Summer has arrived upon us. It might be getting hot and humid but as gamers, between the new releases, the sales and the shows, what an exciting time!
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Without further ado.
I said I’d mention this in the last update, but some unexpected developments forced me to take a break from this last week. In any event, I wanted to take a minute to go over the new merchant interface:
We’ve had shopkeepers in the world for a while now, but they never did anything special beyond looking different from other NPCs. And while it is not trivial to implement, we did consider it important enough to have those shopkeepers actually sell wares and perhaps even buy them.
Our game may not be as complex as an MMO with regards to loot and a general economy, but it’s still important for us to balance those. So we’ve introduced currency to the game and will be building a small economy around the things Wellies need the most. This being a survival game and not an open world RPG, you’ll still have to scavenge and make choices about which things to keep or discard. But with a few merchants around the world, you’ll at least be able to barter and exchange some goods for different ones if need be.
The inventory screen was the most complex of all the player menu panes, and adding a merchant functionality on top of it makes it moreso. It’s been an interesting exercise to try and make trading communicate as much information as possible without cluttering the screen with extra elements and widgets. As a result, some things have been shuffled around, as can be seen in the above screenshot, and I’m hoping that the changes will improve the inventory experience both in and out of the merchant UI.
Ahoy, guys and gals! Before leaving on vacation I’m wrapping up the scene that wraps up the Early Access playthrough… As you may know the main storyline won’t be included: we’re keeping that under our belt for the final release. Which means that the ending of Arthur’s playthrough will be temporary for Early Access. We could even say ‘Exclusive to Early Access’ if we were that kind of people.
But we’re not.
I can’t tell you much about the scene itself, you’ll have to discover it for yourself… all I can say is that it’s terribly mysterious… Now if you’ll excuse me I’ll be bidding my farewells to the team… then I have an impressively big country to explore.
Fare thee well!
We’ve been working closely with the level designers to help them create a lot of new encounters. I personally worked on various animations that go from generic talking animations all the way to pole dancing! (see video)
I’ve also started developing a new workflow for NPC conversations. The idea is that from now on, we’ll be building a bank of different “talking behaviors” that we’ll be able to mix and match. For instance, we can start with a base of generic gesturing. Then depending on the audio we’ll be able to blend layers of expressions that range from happiness to anger, from high to low intensity, in order to match the actors’ emotions. This will let us tackle conversations more efficiently and add variation while re-using a lot of the same animations.
This was another week of showing up, working frenetically, and then trying to remember what exactly it was I did. We’re all working on encounters, so it’s really a bit of this and a bit of that. Fortunately, I take notes.
Monday, I had another recording session with the redoubtable Samantha Lee, who voiced a crier, a scientist, various Wastrelles and various chirpy Wellettes. We now have 393 male encounter lines and 188 female encounter lines recorded, with more to write and record. The voices really add to the reality of what you see, don’t they?
Last week, I recorded Arthur: more barks, more encounters. That’s always fun.
There’s a small amount of carnage in the process. Sometimes I have to add a few lines to an encounter. That usually means I need to re-record the whole thing, because I’m unlikely to have the actor back in the studio soon (or ever).
Oh, and I’m recording songs for the NPCs to sing. Almost a dozen. Some of them traditional British pub songs, some old music hall songs, and one or two Gilbert and Sullivan songs for the bobbies to sing. Because why not?
Of course there’s always “David needs these 5 signs for Dr. Faraday’s lab. What’s on them?” So “care and feeding of Faraday” raises the question “what does a scientist eat?” I considered nothing but porridge but went with “only yellow food.” That in turn raises the question of what sorts of yellow food are available in our world.
And, “What do we hear on the phones in the Garden District”? I recorded a couple of short versions. I have a slightly extravagant idea for the long version. Some time in the next release, maybe pick up the phones in the Garden District.
And I’m recording a temp voice (me) for a mad revolutionary who is not at all modeled on Bernie Sanders. He wants you to spread the word.
And, “our game needs an epigraph.” Which translates to “sum up the entire game in someone else’s words.” These little things take thought. Sometimes my brain hurts and I start writing gibberish. That’s usually the sign it’s time to go home. But then answers come on the bike ride. So there you go.
This big push for Early Access is upon us, and this week I spent a large portion of my time fixing bugs and smoothing out the rough edges of several encounters. There are a lot of new assets to implement; such as Particle FX, Animations, SoundFX, and these cool little Points of Interest that you’ll see NPC’s using throughout the game.
And though our focus has been on Early Access and giving you guys a great gaming experience, somehow, we still find time to make new encounters almost every week. So to celebrate the coming summer months, and for all you beach goers… Here’s a screenshot of a new encounter where you could really enjoy a late night dip in the water!
This week I created a BUNCH of objective notifications for the levels in garden district!
This will greatly help us know what our next objective is.
Also I fixed a bunch of bugs and hooked up some fresh new inventory icons ;)
Here’s a prototype level I’m working on in my free time:
Thanks for tuning in and stay HYDRAted!
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