Here’s the august update. This month I worked on improving the accessibility of the user interface. A lot of the more complex features have been moved on the main screen, especially the mining map has been removed and integrated directly in the game world now. I will show off the improvements next update, after testing read more...
There is not a lot to show this month. I’m currently working at the creation of the first 5 levels. This is done in several layers or iterations. Starting with a concept, then the rough layout, adding the player side features(what rooms, what spells, what minions), then the enemy side features etc. At each iteration 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 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...
Here’s the august update. This month I worked on improving the accessibility of the user interface. A lot of the more complex features have been moved on the main screen, especially the mining map has been removed and integrated directly in the game world now. I will show off the improvements next update, after testing and tweaking it a little more.
For now here an other improvement. A major goal this month was to increase the readability of the game world. The old version was too dark, your minions were hard to discover and it was not really easy to check what your minions are doing at the moment. Therefor we updated the rendering, make it more colorful and activating the toon-shading again to improve the perception. Further on I added new icons hoovering above your minions to show what they are doing currently.
Here is a comparison of version 0.2.39 and 0.2.40.
Although I added a new quest system, which will be introduced in one of the next updates.
There is not a lot to show this month. I’m currently working at the creation of the first 5 levels. This is done in several layers or iterations. Starting with a concept, then the rough layout, adding the player side features(what rooms, what spells, what minions), then the enemy side features etc. At each iteration I need to play-test each level.
At the moment the concept, layout and player side features are done and I’m importing the minion and enemy creatures.
Still there a some game features which needs some fixing or re-work. When you experience a game mechanism in a game, it is most likely the Xth iteration of the original planed mechanism. Just having an idea and implementing it doesn’t work, only play-testing gives you a glimpse of if the mechanism is really working in your game or not.
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