I had hoped to finish this level more quickly, but that is not the case. This is probably also due to the fact that I have refined the way I think and work, so it happens that I already find myself imagining possible errors that might come up and I find myself solving them even before they can arise. In this way, by devoting more attention during development, I am going to save time during the testing phases, thus avoiding retaking portions of logic to be modified. It then happens that at times when I do not feel the urge to continue, I go and make some changes to earlier levels. For example, in the home screen, the one where there is the menu to set options or start or load a game, I went to replace the old title with the new one, and I implemented a function, which is launched in the options when you change the language of the game, automatically a part of this title is replaced in the chosen language. That way if the selected language is Italian, you will see Teresa Moontyners L’antro della belva, selecting the English language instead, it will change to Teresa Moontyners In the lair of the beast, and so for the other languages. To achieve this, I thought of separating the title into 2 parts: The first part we will call “Background” will be the one that does not vary including the text “Teresa Moontyners” and the background graphic.
The second part we will call “Title” is the one that is gradually replaced with the one inherent in the chosen language. To do this, I have prepared multiple renders of the “Title” in the various languages, and when the language changes, I ask the program to do a check on the current language and go and replace the title with the correct one.
Here is the result obtained.
We now come to the progress of the last level up to this time of writing. Now the rooms in the base are all available and many cutscenes have already been done. Everything follows a path, some items to retrieve and dialogues to deal with will lead to the next stage of the level that will unlock new items to locate and other actions to take. And as mentioned in the previous update, abiding by these rules will accompany the player to the final stage of the level and the end of the game. Completing this level will take time, and automatic saves will come in here as well so that for any unforeseen setback, you have the ability to resume the level at a more advanced point than the beginning. In creating the rooms in the base, I had quite a headache about the lights, let me explain; each room has its own switches that give you the ability to control the lighting in the room, so you will be able to decide to turn the lights in the room on or off. However, having a lot of active lights leads to an exaggerated consumption of performance with the result of seeing the game run jerky, to solve this problem I created for each room its own group of lights, and the moment the player exits this room, I move the group of lights to a distant point of the camera, memorizing whether the lights are on or off. So I get the process of the game not going to compute the lights and I don’t lose in execution performance, moreover by memorizing the state of the lights, the moment you enter the room again, I reposition the group of lights to the state it was in when the player exited. This I have explained, will not be very important for those interested in the game, but it might be useful for those who want to try their hand at game development and like me are at the beginning. I leave below a video I created some time ago in which you can admire a few points of the base while running the game.
I conclude this update by saying that now I am thinking and processing the final movie, I would like to create something intriguing and spectacular as for the previous ones, something I already have in mind and as the idea grows. I do not want to say anything except that at the moment I am oriented on creating an ending with some action, and to achieve this I have introduced these 2 characters that will be useful to me to achieve what I am looking for. Here you are Mike and Andrei, they will not have a main part, but they will be extras.
That’s all with this update. I give you an appointment with the next one, I wish everyone a good weekend.
Here I am, I started with the development on the last level. After finishing models and textures, I reopened Unity and started to set up the 2 scenes related to the endings. I faced first the development of the “alternative” ending, because it was faster to complete, in fact in a few weeks I was able to finish and test it. This ending will be a sort of ear-pulling to the player, nothing direct, but for those who come to view this movie, the question may arise: “…who knows why I didn’t do that thing…”. Now I am in the development of the “official” ending, which takes place in the installation area, this is a bit more lungho to conclude, because logically consists in redoing the whole scene of the game similar to the previous ones with logic, variables, hotspots and company, so a lot of work not indifferent. But I do not give up and accomplice my hard head, I carry on this idea that now begins to see the end. I do not give anticipations on what you will find but only this level will be a mixture of moments to watch and moments to play, so continuing in the story, you will approach slowly to the end of the adventure.
After all this, I will start with the corrections of the texts, after which it will be time to export a .csv file containing everything that is written in the game, so I can translate it into English, I’m starting to ask for quotes for this translation, but at the moment the prices of those who answered me are out of my budget, so … in case any of you feel like proposing a price that we can agree, is free to contact me at email@example.com to get more information and discuss in more detail.
With this request for help, I greet everyone and I give appointment to the next update leaving below some images taken directly from Unity inherent in the final level.
And so we come to another game news. I try to better explain what I wrote in the previous update about the possibility of the two endings. A friend of mine who played the game told me: “I finished the game, but I didn’t have the option to choose one ending or another”. That is correct, this is because I explained myself in an unclear way, and from the way I told it, it seems that at a certain point of the adventure, the player has the possibility to choose. I apologize and I will explain better how it works; the adventure has an ending that we will call “official” and another “alternative” ending, and avoiding to give information that could be a spoiler, here is how it works: Depending on the way of playing, it may be that a player, without knowing it, undertakes the variant of the alternative ending, which will not be dictated by a deliberate choice, but rather by the way this person has of playing. For example, if you are a player that in graphic adventures, frantically clicks on the mouse button avoiding to read the long texts that the developer has prepared with a lot of effort…, or if you can’t wait to continue avoiding to get wrapped up by the plot and the setting, it is “probable” and I repeat probable, that you could make a false step, and this will lead you to the alternative ending. Conversely, a good adventure player, who respects the timing of the game and stays focused on what’s going on, will almost certainly enjoy the official ending, and then as in my friend’s case, will be wondering why he didn’t have a choice. Here is explained the story of the two endings and always reconnecting to the previous post, that’s why the automatic save that will be useful in the case of the alternative ending, this way you will not have to replay the game from the beginning, but just reload it from the point where you can still make the choice “correct”. That said, we come to the progress made in this period.
During the modeling of the three-dimensional environments of the last chapter I had a lot of time to think about how to propose it, this is because during the modeling phase, I can keep my head free and then I start to imagine how the character will arrive at that point and what might happen. At the moment I have finished almost all the rooms of the installation that will be:
1)The main entrance (which was already present in the initial chapter).
2) The corridor that leads to the other rooms, equipped with a hot drink dispenser and a small relaxation area.
3) The infirmary (in an installation scattered in the middle of the mountains there must be the possibility of being able to provide care in case of accidents).
4) The dormitory (room with 4 beds for researchers who reside at the installation).
5) The laundry room which is a room with sinks, toilets and showers and everything necessary to be able to wash and dry the clothes used.
6) Loft a room in which all unused items are crammed (which I have already shown in the previous chapter).
I still need to create the Kitchen room, and a few items to be placed in the hangar outside adjacent to the installation.
After I finish modeling the missing meshes, I’ll develop the adventure this way: If you will face the “alternative” ending, all these models will not be visible, and the player will be faced with a final Cutscene prepared around that “false step” I mentioned a few lines above; it will still be an ending, complete with music, dialogues and credits, so I guess it can still be satisfying to enjoy it. If instead you face the “official” ending, then you will still have the opportunity to play within the installation, thus arriving at a different ending from the “alternative” one.
Now I come to a request for those who follow this “blog”, I thought at the end of development and after solving the problem of translation, to put the game on the online sales platforms like Steam and company. From my little experience, and for the titles I’ve developed previously, all the people I’ve worked with have always told me that the cover of the game is the store window where a likely customer looks in and evaluates if the product you’re proposing could interest him. And so I redid the cover that originally looked like this:
and now it has become this:
Now I’m here to ask for your opinion on this cover, I think it’s more intriguing than the first one, and I think it’s a good fit for the title In the lair of the beast, I deliberately used two colors, red and blue, to create that contrast between hot and cold, but I’m waiting to hear some of your comments, and I’m asking you to kindly find a few minutes to respond, any feedback is fine, I won’t necessarily take what you write as an absolute rule, but knowing your thoughts will be useful to try to improve. I will say that a user has rejected the fact that I divided the title into two parts, did not like the “Teresa Moontyners” divided from “The lair of the beast”, too confusing, and then another thing that I did not like is the font used, I was advised a font Typewriter (which I am evaluating). And still on the subject of the cover to a user, the image is not liked, saying that makes you think a horror game and would prefer to see a moment of normal scene (even nice) in which all the characters are present in the adventure (but on this I do not agree). So thank you in advance for your participation and don’t hesitate to write me what you think.
And so taking advantage of these days of vacation, I finished the third chapter of the game, finally the adventure will now continue outside these dark caves to lead the player to the end of the adventure. I have added automatic saves, so that at some points in the game, the progress made up to that moment is stored (now the player will have 5 slots for their personal saves, plus there will be a 6th slot dedicated only to saves made by the system). I’ve inserted as first loading screen of the game a short animation of the 1Monkey2Brains logo, that will be displayed only at the first startup. Finally I’ve been able to implement the volumetric lights, with the possibility to enable or disable them directly from the options menu, where you can also access the resolution and the graphic quality, this to try to allow even to computers a little dated, to run the game with less jerks as possible (in the end it is a 3D game and remains slightly heavier than the graphic adventures developed in 2 dimensions). Still on the subject of performance, now the scenes are loaded into memory at the time they are used. Unlike before where the adventure was loaded completely at startup, now only the scene in which the game takes place is loaded, so we have a faster game startup and less load on the hardware memory, resulting in better overall performance.
What you will find in Act 3: The temple level will take much longer to complete, this is because in addition to explaining to the player the core of the story, it will bring him in front of several riddles and puzzles that will require cunning and in some cases even a little patience to be solved. One riddle in particular will put you to the test, but I prefer not to explain anything and leave the pleasure of discovery, I say only that those who have tried it have struggled to find the correct solution to move forward. At some point in the level, the way to play the adventure, will take the player to take one of two endings, I spent a lot of time trying to implement this possibility, and then like a bolt from the blue the idea came, during one of my tests I happened at a point in the level where I could insert this “crossroads” if I can call it, and I must admit that there could be no better solution. And here’s why the automatic saves and the slot dedicated to them, in this way, you can reload the game from the point where you can still decide the ending.
Conclusions on Act 3: Unlike the previous levels, where I had to fight with my inexperience, in this chapter, I finally managed to get everything I thought and to reproduce it fairly faithfully, character animations, special and particle effects, camera changes, dialogues, puzzles and riddles. I’m very happy with the result and rightly in some points of the previous levels I went back to put hands to improve what I had done some time before. I replayed the adventure from the beginning a couple of times to test that everything worked and spun in the best way, I noticed several errors made and fortunately other errors have made me notice the people who have kindly had the desire to test, I thank them very much for the support; that as for the artists of the music used, I dedicate in the credits a page with their names, logically after asking their permission.
Fourth act “return to installation”. This will be the final chapter of the game. The group will be able to return to the base … yes, but how? this will all depend on the type of ending you have undertaken in the previous chapter. For this level fortunately I already have some three-dimensional models ready, which are those of the first chapter, but other models are missing (the interior of the installation) that I avoided to insert at the beginning of the adventure and that now may be necessary. I write “might” because at the moment the idea of the ending is a draft that I’m buzzing in my head, I have some ideas, maybe some twists, but everything is still vague. As in the game, I am at a crossroads, I have to choose how I want to present this final level. At the moment I have 2 ideas: The first is to develop the level like the previous ones, so the player will control the character, some puzzles will be presented to solve until the end. The second idea is to present the level as a cutscene, where the player will only watch the story continue until the end, like in a movie. I am very conflicted about this choice; even the opinions of those who have played it vary, there are those who were satisfied with the 2 endings of the third chapter and therefore expect to see only one end of the adventure, and those who would still prefer to face another level to solve. So at the moment I’m in the balance on what is best to do, and in the meantime I’m modeling the necessary objects.
Thank you for having the patience to read all this, and I’ll see you at the next update.
Here in Piedmont at this time of year, the cold weather is starting to make itself felt.
In the town where I live, which is situated just below the mountains, this year it will be very likely to return to admire the copious snowfalls that so amazed me when I was a child.
The ‘magical’ atmosphere at this time of year is unique, with snow-covered streets and avenues and everything shrouded in a mist that resembles cotton wool and that muffles all the noises of the city.
In this climate, among the snowflakes that slowly fall, you see the lights of the houses, and you find yourself imagining them as warm and welcoming places, and meanwhile you think of the warmth that will greet you when you return to your home.
And so it is with this image that I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and the start of a peaceful New Year.
Today I am going to tell you about the last idea I had and which I managed to implement. I waited before writing this post because I wanted to make sure everything worked, and it looks like I finally did. I’m going to attempt to explain what I have planned, trying to avoid spoiling any information about the game.
I’ll start by saying that I’m almost at the end of the development of the temple level, I’m still missing some graphic additions, a quite deep test to evaluate that everything works and the final cutscene that will be represented through the animation of the characters, I think it will be quite hard to achieve, also because in my head I already have everything in mind (as if it were a movie), but then when I put the idea into practice, I will surely come up against my limitations.
But having said that, here we are at the heart of the article; the temple level, as you may have read in previous posts, will be surrounded by several puzzles, which, as they are solved, will allow the player to continue the adventure.
I have come up with something a little more elaborate as a final puzzle; this puzzle will be divided into 2 parts, and one of the two will be based on speed of execution (like a Quick Time Event). The first session of this rebus will be a chessboard to be filled with particular pieces that put in the correct sequence, will unlock the second session that will test your reflexes and reaction time. I managed to create a mini-game (nothing exaggerated, but being able to get it and see it work, I’m satisfied with many efforts), which will start a timer, and in that time it will be necessary to give the right command to the right destination thus obtaining the solution of the puzzle and the beginning of the final sequence.
I must admit that I spent a lot of time on the logic and all the variables I used to make it work, there were some moments of discouragement with the thought of putting aside the idea and pretend nothing happened, but fortunately I had the perseverance to insist, and get the result I was looking for.
However, I must also confess that I have not yet been able to implement the possibility of continuing the story in one way or another, thus creating two possible endings. I hope I’ll be able to find a solution for this or, more than anything else, to have an idea that justifies the choices, otherwise I’ll be forced to continue to the last chapter, excluding an ending and leaving the plot of the adventure to the initial idea.
I’ll see you at the next update where I’ll tell you more exhaustively what I thought for the final level. I leave a couple of screenshots that I prepared for the social networks, in which you can see a rendering made in Blender of a glimpse of the puzzle I told you about.
A welcome back to everyone. Today we’re going to talk about Character Animation. I realized, rereading the previous posts, that I had talked about animations, but I never went into detail about the procedure I use in these technicalities, so here I am to expose my experiences.
I’m going to use Teresa’s character as a representative model, to explain how the skeleton works on 3D characters and their animations.
What is the skeleton of a character? After modelling one of your characters, you will need to animate it, (walk, run, crouch and many other animations. Creating a skeleton or rig in more common terms, means giving your three-dimensional model a structure with which to move it).
I used this method to make all the animations of the characters, surely there are other methods; however, I got the effect I was looking for, and above all, I managed to make them work on the engine, which was the doubt that worried me the most.
So… let’s cut to the chase, here’s how it works in my case: After having modeled a character on your favorite program (3Dstudio; Maya, Blender, Cinema 4D, etc.. etc..) you will have in phase of modeling, to position it with a defined pose, it deals with two types of ‘pose’: A-Pose … or … T-Pose (the difference consists mainly in the position of the arms of the man, if their position is inclined towards the bottom, we speak of A-Pose, otherwise if the position of the arms is parallel to the ground, it is T-Pose).
The skeleton is composed of several bones, these bones are placed in the main points of your character adapted to control the influence on that particular area of the man, this means that depending on the effect you are looking for, you can get to create bones for every single finger of the hands with the result of being able to see the fingers bending, or stay at one bone only for the whole hand, obtaining in this way a less detailed animation.
After having created the skeleton and having related your character to it, it will be possible to move the interested bones memorizing their position on a timeline, finally like for the cartoons, running the timeline, you will be able to admire the movement of the character, that is a walk a run or whatever it needs to represent.
All these animations are imported on unity, I think there are more ways to set and use these movements, the one I use is through a controller, which automatically switches from one animation to another following the values of some variables, for example the transition from walking to running, occurs when the variable speed of the character is greater than a certain value and vice versa for the transition from running to walking.
Below is a small video I made where you can see the walking and running animations created in blender, and then imported into unity and in action in the game.
The summer period is coming to an end and slowly we all go back to our regular life or at least this is what we have been hoping for a couple of years. I allowed myself a few days of holiday trying not to fall into the temptation of starting Unity and Blender and taking some time to think about the best solutions to propose in the temple level. Then, as per my nature, as soon as I had some good ideas, I threw myself headlong into modelling and inserting what I had thought into the engine. So I’m going to reopen this appointment on the development of the game by telling you about the first puzzle you’ll encounter in this chapter. As I mentioned earlier, the first puzzle is based on a kind of memory game, a sequence of characters to be entered in the right order, which, when solved, will allow you to proceed to the next section. To introduce this puzzle, I started by modelling a scene representing a small cave in which our protagonist will have to interact with a panel full of buttons, each button will illuminate a symbol, and the choice of the sequence of these symbols, if inserted in the right order, will give the possibility to continue.
With the help of my trusty modelling program Blender, I created the various three-dimensional meshes, which I then cut along the correct sides to be able to represent them on a two-dimensional plane and thus have the possibility to colour them, achieving this result.
After this, I exported these objects so that they are ready to be inserted on the Unity engine, logically taking into account that it is not possible to export the whole scene in a single block, but depending on the use of a certain object, this will have to be exported separately from the rest (for example the panel has a number of buttons and each button will be a separate object, this is because when one of these buttons will be pressed, only it will have to change its position, its lighting, its material, while the rest of the buttons will have to remain unchanged). After setting on Unity the scene previously created with blender, and creating hotspots for each button, I can finally move on to the logic of the puzzle.
To do this, it is necessary to have a clear idea of how the puzzle is intended to work, to create variables, and to start with a fairly painstaking job of assigning each button press its behaviour, resulting in a sequence of instructions that will be processed when the button is pressed.
What you are looking at in the upper picture is the sequence of instructions that are executed:
-disable the button hotspot -lock the movement of the player -change the material of the button to an emissive one (so that you can see that it has been pressed) -change the position of the pressed button -execute a sound effect (the typical “click”) -Using a check, I make a check on a local variable, to see if the button pressed is the correct one, restoring the material of the button and its position in case of a wrong answer, or keeping everything and going to modify the local control variable so that it can be ready to be compared with the button that will be pressed next.
It seems quite complicated, and I admit that the first few times I tried it I had my headaches to orient myself and remember all the steps to follow, but then with practice and perseverance, I began to organize myself by following the steps noted in order to minimize the possibility of error (even if many times you make mistakes, and then sometimes you have to spend hours to find them in the middle of everything).
In any case, I think I’m lucky to have the possibility to manage the logic through this graphic interface, which helps me a lot, unlike having to write lines and lines of code of which I have no knowledge. As I said before, Adventure Creator gives me the possibility to do all this without necessarily being a programming language expert, just by replacing the written code with this window representation.
I test all the possible combinations, making mistakes several times, inserting random sequences, trying in every way to create situations that bring to light the weak points of the logic that I have devised, and most of the times I notice errors that had not been foreseen, forcing me to take up the sequence of instructions again to modify it. But at the end of the day, when everything works as it should, the satisfaction is great, and seeing the puzzle work, which a few weeks earlier was only an idea sketched on a sheet of paper, makes up for all the time spent creating it.