There isn’t too much to say overall for this week. The art team is now on play-testing and QA, the programmers are bug fixing and doing their magic, and a few of us are specially assigned to RTM marketing materials.
My specific assignment is to work on our two required videos. In addition to the videos below I am also working on our game’s cover which is still under construction. All in all, the work that I have done for this project will make nice additions to my portfolio. I can’t wait to see the finale’ of all our hard work!
This week was quite an intense blur of work. I feel like the group did an amazing job pulling together to get all the art and other assets into the source control on time. What we didn’t anticipate was just how tedious it would be to sew all the pieces together into a start to finish experience. There was some miscommunication between design and programming regarding the tutorial level. Somehow programming didn’t even know of its existence? It was quite an ordeal considering there had been continued, open discussions throughout SLACK including pictured updates of it being modeled and textured as well as discussions about voice actor dialogue for it. Either way, all the content that was the tutorial was ready and fully completed; it just needed to be programmed in. Once Austin got started, it was implemented in no time.
On an odd side note, our source control ended up being something we really had to fight with when it came time to make the final build for the Alpha deadline. Unreal was trying to package everything that was even remotely tied to member’s test levels. So essentially it was trying to build our entire source control into the package. What we ended up having to do, was duplicate a version of our work-space that only had the essential things we needed. It’s easier said than done when you have to weed through 15 gigs of stuff. It all worked out in the end and we have learned another Unreal idiosyncrasy.
Not much to elaborate on this week. We have all been on autopilot. One more week till our Alpha is due. All Systems Go!
The final procedural music track for the game is up too. This means I only have the title screen music left to complete!
This post comes in a little late do to the holiday but quite a lot of progress was made on the opening cinematic. Along with the cinematic I was also able to complete another procedural track for the Tutorial area of the map.
The cinematic I’ve been working on has several steps in its process. The style is 2D are with a comic book flare. It is largely done in grey-scale with pops of a single color. I wanted any of the environment showed in a scene to have solid perspective and realistic shadows casting. I figured out a great way to pull this off as well as cut down on drawing everything in a scene. Below is the listed process.
This week we received our grades and feedback from out Vertical Slice and it was not as positive as we hoped. Long story short, we are looking at re-building our world from the ground up once again. One critique was in regards to the narrative not being present in the V-Slice, and although it wasn’t because we didn’t have a narrative planned, we decided, that because the game is getting a face lift, our script too, need to be updated. This was quite a stressor because I had arranged to record the old script with our voice actors by the end of this week. Tiffany, Daniel, Silver, and I had a sit down and in no time had something new to go with. Friday, me and Silver sat with the Voice artists and recorded the narrative needed for the opening cinematic.
New Procedural track for the Shopping District.
Up until this week I was largely part of the art team, chipping away at modeling, but that will not be the case moving forward. I’ve taken charge of all things related to audio, narrative, and cinematic that will happen for Arco. I am very happy to be working on the parts of the game that utilize all of my best skills. I plan on working for the next two or so weeks on the first cinematic for the game.
This was by far the first week we truly experienced crunch mode. There was still quite a lot of art not showing up from the team and at this point the leads and few others literally worked all day every day trying desperately to fill our Vertical Slice level. In a week’s time, we went from not having a single thing that looked like a city, to full blow skyscrapers and blocks of the city done. Our Largest overlook was not keeping an eye on the level of detail that each object had. The night before our presentation I couldn’t not play our game in full resolution.
All in all, it’s been a bitter sweet week. Anybody from the outside might think we successfully made something, but on the other side of the fence, there was just so much that couldn’t be refined in time, or be implemented. Also, way too much of the team actually contributed even an average amount to our project. I’m worried that that one factor is the main cause of this crunch mode we endured. I’m worried that it won’t get fixed.
I have never made so many buildings in my life.
Environmental assets made this week.
In addition to buildings, I also threw myself at animating our spider boss. While it was rigged, skinned, animated, and put in to Unreal, we unfortunately couldn't get it implemented before our presentation.
A lot happened this week. We gave our prototype presentation and immediately knew what we had to step up on. We had to get a working boss ASAP and at this time, we are nearly there. Our boss mechanics are programmed in and ready and we also have a game quality model, rigged and textured.
We had a very big obstacle that had to be clarified at any cost. THE MAP. Arco was pitched as an open world, and we just did not have a single map drawn, nor a plan for how to lay out the city. We not only have a map now, but have laid it out in such a way that can add organization and direction to our personal milestones.
These are what I could complete from start to finish in a single day. I was also able to reach a fully complete model for two other buildings. The speed that this workflow adds is going to be key to the success of our project.
I was able to complete, test and implement my ideas for procedural music.
This shows off my progress with my first attempt with composing for procedural game music. I'm using the Indian theory of mantras. These would be the low intensity parts you hear. The mantra for each location is a constant. When a player enters combat, the intensified, 'song' part of the track is revealed. This high intensity overlay can end at any moment a battle ends and there is no noticeably jarring moment where you hear tracks stop or start. So this is just a demo. and I would like to account for the initial start of combat with a cymbal roll out. I would do this outside of these 2 tracks through programming(blueprints). Overall, I'm glad that all the theory I've looked into is working out!
I also completed the musical scores for the opening and closing cut scenes we know will be in the game.
This week I was able to design a full fight mechanic for a boss encounter. Taking into account that the team only has one experienced rigger/ animator, I tried to think of enemy that would lessen the amount of rigging the enemies would need.
The Spider Boss Concept: In regards to rigging, the spider boss will be nearly as big as the environment it is located in (City Park). He won’t need to be rigged in order to actually walk around because His combat is designed for him to stay in one place. The under part of his body is protected by a force field, this is where he is most vulnerable. The player will dodge the shot he is firing from the mid-section of his body and avoid his dangerous stomping legs while they fire at his unshielded legs. The enemy will enter and aggravated state and slam this body to the ground, and then like a dreidel, he will spin. While spinning he gradually shifts his legs further out. The player is forced to only avoid during this phase. Once the boss had completed his spin attack, it will enter a brief cooldown phase. This is when the shield protecting his body will off and the player can shoot and do some real damage to the boss. The spider will then shake, its shield will reactivate and then it will stand up to begin this process.
This monster design. So he is the same coming as going. Meaning, (Theoretically) His forward animation played backwards, is his forward animation. The turret is a swivel.
Here are some other Models and Shape Studies from this week.
My main role for this game is as the Sound Designer. As such I have also begun to write an Audio Design Document draft. This document details the genera styles for game music, sound effects/ foley process, how voice over content will be captured and edited, and overall how all audio will be mastered.
Arco is an over-the-shoulder shooter focused on pitting the player against colossal enemies. Set in the distant future, a highly-advanced program, Arco, was designed to aid humanity but has gone rogue and turned against its creators. The player is the only one capable of stopping Arco using a prototype suit designed to combat Arco should something go wrong. Using the suits augmenting capabilities, like hyper-mobility and a highly customizable gun, the player has the tools necessary to combat Arco and save humanity.