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 😛
Last weekend we went to Lisboa Games Week – so we got a ton of feedback and a lot of play testing was done. It was also great to see people from 10 years old to +30 playing and enjoying our game. We are very grateful that IndieDome selected us for showcasing at LGW (IndieDome was responsible for bringing national and international developers).
Super focused player.
IndieDome at Lisbon Games Week.
So this week we were working hard at bug fixing, as well as updating or tweaking some of the art.
Additionally, we have just started working on a very important new NPC, and we just wrapped up the concept for him. We’re currently calling him “the Kid”, and he will be a major help throughout the player’s journey, helping the Girl and the Elk get past certain obstacles, or even supplying them with items and info.
And an extra feature: Cinematic camera test for some showoff captures 😛
Once again, the team is working hard preparing a build for showcasing at Lisbon Games Week. Almost everything is ready, and we are finishing some small details as well as play testing a lot. Some additional features were added like an option to auto draw weapon when the player is near a threat. These showcase events are great for defining the default options of the game.
We also introduced last week some new enemies like the half transformed villager and a swamp slug. The latter is still in the making, but we can show you guys the concept.
The swamp slug.
We are working on some new move sets of the Lumberjack Brother. There are still some balancing issues, but the feeling is there. We added physics to the pony tail.
Combo Attack move set.
The swamp area is complete (for now, we will add more stuff later). Time for some light baking, and small color grading tweaks.
It has been a very tough work week for everyone. We are closing a new area of the game that will be shown in Lisboa Games Week in 17-20 of November. A lot was added or improved, from characters, props to polished code. We are also doing some playtesting.
The swamp area is practically complete, and now we are tweaking the overall colors and exploring ways of adding details that enhance the mood, like thick fog and small water puddles. Here is a shot showing how the whole thing is coming together.
In the previous blog update we’ve shown the concept for the Lumberjack’s twin brother, and now that we’ve wrapped up the production for that character we can show how it turned out.
We also added a few minor details to the UV maps of the first Lumberjack, including a placeholder “hand-painted” fur texture to his shoulder pad which we plan to eventually change into “hair cards” further down the road (similar to the system we’ve used for the Elk model).
You can see in the image below the Lumberjack siblings chilling together.
You walked into the wrong neighborhood.
Here’s a sneak peak of the Wanderer’s idle animation. Remember to go talk to him!
This week André was working in the logic pass in the new area Tomé was populating a while ago. This area suffered a lot of changes, now has a lot more to explore and this led to a more careful balancing in enemy placing and rewards like the plants of the treat mechanic, what is inside the chests, etc. Collision testing is also a very monotonous task and there are always a few places where the character can get stuck during this phase of development. André also added these areas to the streaming logic for a more fluid progress throughout the game. Next week we will show some environment screenshots with the new Amplify Color calibrated.
Iuri is now rigging and animating two new NPCs we’ve already shown you, the prisoner and the wanderer.
Remember the axe-wielding mini-boss we have shown in previous blog posts? There are actually two of these foes roaming about, the Lumberjack twin brothers that inhabit the Forgotten Forest. Tomé has been working on the look of the sibling we hadn’t mentioned yet. He is supposed to appear very similar to his brother, with a few distinct features like facial hair, tattoos and differently colored garments. This hulking giant will also be carrying a particular kind of weapon, which we will show at a later stage.
Concept paintover of the Lumberjack’s brother.
Pichel made a lot of progress with the model of another enemy we are adding to the game. This opponent is very important narrative-wise since it shows an early stage of the transformation of flesh into bark, which the peasants from the surrounding villages have been undergoing. It hopefully shows that the fully transformed wooden aberrations you may encounter were not actually born that way.
This week Pichel finished the first version of the Wanderer, the next version will include a cape and additional details. This is a very important NPC that will appear several times through your journey and will keep you informed about lore if you talk to him. He is also currently working on new enemy variations.
The Wanderer model next to you for scale.
André and Iuri continued their work on the treat mechanic. In order to mount the elk, players will have to gain its trust by feeding it a particular type of berries. The player can then mount it for some time, provided that there are no enemies around. The elk is not meant to be a simple mount, but more of a journey companion. Tomé did a berries prop plant that will be available in some zones (larger zones). You can pick them up and feed them to the elk at any time in order to mount it and travel through the world faster. Be very careful when approaching enemies, the elk will likely force a dismount and run away!
Revisiting a calm zone.
Raw run animation clip.
Berries Plant prop.
André also did a complete rewrite of the elk mount control code, it had a lot of prototype junk, a total revamp was due. This piece of gameplay is heavily inspired by Shadow of the Colossus control and feel. He improved the elk turn control, the object avoidance and the enemy reaction threshold system.
This week André was working with Iuri on the treat mechanic. This is a mechanic where the player needs to gain the confidence of the Elk by feeding it. Then the player can mount it for some time if no enemy is near. Since the beginning, the Elk is not meant to be a simple mount, but more of a journey companion. André also improved the deferred decals and started polishing/fixing the action of riding the Elk and its control logic with the new animations.
On the environment art side of things, we’ve been experimenting with the mood of the sprawling underground tunnels below the swamp area. They are meant to be pretty dark, filled with stalactites and stalagmites that create interesting shadows when adventuring with a torch in hand.
In some places a torch is mandatory.
Pichel has already finished the high poly model of the Wanderer (we’ve shown the concept in the previous blog entry) and is almost done with the low poly version. Similarly, Tomé wrapped up the high poly model for the Wanderer’s guitar. We’ve decided to change its design a bit so it would be reminiscent of the traditional portuguese guitar, with a fantasy touch. You can check both the character and his musical instrument below.
This week André was working on some minor improvements regarding the feeling of impact during combat. A pause of 2 frames was added to the attacker animation when a successful hit is landed, as well as HUD vibration whenever the player takes damage. With these two small additions, the feeling of causing/taking damage is even more noticeable. We already have hit animations, particles and gamepad vibration, but we think these small details are super important.
André also merged some sub state machines in the Animator for more fluid transitions and to simplify the Animator tree.
Tomé finished a new concept for an NPC that the player will frequently meet throughout the journey. He is a very enigmatic character that will often inform the player about lore, comment on the state of affairs and even open some shortcuts. Pichel is working right now on the high poly model for this character.
The Wanderer Concept.
Iuri and André are developing interactions between the Elk and the Girl. One of these consists in a “treat mechanic” which is being implemented. Basically, the player needs to feed the Elk some fruit in order to gain its trust and be able to mount it. We have always leaned towards the idea that the Elk is not a simple mount, and we hope that with details like this one we can make that show through.
Idle interaction with the Elk.
We intend to have this mechanic ready in a few weeks. Afterwards we will start populating the various locations with fruit props and control the zones where the player can mount freely.
This week, Amplify Creations moved to a new office, so the Decay of Logos team had the chance to improve and complete the Game Design Document of the game, and do a review of the overall production plan. Some minor plot holes were covered and the history was enriched.
Everyone helped but some other things got done obviously. André fixed some pending bugs and he’s working on improving the elk control when mounted and implementing more of Iuri’s new animations.
Pichel is finishing a very important enemy, a very peculiar boss that will have a special video preview.
Tomé did a concept study for an upcoming new zone that we are preparing.
André was busy adding some dynamic bones for our characters, and save a lot of time in animations. Small portions of the model like pony tails or small bags now don’t need to be animated so the animation pipeline is more straightforward.
Dynamic jiggle physics, exaggerated effect.
He also added a first version of Audio Occlusion. In practice, the sound is occluded by a low pass filter and the volume is decreased when not in sight of the audio listener. This leads to a more immersive experience, since the player will be able to notice when a sound comes from inside a building or from the outside.
Iuri this week improved the main character’s RIG, imbuing her with a lot more feeling and life. Now we feel like we’re able to convey emotions more easily, which helps a lot with storytelling.
New facial animations.
Pichel is currently working on a very important character, which we will show further down the road. He recently finished up an NPC, a prisioner, and you can check below how the model looks in-game.
Also check it out our newest WIP gameplay trailer: