2/6 update: social media, world map, story, tool animations and symbols – Essembi Devlog

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I haven’t written here for a long time (I had nothing to write!). In short, I’m taking up the hobby of game development again and will publish the progress in our devlog. The original is here: https://www.essembi.com/devlog/2-6-update-social-media-world-map-story-tool-animations-icons/

Feedback always welcome!

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You know making a game can be a lot of fun. So much fun that when you hit a groove gambling can really be brushed aside as your preferred playtime. What also makes the experience in its own fun way is that you are blindly confident playing other people’s games. It’s really hard to avoid everyone else making gold and just building your own little sandwich in the corner. When this feeling comes up, which occurs almost every day (or in our case every night) you get caught up in the constant battle between giving up all hope or pouring everything you can into the project. If you have a day job paying the bills, why are you even doing that? And then you remember that it’s a lifelong dream and you just have to push it through, even if what you’re building never means much. If you’re in for the right reasons, it shouldn’t be about going viral. It should be about doing something that you love.

Social media

We’re not big social media fans. If you haven’t seen the social dilemma on Netflix, for me it has heightened all reservations about social media. I think in general the platforms are dominated by divisive keyboard warriors who strive to convince us that we are more different than we are alike (in fact, the opposite is true). In my opinion, life is too short for the amount of hatred that is openly spread on social platforms. The sensible voices of the vast majority of people are drowned out by the few sounds. Fortunately, I think society is starting to deal with this issue too, and I hope it will get better in the future.

But that has nothing to do with video games. What is important about video games is that you have to speak up. You have to reach people. You need to receive critical feedback and use it to drive the creative process forward. You can’t wait to build something that people really like in your own little vacuum. That’s why we set up all of the standard social media accounts this week and will update them regularly. Please follow me!

Facebook | Twitter | Discord | Youtube

Progress this week

We’ve done a lot this week. One of the things I like about this Indy gig is that you get to wear a lot of hats. When you work in a medium-sized or larger company, people become specialists. That’s just the nature of the animal. In small teams you have to bring many different things under one roof. You don’t have the resources to specialize. While we intend to bring some other people on the team to fill in some of our gaps over time, I’ll say I enjoy jumping around. Tired of coding today? Work on a model or the story. Don’t want to look at a screen? Sketch out some designs for monsters or the environment. Variety is the spice of life!

New animations

We recently dropped our original temporary player model (affectionately known as the “Generic Man”) for the Amber player model that is included in all of our screenshots. This is generally a good thing, but it has presented some challenges as all previously completed animations need to be re-run. There are plenty of them out there too, and working on motivating yourself to go back to what you did before can be difficult.

The goal at this point is to cut away a few of them a week until we’re done. This week we hit the ax and pickaxe animations. Still a little rough around the edges but I like where they go. Check out this video on our YouTube below. Full disclosure: the sound quality is a little rough (we need help with this).

Symbols / painting video

Sarah completed three more icons this week: Salad, Pipe, and Valve. I love the style of our icons. She paints them all by hand on a drawing board. On average, a symbol lasts around 45 minutes. When all is said and done there will be roughly 1,000 symbols. One after the other!

Check out this 16x time lapse as she paints the valve symbol. She makes it look easy.

History / world map

One of my other dreams has always been to write a novel, but I always lose steam. I don’t think it will ever happen, but I love to write. For two evenings this week I wrote two pages of history. I got this from a podcast I had heard recently that basically said to write two pages even if they are bad. It’s important to keep your momentum going.

We are currently trying to figure out how Amber lands on the island and what the overarching story arc will look like. It’s a tricky challenge, but a lot of fun. With this we are also working on the world map, trying to figure out what events are occurring and how access to different areas is controlled by working through the story. In a game like ours, there is a lot of progression and balance that must be achieved in order to create some interesting, fun challenges.

When I wasn’t looking, Sarah snapped a picture of me in my usual dress code (at least since March) and worked on the map. I started by cutting the paper into 12 × 12 squares and sketching it on a high level. Each square is then given a complete sheet that defines it in more detail. Each sheet is 32 x 32 m, which means that the whole world will be approximately 384 x 384 m, or nearly 150,000 square feet.

– and that’s all for now! Thank you for going!

-Sheridan

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