more proper animations, while he is interacting with the player. As stated before, he will make frequent appearances throughout your whole adventure. And, in time, the Girl will learn more about him and his motivations.
This guy can’t play.
The final part of Chapter One approaches, development-wise. We are all working on this very last scene pretty hard, and we will show plenty of it further down the road but, for now, here are two ominous teasers!
Let’s see where this leads to.