Bringing the team together

Today marked the first day that Matt and I began working together on Little Bit Lost and an exciting day it was. We were able to really nut out a few ideas and a plan for the months ahead. From a personal perspective it was great to have someone to work with that brings fresh ideas and enthusiasm to the project.

Matt came up with some great new ideas and we will be really excited to share these with you over the coming months. We are already progressing with some of these ideas so keep an eye out for some cool new screenshots!

Cheers
Grae

Networking and Networking

Over the weekend I caught up with a very talent local Perth developer called Claude. We caught up for a coffee and talked about our respective projects. Claude has been working on his game for a similar time to what I have but has build his engine from the ground up! Not only is he a great coder but has done all his own art as well and from what he shared with me I can say that he is a game developer of great talent. We had quite a long chat and I left feeling very inspired for the weekend ahead.

Building on this inspiration I dove head on in to some more networking code and after 2 very late nights was able get the inventory system converted to support networking as well as adding loot containers and serialisation to file as part of the chunk. What this means is now the only major outstanding element of network implementation is that of the inhabitants of the the Little Bit Lost world, the ants, spiders and other arthropods.

So ideally the end of the month should have me back to adding content and play testing on a network. This time last year I was not a fan of network code. Comparatively this year many lessons learned have made it enjoyable and the prospect exciting. Below I have included a test I am doing to make crafting more intuitive.

It’s Been A Wee While..

It’s been a long while between posts but I thought I would jump on let you all know what I have been doing and how Little Bit Lost is progressing.

Since the last post I have been to PAX Australia, Mauritius for a family holiday, I have had one of my oldest friends visit, I have had my parents visit, I have passed the Unity certification exam and most recently have participated in the Global Game Jam. Needless to say it has been an intense few months but very enjoyable.

As busy as it has been there has still been plenty of time for development and Little Bit Lost is feeling more and more like a real game everyday. Just this week I feel like that light at the end of the tunnel has really become a visible thing despite still being a significant distance away.

As part of the development of the peacock spider I wanted to continue to grow the base script for all insect and bugs. This makes it easier to implement a new creature once the model is done. As a result I slowly lead into designing for multiplayer networking…

Networking has been an area that has intimidated me since this time last year, but it’s a feature I was not willing to compromise on. So I continued working on some of the structures and ended up rebuilding a lot of the network code that I had already implemented. The result was faster and better constructed code that, I can happily say, will mean that Little Bit Lost will be a network game. This does come with some caveats at this point and that is that it will likely be designed for Local Cooperative Multiplayer only at this point.

It does meant I don’t have much to show for the last few month of effort but I have recently just finished re-implementing the network version of the inventory system so within the next month or two I plan to get heavily back into implementing more content and polishing the existing content.

So this year is going to be a massive year for Little Bit Lost and hopefully there will be a lot to share along the journey.

Cheers
Grae

Making a Model – Peacock Spider

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.

Cheers
Grae

A Big Day Out for Little Bit Lost

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.img_6501

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.

A player creafting in little bit lost

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.

Cheers
Grae

Worst Situation I Have Dealt With As a Game Dev

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.
All OK.
Hmmm.
Let’s try again.
Still nope.
Maybe I should try an old build so I know I can fall back on that.
Nope.
OK PANIC!!
Has Windows had an update that caused an incompatibility??
Try a different machine..
NOPE!
Is it my lazy networking code? Maybe..
Re-write it??
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.

Cheers

Grae

First Public Showing – Playup Perth

Hi All,
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)

antonkewbs

Cheers
Grae

A Detailed Look At The Inventory System

Hi All,

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.

Thanks

Grae

Off Topic – A Work Trip To India

Hi All,

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…

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

Grae