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.
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!
A busy week with a final sprint to finish the steam themed chapter we have been showing off lately, while also performing some final touches and working on logic testing.
The streaming world logic is undergoing some changes for the best. We’re hacking at optimizing the loading of new areas while also removing the stuttering that sometimes happens, which is noticeable on slower hard drives.
The new cutscene system we are using, that was also mentioned it in the last post, is looking great! This tool will be crucial for our emotional cutscenes.
These particles steam a bit out of place.
Don’t just stained there looking at all that cool glass!
For this past week, our artists have been fully focused on producing the 3D models of various enemies, including the new chapter’s boss. The high-poly version of the orphan kid character we’ve shown in the last update is pretty much complete, so here’s a sneak peek!
High Poly of the masked youths, featuring Blanka cosplay.
Hope you all have a great weekend, stay tuned for more updates!
This week we continued working on the current chapter’s end boss, nearly all of its move-sets are complete, while the AI polish and behavior are currently in the works. This boss has a lot of extra moving parts and we experienced some problems managing several of its animations simultaneously, but we’ve solved this in the end.
A fully functional jetpack!
We also finished populating the environment of this chapter while also adding the logic to support it, now it’s time for testing and to finish balancing! Here are some combat encounter screenshots:
Two’s a company…
…three’s a crowd!
Unity 2017 released an awesome new tool for cinematics, so we’ll have to port our existing ones and create the future ones with it for a more cinematic and professional feeling.
Regarding the next chapter, players will mostly be facing a new threat, the masked youths that dwell in the depths of the Rift! Their visual concept was inspired by a Portuguese tradition, the “caretos”, as well as Princess Mononoke’s battle costume. Their motives for attacking the girl on sight will have to remain a mystery, for now…
This week we’ve discussed some new ideas and concepts for the next chapter of the game. It will take place in the bottom of the canyon, bordering the windmills zone which you might be familiar with.
We already have some concepts of the new characters and a lot of references, so the ideas are getting close to a conclusion.
For the previous chapters, André had already made some blocking, level design and testing. This final zone is currently drafted on paper, so the next devblogs may be focused on its level design and the details we would like to add.
The boss of the previous chapter is nearly done and currently being worked on by our animator. Here’s a small WIP preview of his weapon in action:
Steam weapon shooting animation WIP.
This zone has a steam theme, which is noticeable due to the mechanisms that are clearly inspired by it. The player will be searching for valves to activate and new paths to unlock. Although the steam particles are an early work-in-progress, they have already been implemented to set the mood for this theme.
Interacting with the valve.
Examining the valve.
For the next week part of team will be working on the new characters and level design of the next chapter of the game. Stay tuned if you are into level building!
This week the team was grinding intensively, as we’re slowly but steadily approaching the completion of Chapter 2.
Since our animator has been with us in the office these past days, we spent plenty of time developing, polishing and implementing animations. In particular, the Elk has received quite a lot of attention, and it is feeling more alive than ever.
The artists are busy tackling the arena where the Girl will battle this Chapter’s Boss, as well as painting the texture maps for that character.
As promised before, we’re sharing our current workflow to produce the bodies of water we’ve been featuring lately in this blog.
It’s quite simple, as you can see in the following breakdown:
Small lake mesh workflow.
Shout-out to Paulo from our tech team for coming up with it in the first place. As mentioned in point f), both the ripple effect and the water surface require materials with shader work developed using Amplify Shader Editor. Here are the nodes needed for the water surface (we’ll show the ones for the ripples on a later date, since we’re still perfecting the effect!):
This week while the art team was working hard adding props and populating the battlefield zone, some logic/code was improved, like the responsiveness of the dodge after an attack animation and also the time after a big hit attack from an enemy. After these tweaks, the Girl won’t take so much time getting up to resume the fight, making it possible to avoid possible follow-up attacks. We are also adapting the prototype logic to the new props added, for example, the logic of this enormous gate is ready to go.
Surprise encounters and a puzzle awaits.
Animation wise, Iuri has joined us in the office (he usually works remotely) and is producing new animations and polishing some others. Afterwards he will tackle this chapter’s boss!
Remember the Water temple concept? Here is watermill in action (still WIP).
The low poly model for the new boss is pretty much complete, and we’ve started to work on the retopo of the weapons. Next, we’ll do all the texturing and fine-tuning. Regarding the environments, we have been busy putting together the largest ruin in the game (so far), a very tall tower. As soon as it is ready, we’ll be sure to show some screenshots.
Undead Soldier new attack example.
This chapter has a lot of small ruins and dungeons to explore, set loose your explorer’s instinct!
This week we added more animations to NPCs to accommodate the later encounters with them. As the game flows, the mood of the NPC’s change so extra animations were needed. We also made some progress regarding the in-game water, it’s still not finished for a complete step by step devblog post, maybe next week!
A small lake for relax.
Some “dungeon modules” were added too, for a more dense and labyrinthic experience when player wanders through them. We believe that every small place to explore must have some reward, so keep looking!
A Dungeon entry, beware what lurks inside!
We also changed the impact particle that shows up when the Girl’s feet hit the ground (dirt) so it looks more stylized. We will continue with this approach for the rest of the VFXs, like fire and smoke.
Populating some new zones with props and creating the mood is also in the works. On the art department things are also progressing nicely, even though this new enemy is probably the most complex character we have developed so far, especially due to the arsenal used…
This week we were working on the animations and logic of the Ancestor undead soldier, making him alive but also balance his attacks with the others small soldiers is something that needs some extra work. This is a slow enemy, but careful with the range of the mace!
We also re-worked the logic behind the dodge when in combat, if you have stamina you can dodge immediately after an attack ( before, we waited for the complete end of the attack animation ). This was a feature much asked 🙂
Regarding the small lakes, we are finalizing the final details, like dynamic and static ripples. There’s a sneak peak below. When it’s ready, we will show it in a dedicated devblog post the workflow used.
Things are coming together nicely in the art department, specially concerning the environments of Chapter 2. Since the terrain meshes and textures have finally been completed using our new workflow, the team was able to focus on polishing each area to make them feel unique. On that topic, here is a sneak peek of one of the core locations of this part of the game. For this interior we are having fun experimenting with water pools and other cool details to enhance its mysterious mood.