Post news RSS Dev Log: Week 1 (out of 5)

A summary of the previous weeks of development. (1/5)

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I did not consider ModDB until few days ago. So before posting the current dev logs, I will post the logs of previous weeks first. The full Dev Log can be found on my Blog.

Week 1 (out of 5): ------------------------------------------------------------

Hello :)

A while ago, I started working on the design of a Shadowrun story set in Egypt. Few days ago, I started working on the actual mod, and I will be sharing the Dev Log, hopefully everyday, with you. You can also follow the discussion on Reddit, and if you are a Shadowrun modder, you will find great insights in the Log forum thread.

I will start with a brief recap of the previous stages:

1- Ideation:
Brainstormed the world dynamics, stories, characters, powers ..etc.

2- Outline:
Wrote the main events as one-line sentences, to build a fundamental overview of the story. After a few iterations it was good enough.

3- Story:
After the outline was set, I wrote many Drafts about the lives of the characters, and the systems of the organizations in the story. Once the character / organization was robust enough, I wrote the final version of it in the Main (final) story document.

4- Level Design:
I did many back and forth between the maps and the story. Drawing the map helped me visualize how the level will flow. Then I went to the story and tweaked some elements so that they strengthen the flow. But the tweaking the story might require changing some elements in the map ..etc.
The criteria was: the Flow; the story and the level design cooperated to achieve a -hopefully- optimal and strong flow.

5- Learning the Editor:
Shadowrun editor is a GEM for modders, in my opinion. It is easy and simple, and yet, very powerful. It has many layers, so if someone is a hurry, they can build a quick story using many premade assets. But if someone wants more control, they can find many advanced options to achieve that.
Harebrained Schemes have a great list of tutorials on their Youtube channel, and the modding community answered many FAQs on Youtube and the Wiki. Great thanks for those who makes life easier for others :)

6- Vertical Slice: (Dev log Start)
I was going to build all the maps first, then add the characters and props, and finally write the dialogue and interactions. Using this style with my first mod was not wise, because if I made any mistake in a stage (I am learning the editor while I am working), they might have costly consequences later.
So I decided to make a vertical slice: A simple map that sets the tone for the rest of the mod. The intro scene was ideal for that, because it was simple, but still got all the basic systems in motion (dialogue, combat, lighting, ...etc).

Note (7-3-2018): My average work day on the mod is 4-10 hours, because I have other things I have to do.

DAY 1 (28-2-2018):
- Designed the map layout.
- Experimented with some other stuff life Visual Effects and Lighting.

DAY 2 (1-3-2018):
- Added the main light source and some important VFX to help set the overall mood for the scene. It was important for me to see how the scene will actually look like in the game before writing any dialogue, so I can "feel" it like the characters.
- Basic Flow: using placeholder text, I made a few simple scripts and conversations to try the basic flow of the level.

DAY 3 (3-3-2018):
- Added the main characters, and tweaked their looks.
It was a bit tricky, because the characters look differently in the editor than the game, and the editor has no preview. So for a while I used trial and error, but then found this *treasure* tool that offers a preview of the main models and outfits, and also has a character generator for customizing some models' hair style, color ..etc, so Big Thanks for them :)

DAY 4 (5-3-2018):
- Worked on the conversations in the first scene.
It took a few iterations to balance the content the characters have to say, while keeping it concise. Didn't make a lot of polishing though, so the dialogue is about 90% final, and while playtesting I will reread it a few dozens of times, so it will improve with time.

DAY 5 (6-3-2018):
- Conversations take a bit more time than expected :) But they really feel good when their flow is set right. Also adding few branches here and there gives the player more agency and variety, but I had to limit those a bit so the player does not wander too far from the main events.
Really want to give HBS credit for the incredible conversation system. It is kind of addictive !
- Some character's AI react to some events, despite that I did not write any triggers related to them. I will try to script them properly.

DAY 6 (7-3-2018):
- Finished Scene 1 !
I can say it is currently 95% complete. But there are still probably many things to learn, so I might go back to it at some time.
- It is very helpful to learn from existing HBS missions. HBS generously made them available for anyone to open and edit. I learned about the Blocking Barriers (invisible tile that prevents Actors from moving or stepping on certain tiles), and how to make a conversation between more than 2 Actors.
- Made a transition to the next scene.
- Fixed some bugs.

DAY 7 (8-3-2018):
- My prediction came true sooner than expected :) I keep improving the first scene, when I should move to the next ones. That's why I decided to stop all polishing and improvements and move on.
- Added the music of the first scene. The Music of Jon Everest and HBS is amazing, and very atmospheric. They also cover variety of situations and scene needs.
- Made a sketch for the Second scene map, both the exteriors and interiors.


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