Since we announced We Happy Few, we’ve said that we want to open up our development. We want to be able to involve you in WHF’s development, both in terms of playing the game as it develops, and on being able to see what we’re doing on a weekly basis. We really like what Rust is doing (www.playrust.com) for their weekly dev updates, so we’ve decided to try their approach - we’ll post up individually what we’re doing all week.
So, without further ado, welcome to our very first development update!
Whitney - Art Director
This week I concepted a super groovy retro-tech Joy Detector Facility.
I also worked on some super secret stuff for our Kickstarter campaign, which we’re gosh darn excited about.
Marc - Programmer
Marc is our gameplay programmer - generally, anything you can do in game, he has a hand in. Not one for unnecessary conversation, Marc just sent us a bulleted list of gameplay changes this week:
Can now interact with characters to defuse suspicion, when they are not too aggressive yet
There are now wastrels in the garden district, mostly at night
Throwing a rock on someone stuns them and attacking triggers a finisher
New weapon sounds, new impact FXs
JR - Animator
Hey everyone! As this is our first blog post, let me recap a little bit further than a week. Basically, what I've been doing here is all the animations of the game. Until Rémi came along, and then we picked up the pace even more! So on my side, I've been doing gameplay and narrative animations.
On the gameplay side, I've been working a lot on melee combat lately. We want to offer a fun system that looks good to the eye, we focused on the impacts and the flow of the animations in a fight. So whatever you guys have been seeing at the PAX East 2015 demo (or hands-on of said event), it was a very early version of combat which didn't get a whole lotta love. Since then I worked on the timing of the animations as well as the attack curves to make sure that it's all happening smoothly. The NPCs that you will hit also move away from the player slightly now, as to avoid "stun-locking" opponents and fighting them in place while they can't do anything. I added some variation to the hit_reacts as well, and with the system that Marc implemented for combat, it will make my job easier to vary the animations and have it look a lot less static! Finally we also started working on synched animations between the player and the NPCs. While we don't want to go super complicated combat-wise, we at least want to add different approaches to the way that things happen during a fight, or even the way you instigate it (or avoid it).
As far as narrative is concerned, Rémi and I are working very hard to develop the highest quality cinematics that we can achieve, given the scope and time we have! We know that narrative is important to a lot of gamers, and we count ourselves among them. With that in mind, several weeks back we started working on a couple of shots in order to establish the pipeline from Motionbuilder to UE4. Lately I have been working on an introduction scene for one of the characters in the game. I worked closely with our artists to generate the layout of the scene, and also with Alex (our narrative director) and Jose (our audio guy) to get the script and the audio to fit in. So let me stop here, as aI'm not gonna show you what it looks like just yet, but we've got a little surprise for everyone in our Kickstarter… hope you like it.
Remi - Animator
JR covered all the major stuff, but here are a couple of animations related to the joy detector booth:
This is what happens when an NPC decides to go through the gates, but hasn't been looking after his Joy level.
In We Happy Few, there might or might not be the occasional Joy detection booth. Ie, if you'd not on your Joy, this thing will totally find out (as well as subject you to completely unreasonable search and seizure - not unlike something else we all know and love).
Josh - Game Designer
Josh is awesome, and decided to make a video, which shows a timelapse of him creating a map to test a couple of features:
Vincent - Level Designer
This week, I have been working on integrating functionality into a Joy Detector Challenge. I had the blockout already working, after a few iterations in last two weeks, but it was mostly scripted in the level blueprints (built in UE4 tech), without using any systemic components yet (our custom tech). Scripting is faster to iterate and test, but isn’t suitable for the procedural map.
I also found that my placeholder Joy Detector (a device that can tell if you or an NPC are taking your Joy or not) was bugging out when being used by the NPCs, while working on the AI for our scenario. So, to fix that, I decided I should make this Joy Detector work on its own, since it is a big part of that specific map. It is a quite complicated object because there are a lot of factors in play here: are the guards in position to activate the device? Are you or the NPC on Joy? And then calling all those specific animations...
I've almost finished working on it, just some more tweaks on the guards’ AI and then making sure the NPCs also can use them properly.
Deven - 3D Artist
I made things! Like:
A few props.
Mapping a bridge.
Creating new bridges, small and medium
Polished off Joy Capacitor
Modeled Joy detector for bridge sequence
Working on modular pieces for bridge interior.
Working on bridge outpost piece.
Matt - Programmer
A lot of our work on the procedural world generation to this point has been getting the basic mechanisms in place on small scales and slowly expanding and growing it to handle the size and scope of the world that we want to create.
This week we have started fleshing out the Garden District - new building types and different road styles. The generator has been extended to better handle the different zones of our map and adjust planning styles accordingly.
This week also marks the first version of our foliage system, so our world is starting to get a greater variety of plant life. This is just a start - there's still a lot of work to do here.
Alex - Narrative Director
This week I auditioned some voice actors for our narrative characters, including one who I think is terrific.
Cut together the audio for a couple of scenes. I also helped out on our Kickstarter page, which we’re hoping will be just a little bit fun.
Sam - Producer
So, good news on the production front this week. First, we have a date in mind for our Kickstarter campaign. We’re checking to see that we can get everything done before then, including lining up the people that’ll help us deliver on rewards (if we’re successful). We’ll post up some reward tier ideas on the forums next week, so if you’d like to comment, come check in mid week.
We also have a date in mind for our next build update. It’s going to be a big one, and a massive improvement/change over the PAX build. It’s also exciting because we’ll be sending out keys to our PAX winners when this build goes live! Thanks for waiting, everyone. If you haven’t signed up for the forums yet, please do - we’ll send another email out next week about how to get your key (we have sent one previously, but I suspect a few people missed it).
That’s all for this week - thanks for reading!
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