Universal Device Preview is an advanced and easy-to-use tool that gives you an accurate preview of your game for a huge variety of devices, and help you adapt your games to them. Instantly test how your content looks and feels on each of your target devices within the editor to prevent long and tedious iterations, and incredibly fasten your game development process!
(NEW!) Safe Area simulation and automatic layout feature!
I made good progress this month on v0.5, but I have not finished yet, especially since I spent a lot of time doing a major update of my “Universal Device Preview” asset. All the details just below!
Thank you for your feedback
First of all, I would like to thank everyone who took the time to answer my questions of the last devlog, about the name of the “Almost Epic Adventures” series and the name of the game “Neverlooted Dungeon”. It’s unanimous, you all like these two names. This confirms my beliefs and I will probably keep them. Thanks again :)
Thanks to the playtesters
Thanks to Philippe, Guillaume, Yves, Maxime, Mika and Arthur for testing version 0.5 this month. Thanks to you, I was able to discover some bugs and issues from the first levels, and that’s very important.
Version 0.5 almost complete
I kept working on lots of things that are not necessarily visible to the testers but that are necessary to get closer to release.
I worked on the character controller. I’m very happy to have replaced the default Unity controller last month, and now that I finally have something clean that works like I wanted. I will soon be able to add swimming and climbing ropes, which I wanted to do for so long.
I replaced Unity’s basic keyboard-mouse-controller management system which was really limited by a much more powerful asset. In particular we can now reconfigure the controls in the game, which was essential. This asset also support any gamepads, and I have already made them almost working. In fact everything is already working very well, except the inventory that must be improved because its controls were designed for mouse interactions. I’m not going to do that right now, but I was very happy to find that the support of the controller would be easier than expected.
I reworked the logic of the game, including transitions between levels. I removed the ugly lifts, I replaced them with beautiful doors and transitions, which are more consistent with the story. Thank you Mika for your advice on the end of levels, I made a lot of improvements and I hope you like the changes ;)
I corrected the tutorial that had some weaknesses. I added some pickable items, and I modified a lot of the issues found in previous playtests. In particular it was possible to pass without really learning to manipulate the inventory, which became an issue thereafter. We will see in future tests if my modifications work.
I added an endurance system, to prevent being able to sprint permanently. I also added endurance potions hidden in the levels to boost the player a bit. I still do not really know if I like this result, because I used to speed run the whole game, and that limits me a lot now. We will see after the tests if I decide to keep it.
I improved a lot of systems and fixed a lot of their issues, especially the localization system, save system, trap damage system. I have done deep code changes to stop using Unity Resources, which are actually too expensive. I have corrected a lot of bugs, some complex, some easy.
In short, a lot of work, and I can not wait to finish to finally go back to level design to improve levels.
Universal Device Preview 1.8
After many requests from users concerning the “Safe Area” support, for the new phones that have a camera in the screen, I finally made a major update of my asset to take them into account in the simulation.
I took the opportunity to redo a marketing work, including changing the name (the previous name was “Multi Device Preview & Gallery), and making a great video. Thanks Eric, Laurent, Jonathan, Kenneth and Christophe for your feedback when creating the new video :)
This update took me a lot of time, hence my delay on the schedule of v0.5. I hope that in the long run it will take and that it will finance the rest of the game.
The end of v0.5 is near. I still need to correct some systems, and some stuff here and there.
Once completed, I will make a marketing pass with a nice logo and a simplistic first trailer, to finally launch the Steam page. It is important that I hurry to do it, to allow time to win subscribers before the release.
I still hesitate to launch the public demo at the end of v0.5 or wait for v0.6. Indeed, the last playtests showed some issues with the rhythm, and variety of traps and triggers. I prefer not to release a demo if it might disappoint the testers. I’ll let you know. In the meantime, I keep doing playtests regularly, so tell me if you want to come and to test the game :)
In general, the game has taken a good turn, everything starts to fit as I have in mind, and I’m happy with the result. For once I see the release as something doable, and it motivates me well. Once the v0.5 is over, it will be time to work on levels one by one, to bring them little by little toward their final version.
Universal Device Preview 1.8 has been released on the asset store :)
Now with Safe Area simulation and automatic adaptation to better adapt your game to phones with notches !
That feature was asked by many customers, and I am glad to finally release that new version.
You can now directly preview the Safe Area within the editor, but also add a SafeArea layout to automatically adapt your game to them. The SafeArea component comes with unique adaptation constraints, to adapt your game how you need.
New logo, new name
The asset also have been renamed from MultiDevice Preview’ & Gallery to Universal Device Preview to better reflect its new feature set.
Get it now !
Version changes 1.8.0 – 17/10/2019
Asset name changed from ‘MultiDevice Preview’ & Gallery to ‘Universal Device Preview’. Folders and scripts have been renamed accordingly.
(NEW FEATURE) Safe area simulation
(NEW FEATURE) Safe area automatic adaptation layout
(NEW FEATURE) DeviceInfo API
Improved overall user experience
Backup/restore last preview pictures
Support of Unity 2019.3
New devices with images/notches
Apple Macbook Pro
New devices presets (resolution only)
Lenovo TAB 2 A7-20
Lenovo TAB 2 A7-10
Asus Zenfone 5
Asus Zenfone 6
Honor 20 Pro
Honor 20 Lite
Upgrade Instructions from 1.7 to 1.8
Several files have been renamed in update 1.8. It is recommended to do a clean re-install by removing the asset folder before importing the update. Do not forget to backup your custom prefabs and MultiDevicePreviewConfig config file before doing so. Otherwise, follow the upgrade process described below:
Rename the AlmostEngine/MultiDevicePreview folder to AlmostEngine/UniversalDevicePreview
Rename the file Assets/Script/MultiDevicePreview.cs to Assets/Script/UniversalDevicePreview.cs
Rename the file Assets/MultiDevicePreviewConfig to Assets/UniversalDevicePreviewConfig
Rename the file Documentation/MultiDevicePreview.pdf to Documentation/UniversalDevicePreview.pdf
After a month of August a little complicated where I could not work much, September has been very productive!
Version 0.5 in progress
As expected, I’m working hard on version 0.5 to have in the coming weeks a clean playable version, representative of the game experience. I seriously attacked the bugs, cleaned and improved some bad parts of the code, and improved several aspects of the design. When I finish the debug, I will move to level design. Thanks to some recent playtests I have many ideas to further improve the game and make it really fun.
By correcting inventory bugs, I took the opportunity to add a new feature: we can now manipulate scene objects directly from the inventory:
So, you can place objects more easily in the scene. Be like Indiana Jones!
I started reworking on the game story. I started with what I already wrote several years ago, at the beginning of Wild Mage Games. I wrote several new versions, I looked for better twists and climax. After selecting one of the versions, I started writing, and now I have a first draft that I like. I have already asked for some feedback on this story, which is rather positive. I started to integrate it into the game, but I continue to look for ways to improve it even more.
The initial pitch is very classic: you are an adventurer in a tavern looking for adventure, and you are told of an unknown dungeon not far from the tavern, which supposedly have a legendary treasure. But this dungeon has never been looted successfully …
In the process, I also did the intro of the game in text mode, which sets the tone before starting the adventure. You may have the opportunity to play it soon :)
This is the title of the game that I am developing. What do you think of this title? Do you find it catchy? What does he evoke you? Do you want to know more?
Almost Epic Adventures
Since I will soon have to set the name on Steam, I spent some time thinking about the final name of the series and the game.
As a reminder, my Goblin’s Week game and Neverlooted Dungeon are part of a saga that takes place in the same universe. They share many things: their stories are linked, always with a touch of humor, and their gameplay is very close. I also have several other projects for the future. It is with this in mind that I wish to group them under the same series.
The current title of the series is Almost Epic Adventures. I am attached to it and I have a hard time judging its qualities. Help me determine if it is appropriate: What do you think of the name Almost Epic Adventures as the name of the series? Do you find it catchy? What does he evoke you? Does it make you want to know more?
Send me your feedback, it will allow me to have a critical vision on my work :)
Tons of GIFs !
I started creating a presentation page on the site. It’s still very basic and need much improvements, but you can already see lots of animated GIFs and new images!
By the way, Wild Mage Games has had its Discord for a few weeks now! Discord is an online chat room. If you have discord, you can join me here: https://discord.gg/FpXESF7
If all goes well, in the next devlog I will announce the end (or almost) of version 0.5. Hopefully I’ll also have finished the Steam page, if possible a trailer, and I’ll be able to start showing off what I did for this game :)
Only a month apart since the last devlog? What’s happening?
I hope you do not suffer too much from the heat wave. Here it is hot and humid, but that did not stop me from creating levels.
Version 0.4 completed
As announced in the last devlog, my goal was to complete a first version of all levels. It’s done! It was not easy, and some levels were harder to complete than expected, but now I have 14 playable and interesting levels.
Compared to the 12 that I announced last month, I reworked some of them a lot, removed some, and added new ones.
Given the already large number of levels, I decided not to make some levels I had planned, although I had plenty of cool ideas for them, to try to keep the amount of work in something doable. I prefer to focus on fewer levels so that they are all interesting; the quality before the quantity. Do not worry, the game is already long enough like that.
I want to thank Aurélie who has played all levels and allowed me to identify what works and what does not, and to find bugs.
Current state of the game
Overall the game is already fun and the levels already well advanced. The concept is well defined and original. There are plenty of traps that are fun to avoid, the levels are varied and enjoyable to explore.
I still think that I do not use enough the unique mechanics of the game, and that it could be much more fun. The game sometimes lacks rhythm, and the difficulty is not well balanced.
Also, the game unfortunately still contains a lot of bugs, mostly minor ones, but 1 or 2 important ones. Correcting all of them is a priority.
Finally, I would like to further refine the gaming experience. I need to improve and correct some details to better match what I have in mind.
I will work on all these issues, gradually iterating on all levels.
For version 0.5, I will focus my efforts on the first 4 levels, to improve level design, gameplay, experience, fix bugs, and to improve all basic content (menus, sounds, saving progress, etc.). These levels are particularly important because they influence the desire to continue playing the game. They are approximately the first hour of play. I will do several iterations on them.
Ideally, I would like with this version 0.5 to make a “demo” a little more “pro” than usual, especially compared to the polishing (interfaces, menus, bugs …) and maybe to do some playtests with more people than usual, to get more feedback and find more bugs.
In the following versions I will gradually integrate other levels, and more narrative content.
Again, a lot of time has passed since my last devlog. I will rename these “monthly newsletter” in biannuals, it will be more realistic.
After months of April and May a little less productive because of moving / travel / holidays, here I am again on the track to finish this game!
Designing the Game Experience
Thanks to the many prototypes and playtests that I made at the beginning of the year, I was able to validate the trapped dungeons exploration concept. After these few weeks of rapid prototyping, it was time to start thinking a little more seriously about the concept and the game experience.
At first, I created new levels and made other playtests. I made levels of different types, sizes, structures, rhythms, changed various aspects of the gameplay, to better understand what the players liked. I tested the idea of having “themes” in the levels, to see what it brought. I also took advantage of these playtests to test and correct many aspects of the game, including interactions, inventory, character controls, and other miscellaneous bugs.
Most of the playtests were very positive. The testers had fun and I saw better and better what made this game a unique and promising concept. I also heard several times “this is my last level” and have seen the tester continue “a bit more to see” and finally end up doing one or two more levels. These moments were particularly encouraging :)
I would like to thank Aurélie, Laurent, Jonathan, Eric, Kenneth, Christophe, Philippe, Grégoire, Michaël, Cédric, Benjamin, Romain and Maxime, for having tested the game, sometimes several times, and for their numerous returns which allowed me to improve the experience of the game. Thanks :)
First throw of all levels
After these months of work, we can say that the core of this new game is here and works very well. We can play several hours and have a good time.
After validating the game experience, I added content to the game, including more levels, and more traps and triggers. I’m making a first version of all levels of the game.
Most levels and themes are done, with their unique traps and triggers, adding variety as you progress through levels.
I now have 12 levels, which is close to the total that I would like to have for the final version. This is very encouraging, especially as the levels that have not yet been done are very advanced on paper, or already prototyped.
When all the levels are done, I will look for difficulty, pace, and so on. I will run more playtests to validate the different aspects of game design, and also to have feedback on the game in its entirety.
Arcade or Adventure
A question that continues to tickle me, that I already tested a little during playtests, but that I have to look further, it is if I make the game more “Arcade” or more “Adventure”.
A game more “Arcade” would be a little more like Mario, with different independent levels for which we try to have the best “score”. For this concept it is more the performance of the player and the “visible” traps that dominate the gameplay.
A more “Adventure” game would be a little more like Dark Souls, where one explores a huge dungeon, keeping his inventory and various bonuses collected on the way. Here ist’s more exploration and “hidden” traps that would be at the heart of the gameplay.
From the beginning my choice is more on the Adventure side, especially because it will be the dominant part for my other games, including the goblin one. It will test different solutions and take the one that best suits the players and myself.
A long time ago I was contacted by Alexandre Sciré (https://alexandrescire.bandcamp.com, https://soundcloud.com/alexandrescire), a composer who offered his services to create original music for my game. I had put this idea aside for a long time because I was too busy dealing with game design and level design.
A few months ago I though it was time to look for it. At first I wanted to focus on the title screen music. After a few exchanges on what I wanted, and a few days of waiting, the game now has an epic main theme that fits perfectly with the atmosphere of the game!
One more time, I improved the website https://www.wildmagegames.com, this time focusing on the front page that I found really too “amateur”. All your returns are welcome :)
So I’m finishing the first version of all levels, and preparing the next playtests.
I still have not worked on the story. There is a lot of novels that I have written that could stick, but I need some time to do it seriously and have a real “Almost Epic Adventure”.
It will then iterate on all levels to improve the level design, probably several times, make one or more passes of visual improvement, and finally do all the little tricks to polish the game but that take so much time.
Last month I told you about a bad news and two good ones, it’s time to explain everything.
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.
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.