Thursday, December 1, 2011

Salvage Youth - Week 12 Progress Report

Another busy week, with a much-needed short break for the holiday, but we're coming up on a very big milestone next week and we're pushing hard to prepare for the deadline.

Our changelog for the project for the week is as follows:

Art Imports
Compact Car
Oak Trees
Fence posts
Picket Fence
BG Hills

Camera Fixes
Pause Menu Fixes
Name Tag Labels Appear when you change characters

Added down ramps to the high platform areas
More trash to the world
Swaying Path in Dustin’s Lane
More Wooden Pallets
Fog Fixes
Cloud Particles
BG Hills

Camera Target-Changing Triggers
Tweaked Button Triggers
Rope Spawner / Rope Segment, Rope for the Pulley Puzzle
Occlusion Culling
Name Tag Labels Appear/Disappear when you change characters

A big push we've been focusing on this week is getting in the last critical art elements to start tying the world together - skyboxes, clouds, tuning in the fog/fade and incorporating more detail elements to the world, such as trees.

We've also completed preliminary work for our first robot, the Buzzbot.

We're really excited to get this guy rigged up and ready for the game - he'll replace the last of the placeholder art we had in the game. Randy's been working hard on getting the rigs complete, Stu's rig is nearly finished and he'll move on to getting little Buzz here ready for animating shortly.

With the current push, my plate has been incredibly full working on keeping everything on track and doing a lot of the critical texture work needed for the game. I've been too busy to keep up with the animation needed, but the ridiculously talented Jermz Gallardo has volunteered to help us out in that regard - he's starting work on getting Jenny animated this week, and I'm really excited to see what he does for her.

Zach's been speeding through getting the high-res Stu and Dustin models finished, and they're looking great.

He's wrapping up the last of the detail work on these as I type this, and will be moving on to getting the texture work for them done soon. We're thrilled, they're looking really great, and he's doing a wonderful job of exaggerating the details to make sure everything reads clearly in the engine.

We've been making a big focus on gameplay, too. One of the things we're currently missing is collectibles, motivation for the player to explore. Beau's been doing some great concepts for ideas.

We're also looking at reasons for all the platforms to be in the world - one of the ideas we have that we like is the old scaffolding and cranes from the rockets the parents left the planet on that are now littering the trash-strewn world, as well as old abandoned rockets that weren't ready for lift-off for the Great Leaving.

Finally, I've been working on texture passes for our houses, working getting them ready for final import.

We've been spending weekends in group work sessions, which have proven hugely beneficial - we've been able to get both the Art and Tech Teams to work directly together and get through a lot of issues very quickly, with great results. We're still pounding away to get the last of the work done before our Art Freeze this coming Monday and our Code Freeze this Tuesday, but they're close and we are all planning to take a little bit of much needed time to rest between semesters as we prepare for the second half of production and really polishing our game.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Salvage Youth - Week 11 Progress Report

Another busy week with a lot to show, but I can tell the team is starting to feel the weight of a long semester. It'll be nice to have the Thanksgiving holiday to let everyone depressurize a bit and get some rest.

We've started keeping a more detailed changelog as the designers get in and start making tweaks to gameplay and getting more and more mechanics into the game. Current changelog for this week, as of Monday:

Art imported to engine

  • Stu Rev1 Model
  • Jenny Run animation rev1
  • House wooden Planks
  • Picket Fence
  • Billboard houses
  • See-Saw final

Game changes

  • Pulley puzzle set up for Jenny/Dustin
  • Start of splitting up of kids within the level
  • Added House Billboards to the level BG
  • Got Jenny Animation working in engine
  • Got Stu model in engine
  • Bug fixes to Stu Pickup/Throw
  • Stu can Jump!
  • Dustin has a gui element (temp art!)
  • Dustin's sprint has a trail
  • Main Menu camera Tweens edited
  • Main menu button fixes, no more invert
  • Jumping controls smoothed out
  • Atmospheric fog
  • Screen Space Ambient Occlusion
  • Field of View changes per character
  • Camera fixes so all 3 kids are visible
  • Outline shaders edited
  • See saw puzzle edits
  • Messaging system
Even beyond this, we've made a number of other changes - we've got basic screenspace GUI elements in place, such as a rudimentary word balloon.

You'll also notice we've got a first pass at fog to create atmosphere as objects recede into the background. We should be getting a skybox and background planes for the distant city in within the next week or so, as well as low-poly houses instead of the single-plane billboard-style houses.

We're also going to be adding in a lot more art into the screen to start filling out the world. We're in the process of planning our modular trash pile system and just got our first pass at models for one of our trees - we should have older decaying versions of this tree and a couple other types within the next week or so.

Beau finished up concept work for the bus, the third and likely final vehicle model we're working on for this push of assets.

He's also put in a bunch of time getting the concepts tied down for our Buzzbot model, which we should have modeled soon.

Meanwhile, Zach finished up the base model for Stu, and we've got him in the game!

This is just a flood-fill texture, we'll have a much more detailed texture pass on him in the next couple of weeks as Stu and Dustin get put through Zbrush for high-poly sculpts and final textures.

Alexi, as usual, has been modeling like crazy.

I got some more texture work done on top of working on the animation for the kids.

We've got our First Playable presentation coming up in just a couple of weeks and we've scheduled out the tasks needed to get us ready for this milestone. We're already in pretty good shape, things are really moving along quickly, but we have a left to go. We're pushing hard to polish gameplay up and start getting sound into the game, and there are a lot of art assets we're going to need to get the world really tied together, but we're all on track and excited to get this next big push complete.

See you next week!