Over the weekend I began working on what I hope to be one of my most attractive creatures in Little Bit Lost, the peacock Spider. If you have not yet come across one of these little guys on the internet yet be sure to check out some of the videos out there.
I managed to get most of the model done and started rigging it up for animation. I recorded the process so that I could share it showing some of my process, and though I may not be a great 3d artist I really enjoyed modelling this one and hope you enjoy watching.
Over the weekend I have the pleasure of taking Little Bit Lost out for a showing as part of the Perth Games Festival. Though this was not the first showing of LBL this was so far the largest with a crowd of over 1,600 making their way through the doors on a day not only packed with other events but also plagued by horrid weather.
The feedback I got was great with a lot of people really captivated by the concept of LBL even though it was still just bare bones. The main piece of negative feedback was the lack of content which I will be addressing in a big way over the next few months, so watch this space! 🙂
Beyond that I even had one player that was able to quickly determine a way to beat the game by not getting killed by the super ants. This was quickly replicated by a few others in different ways but was still fun to see that people were adapting to the world in a “must survive” way.
For this week I am just getting back into the normal 9 to 5 job and plan to smash out some work over the weekend giving myself a small break after a rewarding milestone.
Thanks to all who attended, the PGF team who got things going and all my other supporters out there.
So 2 weeks ago I had the Playup Perth event which I was using to test the waters on showing Little Bit Lost to the public. It was all looking great I had a good planned features list and despite having a few late nights prior to the day I was on track the night before the showing.
I got stuck into the work as I would on any normal night. Things were going very well and by 2:30am I had completed my list of features, squashed some known bugs and was feeling really good about things. So I decided to make a build for my closed testing group just in case there was anything I had missed…
The build fired up and I was at the normal menu screen so I started a game. It began to load then crashed.
That was odd, so I tried again in the engine.
Let’s try again.
Maybe I should try an old build so I know I can fall back on that.
Has Windows had an update that caused an incompatibility??
Try a different machine..
Is it my lazy networking code? Maybe..
OK lets do this I have a few hours before dawn.
OK its now 5am and I have work at 9am I think I need to concede and sleep.
Best decision I made was to go to bet at that point and though the sleep was not good and I was stressed about it the break from situation was what I needed/
I went to work as per normal and started recanting my story to a friend and colleague and at that very moment things started to make sense. I realised there was some code I had implemented as a “time bomb” to limit the build life so that my testers would only be on the latest build. At the time I thought that I would not need a user message as I would remember that it was in there. I guess when it came down to it 2:30am brain remembers a lot less than I would have thought.
Well, I was able to laugh about it about 20mins after I realised the problem and that weight started to lift. The lesson had been learnt and I was very glad I had chosen to do Playup as now I have a better plan for Perth Games Festival. I am aware of what can go wrong and not leaving things too late that I hit a panic like I did.
All in all as post previously the Playup went really well. So looking ahead I am very excited for Perth Games Festival.
So it’s been a little while but I have had a lot going on both with Little Bit Lost and life in general. One of those things was the first public showing of Little Bit Lost at Playup Perth. This was for me a major stepping stone toward Perth Game Festival on October 1st. Getting some general feedback about the game was the primary goal of Playup for me, so I can refine and steer the game toward a much larger scale event that is Perth Game Festival.
The demo went really well on the night with a lot of really positive feedback both about the concept and the current state as well as areas for improvement. Using this feedback I will hopefully be able to really hone in on making things really great for PGF.
The Playup event was not without challenge, where in the lead up I had some of my biggest issues as a developer which I will share in more detail in another post.
I am now really excited excited for the the festival and what I have to offer. Last year I had the pleasure of assisting my good friend Michael with his game Final Days at the festival and at the time really enjoyed the exposure and interaction with potential game players. This year will be my opportunity to do the same and share the enormous amount of work I have put into my game and the pride that comes with it.
So if you find yourself at a loose end be sure to come down and check out the Perth Game Festival on 1st of October at the Perth Town Hall (perthgamesfestival.com.au for further details)
So now that the crafting system is functionally complete please enjoy a quick demo of it I have put together.
I am coming to the end of implementing my inventory system and have taken the time to put together a quick video of what I have done and what is still to be done. Sorry if I get off side tracked at times I did it all in one cut as I am not much of a YouTuber, but I am sure that will change. I hope you like what I have done so far.
Recently, as part of my job that pays the bills, I was ask to travel to India to assist one of our major clients with a software migration. I was very honoured to be chosen and ready for what was going to be a very packed working week. Little did I know how busy I was going to be…
On arrival, I was greeted with familiar hot and humid climate that I was accustomed having grown up in Darwin. And tired as I was I revelled in the variety of sites that the city of Mumbai had to offer. From construction on a very large apartment block to a thrown together shanty town-esque buildings with tarpaulins for roofs, but they still managed to have a satellite TV dish.
Mumbai was a city that seemed to always be going somewhere and never had time to wait. As the work took me late into the night and we were often driving back to the hotel to see a world still full of hustle and bustle despite the hour. Having a Muslim population during Ramadan meant that even the street food stalls were still operating to cater for those in need of a good feed ahead of a whole day of fasting come the morning light.
As you can see after a long flight and 2 nights of work on only a few hours sleep I was certainly a little worse for wear. But my gracious host were very good at looking after me and keeping me well fed on local cuisine. Even on the last day I was treated to a specially made prawn curry prepared by Alfred for me to which I was very grateful and enjoyed immensely, though next time I am looking forward to the extra hot version to really test my love of chilli!
Any way I look forward to sharing more about the development of Little Bit Lost in my next post with more of a look at inventory and crafting system.
In a survival game what you have has a major impact on how well you survive. Over the last month I have begun working on my inventory system so as to prolong character’s life expectancy as well as appeal to the hoarder that keeps everything, or the player that has OCD and everything must have a place.
This has been an interesting bit of work for me as architecturally I have had to have quite a long think about various aspects of inventory systems and what I most wanted from my system. I considered element like an RPG style system where different items took up more slots than others, a custom GUI where items arent bound to slots and are instead bound to an area for that type, stacking items etc. Once I determined the things I wanted I went to my old reliable source of information to learn what I needed.
This month I used a tutorial series by Awful Media (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5WEwG4L5HQ). It was great to come back to Austin’s videos as one of his videos was the first Game Development tutorial video I watched when learning how to use Unity for the first time. And though my system has functionally deviated significantly from what I learn in this series it is a great foundation for learning that all game developers considering using an inventory system should consider watching.
So after some though I decided to go with a simple system similar to MineCraft or 7 Days to Die. I have structured the code in a way that will also allow me to have multi slot items for larger items potentially in future but I chose not to do this in the short term.
Instead of a drag an drop system I went for a click to pick up and click to drop. This gave me the ability with stacked items to right click while “dragging” to drop a single. I have included are control left click to split a stack (half stays in it current slot the other half is picked up. Shift click allows a player to transfer the item from the current item container to either equipable (for armour), an open loot container or to the belt.
I still have some more features to add and these include a right click menu, a tool tip and a help button for reminding the player of the short cut keys/combinations. I hope for now you like the look of it and I look forward to sharing more soon.
So I was recently looking through some old notes when I realised that I have been working on Little Bit Lost now for just over a year. My first initial ideas I began on the 28th of April and the first bits of code began on the 16th of May 2015.
Some days I feel like I have done a ton of work since then but other days I feel like I still have so much to do. And every time I look at my road map it reaffirms that I really do have so much to do. This can be hard as a independent developer when you want so badly to succeed but you rely heavily on yourself to get everything done. For all the budding young developers out there reading this blog remember the most important thing – You are doing it as this is your passion and you are only accountable to you!
I have had a break to some extent from smashing out work in recent times just to recharge and refocus and have used the time to plan for the next steps. Over the coming months I am planning on really fleshing out an inventory system and taking my ants controller to another level so that I can really get a great look from all aspects of the ant.
For now I will leave you with an image from the beginning of a model that I made in an effort to understand voxels and meshing using a smoothing algorithm. It made a world of difference and when I started to get the concepts I felt that I was well on my way to fleshing out what you see today 🙂
Now that I have modelled, textured, animated and implemented the ant in game I was noticing a large amount of clipping through the terrain because the animations are very static to a flat surface. So to rectify this I needed to implement a “simple” inverse kinematic script to control the individual limbs during the animation.
The process itself is quite simple taking the limbs placement during the frame of the animation and calculating its relative position to the ideal ground then works out where the ground actually is and adjusts the limb accordingly.
In theory this is quite a simple task but I had a world of headaches when it came to scale of the ant as the way that the script takes control of the limb can cause problems if the scales are not set to 1. The results were crazy and I had the ants limbs flailing around at all angles until eventually the scale of the limb grew too big to be seen. It was a challenging process to troubleshoot but once I had done enough research into the issue I was able to make the required changes to get it working.
And now as you can see below the ant trots along quite nicely.