Post news RSS Harmless Demons | DevLog #2: Organization, Visuals, Mecanim Animation, Game flow

Overcoming inner Chaos with the sword of Order, things for you to eat, worldwide revelations.

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Hi my peepzies!

It's been more than a while since my last descent to this earth and i know you have been waiting for my return ever since.
Well rejoice mortal, i'm back for moar and my bag is loaded with assembled human words for your brain to process.

Gather round, here is the program:

  1. Organization & Productivity
  2. Visuals (MoneyShot part or where you finally get fed)
  3. Mecanim Animation (where the feeding continues cuz it's actually a banquet)
  4. Game flow & Discovery System (Worldwide reveal)

1) Organization & Productivity

There is no way around it, i'm a pretty messy person overall, my room could easily testify as well as this illustrator document.


Chaos... Chaos is my thing. It's a sharp blade for creativity or experimentation, but it also tends to randomly stab my productivity in the stomach here and there with equal sharpness.
Shout out to my parents for the great job they did in keeping the animal i can sometimes be under control. I have been educated very well.
My head is full of concepts like self-discipline, respect, restraint and other Order-stuff that really goes against my deep nature but elegantly keeps me out of jail. In society, i'm constantly using those, otherwise, i might just be Reese from Malcolm.

Even if i sometimes hold this part of my brain responsible for not taking maximum fun out of life in general, nothing that i do would be possible without it, so i'm actually thankful.
Order brain part is useful for entrepreneurship (me deciding to make an actual game), code architecture, ergonomics... and i use it to give my Chaos part boundaries so it doesn't go out of control.
But lately, i feel like it's been the case nevertheless. Even if i'm behing my original schedule (demo, trailer and website by christmas, XDLoL > < ) i'm getting closer and closer to a lil' playable/trailer-suitable demo for the world to try/see and i'm pretty excited about it. A bit too much i think. I've been chasing trains of thoughts like butterflies lately, trying to do everything that's left at the same time, jumping from one task to another without prioritizing very well. It felt like a not very efficient use of my time...
My productivity has been slowed down because of this. I do love it in minor scales though, because it feels like freedom, like flexibility and it's a luxury that i have over game companies. But it's counter-productive at this point.
From next week onwards, i'll turn some fascist brain buttons up in order to put down the current rebellion and Make The Chaos Part Great Again.

2) Visuals (MoneyShot part or where you finally get fed)

I ain't gon' lie, this part is for the hungry. And i shall feed you as i am your merciful shepard and the only beast worth worhsiping.

I made good progress on two elements of the game:

2a) Demon Cell

Where the demon is hold prisoner and in which he is brought to the player. The side parts that reminds me of La Naissance de Vénus for some reasons are going to be animated and will have tons of supa particle emitters (smoke, sparkles, and more if love is found)
!SPOILER ALERT! ==> Don't look at the bottom part, the cell is placed on the second element of this section



2b) Platform

Here it is for you, your typical platform, where the demon can navigate. The player will be able to build more of those if he feels like giving the demon more places to go. It has some kind of lifter/elevator that will save me from having to make an elaborated climbing animation ;)) (i originally thought of ladders but B)).
The particle emitter is placeholder of course why would you even ask?

Platform 1

3) Mecanim Animation (where the feeding continues cuz it's actually a banquet)

Since i had to redo my whole character after reworking it and moving away from SpriterPro™, i tried to do it carefully this time. In order to really be the receptacle of my character's final animations. I will not hide the fact that i wasn't in complete control of the Unity animator and Mecanim system, even if i knew how to make a lot of things work. There were still some concepts that i wasn't grasping very well. Additive, overriding layers, avater masks and how to make proper use of those, mainly.
I had small glitches and inconsistencies in my animations transitions that i couldn't locate.
There were all related to this problem, that seems to be on Unity part:
"On each frame that the animator is updated all those properties are written by the animator, properties not animated in the current state are written with the default values, the animated one are written with the value from the curve."
Since i wasn't using any avatar masks, because wHo'S gOt TiMe FoR aVaTaR mAsKs M8?, (that might have resolved this issue if i understand it well though, but it would have been more of a bandage that an acutal solution), i had a lot of problems coming from this because i just thought not giving key frame to a property would "free" it from the animator, which is not the case.

What made me want to finally build something solid and clean on top of which i could create every possible animation was this video. Especially this seemingly insignificant sentence: "Mecanim is Visual Scripting". Duh, it is, but told clearly like this, mixed with fact that i was understanding a lot more of the "Mecanim language" made me open my _XXx_|--Third-Eye--|_xXx_. Enabling me to put a lot of animation architectures in new perspectives. For reasons, i thought there was "One-Way-To-Properly-Do-Animation" in Mecanim when it's really like code and you can have a lot of different approaches, even if there are universally good ones.
So thank you guy from Firewatch (veeeery good game btw except for the intro). My current set up is grealty *blink* "inspired" *blink* by the one shown in the video.


I still have a lot to learn about how to use Mecanim, but i reached a point where i can actually play with it, try different ways to do the same thing, strategize... Which is a big step forward for me.

An example of this would be my brand new walk animation:


ezgif com optimize



While doing this, i realized it took me nearly as much time to draw, integrate and animate the character than having it moving smoothly and accordingly in the game. It took me as much time to make the first 80% (design, set up, integration) as the last 20% (mainly polish, having it 99% perfect).
I believe you can use "Use Root Motion" to make the character move in world space via actual animation movement, so it's theorically impossible to have any bug on that part. But i feel like it's more difficult to "cheat" and tweak if you do it this way. But maybe i'll it this way try one of those days.

What i did/PROUDLY ACCOMPLISHED was this: while walking, the character gets an AddForce on its rigidbody, multiplied by its speed and a speed multiplier. I keep a tight control on this force throughout the whole animation by raising animation events that change de speed multiplier value at precise (and well thought) places so the character movement feels natural and in accordance with its animation. Clever right? Well maybe it's not actually that clever, but it feels clever to me, because it's one of my first working "trick" with Mecanim, and he feels like a clever victory for me. It feels like the following equation: (MyBrainⓇ > Clever℠ > Mecanim™) = Good.

ezgif com video to gif 2

4) Game flow & Discovery System (Worldwide reveal)

I know this is why you started reading this article in the first place so get ready for delivery, buckle up, you're about to be world premiered. I'm about to show the game loop for the very first time.

Macro level (to actually beat the game):
Unknow demon ==> Discovery ==> Discovery ==> ... ==> Fully understood demon ==> End
Middle level (to make progres on understanding how the demon works):
Uncommon demon behaviour ==> New Observation ==> Research ==> Discovery
Micro level (how to witness uncommon demon behaviour):
Natural demon behaviour/Player action ==> Uncommon demon behaviour

Everything is there expect the overall progression leading to the end of the game and the research part (which is kinda big and yet to be fully designed, it's going to be a priority in the coming weeks).
Here is the discovery menu after witnessing that he could walk:




We're moving freakin forward, it could actually be a game one of those days, who knows. You'll be the first to be informed as soon as there is something playable. Next weeks, i'll focus on channeling myself to be more efficent, designing the whole research system, set up the overall game flow, work on visual apsects of the most basic tools to interact with the demon and then come back here to tell you how it all worked out.

That's all for now folks, hope you liked it and see you soon for even more exciting adventures.
Amer Jongleur Von DerDenDur Out.

Feel free to follow me on twitter if you want to keep up with my progression

PS: I released a new track, it's super aggressive, beware if you don't like violent music, you've been warned:

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