van concept naar game experience

After finishing the first half of the project it was time to convert the created material into a playable game experience. The biggest challenge was to take all the different parts and bundle it together into one consistent game world.

Before I started creating the game world itself it was necessary to first set the most important boundaries for the gameplay itself. I took a lot of gameplay features from Samorost 3 and implemented these into the project. Immediately I created a short but detailed design document and send this to Marlon so he could get started with the development of the game.

design document
phase 1
The player walks on the satellite and encounters a total of 3 different characters. The player then starts a conversation with the 3 characters. Once the player has spoken to all 3 players, the satellite door opens and the second phase begins.
phase 2
The player enters the satellite and encounters the choleric. After speaking the choleric, the player has to make a choice. Once the player has made the choice, it is final and the game enters the third and (last) phase.
phase 3
phase 3, unlike the other phases, is not interactive. Once the player has completed phase 2, phase 3 is fixed. the player is shown the end and how his choice influences this. After phase 3 the game experience is over.

scenes

The game contains a total of 12 scenes, 2 of which belong to the 2 different endings. So the player will see a total of 11 different scenes including the intro.

Dialogue

multiple choice dialogue in which the player has direct influence on how the dialogue develops. Based on the player’s dialogue choices, the relationship between the player and the NPC changes.
Although the player can develop the conversation in several ways, the conversation always ends in the same direction. After a conversation is completed, the player cannot start a start another a dialogue.


flowchart: dialogue with melancholic

In-game navigation

For the in-game navigation I looked at the gameplay and scenes in Samorost 3 and implemented some features into the project. highlighted in yellow: interactive objects in the scene, if the player clicks on this an animation plays. White Zones: When the player clicks on these white zones, the character moves to the nearest spot on the red stripe. Red and blue stripes: Places in the scene where the player can go. the player can stand still on the red line. on the blue stripes, the player automatically continues to the nearest red spot where the player clicked.

CREATING THE GAME WORLD ITSELF

I decided to develop the game inside Unity because I already had moderate experience with this engine from previous projects. I also knew that unity has new useful 2d features like the 2d light system and 2d shaders.

For creating the animations of the characters in the game I used a combination of photoshop and after effects. After effects has this cool feature that you can export animations in sprite sheets compatible for game engines like Unity. The work flow looked something like this.

The satellite

The maquette I build for the satellite formed the base for almost all the scenes inside the game. First I took high res photos with a professional camera of different parts of the satellite. In photoshop I enhanced the details and converted the photos into useful sprites for unity. Inside unity I used these sprites to build the scenes and added additional animations and shaders.

After laying the base for the scenes it was time to add additional details and animations to make the world really come alive. Like the first half of the project I used a lot of different methods for this. The scenes now also contain: lights, shaders, post processing, particle systems, in game animations, sprite sheet animations and scripts.

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