December is finally upon us, closing what we think we can all call, a crazy year. This isn’t the last weekly journal, as we still have a few weeks before Christmas break and the final update of the year coming up on December 8.
The team has been working this week on Xbox One optimization and lots of behind the scenes story work. When we integrated Unreal 4.13, a bunch of our previous optimizations were overwritten by default Unreal code, meaning that our programming team is slowly piecing things back together. Likewise our level design team has effectively built out Arthur’s story, and while we can’t talk too much about that yet (for obvious reasons), it’s great to see the story and gameplay missions taking shape.
Without further ado.
I made a video this week showing the new music system! This is a procedural system that allows the music to remain seamless across a range of different states - suspicion, combat, on joy, off joy, etc. It’s pretty cool, and allows for significantly more variation so you won’t be listening to the same thing nearly as often.
You already know you should be taking your Joy. But where does Joy come from? Who invented it? What’s in it?
I’ve been working this week on environmental narrative that will reveal the secret history of Joy, if you look carefully through the environments. The Compulsion team had an existing idea about the origin of Joy, but a writer’s job is to make sure we’re telling the most interesting, yet “true” possibility. So I’ve been noodling various ideas: Was it a military experiment? A witch’s spell recipe? Crackpot 19th century brain science concoctions? A WW1 herbal remedy for shellshock? Or something else? It looks as though we’ll end up going with our original idea, but enriched from playing around with the other possibilities.
I’ve also been working on environmental narrative that will tell you what caused the nasty, phlegmy plague the Wastrels are always coughing on you. The answer is inspired by the real-life Great Fog of 1952 (which I learned about from an episode of THE CROWN), combined with someone doing Something Naughty. Don’t you want to know who? Of course you do!
This week, I have been working on some secret story stuff which I can’t mention just yet, but I can mention that I have been adjusting some values for recipes. For example: creating a Torn Suit used to cost a Proper Suit. To me, this was crazy. So I made it cost 1 sewing kit and 3 cloth scraps instead, so we can create the base level suit from scratch.
I have also been looking at the global blueprint of the game, and seeing which quests go where, and which ingredients are from which zone, etc. This is an important step in balancing the game, and is part of a process called Rational Level Design. The idea is that we’ll be able to spread things out and review the pacing of the game just by looking at it on paper, so that there is a good balance of content, difficulty, etc and everything makes sense where it is. One example of this is the Sunshine Pill recipe. It used to require 2 rotten mushrooms to craft. Looking at the Blueprint, we realized that there were only a handful of rotten mushrooms even available. So, now it requires 1.
This week I’ve been working on a new location with Marc-André, making props and learning to do more modular assets such as railings and marble floor.
I’ve also finished implementing the cannon I’ve made in the old fountain scene and added some plants to give it more the look of an abandoned place.
Have a good weekend!
This week, I worked on the pubs and their upstairs apartments.
The pub will act as a shopkeeper, and a hub for a few encounters. We’re arting it up now as we have some time while the level designers finish up on story, so that they’ll have a cool environment to play around in when they jump back onto encounters.
Thanks for tuning in!
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