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Weekly Journal - 20/10/2017 - Parade District teaser

NailaNaila Moderator, Compulsion Team
in News and Announcements edited October 20

Hey everyone,  

Lots to share this week even though the team is knee deep in work and in story related content. Enjoy!

Production  

Sam  

As we near the end of content complete, we come a bit closer to understanding our estimates, and what we can/can’t accomplish in the time we scheduled. The level design schedule is looking tighter than we’d like for the final week, as it has taken a bit longer to record VO than anticipated, so rather than ask everyone to work super crazy hours we’ve made the call to extend content complete by an extra week. This won’t affect street date as we had built in time to the schedule for exactly this kind of situation. So, still roughly 2 weeks to go until we can say “this is the content we’re shipping with”.  

In the meantime, the team continues integrating content and getting us to the point where we’re ready to submit to ratings. One area of interest right now is the Parade District. Some of you may remember that we had planned to add this in the last Early Access update, but we removed it because we felt it was too intertwined with the story (aka, there was really only story content there, and much less systemic gameplay). Once we made that call, we were also able to make another one: we are creating this area by hand, rather than using the procedural system. This should give the Parade District a very distinct feeling, and provide an experience that is a bit more hand crafted. However, that means a lot of art team time, so almost the entire art team will be working on this for the next two weeks. 

Narrative Team - Alex and Lisa

Alex 

  

Wednesday I flew down to Texas for a motion capture shoot for a key scene in the Mad Scotsman’s story, that will also be the backbone of an upcoming trailer!  

 

This is the first time I’ve ever directed mo-cap. As with most motion capture shoots, we already had edited audio — I recorded one actor in London, and another in Toronto. Now we needed to give arms and legs to those voices.  

 

So motion capture is a bit like dance. My job was choreographing the movements and gestures that are supposed to sell the emotions in the voices. I had a general idea of where the actors could move in the imaginary space we’d already built. On the mo-cap stage, I worked with the actors to express the characters they were there to inhabit. The mad Scotsman is big in all senses of the word. The other person in the scene is a British aristocrat who measures her every move.

 

But it’s not just gestures. As I was working with the actors, at a couple of points we’d rehearsed a scene to the point where they were getting everything right; but I wasn’t feeling it yet.

 

In one case I realized that the other party was just sort of hanging out with our mad Scotsman; I needed to tell her mo-cap actress that she had somewhere else to be, and something urgent she needed to do there. Suddenly the scene woke up. It’s funny, because exactly none of her gestures changed. But now, I felt it.

 

In the other case, I hadn’t given the actress her intention. She was saying stuff to the mad Scotsman; but she wasn’t trying to convince him. The actress didn’t know what the character’s “verb” was. And again, not a gesture changed; but as soon as I gave her an intention for her character, the whole scene came alive.  

 

I find the two most powerful questions I can ask about a scene, whether it’s written, or recorded, or edited, or mo-capped are: do I believe it? And, do I care? If I can get both answers to yes, I think we end up with something pretty neat.

 

Lisa   

 

This week has been a bit nuts. My to-do list was tantalizingly short at the beginning of the week, but as we get closer to content lock, we notice that some things I wrote a year ago need tweaking because levels have changed slightly in the meantime. It’s now a race to get everything done before time’s up! But it’s also fun and exciting.  

 

Alex went to Texas for a mo-cap session, so I got to use the Big Desk and drink all his diet colas. (Caffeine is pretty necessary at this point, as you can imagine.)  

 

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

Roxanne  

 

Worked a lot on weapons and outfits. We are making them so we will have a proper tiering of specialisation. We will also identify them to indicate their rarity. We are getting close to having our definitive list. Stay tuned.  

 

In the following weeks, I will also make big adjustments on the loot lists for all containers (NPCs, lootable furniture and so on). We are also modifying our crafting system a bit. Our recipes will no longer unlock by finding ingredients. You’ll find them in the world, mostly on crafting tables and be able to buy most of them at the shop keepers. Hopefully, I will contribute to improve balance and make the game more exciting to explore! Your help is precious for this part, so do not hesitate to give us constructive feedback!  

 

Eric  

 

This week has been purely bug fixing for Arthur’s story. When I’ve not been doing that, I’ve been integrating the vast amounts of VO Alex recorded that has not been put into the game. I might be mistaken, but I think this is the game with the most VO I’ve ever worked on in 10 years.

 


  • NailaNaila Moderator, Compulsion Team

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

    Mike P (Still a danger)  

     

    Did stuff. Animated more stuff… All work and no play makes Mike a dull boy…All work and no play makes Mike a dull boy…All work and no play makes Mike a dull boy…All work and no play makes Mike a dull boy…All work and no play makes Mike a dull boy…All work and no play makes Mike a dull boy…All work and no play makes Mike a dull boy…All work and no play makes Mike a dull boy… (Don’t worry Naila.. I’ll add something)… So yeah, it’s been an interesting week. Been working on a cutscene that falls in a bit of a moral grey zone that hits a little close to home for me. But I got through it and I think what I came up with works. As per usual can’t tell you about it but rest assured I gave it my best college try and I hope when you see it you’ll feel a bit of emotion. So that’s it for me, tune in next week, same bat time, same bat channel!

     

    Jules  

     

    Hi folks! So last week I talked you about our new weapon on the game, the bone saw! I can now share with you some gifs of my animation (this is a work in progress).

     




     



    As you can see with this weapon, you will be able to realize real carnage in a short amount of time! But when you equip it, you are restricted to only walking. This weapon is too heavy for you, so you can't run. It's the same for blocking the attack of your enemy. 

    So you are not strong enough to do that, but maybe another person can... yes some other NPCs can carry the bone saw. And this transforms them into powerful opponents.

    Do you have you an idea who?

     

    Remi  

    Hello people! This week, I was still on cinematic animations. Progressed quite well and did lots of back and forth with the rest of the team for a complicated scene. And when I say the rest of the team, I mean the WHOLE rest of the team. I got some feedback from programmers, artists, concept artists, writers and other animators. I find it quite important that you ask everyone for feedback. Everybody has a different background and knowledge that can apply to your animations. They might not be able to tell you that your animation lacks weight or why it needs more anticipation, but in the conceptual phase, anyone can tell you how they feel about the scene. Everyone has already played a game or seen a movie. If a non-animator notices there’s something off, maybe it’s worth listening to him ;).  

    Sadly, we were not able to fly to Texas with Alex for the Mocap session, but still managed to be in a conference call and watch them from Montreal. They did an amazing job and Alex was great to direct the actors. The only times we had to communicate is for the initial setup of the scene. Where the characters should be at the beginning/ending of the scene and providing them with the right dimensions of the environment.  

    I can’t wait to get my hands on this data and start playing with it!

     

    Vincent  

    Ahoy lads and lasses, the rest of the animation team is not quite dead, despite what you would think, reading the previous updates. We’re still hard at work on the cinematics, as well as all the little scripted moments that can’t be done with simple conversation animations. Tackling those smaller events is a nice change of pace, especially when you’ve been animating 4000 frames long scenes (Alex quite likes to write, in case you haven’t noticed yet!).  

    We also welcomed yet another new animator to help us in the final stretch, Franziska. She’s gonna give us a hand on the conversation animations, along with Raph who just arrived a few weeks ago. That makes eight of us, and we all have quite ‘du pain sur la planche’ (did I mention Alex writes a lot?).



    J.R.  

    Greetings! Aside from integrating several scenes into the game before content complete, I spent the week on the end of the game… yes, you read that right! WHF actually gets a complete story with a beginning and an end. Who would have thought. And let me tell you, it’s short, sweet and totally satisfying. It’s also a technique we haven’t used a whole lot of in the past. Our cinematics are all in first person, but at some point in the game we make a cool transition into a new point of view.  

    I don’t want to tell you more, because we think the whole thing is a very nice moment in the game and I wouldn’t want to spoil it. After all that, I’m very happy with the story, where it got to and where it’s getting. In the end, it truly is a lovely day for it!

  • NailaNaila Moderator, Compulsion Team

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

    PH  

    Rock’n Props for another week. I’m still trying to help everybody here with the last minute props before content complete. Unfortunately, this week I can’t really show them to you folks. A lot of them are too much related to the story. However, here’s a little walky talky I made:



    Carylitz  

    Hi people! This week it was all about the Parade District, and trying to make it look as pretty as we can, so Marc, Guillaume and I are working on the island, each of us have a section assigned and our work is to decorate with props, lights and give it the feel of a real place.

    Sarah  

    Another day, another sign. Hey lil' babies! We're busy busy busy filling all the environmental narrative gaps, and that means lots of signs in the Parade District, where all the trendy Wellies go to get their fab goods, you know. Marc-Andre's going to plug these doers in, and make them look amazing (as he so often does). Can't wait for you guys to see the Parade for yourselves!!!



    Emmanuel  

    The Village is undergoing major changes! After two years of creating story encounters and FX, I’m finally back on WorldGen!! Things are moving fast and some big decisions have been made in term of gameplay and final look of the procedural generation; we’ll have more control over it and will be able to predict how levels spawn, therefore being able to effectively art them up and place them into the world, no more gaps! The idea is also to compact the world and being able to predict and control the series of events the player will be facing. All of this is extremely exciting and signifies the final steps for bringing a powerful and coherent experience at anytime and anywhere in the world of We Happy Few!



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

    Lionel  

     

    Ah, procedural generation, the realm of wonders and nightmares, of immense or tiny creations, some hard as diamond and other so brittle, they collapse under their own weight. Visiting this strange place, the careful traveler consider his path and his spells carefully as a simple variation can make a huge difference; there, the letter of difference between castle and cattle has immediate consequences. This week has been one of careful tuning and delicate changes, but those will make the city more hospitable, and more amenable to new inhabitants - a tighter, more compact Village. It was a cold place that looked at who wanted to move there with a reproachful stare. So we nudged its spirit toward a more tolerant perspective. 

    Serge  

    I have spent the week working on the Doctor, which can now revive someone that you killed during combat. Plus an effort on his signature weapon, the bone saw, has been done with Jules. His unique ability to smell someone that is not on joy allows him to chase you more efficiently than any other archetype (so take your drugs when you see him). We also continue to iterate on conformity rules to increase the pressure on the player while ensuring that the whole experience stays fun.

    Michael  

    Getting creepy as we approach Halloween, as I am working on stealth! Specifically this week I have been doing little bits and pieces to get distraction objects working. We want the AI to be so addicted to the sound of smashing and crashing that you can lead them wherever you want with enough empty bottles and rocks. Before this week the citizens of Wellington Wells were really uninterested in using their ears, but with a few tweaks they are getting better.  

    Hopefully we will continue to improve this, and other stealth gameplay, up until launch, because personally I prefer having the sneakier, less lethal approach to our encounters. After all, they were once your neighbours.



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

    Kat

     

    Hey guys! My name’s Kat. I’m a recent East coast transplant to the Dallas area, and one the newest members of the Gearbox team. As the Publishing Project Manager, my days are spent working on thrilling things like Gantt charts, schedules, emails and spreadsheets (which I love)--basically making sure everyone has the most information possible to make awesome stuff! I’ve been working hard on the production of the Time Capsule (what we used to call the Collector’s Box), and currently have a prototype of the mask replica sitting on my desk! Caffeinated lifeblood in a can for scale:



    I also helped with a motion capture shoot for an upcoming trailer with Alex yesterday, which was awesome to see. I’ve never been part of something like that before and I learned a lot! I look forward to being able to share more with all of you in the future!

    Thanks for tuning in!

    Compulsion Games

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