So, the month is almost over and no update up-to-now. There’s not much to show off. For one I was on vacation, on the other hand I play tested a lot and refined/rebalanced the game play. The gameplay is more streamlined now. I have removed the crafting screen and transferred the game mechanism to the read more...
It is time for an other developer log, this time in video form. In one of the previous videos I demonstrated the water simulation capabilities in Gnoblins and I have promised to talk about further simulation stuff. Being a dungeon building game, Gnoblins has a quite dynamic level layout and the water simulation doesn’t make read more...
Currently I’m playing around with the material system of Gnoblins. Many models in Gnoblins are recoloured dynamically to have the option to quickly add new colour variances. I wanted to add material which looks more like metal which isn’t easy when working with handpainted textures only. I’ve come up with a system displayed in here: read more...
Finally, we have modelled and textured 30 different creatures (previous goal was 20 models). We need to add the basic animation now, but first off here is something to show. First off, the judge, a model done and textures by me. Here’s an ogre, modelled and textured by Georg. I would really love to show read more...
So, the month is almost over and no update up-to-now. There’s not much to show off. For one I was on vacation, on the other hand I play tested a lot and refined/rebalanced the game play.
The gameplay is more streamlined now. I have removed the crafting screen and transferred the game mechanism to the main screen. For one you no longer need multiple steps to craft stuff, you can hire minions directly from the main screen, research has been automated, you no longer need to craft interstage products. All this removed a lot of complexity.
On the other hand minions can carry objects now, which adds a lot of visual feedback of what minions are doing at the moment. I.e. wood logs needed to be transported to the carpenter shop for further processing and downed minions are carried to a bed room to recover.
And eventually you no longer need to place single furnitures, instead you can construct whole rooms. I.e. a bed room or a guard room. Here is a screenshot of the four most basic rooms every dungeon need as foundation.
It is time for an other developer log, this time in video form. In one of the previous videos I demonstrated the water simulation capabilities in Gnoblins and I have promised to talk about further simulation stuff. Being a dungeon building game, Gnoblins has a quite dynamic level layout and the water simulation doesn’t make it easier leading to some interesting questions.
How does water interact with the level, with objects, with plants ? Where do plants grow ? Mushroom ? On soil, on rock ? In light or darkness ? These are all questions I wanted to consider when developing an environment simulation and you can now watch the result in this video. Have fun and stay tuned !
Currently I’m playing around with the material system of Gnoblins. Many models in Gnoblins are recoloured dynamically to have the option to quickly add new colour variances. I wanted to add material which looks more like metal which isn’t easy when working with handpainted textures only. I’ve come up with a system displayed in here:
As you can see, there are several materials displayed. For one I just recoloured the skin and clothes, or make the gnoblin look like gold or silver and play around with other effects.
We are still working on the art part. I’ve called the current goal Project 20, that is, integrate 20 different creature models into the game. In total we have currently 27 character models of different creatures (with up to 6 sub-categories), 20 of them needed to be textured,rigged,animated and integrated into the game. Well, art is always something to show something off, so here are some of the current models we are working on.
Here’s a demon I have modelled and textured.
Here’s a gorgon, the model is teamwork, the texture is painted by me.
I’m working on the creatures you can encounter in Gnoblins at the moment. Currently there are almost 20 different creatures in the pipeline, most are still in the modelling state. But I’ve created lot of new blender templates for rigging certain types of models (like humanoid, quadruped etc.), a new texturing template and new tempaltes for baking and rendering models. The current pipeline is modeling->rigging->texturing->animation, all done in blender, even the complete texturing process. Here’s a render of a golem I’ve almost finished so far.
The golem demonstrated the art guide we have developed over the time. The golem is one of the creatures I’ve created alone from concept over modelling and rigging to textureing, so by definition it is programmer art 😉 Nevertheless, I believe that it is a decent improvement over a simple ascii text in your common roguelike game 😉
Recently I worked on the fluid simulation in Gnoblins. Until now fluids in Gnoblins were merely a visual effect, but under the hood it was already a working simulation. To utilize it completely I needed to introduce the ability to swim. So, gnoblins and other creatures are now able to swim now. When swimming, each creature will be affected by an effect. Most creature will be slowed down and get exhausted faster, but there will be although creatures, which will get faster, get healed or get damaged.
I called it fluid simulation because it is not very good suited to represent water in a realistic way. For this task the simulation is not fast and detailed enough, but for slow moving fluids like lava and slime it works great.
An other feature I have added recently is the addition of environment agents, how I like to call them. Basically it is an AI which manipulates the environment. Currently it is able to change a lot of things, but I will present this in an other post. For now it is only important, that with the help of these environment agents the fluid is able to interact with static environment objects like torches. So, when watching the video take a look at the torches when the fluid level rises.
So, why add a fluid simulation to Gnoblins ? Well, I think that it smooths the way for some interesting gameplay. For one you are able to control the fluids by using doors or better floodgates. Doors will only slow it down, whereas floodgates will stop them completely. An other effect is, that fluids will damage or destroy your furniture and limit the abilities of your minions or even hurt them. On the other way, you could use it to fend off enemies.
Eventually I want to talk about what we are working on currently. First off, I have updated two additional tilesets for the dungeon, the sewer and castle/fortress tileset. I will show them off in a future post, I think that one of the next levels will be a sewer level utilizing some slimy sewage water An other task is the addition of more creatures. Currently there are 6 different kind of creatures, each with 2-4 variations, which are in the state of getting finalized. Creatures are the most costly element of Gnoblins. You need to model, texture, animate, add some behavior and add some variation to them. There’s a reason that many of the 100-200 people working on a AAA title are artists.
There is some interesting stuff in the pipeline I will show off in future posts, so stay tuned.
One critic about our development process is the lack of updates. That is always hard for me, because each update consumes a notable chunk of development time. But I promise to improve the community update frequency. I can’t provide weekly updates, but I will do my best to deliver at least one update each month. Considering, that most people are not interest in topics like ‘multi-threaded support of internal scripting engine’, I will wait until I have to show off some screenshots or best a new video. So, stay tuned.
An other news is, that Gnoblins got its own facebook page. Check it out: http://www.facebook.com/Gnoblins
A long time since we last posted some information about Gnoblins, but eventually we are back with some great news.
First off, I will explain the reason behind the long period of silence. After we have released the first versions of Gnoblins, getting the first feedback of testers and gamers, it got clear, that the game was somewhat confusion , unfinished. Our attempt to create a hybrid game seemed to make it obviously very confusion for a lot of people.
For one we got the RTS gamers who didn’t get warm with the first person interface to get into the dungeon building aspect of Gnoblins. On the other hand many people ignored the dungeon building part at all, just seeding a feature poor first person RPG. This put us in a really frustrating dilemma. a gimmick, an additional feature, the first person mode just stole the show of the core concept of Gnoblins.
Afterwards we first tried to fix it, but this was a very daunting experience. Like pulling at both ends of a rope at the same time, supporting one feature results in some design issues at the other end of the game. We had to admit, that we tried to create two games in one which doesn’t seem to work very well. At this point we were really close to abandon the project at all.
But we put just too much passion in this project and after getting green-lit, we wanted to change the situation.
The only valid solution seemed a complete restart, going back to the core concept of Gnoblins, focus on this concept and start a massive re-factoring. This has been done behind closed doors, without any public information leaking out. The reason was simply, that we would like to present progress instead of talking about it all the time. We wanted a proof of concept first, a working foundation before presenting it to the public.
This time has come now. Here is the first glimpse a the completely reworked Gnoblins game. This time we focuses completely on the gnoblins and dungeon building aspect, cutting off the first person mode and the RPG player avatar. The game is presented in a more traditional bird-eye view, the dungeon building part is mostly integrated in the view. Thought the player avatar has been removed, some important features has been moved to the gnoblins instead. In example you are now able to take a handful of your minions to explore parts of the dungeon, fight reatures and find treasures.
Here’s a video of the current development version, have fun
After we’ve done all of the boring paperwork we can start concentrating on the game. Quite a few parts of it are subject to change and we still need to figure out the exact roadmap for those things, but the team is highly motivated and ready to set sail.
We’ve already collected some ideas to improve the gameplay and the overall gaming experience. However, we are still open to new suggestions regarding the game. If you have something like that, don’t hesitate … let us know.
For those new to the game, head to the download-page and give it a ride.
Stay tuned for more…
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