Devlog January 2019


Hello everyone, here’s news from the front.

Last month I told you about a bad news and two good ones, it’s time to explain everything.

Current State

I have been working on the goblin game for 4 years. This project I imagined quick to do is actually much longer than expected. I have regularly made assessments, reviewed my schedules. I asked myself the question of simplifying the concept or making another game, but I always chose to continue because the game is really the kind of games I wanted to do. For me, there is no point in being independent if it is not to do the project “of my dreams”, while remaining achievable. It is therefore consciously that I decided each time to continue, knowing that it would be difficult.

I might be tempted to be pessimistic in thinking that the game is “still not finished”, but I think that for a game made by one person, it is incredibly advanced and promising. The gameplay is much richer than originally imagined, and much closer to my original inspirations (Deus Ex, Thief). Most of the elements are functional, the story is really cool, the dialogues are fun, the experience is always improving. There have also been success like Steam Greenlight, and regular feedback shows that people are still interested.

In November, I planned the remaining work. I announced a long time ago that I already did 75%, but I was wrong. Some systems have shown their limitations and needed to be redone, and accumulated fatigue has reduced my work rate. I reworked the IA using Behavior Trees.

The level design of the dungeon was also much more complex than I imagined, especially with its unique metroid-vania structure. I do not want to spoil by showing the dungeon, so here is an image of one of the many dungeon areas:

I feel that I still have at least 1 year of work.

Continuing like this, the risk that the discouragement will eventually prevail before the end of the project is too important, not to mention the financial aspect. Let’s not forget that a lot of the people who go into independent video games give up before the end of their first project. I do not want it to happen, because I really want to finish this game, but also create all the other games I’ve already imagined!

Divide and conquer

There is too much work left to do, and too much to do at once.

I first tried to divide the remaining work in different ways. Either by focusing on the elements chronologically, or on gameplay elements, or on all the playable game to improve it gradually. The problem is that my game is an “immersive sim”. All the mechanics must work at a satisfactory level to really bring the desired experience to life.

I thought about releasing the game “by chapter”, especially by cutting the different days into episodes. The problem is that episode 1 represents 90% of the work, which is still too much to do at once. In addition, the organic and non-linear aspect of my game is not very compatible with this method.

I thought about what could be removed from the game to make it a “minimal” game. Again, the interest of the gameplay comes from the subtle mix of all components of the game. It is impossible to delete some elements without completely degrading the experience. I do not want to spoil the concept of the game.

Take a step back to take a big jump forward

The goblin is a role-playing game that mixes several gameplay elements: trapped dungeon exploration, stealth, cleaning dungeon, adventure (stories, quests, dialogues, etc.). When I started working on the game, I had a dozen other projects in mind, including a dungeon exploration game.

One approach to finishing the goblin might be to focus on subsets of what the goblin represents. For example, doing a trap dungeon game would complete all aspects of dungeons, traps, character controls, and so on.

I have always been reluctant to get into this project because I was afraid to turn away from my initial motivations. In 2016 I spent a week testing this concept, but I did not like it, especially since I had not quite grasped the experience that was trying to create through all my games. Since then, all the work on the goblin has paid off and I have a much better vision of what I want to do.

After this last assessment, and because of the great uncertainty of being able to finish the goblin before the end of 2019, I thought it was time to try again, this time with much more mature ideas, much richer gameplays. In December, I gave myself 2 weeks to make a prototype that focuses on the exploration of trapped dungeons, to see if it was feasible, and especially if it was interesting.

In just two weeks, I created more than 1 hour of playable game, 8 levels, and the playtests were very positive. According to some testers, the game was even better than the goblin one. So I validated the concept and since then I am working on this other game.

There are many advantages. The game is simpler, I am more efficient, I can polish the gameplay, the level design, and the amount of work is acceptable. I’m sure I’ll have a nice and finished game in a few months. This new project has also boosted my morale and creativity, and finishing it will also be a big relief, which will allow me to work on the goblin more serenely. I also improve every day my level design skills, which will be useful to improve the goblin’s dungeon. Finally, the elements of this game being a subset of the goblin, working on this game also allows me to work on the goblin! We can say that working on that project is also working on the goblin project!

The bad news is that the goblin will not be released in 2019. The two good news is that I’m working on an equally interesting game that will be released in the year, and that finish it increases significantly the chances to release the goblin and to improve it!

Doors, Traps, Treasures

The game does not have an official name yet. The player explores increasingly complex trapped dungeons to retrieve treasures. The traps are hidden, you have to be careful. The main feature is the emphasis on interactions and physics, which allows the player to imagine his own solutions to overcome the traps. You will also find the universe and humor imagined for the goblin game.

Roadmap

After doing several levels of prototypes I am now improving them and creating new ones. I will do very regular playtests, and I will create a presentation page in the coming months. I will keep you informed of the progress.

Feel free to give me your opinion on all that.

See you soon,

Arnaud


Multi Device Preview 1.7 is Out!


Multi Device Preview & Gallery 1.7 is out!
Now with Full Device Preview for more than 40 devices!

/!\ READ BEFORE UPDATING from 1.6 to 1.7

Several files have been moved or removed in update 1.7. It is recommended to do a clean re-install by removing the AlmostEngine folder before importing the update. Do not forget to backup your custom prefabs before doing so. Otherwise, follow the upgrade process described below.

Upgrade Instructions: If you want to manually move and remove the files instead of doing a clean reinstall, do as follow:
1. Move MultiDevicePreviewConfig.asset to AlmostEngine/MultiDevicePreview/Assets/ Not doing it will result in large build resource files.
2. Move ScreenshotWindowConfig.asset to AlmostEngine/UltimateScreenshotCreator/Assets/ Not doing it will result in large build resource files.
3. Move ScreenshotResolutionPresets.cs to AlmostEngine/UltimateScreenshotCreator/Assets/Scripts/Editor/
4. Remove DeviceResolutionPresets.cs
5. Remove PopularityResolutionPresets.cs
6. Remove RatioResolutionPresets.cs
7. Remove ResolutionDebugPresets.cs

Do not hesitate to contact me if you have any issues or questions.

1.7.0 – 13/01/2019

(NEW FEATURE)Full device preview for more than 40 devices, including phones with notches.
Contains now more than 200 mobile phone and tablet presets.
New popularity presets for most used smartphones, steam hardware.
New preset collections.
Improved resolution list display.
(NEW FEATURE) Generate hundreds of multilingual promotional pictures with the composer and batch process.
(NEW FEATURE) Create custom presets and collections saved as assets that can be shared between projects.
(NEW FEATURE) Display a screenshot thumbnail when taking screenshots.
(NEW FEATURE) Simple Localization system to easily localize your game and promotional pictures.
Possibility to automatically remove the iOS and Android permission requirements.
Automatically add the iOS Photos framework dependency.
Support of Unity 2018.3.
(Fix) Fixed gameview size on retina displays.
(API) Presets are now asset files.
(API) Popularity preset are now asset files, referencing preset assets.
(API) Moved ScreenshotManager specific symbols parsing to the ScreenshotManager.
(API) Moved all extra features to the namespace AlmostEngine.Screenshot.Extra.
(API) Gallery and preview windows do not use the ScreenshotManager anymore.
(API) Gallery and preview windows new delegates: onUpdateBeginDelegate, onUpdateEndDelegate


Ultimate Screenshot Creator 1.7 is Out!


Ultimate Screenshot Creator 1.7 is out!
Check the awesome new features!

/!\ READ BEFORE UPDATING from 1.6 to 1.7

Several files have been moved or removed in update 1.7. It is recommended to do a clean re-install by removing the AlmostEngine folder before importing the update. Do not forget to backup your custom prefabs before doing so. Otherwise, follow the upgrade process described below.

Upgrade Instructions: If you want to manually move and remove the files instead of doing a clean reinstall, do as follow:
1. Move ScreenshotWindowConfig.asset to AlmostEngine/UltimateScreenshotCreator/As sets/. Not doing it will result in large build resource files.
2. Move ScreenshotResolutionPresets.cs to AlmostEngine/UltimateScreenshotCreator/Assets/Scripts/Editor. Do not hesitate to contact me if you have any issues or questions.

1.7.0 – 13/01/2019

• (NEW FEATURE) Generate hundreds of multilingual promotional pictures with the composer and batch process.
• (NEW FEATURE) Create custom presets and collections saved as assets that can be shared between projects.
•(NEW FEATURE) Display a screenshot thumbnail when taking screenshots.
• (NEW FEATURE) Simple Localization system to easily localize your game and promotional pictures.
• Possibility to automatically remove the iOS and Android permission requirements.
• Automatically add the iOS Photos framework dependency.
• Support of Unity 2018.3.
• (Fix) Fixed gameview size on retina displays.
• (API) Presets are now asset files. • (API) Popularity preset are now asset files, referencing preset assets.
• (API) Moved ScreenshotManager specific symbols parsing to the ScreenshotManager.
• (API) Moved all extra features to the namespace AlmostEngine.Screenshot.Extra.


Devlog December 2018


Hello everyone.

I wish you happy holidays :)

I did not post here for a long time, again, and I have many many things to tell you. The year 2018 has been very eventful, and I am writing a very long devlog to detail everything.

Here are some glimpses of what is coming:

Still alive

Yes, I am still working on the game, and “it has never been so close to release”. However, that release date has been postponed, again. The project is incredibly advanced, especially for a one man team, but I finally admitted that it’s not a 2 years project for which I am 2 years late, but a N years project with N > 4.

Goblin v0.3 v0.4

Goblin v0.3 and v0.4 are done. Most features are complete and perfectly working, some are more difficult to complete. I am still facing many difficulties, including reworking on the AI and the level design. The difficulties comes from the fact that it is one big complex metroid-like dungeon in which I mix several gameplays, and getting everything to work at the same time is a real headache.

How to actually release the game

I spent a lot of time thinking about the best way to effectively release the game one day, before I run out of money and energy. Over the year, I tried several approaches. I will detail in the upcoming devlog what I decided to do. There will be one bad news and two good ones :)

Assets update 1.7 coming

Finally, I also worked on the Ultimate Screenshot Creator and the Multi Device Preview & Gallery assets. Version 1.7 will have several new awesome features, like “screenshot composition” or “device and notches preview”. The update will be out in the first weeks of January.

See you soon,

Arnaud


Devlog January-March 2018


Hello everyone, here’s news from the front.

It has already been three months since the last news, time goes too fast. I was very focused on the game and I did not have much time to feed the various social networks, etc. I will continue like this until the end of version 0.4 and start posting more again. These three months have been very productive, here is a glimpse of what I did.

v0.2 Level Design

I finished version 0.2 of the game, in which the effort was focused on level design. I reworked all areas of the dungeons, their shapes, sizes and connectivities, I made a first playable version of all zones. Some levels still require a lot of work but most are already very satisfying. I would love to show you pictures of all this but I do not want to spoil everything, so I will not.

Thanks to that, I finally apprehend much better the game on its entirety. I have a better idea of ​​the amount of work remaining and where the effort is needed. I will also be able to choose to keep or not some areas depending on the remaining development time.

I bought an asset to make decals (projecting texture on the floor, walls, or objects) but eventually it did not suit my needs, and I had to implement my own solution. In particular, I added the possibility to display decals on physical objects, such as traps. With this new system, cleaning the traps is now much more fun. For example, a blood stain on a stunner is well animated.

v0.3 Janitor & Adventure

I almost finished version 0.3 of the game, in which I focus on the janitor experience. I reworked the associated missions, quests, dialogues, gameplay, etc. I am quite happy with the dialogues and opportunities for quests and missions proposed for now, and writing dialogues and descriptions with always a hint of sarcasm is something that I really appreciate.

I also reworked some levels, like the introduction, the integrated tutorial part, the entrance of the dungeon, and the Adventurers’ Maze. For example, here is a small piece of cave:

I also reworked some traps, and I created a few. For example, here are the new stakes floor and a wall of blades:

An important part of the fun of cleaning the dungeon comes from staging the sad accidents of the adventurers. It was essential to put in place ragdolls (dolls almost unarticulated) to be able to “play” with the bodies and limbs. Adventurers can have a large number of clothing variations, so I’ve set up a system to automatically create ragdoll variations based on the deceased adventurer. Here is a small example of what it can give:

What is good with this version is that the many different elements of the game are working well with each other, and that for now it’s going as expected. The concept of the game is quite complex, I’ve done a nice diagram on paper this week that describes the interactions, which will help me make it work, but I’m sure that if it is well done it will be a game very original and very interesting to play (and replay!).

Roadmap

There is still a lot to do, but everything is going well. My priority in version 0.4 will be to finalize the stealth gameplay, including reworking the first associated areas, and the artificial intelligence. When it’s done, the whole gameplay and story base will be implemented. Then, I will “only” have to rework the other levels and add dialogues, 3D models, and so on. I will start to seriously look at the music and sound effects in version 0.4 to start setting them up in the 0.5.

See you soon,

Arnaud


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