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Weekly Journal - Painted cakes do not satisfy hunger

Hi everyone,  

Breezy update this week. This weekend we will be at MEGA in Montreal. We will even have a photoshoot with some Uncle Jack props, so if you are around, come by and say, “Lovely day for it!”

Animation Team - JR, Rémi, Vincent, Mike P, Jules, Raph And Franzi

Jules

Hi everybody! So this week I’ve worked on the Doctor’s bonesaw attack. I added the VFX and tweaked the animation for it a little bit to look better in-game. During the other part of the week, I’ve started to work on my new task, a new taunt and a death reaction. We want to add some custom animation for NPC’s death. At the moment it’s just a hit reaction with a ragdoll notify inside of the animation sequence. So basically more variant in combat for it to look better. I will share with you some gifs next week.

Mike

So this week I worked hard to deliver a cutscene that .. well won’t be used anymore. At least not for its intended purpose. Then I moved onto polishing up some animations I had to rush a few weeks ago, and then I finished a first person animation of talking on a Walkie Talkie. So this week has been a bit of a mixed bag, but fun nonetheless! See you next week, same Bat Time same Bat Channel!

Vincent

Ahoy, long time no see! I’ll just peek my head behind the curtains to confess that this week I took some off time to tweak and polish a bit the Mad Scotsman intro, a cinematic I worked on almost two years ago… daaammn, time flies. The game has changed so much since those days. The team and the office as well!

Art Team - Whitney, Emmanuel, Tito, Marc-André, Sarah, Guillaume, Cary And PH

Carylitz

A lot of sculpting work lately! I have to create a new character variant which is really challenging, but a really fun process. I have also been doing the last touch ups to some maps so we can finish them for real, really small details like fixing lights intensity, arrangement of portraits and moving some props around. I worked in some ninja tasks assigned by Antonio, most of this work is just going back to props and separate them or add pieces.

Marc-André and PH

We are currently refactoring every single buildings of the Garden District (the procedural fillers as well as the encounters) by adding custom pieces of land. So far so good; we are quite happy with the results we have achieved so far. What this means is that the transitions between the plots are getting a lot smoother. Using vegetation also helps us blend everything together in an organic fashion. Instead of the rigid set of buildings we had, the new plots have a bit more chaos (broken stone walls, plants growing here and there, height variation) which makes the world feel, visually, less procedural. By blending custom-made plots and the procedural world generation, we’re getting closer to a hybrid every day.

QA Team - Lee, Stephanie, JP and Alexina

Jean-Philippe

Rarely ever any interesting news coming from QA. This week has been spent largely regressing fixed issues and disseminating data from other QA testers and playtesters. With this kind of data, we can see potential issues, such as too much time in between two quests, unusually long quests, and it can also tell us roughly how much time it takes to complete our content.

Alexina

Hey everyone, I started here back in September but haven’t had much to say. There’s nothing beyond the usual (testing, regressing, test plan creating - you know, the usual) going on in the QA world of Compulsion. We had a playtest this week that Lee oversaw, besides that, “nose to the grindstone” as Arthur says (except we’re actually doing so, and not off our Joy).

Engineering Team - Matt, Serge, Michael, Lionel, Rob, Evan, Maarten, Céline, Neil And Guillaume (Sometimes)

Maarten

Hi all! We have been hard at work getting the PS4 build up to par. While Unreal is pretty good at supporting console platforms, it leaves enough things for us to figure out. Those can be simple, like "How do I properly set up our savegames so they play nice with PS4's dashboard?"; less simple: "Where are those damn GPU faults coming from?"; or downright odd: "Why do our houses look like they're auditioning for a Tim Burton movie?"

Michael  

Recently I’ve been going through all the NPC reactions for the naughty things you can do that make them mad, like climbing, stealing their stuff, murder etc. The goal is to make sure it is clear exactly what triggered their reaction, and what you can do to avoid being punished. The reactions consist of 3 elements, the NPC animation, their VO and then feedback through the HUD and status menu. It’s a lot of stuff to test, so my first step was create a level where I can easily spawn each type of NPC and switch outfits and weapons with a few button presses, and fill it with stuff like cupboards to steal from and locks to pick. Then I just have to press a button and check how each character reacts to a guy in a boiler suit and gasmask trying to jimmy bar a window. Are they angry enough? What if I start shoving them? Am I dead yet? ...success!  

Lionel  

There are things that make a city (or a hamlet) more believable. Among them is the structure of the road layout. It implies the flow of people over time, some kind of history. So this week, I focused on how to improve the diversity of our roads. The problem is not the roads themselves but when they meet. The crossroads are transition areas that are complex : they are the meeting points for different visual styles and different road width. I am not done but I already worked out the final model for crossroads the game will use. I implemented in a small prototype to see what it would be once on the screen.

 I made a mockup for our artists to validate (warning programmer art) :

And now I am integrating it into the game. “What strange phenomena we find in a great city, all we need do is stroll about with our eyes open. Life swarms with innocent monsters.” Baudelaire, Best City Bro.

Publishing – Steve, Jeff, Mike C, Mike R, Austin, Meredith, Elisa, Kat, Kelly, Nicole, Sean, Mike M, and Elliot (and more)

Elliot

Hey there! I’m Elliot, Gearbox Publishing’s Publishing Producer. What exactly does that (rather redundant) title mean? A number of things! I put together production schedules that incorporate timelines from Marketing, User Research, and Certification from Publishing, plus Compulsion’s development timeline. I coordinate with outsourced localization teams to get the game’s in-menu text and subtitles translated. I also put together the submission materials we send off to the ratings boards, which is what takes up most of my time at this point in development.  

Each ratings board has different requirements for the submitted materials, and different turnaround times. For example, ESRB’s turnaround time is 5-7 business days, so we can submit to them a little later- but turnaround time for DJCTQ (Brazil) is 30 days, so we submitted We Happy Few to them a few weeks ago and are waiting to receive our rating certification.  

Many boards require a gameplay video that shows pertinent content – violence, language, and sexual themes, among others – so we’re tasked with finding and recording the “worst” or strongest instances of these that are present in the game, and editing them together for submission to the boards. Kind of a highlight reel of things that might affect the rating of the game. For We Happy Few, we’re expecting to receive 16-18+ ratings with content descriptors calling out the dark themes, violence, sexual references, strong language, and drug (Joy) use.  

Some boards require a playable build of the game, and a few require a supercut of all the in-game cinematics (I’m looking at you, PEGI!). A few boards have special requirements. CERO (Japan) requires all communications and submission materials to be in Japanese, so we work with a third party (in this case, Neilo) for translation and guidance. IMDA (Singapore) and GCRB/GRAC (South Korea) do not allow extranational applications, so we secure local representation in order to be rated there.

It can sound pretty dry on paper, but I enjoy it - both the work itself, and being part of the process of helping Compulsion get their awesome game out there where people can play it!

Thanks for tuning in!  

Compulsion Team

 

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