After taking a break for a few days, this week’s been witness to hardcore development! The first couple of days were spent on restructuring the game and creating most of the systems that will allow players to move freely between locations using the main market street as a “hub” between investigations. This mostly meant creating a lot of variables to keep in check if a player has completed a certain investigation, and how the world state of the hub/ market street should react to that (stop the player from re-doing the same investigation, open up a new scene, change time/ weather etc)
Of course, there’s not much to show when it comes to that. But other than that, the next few days have been a bit more visually appealing, so here’s some screenshots!
The first is a concept art that I made in a couple of minutes while listening to some shoegaze :) The song in question is “Finland” by Vet Trip. Give it a listen, it’s as beautiful, shimmering and dreamy as you’d imagine.
I also spent some time creating lightning effects for the church interiors (the quality of the gif isn’t the greatest, but it looks fine in-game!)
See you next time!
This week, I'm taking a break from development in order to sort out the admin side of things. There isn't much to show this week, so I thought would be great to turn around and look back at how far we've come. The perspective gained by this should also help plan ahead for the final months.
To start with, here's some concept art created between October-December 2016:
It's also worth discussing the phases of development over the past year or so:
October - December 2016: Planning development, creating the idea, story and concept for the game
January - May 2017: Creating gameplay prototypes, learning how to work with Unity, fleshing out the story and creating foundations
May - December 2017: "Development" begins - The game consists of about 60 "scenes", 12 scenes were created and polished for the demo that was released in January 2018. A huge number of graphical assets (trees, vegetation, characters, skies, furniture, vehicles, coffee mugs, random clutter etc) were also created during this time, reducing development time for the upcoming months. Many other things, like particle effects animations etc also had to be created from the ground up, and can be reused throughout the game.
January - February 2018 : Demo release! A major highlight during the development that gave me a lot of valuable feedback, proved the viability of the game idea, connected me to an interested audience and gave me a LOT of encouragement. This month was spent on making improvements to the demo and fixing bugs according to player feedback.
February - March 2018: Next 13 "scenes" completed. It's interesting to note that the first 12 scenes took about 6 months to finish, and the next 13 took only about a month. This is, as mentioned before, because a huge number of assets were already created in the previous months. I also gained experience and became much quicker with the engine. With these two chunks of 12 and 13 scenes done, there were 35 scenes more of the total 60 to go - 40% of the way there in terms of "making the game" at least!
March - April 2018: Staying solidly on track and not falling behind schedule, chunk no. 3 is finished. 36 scenes done, 24 to go. Crossed the halfway mark and made it to 60%!
Future plans and schedule-
April - May 2018: Finish chunk number 4 (48 out of 60 scenes) to make it 80% of the scenes.
May - June 2018: Finish the final chunk and have the complete game ready and playable in terms of all content!
June, July, August 2018: Polish the game, add localisations, bug test, bug test, bug test. Make the game cooler in all areas, add some pending features and prepare for release.
End August 2018 - early September - hopefully: Release! This is the ideal scenario, but of course there could be delays. Fortunately, development is completely on track as of now and hopefully that continues!
It's crazy to realize that more than 15 months have gone by, and if things go according to plan, there are only 5 more months of development to go. It's been a lot of fun.
What's also crazy (And fun) is to look back on all the improvements that were made to some of the art for the game. For instance, here's how the first level (crime scene exterior) of the game looked before:
And here's the new one, which was seen in the demo:
The detective's coat also received an update:
Here's another one. First feeble, terrible attempts at creating the crime scene interior level, before I'd found the groove and discovered the art style for the game:
And a few months later:
A few months can make a big difference!
See you next time? :)
As the name suggests, weather plays a major role in creating the atmosphere for Rainswept. It's usually raining in Pineview (obviously) but there are times when the sun manages to break through and bathe the hills and valleys in a magical orange glow. Not only is it pretty to look at, but the contrast between the weather conditions makes the player more aware of when it does rain. Here's a comparison between an overcast day and a clear evening, during sunset:
You'd be surprised to learn how easily this effect is achieved! It basically just consists of putting a blue gradient over the scene, and setting its blend mode to "divide" - which is a built in feature in photoshop but requires a custom shader in Unity to implement (or an asset that does it for you - I use "Blend Mode Shader 2D") I'm not sure if this is pretty much how lighting effects have always been done for 2D games, but it's been exciting working this out on my own!
A similar method is used for creating the interior lighting affected by the stained glass in the church as seen here:
There are multiple layers at work here, but the main red and blue effect is created by using the following gradients (Red set to "Linear Dodge" and blue set to "Pin Light" blend modes)
Pretty simple, yet effective, right? This method is used across the whole game to create a whole variety of effects, including the glare from the sun. Just a circular gradient can be used instead of creating dynamic light effects for a 2D game. It's a huge time saver, but looks pretty decent too!
In this scene, multiple layers of lighting have been stacked (and given parallax) to create the glare from an early morning sun shining through the windows.
If we separate the layers out, this is what is seen:
To show in greater detail how the layers are stacked on top of each other (and what blend modes have been used for each of them) you can take a look at this image:
Using this method successfully comes down to trial and error, and a lot of experimentation. Multiple combinations of base color for the gradient, combined with one of the many (25 total) blend modes end up creating scenes and effects that I didn't even have in mind before starting out. It's a really exciting process, and I can't wait to see the different ways it'll continue to affect the visual style of Rainswept!
See you next week :)
There’s been a lot of progress made in recent days on the visual polish front, one of them being adding some life to one of the character’s hair!
The animation for Rainswept is being done using Anima2D - a skeletal animation plugin for Unity - and the hair has been animated through the use of spring bones. The same technique will be used for things like the Detective’s tie/ clothing and other characters’ hair as well. Should be fun!
I’ve also been working on creating multiple weather/ lighting conditions for each scene, which I’ll talk about next week.
One of the other things that received an improvement last week was the motel room that Detective Anderson lives in during his stay in Pineview. With the results of the experiments I talked about in the previous devlog, I was able to make this room look nicer as well.
Here is the old version:
And this is the improved version:
Also, I created the morning scene for the motel:
I’m particularly happy with how the sun, the glare and the sky turned out! I still need to do some more work to differentiate between the day and night lighting within the room, which I shall get to later.
This week there's been a bunch of work done in terms of more dialogue and story related stuff for the new scenes. At this moment, almost half the total amount of scenes have been created and scripted! The momentum is good, and development is on track.
It's hard to talk a lot about all those things without spoiling the story, but luckily there's a bit of good art stuff to share this week as well. I've been trying to make improvements to the art, and have been experimenting with adding gradients and patterns to the walls for the interior scenes. Here's an example. I'm especially happy with how the frosty window and the rainy scene outside it turned out, it gives a really cozy feeling to the interiors - especially with the lamp, pizzas and coffees!
I also attempted to improve the character art for the game, with mixed results. Inspired by the character art style in Broken Age, I tried creating more detailed faces for the characters. Through polls on instagram and twitter, I realized that majority prefer the original character art style. What do you think? (New style is on the left, old on the right)
See you next week!
Apologies for about 20 days of silence (jeez, time flies!) but I'd been travelling due to family commitments over the past week and a half. I did manage to get some work done though, and here's a bit of what's been going on:
Dialogues, a couple of puzzles and design for about 10 new scenes have been worked on, some based in new locations, and some in the older locations that were seen in the demo. Here's a shot of one of the new ones - the Police Station exterior
A couple of characters have been improved, including Jack the mechanic, and also a version of Abigail.
Without giving too much away, here's the concept art and the (almost) finished artwork for a kitchen scene. I still need to add in the characters! I really enjoyed creating the mood and feeling in this scene - something cozy, nostalgic and homely. Hopefully it comes across in the finished work!
Also, here's the brand new 24" screen I mentioned in the title - I really like it! It's pretty great to have Unity, photoshop and/ or Word all open at the same time! It's also pretty nice to see Rainswept run on a bigger screen.
That's it for the highlights of this (or maybe the past couple of) week! See you next time!
Say hello to a new character: Doctor Martinez! He's in charge of performing the autopsies on Chris and Diane. Everyone knows him as a kind and caring citizen of Pineview, and he's always ready to lend an ear to those going through tough times. We know a few people that'd be happy to meet him, right? :)
Along with the Doctor, work was done on the autopsy room level as well. But after visiting dreary, lifeless and cold rooms such as these, you need to visit a place that's warm, cozy and full of life. And there's no place better for all of that than Mark's cafe!
The previous week was spent creating a warm, early morning atmosphere for the cafe. This week, some time was spent focusing on the details in the cafe, and seeing how it works with a rainy mood. Turns out, it's still pretty cozy! :) Here's a gif showing some of the details inside and outside the shop. The rising steam specifically helps, don't you think?
See you next week!
The past couple of weeks since the release of the demo have been quite busy, as they've mainly been spent responding to player feedback and working on releasing an updated version that dealt with most of the major bugs in the first release.
After many months of creating the foundation and preparing the demo, it's a pretty good feeling to cross that milestone and to finally start work on completely new content and new levels for the full game! The best part is that a large number of assets have already been created, which means I can focus more on designing levels, and less on creating new assets from scratch.
I've also spent time thinking about and working out two ideas for the full game:
1) A diary/ journal system - Important facts picked up during investigations will be noted down by the Detective in this diary, including his thoughts about suspects, locations, people and a possible timeline of events. There may also be a provision for the player to write their own custom notes so that they can jot down their own observations quickly (and feel like a real detective!)
2) Ability to choose order of locations to be investigated - For each day in the story, the player will be able to choose which location they want to investigate/ suspect they want to interview etc instead of going through the day's events in a linear fashion.
Most of the days this week were spent working on two new levels: Mark's cafe (interiors) (I particularly enjoyed creating the early morning cafe atmosphere!) and the police station's conference room. I'm tempted to share screenshots, but I don't want to give too much away either ;) So here's an old piece of concept art that I stumbled upon; I'd completely forgotten about this one! Thought it was pretty decent so I replaced the old character art with the new ones (still not sure about that text's positioning though, but oh well... "WIP") It'd work pretty well as a cover for the OST, don't you think?
See you next week!
So for the past 10 days, as promised, I've been working on fixing and improving the demo based on your feedback. I've also released a Mac OS build for the demo. Here are some of the changes in this new build:
Hope you enjoy the demo! Keep an eye out for weekly updates, and don't forget to wishlist the game on Steam!
Hi, I'm Armaan, the creator of Rainswept. On this blog, I post weekly updates about the game's development (or as often as possible!)