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 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!
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!
This week, we’ve got some character art and a few new animations to show you guys. It’s vacation time for the members of the team, but we made sure to schedule everything so that there’s always at least one of us working on the game. This way, the development is never really halted.
As part of our current objective of adding more enemy variety and flexibility to the project, we designed a new creature that will pester the player in any area of the game. Just like the monster that hides in a barrel, which we showed last time, this new enemy is not “chapter specific”, and that allows us to use it freely while building the world.
Hi! Anyone seen my toothpick?
Basically, this little fellow hides beneath the ground with only its leaves sticking out to blend with the surrounding vegetation. Once the player gets close, it will pounce!
Why hello there! ( Jump Across animation )
Take that! ( Sweep Kick animation )
Oops sorry! I was just kid-ding! ( Being Hit by Player animation )
On the animation department, the masked youths are rocking a couple of new moves. While fighting, they react to the player’s actions by chaining attacks or dodges. For example, if their low kick does not connect, a quick dagger slash will follow. As you might have guessed, facing this opponent will prove to be a very different challenge from the ones in previous chapters.
Have a nice 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.
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…