I've been working on One More Flip for about 8 months now! Here's a collage I created with an image from my screenshot folder from each month of development in 2017. The game is shaping up nicely for release in 2018!
Work continues on "One More Flip" at a pretty good pace. Lately I've been fixing a lot of invisible issues and bugs, and working on a variety of detail work. For example, making better wires and rigging for the various equipment in the game. Here's a look at a cable supporting the horizontal bar:
Here's another example, this time of work on the trapeze net- finally not just a 1-sided flat cloth, it's now made up of twine and rubber bands, and bends and flexes pretty realistically:
Another example is the feedback when you land a trick. The game takes 3 "snapshots" of your position after touching the ground, and if (in this case) 1 of them are "OK", you landed the trick! You must land the trick twice in a row to consider it "mastered". Hopefully the green clay ball communicates this pretty well, and is an example of the thought that goes into communicating game logic to players in a way that's easy to understand, and also evokes the theme of the game (clay / stop-motion animation).
I've been plugging away at the game, although it's been a period where there isn't too much visual to show for the progress. I've been alternating between creating environments for the different sports, while fixing bugs and adding missing features to the game.
Here's a look at recent environment work, first the platform diving environment:
...and here's the aerial skiing jump set:
other recent work includes working on snow slide/impact effects (this is hard one to decide how it should look, given the "claymation" visual theme of the game):
And here's an updated look at the title screen of the game, which now looks a bit more professional. Eventually the athlete (and the trick they are doing) in the background will be randomized as well.
I'm starting too see the light at the end of the tunnel for my initial launch vision of the game, so I'm pretty sure this game is coming out sometime in 2018 at this point :)
I'm hoping that people will find that what happens in the game makes them laugh, makes them proud, makes them think "WTF"... and so I want people to be able to easily share things that happen. So I've been working on the instant replay system which records your attempt at a trick, and then lets you play it back with lots of controls.
I've now also added built-in animated GIF export to the game. Here's a video of it in action. you hit the "export" button, then select the export range (essentially trimming the clip), and then hit save. It renders out the frames, and saves a GIF to a folder on the desktop. easy! I'll eventually add support for posting your GIFs straight to social media as well.
In other recent news, I captured a video of a real-life "layout" on trapeze (that's me, the real "Walaber" BTW), and compared it to the same trick in-game. Pretty dang close, right?!?
I've been taking some steps to finally make the user interface of the game fit the overall theme a bit better. I had some temp fonts and ui frame / button images in there for a long time, and now I have a first pass at button and other UI theming, plus I think I've chosen the font for the game as well. Here are some pretty images of the Character Editor screen, one of the most UI-heavy screens, and also a chance to show off how the character customization is coming together.
Lately I've been busy working on the first proper artwork for the in-game "sets", where all the flipping takes place. I've started with the circus set.
My original idea was to have it take place in sort of a practice gym:
But after watching some trapeze performance videos I decided I should go for the proper, dramatic circus performance setting. So I set about modeling a simple environment:
And then adding lighting in Unity:
first pass looked like this:
And after adjusting colors and adding enthusiastic spectator "Walabers" in the scene, it's currently looking like this:
I'm getting closer and closer to a 2nd testable build of the game. I got a lot of great feedback from the first version so I can't wait to do another round to play testing and improvements.
I've noticed that a lot of my games seem to end up with some kind of feature to record gameplay and then play it back again. "Gymnast" had a very robust version of this, and even something like JellyCar 3 recorded your runs in order to have "ghosts" you could race/compete against. "One More Flip" is going the route of "Gymnast", allowing players to record their gameplay, save it, watch it later from different camera angles, etc.
So far I've got the basic code working to record what happens when attempting a trick, play that back, save it to disk, and load it again. I'm also working on the UI for the viewing experience in-game.... although this process was not without some entertaining bugs:
Here it is looking a bit better :)
Eventually I hope to have an in-game "export to GIF" feature, perhaps with Twitter integration to tweet replays directly from the game, a-la Fantastic Contraption VR, a feature I loved and wish more games had!
In other news, amazing character artist Calin has delivered a female base model which I'll be integrating into the game soon, here is a sneak peek:
I want players to be able to customize their character as much as possible, but generating lots of variations of hairstyles, face shapes, etc can be quite costly. I'm attempting to give a solid number of options without going crazy, hopefully there will be enough that most people are happy with their avatar.
An area where I think I found a nice solution is on the actual look of the outfits. I've decided to have a pre-determined outfit for each "sport", which the player can't change-- so the "gymnastics" outfit only has 1 shape, and overall color pattern. However, it has a space on it to display a country flag, and all of the colors of the pattern can be changed dynamically.
I then found a database of all the country flags in the world, and imported them all, running a script to generate the correct texture format I need, and also extracting the top 3 most used colors in each flag, and set those as the outfit colors to accompany that country flag. I also give you the option to "shuffle" which colors will go where on the outfit, from a total of 6 possible combinations (since there are 3 colors total per outfit).
Here is how that looks in the current build: a huge list of country flags you can select, as well as a toggle for the "color scheme" to adjust which colors end up where.
Lately I have been working on a variety of tasks to get an initial playtest-worthy build together of "One More Flip". The biggest task for this is making my first attempt at a tutorial for the game. Although I plan a sequence of levels that slowly teach you the game, I think the controls require a bit more explicit instruction, and so a tutorial is necessary!
My first idea involved explaining to the player that Raggie is a physically simulated character (not just some animations), and also that the player provides the timing for Raggie to move through the various poses required to do a given trick. In order to communicate this, I realized that Raggie needed a skeleton.
So I spent way too much time modeling up a skeleton :)
... and testing it in-game.
All of this is in service of the following moment in the tutorial, where I communicate that Raggie has a skeleton (and muscles), but is lacking in the BRAIN department-- hence the need for the player!
I'm getting very close to a playable build, and I'm looking forward to doing some testing with friends and family to iterate further on the game, and the tutorial.
As usual, if you want to follow along with more frequent development updates, give me a follow on Twitter.
Continuing progress on "One More Flip". My focus right now is mostly getting the entire game connected together and playable as a stand-alone experience. For example right now I have to change a setting each time I want to test out a different trick and then run the game.
It's about time to start getting feedback from players, so I need a build I can just hand to people and watch them play and take notes about what's confusing, etc.
I am close, I already have code for creating a character, and a basic screen for sequencing out tricks and unlocking them as you progress (including annoying player data save/load routines).
Mostly what's missing now is some kind of basic tutorial, and a full set of tricks laid out in a sequence, and fixing any bugs with the logic to flow between all the screens in the game. Lately I've been working on a few simple scenes that I intend to use as tutorials, to teach players the controls to the game:
Here is another video, this time of working on the pose sequence for a "back handspring", which turned out better than I thought, although the timing makes the trick harder than I had anticipated.
Lots of good progress on "One More Flip" in various areas lately. I've continued integrating the player model into the game, including stubbing out the player customization screen, which is looking pretty nice:
I've also spent some (perhaps too much) time making the landing mats in the game behave just like I want them to. They are a pretty detailed physics model to simulate a mat that can compress, return its shape, and also deform in a realistic way.
The mat is basically several rigid boxes connected together in 2 layers (like an ice-cream sandwich), with springs in-between to push it out to it's target thickness. The pieces don't collide with each other so they can overlap and give good collision response to the player who lands on it. Also since the visual design is now "clay", I need to generate a dynamic mesh for the mat that is beveled (rounded corners) to look more like it's a piece of clay. This was one of the more tricky/tedious custom mesh routines I've ever written, but I'm very happy with the results. It still needs UV coordinates and some clay texture/normal maps, but that will be relatively easy to add.
I've also done a lot of invisible work on screen flows, preparing the game for localization, adding support for difficulty modes, etc.
Hopefully the next post will be about getting a proper environment model into the game, and it will start looking like a complete game :)
Lots of progress on the game lately. I'm leaning toward calling the game "One More Flip", and have started working with an amazing artist named Calin to start creating artwork for the game. We're currently pursuing a "clay figure" look for the game- since the game physics are truly 3D, a very "physical" look to the game seems to make sense, and clay figures and environments should look bright and appealing as well:
Here are some shots from Calin of the first test character model:
Inspired by the new "clay" visual theme, I also created a mock up of a potential logo for the game:
After getting the character model I've been in the process of rigging it up and integrating it into the game to see how it will work, etc.
The vision is for the player to have choices of many body shapes, skin tones, head shapes, hair styles, etc so that they can customize the character to their liking. The environments will also look like they are made out of clay eventually as well. Here is a first video of the character integrated into the game. Still some visible rigging issues, but it's starting to look pretty good!
I'm happy to announce that I'm working on my first commercial game as Walaber Entertainment! It's still very early days, but development is going along well. The game is basically about doing flips! Flips, flips, flips! Across a variety of settings: trapeze, gymnastics, diving, aerial skiing, etc.
I'm currently working on the core physics system and some of the gameplay features, I don't have any pretty graphics yet. You can follow my progress every week on Twitter where I'm constantly posting short videos and behind-the-scenes stuff.
I don't have a title for the game just yet, nor do I have an expected release date... It'll come out when it's done! If you don't want to miss being notified when it comes out, please sign up for my mailing list! I only mail people when products are released or have major updates.
Here are some videos of the work-in-progress:
The website for walaber.com is finally up and running again after a long hiatus! I'll be adding in a history page soon to showcase the games I've made previously, but more importantly I've started working on a new project the I'm excited to talk about soon. The plan is for it to be the first commercial walaber game release!
more coming soon...