Update #34 - Intros and Explanations
This week the team is feeling quite wordy so we won’t take too much of your time with a lengthy intro! In today’s update: blocking out the in-game intro sequence, dialogue recording, finalising our initial filler building sets and tidying up combat.
Welcome back to normal life for me! So, as you may know, I was out for a bit more than a month for paternity leave, and I came back on monday. Baby Victor is well and healthy and everyone's still alive, but horribly lacking sleep. I'll get used to that.
My task this week was blocking out a map that will serve as our main character's intro sequence. It's a new place we didn't quite make any design concepts yet, and it is a mix between cinematic and gameplay, so it is a pretty unique scenario that needed a lot of thinking. I also had to keep in mind that the player might need to return to this place in the actual game, so I needed to make sure the dimensions of this map are pretty much accurate from the beginning. There was a lot of back in forth required to make sure everyone was satisfied with the result.
We also planned what the player can do in the gameplay parts and where each cinematic would start and end.
The basic layout is pretty much done, and I will continue to work on this next week and add all the required cinematic and gameplay placeholders to really get a good feel of the timing and the pacing.
Also, Camille mentioned the journal system last week, so she showed me around how that stuff needs to be implemented. I started converting one of the cinematic scenes I had already made with the old system and adapted it to the new system, just to get the hang of it. It works great!
Apart from setting up for another cinematic, I worked on various animations here and there. I couldn’t start to detail everything, so let me just make a quick list of the things I did :
- Updated combat animations to make sure NPC don’t clip in the camera when they attack;
- Added a “backstep” animation for NPCs, they’ll now be quicker to get out of combat range;
- Added left & right variations for the player’s hit reactions;
- Added animations for gift offerings to the Wellies of your heart;
- Integrated 45° strafes animations, or in simpler terms, diagonal walk cycles;
- “Coughing” animation for player and NPCs, should they ever be suffocating;
- Added a “vault over” animation for the player to smoothly navigate obstacles.
So that’s it for me, bits and pieces!
You did not hear from me last week because last Thursday and Friday I was in the recording studio with the intrepid José (our audio producer), recording a Doctor and a Bobby. We have roughly doubled the number of things Doctors and Bobbies can now say, although we (and by “we,” I mean Marc) have to integrate them into these characters’ AIs. When, exactly, does each character say each sort of line?
Today, I was in the studio recording Alex Wyndham and Katherine Kingsley, who were in London. Great actors are magic. They take a line that you heard in your head, and make it their own. Sometimes, you find yourself caught off guard by a line they perform, even though you are reading the words on the page, which you wrote, even as they do it. It’s a sure sign that the performance is amazing when you burst out laughing in the middle of the recording session.
Poor Katherine Kingsley! I auditioned her last year, and she was brilliant. And then I went more or less radio silent. She’d ping me, and I’d say, yes, we truly intend to record you, but I have to do x and y characters first. I did fairly long auditions with her over Skype, to the point where I wouldn’t blame her for wondering if I’d just recorded her audition and was using it in the game (which is apparently a Known Abuse of Actors).
So when she finally got the call, I imagine she probably went through a moment of, “wait a second, these guys are actually for real?”
She turned out to be every bit as superb as I hoped. She’s a part of the opening scene, which we’re working on now.
Now comes the work of cutting out sound takes. It takes much longer to cut out the sound takes from an hour’s session than the hour itself. Sometimes I have to listen to each take a few times to decide which one I want. Sometimes I have to construct better takes from two takes with good parts.
The other thing I did: rewrote the opening scene. The opening scene of Arthur’s playthrough, which is the opening scene for the game as well, has been sitting on my computer in various forms for well over a year. But now the team is all working on it. This week David and Vincent added yards of new gameplay to it. So, Arthur has to respond to all these new challenges in some way, right? He has to say something Arthur-y. So, two days before my recording session, I was writing new things for Arthur to say.
I can’t tell you when all this new content will make it into the game, but I hope you dig it!
I worked on some more brick buildings this week:
I continued working on the buildings for the new Biome!
Thank you for tuning in for another week of updates!