After Lotus Point #001

Hello world!

It has been a long time since we updated this blog, but I’m happy to report that is because we’ve been crushing it hardcore. There is still a long way to go but here is the first public preview of our game ‘After Lotus Point’…

As you can see it’s a sci-fi themed space game, and it has exploration / resource gathering / dealing with hostile forces at the centre of the gameplay.

This is all fairly early stuff and we will be posting more detail as things progress.. more soon!

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Demiurge actual.

After an amount of refinement and a larger amount of bug fixes we finally have a neatly-downloadable version of DEMIURGE.

Changes from GGJ version:

1. An actual ending.

2.Improved menu.

3. Tweaks on gameplay.

4. Nvidia driver bug sorted out.

5. Possibly some other things that I don’t know about.

 

We have housed the game on our new itch.io page, which is admittedly pretty sparse looking right now… go and check it out.

Props if you can make this scene actually happen in-game.

Superglow neon madness.

 

Global Games Jam 2015.

To begin with I’d like to point out that, as we have previously said, one of the issues with a two-person team is things take forever and we are focused on tasks that aren’t blogging about progress…

However a few weeks ago Phill and myself took part in the Global Games Jam event, and because that is self contained it’s easy to post up a bunch of stuff about it!

The theme for the jam was ‘what do we do now?” and we chose to take that in a dangerously route one direction and make some kind of game where the player doesn’t know for sure what the task is, or how to complete it.

The key mechanic for this, we decided, would be a ‘warmer-colder’ type feedback system. What that meant practically was a game where you get a pleasing sound rising in pitch when you do something correctly, and ¬†descending in pitch when you do something wrong. We reinforced this by having everything change colour at the same time- brighter for YES!, darker for NO!

 

Look how clever and cryptic we are haha!

What do we do now?

As you can see from the above screencap, we even made a menu. Very professional.

Now as I’m sure many of you will know, the nature of a gamejam means things very quickly get strange, and this project was no exception. Before we knew it we were making some kind of hell dimension puzzle. And we were OK with that.

The main idea throughout was to keep the player guessing, and we chose a KNIGHMARE referencing aesthetic. Partially to pay a nostalgic homage to our collective childhood, partially because it looks cool.

ENTER, STRANGER.

A bizarre, hell-like environment.

If I explain any more it will ruin the experience (hahahahaha) so why not head over to the GGJ page and have a look.

We intend to polish it up and correct some of the more… idiosyncratic moments. In the mean time we’d love to hear your feedback.

Pennies and Post-its.

Sometimes you simply need to go back to basics and find a simple, direct method of making sure your silly high-concept ideas actually work.
Recently we did that by making post-it-note cards that represented various structures in a puzzle (the first the player-character will likely encounter) and old-fashionedly made sure it all added up.

This means something. We promise.

Old-time game design.

This was a success in two ways- firstly the basic idea did indeed work (always handy) and secondly we managed to identify a few canards we could simply cut without developing further. A minute saved is a minute… earned?
Anyway it is quite possible to get pretty far into something and realise you haven’t established or tested certain key elements that 100% NEED to function properly. As more hours rack up on the project we thought it a good time to actually do some safety-checking.

Engine Basics

Interesting workplace, I'm sure that floating brain is a real slave driver

Interesting workplace, I’m sure that floating brain is a real slave driver

The classic

The classic

So, it’s been a while since i posted last but stuff has been moving. I have made a serious start on the engine, I have gone for a ‘roll your own’ approach which may seem like masochism to many people but is, for me, a good deal of the joy of working on a game. It also has the additional benefit of never encountering an issue that cannot be fixed.

Features so far:

  • Deferred Render Pipeline
  • Normal mapping
  • Per-texel material properties (Specular, Specular function, Gloss, Ambient / Emissive)
  • Direct lighting with shadow mapping (buggy)
  • Tile based Dynamic point lights (diffuse and specular)
  • Quad tree LOD terrain
  • Reverse ray-traced model paint feature (more on this below)
  • more I’m sure

Reverse ray-traced model painting?

It became apparent that we could nether afford in time or money to buy or learn a fully featured 3D package, and it would not really play to Luke’s strengths as a painter. It would be far better to be able to paint the scene in photoshop and transfer the painting into texture space, I bought a simple program for this purpose (pixexix) however it was very alpha and little bit riddled with bugs. We don’t have time to wait for it to mature but the concept was sound so I implemented my own, it did not take to long, it also allows us to paint material properties, see the actual results in engine, place lights, create scenes and test shit so its a bit of a win.

 

Pseudofamiliarity

The interesting and frustrating thing about being the lead (by which I mean sole) artist on a project is the responsibility for creating lore-applicable imagery on the fly.
I’ve just been finishing up some artwork to be used for promotion, and it called for some kind of alien writing.
Yet it has to be recognisable *as* writing and not seem like a picture or something.

I like things that seem familiar yet aren’t- misleading in a playful way. So I sketched out some eldritch hieroglyphs until I liked what I was looking at. The following image was then used as a basis for a much larger element of the finished artwork.
shadow_prism_writing

Doesn’t look much I know, but it require thinking about the concepts from a different perspective.

Groundwork #3

The technology was used to visit strange worlds.... at forst

The technology was used to visit strange worlds…. at first

A big part of creating a game (for me) is fleshing out back story and making a rich world, even if that may not be directly seen in the final product. I like to develop these aspects and create a detailed space for the project to inhabit.

Luke