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.
This week various changes were made in the AI department, from simple enemies to mini bosses, and their behaviors have been polished. Also, some bugs that still persisted since our last showcase at Comic Con were finally fixed. Plus, we’ve added a simple stress meter that shows up while riding so players can tell for how much longer they can mount the Elk before needing to feed it some berries.
Our animator did a lot of new animations for our enemy models and gave them the appropriate mood and feeling. He’s constantly working on custom ones to replace the old placeholder animations that we still have in the project. Additionally, different weights are now assigned to each foe as they are instantiated, so that every enemy acquires a stronger sense of individuality. Here are the various forms of transformation of this type of enemies.
Hey! I’m walking here!
We’ve also been working on an important event that takes place in the final area of Chapter One – the meeting with the Kid. The player will be able to help him escape from the cage he is trapped in, eventually learning more about his origin as the journey continues.
Please save me.
Can I axe you a question?
Since the beginning, one of our goals has been to intuitively make the player realize it is best to keep his four-legged companion by his side, without leaving it behind. In that sense, opening paths to make sure both the Girl and the Elk can travel together on this long journey is always an achievement!
Development wise, we are approaching the end of Chapter One (the first Act has two Chapters) and a big battle draws near, as well as some story reveals.
Lowering the bridge.
We have been working hard in this final zone, even though we haven’t shown much of it yet. We wouldn’t want to spoil all the fun. Nevertheless, here is a sneak peak of a very special weapon that foreshadows an epic encounter the player will have.
A strange sword.
The end of the first Chapter will conclude the “wood theme”, which has been predominant up to this point. The following Chapter will be very different, with a more “medieval-esque” feeling. Stay tuned for the next devblogs!
Once again, part of the team was working on the first Prince’s boss battle, polishing moves, balancing and adding more animations so the battle feels epic.
Although magic and elemental effects were only supposed to be introduced at a later stage of the game (once the player learns the appropriate skills from an NPC) one of the attacks of this boss required the implementation of the “paralyze” stat. We opted to use this nomenclature because it can be used in every situation in which the player temporarily loses control of the character (such as “petrify”, “woodify”, etc).
Similarly, a placeholder radial bar (around the weapon icon), indicating the current equipped weapon’s durability was added. Before, this very important info was buried in the inventory stat tab.
Paralyze and Durability bar.
That’s a big fall.
We really wanted the Rift Windmills’ area to have its own particular mood and identity, and in that regard the skybox plays a big role. With this in mind, we came up with a brand new sky with some dramatic clouds, as well as silhouetted mountains in the distance. Now the scene looks a lot more unique and consistent.
The swamp castle view from the rift windmills.
This is our 40th devblog entry! We want to thank everyone who has been following us in this journey.
During this week of work, a boss battle was born. There is still a lot of balancing and small tweaks to be done in each combat phase, but it’s getting there. We are targeting for an intense battle with various phases, different attacks and transformations. Some of us are hardcore Dark Souls players, so the difficulty is being calibrated in favor of everyone.
We will show some parts of this boss battle in the upcoming trailer we are also working on.
The Rift Windmills
Meanwhile, the work on the new Canyon area continues to keep our artists busy. Most of the props have already been laid out, and the big Windmill that punctuates the landscape is also practically finished.
We are currently focusing on the task of texturing very wide surfaces, and to make that process easier, we asked our colleagues from the R&D team to lend us a hand. After some discussion, we decided to add the Amplify Shader Editor to our toolkit, so now we have a much easier time blending maps.
This week we were working on the intro scene of the game, where we explain how the Girl and the Elk start their journey. It’s a small new area with short cutscenes and playable zones where the player and the companion meet for the first time.
Some AI balancing and behavior was also done, and the Elk now has two types of control (changeable in options). One is the first version, heavily inspired by the Shadow of the Colossus’ control scheme, and the other is more similar to how The Witcher or Dragon Age handle mounting and steering. We feel that adding gameplay options like this turns out to be appealing for various types of players.
Running from the swamp slugs.
The art team is making progress in the new Canyon-esque area, populating the scene with a few new stone and vegetation props. Developing the surrounding landscape is the current challenge we’re facing, blending 3d elements with 2d planes in order to produce a convincing and immersive atmosphere.
In-game view of the Canyon area, still work in progress.
The boss battle and arena is on the works too.
The Amplify Creations’ team hopes everyone had a blast during the winter break! This week we are back at full power, picking up where we left off. The “Rift Windmills” area is shaping up, and currently André is working on the tutorial/intro scene, where the player is introduced to a small background of the story and the first meeting between the Girl and the Elk. Like we have mentioned before, the game will feature more visual storytelling rather than an exposition narrative, so expect this tutorial/intro to have some small cutscenes but also gameplay.
Windmill materiality concept exploration.
Rocky shapes sketch for the “Rift Windmills” area.
The Kid is currently being animated, and we really want his carefree attitude to come through. This is a simple animation test to show of the cloth dynamics.
The Kid Test Animation.
Next week we will be working on the final chapter boss battle and event.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS! We would like to thank everyone that follows our development process, your feedback and support means the world to us.
We will be back next year with even more surprises, stay tuned!
Remember the concept art for the Kid we have shown a few posts ago? We have finally wrapped up the model and textures for that character, and he is ready to be brought to life by our animator!
In-game model of the Kid.
On the environment art side of things, we have started to work on a new zone of the game, which is a canyon-esque area with lots of windmills. Here is a mood and shape concept piece that is meant to guide us while we produce and put together all the various new elements that will compose the scene.
Concept art for the new canyon area.
Comic Con Portugal was a blast! Lots of feedback and people testing and enjoying the game. We will definitely be back next year. For those who did not get a chance to play, be sure to keep an eye out for future updates.
Praise the Sun!
To everyone who got to play our game, thank you!
Once again, this week André was improving and fixing some stuff following the feedback we got from Lisbon Games Week. Some UI changes and rearrangement were done for a more readable inventory, for example. Two handed swords will also start to behave like one handed ones, since various testers sheathed the weapon by mistake in the middle of the combat. Also the Elk control and camera were improved, and probably a change in the controls will be made at a later stage. Since the prototype that the inspiration for the Elk control was Shadow of the Colossus, but maybe it is time to test a new control system, more similar to the Girl control. We will have the chance to test these changes at Comic Con Portugal.
We also revamped the area with the cave tunnels in order to achieve a more immersive ambiance.
Close encounters of the slime kind.
One last thing, we are having a lot of fun doing some promotion captures with the cinematic camera 😛
Wandering in the swamp.