About this blog: we would like to invite everyone to comment on what we post. So don't hold back and tell us what you think! Making games is a process where you constantly learn new things and where you have to adjust to them, evolving the game in something new. All things that we show here are very Work In Progress and should be regarded as such.
Let's go to Indigo
Counting down the days 'til Indigo while working very hard to make sure we have everything back in working order with some great new features. This week was had some big technical hiccups: We had to solve a not-able-to-connect-online incident, the great what's-eating-our-framerate conflict and the why-isn't-my-itemList-loading crisis. Whenever you think the project is right on track, there are always time sinks like these to keep you from doing anything usefull. Fun!
Since the last update, I've implemented the full use of the new "Wayfinder" pathfinder code and now all our entities use it. But because this works primarily on a waypoint-based system, it was necessary to build an editor for Viktor so he can easily edit all levelblocks and add nodes as stress-free as possible.
It's a very straight forward tool where mousing over an area with the brush and pressing the N key adds one of those apples I've shown last week. This node has a (customizable) colored disc for range and it's used for two things. One, node discs touching would connect them as neighbors. This is useful for automatic discovery of the network of nodes, pressing the Rebuild button will automatically connect whatever nodes are close enough to eachother. Second, the range is used for enemies to randomly grab a position inside the disc to navigate towards.
Traditionally, waypoint systems are very basic; point to point type of movement (which this still is, in a way). This simply wasn't enough for me, so experimented with adding a radius to the nodes to let enemies pick from to go towards... I wouldn't say it looks more natural but it helps with navigational issues where you would see a whole stack of enemies go towards you. In an update relatively soon I will implement local avoidance here so that they're at least a bit smarter about their chosen path and evade eachother as well while navigating. To be continued!
Each node and its parent wayfinder object has a big silly button with an apple on it. This is the Rebuild button that starts the discovery process of connecting all the nodes. The connected nodes are shown having a colored line. A red line means that this path is not so good for entities because they might bump into something (another collider), a green line is an optimal path where nothing should hinder entities walking here. A blue line, which shouldn't show up under normal circumstances, is an unprocessed connection which has no obstacle information. Although it works, every now and then it would return a red line which is throwing Viktor off, so I'll polish up the tool in the coming weeks.
Right after giving the tool to Viktor and showing him how it works so he can get his stuff done, I've tested the game for performance and there's a lot going on since 5.2. The rest of my time has been used to optimize the pathfinder code itself as well as refactor enemy code where necessary. This is an on-going process which, even as of this writing, has not concluded.
The Indigo 2015 event is coming up real fast, so not much is gonna get done next week. The week after Indigo is where I return with new work to post about, I'm afraid. Watch our Facebook page or twitter for Indigo pictures!
This time around I don't have much to show as most of the things I did this week involve digging around in code. I implemented the new animations from Martin and while typing this I am also working on the new UI made by Jacq.
Making the new UI is a bit hard as I have to refactor code that has been made in the very begining of the project which has over time evolved into a big mess. Working on this means breaking the game and fixing things while replacing core components. I hope I have the time to make things work before Indigo, including the new radial menu I showed last week.
One of the other huge things I did last week was the continuing of the ItemID lists which I had to update to make room for starter gear and starter skills, which I completely forgot about last week. Up until now the casting of skills over the network involved a bit of a workaround: as all players had the exact same skillset it wasn't really needed to sync the skills as we could simply tell the other players that I shot the skill in spot  and every client would know that meant the melee attack. I had to completely overhaul this system and with the new ItemIDs this was a lot less work than I imagined.
I only plan to relax a bit after Indigo. I can already feel I am stressed out after 2, maybe 3 weeks of work. That can't be healthy.
This week I focused on animations and the blending between states. Right now when 2 animations are blending into each other, they stutter when blending. After some research I found a solution to this problem. Every attack animation is in a seperate layer and with the use of layer weight, we can make our own blending. For the rest, I polished the animation editor up a bit. It dynamically loads sliders in for adjusting Mecanim settings. Added sitting animations for every character and polished the capybara's animations. I made the youtube thumbnail of 4 rogues sitting in the movie theater.
As a last thing I finally added the player banner, I had that idea for a long time and finally had the time to add it and tweak the settings for it. We wanted to add an extra visual que to distinguish players from enemies and each other and because it looks very nice along with the character animations.
Next week is Indigo, so probably a lot of playtesting, quickfixes and more animating.
It will be fun they said.
As mentioned in last week's blog this week the pathfinder would be ready to use, and boy did I use it. Shown in the GIF below is how the tool works, It places nodes when ‘N’ is pressed, all nodes have a range and when they overlap it connects them. The inspiration for this tool is obvious.
The tool is still W.I.P. and has some small bugs like showing red lines (which are ment for bad bad connections) while it's fine. Can't wait for the next tool update with more (suggested) features and fixes.
Cause placing nodes is SO MUCH FUN!! :')
Furthermore I did some testing with textured grass using primitive shapes.
A little unsure production wise. We are present at Indigo and are really psyched for the feedback!
Choices and decisions!
I have been busy thinking and sketching two major new factors for the game, the boss room entrance and a teleporter. As you can see down here I designed a bossroom connected to the forest area. I started of sketching a lot of temples on paper, took the best parts and smashed them together with existing props that are in the game.
For the teleporter I made 5 global designs that are very rough. I would like to hear which style of teleporter you would like to see in the game!
For next week I will be making more concept art for props in the forest area.
Benefit Icons Development
Our intention is to have the radial menu all working at Indigo Event in Utrecht 29th of september. I have been working on the new looks of the icons, which will be able to acces with the radial menu.
I made several different shapes for the icons but we ended with a simple tilted square. The icon needs to give the player information about when the benefit is ready to use, charging and a timer for the cooldown.
My first icon-art was somewhat 3d, the ‘benefits’ lie on top of the iconshape. The drawback of having something 3d is that the icon-filling charge won’t be able to read easily. So we decided to have two states for the icon, a ready state and a charging state. The ready-state will look all pretty and 3d and the charging state will look flat, desaturated so it will be able to hold the charging and cd-information.
When I ended up designing all icons, they seem to be a bit too detailed still. I use the screenshot to check out how they fit in the game. Eventually I will need to enhance the values a bit so the right parts stand out.
I design the icons in Photoshop, using Smart Objects. This is something I picked up during my internship at Ronimo. The Smart Objects will be a single interactive layer, containing several other layers. The Smart Object is a 1024x1024 file, while the spritesheet will have scaled versions of 128x128. I can have one workfile and have all the seperate icons in one file. They will all have the same positioning and I can easily reuse modifying layers like Levels and Saturation etc.
The Icons will be placed on a Sprite-Sheet, so Unity will easily be able to cut them out and will only need on drawcall for all icons. For the right positioning of all the seperate parts of an icon, I make extensive use of guides and Snap to guides.
Next week you’ll be able to view the first version of the icons and the radial menu.
Thanks for taking the time to read this development update. Remember that you can sign up for the alpha if you want to play the game in this early stage of development. If you like the game, please tell your friends!