But we’ve been grinding away in our cave, and a lot’s been getting done! Here’s the recap (video at the bottom):
Environments are continuing to come together. Here’s some recent stuff:
Kalen will be hosting a Livestream around the end of the month or early April. Come hang out with us and watch him paint up some in-game assets like the ones above. Who knows, maybe he'll even take a few requests! Details to come, stay tuned.
Aakaash’s latest work, which you'll hear in some of the game's smaller battles:
Code-wise, my focus has been on combat UI and AI.
The UI still needs some tweaks, but the functionality’s coming together pretty nicely.
The AI’s been trickier to get right. Since one or a few bad moves in the game can be fatal, the AI can’t get away with attacking blindly on sight. At this point, it manages to do a pretty good job of predicting future outcomes and avoiding very poor to suicidal moves, and instead of charging blindly, it tries to wait for openings to strike. That said, teaching it to play well while leaving opportunities for players to gain an advantage will take some time to get right.
Anyhow, here’s a video!
Things are still rough overall, and there’s a ton of placeholder assets everywhere. I’ll be focusing on characters and animation once we’ve finished nailing down more of the core gameplay elements. Things should start looking much more interesting once that's done and I can start implementing class abilities.
Lastly, I'll be at GDC next week with Kalen. If any of you will be there as well, let me know. I’d love to hear from you!
Hello everyone, hope your new years are off to a great start! It’s been a while since our last update, and we’ve been hard at work on lots of tough areas since then. Here’s the rundown:
Environments are continuing to come together. Since the last update, we created over 150 assets for our towns’ exteriors alone to ensure we have varied environments throughout the game. These assets are created in a modular format so we can create visually distinct structures efficiently:
We ran into lots of challenges getting rotated buildings to work with our grid. These took some time to sort out, but I think we’ve come up with a solution that works. Here are a few samples of our latest environments:
I’ve been continuing to refine our process for creating levels and making lots of improvements to our editing tools. For anyone interested, I’ll try to put together another “how its made” video as soon as I can find some time.
Aakaash’s awesome work on our soundtrack continues. Here’s a sample of his latest!
Apart from streamlining our level editing tools, my development focus in the last two months has been in two areas: cutscenes and combat.
Since the story will play an important part in the game, the ability to quickly generate precisely timed cutscene events directly from gameplay is critical. Before our Unity port, cutscenes needed to be timed and scripted by hand, which was complex and time consuming. This time around, I’ve implemented a visual editing tool which I’m extending to support the many custom events we’ll need. Here’s a shot of what it looks like in action:
Using the timeline (top), I can visually edit complex events with multiple characters acting simultaneously while previewing them in our editor (bottom), all without having to synchronize the actions in code. This will vastly accelerate development in the coming months as we implement the game’s story elements.
My second focus has been on implementing the core aspects of the combat engine. Things are still very early, but over the last few weeks I've gotten core features like the combat grid, player input, movement, animation, and basic AI in place. Here’s a quick preview of the combat engine running along with some of the other above mentioned features:
The ability to make real-time adjustments to combat parameters is a huge upgrade, since it’ll allow me to quickly try out new ideas and better balance the game.
So that’s the recap. Things were very much WIP in the last few weeks as we moved past some of the biggest pre-production hurdles I expect we'll face (hence the delay). Thanks for sticking with us.
Hi everyone! Busy month, lots going on. Here’s the run-down:
We’ve been Greenlit for Steam! Thank you to all of you who voted for us and helped spread the word! Anyone interested in PC/Mac/Linux copies will be eligible for Steam keys, just be sure to indicate your preference when we send out your surveys.
Since our last update, I moved out to the west coast to be closer to Kalen and Aakaash. Working side by side with Kalen has already made a huge difference as we continue to refine the art direction and set up our asset pipeline to fit our technical constraints. Check our our sweet digs!
With the game's new style decided, Kalen's been working on putting together some amazing environment assets. Here are some samples:
The assets are created in a modular format to minimize our memory footprint, and we've been spending a lot of time refining our process for constructing levels. Here are a few shots from our editor to give you a sense of how it all works:
Characters & Animation
In addition to environments, we've been working on revamping our character models. Here are a few of our new animations running in our updated engine with tricks like real-time lighting, 360 degree movement and animation blending applied:
Aakaash has been creating some awesome music to go along with our new art. For this update, we wanted to share some of the more atmospheric, ambient pieces he's been working on:
FInally, on the code side, pre-production continues. Here's a screen of what my workspace is looking like to demonstrate some of what I've been focused on:
1) Building customized editing tools in Unity to streamline our workflow
2) Early performance profiling with our new architecture
3) Re-writing core functionality (movement/animation, the tactics engine)
I'll try to do a walkthrough later on to walk through these in more detail. For now, here’s a little teaser video of in-game footage that shows how our art, sound, and code are all coming together:
We're a bit overdue since a lot's been going on, but we've been working hard to get things ready to share with you. To start, I wanted to let Kalen and Aakaash share some insights into our progress on art and sound.
Over the last few weeks, we've been honing in on the new look for our in-game environments. To start, I created some rough exploration sketches:
From there, I created a line art of the in-game art style. At this stage, we started looking into how we can add depth and perspective into the game, while adhering to the grid that will be required for player movement and tactical gameplay.
Since we'll need to create lots of environments, I created a modular texture set to help speed things along:
From there, I used the textures to fill in our line sample, and we moved on to exploring color and rendering style:
After a few iterations, here's a sample of the final in-game environmental art style we arrived at:
Here's another version, with the movement grid shown:
I’m excited to say that now that John and I have finished hashing out the general soundtrack details, composition for Liege has begun in earnest. As mentioned in the earlier sound update, one thing I’m really looking to do with the soundtrack is to use motifs to represent certain characters or emotions. I’ll be bringing these motifs back several times in the various tracks of the score and developing them as the plot itself develops. My goal is not only to add a sense of cohesiveness and continuity to the OST, but also to evoke familiar emotions and themes when a previously introduced motif is used again.
Today, I’d like to share with you Seren’s Theme, a duet for violin and piano:
The melody you hear in the piece, introduced by the piano and then repeated on the violin, will serve as the motif associated with Seren. This track will likely not be used as is in game, which is why it may sound a bit disconnected at present; instead, I’ll be working the melody into several different pieces to score scenes that center around Seren. For example, in the piece featured in the earlier sound update, “A Quiet Farewell,” you’ll recognize variations of these melodies.
Many of the games I’ve worked on in the past have been less story-based and thus have required less thematic soundtracks; ambient environmental tracks, rather than more involved melodic pieces, were the norm. In this sense, Liege presents both an opportunity and a challenge. Because the soundtrack calls for strong melodies, composition begins at the piano rather than at the computer. Motifs and melodies have to be memorable enough that the player will recognize it when it reoccurs in a different form later in the game, yet they have to remain flexible enough that I’ll be able to work them into several tracks of varying moods. The process of composing for Liege is certainly quite different than what I’m used to, but if all goes well, it’ll pay off in the completed product.
As mentioned in previous posts, I've been working on implementing our framework and workflow in our new engine (Unity). For those interested on the technical side of things, I wanted to share a bit about what's going on behind the scenes.
Going into our Unity port, I had a few key requirements apart from simply porting over existing functionality:
Layered 2D environments with 3D character models
In-game skeletal animation (for smoother animation and effects like slo-mo)
Real-time, dynamic shadows
Efficient workflow that leverages Unity's WYSIWYG editing features
Acceptable performance with the above on our weaker hardware targets (mobile)
Below, you can see how our scene is composed in our editor with the above features in place:
Going from left to right, we have:
1. A system of cameras that controls the order in which the scene is drawn
2. Parts of the scene that are normally drawn over characters (i.e. trees)
3. 3D characters casting real-time shadows, rotated to align with our view (note the model is a placeholder)
4. Collision bounds, which are automatically generated from a 2D tile map
5. Parts of the scene that are normally drawn behind characters (i.e. the ground)
Here's the game running in our editor (with an older iteration of Kalen's art):
As you can see, our content aligns precisely to form the composite image that's seen in-game. This is very different from how 2D is normally handled, but it opens up lots of interesting graphical possibilities.
As this update hopefully shows, things are taking some time as we try things and iterate, but the updates will be more regular as we get further along. Thanks as always for your support, and let us know your thoughts below!
Hi everyone, it's been a little while! As mentioned before, the success of our Kickstarter campaign has significantly changed the scope and direction of our project, and we've been busy laying the groundwork to support our new goals. Here's a quick recap from the last few weeks:
After a long search, we've finally found our artist, Kalen Chock! Kalen's a conceptual designer whose previous clients include Industrial Light and Magic, Autodesk, Ember Lab, and many others. Here are a few of his samples:
We were fortunate to have lots talented artists reach out and express interest in this project, but when I came across Kalen's work, it immediately stood out as a perfect fit. The first thing I noticed were the vibrant colors, dramatic lighting, and unique, painterly feel, and I personally can't wait to see him bring these elements into the world of Liege.
We've been speaking at length about the game's new art style and are hoping to have some in-game samples ready for our next update. In the meantime, check out more of his work here, and his Livestream here.
With our initial meetings on the sound direction out of the way, work on the score has already begun. Here's an early sample!
So you're all aware, Aakaash has taken full ownership of the game's score and sound, and John Robert has moved off the project. Both are incredibly talented composers but with very different styles, and the decision was made early to ensure consistency in our soundtrack from end to end. We wish John all the best and can't wait to hear what he'll be working on next!
Midway through our campaign, I decided to port our game engine to Unity to support our new target platforms, streamline our production pipeline, and enhance the game's overall look and feel. Unity is an amazing platform, but it's fundamentally different from our previous set of tools. At this point I'm past the steepest part of the learning curve, and I've been plugging away at reimplementing basics like player controls, event handling, and character animation. The port work will be continuing over the next few months, but with Kalen now handling art and basic due diligence out of the way, this process should start moving much quicker.
Going forward, I'll be posting more frequent updates on the devlog (as well as our Facebook and Twitter) and sending monthly summaries here on Kickstarter to avoid spamming your emails. If you're interested in the very latest, feel free to follow along with any of the links above.
The Game ♦ Access to the digital version of Liege on ALL supported platforms
The Trilogy ♦ Access to the digital version of The Liege Trilogy on ALL supported platforms ♦ Digital soundtrack and art & instruction booklet ♦ Digital versions of the Poster, Script, and Art Book tier rewards ♦ Early closed beta access to all games in the trilogy ♦ Your name in the in-game credits
The Alpha Set ♦ Two of everything in the $25 tier ♦ An early alpha build of the game and a chance to get your input on the game heard early on (expected in early Q4 this year) ♦ A high quality, oversized postcard with your choice of one of several Liege artworks and a personally sharpied message & sketch from me
The Disc Set ♦ A signed and numbered, Kickstarter exclusive physical PC or Mac copy of the multi-disc Liege trilogy ♦ A physical copy of the Liege soundtrack ♦ A high quality, color printed art & instruction booklet ♦ All previous rewards
Add $10 USD to ship outside the US
The Tee ♦ A numbered, Kickstarter exclusive, light weight 50/50 American Apparel t-shirt, featuring concept artwork of your choice personally hand silk-screened with three color tones on the front ♦ All previous rewards
Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
♦ A signed & numbered, movie format, 24x36” Liege poster
♦ All previous rewards
Add $20 USD to ship outside the US
The Script ♦ A signed, brass brad bound copy of the 120+ page Liege script (the game's core narrative as it was originally conceived), written in standard screenplay format ♦ All previous rewards
Add $25 USD to ship outside the US
The Art Book ♦ A signed, high quality, hard-cover book showcasing notes, design sketches, artwork, and other content generated during production with supporting text commentary ♦ Includes a Special Thanks section featuring the names of backers from this and higher tiers ♦ All previous rewards
Add $30 USD to ship outside the US
The Print ♦ A signed and numbered print with concept artwork of your choice, personally hand silk-screened with three color tones onto a 14x18" sheet of canvas, wrapped on a solid wood backing ♦ All previous rewards
Ships within the US only
(7 left of 8)
The Easter Egg ♦ Place an easter egg with a hidden message of your choice into the game ♦ Decide the location and the steps required for players to uncover the secret content ♦ All previous rewards, minus the Print Tier
Add $30 USD to ship outside the US
(1 left of 5)
The NPC ♦ Design a non-playable character for the game ♦ Decide the character's name, appearance, backstory, location, and dialogue (must fit into the game lore) ♦ All previous rewards, minus the Print Tier
Add $30 USD to ship outside the US
The Producer ♦ In-game Producer credits ♦ An invite to come hang out in NYC for a day, design one of the game's battle sequences, and discuss all your crazy ideas about life and the game ♦ An optional festival of unlimited food and libations with an overall pretty nice guy ♦ Major gratitude ♦ Coziness ♦ All previous rewards
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