Monday, December 15, 2014

Sorry I've been neglecting this blog, but now it's time to explain what I've been working on. For the last few months I've been working hard on a tech and style demo for an adventure game called Queens of the Shadowy Realms, for PC/Mac, browser and possible IOS/Android down the road.

It's hard to discuss the plot yet, in part because it hasn't all been finalized yet, and in part because what I do know about the plot could be spoiled really easily. For now, it's safe to say it's the story of a little ghost girl living in some sort of eerie limbo, who discovers realms beyond her own, as well as a way to intrude into the world of the living.

It has taken quite some time to get the art style down, but I think I've got an approach now that feels fresh. I've decided to make everything noticeably hand drawn and animated- even though the environment and engine are 3D, I've tried to keep a pencil-drawn look going on the textures and character animations.

It's inspired by a bunch of different sources, one being a Playstation title called Toonenstein developed by one of my old employers, TerraGlyph Interactive, back in the late 90's. There's also a lot of inspiration from Miyazaki's Spirited Away, as well as the influence of having read a lot of Sandman comics back in the day. There's also the inevitable Lovecraft influence, some Norse Mythology, a certain mid-80's music video that shall not be named, and a dash of Wikipedia Gnosticism.

The demo is pretty rough right now- you can navigate between a few partially decorated rooms, add and remove bject from your inventory and trigger a result when solving one puzzle. My hope, after fleshing out the design docs further, would be to add enough content to attempt a Kickstarter campaign. Of course, since my plans don't include Zombies, voxel graphics or rogue-like elements, failure is almost certain.

Check out the link- there's a playable build on the project's GameJolt page. Like I said it's very early, but I'll keep posting updated versions as I get them stable.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Sorry about the long delay since my last update- I've put "Aerogyre Racing" aside for a few weeks to work on something else pretty special for Gritty Reboot Studios, which I'm not quite ready to share yet.

Stay tuned, though- I'm hoping to have something I can post pretty soon!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Just a few aesthetic changes this week, but they're pretty big ones. First, the new driver is actually driving the Aerogyre now- he's working the pedals as he steers, and I have a placeholder animation running whenever he casts a spell.

Second, I added a reflection shader to the Aerogyre to gloss it up a bit, and created an alpha reflection map. It looks pretty slick now, and (at least on my machine) didn't take much of a performance hit.

Monday, June 2, 2014

I also added a screen-cap tool, which I finished up this morning during my commute to work. It allows me to pause the game and swing the camera around, so I can grab some more varied screen shots. Here's a few I grabbed on my lunch hour today:

Next, I plan to finish up the vehicle with a few last details, get spellcasting animations in, and try to get the track looking a bit better.

Really, I'm just looking for reasons to put off fixing the AI, so that the other racers might actually present a challenge!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

It's been a little while since my last update, but I've added a new vehicle and rider to the game, which took a frustratingly long time to do. My process for getting human figures together starts with MakeHuman, then goes through AC3D and Photoshop to get the textures and UVs right, then to Messiah 5 for rigging and animation before it all gets dropped into Unity. I'm pretty sure it's time to bite the bullet and get a better production path in place.

One big change was enlarging all the vehicles and riders, which has brought the aerogyres up to scale with the scenery, and makes interacting with the other riders more satisfying.

Friday, May 16, 2014

New update to the Demo this morning, as well as a new video posted to the IndieDB page showing the infrastructure for spellcasting in the game. All graphics are placeholders, and the interface for seeing how many motes you have and what each spell will cost needs to be completely overhauled. Still, it gives a pretty good sense of how spells might be used in a race.

Also, I went through the code and replaced some rookie mistakes with much more sophisticated mistakes, which has resulted in a better framerate- which my clunky screen capture software does a very good job of hiding.

I took another stab at lightmapping in Unity, which resulted in much softer shadows and a step towards graphical goodness.

Lastly, I added some basic collision avoidance to the enemy vehicle, resulting in a whopping 70% success rate in completing a lap.

Oh, and the music, since you're asking, is a track called Artichaut by Chinese Man, who in my daydream success scenario would be hired to provide all the music for the game, as well as anything else I ever do, ever.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

I've mocked-up the spellcasting idea, and I think it's going to work. It's a bit clumsy right now- the interface definitely needs work, but the basic idea seems solid.

If you try the demo, the "N" and "M" keys cycle through the three spells you can choose from- the dial in the lower right corner shows how many motes you have (the dial), how many the spell will need (the red band behind the dial) and which spell is ready (the icon in the little window). Pressing the space bar will fire off the spell- right now only the shield and the lightning bolt work, but I can envision lots of possibilities for different spells.