This week we continued working on the Elk behavior and polish. The challenge was providing a smooth control and feeling inside dungeons, mounted or not. The canyon has a huge rotatory temple so dealing with ramps and slopes forced us to rework some path-finding logic.
With our animator in-house now, it has been easier to iterate the animation tree and logic. For a long time we intended to add acceleration and stopping animations when the player is in “exploration mode” (when there are no enemies around). In our prototype we had this feature but we removed it temporarily. Below is our first test:
Small run/walk acceleration and stopping animations.
Here’s a possible encounter in the dungeons!
Hey there, how’s it hanging?
Regarding the environment art, we are finally focusing on the previously mentioned dungeon. It’s a huge structure, with an overarching puzzle. Meanwhile, the outside areas are awaiting a final pass, which will include some texture variation and plenty of vegetation props. Here is a work in progress shot showing the current state of things:
Another canyon WIP view.
This week we’ve worked on adding and improving the audio for the game, having added a lot of new sounds for the characters and even the environments, resulting into a much improved mood, which is getting close to where we want it!
Half of the team was working on a complex and intriguing boss battle, from which we can only reveal that it has two distinct participants. As such, there was plenty of work involved in both programming and in the artistic side as well. The first part of the encounter has been finalized, and we are hacking away at the second phase now!
We also took the opportunity to give some love to the Elk, the control system is being tweaked and improved so it’s much more responsive now!
Wandering in the dungeons.
The work on the canyon-like area we are currently developing is entering the final stage – texturing and detailing. After that the team will focus on the main dungeon of this location.
We really don’t want to spoil the boss fights too much, but we’re all eager to show at least some of the cool stuff everyone has been producing. So here is a little teaser for one of those important battles:
This week we’ve added a new, simple mechanic to add more diversity to the main puzzle of the zone we are currently working on. Inspired by the Indiana Jones Movies, specifically where stone doors close slowly, you’ll have to sprint and slide in order to successfully reach the other side.
We are focused on maintaining a smooth learning curve as far as puzzles are concerned, so we’ve increased the complexity of previous puzzles in the game in order to prepare players for the challenge this latest one provides!
*Indiana Jones Music intensifies*
Using our modular dungeon system, we’ve also done some extensive dungeon building tests, however, it still remains to be decided whether we will add randomly generated dungeons or at least different layouts for them in NG+ and beyond!
Custom dungeon example.
We decided to add a new threat to the player – elite soldiers, members of the royal guard, that will surely be a tough challenge to those who dare face them. Here is the concept:
Royal Guard Concept.
This week we added a lot of new sounds to the game, both character and background related. And with that a very important immersion component of the game was improved. This is of course an ongoing task, and with new zones and enemies, new sounds must be added.
We worked on the logic for the small lakes too. The drowning, walk in deep water and splash interactions were implemented, but without the proper polished particles we intend to show at a later stage.
As stated before we re-used armors from enemies as player items, so there’s now a scary version of the main character!
Shadows in general have undergone some small but crucial modifications; basically we now use the same technique used in CryEngine/UnrealEngine and other custom engines.
Left: Scary mask! Right: New point light shadows
Same as before, the new canyon-esque area is progressing nicely, and we are spending quite some time adjusting the mood and materials to achieve the proper feel for the place. The work on the new character models is also headed on the right path.
Some progress on the Canyon Mood.
Check out these moves!
Today we will show you one of the new enemies we added and teased recently, the Mimic Barrel. Even sneakier than the Chomper, it will pounce when you are carelessly looking for some random items inside barrels and crates. It delivers fast attacks and is very agile, which will certainly make killing it your top priority.
The Chomper is also complete, with all the attacks it requires, such as throwing things at the player depending on the zone it spawns in, like mud, sand, etc.
We also tuned the camera a little bit, which now adds a small offset when the player is locked to a target, so he/she can always see the focused enemy.
Oh my God!
The work on the new area is progressing smoothly, we are using the following concept as the main guide for the mood we intend for this location:
Meanwhile, the high-poly model for the new boss is pretty much finished, so the game-ready version will surely be developed during next week!
Mood concept for the canyon.
This week we had fun awakening this small but aggressive enemy we call Chomper, and it’s already fully prepared to provide some surprise encounters throughout the game!
The Orphan Kid is also finished, sporting plenty of unique animations that meld with its intricate combat style, we will provide some more insight on him in next week’s blog post. We added some additional dungeon modules to the big picture, allowing for some interesting maze situations and secondary challenges for those who wish to explore every nook and cranny!
Jumping all the way.
This week we worked hard on the Bottom Rift Windmills area, It’s pratically done, and ready to apply the workflow we talked about on the Devblog 58
For this particular zone, we did some research on real locations and came up with a lot of architectural influences. The image below show places like Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park in Spain (Pyrenees), Phugtal Monastery in India, Canyon de Chelly National Monument in the US and Puente Nuevo in Ronda, Spain.
From left to right top: Puente Nuevo and Phugtal Monastery. Left to right bottom: Ordesa y Monte Perdido and Chelly Monument.
Like we said before this is a very early blocking of the zone, it still needs a lot of detail and beauty props on top.
Top-view of Bottom Rift Windmills blocked zone.
This zone is perfect for a stroll by the riverside!
Our animator is almost done with this little fellow that will be haunting you in the Rift Windmill zone!
Acrobatic attack no.2!
Half of the team members are enjoying their much deserved vacations, and our programmer and game designer is back and working on the blocking of the final zones of the game! Most of the ideas are in paper and sketches including the puzzles, encounters, cutscenes and events. Blocking the final zone of the game provides an opportunity to look at the game as whole, while also considering its pacing and mood building and performing small tweaks here and there.
Right now we are blocking the Bottom of the Rift Windmills, the area inhabited by the previously revealed canyon kids. We’re aiming at a spicing up the place with a lot of exploration opportunities while taking advantage of the topology of the terrain to include plenty of vertical exploration as well. Here’s a small preview below.
Bottom Rift Windmills blocking preview.
Like we mentioned above, small tweaks and polish passes were made in the previous zones in order to achieve the intended mood. Below you will find two pictures, the first one being of the Old Woman’s House, and the second one an encounter with two cursed soldiers that are into jogging.
Old Woman’s House in the woods.
Survival rule #1: Cardio.
Hope you’ve enjoyed our devblog update, have a great weekend!
Actually, QA came early during the week, and we’ve been doing some extensive sessions which led us to implement some additional tools and on-screen information for assisting with the playtesting and debugging of the game!
On-screen debugging info.
The new streaming logic we mentioned last week is still being tweaked and optimized, and we’re pretty happy with the results we’re getting!
Streaming chunk visualizer.
A new animation for the masked youths is also nearing completion, as you can watch see below.
Canyon kid evade animation.
We felt the need to add a little more variety to the game’s enemy pool, and we thought it would be cool to have less “area specific” creatures the player could fight with. Most of the ones we have so far are basically bound to the chapters they first appear in, and there’s no way around that because of the lore. So we are coming up with new ideas for creatures that can spawn anywhere throughout the whole adventure. The first one is a monster that inhabits barrels, and it will keep you on your toes anytime you’re about to destroy these wooden containers in hopes of finding random items.
Producing the assets for this enemy also forced us to remake the basic barrel and crate props, for the sake of coherence, especially because the ones we had previously were recycled placeholders.
We could Barrel-y see it coming!
This week, a lot of structural scenes were changed and re-arranged, all to accommodate the new streaming logic that finally supports fluid streaming even in very slow hard drives (like the HDD of the Xbox One).
The boss featured in the sneak-peak below is basically ready, we are finishing and implementing the cutscenes that will show off this hard and intricate boss.
The art team is making decent progress regarding the development of the new enemies for Chapter 3. The model for the boss you’ll be facing at that point is almost done, and the masked youth we’ve previously shown is finally game-ready, prepared to be animated! And on that subject, our animator has joined us once again in our offices, so we are having nice discussions about the challenges that await the team.
Let’s take this chance to show a little teaser of the boss battle everyone has been working on. We’ve filtered out the details so the experience of the fight won’t be spoiled for you!
Jump back animation of silhouette boss.
Some weapons were also made and improved, all usable by the player and game-ready.
New weapons, new movesets.
We reworked an older enemy to create a new mini boss. The player will only encounter it in dungeons so beware when you wander in the ruins!
This is fine.