Update #39 - Last Weekly Update of the year!
Wow, here we are at the final update for 2015! What a crazy year it has been for us. First of all, we would like to thank you all for your support, which is the reason why we are able to bring you weekly updates :) While we are only showing you half of what we are doing (as the rest is story related), we hope you’ve been enjoying the updates so far. We have a lot more planned for next year, so thank you backers, once again, for supporting us.
Next week Sam will write an actual end of year post, which will round up the year, so stay tuned!
This week I’ve been continuing to work on our gigantic Encounters spreadsheet. Level designers contribute the situation and objective: do this, get that. I try to figure out who the characters in the encounters are, and why they want those things, essentially retro-engineering from the gameplay. I then write dialog, if needed, as well as tooltips, journal entries, and lore. I’m most of the way through fleshing out the encounters for the first Garden District island. So GD1 is now, at least in our design, populated with all sorts of strange characters that the player can interact with in ways more challenging than clonking them on the head and taking their stuff.
We’re also working on the very early parts of the game, where we’ll spawn encounters that help define the world, and incidentally show new players how to do basic things, like clonk characters on the head and take their stuff.
In my copious free time, I’m also writing a later player character’s version of every single thing Arthur says. This character has a very different point of view on her interactions, and I don’t think she’s as inclined to apologize for, say, clonking people on the head, or taking their stuff.
This week, I mainly supported the art team to integrate the new art assets and animations into the introduction sequence for Arthur. That means that my old ugly gray box that I’m tired of looking at gets replaced by beautiful breathtaking models and textures! It is one of my favorite parts in level design - to see this map I have been working in for a while suddenly become so nice and interesting, it’s a nice change of scenery.
But, it comes at a price. I have to make sure to test it and play it because new assets might mean adjustments to be made in the collisions, I have to make sure all the paths are unobstructed by the new props and that all the gameplay elements are still working properly.
And while I’m doing that, I’m also fixing the little bugs and fixing those small things that I keep noting down every time I replay the sequence. They aren’t game breaking, and someone not paying attention might not even see them, but they still need to be fixed at one point! This process can be frustrating sometimes, because some of the smallest little details sometimes take a lot more time than anticipated to fix because it creates another bug, or simply doesn’t quite do the trick, so you must start again with a different approach. But it feels very satisfying when you just scratch out one bug after another!
I also worked on a very special prop, some kind of device unique to our world, that you will be able to interact with. That’s probably the most complicated object I have worked on yet for the game and just love the challenge of figuring out with my teammates how this device works and then we all make it happen!
My name is Hayden and I’m one of the new guys on the design team.
This week I tested and implemented some of our new stealth mechanics and patrolling groups of NPCs in a new part of the game we are working on, which by the way is turning out very well as you can see from the screenshot below. In addition, I was also able to block in a new super-fun scenario that I’m sure you’re all going to enjoy.
Yet Another Vincent
I’ve now been around for a full month, it might be time to say hello to all!
I've been busy settling in and started working on a big cinematic... trying to do justice to Alex's great dialogue, finding out technical tricks for the staging to work better... and I can't say much more! Cause it's a secret. And I don't want to make any enemies amongst my new colleagues. Yet.
Sam edit: I’m watching you, Vincent number 2.
Hey everyone! I know it’s been a while since I was allowed to show you anything and unfortunately I am still working on secret animations. The only thing I can say is that we are currently working on a nice challenging part of the game and I can’t wait for you guys to see it! Hopefully I will be able to gather bits of the whole process that we are going through in order to make a nice breakdown post about it later on. Until then, I wish you all a great holiday and have fun playing games!
In our recent build update, we let slip by a pretty serious crash when loading saved games, which essentially was the result of a shortcoming in our save system that we’d identified early on but had only worked around until now by not saving select parts of the game data. Now everything is getting saved properly and the game no longer crashes attempting to load savegames.
But unfortunately our save system is still not robust enough to handle certain changes in format, making it hard to maintain save game backwards compatibility across updates. For now, our playthroughs are short enough that it’s not an issue, but I’ll have to revisit the save system altogether soon.
Thank you for tuning again this week!
From the whole team at Compulsion Games, we wish you all best wishes for the holiday season. May your slumber be reinvigorating and your gaming on point.