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Weekly Journal - Happy New Year!

Hey everyone,  

Most of the office is now back at work after a much needed holiday break and we are ready to take on 2018!  

Production

Sam

Hi everyone, happy new year! From everyone here at Compulsion, we hope you’ve had time over the new year period to relax and check out some great games.

Since November, we have been reviewing game mechanics, playthroughs and all of the nitty gritty details that go into making a game. Many of us on the team have been in almost constant review meetings, going over everything with a fine toothed comb, deciding what’s working well, what isn’t, and what needs improvement. One initial decision we made was to improve Arthur’s first two hours, which we have spoken about in the past few weekly journals.

We’ve now progressed into different type of decisions, for example, which features to keep and which just aren’t interesting enough. For example, we just don’t think the gifting function is great as it is currently implemented, and the time we would need to improve it is better spent elsewhere. So, we’re restricting gifting to Bobbies only (which already have good realisation), and probably renaming it as “bribery”. We will post more about what we’ve been doing on this front, and the big picture calls we’ve had to make as a result of all of these changes, next week.

Narrative Team - Alex and Lisa

Alex

We’ve all been scrambling to rebuild the first two hours of Arthur’s playthrough so it functions as a better tutorial while also being more spectacular and “sticky.” We’ve also rejiggered the order of islands you’ll have to cross, and fixed the logic of your interactions with a certain very important person. So for me, that means writing and recording about 500 new lines of encounter dialog.  

Meanwhile we’ve been recording barks to clarify why exactly NPCs are pissed off at you. Altogether, let’s say I recorded about 1100 lines of dialog in five recording sessions with actors in London, LA, and somewhere in New Zealand.  

Also, in my copious free time, I’ve been reworking the scripts to Top Secret Project #1. I realized that it was impossible to get into the head of Top Secret Person #1, so I gave her a troublesome person to talk to. This really has opened things up.  

Wot I Did Over My Winter Vacation: I suck at vacation. Lisa is much better at it. But either way, over the break, Lisa and I did a lot of research and kicking around ideas for Top Secret Project #4. Some of this is quite a bit in advance. But we like to have time to write, then realize the writing is broken, then reformulate. As all pro writing monkeys know, writing is rewriting. We think you’ll be really excited ... sometime ... in the future ... forget you even read this.

Design Team - David, Hayden, Antoine, Adam, Ben, Eric, Roxanne and Benji

Eric

Well, this week and the last few have been 100% dedicated to making sure Arthur’s playthrough is the best it can be. We restructured some things, changed a bit of the narrative, fixed a ton of bugs, rearranged some things, made a few schedules, excel sheets, had some meetings, and got fat(ter) over Christmas. So far it’s turned out a lot better than where it was 2 months ago. It’s starting to shape up into the game we wanted to make. So that’s cool. That all said, I think every game I’ve worked on has scared me until the last like 3 to 5 months of production. It’s like a broken mess, until it’s not. Then it’s like, “oh hey, this is cool!”.

Roxanne

This week, I added quest rewards to all Arthur’s playthroughs quests, including adding skill points everywhere, and added a bunch of recipes so all our new clothes and weapons are spawning. I also worked on our ambient civilians (what we call “AI Decorators”), to make sure Wellington Well is full of life.

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

Mike

Hey folks! Hope you all had a great holiday. I’m back and working on some sweet ass cutscenes. We are working hard to make your immersion into our games as wicked as possible and so this week I’ve worked on a little cutscene that’ll make getting bullied in high school because you were wearing the wrong clothes, look like a walk in the park. Like one of the instructors on my Basic Training said, “If you want to stay out of trouble in the army, look at everyone else is doing, divide by half and do that.” I still don’t really know what he meant by that, but save it to say that we will try our bestest to prevent the locals from playing whack a mole with your skull! That’s it for me, so tune in next week! Same Bat Time same Bat Channel!

Jules

Hi all! I’m starting this new year with a task I haven’t done in a long time, polishing my animation. I’ve done the majority of the NPC attacks and I must say, it’s looking great! I am sharing some of them with you today and will bring you more next week. I hope you will like them!

 

 

 

 

Engineering Team - Matt, Serge, Michael, Lionel, Rob, Evan, Maarten, Céline and Guillaume (sometimes)

Michael

I’ve been getting back into the swing of things after the holidays with some easy repetitive bug fixing. It’s nice to have some quick tasks to complete to get you back into the working mood. I also picked up a task to give some love to our special pickups, and create some effects that activate when you have the pickup in your inventory. The mission rewards for certain big encounters; the Simon Says Medal, Holy Yam, and the Adulator pickup you get from the Newspaper office quest, all now have a lasting bonuses to help you on your journey through Wellington Wells.

My favourite was the Holy Yam. Once you have the Holy Yam, you will magically start finding more yams than you would before. Were they always there and you were just not seeing them, or does the Holy Yam have the power of creation in its starchy grasp?

Serge

Happy new year everyone! This week, I’ve been working on the Jubilator : that big machine that cleans up the Village over the night. Be ready to run if you get caught by it during curfew! I also spent time with the level and game designers for the fight that occurs within an arena where you learn how to beat them.

Lionel

I was moving islands around this week. The current system wasn’t as stable as we wanted, and on a few rare occasions islands could collide, producing very strange worlds. So I went back to the whiteboard, armed with a pen and math, I tried to find a solid way to place the islands, and then I built a prototype to see if my thinking was correct (spoiler : it was not). Still, after a few back and forth, I converged on something and the new system seems promising. Picture (warning : programer art.).

Note that not all of these are islands, nor are they necessarily representative of the size of an island.

QA Team - Lee, Stephanie, JP and Alexina

Alexina

Hello folks, this week I’ve been mostly working on compiling a tracker in our database and a test plan to keep track of blockers, conditional blockers and crashes for some upcoming playtests that we’re doing this month. Besides that, the usual QA shenanigans of bugging/vetting, testing new features and helping players on our support forums. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and a good start to the new year.

Jean-Philippe

Hello folks, back from Holidays and back to work. Much of this week was spent preparing for upcoming Playtests. Not much else to add beyond that. Typical QA stuff as mentioned by Alexina consists of 70% of our work.  

Enjoy the attached image; this animation is not in the public version but now the Wastrels go to the bathroom. Of course it wouldn’t be real game development without bugs so here is a funny one.

Art Team - Whitney, Emmanuel, Tito, Marc-André, Sarah, Guillaume, Cary and PH
PH
 
Hello,  
 
This week I modeled some kind of giant TV show set inspired from the 50s. I worked with Level Designer Eric to get something that will be fun and interactive for the player. Then I worked with Level Designer Benjamin on a wrecked car that the player will scavenge to collect special loot. Then I started to implement some posters and flyers into the levels that Sarah and Whitney have beautifully created. Trust me, they are amazing! These pieces of environmental narratives will help a lot to give backstory and context for players. Adding these details here and there is really time consuming but the results are without doubt worth it for the player experience!  
 
And one more thing, I did it! I managed to finish The Witcher 3 during the holidays, 3 years after the release. But I’m not totally over with it because I’m now playing the expansions. Will see if I can finish them before the end of 2018.  
 
Marc-André  
 
This week, I am back from Christmas vacation! The harsh weather I have been experiencing made me question why anyone with a sane mind would decide to come live here in Canada. -37° Celsius (-35° Fahrenheit) is freezing cold.  
 
The entirety of my week was aiming toward finishing the tutorial island and tweaks/bug fixing of other areas of the game.  
 
I’ve been shuffling a lot of minor tasks that, together, add up to a lot. I did some polish on the grass, houses and hooligan camp of the tutorial island, did tweaks to the Mystery House & [a spooky redacted] encounters, fixed terrain SFX issues, did some new flag variants, added environmental narrative and fixed minor collision in bugs in some encounters such as The Church of Simon Says. I also did some new optimised materials that will be useful when placing posters on the Garden District buildings.
 
Basically, I was everywhere, doing the much needed task of finishing up a lot of small important details in order to mark stuff as “Finished”.  
 
Sarah  
 
Heyo! New year, new art (same Sarah)! I hope you had a restful, happy holiday. This week I worked on brand new posters, graffiti, and propaganda, all for the tutorial island! There's lots of new opportunities to push the story in this place, and to get familiar with the world. We explored some long forgotten ideas that Alex drafted ages ago (including the attached image text below! A bad apple spoils the bunch, don't cha know!), as well as new concepts and scribbles, thanks to Lisa! And of course, as ever, lots of Wastrel graffiti. Here's a little doer I made this week! Have a great weekend! 
Publishing – Steve, Jeff, Mike C, Austin, Meredith, Elisa, Kat, Kelly, Nicole, Sean, Mike M, Elliot, and Simon (and more)

Mike R

Hello Everyone! My name is Mike. I am the Creative Director of Marketing at Gearbox Publishing. I spend my time leading and collaborating with artists of many specializations, bringing marketing content to life. You may have already seen my work – the We Happy Few Re-Announce trailer was the first trailer I directed since joining the team in June. You can also find me for a split second playing a guitar in the Trailer Audio Behind the Scenes video. Fun fact: They used that clip in reverse, so that’s me playing… but backwards!  

On to the update - Whew! Fun break! I hope everyone had a fun and safe end of the year. December was very productive, planning for the development of some exciting trailers and other marketing assets in the coming year.  

With the aforementioned planning finished, we are well prepared for the best part of the process – MAKING COOL STUFF. I can’t wait to turn these paper ideas into something you all can see. 2018 should be a fun year!

Thanks for tuning in!  

Compulsion Team

 

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