Well well! It’s been over a month since the last blog post (shame on me!), so this one’s gonna be a bumper one!
I decided to tackle getting some sound effects into the game. I had written my own little solution for playing back audio using Unity’s built in stuff, and then I found out audio solutions such as FMOD and Wwise now had indie options! Woo! (They used to be bonkers expensive) So in a flash I removed my old stuff and got FMOD in and working with the game. After this was all up and running I began adding basic audio for things like footsteps and some ambience. I also built a system for playing different visual and sound effects for characters’ footsteps based on the surface they’re walking on. I had a LOT of fun making sound effects for things out of random other sounds (the train is a whole bunch of sounds, including someone coughing and the sound of thunder, haha) I can’t wait to adding audio to the rest of the game soon!
The design tool for creating furniture (which I call the Maker) got a little bit of love recently too. The UI got some minor updates to make it feel a bit more complete and cleaner and after watching playtests I made the floor a bit more visible so player’s can more easily see if their creation is on the floor, or hovering above it.
Similarly, after watching playtests, I noticed players wanted to drag drop pieces to both add them to a creation, and to move them around too; this made a lot of sense as it’s kind’ve what you expect when you’re playing; so now you can drag-drop to add pieces and move them around too. It feels a lot more intuitive than before and I plan on adding some juicy animations when dragging pieces onto your creation to make it feel even more rewarding.
Now there’s a main menu! Hurrah! I wanted to set a scene that gives a first impression of the vibe of the game. I’ve always seen the game as having a relaxed summer’s day feel to it, and the lazy sitting-under-a-tree scene was exactly this. The character under the tree will change to represent the appearance of your avatar too. If you already have a game going clicking Start Game will continue where you left off, but if you’re starting a fresh you’ll transition into customizing your character. I was wondering about the best way of allowing the player to set up their avatar in the beginning of the game, without it feeling weird; it feels a bit strange doing it once you’re actually in the town and I wanted the avatar to represent the player from the very start; so I thought “hey, let’s put it in the main menu!”. I really like how the flow feels and I plan to add an animation to the avatar so they run off toward the horizon when you transition into playing the game, so it feels like one fluid movement from menu to game.
A while back I started work on the painter tool. This tool allows you to paint wall or floor patterns, as well as design t-shirts for yourself and the villagers too. I’d left the tool alone after getting the basic functionality working; but the tool was mega slow, and felt clunky. While searching around on forums someone mentioned using a render texture to do fast painting of textures and I thought “that sounds like a good idea!” and gave it a go. After a bit of struggle I got this new method working and now there’s no weird delay or clunkiness when painting; it’s oh so smooth! With the painting feeling good I cleaned up the UI; complete with adding a 3D preview of a T-Shirt that updates as you design. This preview shows you exactly how the design will look, as it can be a bit tricky trying to figure that out just by looking at the flat design alone!
Building Bases Next Step
I took the blockouts Jonas had done for the types of house you can place and took them to the next step of implementation. This meant tidying up and tweaking the models, as well as getting them set up to have textures on them. These home bases control the shape and size of the house you place, and can be customized with roof and wall styles later that you have crafted, bought in the shop, or have been given by a villager.
Bits and Bobs
Along with these larger tasks I got a bunch of bugs fixed and smaller things tidied up. These include nice camera fades when going between levels; only showing a loading screen if it’s necessary. Previously having a loading screen pop up when going in and out of a building broke the feeling of movement, so now fading in and out of black means there’s no feeling of interruption as you move around the world.
There’s a new head type for straining! When pulling a weed and doing other interactions your avatar will show a strained face! Grnnnnnhhkk!
While working on the main menu I also got the basics set up for having separate save games on one computer, allowing multiple towns to be on the same device at the same time.
Your backpack can now be upgraded! In the beginning you’ll start off with a small backpack, and will have the option to unlock backpack upgrades in the shop as you progress in the game to give you more space. Related to this, if you try and pick up something, or make a new creation or painting but don’t have any space to store it you’ll get a little pop up telling you it aint possible!
Two of the weeks since last update were spent over at Warpzone Studios, helping them out with some Art Direction work on their game. It was really nice to work in a little team with friends again, and the change of work was a welcome breather from my own project. Unfortunately I can’t share anything about the game with you lovely people yet, but trust me when I say it’s gonna be super! I’ll be popping back there time to time to help them more along the way over the coming year or so, which I look forward to (and it helps to have a little cash coming into the company from time to time too, haha!)
And lastly, I signed a musician to start working on the game! After speaking with a few different people and studios, and listening to their demos I found someone who’s style fitted what I was after. I’m not gonna announce who it is yet, as I think it’d be nice to give you a taste of the music at the same time; so stay tuned!
Bam! That’s it for this update! Thanks for reading, and if you have any questions or comments do hop into the Discord server for a chat!