2,000 backers (!), new lore stretch goal, first survey results, behind-the-scenes, Monster Sanctuary
Happy Monday, backers!
We are now more than halfway through the campaign (time flies!) and have reached over 2,000 backers (WOW!) over the weekend. What a ride, and thanks so much for being on board!
In the last backer update I started a stretch goal survey (Link - it’s is still open!) to see what stretch goals you would like to see for Omno to make it an even better game.
I still want to keep the survey running for a while but it has already been a great help! So far I got over 600 replies, which is amazing, and there appears to be some clear favourites.
While I don’t want to reveal the results just yet in detail, and of course have to consider the budget on scope when deciding for the next goal, I can already say that it looks like improving and expanding the core game (secret ending, new area etc.) and console versions (I would really love to make happen but they are expensive to make, let’s keep pushing :) ) are what most of you are very excited about.
This leads us right to the next topic:
Originally, I had another goal planned but after seeing the survey results I decided to offer the “LORE PLUS” as the next stretch goal as there was big demand for it. Thanks for the input everyone!
While prototyping Omno, I scripted it's lore; an ancient culture which influences much of the world you see in the game. Due to my limited resources I decided to just show hints of that on certain occasions. With this stretch goal, I would like to add monumental structures and expand the existing ones with a mechanic that allows you to reveal the background story of the lost culture throughout the game. You will be able to gather those lore snippets just like an achievement and you can track your progress in finding those fragments at any time. When you have revealed the entire history, you might be rewarded with a very special item. To achieve this goal in time, I will need to hire a native english-speaking writer and an additional artist. Due to its complexity I will have to ask for a total of 65k Euros (~$73.7k).
As I got a lot of super nice comments about the behind the scenes section from previous updates I wanted to keep the series going.
Today I wanted to show you something that I actually shared in one of the very early Omno newsletters (long before the Kickstarter) that most of you might have not seen, and will hopefully find interesting. Many people seem to wonder how I handle the animation of Omno from a technical standpoint - so I thought I could briefly talk about that. Maybe it is interesting or even helpful for some of you.
As most animators do, I use a lot of reference material. Beginners tend to think that 'real' artists don't need references - the biggest misconception in the creative area in my opinion. Every professional uses material to look at for reference.
If you start out with animation, the first thing you encounter is the '12 principles of animation'. Back in the old days, a couple of pioneering animators at Walt Disney Studio figured these out and they still apply.
All animations are being made in my 3d software and exported as fbx to Unreal. No tricks here. I love the way UE4 handles animations. The ‘state machines’ can be used to quickly combine those animation snippets with the game logic. I focus a lot on finding the right balance between smooth transitions (to make it look good) and a tight timing (to make it feel good while playing).
One of the biggest challenges for me as an animator is to NOT use regular anticipations as I would do in movies. Quickly explained: If you toss a ball, your arm goes back to wind up some energy, right? That is what animators call an anticipation.
They are everywhere! If you jump up, you first have to go down and bend your knees. To make a step to your right, you need to shift your weight to the left, etc.. It is one of the basic animation principles. In games you can’t use anticipations in the usual way. Let’s say pressing a button makes the character throw the ball. If he would now do his wind up animation first, it would feel delayed, sluggish. The player wants an instant throw. You have to find the right amount of milliseconds to sell an anticipation without taking away from the direct control feeling. Sometimes I even start a motion from the anticipation pose right away.
For Omno I make heavy use of blendspaces. It is a technique of blending several poses into each other depending on some input values. While surfing/snowboarding I calculate the slope of the ground to adjust the character’s speed for instance. Going downhill makes you faster obviously. To visually push that I created animations for ‘idle’ speed, acceleration and deceleration. The speed value drives the amount of those poses being blended into each other. Simple as that. Those blendspaces easily allow me to create all sorts of complex looking animation or even fake some complex physics like those dangling feet while flying arcs when he's gliding.
This time, I want to present another partner Kickstarter campaign: Monster Sanctuary
Monster Sanctuary is a monster-taming RPG with party-based combat and metroidvania-like exploration. New monsters provide additional strategic options in combat and allow you to overcome obstacles to explore new areas and find hidden treasures. The turn-based combat focuses on team synergy and combos, distinguishing Monster Sanctuary from other popular monster collecting games.
They offer a demo and their campaign runs only 3 days left! So don't hesitate any longer and check out their awesome campaign which received already additional 60k above the inital goal! Amazing!
Puh - long update today, hope you enjoyed it :) THANK YOU for your help and very much looking forward to seeing what you think.
Wishing you all a great day!