Monday, May 13, 2013


Hiii there lil' blog! I know I haven't updated for ages and ages - more than a month! - but that doesn't mean I've been slacking off... No no no! In fact, I have a SUPER DUPER EXCITING announcement to make...


:D :D :D

CLICK CLICK CLICK! This is the .exe...

...and this is the browser version.

One big change I've had to make is to ditch the hug mechanic for this demo. The original plan was to have the gate key inside a closed flower, which was opened temporarily if the characters hugged near it. To open it fully the player had to blow a hole in the cave roof to let the sun in. I know, I know, it would have been so nice... :( But having Otis and Fawn find their way to each other, play some kind of hug animation, hook up environment triggers, model and animate opening flowers, create a huge roof explosion... There's no way I'd be able to implement all that to a high enough standard. I don't even know how to animate... Ahem. So the scope-hammer had to come down, and instead the route to the key is blocked by some boulders that the player has to blow up. It's the same level flow, just one less mechanic.

Other new things:

A tutorial!
Getting all the puzzles and items working was obviously a priority but close after that was the tutorial. I want to get this out to people to playtest this week, which would be pointless without any kind of tutorial. It's really hard to write instructions when you know your game inside and out, though... So hopefully I'll get some good feedback. There's also a little help button which brings up the tutorial screen again.

An end!
The game restarts when you finish the level.

Right click on areas of interest to bring up a little description or hint. I've only added a few of these so far, and they need to be prettied up, but the functionality is quite nice.

Walk wobbles!
The characters bounce when they walk! Daawwh. There's also some basic stepping sounds, and a joyous bonus bounce at the end of the game...

I've done a first pass of the lighting and light functionality for the dark level. There's a light switch and a camera transition which reveals the lantern, and the dynamite is now hidden until the lantern is lit. Oh my gosh, I haven't shown the lantern, have I?! Oh dear!

The characters now carry the lantern, and it has a light and everything and it's really quite lovely :D

I think that's it... So a lot of things are kind of in-progress still, but the game is actually playable. How awesome is that?!

Still to do:

Usability test
I'm going to send out a build with some questions to a handful of lucky volunteers and see what they say. Obviously we're quite close to the end of the term so if they come back with feedback along the lines of "the light/dark mechanic is terrible" I might not be able to act on it. However, I'd still like to do a quick write-up of what I WOULD do if I had the time.

The gate
This is still a rather ugly placeholder model. It could do with being a bit less, well, ugly.

More hints need to be added, and they need background textures. Speechbubbles maybe?

The light level
The dark version of the level looks more cosy and interesting than the light one... So I need to fix that. The free version of Unity is TERRIBLE when it comes to pretty things like lightshafts and glow effects, but I'll try to figure something out. 

The dark is too dark
The dark level looks lovely on my machine, but on other monitors it's pitch black and completely unplayable. I'm not quite sure how to fix it at the moment. I might look into adding some kind of brightness slider, or I could chop up the ground meshes into different bits and light them differently... We'll see. This is a scary one.

Messages and feedback
It would be nice to have little pop-ups when you're trying to do something that isn't possible. So if you're trying to light the candle without the lantern it'd tell you to find something to put the candle in.

I need to scavenge the internets for sound effects! I might even record my own little voices for the characters... Haha. I REALLY want some silly Botanicula-style character sounds.

Rocks, mushrooms, flowers, eyes in the darkness, wooden beams... I want it all! My plan is to spend this week polishing the daylights out of the game... Depending on the usability feedback, of course.

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