tagged sealskin

A lot has happened in the last three weeks! We got a programer, we lost a programer, we might have another programer coming on. It’s been a ride, but the good news is we’re still on track and one way or another we will have a proof of concept ready for October’s ImagineNATIVE! I have to say that I feel that if I hadn’t been using sprints for this project we might have been in trouble, as it is I’m finding I’m learning a lot about how to prioritize features and set task lists for sprints.

I’m getting to see first hand how useful Agile and Scrum can be, but also that what they provide is a way of moving with the flow not really a way to mitigate all future problems.

In the meantime Tara has done up some dummy scenes for promotional purposes and they’ve been a great way for us to start solidifying the artistic vision. In the next two weeks I want to have a functional build of the first three levels to test the movement before moving on to adding the triggered challenges.

So we’ve decided to use AI now for the secondary character which means I needed to rethink how the game world would work entirely. Here you can see in this newest movement test that I’ve created a 3D world but that it will look 2D once the game is working. This is because AI uses NavMesh and currently Unity3D does not have a 2D NavMesh nor can I create NavMesh anywhere but what Unity deems is the “Top” of 3D objects.
So first I created a world that the AI could move through, using distance to create locations where I can gate which sister can do what. For example the purple block represents climbing areas, only Sister 2 can climb so I wanted to be sure that Sister 1 would not be able to reach these places when the AI was in control.
However, this meant that there would be times that the player agent needed to move down, but I didn’t want gravity on so I adapted Ground Check to drag the player down to each level once they were not touching ground or water, I will have to figure out how to do the opposite to get them out of water.

Right now I’m only focusing on getting the player controls working. The player has two states, human and seal, as a human currently they can only travel in the x-axis on land or water (Sister 2 will eventually have an exception when climbing), but when they are seals in the water they will be able to move freely in both the x and y axis.

Currently human form is represented by pink and seal by cyan. When the player is pink they cannot move up or down, only left to right, even when in water. When cyan and on land the player can only move left or right, but once they are in water they can move up, down, left and right to represent swimming.

Tara sent me the designs for the two characters and they look awesome!
When I started this project I had envisioned it being about these two sisters of similar age, one who was stereotypically beautiful and the other who was this kinda of brute looking girl who then needs to go out and save her sister…but there was always something a little meh, about that whole idea.
Then two things happened I saw Tara’s (@seaohso ) drawing of her Dragon Age character and I saw this animator’s work where she was testing jump cycles on a character. This character totally changed my idea for the game, becuase it was a woman with a cloak and no other clothes but she wasn’t sexualized at all. Suddenly, I realized I wanted unsexy naked ladies running around and Tara just jumped on the idea.

I didn’t give her a lot of information on what the two girls should look like, I wanted her artistic vision to inform their design. All I said was their was an older one who was strong and a younger one who could climb high. I had never considered having the younger sister be a little sister, but I liked it, a lot, so we went in that direction leading us to the initial human character designs in the top picture.
The third is a sketch of possible seal-forms, but I think the older sister’s design will be changing soon.

Sketched out the first three levels.
I find drawing them out how I would like to see them in the game helps me quickly identify where I should introduce a new mechanic, where I should have the player test that mechanic and then when I should ramp up the difficulty. So for example in the level 2 sketch (middle), I want to show the player that certain things will break when the older sister hits it, I then have the player use this a few times. In the next level (last) I show the player that sometimes tall rooks in the water will break trapping them in ( and that they’ll die if they stay underwater too long) THEN I want the player to realize that sometimes THEY are the reason that the rocks can break and trap them in.

Going through all of this I can look back and see that right at the end of level 2 is a good place to show that the player breaking through things (even though they have no choice) can cause unintended effects (Like big ass rocks breaking off and hurting you!)

Once I start going into the next two or three levels (this is only a 15-25min demo after all) I will look back and see where I can add relevant information for my player or suggest things that are going to happen.

I’ve started a new project, hopefully will have the proof of concept ready to go by September.
Basically, I’m making my Sealskin pitch (Which you can check out in my Pitch section). I’m working with a great new artist Tara @seaohso, check her stuff out!

Here I have a quick prototype of my controls, since I made this I’ve reconsidered my approach to the player controls and I’m now moving to RootMotion and NavMesh. I’ll be prototyping those controls for next week. I’m taking a lot of my ideas on motion control from Oxenfree by Night School Studio. It’s a 2D game but it uses a 3D space and models with a 2D world layered on top.

The biggest reason I’m trying this approach is that I have two characters and while I can also make it multiplayer I want it to be functional for a single player first before implementing two player controls and that means I’ve got at least one character at all times who needs to follow the player.
This was something I had started with in Wanisinowin but had to create a control that merely let the player switch between the two a la The Cave, however, I don’t think that creates the best narrative in this case so in to the deep with me!