Monthly Update – Feb 2016
January has been quite the month of ups and downs. I started off raring to go with some some great new direction with the level design I’ve been working on for a while now and also started to think more seriously about funding for the game. Shortly after that I was suddenly struck with the dreaded ‘omg what am I doing, have I made the right decision, should I really be making this game’ dilemma. It was a bit of a shock to the system really after working on the game for about a year now, to even consider not working on it anymore and doing something else. In retrospect I think looking around at all the funding options and doing schedule and costing plans is what set me off on the path of doubt, because once you start to think about those kinds of things and put numbers down on paper it all starts to get a bit more serious and real. Not that I wasn’t taking it seriously before but to be honest I hadn’t really been putting cost estimates and firm dates on things. Also the idea of getting other people involved and therefore needing to pay them takes things to a different place than when I’m just doing it myself in my own time, at my own pace. It was all starting to get a bit scary.
I’m glad to say I’ve got over that little episode and I’m feeling a lot more positive about the whole thing again. I realised some of the funding options I was looking at were not the right fit for me or my project and also it really hammered home what I’d been talking about last month – the need to get the things I’ve been working on to a more finished stage so that I can show to people outside my little studio, and add in the elements I need to make it look like a proper game. Even if it’s just a small slice of the final game, having something that looks complete that I can show people will help in numerous ways. Firstly it will give me a better sense of achievement and help me stay motivated, it will allow me to gauge progress and better estimate how much longer things will take and of course it will help raise interest and potentially get some funding if I have something that looks good and I’m happy to show off to people.
So what I’m working on now is getting the first half of the current level finished to a more complete stage. That includes all the level design, modelling, texturing, lighting, all the puzzles and interactive elements and perhaps most importantly the feedback loop between with the player and the character on screen. This requires all the animations for things like picking up objects, interacting with the various things in the environment and feedback on all the player inputs. A lot of those things already function in the game (e.g. picking up and interacting with objects) but they don’t have an animation or any other visual feedback. You can press the correct button in the correct place and a thing happens but you don’t get important visual feedback on what action you did and also when things don’t work, or don’t work yet. A good example of this would be a door that is locked but can be opened, you may be able to try the handle and get a ‘door locked’ sound so you know to come back later when you find a key. A door that will never open would simply do nothing when you try to interact with it or you get a generic ‘can’t do anything’ reaction from the character. So I made a list of all the different actions you can or will be able to perform in the game and I’ve spent the last week doing custom animations for all of them. I have most of them done now (I think!) and have started to integrate them into the player controller. I’ve never animated a character before so it’s tricky getting all the movements to look right, but I’m really enjoying watching him get more animated!
I’m also enjoying the help of my first intern on the project – Mr Berkley! As you can see from the picture he is really getting to grips with the whole animation thing in Unity, although I’m not sure the ‘sit’ and ‘walkies’ animations are appropriate for a Victorian gentleman…
I’m planning on a big update for next month which may include the first public outing for the game so I’d better get back to it. See you next time!