Happy New Year, space-friends! We had ourselves nice, restful holidays and we’re ready to kick some space-butt in 2015! Here’s our homemade, 100% organic dev update for you!
Greetings fellow Organic Beings. This week I’ve been cutting the characters into little pieces. You know, so I can put them back together again. Basically by splitting up characters into different bits we can increase the variety in looks while not having to manually make and maintain every permutation possible.
Of course it means that you have to put in more time making sure different assets work well together when mixed and matched so its another balancing act of figuring out when it saves time to split them up and work on many files/parts rather than having to manually make permutations. Additionally you want to keep in mind future expansion, if you aim for that. With things split up adding more heads is a lot less work than if its not.
While working on the characters I’ve also started going through and making a pass at taking the characters from a very prototype level of completion to a much more usable setup when it comes to materials, uvmaps and procedural textures. Ensuring that the characters are easier to work with and align with the overarching visual style.
I’m working on something super exciting — fully procedural conversations (this is a 3rd version / upgrade of an existing prototype). The conversations use the personality of the characters to construct a back-and-forth narrative that results in an increase or decrease in friendship and respect between the two parties.
We’re building the conversation up from scratch, and there is no pre-written text. Right now the conversations are about mundane topics that one might expect on an Astrobase, but later we plan to use topics that relate to events, missions, and other things. So the characters can discuss what’s going on in their lives.
This week, I focused on wrapping up some features and fixes relating to the desk UI. Presenting UI on 3D assets presents a unique challenge in terms of font sizes and layouts because it’s a trial-and-error process to use them, see what you can see clearly and what you can’t and to tweak it.
I managed to knock out getting rolodex cards looking nice and I’m almost done with adding character sheets, which contains all the important stats, traits and the like for crew members, as well as their gear loadout (weapon/armor/device).
The desk was a bit of a gamble, what with it being an in-game 3D GUI, but the more we use it, the more we’re convinced it was worthwhile. It’s really effective at pulling the player into the world and giving them a place to rifle through files, reports and the like in those calmer moments of gameplay.