April update

If we start in the more technical corner – we have fixed some bugs and set up some initial game states and made a simple event system. This will allow our game objects to invoke and subscribe to events, ie. ‘the player has initiated a dialogue’ and react accordingly.

Talking of dialogues, the 1st iteration of dialogues is ready. The player is able to activate dialogues and scroll through the speech bubbles. Dialogues are used to talk to NPCs (non-playable characters) and to investigate your surroundings. To allow the player to know when you can activate a dialogue, a speech bubble icon will appear when the player gets close. There’s three different icons so far: speech-, action- and mail icon.

To celebrate the availability of dialogues, a signpost has been put up outside of the church.

Before I mention a few areas where we are still tinkering, I believe I need to explain more about the game. The game as previously mentioned takes place in two parallel worlds. One we call the Real World (RW) and the other we call the Virtual World (VW). The player will be traveling between the two. If you look at the previous screenshots, the most obvious difference is the grass color.

We have been working on the cliffs in the VW. Jesper Paakjær has also been working on the two main BGMs (background music). We have found the overall mood for the VW and are getting closer to capture the RW mood. We have also played around with the skin shader for characters. Also, the tonemapping has been removed from the camera, in an attempt to find the exactly right expression of colors.

On a more physical level, we have modeled a train. However to allow for the train to travel between screens, we also had to create a shader that allowed us to hide and reveal the train gradually.

And last but not least – we found software to capture gameplay (and another for editing video), so now we can show actual gameplay for the first time. The video shows the train and how it moves out of a screen and the video also gives a glimps of the BGM for the RW.



Back at SOAP

So as I started working on my thesis I also had the urge to return to this project once more. That meant leaving Tragedy of Horatio on hold for now, but it’s already been worth it. I’ve gotten a lot of work done on SOAP, as usual mostly graphical; I’ve played around with some of Unity’s shaders and I found a nice combination that I’m happy with.

First I created support for my Playstation 2 joypad, so now we can control the main character. I reused the settings from the CW project, which I haven’t worked on for a long time.

Second I fixed a bug in the water reflection shader. Unity complained every time the character moved between screens. It no longer does.

Third I modeled the main character. I originally took inspiration from Lego and Pokémon, but recently I combined the thought with some characters from Zelda Wind Waker and suddenly I had an idea that worked in my mind. I was happy with how it turned out, so I also textured the character.

Fourth back in 2007 I had a course on rigging and animation, I hadn’t done much about it since. So I refreshed my memory by watching a video on Youtube; and rigged and animated the main character. So now we can run around the world and stand idle.

Fifth I fleshed out some more characters on paper and decided to create those as well. I started with the ones reminding the most of the main character, so I could test if it was possible to reuse parts of the main character. All the tests were successful, so I was able to expand on the model and reuse the armature – giving me access to all the animations. This means I can create an animation once and have all the characters share it. Which is pretty awesome when I’m just one guy. So the postman and the conductor was added to the roster of characters, now spanning three members.

Sixth and lastly as mentioned I played around with some of Unity’s shaders. I tried out different toon shader settings and found that a very subtle toon shade fit some objects very well. A good example is the white fence, which looks a lot better with a subtle black outline, revealing much more detail to the player. I added a subtle white outline to characters for the same reason. The main character got a different toon shader than the other characters, mostly because the hair looked much better this way.

One drawback of the toon shader, is that it’s used instead of normalmapping, so I have to choose between the two. So far it hasn’t been a hard choice, but it’s only a matter of time. The buildings and ground usually go with normalmapping instead of toon shading, due to their large surfaces needing details, which the normalmap provides.

Next step is making more characters and animations and also finishing up where I left the project last time; texturing the church.postmanRIgging