Tuesday, November 26, 2013

November Game Project Progress Update - Week 03 (Much Ado About LERPing)

What a beautiful pain in my backside...

What a week it has been! Life had attempted to intervene and distract me from my project, but I've still managed to get plenty of time in. I know this post is technically being made on Week 04, but I really wanted to have some things to talk about before I made a proper post.

What I accomplished:
 - Completely broke and then re-wrote my camera system
 - Implemented the bones of a push interaction for my character
 - Basic Title and Ending screen functionality
 - Music now plays in my game

What I started:
 - I began applying actual textures to my environment
 - Wrote a quick background summary of my world
 - began fleshing out the in-game story
 - character illustrations for side-characters

What I still need to work on:
 - Prop modeling
 - Character Sprite
 - Character Animation
 - Finish Texture work on environment (Diffuse, Spec, and Normals)

So this week I had the bright idea to try Interpolating the movements of my camera from scene to scene. It looked like using Unity's built-in "LERP" function would be easy. No-Dice. I actually ended screwing up my whole camera system and rewriting it from scratch. I'll be more careful next time for sure.
It was much more difficult than I thought it would be, but I finally have an object in my scene that gets pushed around when my character runs into it. Unfortunately it doesn't stop when it runs into walls though... Minor details, right? The good news about this, though is that I can now start working on building puzzles for my game and turning this into something that I can actually show off to people.
I do these weekly Work Jams with my friend Jenn Johnson at her place. It's really good for me, because it means that I get out of my house and away from my computer for a bit. This has allowed me to dedicate some time every week to drawing and writing. I hope that doesn't have to stop any time soon.
I still haven't really done any prop modeling, so I think that will have to be my major focus for this week. I already have some sketches and ideas for what I want to populate my environments with, and I hope that there aren't any other major issues or events creeping up that might hinder my progress-Oh yeah Thanksgiving...
Well, since this month is almost over anyway, I think this is as good of time as any to start talking about where I feel this project is going. I don't really think I am going to be finished with this by the end of November. I can have the whole demo together, but bad. That much is possible, but I don't believe it would be realistic to expect the whole project will be completed and polished. But that's fine! I am going to keep on working on this until it is done! The whole point of this for me was to see if I could work on a project for a whole month without losing interest, and at this point I am willing to call this a major success. I am not only still actively working after almost a month, but the passion for this project has only grown more immense.
That's all I have to say for this week. I promise I'll be back before the end of the month to do another progress update. Hopefully I'll have some really rad nonsense to show off, too.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

November Game Project Progress Update - Week 02 (Electric Boogaloo)

Week 02! What a week this has been for my project! I may not have gotten all of the things that I had wanted to work on done, but the things which I have done and/or started are definitely a boost in the right direction.

What I accomplished:
 - Implemented a basic camera system
 - Character Exploration
 - Began painting and placing textures in the environment
 - First pass on dungeon musical theme

What I started:
 - Started working on character push
 - thumbnailing for the title screen
 - placement of basic lighting

What I still need to work on:
 - I had wanted to create a tentative character sprite
 - I need to finish scripting the character push
 - Implement a basic title screen for my game
 - I need to model some environment assets
 - Drawings drawings drawings...

Alright, This week I am proud to say that I built a basic camera rig for my game. It doesn't yet transition the way I would like it to from screen to screen, but it is functional for the purposes of usability. I wanted to rework the character sprite that I had started on many months ago. It was essentially just a caricature of myself. At first I was holding myself strictly to some proportions that Nintendo had used for Zelda, but now I am exploring in a completely new direction. There's no reason that my character needs to be rounded and cute. In fact: I feel as though the game itself might be better served by a taller and thinner character.

The texturing process for my game is going pretty smooth. I made the strategic decision to use 64x64 textures in a single 1024x1024 texture file. This has left me with a pile of space to work with. In a previous iteration of my project, I had used 32x32 textures which were fun to work on, but left me wanting for environmental fidelity. I now have double the resolution to work with and I can make textures that have a bit more grit, visual noise, and finer detail.

This week has been very busy, and even so I have found time to work on my project.  Week 03 will have much more free time for me. I hope that I can keep up this momentum, and push beyond my expectations.

Friday, November 08, 2013

November Game Project Progress Update - Week 01

Yes, what a productive first week for my game this has been! Let's get right into it then...

 - Created an outline of my monthly goals
 - Set up weekly meetings with my friend and former producer Joni Johnston
 - Began exploring the art direction for my game with sketches and tentative level layouts
 - Created a week to week outline for what I need to get done (Organization! Hurrah!)
 - Blocked in the level layout in Maya
 - Created a new Unity project with a working dummy character and imported the level
 - Character can move and is stopped by colliding with walls (hooray!)
 - Began contacting people to playtest my game

Now that the bullet points are over with, what exactly have I been working on? It should be no surprise to anyone that knows me that I have once again began working on my love letter to the Zelda franchise. I love Zelda games. I love everything about the history and aesthetic of the worlds that Nintendo has constructed for Zelda over the past 25 years, and it has always been one of my goals to create my own version of one of those games. This month is all about laying down the foundations for a bigger project. This month is ambitious, but it is actually just the first baby steps into what I hope will be a much bigger project over time. I will go more in depth with that sometime in the future, but for now let me leave you with some sketching I did yesterday:

I promise to post more soon. 
- Jonathan Gardner

Saturday, November 02, 2013

My Own Version of NaNoWriMo

I've decided to do NaNoWriMo this year, but instead of writing: I'm going to make a game. I've already begun working on my project and have a few friends interested in helping. This might actually become a slightly bigger deal than I expected. I'm okay with that.
On Monday I have my first work jam and meeting with my producer to create milestones and flesh out objectives. :D
I'll keep my blog updated on my progress.