Holiday Update

Dec 242014
 
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Hello everyone, welcome to this general update regarding the current state of development! Since the end of Gamescom in late August I’ve been working very hard to basically deconstruct a lot of what I had done in a hurry and re-code quite a few things (almost) from scratch, in order to make them much more solid and modular.

This is an example of some UI code, before and after Gamescom (thanks to Unity’s 4.6 release). As you can see things are much more concise. Which results in code that’s easier to maintain and expand on as needed:

ScreenShot 2014_09_21 12;05;16001_comp2

On that topic let me share one thought: anyone is capable of doing complicated things, there’s really no merit in that. What’s more difficult is accomplishing complex things in a simple, elegant way. As Paul often says, “Be Kind to your Future Self”. It means that while I would be able to just bang out something quick and dirty, several weeks down the line I would also have a hard time understanding why I did what I did the way I did it.

Which is also the reason I always annotate my code. Because I wear so many hats on the project I need to keep track of the reasoning behind what I’m doing.

Another example of this streamlining process is in the animation tree of the actors. By fully leveraging Unity’s Mecanim system I was able to considerably reduce the complexity of the animation’s transitions:

screenshot_mecanim_anyState

Still on the topic of animation, something we didn’t have yet at Gamescom is fully dynamic skinned attachments. Behind that mouthful hides a simple concept: Tilo and the game’s other actors now have dynamic appendages and props, blending in nicely with existing animation.

For example on this Vine video you can see both Tilo’s ears, his tail, hood, lute and belt props (pouch and purse) are fully dynamic. It helps a lot in fluidizing animation transitions:

Finally, some miscellaneous bullet points, in no particular order:

  • The Rats have now more attack types and animations
  • The spiders are fully integrated in-game, with final model, animations, specific AI, etc…
  • The structure for the game is completely defined, thanks to Paul. That entails the main quests, locations required, etc…
  • Insects are now scurrying on the floor, which adds a lot of life, especially in dark dungeons (and the spiders LOVE them!)
  • Tilo can now close doors as well as open them. And the Rats can also open doors (which sounds easier to do than it is!)
  • Distractions system now feels fairly solid, with visual and auditory triggers (been iterating a lot on that)
  • Inventory and props swapping feel much more intuitive now

There are many, many more improvements and bug fixes all over and you can rest assured that although the task remains daunting, everyone involved is doing their best so that we can all be proud when Ghost of a Tale is finally released next year.

May all of you have a wonderful holiday!! 🙂

  9 Responses to “Holiday Update”

  1. Great news all around, glad to hear it!

    Regarding the code I always try to remember this adage: “the problem with ‘quick and dirty’ is that ‘quick’ is long forgotten when ‘dirty’ is still here”.

  2. Two words: Amazing & DLC! (Well, I suppose that was more than two). This is one of the very few projects I’m glad I backed.

  3. There’s something extremely satisfying about seeing code streamlined and optimised.

    Also, that video clip of Tilo running is very impressive! I absolutely love how dynamic it looks, with all the moving parts and objects. Very well done!

    I hope Seith and the rest of the team working on the game and the forum have a great holiday!

  4. Your animation background really shows in that Vine! The fluidity and detail of the movement looks nicer than a lot of (most?) big budget games I’ve seen. I like the way he pricks up his ears just before he looks around. Really looking forward to this game.

  5. So glad I backed you.
    Every update no matter how little you show that gives us a glimpse of the game is AMAZING!

    Have a great holiday and new year.

    And I am looking forward to the release.
    If you haven’t already, consider Steam Early Access.
    It will generate revenue to help you through your dev time.

  6. Nice update. Tilo is so adorable and cute. I like his new dynamic movements and animations, good job.

    Merry Christmas and happy holidays! 🙂

  7. Great stuff.. and you are right about annotating everything. You always think (when you are in a rush) that you will remember what you did.. hehe you won’t
    .

  8. Still can’t get over how fluid the animation is! I just love Tilo’s bouncy ears.

    It would be really cool if his ears slightly moved towards the direction of sounds. For example, Tilo’s ears would slightly turn inwards if he hears something in front of him.

    I’m not sure if mice do this in real life, but I know that cats and other animals do. It could be a really cool aspect of the stealth gameplay.

  9. I’m impressed by how you condensed the mecanim animation transitions. Care to explain how you did that? Where did you hide the transitions, for example going from an idle to a run.

    Also, what you’ve done so far looks fantastic.

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