In 2015, a few weeks before we launched our Kickstarter, we asked ourselves: if we were going to try “open development”, what would be the most important thing to help build a good, lasting relationship with a community?
For us, it was open, transparent and consistent communication. Since June 2015, we have posted an update every Friday, taking breaks only for Christmas holidays. An update about what was going on in the project, the studio and a short note from different members of the team about their work that week. We wanted to introduce you to our team, so that you’d know who we were, and could see the challenges we faced, and our hopes and dreams for the project. We hope that you have enjoyed being here with us, and have enjoyed hearing from members of the team.
Today we sit at a total of 145 updates! We didn’t anticipate that we’d have that many - we thought we might get to 50 before launching the game. How things change, eh? It is pretty funny going back and reading the very old entries, as you can witness all the changes the studio and the project have undergone. We have posted each one on Kickstarter, open to the public, and now we have this fascinating time capsule to look back at.
A few weeks ago we announced that we would change the format of the weekly journals. This is because work on content has slowed down, and everything at this point is mostly bug fixing, optimization, or a spoiler. So instead of having the regular format, we are going to look in more depth at specific parts of the game, focusing on how it has evolved throughout development!
Every week we will touch on an area of the game and show some old and new screenshots, what was the original design, what decisions we made and the final(?) results.
So here it is, the last weekly as we know it! If you want us to speak about the evolution a particular topic (crafting, UI, combat, art, etc..) in the new journals, feel free to let us know! And if there is a specific team member you want to give a shout out to, now is the time :)
Thank you, as always, for reading.
Design Team - David, Hayden, Antoine, Adam, Ben, Eric, And Benji
This week I finished up one of the new bridges for Arthur’s story. In addition to that I spent a lot of time polishing the first two hours of the game; mostly things that help teach people the mechanics of the game in a smooth and fun way. In addition to that I sort of floated around between a few other maps polishing specific target areas to make these levels overall better by polishing out the stuff that wasn’t great. Plus I saw a bug that Remi swears is a naming convention bug. Either way it turns NPCs faces into a Tim Burton nightmare. It was pretty awesome. I say ship it.
Also, tata for now! It’s been a fun year for me here at Compulsion. Starting out on creating side missions, then working on the core Arthur story missions, bug fixing, rejiggering things based on feedback, and making some spreadsheets. I do love those spreadsheets. Thanks, and hope you guys love this game as much as we love making it.
I’ve added a lot of polish to the Mad Scotsman. There have been main blockers, conditional blockers, nice to haves, “necessaries but can ship withouts”. There’s also a lot of “Hey, it would be awesome if you could this, Adam!” …. Yeah, I agree… you’re right. Will not fix, no time. Also, it’s fun to see Sam stress out. When most people are stressed, you see a vein on the forehead.. But not Sam. His face remains calm, but his beard starts twitching. Most fucked up thing I’ve ever seen.
On another random game note, we had these things called “AI decorators” which were just supposed to spawn some random NPCs doing random things to make the world interesting. Turns out it was this evil system that just duplicates characters whenever you try to move it or delete it. So at one point, I think I had 50+ characters trying to look in the windows of the pub.
What’s up everyone ?! I’ve been spelunking here in the caves of Unreal. It’s very pretty in here. Lots of colors and wires going everywhere slowly building up a world (that doesn’t sound pretentious at all pfff). So, little update on the Miss Thigh Highs aka Sally Boyle ;). She’s going well but let me tell you that her playthrough has being reworked and reworked and rejiggered to the point where I feel confident we got something that feels right. The bulk of the rework I’ve been doing is making sure there’s not too much unnecessary back and forth between quest locations. I’ve been working on a pretty hilarious scene where Bobbies are singing to Miss Boyle as a token of their appreciation for one of her accomplishments. Another cute thing I’ve done for Sally is that she now has a special table in her house that enables her to play music whenever she wants.
Well hello there, folks, how the hell are you doing? It’s good to be back for the last full team community weekly.
I’m rarely seen with the other LDs these days, as I’ve been spending most of my time in the Parade District, with my pinky finger up in the air as I sip on tea (and occasionally whiskey) with some of Wellington Wells upper crust; discussing new scientific discoveries, listening to Uncle Jack broadcast, and not to mention, trying on new clothes at an undisclosed location (still a bit too pricey for me) and window shopping at the Market.
And despite some of the absurd rumors you may have heard going around; a disruption in food, and disruptions in motilene supplies and Joy, and even talk of a god damn quarantine; I’m not concerned at all.
I have a basket full of joy and I’m on the right side of any gate that comes my way. It’s totally safe in here… And it’s always a lovely day for it.
Animation Team - JR, Rémi, Vincent, Mike P, Jules, and Raph
Hi! This week I finished the takedown of Sally for all of the NPCs! Basically, to be able to perform a takedown when playing as Sally, you need to craft a syringe. The animation of this takedown is shorter than the takedown from Arthur.
After this task, I moved to the famous Jolly Brolly! As you know, if you have preordered the game or have backed us on Kickstarter or Early Access, you will receive this fancy weapon! You will be able to shove the NPCs with style. That's it for me this week. Thanks everybody for your comments during all these weeks, I really enjoyed reading them.
Sup folks! This week in the amazingly exciting land of the animators, I have been busy making little interactions. A surprising amount of them actually. Also posing a few dead corpses along the way. I kinda feel like the Swiss Army knife of the animation department this week, as I have many tools, people generally forget me in a drawer till they need the corkscrew or that screwdriver bit that doesn’t actually properly fit the screw your trying to tighten and then completely strip before you give up and drink that wine you just opened, in defeat. So actually maybe not completely like a Swiss Army knife, except for the wine drinking part. Anywho, here’s a picture of a guy that probably didn’t die peacefully in his sleep.
That’s it for me this week folks, tune in next week, Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel! Actually, that’s not true. Apparently this is my last personalized post, so… As Edward R. Murrow famously said: “Goodnight, and good luck!”
Bonjoir! Mostly organizing stuff this week, trying to make sure nothing gets forgotten and the playthroughs have all the anims we need! Sounds a lot like ‘not getting actual things done’ (to me too), but important nonetheless. Among all that task writing and bug fixing, we joined a bit the optimization front by compressing thousands of animations. Whoo! That was easy.
As to not disappoint for the last ‘up and personal’ weekly, let’s leave on an extremely exciting note: I’ve started working a bit on having the first person hands not clipping inside the surrounding geometry. It’s just quick tests, but we should not be the shame of the whole industry when the game’s out! See if you can spot the subtle difference:
Well, it’s been a pleasure, seeya in the new weekly format next week maybe!
Hi! You wonderful people you. Remember me? This week marks the last traditional weekly, as we'll be moving to a cool new format until release. So I'm sneaking out of my secret-stuff hole (that didn’t sound right) momentarily to say one thing... thank you. Thanks to those who have been there since the beginning, and those who came by and said hi when we were at PAX. Thanks to the fans who kept sending nice mail and sweet, sweet art to the team. Thanks to the new blood, the fans who came around to support us over the years. Thanks to the guy who noticed that my "lost NPC" animation looked like Vincent Vega at the intercom. Thanks to the youtubers that reacted to our trailers, for some weird fucked up reason I can't get enough of these. Thanks to the guys at IGA for bringing the booze for Fridays...
So many others, but all in all just thank you. I wish I would have been able to show you more of my work in the last few months, but I reckon the rest of the animation team did a great job of keeping you guys informed. In the meantime, I'll move back into my shroud of secrecy and hopefully when the game comes out, you'll be enjoying the cinematics at least a little bit! Much love, bless you all, and don't be a downer.
QA Team - Lee, JP and Stephanie
Hey everyone. I haven’t posted in awhile as we’ve been very busy locking down the build and making sure we’re in a good place for our submissions leading up to 1.0. This has involved creating loads of test cases and making sure they’re up to date with the latest design. These test plans help us and our friends at Gearbox ensure the game is as bug-free as possible before release.
There’s a whole lot of game here compared to the early access release and we can’t wait to show you all the amazing additions the team has been working on when we launch later this year.
QA is gearing up for the final few phases of testing. This involves creating a lot of test plans to cover pretty much everything in the game as thoroughly as possible. Test plans to cover Stealth, Combat and Encounters have been created, among others. There are still many test plans that need to be created in an effort to help polish the game.
Some verification on ensuring consistent WorldGen was also performed. Ended up with a rather fun bug where Wastrels will fall down the very steep road incline.
Art Team - Whitney, Emmanuel, Tito, Marc-André, Sarah, Guillaume, Cary And PH
It’s officially optimization time! Yeahhhhhh… (sarcastic voice). There’s so much to be done in the art side. But we want to give you the best experience possible and optimization is one of the great pillars of a good game. So I’ve just started to review some levels trying to decrease the numbers of assets. It’s huge! There are thousands and thousands of assets in each level. It will take a while but definitely nothing impossible.
Dang, gang, this is it!! The last couple of weeks, Clara, Michael, and I took on some MAAAAJOR major HUD overhaul, and I think you guys are going to love the improvements. It's way more readable, whether you’re alerting the suspicion of NPCs, trespassing, or dying from something unpleasant. There's also a dippity dope new visual way to track your Joy intake (I'm especially excited about that feature!) The HUD is sleek and minimalist, with all the information you need to navigate, without being a complete eyesore. I mean, I hope it is, that was the goal anyway. In addition to these exciting changes, I’ve been polishing existing assets, making the last of the pick-up item icons, and making the odd scribbly sign.
I'm going to miss these updates. It's been such a privilege to share this journey with you, and I can't wait for you guys to play! Ta ta for now
I spent some time doing small levels and fixing small tasks, a little bit of everything really, having some fun here and there! Unfortunately I have nothing substantial to show this week, but it’s been a pleasure showing you guys some of my work for the past 2 years. Also, have you ever noticed that sometimes the name of the team members would be in spanish? It was me all along! jajaja
Engineering Team - Matt, Serge, Michael, Lionel, Rob, Evan, Maarten, Céline, Neil And Guillaume (Sometimes)
I would like to quote something from the Big Lebowski here but nothing comes to mind. Anyways, this week the work continues on curved roads.
There are a tons of constraints to respect if I don’t want to break the game but it is getting there. I am also working on shortening the bridges between the islands. The new placement system for the islands put them a bit too far from each other, so I am adding a compression pass to make them closer. After that, it’ll just be bug fixes until release!
Hi everyone. From now on, it is going to be full-time super fun bug fixing! Gotta fix ’em all! The game is coming along nicely and it is very different from the early access version (for the better). Please look forward to it, I cannot wait to hear your feedback when the game releases!
Things continue HUD-ing in the right direction, but seriously now, the HUD is really starting to look pretty cool. We've got a solid design where all the elements are fitting well together stylistically, or at least that's what the artists tell me. My favourite thing about working on the UI and HUD is the design element of working out what information is useful to let a player know, when you need to know it, how urgent it is to make you notice this before you get in trouble and how important it is relative to the rest of the information being presented to you.
For the HUD we did a good job of feeding these questions through many members of the team to make sure we captured all the issues, and then took those requirements to determine how things should look and be represented. It was a good process, I like good processes.
Anyway, It’s still all coming together, and looking better everyday, Thanks for reading!
Hello world (I never get tired of that line),
There's a system in our game that we call 'Point Of Interest' that is used to keep the NPCs busy when the player is not a threat to their happiness. They are meta data placed in the level by the designers, with the animations and the archetype it needs to be started! This mechanic has evolved a lot during the development and we started observing some conflicts between archetypes who were trying to do the same tasks, so I spent the week understanding all the dependencies and refactoring the code to make it more robust.
That's what 'bug fixing' is all about: finding the gaps in code logic that came from initially prototyping a feature, and then adding more and more specific environments or interactions to that feature that needed custom support during the game development. I hope you enjoyed our regular updates; I really enjoyed the feedback we received from you.
Hey guys! Last weekly in the current format so one last report from your humble engine-coder-in-the-shadows. We're hard at work prepping a build for the first PS4 TRC sweep. That means we have to abide by a whole set of rules Sony provides, and entails a lot of different tasks: we're preparing and testing PSN trophies, getting all the package details right, hiding our debug menus, fixing localization issues and last minute PS4-specific rendering bugs, updating the PS4 SDK we build against, removing debug libraries linked in to our package, ensuring safe areas are respected etc etc. So yeah, a hell of a lot of i's need dotting. Luckily QA gives us great support in flagging any potential issues, and based on our Jira, we're almost ready for that first sweep!
Thanks for reading, I hope you guys liked these weeklies, and I hope you're all looking forward to the release as much as me! See you then!
Narrative Team - Alex and Lisa
Well, we have had a first stab at finishing voice recording, and then a second stab, and now we are onto Elevensies. That is to say, I have three more recording sessions lined up, and then we really, truly will be done recording. Unless it turns out we have to do some more later.
I had an amazing session with [redacted], who plays [redacted]. She’s become a really superb voice actor. Also, Allan Cooke, who plays the Mad Scotsman, and the translucent as-yet-I-think-still unannounced [redacted] who plays Sally.
I’ve just finished editing a slew of audio flashbacks for the Mad Scotsman, which will reveal all sorts of interesting things about how he got where he is now. Have to figure out where to put them in the polymorphing geography of the game.
And I’ve been trying to help the localization folks, who need to know what “Awa an bile yer haid, ye weapon!” means, so they can translate it into other languages. Google Translate does not seem to cover Scots, alas (it’s not the same as Scots Gaelic).
Adam is just jealous.
As the producer on the project one of my most important tasks is to keep us focused on shipping. We can build and build and build, but at some point we have to start tightening, and be content with what we have. I am very proud of the team’s progress on this front, as we have been very efficient with the time we have had.
Another part of my role is to play cheerleader for the team, and support them through to the finish line. While this isn’t directly related to the game, as part of this, I fully shaved off my beard at the end of October, and since then have been growing a “shipping beard”. I occasionally trim the sides, because otherwise I look like an old toothbrush, but the length will stay growing until we ship this game.
We’re all in this together. I hope you guys have enjoyed reading about how we have created We Happy Few! We’ve certainly enjoyed having you here.
Thanks for tuning in!
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