Tag Archives: redesign

Graphic Redesign & Other Updates

BIG updates since I last posted. Its been a long time since the last post and I HAVE been working on this project some, just not updating things so much because I had so many things to change. But I am finally done with the major changes so now here I am again!

The first major change is something that’s both sort of exciting but also, in a way, a tad disappointing because it’s not exactly what I wanted. But it’ll make things easier on me (which is why I did it) and it also brings it back to how I originally imagined the game, just with a different camera angle. This major change is…

3D models instead of sprites. Yes, I had to scrap the sprite idea, despite actually getting everything to work properly with them, but its a time constraint thing. While I don’t have a deadline, as I began to work on the sprites it occurred to me just how long this would take. As much as I love traditional 2D animation, and don’t really enjoy 3D animation as much, with everything else I’m doing, and now somewhat getting back into the costume commissions scene, I just don’t feel I have the time to spend making all the sprites I would want, mirrored or not. To keep the style, though, I will be doing the same thing as with my static 3D models used in the environment: handpainting line art on the 3D models, and apply the toon shader to them to make them appear 2D (think something like Borderlands, or The Walking Dead Telltale series).

Here’s a preview of what the game now looks like, using the Game Creator basic models (they don’t have lineart on their skins directly but I have the shader properly set up so the outline is there. The lighting is also flat shaded on the models.

Making the 3D models, rigging them, and animating them will of course still take a while, but the upside of them is that once I make the model, I don’t have to do any extra work like I would with the sprites, drawing them from different camera angles and such. So the tradeoff is, it’ll take me a while in the beginning to get everything set up properly, but in the end it will save me a lot of time once I complete that work. I will still, however, be implementing 2D animation with the cutscenes, and likely with the character portraits themselves, because like I mentioned before, I love traditional 2D animation and wanted to use it for this project in some way.

The other major reason I did this was because of the tools I’m using. If I haven’t mentioned this in previous entries, I’ll explain that Game Creator comes with modules to extend its usability for different types of games, and while I owned both the Melee and Shooter modules, I was unable to use them, because they only work with 3D models and animations. I did actually find a solution for combat with sprites using the very customizable Ability & Combat Toolkit (ABC) by Dicelock Studio, which worked great, but now I can stick primarily with GC assets, which is a tad smoother (though ABC does have integration with GC, its just a bit more complex than using all GC modules). So now it will be much quicker for me to set up combat and interactions without having to deal with sprites.

So that’s that! Big graphics redesign, again a little disappointed I don’t get to work with sprites but when I think about how much time it would have cost me, that’s okay. I was naive to think I could do something like that with all the projects I have to do. If this were my primary project, it would have been fine, but I just can’t afford it (getting the camera angles right was also frustrating, so I’m glad I don’t have to deal with that anymore). I also still have the trouble of sometimes not being able to sketch as nicely as I want to at the time, and that was really hitting me hard with making sprites, because I just couldn’t get stuff done when I needed to.

So to finish up this section, I’ll be using Blender to make 3D models, and of course will upload progress I make with them here and in my available galleries. Hopefully I haven’t terribly disappointed anyone with this news, but if it makes you feel any better, the project will now be done much quicker than before! It’ll still take a while since I’m so damn busy, but at least it will be smoother sailing for me to actually get things done 🙂

Inventory Redesign and Additions

Another thing I’d like to add to this post is my redesign of the Inventory (its actually visually more simple now) and things I’ve added to it in terms of functionality.

I got rid of the item sorting by type, because the inventory is limited and it just seemed like an unnecessary thing to have since you can see all your items right in front of you and there isn’t a need even for scrolling. So no more top bar for item type selection. There’s also no longer an equipment area present. Whatever you have equipped simply is highlighted on the item itself in your inventory. There is no longer any left hand or right hand designation because that ended up seeing like a gratuitous mechanic that was mostly unnecessary and would likely just get in the way, so that idea has been scrapped and items are either 1-handed or 2-handed and you cannot switch between the two for any weapons, which is what I originally had in mind.

I also added new buttons to the context menu that includes weapon info! This panel shows you things like how much base damage the weapon does, what type of damage it deals, any effects it may have, ways you can use it to interact within the world, and its durability (durability has not yet been set up in the below screenshot but it will be later).

I’ll add more on weapon stats and durability later when everything is set up!

Backend Redesign

One last thing I’ll mention that doesn’t have much to do with anything other than backend stuff, so you won’t see it in the game but other developers may like to know is, I cleaned up the way certain mechanics worked via Ninjutsu’s State Machine module, so the mechanics behind using Key Items in specific areas and interacting with things in the world have been entirely rebuilt and will be much quicker to set up now, which is more good news for development.

That’s about it for this entry I think, everything else I’ve done in my time since last post was mostly practice and cleaning stuff up, so there we have it! Thanks for following this project and if you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them below!

Game Redesign (2020)

September 27-28, 2020

3AM. As if California hadn’t been hit with enough fires in the past years (the last one being especially close to us was the Tubbs fire back in 2017), a new fire, since named the Glass Fire, breaks out in the hills just over a mile away from our house. It took about a day for this fire to reach us, and yes, it did reach us. I provided images below, taken from driveway, of the evening before (the 27th) and the subsequent night and into the next day.

September-October, 2020

We thankfully did not end up losing our house during all of this. I was evacuated by my parents (taking all of our pets with me and fleeing to a friends house at 4 in the morning) while they stayed behind to do their best to make sure our house didn’t burn down. For some quick context on that matter, my father is a retired firefighter/paramedic, and we own our own firetrucks. My mother is also trained in the use of a good deal of fire equipment, and we had friends come up to help us fight this fire as it was heading our way.
All in all, this actually worked. While the surrounding areas burned, our house was actually saved thanks to my parents staying to fight. I could talk a lot more about this subject, but as this is a game development journal I will refrain from doing so. The comments on this post are open if you’d like any more information on this matter!

After I got back home, needless to say, everything was a mess. Our power was out for 3 weeks, there was ash and bits of charred leaves everywhere, some areas were even still smoldering. With the power out as well as dealing with the cleanup, life was very weird for a good amount of time. We have generators but of course they cannot run all the time, and so electronic usage was at a minimum; we had some lights hooked up and phone chargers, though really that didn’t do much good as the cell towers were also burned up, so in reality we didn’t even get much phone service unless we managed to make it into the next town over where things were slightly better.
Things were very depressing around the house, if that wasn’t obvious. I spent probably a week simple wandering, cleaning, and sleeping. I had no drive to do anything. Not that I could spend that much time on the computer anyway. I could barely even text anyone. It felt like we were stuck in some weird limbo with nothing to do and no way to do it.
Then one day, as I partially starting to restore and clean my room (I had removed a lot during the evacuation), I found my notebook for the game in all my stuff. I had barely touched it for about a year or so; the last time I had worked on it was after I decided on the redesign, and that was just working in Unity for a short while. Also, if I remember correctly, because I had failed to work on this in a while, my notebook was actually more up to date than my Scrivener file was, so I didn’t need my computer to help do anything.

For some reason, this was really inspiring to me, and to this day I have no idea why. I had literally no drive to work on anything until I saw this journal again, and suddenly a ton of new ideas flooded into my head and I just went for it. For the third time now, I redesigned SO much of the game, even started debating on a turn-based combat system which got me thinking a lot more about how I wanted to construct the game and how to ensure it stayed frightening on some level. While I’ve scrapped the idea of being turn-based, the ideas I was getting from one of my favorite turn-based games (Wasteland 2) inspired a lot more of the exploration mechanics now decided upon in the current version of the game. I also rebranded it “Lost Hours” after revisiting a bunch of the story and coming to the conclusion that this title would fit better with an altered story I now had in mind.

I guess on some level you could say the fire was symbolic for the rebirth of this game into what it is now. Since I’m so into symbolism for my game, it’s certainly fitting!
At any rate, you can see now how and why the game was drastically different when I started out so long ago, and I’m very excited (as annoying as this all was to type) to be able to share this projects journey and have it actually feel like it could be going somewhere, despite only being a hobby for me now.

The following few entries will still be playing a little catch up and are somewhat incomplete; again, I didn’t think much about making a record for all this and so I didn’t save too much (yes of course I regret it now that I’m making this log). From October onward, I worked a lot with GC and Unity to start re-designing and re-developing this game pretty much from the ground up again to fit into these new and more tangible ideas I now had, and even within just a few months I got very far in the process (mostly thanks to Game Creator and the GC community!) At a certain point they be “live” again, if you will, as I finally manage to catch up to where I am now.

I promise subsequent entries I will NOT talk this much, only relay what I have done for what I am showcasing and how I achieved it. Much more interesting than listening to me ramble about my life, I know. I hope you will enjoy following this project as much as I enjoy working on it!

The image below was finalized on November 2, 2020!

The redesigned logo (stock photograph used for the background)