Hey everyone, I'm sorry I missed last Sunday's post!
The video update is not yet ready, I'm going to try my best to get it done for next Monday. There are a couple of reasons for this but the main one is that I've decided to make some big changes to the game's level design process and this has taken up most of my time.
Progress on the Kobold is going well! The art assets are now in the game and its mechanics are almost complete. Something we might still add to it is a tail but this won't be until I've got the basics finished and the problems ironed out. The biggest problem by far is the legs. They are much better than they have been before but there is still something weird about them. I think it might be because the body is not affected by their movement so I might try adding a subtle bobbing motion to the body. Either way, this is going to be a very fun enemy to infest and fight with when it's done!
As I've mentioned before, I have created a specialised level designer project for Squillamorph. The output from this designer is a set of images, one for each layer of the level. Up until this point, I have thought this would benefit us because we could directly edit the level in Photoshop. However, the downsides of this method have begun to outweigh the positive aspects. I'll list a few: The time it takes to make a level with the current method is way too long, the process is complicated, the output images are massive, tweaking the design takes too long, and I had to write a really complicated guide to be able to use it. To sum it up, it needs to change.
I've spent a large amount of time creating a new and much simpler level designer. This one doesn't use any overly complicated image rendering, which means the levels will now use lots of smaller sprites and tile-maps instead of a few large sprites. So far, I've been able to almost finish remaking the existing levels, which already shows how much faster it is to use. I've also been able to use a few parts of the old designer, which has helped.
Although I put a large amount of time into something that isn't needed anymore, I did learn a huge amount while making the old designer.
New Level Effects
The new level design process allows us to easily make more layers of parallax. However, my existing parallax system wasn't great. So, I did some research and found a much better method that we can even use in the editor to place parallax assets more accurately.
Another new effect I am testing is depth of field. This isn't a custom effect, but one in the Unity post processing stack. We might be using it to help convey depth in the levels now we have more control over the placement of individual assets.
That's it for this post! There's about the same amount as a 1 week progress post because I was running and taking part in a game jam this past week! I really enjoyed it and learnt a few things that I'll can do for Squillamorph.
Hope you like the progress we've made, thanks for reading!
Hey everyone! In the last post, I said that there might be a video dev-log starting soon. There will not be one this week but I expect to get one done before the end of this month.
I have made some minor tweaks to the level designer project. I found out that I had not finished one of the functions of the render process, so I added that in. I also made some minor tweaks to the prefab assembly step of the level design process so that it is more automated. The designer is now at a point where we can really start making levels, as I have started to over the past week.
This is something I should have done from the very beginning but haven't until now. I have created a test room level to make it easier for me to test mechanics and enemies. It is very simple but worth mentioning because you will see it in one of the GIFs in this post.
The Kobold aka. 'Root-Toot-Point-&-Shoot'
I needed a break from system improvements and tutorials this week. So, I started creating the next enemy, which was the only other normal enemy besides the Flop Shark in the prototype demo. This enemy is called the Kobold. Originally, it was called Root-Toot-Point-&-Shoot, but this name is too long for us to work with so we renamed it. The above GIF is of the old version in the prototype.
So here it is now, in an early development form. The Kobold currently has one ability, the grenade throw which you can see in the GIF. This grenade does not deal damage but launches any creature away from it. The idea is that they will use the grenades to get up to higher areas. This will be one of the hardest things to get working properly with the pathfinding but I've got some ideas in the works for that. The other hardest challenge to solve with this enemy is something I have struggled with since the demo, leg movement.
The legs will work in the same way as the arms of the Flop Shark, but they pose a much greater challenge because they shouldn't logically go above the hips of the creature. I have some idea of how to do this but it is going to take some time to perfect. It gets even more complex when I realise that the Kobolds will need to climb in some situations. I am tempted to give them an arm to use in this situation to make their climbing look more plausible. Obviously, they wouldn't be able to use both arms here because one of them is a gun. I have not got the gun attack setup yet but I am looking forward to the fun chaos that might create!
I have started designing a few new levels to be used in the Flop Shark region of the game. They are still early designs and may change but I thought it would be good to show at least one of them!
Other tweaks include changing the tutorial screen that used to appear when infesting a creature to a name screen. This might change again but I think it is interesting to have something appear the first time you infest a new creature. We've also started creating a menu to show the Mutagens you collect and a proper HUD to replace the boring text placeholders I'm currently using, very exciting!
That's it for this post! I hope you like how the game is going. Thanks for reading!
Hey everyone, it's been another week of good progress! I've mainly focused on getting the tutorial level working properly. I did do some documentation again but as I've been talking about that a lot over the last two posts I won't be talking about it in this one.
While I haven't spent much time on this, I have added some minor additions that should help teach the player how to play. I've done quite a lot of research into tutorial methods now. What I found is that making a good tutorial hinges on finding the balance between direct instruction and player discovery. I've decided to only show the player how to use the basic mechanics and then let them experiment with them to discover how best to use them, at least until I get some feedback on this. Another aspect of the tutorial that I'm going to push is mechanic reinforcement, which ties into the previous point. Once taught a mechanic, I force the player into a situation where they must use it multiple times to progress so that they can get used to it. I cannot say whether this actually works, but I am fairly confident it will.
You can see it in the above GIF, but I should probably mention that I've made the 'Helix' dash cooldown effect more noticeable. Now, instead of just the player's edge colour changing to white, the whole character changes colour. I'm not sure if it will stay as a white colour but it makes the cooldown a lot clearer either way.
In the last post, I mentioned that I would work on some more level designs. I've managed to get an initial design for the Flop Shark tutorial level. However, I'm still working on getting this setup so it isn't ready to show yet. I expect there will be something to show in the next post though!
I thought it was about time that I work on the combat. The first thing I added was a stun effect. This was very easy to add and should prove fun to use in combat. However, it will need thorough testing once fully implemented to ensure it isn't overpowered. Then I added in functionality for a skill element in the combat. Every third player attack will deal double damage. I don't have a proper indication of the skill attack yet so I've added a placeholder effect for now. While adding this skill element sounds simple, I ended up overhauling the combat system I've also added a more evident particle effect to the enemies for when they take damage and it looks much more satisfying. In addition to this, I've added a freeze frame effect for extra satisfaction. This only triggers on skill attack hits and enemy deaths so it isn't overused.
Now because I was working on the tutorial, I had to teach the player how to use the Test Dummy enemy. When I tested this for the first time after making changes to the combat, some bad bugs happened. These bugs were much worse than those I mentioned in the last post. Making the aforementioned combat changes completely broke them. So, I spent a day ironing out as many of their issues as I could. The most frustrating issue was the joust problem where they get stuck in the ability state, moving around uselessly. It took me hours to find that a single line of code meant all of the joust ability logic was ignored. Needless to say, I was very irritated by this but pleased I had finally fixed it. In an effort to make my life easier in future, I cleaned up the Test Dummy script. Thanks to the combat system changes I was able to remove a substantial amount of code from the script.
Something I've wanted to have in the game for a while now is better control over time. I wanted to have a system that allows me to control the speed of time for individual elements of the game. So, I attempted to make it this week. However, I had not done any research into this sort of system and as a result I failed to make it work. I then did some research into it and discovered how hard to make and unnecessary this type of system is. In short, I've scrapped this system and instead created one that gives me a bit more control over Unity's time system, which has more than enough functionality. Anyway, it was a good lesson learned.
That's it for this post! The next one might be slightly different because I'd like to start doing video development logs. These would be monthly video updates to go along with these weekly posts. However, I cannot confirm that this will happen next week but you can look forward to this, or at least something like it, happening in the future at some point! Anyway, thanks for reading!
I'm the game developer for Squillamorph. I'll post here on the devlog as often as I can.