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About this blog

Development diaries for the whole project.

• How the game development progresses

• Website and marketing updates

• What have I been learning for the past week

Entries in this blog

Dev Diary #007 - Indie Inc.

Hi, and welcome to this weeks Dev Diary!   This last week was entirely on video editing, as I spent all my time on creating the first release version of the Intro Video for Project Taival. Secondly, I have spent time on researching about building a Indie Game company around my first game. You would think that you can't have a Game Company while being an Indie Game developer, but I found a method how that can still be true, while at the same time being more organized with other Indie game developers. More on that down below.   Intro Video (Picture: Preview of the latest iteration of the 9th iteration of the Intro Video) During all this time editing the intro video, despite being 10 seconds long (600 frames, at 60fps), I have constant problems with my PC's capability to handle the workload, as many time After Effects freezes due to low amount of RAM (8Gb). This can be mitigated largely by urging the caches often, but when ever I forgot to do so multiple times when previewing the footage, some work has been lost and needed to be done again.   Secondly, my 9 years old, 6 core CPU (AMD Phenom 2 1060T) isn't up for the task anymore. Luckily I decided back then to go for a 6 core CPU, even though many review sites touted that it was a waste of money back then (2010), as almost all games only used 1 or 2 cores. If I didn't have 6 cores now, I can only dread at how slow my PC would be now.   Due to the age of my PC, the preview speed in After Effects is only a fraction of a frame per second, approximately 1 frame every 3 seconds, when the text layer is enabled . This slows down even the most simple workflow considerably, which is why making a simple 10 second Intro #Video has taken so long. As I'm still just learning how to use After Effects properly, I do many small changes and like to see how they affected the end result, which takes time to see properly. The odd thing is, that the GPU acceleration is enabled, but somehow my PC processes the preview extremely slowly, which is odd to say the least. I have a Geforce GTX 1080 Ti GPU, so it shouldn't be because of a slow card for the job.   Ideas for a Games Company Since simple research into company structures is so easy these days, I see no harm in sharing the rudimentary concepts of the ideas I came across for anyone interested.   Considering how bad the situation has become in the games industry, as all the largest game companies seem to be headed in to a quantity before quality approach in their games. Most visible example being EA having predatory and borderline predatory micro-transactions in their games and other games companies, like Bethesda following on their tracks with Fallout 76. I have come to believe that a Co-Op model would be the best practice for a games company, as that makes corporate takeovers by behemoths like EA much less likely to happen and keeps the company responsible for their customers in a healthy manner. Thus, those who want to enter the gaming industry to create something remarkable, something that speaks to players in a whole different level than the mass produced husks of ideas of past glory, have a place to do so.   As for the Indie developers, a Co-Op can function as a umbrella company for individual game developers, where independent developers do their own games the way they are used to do them. The Co-Op can provide the following benefits;   For Developers; - Various Tax benefits (Potential savings in the first 5 years measured in a range of or more than 1k - 20k USD per year). - Security in numbers, which helps all participants to protect their IP's - The developer owns the IP, if the Co-Op has agreed so.   For Gamers; - Much better likelihood for quality games, with more creative or experimental core concepts. - Much more incentives for customers (gamers) to build and upkeep a healthy community around the company and it's philosophy. (if the co-op decides to implement such factors).   Remember that a regular corporation model can do the same things, but since a Co-Op is much more resilient towards corporate takeovers, a Co-Op harbors more trust and gives a notion of longevity and sincerity of the company. A Co-Op can include customers in the company ecosystem in a more integral way, thus encouraging customer loyalty. Taking care of the company bottom line by keeping the source of your revenue - the customers - happy, in a win-win fashion, is a healthy business decision by any measure.   I won't go into details on how to achieve all this, as that is between me and those who would like to build something like this with me. In Finland, it is possible to found a Co-Op by my self also, which I might do before finding partners, as it is a good idea to think hard on who you want to partner up with.   This is it for this weeks Dev Diary, thank you for tuning in and welcome again next week!

ProjectTaival

ProjectTaival

Dev Diary #006 - Long-Term Asset Optimizations

Hi, and welcome to the 6th Dev Diary of 2019.   Today's topics are; - Asset optimization; what I have done so far and what needs to be done. - Making a Project Taival intro clip. - Donations have been enabled.   Designed for symmetric rotation One of my aims is to have as much of as generic assets as possible, without the game feeling bland. Granted, it is a common practice in the game industry to have as many identical models, that can be re-used, so that RAM and CPU usage stays in check. It will also make the game smaller in size on your hard drive, so it does have many benefits. I have come across some research on texturing techniques that can be used to make the assets look quite different from the base model. One of those techniques is bump mapping, which can be used to deform objects to look completely different from a base model. This also saves system resources and is lighter to process than complex 3D models, which is one reason why texturing is in a key role when optimizing performance - and the reason, why I have left all my models with sharp edges. If I have understood anything wrong along the way or you have some pro tips, please feel free to educate me I'm here to learn.   Animating Handles I have tried to find information on what is the best way to put together a window with a functioning, animated handle. If I have understood correctly, you can - and should - make the whole asset in one piece, even if that is not the only way you can do it. It makes the asset placement simpler, if you don't have to place several small pieces to have a fully functional object. This would be a waste of time and resources. In the texturing phase, an asset can have several different materials and textures associated with it. I had previously no idea that this is one technique that can save significant amount of system resources. If you have more resources for learning how this is done in Unreal Engine and/or Unity 3D, please let me know   Glass Properties I'm aiming at making all the glass objects and windows breakable. Some will be harder than others though. For example, Balconies will have a bit stronger security glass, which is not indestructible, but more durable than regular window glass. The thickness of the glass pane will play a part in the physical properties. Weather will have a role in the game mechanics. Also, broken glass can be used as a weapon. Different glass types have different specs even as weapons.   Intro Video! Work on the short Intro Video is taking it's sweet while, but it is coming together nicely. here is an early preview, that is still missing effects and practically all fine adjustments. Intro-ProjectTaival-00.mp4 PayPal Pre-Order/Donations Pre-Orders and Donations have opened up for everyone who wish to see this project come to fruition! There will be several benefits for everyone who donates. Some of the current benefits are;   -Everyone who subscribes to a monthly recurring donation (of 2 USD or more) through PayPal and has an active subscription during raffles will also be included in those raffles (which will start after 200 USD monthly income is reached). -All the monthly subscriptions (of 2 USD or more) or a sizable donation givers (100 USD or more) will also have your name on the "Early Backers" section of the credits for the game, but if you wish to remain anonymous, please state this in the field for additional information. -Everyone who has donated 25 USD or more (in total), will get the game for free on launch day. If you subscribe with 2 USD per month, it takes 13 months to have a free copy of the game. -All the proceedings that goes over 7000 USD per month, goes to a community selected charity (voted on by all the donation givers) in a rotating manner - different charity each month. The sum is this big, because there is need for me to subscribe to multiple professional tools eventually, which costs thousands of dollars each month, when put together. This monthly sum will be adjusted in the future. -Exclusive access to "Early Patrons" -discord channel. -More benefits added as the project progresses.   You can donate here; https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=U74SQAMXMTAQA&source=url   Thank you and I'll see you on the next weeks Dev Diary!

ProjectTaival

ProjectTaival

Dev Diary #005 - The Devil Is In The Details

Hello, and welcome to the fifth Dev Diary! I have been making progress on the Demo room and the details for the assets are forming nicely. The Time-Lapse video showed me building the generic furniture, which are almost complete. There are still several assets to be done though - the space heaters/radiators, stove and freezer. Handles need to be made for windows, cupboard doors and doors in general, as well as drawers.   Windows One window frame done, 2 to go. Luckily those are all that is needed to cover every window. Enlargements of window pane slot and window hinge Making the window frames is not as bad as many say, at least not on #sketchup, but it did take quite a bit longer than I anticipated. hinges are still one of the most time consuming things to make and the window hinges are not an exception to this. This simple hinge and the window frame together took about 3 hours to make, taking into account all the measurements, re-sizing and error correcting. Sometimes #sketchup can be a pain in the behind, despite it being so easy to use, most often when trying to merge two forms/components together.   Doors Front doors are also largely generic, which is a time saver. Only difference will be the nameplates on the front doors and textures that are to be applied to them. Enlargements of the peephole and mail slot cover. In the game, I'm planning to make it possible to peek through the mail slot to see without distortion if there is danger lurking out in the apartments or at the staircase (works both ways). The peephole will have lenses and can be looked out from, but it will have the usual distortion that most traditional peepholes have (hemispherical image).   Hinges Two of the larger hinges. Left one is for the front door and the right one is for the apartment room doors. There is going to be several other types still. The hinges are surprisingly time consuming to make. Even though they are one of the smallest things size-wise, they require much more detail, if realism is your goal. I aim the game to look as realistic as possible, with modest requirements for the hardware.   Epilogue   The approach I'm currently taking might not be the most optimal one and many things might need to be changed in the test builds of the game. Once the room assets are finished for the most parts, I'll be focusing more on bringing a more playable test build for all to try out. There wont be any enemies around yet, but it will be a showcase of the progress being made on the project and a chance for me to have some more feedback on, say, how the controls might have better feel to them, for example.   Here is also a bonus picture; Thank you for reading the fifth developer #diary and I hope to see you all on the next one, on 11th of February! Please note that the day might have changed for you before the release, as I'm releasing these while there is a Monday in Finland.   Sincerely, Marco Tinell  

ProjectTaival

ProjectTaival

Dev Diary #004

Hi, and welcome to another Dev Diary!   Unfortunately the TimeLapse video is a little bit late. I'm currently rendering it and the final render will be ready around midnight today (UTC +2) and it depends on the connection quality how long it will take to upload it to YouTube (plus how long YouTube will take to process the video). I estimate that the video will be up in 4 hours after publishing this devdiary.   While we are waiting...   The model for Front doors, is almost ready. Eye hole and mail slot are still missing.   There is not much updates on the modeling it self, as I have been busy tackling the technicalities of video processing with VirtualDub2 (more info below). But I managed to record one video more, while making this model for the front doors and hinges for them. After the front door, I'll be tackling the room doors, windows and the door to sauna.   Editing an Edition of an Edition.   Since I have been experimenting with the video encoding tools while searching for a good, lossless way to edit my videos, there has been a lot of editing being going on on the first #time-lapse video. First, I have been looking for all the different kinds of plugins that are useful or essential for making a time-lapse video. The quality and success of these tryouts have varied much and I'm quite certain that I might have found the ideal combination for lossless editing, partly without a GUI.   Thus far, My toolbox for video editing includes; VirtualDub2 FFMPEG AviSynth+ MKVtoolnix OBS Studio   I'm also planning to release a clip of the original cut, that is a 20 minute long video (that I first planned to release) and make a Poll on what you like more, the faster paced release and shorter version, or the smoother but still quite fast paced video. Also, would it be better to release one big video with multiple songs, or measure the video lengths for the duration of the songs? I'll upload sample videos as soon as possible.   The Music Pics.   As music for the videos, I chose game music remixes - maybe not the best kind of music for everyone, but it fits the theme - a gamer making a game for gamer's, who are waiting for the final product while watching a time-lapse of me making assets for the game and listening to game remix music. Gamy stuff.   The songs are free to use for anyone, as long as the "Terms of Use" is being followed. So you can head over to the OCRemix website to see if your favorite game might have a remix for it and feel the nostalgia with these songs.   The pics for the first video are (in order); Sonic the Hedgehog "Gotta Start from Somewhere" Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time "Subterranean Kamikaze" Mega Man 3 "The Passing of the Blue Crown"   I still plan on making my own music for the teaser of the Project Taival and several other videos in the future, but I can't promise a release date for those still. What i can promise though, is that I'm learning something every day, that helps this project to go forward.   Thank you for tuning in again and I'll see you again on the next weeks Dev Diary!   Update: The prediction for the video completion seem to be way off - after 30 minutes my computer chocked and is now processing 22 frames per minute. For some reason, the timelapse video is the culprit, but not the newly made intro and ending parts.   Update 2; There was several problems still with the encoding process; 1; The Adobe After Effect couldn't render the video in lossless quality, as the output video got stuck in a loop, probably due to low amount of RAM (8gb of RAM).   2; Even another program couldn't handle the whole film for some reason, even when it wasn't a RAM related problem with this particular software (VirtualDub2). Only after I first put together the first and second parts of the video, I could add the third part in and thus it took more time to process This is also why I think it wasn't because of the RAM this time - the frame count and quality didn't change.   Currently I have managed to put together the whole video and the final pass is running as I'm writing this. If all goes well, the video should be up and running on the Project Taival -YouTube channel by tomorrow evening (30th of January).   Lesson learned; Always double your initial estimation for when the work is going to be complete, as you never know if something goes wrong.   Update 3;   Both time-lapse videos are up, the faster 10 minute video with intro and ending and the comparison clip from the 20 minute video. 10 minute video; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsCX35VFBNE clip form the 20 minute video; https://youtu.be/rxeL9SQqHWU
Which one has a better pace in your opinion? Should the pace be even slower? Feel free to leave some feedback.

ProjectTaival

ProjectTaival

 

Dev Diary #003

Re-Release from 21th of January 2019 Dev Diary; Hi, and welcome again for the weekly dev diary of Project Taival! I have been busy with the marketing side of things, which has left less time to the game it self, but I managed to get two things done at once - recorded a video while I was doing the details for one room of the apartment building. The Timelapse I'm currently editing the #timelapse video, but are having a hard time learning the scripting side of AviSynth. This would be a good thing to learn to automate much of the video processing work in a lossless manner. The problem is, that what first seemed to be working, now appears to be too much for my computer to handle, as the plugin I need to use is old and doesn't handle big files well. More precisely, the plugin fills the entire RAM and throws a fatal error after over 22000 processed frames. I'm currently looking for ways to automate video segmenting to smaller files, which should get around this error. I'll be updating the #progress on either the next Dev Diary or before, if I get the problem solved earlier.   Detailing the Room   Kitchen counters and cupboards. I decided that I would first try to finish one room, so that the end results are seen faster. This should also streamline the progress a bit, as the generic cupboards are found in every house in this apartment building. There will be more individual assets to every house, so that none of the interior decorations are the same, but it's good to start with assets that are to be used most often. I'm also exploring how it will affect the size of the game, if I integrate some assets with the underlying architecture. For example, if I make the baseboards/skirtings integral to the floor. This would save very much time when I need to put the assets to right places in the Game Editor. There has also been many videos, that give great lessons on how a starting game developer can maximize the efficiency of the workloads. I especially like to watch the Game Dev Underground and Atmos Games for reference on how to be a successful indie game developer. If you have any interest in being a Game Developer or have interest in Indie Games in general, I would warmly recommend these channels.   Situation on #YouTube in general Since it would take time off from my game development, doing comprehensive talking videos might not be the best choice at this point - including the lack of suitable space to do recordings. Most efficient way that I have thus far come up with is to record timelapses and possibly record my speech either for the entirety or part of the video, if I'm not using music in the videos. Second topic on this issue is the teaser, which I would like to complete as soon as possible. After doing some research, it seems that doing it in Blender might actually be the best way to make it, so back to learning blender for me. The learning experience has been really sporadic for me, as I need to try and handle everything at this point on development and building a audience base is one of the more important things even at early on, to show where you come and what have you learned. Most important thing to show here is how willing are you to learn new things.   Website planning I'm also planning on the style for a website for the game and I think I have found a suitable style for both, desktop and mobile users. I'll be releasing more details about this on the next weeks Dev Diary. If you have any recommendations on the layout or graphics for the theme (dark, snowy winter), please feel free to make suggestions That's it for this weeks Dev Diary, thank you for your continued support.

ProjectTaival

ProjectTaival

 

Dev Diary #002

Re-Release of 14th of January 2019 Dev Diary; Hello again and welcome to the second Dev Diary for the Project Taival. This time I have my earliest test build in playable form, of the model of the house where you can explore the layout of two first floors. It is still not finished and I left the downstairs largely unlit on purpose. The download link is on the bottom of this post.   The TestBuild can only be exited by CTRL + ALT + DEL and force closing the software (as far as I know).   Please take note; all the models in this Test Preview are placeholders and/or temporary assets. The player character will be entirely different than the UE4 template character that this game has. Current experience with UE4 tools are very confusing - even with tutorials I'm largely lost, due to so many tutorials being out of date for the current version of the developer tools. But, I'm slowly but surely getting accustomed to the editing process in UE4. I'm still torn between Unity 3D and UE4, as Unity seem to be somewhat more user friendly, but on the downside, lacks visual scripting currently. I'm also researching how to make teaser trailers, as my Youtube channel is in dire need for content. I'm also trying out composing music for the teaser, but more on that when I have something ready to show. I will be spending this week finalizing the bottom floor models and testing out UE4 and Unity 3D some more. Also, it seems that this is going to be very tutorial heavy week for me, so fingers crossed. Thus far, despite all the frustration, I'm extremely optimistic about this endeavor to make this game. It feels really good to see the progress, no matter how small it might sometimes be, but being this motivated despite all the hardship in learning feels really good. Thank you for everyone who have shown interest toward this project! Have a wonderful week and stay tuned for more content updates. You can also show your support and subscribe to my other Social Media channels; YouTube Twitter Facebook Google+   And as always, have fun on your taival through life!   Download from Dropbox   Edit; to re-organize the dev diaries in order.

ProjectTaival

ProjectTaival

 

Dev Diary #001

Re-Release from 7th of January 2019 Dev Diary;   Welcome to the first actual Dev Diary. I will release a Dev Diary every week on Monday to keep you updated on the progress of the game, Project Taival. Unfortunately I don't have a lot of new content to share today, as I got a flu on the next day after posting the announcement, but I did manage to get the ground level rooms finished before my condition worsened. I still need to do the plasterboard walls and windows which I will begin to work on tomorrow. I will begin on working the minute details, like the skirting boards, cupboards, stoves, as well as window frames and panels after the whole building is first ready. To summarize some features of the game, here is a short list of things; - The game will be in First Person perspective. - It is going to be divided in multiple games, so be sure to expect a sequel. - All the final assets are going to be original content or modified from free assets. - Paid assets remains a possibility, depending on the amount of donations and pre-orders. - The game is based on modern days, but the roots of the story are much deeper in time. - 2 layer game world, similar to Silent Hill, but different.   Want to help out? I'm also exploring ways to give some unique extra content to those who have pre-ordered or donated a certain sum. If you can give pointers on the most efficient and secure way to do a database, in which I could easily handle the distribution these special game codes to those who have funded the game in this very early stage, please let me know. A tutorial to setting up such a database would be much appreciated I'm also toying with the idea that if this project gets a funding of 100 000 USD in total within a year, it could be possible to hold a raffle among all the sponsors, in which one lucky person could get an artwork based on the Lore of the story. I saw this amazing looking glass art on a video and thought that it could have a fitting look for a physical collectibles item of this game, as well as be fitting for anyone, gamer or non-gamer alike. But there is still plenty of time to figure that out What do you think, should there be physical collector's items for the early buyers? I'll also post a brief get-to-know-me post at some point here to introduce my self and my aspirations for all to see. No matter how ambitious my vision for this game is, I do know that the road will be long and hard and I probably can't achieve as much as I hope for, in as little time I wish a could. But I'm committed to this project so deeply, that I wish to do it for my livelihood. Thats it for todays Dev Diary, have a splendid week and tune in for more on next Monday!   Edit; to re-organize the dev diaries in order.

ProjectTaival

ProjectTaival

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