Update #28 - Lighting and landscapes
A good chunk of this week was spent working on the lighting during day and night, on and off Joy, based on Whitney’s concept. For the backers with access to the pre-alpha, you will be able to experiment it in next update which will arrive very soon! Let us know your feedback :)
This week we also wanted to give a shout-out to The Molasses Flood who released their game The Flamed in the Flood on Steam Early Access. The Flame in the Flood is a beautiful rogue-lite survival game made by a team composed of veterans from the Bioshock series. We tried it at E3 and really enjoyed it!
Today I’m going to record about 75 new lines for five NPC’s. So, Wellies, Wellettes, Wastrels, Wastrellettes and our dear Crier (old lady) will have more things to say in more situations. This time we’ll be recording them in studio, which means I’ll get to direct them, which is more fun for me, and enables me to help them craft a much more specific performance.
I spent much of this week and last weekend writing these new barks (single lines): combat barks, barks about bedtime, barks about the fog, barks about gifts. We’re trying an experiment. Generally NPC barks are sort of non-descript: “Go go go!” “Incoming!” I’m writing much more distinct barks. That’s risky because they can get old if the player hears them too much. But they’re more fun, and communicate more attitude and lore.
I’ve also been writing a whole bunch more lines for the He Who Must Not Be Named But Has Sideburns. Expect a new recording session within a month, and new barks from him shortly thereafter.
This week I took a little bit of time to play and look at people play, so I scribbled some notes and kept going on what we worked on last week. I added some more unarmed animations for NPCs in combat, worked on a weeping animation for downers, on background cheering animations for crowds around fighting mobs, as well as some other things like coughing & standing up animations.
I will be ramping back to narrative though, so I hope you enjoyed the 2 weeks of animation updates, because we’re going back to secret stuff!
The biggest change last week was to review the AI spawning system to improve the distribution (no more long empty streets followed by a crowd in the next one) as well as support squad patrols for night behaviours: Bobbies will now come in pairs past dusk. This week we did a extensive pass on the sounds, to improve occlusion effects, sound mix, attenuation (how sounds are affected by distance), as well as additions and fixes. For instance the AI footsteps and talking are now much easier to use as feedback as to where they are when you're invading their house.
On the AI side the focus has been to improve feedback, there are a lot of systems that interact in a complicated way and it’s hard to always understand what's happening. Combat: barks have been improved, attacks frequency has been tuned to make it a bit more fair, the number of AI attacking you at the same time has been reduced, and when there is a mob most of them will stay outside the fight circle and cheer their mates on. It all makes the combat more readable.
Suspicion: different stages are clearer and AI will not jump so fast to be hostile (unless you hit them of course, of some other effect that anger them immediately). We removed the small icon on their head as it is now much easier to understand how they feel by just looking at them, and it's more immersive than having this gamey icon that nobody really liked.
There’s a lot of work going on in the background to improve the layout of our streets and how we populate with buildings to improve the overall feeling of the streets. As part of this work, we are also going back and starting to fill in some of the missing bits of visual polish. For example, the intersections are getting an overhaul:
Getting buildings to fit together tightly to give the village a dense feel means we need to play some tricks to get everything to fit. And sometimes, it will go wrong. For example:
That doesn’t look too bad. However, if we take a look from a different angle:
Well, that shouldn’t be.
This week I designed a corner buildings for the new biome, worked on the overall lighting in game with Emmanuel, worked on an architecture piece, and developed the vista. It was a busy week with lots of progress!
I have been all week on the lighting during day and night, here is a teaser!
Have a great weekend everyone!