3:00am Dead Time™.
Recording paranormal phenomena.
This last month had a lot of work. Most of it, very difficult. A week ago, our main PC (which stored the latest version of 3:00am Dead Time, and the Beta 0.2 work) simply broke. In this machine, the game was being developed. So, we had to buy a new Pc, and restore our work. Sadly, with the OS change (from Xp 32 to Win 7 64), part of the project didn't work, neither the Unity 3 backup. We moved then to Unity 4 (the newest version), and with a lot of rage against the PC's, Windows, and everything else, we came back to redo all the lost work.
Now, we have again our previous work done, and continue with the progress. But there are good news :
- With our new main machine, we can finally use Pixel Shader 3.0 effects (the previous machine was the low-end one, used to calculate the minimum requirements), which means that the graphics will improve (but just a little, since we cannot afford Unity Pro yet)
- The new system supports 64 bit software, and so does the game. From here, 3:00am Dead Time will support 32 and 64 bits systems, providing the best performance for both.
- We are working at full speed with the team complete again (our main 3d artist is completely healthy again)
- We are finishing the main core of the game, this is, the AI and simulation code. That's the reason behind the lack of updates (we didn't want to upload a picture of a text editor, with lines and lines of boring code, or a picture of our main PC broken, and ourselves crying around it. You deserve something better )
Apologies apart, lets get started with the main notice :
Recording Paranormal Events.
Many games have used, in one way or another, a camera as the viewport to the action, and to interact with the environment (Project Zero its a good example). But in this game, the player should be able not just to see through a camera lens, but also to record the evidence. What kind of people use their cameras just to see, without recording those precious moments, like an alien running or a ghost in a window?
We wanted that the player could feel like a real investigator, and take photos, record video, EVPs, and see them again and again... Then we started to think ways of doing this.
The pre-made replay systems were not for us, because our system should be able to record even the slightest of movements, and with a randomized AI like Spectrum, it was harder to setup both to work together, than make our very own recording system from scratch. That is what we did.
We made the displays for the cameras, and a camera manager which is fully functional (you can adjust the zoom, brightness, recording quality, FPS etc just like in a real camera). We have managed to make a basic nightshot filter without using the Unity Pro post-process effects, and some camera effects, like the noise and complex flares.
And we are also making interactive displays for the other recording devices, such as cell phones. This displays let the user to access and control the recording system, and have some high fidelity replays, recording at 8, 16 or 24 fps. This also makes possible to record in old PCs, and even the physics can be recorded with it (this was a wish of our team), and replayed without the high performance cost of a full simulation. The output, however, is not a "real" video, in the sense that it cannot be replayed outside the game. This is because the "video" has a special and unique format to let the in-game video editor, and the TV show creator to cut, edit, merge and manage the resulting clips.
We want to further test this system to check its performance on high stress scenes. And there you can help us. If you have funded us, and have your access to Beta 0.2, we will send you soon a link so you can test the recording system in a simulation, which will be also the camera tutorial. Then, you can tell us if it went well, and your performance experience on the different settings. From now, we will release every now and then some simple performance tests. You will be able to see the development from inside.
We hope you will enjoy with this, and to receive your results once the test begins. This will help us a lot to see the game's performance, optimize it, and release it sooner. Be prepared to be a true beta tester.
While you wait for the release of Beta 0.2, remember to download the demo, and to follow us on twitter, to receive the latest updates as soon as they are out.
Thanks for reding this long, long dev diary.
The Irreverent Software Team.