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Play as an alien plant and escape from a scientific facility, full of secrets and dangerous experiments.
Play as an alien plant and escape from a scientific facility, full of secrets and dangerous experiments.
5,953 backers pledged $144,960 to help bring this project to life.

Graphic and behavior improvements

Posted by Asthree Works (Creator)
72 likes

August has flown by and we didn’t even notice! We spent most of the last month testing the mechanics and polishing endless things. The design of some levels has been made with block sets -rough stages with no final art/tiles-, checking that everything runs smoothly and enemies work as they should in all kind of situations.

Among debugging and many other things, we also made other improvements regarding visual elements and animations. Wanna take a look at them?

New reactions for a single state

On the last update we posted a set of poses for the guards, giving variety to a unique behavior through different animations. Following this idea we’ve made new stances for the scientists in situations where they may overlap. In this example you can see all the possible animations for a scientist going from a panic state to a relaxed one.

This prevents that all the scientist in a room execute the same animation once an alert ends, adding realism to the game.

Natural dialogue system

Another behavior added to these characters is the possibility to execute completely randomized dialogues. To do this effect, we have developed a script that choose an animation depending on the role and pose of the interlocutors. 9 different dialogues were made, each with 3 possible gestures and another 3 switches from one stance to another.

To get a better idea of how this works here’s a simplified diagram:

Now if two characters are assigned to talk several times, their conversations will never be identical, just like these two below.

Gameplay adjustments

We’ve also been working on key elements of the gameplay as we test the levels with interactive assets, gradually balancing the core mechanics. This is extremely important in order to obtain a well-designed system, even more if you keep in mind that the player has different paths to advance through the map and can decide whether to go unnoticed or face the enemies with his abilities.

One of the things that we changed is related to the hearing distance and sight of the scientist. Previously, these characters were able to detect sounds no matter what they were doing, even focused on their tasks. This carried several problems like this one: anytime you made a noise in a crowded area ALL doctors stopped working on their tasks and went looking for you, which end up in a weird proceeding. It was extremely difficult to go unnoticed.

Now they aren't able to spot you if they’re at work (as if they were “in the zone”), wich made them look more natural and also allowed us to create a wide variety of stealth strategies.

A lot of interactions between characters were added too, making the NPCs react to a greater number of factors depending on the scenario, objects and characters around them. Here's an example of the actions made by a guard when he discovers a fallen comrade.

We have also taken a great step forward by developing our own collision script that automatically crops every frame from a sprite sheet, avoiding to manually adjust each box collider per animation and saving us a lot of time.

Now that the colliders adjust themselves to the sprites it’s easier for us to attach external elements to relative positions. For example, the status bubbles are positioned automatically two pixels above the enemies without us having to adjust them manually in every frame.

Time to scold us: graphic enhancements

Wait! Before you think that we’ve lost hundreds of hours polishing stuff, I must say that some elements were made long before the Kickstarter campaign and showed a lack of detail in comparison with the rest of the enhanced sprites. We remade a few graphic interfaces for larger monitors, displaying more elaborated menus with animated graphics and visuals.

We upgraded a pair of scenarios too, like this one that act like a checkpoint/save-state. These natural enclosures were designed as chill out areas for the people inside the facility, but our green friend can use them as shelters to plant its seeds. If W is killed during its getaway its pollen spreads through the air, pollinating the seeds in the nearest garden and resurrecting it.

As we continued to develop new stages and situations, we were feeling that this shelters looked a little bit outdated in comparison with the rest of levels and needed some improvement. We've also added more depth to some stages to make it easier to follow the plant. As you see right here W is hard to spot from the background.

To give a striking look to this areas we looked for examples of natural landscapes with a more refined aesthetic, taking inspiration from the colors and composition of traditional Japanese gardens, with its bright colors and strong tonal contrasts.

With some pics selected, we reduced different images into the game’s resolution, isolating the dominant colors and creating a set of harmonic palettes.

Preserving the structure of the stage we drawn a garden with different heights over the planter where we’ll distribute the main elements. To provide a “Zen” touch to the stage we've also added an artificial waterfall behind a glass.

A great variety of trees and shrubs have been designed so every shelter room looks different from the others. The color ranges degrade from red to green with intermediate brown tones that helps to blend the different shades.

Lighting also plays an important role in the composition. To give an overwhelming feeling we focused the attention on a single luminous point in the center, using the same energy source as the special lamps where W recharge its skills. To create a higher contrast the overall brightness has been reduced, adding more depth so the character stands out.

This is the final look of the stage (click on it to have a better look). The tonal difference and the glowing sparks bring out the colors, giving an odd yet outstanding look to this levels. The combination of these elements also serves to represent, somehow, W’s home in the stars.

That feeling of tranquility and comfort is enhanced by the soothing sound effect of the waterfall along with the theme composed for this end.

Extra: art from a different perspective

I can not lose the opportunity to post a couple of drawings made by Carlos to explain the enemy behaviors. It looked so adorable that I needed to redraw them. I present to you Neckboy and Longmuscle. Sorry Carlos, we love you anyway.

PS: and now a really good piece of art sent by one of our Paradise Lost fans, Blake Stevenson. You can check more of his fun work right here.

We love to see how different people represent Subject W, so feel free to send your drawings to info@asthreeworks.com.

Hope you like all this stuff and, as I always say, thanks for your patience with the project, we are doing our best to not let you down.

Enol Martínez

Nathan Mead, Seto Konowa, and 70 more people like this update.

Comments

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    1. ivz on

      Keep going guys & gals!!

    2. Asthree Works 2-time creator on

      @Alabug very difficult... Our first priority is the PC version and there are tons of things to do. Right now the OUYA version is in stand by :(

    3. Missing avatar

      Alabug on

      Everything is looking beautiful. What are the chances of seeing an OUYA release before Razer pulls the plug on that hardware in about 9 months? If you can't fulfill the campaign promise of an OUYA release, do you have any plans to support the Razer Forge console?

    4. Seth Barbour on

      Nice! I like the attention to detail here, and I'm very interested in knowing more about the implementation of these things such as automatic crop to sprite and automatic adjustment.
      I also love the flavor of the save game areas, very well done!

      Each update just gets me more and more excited to play this.

    5. frederic tarabout on

      Always great progress.
      Are you guys gonna release some of the tools you develop for pixel artists after you are done?

    6. Gearsoul Dragon
      Superbacker
      on

      I second @Daniel Berke's comments! n___n

    7. Juan Esponera on

      Cada update me recuerda que no puedo esperar a jugar este juego. Cada vez tiene mejor pinta desde luego. Esta el estilo pixel art, y después esta esto, un nivel por encima. Las animaciones se ven muy fluidas y trabajadas.
      No puedo maaas!

    8. Ziffy "zifnabbe"
      Superbacker
      on

      nice one! thanks for the update

    9. Nathan Morse
      Superbacker
      on

      Wow. Just amazing. Keep up the EXCELLENT work!

    10. Daniel Berke on

      Those effects look quite good, and that randomizing stuff sounds like a great way to keep things from getting too repetitive. And that's a neat take on "save points!" Can't wait to get my hands on this. :)

    11. Missing avatar

      Evelyn Fong on

      Thank you for the beautiful update. The music for the check/save point really matches the visuals for that area.

    12. Missing avatar

      Paul Rascher on

      Man this is looking better and better with every post. I love the graphic details in the background props especially. Like the greenery you have set up with the background and lighting.

      Your approach to the NPC interactions, both scientists and guards, is awesome. Fantastic job with the interactions and the A.I. work there.

    13. Ian O'Dea
      Superbacker
      on

      This is an INCREDIBLE update, and there's no such thing as time "lost" on polish :)

    14. Missing avatar

      coder1000 on

      The new advances just look much better than I thought this game would look. Really cool to see that conversation/dialogue operation also. Great on all the efficiency advances, too. Love the flora elements.

    15. ScaniX - Silent / Friendly / Axe owner on

      The pixel art and animations look so awesome! :D

    16. Henrique Ghizzi Rezende on

      Always great to see the updates, game seems to be shaping up nicely.

    17. Missing avatar

      Michael A. Atkinson on

      Super happy with the progress you're reporting. Really looking forward to the game!

    18. Gearsoul Dragon
      Superbacker
      on

      :D I love seeing all the stuff you guys have been up to!

      Can't wait to be a sentient plant :P

    19. Missing avatar

      Chris Wenner on

      This looks amazing! Keep up the awesome work!

    20. jorlinn on Linux on

      I love the changes, except the updated computer monitor. It looks too much like an impractical "Hollywood" fake computer interface. Try visiting a few biological/ biomedical faculties to see what their systems look like.