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etodd makes games

Screenshot Saturday 185

Posted by , 16 August 2014 - - - - - - · 626 views


Hello friends. Yesterday I finished the 5th level! It took much longer than anticipated because it’s actually 10 separate maps connected together. It includes some simple but hopefully interesting puzzle mechanics.

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It also advances the story through notes and several text conversations scattered throughout.

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It’s hard to see in screenshots, but I added a subtle cloud shadow effect as well. It doesn’t respond to the actual clouds, so in a sense it’s slightly faked. Because of that I was able to do the projection easily with a ray-plane intersection rather than a full matrix multiplication. Here’s the shader code, edited for clarity:


float t = -worldPosition.y / SunLightDirection.y;

float p = worldPosition.xz + t * SunLightDirection.xz;

output.lighting *= tex2D(CloudSampler, p * CloudUVMultiplier + CloudOffset).a;


Here’s the effect in action. It’s pretty subtle and easy to miss.

I already started on the next level. My plan calls for a night scene with falling water, so Thursday I worked on the beginnings of a cute little waterfall effect. It’s just a Blender model with the UVs stretched so that the texture moves faster as it reaches the bottom.

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That’s it for this week. Thanks for reading!

Mirrored on my blog



Screenshot Saturday 184

Posted by , 08 August 2014 - - - - - - · 767 views


This week was a lot of level design. I’m working on a group of “fractured” but interconnected worlds that the player has to progress through.

Here’s a screenshot:

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Here’s the thread where I got that rock texture. It’s a gold mine with a bunch of totally free diffuse, specular, normal, and even displacement maps.

Unfortunately that’s all I have time to talk about today. Thanks for reading!

Mirrored on my blog



Screenshot Saturday 183

Posted by , 01 August 2014 - - - - - - · 762 views


I hit a milestone today.

Three of the four levels so far in Lemma (Rain, Dawn, and Forest) have undergone at least one massive redesign in their short lifetimes. This week I finally gave the same treatment to the fourth level, Monolith. It is aptly named. Let me try to convey just how monolithic this level is now.

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This is a perfect example of my patent-pending Design by Trial and Error™ process.

When I first designed Monolith, I didn’t know what it was, where it would fit in the game, or what its purpose was. I just kind of made it. And it was shockingly bad.

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Now I know the answers to all those questions, but only retroactively. There was never a plan, I just discovered a plan through Design By Trial and Error. You can do it too! Here’s how:
  • Create something completely random! Make sure there’s no purpose or thought given to how it will contribute to the rest of the game. Just channel your stream of consciousness into the level editor.
  • Realize that it probably sucks, but hold your nose and continue designing the rest of the game around that rotten core.
  • Return to that level months later with the knowledge that it now plays a specific, natural role in the game, but it’s still garbage.
  • Re-design it to fulfill that role without all the garbage.

Every level I’ve built so far, along with every game mechanic and every bit of writing, has gone through this process. It’s a battle-tested, tried and true method of building a game in maybe a single human lifetime.

What am I trying to say? That the first vertical slice, consisting of the same levels from the public demo back in March, is finally up to my standards for the final gold release. I don’t plan on redesigning the current four levels in any major way. The plan I’ve discovered calls for about 16 more levels. If I can crank them out at a rate of 1 per week like this, I might not even have to miss my deadline by much. Ha. Jokes.

What comes next? Here’s a hint:

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Mirrored on my blog






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