[005] All Our JRPGs

Hey all! Staying on schedule this time.

Not that much new this week - I was taking care of some other obligations (lesson planning - school starts in 4 weeks! a paper for Heterotopias, and a 80 minute mix you'll be able to hear soon!).  Also... thanks to a little JRPG that just came out (Dragon Quest 11), I've been busier this week all things considered.  

I have a bunch of new screenshots... but I don't really want to spoil anything. 

Overall progress

Hmm... a ways off. A lot of music and modeling left, though the NPC/dialogue part should go pretty quickly. My main worry is the story going stale for me, so I want to work faster. But from the view of experience in modeling and music and 3D in general, I'm not too worried.  Though I have condensed/cut a few things this week - so I might continue to do that. I have a handful of scenes that are on the chopping block, so I will focus on areas that are definitely needed, see where I'm at and go from there.

Sketches

I blocked out a bunch of areas on paper this week, which I will be modeling soon!

It's an okay time to talk about my workflow for 3D games. This is kind of like 2D games I guess. Right now for an area, here's what I've been doing.


- Deciding what it is, general feel, NPCs/events there (this happened a month or two ago). This is a leapfrog process that goes back and forth iteratively.

- Sketching on paper - blocking places out, getting a rough sense of scale. planning camera angles.

- Pulling up reference photos for scale if needed

- Blocking out the area using RealtimeCSG, testing it in-scene to see how scale works

- adding in finer-detail architecture, models, etc.

- texturing using realtime CSG or blender if needed

- done!

My sketches generally start with making concrete the idea I had in mind. Knowing the events of a space and stuff make it much easier. This step is important because to a certain extent, it furthers the process that limits what the musical ambience will be.

You'll notice there's not much of a level design process in here that you might have seen in Even the Ocean. That's because AOA isn't really level-design-y. I mean, I think about a player in the area, but like there are no platforming challenges, etc, where you have to worry about a ton of details. And I don't have many hyper-complicated spaces where you really have to pay attention to architectural circulation for the player or whatever.

Other stuff

I made a few models. One for the save points, one for each NPC in the game (I'm re-using the same one... heh heh.)

Camera things

I did a little of this a while back, with camera transitions being triggered by triggers. Yesterday, I made spline-transitions work. So now if the camera follows you on a spline/dolly track, you can walk into a trigger and it transitions to a new one. useful! There's still one last camera behavior I want to add, which uses 2 splines. Might explain that later. I did see Unity 2017's new camera system, which seems really useful. However I'm basically done with my camera stuff in this game so there's not much point upgrading, though I do want to look at the system later.

Debug stuff

I added in a few cutscenes, which required me to rethink parts of the NPC system. But I built the system out not too naively so it was easy to do what I wanted - give some NPCs 2 states: the first is a one-time cutscene that plays, the second is a normal dialogue you can have repeated. 

And right, debug stuff - the point I brought that up was I added in a key to let me speed-up dialogue by 6x. This is something I recommend in general, stuff you can use throughout development to waste less of your time. Like a player speedup key is a good idea.

I then have a single boolean which determines whether the game is in development mode and if these debug shortcuts shoudl work at all.

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