Sunday, 2 October 2016

Possible Engine Change

Due to issues with different aspects of my game in Unity, I decided to switch over to Unreal as I got a lot more documentation and tutorials for that engine as for Unity.

One of the issues are for instance the shader I was using for my terrain that made the textures look better and let me have "holes" in the terrain for my caves. The theory is really nice but over long period of time I did not manage to configure the shader to my satisfaction.
In Unreal, I can do the same thing just out of the box and with simple configurations. On one afternoon I was able to import my terrain into Unreal and set it up that it looked similar to the result in vanilla Unity, I also found a tutorial to get the full functionality of the Unity shader in Unreal.
Unfortunately, I also found a bug in Unreal that removes the textures in the piece of terrain on which the terrain hole is located.

Next steps are to import all the environment assets I used in Unity into Unreal and add them to level. After that I will add the mechanics in blueprints to the Unreal project.

Meanwhile, my brother is working on basic character meshes and a pipeline to provide me with different base meshes for each race that I can then use for my character creation both ingame and for npcs.

All this means, that there will be a further delay in my schedule (which is already about a month behind) but hopefully result in a better base game as well. I will work on key features during the next week and if I run into mayor issues along the way, I only "wasted" a week and will go back to Unity where I have to change the scope a bit and then work on more content. In the event that Unreal helps me catch up lost time and speed up development, I will stick with it and continue working on having a prototype ready for testing a week later.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Hell of a Move

During the last few weeks I was slowly moving from my apartment back into my childhood home. As per normal move I had to get all my stuff packed up and ready to haul over the few kilometer with a small transporter. All that worked out fine and the transport itself was quicker than anticipated but the rooms I was to move in were still filled with old stuff of my parents and I had no space to put my own stuff. So the first day after the move was spend in making space by emptying out one moving box on the floor and take old stuff out of shelves and pack that into the now empty box. After that I could store my stuff on the empty shelf space. This procedure I had to repeat for about 20 boxes and carry out the newly filled boxes to other rooms in the house for my mother to sort into new shelves...

All that might be normal moving procedure but it was new and exhausting to me as I only moved once before 13 years prior to that and in the exact opposite direction. 

One other aspect was really getting clear only a day before the move, there was no real room for me in the house. Yes, there was a bed I could sleep in and a door I could close but that was about all of it. There are three (including myself) people living under the same roof who have to use the same bathroom and coordinate using the kitchen, the washing machine and living spaces. Something I had not to deal with for the 13 years I lived alone in my apartment and a huge change as a result. I had to make room for my stuff and negotiate uses of rooms as well as finding out that I could use my computer but the internet would be too slow to actually stream.

In the two weeks since the move I tried to get everything sorted ( books moved to shelves, papers into binders) but the internet situation was a bit of a chaos and is still not sorted out, so that I noticed that I last streamed about a month ago. So sadly the community I build over the month before might have moved on to something else because I did not have the chance to get the word out that I am unable to stream... and even work on the project because I had no time for it yet.

On a different note, I should be able to get back to schedule as soon as the internet situation is sorted out and everything else is ready to go so far. There might be one or two occasions where have to run errands or have appointments in the next few days or weeks but that is normal organisational stuff that would have happened anyway. 

The project itself is in a state where I have to make a build and give it out to people to test and get feedback before going on in development. I made a build prior to the move but there where a few too many bugs to give it out yet. Once those bugs are gone and the game runs at a reasonable frame rate I will give it to friends and select members of my community to get feedback from them. With that feedback I can improve the base game and start to add more content to it.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Internet Problems, Moving and Future Plans

On Thursday last week, my internet provider decided to throttle my connection which resulted in me being unable to stream anything unless the situation is resolved. The connection works for normal purposes but not for streaming as it needs a high upload bandwidth. A test in a live chat with a technician from my isp showed normal or even high values for my connection type and time of day which I confirmed with normal speed tests but on upload tests the bandwidth was worse and it even degraded from there to a point where even now normal speed tests show really bad results. The reason is the automated system that controls the allocated bandwidth for each paying customer meaning if the costumer is not paying on time the bandwidth is lowered and in extreme cases even cut. In my case being overdue a few days it was lowered and sadly enough to prevent me from streaming. All this will be resolved during the next week when the bills are paid and the system gives me back the normal bandwidth. EDIT: Well, it turned out to be my modem that I thought I had restarted already but apparently did not. I restarted the modem and everything was back to normal... damn, my head must have been elsewhere, read on to find out ;P

On a different note, my overall financial situation is not the best and as a measurement to cut monthly costs I have to move. Moving itself is not the issue but the location I do not like at all... back into my parent's house. I escaped there 13 years ago when I was able to get a nice apartment a bit further into the city I live in but now I cannot afford that apartment anymore and have to live in a house with my crazy family and give up the benefits of living alone (even though I will have a separate part of the house just for myself but there are only doors separating me from them).

The move will happen over the next few months and I hope to be able to work on my fantasy project without big interruptions during and after that time. The project has a high priority for me and I will do the best I can to keep working on it.

As for this week and the following I will try to stream but if that is not possible I will do recordings of my development process and upload them to YouTube. The same might happen with my gaming sessions on Sunday (tomorrow at least). I have not done much on the project on Thursday and Friday but I will do an bit of work on it on the weekend so that I will not fall behind "schedule" too much. Why did I put schedule in quotation marks? Well, I do not strictly have a schedule for the project and that is something I need to change gradually over the next few weeks just to figure out how long I might have to work on a specific feature. At the moment I am still working on outfits for the characters (pc and npc alike) and I have nearly two outfits for females and nearly one for males. Once I have two complete outfits for both genders I will move on to another aspect of development like maybe writing and structuring the player's path throughout the game a bit more. If I am really happy with the outfits I will try to put them on the asset store for a few bucks and will also give them to patrons on Patreon (in the appropriate tier).

Sunday, 22 May 2016

First Fan Art and Patreon

During the last week of streaming development on my game, some viewers created some fan art for characters I put into my game at some point.

For the bar maid Mila who was created with the input of viewer Ashevre and others at an earlier time during the development I got three pieces of fan art:
Mila (front) by Ashevre
Mila (perspective) by Ashevre
Mila (perspective with comment ;P ) by ze_MEA 
There was one piece of fan art created for one character I created while getting the hang of Mixamo Fuse and was on Skype with a friend. The character is called Frank and he likes cross dressing and being fabulous...
Frank by Ashevre
On a different note, sometime last year I set up a Patreon account but did not create an actual page where you can do pledges at. I updated the info and opened up the page up for pledges. Feel free to help me out in any way you can here.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Update after a Long Time and 60 Days of Fantasy Project

Oh, wow, it has been a long time since my last post...

Well, I am still alive and I am still "working" in the games industry. Working is in quotations because I am still unemployed and only work on my own projects. One of these projects has turned into some kind of a full time job (without pay).

Speaking of that project, in December I played a pen and paper role playing session with some friends. The system we used was a home brew system of the DM, a simple system to get you going within minutes. The world was also his design and quite hilarious and we designed our characters accordingly. I played a hill giant paladin who was trying to keep the peace but was killing bandits with his giant stone boulder hammer causing a huge mess. His after-fight "ritual" was drawing runes to cleanse the bloodied ground and smashed remains were sinking into the ground and it was restored to a state looking before the carnage.

After the session, I wanted to turn the main dungeon into a level design project and started working on that in the beginning of February. My friends send me touched up floor plans to work with which helped me putting the layout together faster. It was just supposed to be a visualization of the dungeon and some level design practice for me but it turned to something more. 

In the middle to end of February, I picked up streaming again and besides playing games like Rise of the Tomb Raider, The Division (Open Beta), Stardew Valley and SkySaga, I did some streams with game development. I did pick a schedule for me that works comfortably and stream game dev for about 8 hours every day of the week, taking weekends off to get a bit of distance and not burn out. 

Last Thursday I took some time and looked up my times for the streams and noticed that I had been working on the so called Fantasy Project for about 60 days (53 days streamed and a few days more on offline work). 

From my initial small level design practice, the project grew to a big game project with a big world map (about 4 x 4 km) with a village, a few farms and the exterior of the brewery and more to explore. I plan on filling the map with interesting stuff to explore and interesting stories to discover. So far I have the base mechanics in which are simple first person adventure game mechanics. You use the mouse to click on highlighted objects in the world, right click gives you info and left click does interactions with the objects. At the moment the interactions are just text feedback but there will be sounds, particle effects and custom events for specific objects.

As I am working on the project alone I have to do not only level design and programming but also a bit of content creation in 3D programs. As my licence for 3D Studio Max ran out a long time ago I needed a new program to work with, so I picked up Blender and had to learn the strange interface and apply my previous knowledge in modelling to it. The first few models I created were simple cave entrances for my terrain but I had to move on from that to clothing creation for a character customization system in Unity (UMA - Unity Multipurpose Avatar). I kinda enjoyed that completely new aspect of model creation as my previous knowledge was in static level objects like walls or other simple level elements.

So as a conclusion, I am working on an indie game on my own at the moment live on Twitch. Come watch me on as I want to do all the development live and the plan is to get the game out by February next year (no concrete planning done yet). Pictures and more info on the game later ;)