Toasty Alpha – Term 1 Retrospective

toastycover

With the Toasty alpha ready for hand in i’ll be taking a break from game development for a week or so (at least after the dissertation is finally done) but before that i’ll wrap this project up with a quick retrospective on how this term has informed how Toasty will be, going forward.

toastymecanic_features1v2

Firstly one of this sprint’s main aims was to determine the viability of multiple routes of research and to see if I could practically develop what this games concept needed to work; AI state machines, room editors, root motion animation, wall clinging and so on. From the experiments and progress i’ve made so far it would seem that fortunately all these areas are currently viable enough to continue with onto the next sprint and won’t require any cutting. The next step at the start of the next sprint will be to use what I’ve learnt so far to plan how these multiple systems can be properly developed to work with each other.

007_TostyAlpha_FinalLevel_03.png

Secondly the other main aim was to make a functioning first playable that I could use as a frame of reference to revise the game’s concept. After seeing the finished prototype, and trying out the gameplay one key thing i’ve realised about the Toasty concept is that I don’t want it to be a sneaking stealth game. Toasty isn’t about the hiding and avoidance, it’s about the chase and escape, a humorous stealth game that focuses on making the player feel smart for outwitting the guards and raring the chance to engage them again and again, not hide and stab them.

Narrative2.png

Going forward this game will set out on developing AI that acts as the Elmer Fudd to the players Bugs Bunny, starting with some simple changes in their focus and behaviour next sprint. While i’ll leave the details to the next sprints revised design document this will mean a more predominate role for the RobotAvatar and of environmental props and opportunities for the use in slapstick, which in turn will be used for level solutions. A new pillar for this concept is humor over difficulty to provide the players satisfaction in play.

To view the entire development of the Toasty Alpha follow this link to see only the Toasty related post here: https://runninginthehamsterwheel.wordpress.com/category/toasty-alpha/

Toasty Alpha – Term 1 Retrospective

Toasty Alpha and Ghostly Apparitions Concept – Milestone 3 end of Term Presentation

toasty-alpha

Milestone 3 is this monday where I will be doing a final presentation on the development and progress of the Toasty Alpha this sprint.

Along with that I will also be presenting a potential new concept that I would like to get feedback from my lectures for, a HTC Vive/mouse and keyboard game with the working title “Ghostly Apparitions”.

Ghostly Apparitions HTC Vive Game Concept (2).png

Old man model your the gift that keeps on giving

While I wouldn’t be keen on dropping the Toasty project I have been recently considering the advantages of the HTC Vive marketplace. The concept for “Ghostly Apparitions” is one I am quite fond of, alongside that it is a concept that would be viable for both VR and non VR gameplay (though funner through vive) and from a marketing perspective VR games have an advantage in the amount of noise they make.

Ghostly Apparitions HTC Vive Game Concept.jpg

It is no secret to anyone who knows me that i’ve not been too keen on the Vive games i’ve seen so far, while there have been a few experiences that have experimented with the tech in interesting ways or provide a reasonable level of polish i’ve barely seen any that I think are worth the incredibly overblown prices tags on it’s current market.

ghostly-apparitions-htc-vive-game-concept-3

At the moment going down this route is neither here nor there, devlopment wise the research required for Toasty or Ghostly Apparitions is close enough that it doesn’t really set me back that much either way on witch one I go forward with, plus I am fond of both concepts. What route I go down will ultimately be largely based on the feedback this monday… and if I can get steamVR to work…(Why did I download windows 10 it has caused only pain)

Toasty Alpha and Ghostly Apparitions Concept – Milestone 3 end of Term Presentation

Toasty – Practical work On Hold and dissertation

Now i’ve got the practical work where I would like it to be, I will be taking the next two weeks or so to get some headway on my dissertation. After that slog I will then return to Toasty, the few weeks before the hand in, to work on and revise the project’s documentation e.g. The art bible and design doc.

icon_01
If possible I would also like to do more concept art alongside finding references when I do the art bible. Though not essential yet, due to my focus on and the time required to simply develop Toastys development tools and systems, I would like to try and round off this project’s base a bit more before the christmas break.

Toasty – Practical work On Hold and dissertation

Taosty – Course Milestone 1, Presentation and Onesheet

Toasty_October2016OnesheetHiR.png

On October the 15th the course had its first milestone for the alpha project, where everyone in the course needed to do a short presentation of our projects to the lectures. Above is the one sheet I showed. Alongside this I also present the current concept art and a video of me playing through prototype 003 level.

All in all the feedback was positive, the concept of a non violent stealth game seemed appreciated and they liked the focus on humor in the concept.

Taosty – Course Milestone 1, Presentation and Onesheet

Prototype 003 – Review

It’s been a long time coming, months of developing tools and systems, and while that can’t all be seen in this one little scene the work is there. Prototype 003 as it is now is what I intend  to hand in as the end result of this term, along with documentation of my tools. For the rest of this term my focus will be on catching up with the dissertation and other, less practical or hands on work, I have left to get this done.

Some things to look at I noted while working on prototype 003 where:

  • The camera system and room visibility should be merge. Alongside this I need to make a tool that allows for only specific groups on the player reference spline to be available to track if the player is in a definable zone, this stops jumping between tracks at thin walls.
  • The shadow entity works surprisingly well, the robot body does not, while still not the highest priority I look forward to being able to rework its movement system from the ground up.

Not many notes for now, but i’m sure more will pop up after playtesting by other people and when I choose to write up my final critic and documents for my games systems.

Prototype 003 – Review

Prototype 003 – Visual Do over and getting ready for presentation

After some tweaking and refining the level I was confident of prototype 002.8’s design and started to get it ready for presentation. This is intended to be the final level I hand in for this term and show to my peers at the courses playtesting session, so evidently I want it to be snazzy. While not final assets I did take a day or two to make some extra animated greyboxes, props and small features to make the game feel that much more done. Below are the additions I made from 002.8 to 003.

Replaced Basic Assets

Doc_026.png

The carrying boxes, doors and environment were all giving some basic greyboxs and colours to spruce them up. Along with this scripts and props like the doors and noise distractions where change to incorporate animation instead of colour changes.

docGif_06.gif

Ah to animate again, I really need to find more excuses for it

I also had a go with trying to light up the scene. This is an area I have little experience with, so I will need to take the time to research this later this year when this project reaches the art stage.

Specific Level Assets

Doc_027.png

Wires were added to inform the player what trigger activated what, they would also glow to let the player know they were active.

Sounds

I’ve now added some basic sound to most actions and items in the scene from a soundpack I brought on the asset store.

Level transitions

Doc_029.png

I added in a basic start screen to the game and fade in and out between scene transitions. When the player reaches the end of the level there is now a specific animation sequences that plays before the scene fades out.

Death and Patrollers

Doc_028.png

When the AI Patroller catches the player, the player will play a shutdown animation and the screen will fade out before the level restarts. In the final game the patrollers capturing the player will not be that immediate, but for the sake of testing this will do.

Prototype 003 – Visual Do over and getting ready for presentation

Prototype 002.8 – Final Early Prototype

Doc_020.png

With the AI finally fixed up I was now free to start work on the final prototype of this term. The aim of this level was to demonstrate the three different approaches I can currently imagine taking in the design of my puzzles in Toasty, and to see how they felt to play:

  • Manipulating objects directly using the shadow entity and robot abilities.
  • Manipulating AI’s through noise triggers and the shadow entity.
  • Avoiding and navigation AI patrol patterns to reach the end.

Along with this I have also developed a few small additional features and tools that either helped polished the feel of the game, or added more options for my puzzles and were required.

Additional noise sources

Doc_022.png

Originally falling boxes could generate noise and would attract enemies to their position. However using this system in a playerbale manner would require a lot of additional features, such as a in game reset of those boxes positions, that while planed would take up too much development time now. To get around this I have instead made static intractable objects the noise triggers used to attract the AI Patrollers

Doc_021.png

These work exactly the same as the old noise objects except they have a specific settable location they give the AI, so, as seen in puzzel two, I can direct the AI to trigger level essential buttons. Because of this addition, and the lack of features mentioned earlier, I decided to remove the sound triggers from the falling boxes for now.

Area Visibility

Doc_023.png

Most 3rd person games with indoor locations i’ve seen hide rooms you logically shouldn’t be able to see. Being a stealth game this mechanic makes sense, and adds value to the shadows Entities scouting ability and so I have added this system to the level. This system works by revealing and hiding the mesh renders of objects that obscure specific rooms from view, based on where the player is on the player reference spline, and the currently open and closed doors.

Noise Area Script And Visual Prompt

toastybulletpoints_sheet003Taking inspiration from the (2003)XIII game I wanted to give players visual prompts of enemy positions or events in area blocked from sight, using 2D visual prompts(seen in the concept sheet above).

Doc_025.png

To the left the generator is on and hiding the Enemy’s position, to the left it is off.

Alongside what is shown in the prototype I have also developed a system for the noisy areas discussed above though this isn’t seen in the current playable levels, it may be used in the future.

Doc_024.png

(2003)XIII by Ubisoft Paris, one of the few stealth focused games I have actually played and finished, good times.

Prototype 002.8 – Final Early Prototype