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.
First phase transformation Wood Enemy.
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.
The Wanderer high poly.
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.