Thursday 17 August 2023

Game Dev Blog #6 : Story and Context


 Most playable games today are interactive story experiences with rich narrative elements. Providing just a competitive agenda doesn;t cut it any more. So we will try to put a narrative in our case too. And in one of the previous post, I had already mentioned that the game being an rpg is about a mage who would go on a quest to save his home town.

This idea has been done to death but what we gotta lose by doing one more ? Nothing. 

So, this player character of ours, Vala (named changed from Rudra as the new one seemed to have a nice ring to it) needs a context or rather the player needs to be motivated. So, I imagined an opening script where an elder mage would call out and motivate Vala to start his quest. 

Next, I went ahead and compiled an opening cutscene. (Would love to get a feedback here.) 

How was it done? 
Well, I will not hold back. I employed a video editor Hitfilm , a audio editor Audacity , some images generated from - yup, folks check this out. The wait periods are shorter than Stable Diffusion

Once I recorded some dialogue recorded with a free Text-To-Speech converter for that "performance" voice and found this cool cinematic track Misery by Damiano Baldoni  I brought it all in Hitfilm

After a few serious hours of trial and error, I found something that worked for the moment. 

I created individual "composite" shots with one image each and sprinked it with "heat distortion", transform and fade effects and compiled it into a sequence. It was quite an education.

So here it is the the "INTRO" cutscene. ! 

Enjoy and stay tuned.


Friday 11 August 2023

Game Dev Blog #5 - More on the Prototype


Yes! some progress made. A video capture below

1. Player auto focus on enemy 2. Enemy focus and chase player 3. Player can shoot fireballs and discharge lightning 4. Player gets hit 5. Enemy gets hit
6. And yes, gamepad\joystic works too !!! 7. Checked on a background music - (March of Midnight by Scott Buckley | Music promoted by Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

So with the minimal feasibility and framework out of the way that now gives me a fair understanding of the dreaded Vector3d manipulation I can now move ahead with the artwork and tightening the story and gameplay.

Story ! Here I came 


Monday 31 July 2023

Game Dev Blog Post #4 - Prototype


Hello There !

Something's cooking and after a lot of deliberation and trying out the isometric tiles in 2D with Godot, I gave up. Aligning the tile and building a level seemed toooo much for me.  

It got me thinking what if I could just create a map in a tool like Blender and simply get it in Godot andbe done with it. Actually, I found that to be much cleaner. 

So, now I have switched to 3D but keeing the the Ortho look and feel of RPG intact. To summarize,

 I just built a couple of boxes and cylinders in Blender

Then exported them as glTF 2.0 and then imported them in Godot and set up the collision boxes and the environment settings

Next, headed over to mixamo and picked up this dude since he had nothing better to do. :0 and downloaded the running and idle animations in fbx at 30 fps

Got the model into Blender and accumulated the animations using the method instructed here and exported them out to glTB format and imported them into the Godot IDE.

Finally, after adding a boilerplate character movement script I could get this running. The camera was set to ortho and attached to the player character ( be specific)

And YES ! Its moving. 

This establishes the camera, physics, player animation, gravity and lighting. Much faster than the 2D isometric tiling method. 

Next, now onto some vfx and enemies path finding after post which I can call the prototyping complete and move to the actual design phase.

Cheers !!!!


Thursday 27 July 2023

Game Dev Blog Post #3 - About Levels


Greeetings folks ! Its been quite a downpour here. Monsoons in India are just too moch. Year on year they arrive late but leave a disruption in their wake.

Now, confined to indoors for much of the time, I could get some focussed work done. I finally decided a working title for the project. Since its about a young mage on a mission to save his basecamp, a name like "In Crisis" seemed appropriate. I will go with this for now. But yes, do put in your suggestions and I will reconsider.

Now, the primary and immediate objective is to get a working prototype. I have been tinkering with for Godot Engine some time and wading through a lot of Tutorials on YouTube. It seems there has been a recent upgrade to ver 4.0. So an active engine project seems to be in place for our purpose. 

The tilng mechanism, especially the isometric way of thnking took a little tile to grasp but  I could do a quick blocking and smoke testing as below. Going by the standards, The tiles are 2:1 ratio (x 128: y 64). Another thing that was crucial to get my head around was the Y-Sort.

Godot Interface

Next, comes the level building (again we are still prototyping) for which I need visual assets. My first route was to use an AI tool to generate them but I quickly found out that either my prompts were no good or these tools just sucked. Also there came up a concern from some corner about AI infringing IP of creators. PHEW ! There, I kept this method aside for the moment. 

The next viable thing to do was to look up some references in a gold mine like Pinterest and build by own library. I realised it will be a slow death but I was in no hurry as they say 'The Soul is immortal and Time is endless'. Heh !

The posts in pinteres were enough to thrust me into some asset smithing. And voila the first batch of modular brick and mortar made indegenously in the very powerful but accessible too - Blender

The geometries are pretty basic but the procedural textures are a little involved. The reason is to make sure that the same textures adapts to a multiple different asset shapes.

The initial levels are placed in a large hall, a courtyard, a library and a sewer. So there is probably another half a dozen sets I need to make before getting them.

So that's all for now folks. Stay tuned and subscribe  to get updated !

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Saturday 22 July 2023

Game Dev Blog Post #2 - Decisions ! Decisions ! Decisions !


OL RIGHT ! Rubber meets the tarmac. 

Since the last post, I realized that it was no walk in the park as I sat down and disected the parts that would make up a 2D RPG.  

And the revelation was staggering. I needed :
  • A Plan to define the tasks in the dev journey.
  • A fictional narrative to engage the player.
  • A 2D Game Engine and toolset to build the damn thing.
  • Tons of artworks
  • A gameplay logic to bind it all.
I began putting all the tasks in a old excel sheet. There are no timelines defined for now as it felt like I was on a raft in the middle of sea. Ahem !

I decided that the player can be a apprentice mage who goes out on a mission to hell and back retrieve some weapons to help defend his hometown and would gradually evolve to be a  grand wizard or something. 

Ah, sounds like a thrilling novel already !

I feel the demo should have atleast 10-15 levels to get the point across. There! a decision made.

2D Engine:
Now, this was a scary and daunting search thing that kept me up last night. I dont have a studio set up but an entry level Dell G3 gaming laptop. I downloaded Unity and began running one of the demos...and...the cooling fans began hissing louder than rattler. It also meant that something like Unreal was a no no.

Then, I found something called Godot  I played with it for an hour and it clicked. The leraning curve seemed relatively flat and it seemed it had a very component oriented quick creation process. 

There was a debugger and IDE to code within using GDScript unless you are using C#. There was a animation system, a particle system, a map system, camera, collisions, physics, desktop and mobile porting, parallax layers, 2D lighting, postprocessing.....and the complate package is FREE and OPEN-SOURCE

And thus another decision made.

This is something I am still looking out for. I am no artist and no animator. So I dablle sometimes with Blender and GIMP. However, I might have to check on the asset marketplaces like GameDevMarket or get someone on Fiverr. 
I am inclined towards an isometric view with tons of effects.  

Keeping this option open now as to how to source the artworks.

This is the heart of the game mechanics. The rewards (coins, powerups, ranks) and penalties (deaths and injuries) will need be tight to deliver a satisfactory and plausible experience. I have been working out some numbers as below.

Most of it will likely change over time with tuning but I guess this is a good start point.

And there, hands in the dirt ! Till next time.

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Thursday 20 July 2023

Day 1 - Hello


Ola ! What a great day to start journaling some game-making. 

Yes, its just another dev blog with a strange name but then why not.

So far, the intention is to make a RPG, an isometric hack-slash types that can suck up the player's time to no ends. Ah! getting sinister already !

Still trying to figure out the storyline and the tech. I plan to keep these rather simple and focus more on the gameplay as I understand the player stays with a game for its mechanics rather than the visual dazzles. Correct me if I got that wrong.

Its not lost to me that it will be a long winding murky and convoluted path but not something loads of coffee and beer can't solve., right ?

Do drop in your words (either kind or nasty) from time to time. 

I will set up a signup form soon to keep y'all in the loop. 

So, now over to the drawing board.