It was a long time ago since I made a post about the project and I've been busy making progress. I was planning to post a month ago but Christophe and I wanted to show the stopmotion puppet in the new post – and of course the animation studio in Denmark was booked and they extended their time a bit extra. I've decided to post at the first day of every second month starting January. It's only right to keep you in the loop with updates even if it's small or big ones.
I would like to adress the amount of time regarding this project, and the reason for that is that the project has been fleshed out alot. At first in 2014 it was a real rollercoaster and I felt that I wanted a publisher/development team to come and help me out. Like I mentioned, the scope of the game grew alot. Where each chapter were orginally planned to take the player 15-20 minutes to play through, the chapters grew five times that size (which was good, to be able to portray the important themes of the game more thoroughly). After 1,5 years of collaboration we decided to go separate ways, much because I didn't want to compromise my vision of the project (I still love the publisher though, and we parted on good terms).
So after that it has been mostly me on the project working while keeping the big scope (except for a few friends jumping in and out). Guess who bit off a bit too much? No matter – I'm confident that the project needs this big scope to fully portray my vision. I've been working 6 years on this project and I'm extremely grateful for all the patience you have given me, and I want to repay that by giving you a personal and interesting experience. I wish I could show you my gratitude for you being so patient and kind in another way as well. If you have any ideas, let me know!
The first chapter is out now this week for a small amount of people here, where they test functionality and help me squash bugs. Later on I will invite more to focustest on the emotional value, if it feels genuine or if it needs more tweaking on that aspect.
So what happened these last four months? Quite a lot. The main character is built and ready to implement. I've been testing a lot of different character designs during this project, and I've been picky in my vision, and now I have two final options. Christophe (the puppetmaker) just made a walk cycle to show you. IF the character stopmotion is extremely time consuming to animate in a classic way I have another good option. I've invested in the bone animator program CrazyTalk Animator where each character have limbs – so there's a nice option to cut up images of the puppet and animate it with bones (also their store offers a lot of predefined movement animations that impress me). Right now I plan to use placeholders on all characters for the whole game before I implement the final look on them. Functionality first of all.
While I've built scenes you've not seen during this time, here's a little one I built last week. This is in Chapter 3 where Steve is at his friend Robert's apartment, where a party is taking place, and he needs to take a moment for himself to contemplate on the balcony. The song here is called ”We are all werewolves in the night”. This is where the first snow falls.
Meanwhile during this time I also worked with the software Spritelamp and shadercoding to the puppet to see how it works with simulated 2D-lighting. Basically it means that each side of the character is handpainted. Up to 5 versions of every angle; how the light would look if it was set a certain way. Spritelamp then mashes it together and creates a normalmap. The developers of the engine I create the game in just helped me out with developing a shader, so I might be able to use dynamic lighting on the 2D-characters – it all depends on how efficient it is to create the lights, so it could sure need a bit more experimentation.
Also David (another friend who's helping out building scenes) just built this piano which we photographed for you last night. So things are happening! Like I said I will keep you updated every second month. As for a release date I can't say yet, but I want you to know that I really love working with this project and I think it will be worth the wait. :)