Post news RSS Developer Log - AVANT GARDE INVESTIGATE - #0.001

The first development log for the virtual reality title AVANT GARDE INVESTIGATE.

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Hello, my lovelies. Pigface here. At it again with another steaming pile of money and gold.

Think it is about time I start logging my antics. I hear it’s great for audience retention down the line or something like that. Perhaps a little excuse for a rant or two never hurt anyone.

Anyways, on with the show.

As this is the first of many, many developer logs, let’s start with telling you what the hell I’ve been cooking in the kitchen… eh?

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AVANT GARDE INVESTIGATE is the working title of my latest venture. I’ve seen far too many virtual reality games that don’t actually make use of the medium. Wave shooter after wave shooter… I’m sick of it!

I was rabbiting on about it with Einzig and Herbert (which I’m sure you’ll be introduced to when to the time comes) when a brain-wave jolted up my spine and slapped me right in the kisser.

Why not make our own? Why not make a V.R game to show the normies how it is supposed to be done? Actually, use V.R to create an experience that simply isn’t possible with other mediums?

A couple of phone calls and broken monitors later and here we are. AVANT GARDE INVESTIGATE. Our flagship title. I couldn’t be more proud if I do say-so myself.

I suppose you might be wondering what AVANT GARDE INVESTIGATE even is? Well, as previously described, it’s a virtual reality title. A murder mystery! Set within the confines of a location I’m not currently disclosing, it’s down to you and your smart noggin to solve the murder mystery before it’s too late!

Sounds very cliche! I know, brilliant isn’t it? Bringing something that’s familiar, pouring a little Avant Garde love and boom — million-copy-seller right here.

Of course, it’s going to take more than my charming looks and expert coding skills to bring this title to life. That’s why you beautiful bastards and bastardesses are here.

I thought it’d be fun to suck you all into the misadventures of bringing AVANT GARDE INVESTIGATE to life, getting your input and entertaining you whilst at the same time subconsciously implanting AVANT GARDE INVESTIGATE into your brain so when the time is right, you’ll throw all your baths full of money our way so we can get rich from your poverty.

So where have we been all this time? Prior to this, we were indisposed doing some client work for some very impressive clients, raising the capital needed to bring an idea such as AVANT GARDE INVESTIGATE to life.

>> Current Progress<<

The project is still in the early stages, naturally. There’s not much to see just yet — it is still in the blocking out and figuring out what the heck this is stage.

We’re using Unreal Engine 4, because Avant Garde Homunculus is most comfortable in UE4. In terms of that, the project has been up and running in Unreal Engine 4.17 since preview release 1 (we’re rebels you see).

There is a calibration screen to ensure the user’s sitting height as the same height at the in-game chair (there’s a lot of sitting in AVANT GARDE INVESTIGATE). That is in and is currently working — almost. Haven’t had the time to implement the vector we record from the calibration but apart from that, that section is all fine and dandy.

For the intro movies, you know the ones with the company logos and everything, we’ve decided to drop the player into a sphere of video screens (think the scene with the Architect from The Matrix but all around you) and we play the video on all these monitors to be creepy, weird and avant-garde. That’s in the latest build and works.

Even tried loading in some Crash Bandicoot memes to test the video screens (and be hip with all the cool kids). That all works fine.

The test map of sitting at a table in an office and the ability to interact with objects on a table is working. I want to implement snapping to the hand, so even if something is out of reach you can grab it like you have the force. That part is not in yet but you can pick up the objects within reach and give them a nice little throw and all that.

Wasn’t sure (and still not sure) how I want the characters in the game to look. On that note, art style is still a conversation needed to be had. But getting back to the point, wasn’t sure how I wanted the characters to look. So I brought in a system similar to the cardboard cut-out trick as seen in Danganronpa. It works but I think if anything has convinced me to look at alternatives. It definitely has a particularity style but it’s hard to express the emotions and reactions to events with characters in such a way. I like the way characters look in things such as Danganronpa: Ultra Despair Girls, so I might see about emulating that style for our characters.

Obviously in doing that, price of motion capture as well as time rigging, animating, clean-up and all that good stuff skyrockets compared to 2D textures but it seems like it’ll have to happen. Unless I can come up with an awesome 2D system — but again, that takes time and a lot of money.

We also have something cool using the power of Unreal Engine 4.17. Thanks to their VR Spectator code, we have times (such as the calibration screen) where the player is seeing one thing but the spectator screen is showing something else. Animated too! This means that if the player is streaming their playthrough, we can keep it entertaining for both player and audience members at the same time.

Talking about streaming, we have a clipboard in the game. It works like a detective’s notepad. You know, where they’d write notes about the case and refer back to their notes. But this is no ordinary clipboard. It is a gateway to stream chat. That’s right — thanks to the hard work of Herbert, stream chat is displayed in the in-game world on the detective’s notepad, allowing the player to interface with their audience whilst remaining engrossed in the world of AVANT GARDE INVESTIGATE.

The way Herbert has set it up, the user doesn’t even need to login. They just need to point to a streaming channel and boom — the messages start flooding in. This will no doubt end up in cool gameplay opportunities but we’ll have to dive in deeper later down the line.

>> Closing Thoughts <<

So we have things moving around. The project loads up and you’re in the world but we have a whole adventure ahead of us. This is just the baby steps on the grand adventure to fame and boat-loads of moolah.

This is the first time I’ve ever done ever a development log of any sort. It feels both freeing and naked. I have bared my naked behind to you all. I would enjoy any sort of feedback on what you thought about the writing, about the project and how we’re going about doing things here in Avant Garde Homunculus HQ.

Thanks for reading you beautiful bastards and bastardesses’ — see you in the next development log.

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