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oh dear, guess that's what happens when I test sprinting zero times. D:

Game released! Post mortem here:

Really neat, does remind me of my experiences of playing barely populated private servers of old MMOS. There is something about a space that is meant to be gathered in being empty that's sorta sad. Makes it even more desolate when realizing it's purely digital, but yeah idk lots to think about playing this.

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Was just delaying the release a bit, should be up now!

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So doing some net mechanics, at first it was a challenge to convey any sort of depth, because well... the net wasn't actually in 3D space but in a seperate viewport, I wanted the avoid the net going into trees but decided to do it the more raw way.

So now it's in 3D space and it's more clear as to why you're missing the target. If you're too close, the net goes past, if you're too far it might not reach. Depth is hard! Maybe I'll force every player to wear 3D glasses...

It's at this point I devised a sort of transparent disc thingy that lights up when it detects the target. I borrowed the idea from Metal Gear Rising.

There definitely needs to be more of a gradient and showing the net path as opposed to the net pole's path. If I was a shader god I'd also make some edge highlights where the disc meets the mesh.

If I'm going to draw inspiration from MGR I might as well go RULES OF NATURE on this.

Did not plan on doing this, but maybe instead of merely walking and swinging you just stand in place while aiming and it goes into slowmo allowing you to angle your net and get an accurate swing. I'm not sure what the significance of being able to vary all your angles would be, but maybe I could account for whether or not the bug is actually going into the net instead of the back or sides, so the angle matters a lot more. There's also the question of control scheme, I forget what MGR's mouse/keyboard controls was for the slicing so I better go check.

It's worth mentioning that with a week of jamming left that I'm basically focusing on just one area and just one minigame (bug catching) so I figured I might as well go all in on this swinging mechanic.

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Been having a dry spell lately, but that's okay because we got an extension!

Modeled a pretty basic tree, trying to get a very low res blurry ps2 bargain bin kind of look. Though idk there's the uncanny badness effect where it might be too primitive to come off as intentionally primitive. I wish I had time to randomly generate the trees for more variety.

Used a terrain editor asset that someone made for Godot. It does the job well but the environment is starting to lose its allure, idk how to describe it. I guess when you start adding boundaries and landmarks it starts to become more of a game and less of an experience. I guess I wanted to make it so you felt like you were in the windows XP wallpaper looking for butterflies to catch, but it's hard to come up with a solution for infinite terrain and all that jazz.

Still trying to learn blender but I'm not like hotkey tuned in. I also dislike 3D modeling on a deadline, it's very time consuming. Good thing this game is first person.

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Haven't been around much to actually work on it lately but tonight I decided to just knock out the main menu

The artist offered to supply the original high res PSD so I  decided to implement it, might go with e-scape or e>scape for the proper title of the game, who knows. Didn't really know how to introduce the title so I went with a pretty basic animation into wipe out.

Decided to make the rotating pictures the actual levels you'll be visiting. It's hard to come up with a y2k aesthetic as far as in game graphic design as it can be either very simple and to the point or highly detailed with a lot going on.  I wanted to keep it generic though like one of those weird CDs that would install some fancy looking bloatware or an abstract MMO login screen.  Most of it came down to scrolling stuff together and creating happy accidents.

Next I'll probably do the actual level select and options, I want to make it so that you can see your completion on each level, so the game isn't linear at all. Maybe Level is too gamey of a word, maybe more like Area? Location? 

First actual dev update, decided to roll out the start menu. Started with a ps2 memory card display look, but idk, wasn't feeling it... it needs some cheesyness, some dreamy tones.

There we go, now that's what I call pod-racing. Basically the images of the test level are going to be the level select, I'll probably add some kind of lerping camera effect to follow one of the spinning objects, might be a challenge however who knows.

Cowberry also brought up some rave music ideas for the night city club part.

Rave idea 7
Rave Idea 9

The sound side is already nailing the vibe though I asked her to also try experimenting with the jungle dnb type stuff since we have so much time to explore things. But that's pretty much it so far.

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So it's a day before the jam I decided to get carried away with setting up the engine stuff of how the game will be rendered and what restrictions I'll be going for. I'll be using Godot for this as usual and will probably go for a simple first person game. However I might make it a play different mini games to collect the stuff sort of thing. We'll see how it goes.

I threw in some 3D primitives and started lowering the resolution to about 640x360 (this is upscaled to 1280x720), so basically 480p converted into a 16:9 ratio. I decided to just go for a Dreamcast/PS2 look, somewhere between there. I had a hard time finding dreamcast specifications but PS2 was more common place for gamedev topics of "how do I make my unity game look ps2" which will surely increase after the current low poly ps1 fad I'm sure. I wanted to go for a very windows 98/XP wallpaper inbetween with vast empty grass plains and sky as sort of the base scene. Maybe I'll have different areas like a tropical sonic adventure type place or a metro rave city night area. I associate those locations a lot with the y2k era for some reason.

Phantasy Star Online is probably peak y2k aesthetics with its optimistic cyberspace lobby mood.

Going back to the PS2, the console has the problem of being just enough to have the bells and whistles of modern 3D capability yet lofi enough to gain the "this looks it came from the ps2 era" graphics insult shorthand. Aside from the lack of power compared to current consoles, it's only really missing normal maps, pixel shader capability and real-time lighting solutions. It has very compressed textures compared to the dreamcast but a stronger cpu for things like polygons. What's surprising about the dreamcast is looking at how big the source textures are, though it still had to compress it down during realtime. Dreamcast won out in terms of fidelity but PS2 still had decent enough horsepower to go for open world games or display high polycounts like the environments in rachet and clank. Though from a lay person perspective I think it's just hard to recognize the PS2 look and just assuming a game could be a low budget indie game. The resolution and the overly compressed textures (sometimes bumped down to even 64x64) are the only major tell, but it might still be mistaken for a groddy underpolished asset flip 3D game. At the same time I still want to go for the launch ps2 era, right when developers were still grappling with the console's power.

Though ultimately I think I want the game to make you feel like you're trapped in the start up boot sequence of a y2k console. Like if the Dreamcast start up noise just kept going and you were in this vast bright white void. The PS2 start up sounds were a bit harrowing and kinda horrific but still had this sinking aquatic feeling. My composer friend Cowberry (who I worked with in the last cover jam) came up with a bunch of 20 second sound ideas with how the game should sound like:

Idea 9
Idea 2

Feel like Y2K aesthetics was where digital sound was getting to the point where it was starting to shed the cheesy MIDI sound in favor of something that made you feel like you were being transported somewhere. Very holistic and bright I guess. While there will probably be diegetic rave drumloop tracks I'd like to explore the slow aquatic ambient type of sound. Speaking of aquatic:

I threw in a pretty basic water shader that uses noise for a scrolling normal map and a bit of a fresnel highlight that responds to the light direction. Looking into it the PS2 wasn't exactly capable of those technicalities. It had rudimentary shader magic enough to distort and create interesting ripples. But I think gamecube/xbox era is where the fancier possibilities came into play. However this does look enough to match that liquidy cgi aesthetic that y2k commercials and music videos have so I'm going to prioritize that look above all else aka I'm too lazy to make my shader code period accurate to what the PS2 could actually do. As long as it feels primitive enough for the layperson hyped on nostalgia, it's probably ok.

That's it for today, next update I'll start working on maybbeeee the menu/ui/graphic design. Who knows.

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Got the cover artist's go ahead to do a game based on the inspiration so thought I'd start a devlog on my thought process even though there's still 2 days til the jam starts.

What drew me to the cover was actually the font, and how it elicits a y2k vibe. Which the artist is also very much into. I feel like Y2K isn't as approached as much as say vapourwave or 1980s neon aesthetic that's all the rage these days. What is y2k? To sum it up it's a pop culture aesthetic (prominent in commercials/music videos) that displayed what I'd describe as blobby futiristic optimism. It ironically doesn't really start in the 2000s but rather in anticipation in the 2000s. It was somewhat short lived due to the 9/11 and iraq war which lead to a lot more negative outlook with grunge and skateboard punk aesthetics taking over. Obama era might have lifted it up with the rise of minimalism and smartphones, but there's something a bit more hollow about it. I'd characterize the y2k mindset as a bit more naïve yet genuine.

As for the actual game idea I'd like to explore the eco-friendly utopian aspects of y2k. Even the the source image of the utopian meme likely owes a lot to the iconic gooey blobitecture. I was also looking at a video about the alternatives to extremely car reliant suburbs and the discourse surrounding that. I'm probably going to start out making a first person walking simulator, or rather an architect's proof of concept of what an ideal living space would look like as the context. Then add some sort of collectibles or activities to do, but overall very chill.  Boku no Natsuyasumi is the obvious goto scenic inspiration, but it's a little harder to pull off than throwing in a first person controller.

I'd like to go as wild as possible and basically use any source material I can find, there's a lot of unique designs to use. The biggest issue, and the reason why y2k probably isn't as prevalent is that the designs are very complex with its organic shapes. The UI will probably be the most fun and simple parts of the game, something akin to Wipeout or Ace Combat 3, things like architecture and furniture will be hardest to manage. Also shaders will require lots of reflective chrome and transparency. Low poly is something to fall back on, and maybe I could go for a retro throw back chatroom or something to even out the workload, But I mostly associate Y2K with the CGI and less realtime. I might resort to prerender tricks to take advantage of 3D software as opposed to wrangling with in-engine stuff. Who knows.

So yeah that's where I'm at. I'll probably post more progress when the jam actually starts.

switch port when

Final video on the process, I moved on and decided to just wrap it up basically.

Yeah the ending was a weird coincidence! Though I suppose not considering A. Kyle Bosman humor or just us being fans of MGS in general and B. How easy it is to implement a voice/text only scene right after the credits.  I leaned more on B The idea came to me very suddenly after I wrapped up credits and realized it was pretty trivial to do, and fun to add more lore. Though what's interesting is that both had to do with Cobra, very corporate conspiracy very fitting for metal gear.

This is my most edited most scripted behind the scenes thing yet, hopefully I don't talk too fast. Idk if anyone will make sense of this because I'm trying to condense about 10 hours of raw gamedev footage into 30 mins.

Wow that is some amazing printing. Where's the kickstarter

uploaded a new build, this might be the final one unless I feel like adding onto it. After Kyle's stream of it I'll probably focus on the post mortem / dev log.

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The post-jam event is not over yet as voting is still underway and Kyle hasn't gotten to the rest of the entries. But I'm curious as to how everyone liked the jam event so far. I'm not making this on Kyle's behalf but might be helpful to organize people's thoughts. Any opinions on the rules/structure or how things generally went? 

My thoughts:

I love the "prompt" usually game jams have a one word theme as a guideline but I like it when there are coherent things to follow yet a lot can still be done with them.  I regret not doing a game about Mint now that I've seen so many entries of her done. I also feel bad about Waffle not getting a game (maybe a way to track that sort of stuff next time?). In general I am very entertained by this loose video game universe we created as if a franchise was constantly being rebooted and spinoff'd to the point of inconsistent lore, yet also being consistent in other aspects.

Some things I think might have got people is the clarification on the deadline, what does the deadline entail, how serious of a jam is this that 1.0 is the only thing that gets in.  Personally I think having a strict upload deadline and a soft send your 1.1 to kyle deadline works for me. Yet I didn't really know the specifics of that until the stream. 

Also worth mentioning is rules on what is allowed regarding resources, I think music that can be picked up by Twitch was brought up as a nono but many jams usually have stipulations on whether or not presets are allowed (which is a thorny topic because pretty much all of us use presets or a game engine that might as well be classified as a preset so it's really hard to define). 

For me personally I learned a lot from the jam, or rather, I got used to a lot of things in the jam. It's my 3rd Godot game and my first time making an RPG that wasn't rpgmaker. RPGs are no joke and have a lot of subsystems and menus for each of those systems within systems. I think the 1 month length is doable to make an RPG happen, but it takes a bit of practice. The most IRL exp I got out of it was just churning out a bunch of cutscenes, this is the most story I've ever done for a game jam entry due to the nature of the event and naturally I had no time to tune the gameplay, but it was worth it because lore contribution is fun.

Loved the depiction of Haver, really cool concept, this is probably the most fleshed out gameplay of the bunch. Reminds me of the Deception series but with more RPG elements.

Loved the writing for this, to me this is canon mint.

Love the art and the character designs. Really solid stuff.

do you remember the error message you got at all?

Was pretty neat, I actually cared about bulgy muscles. I don't know if I ever mastered the special move though, does it fly farther if you punch a telekinetic object and let go? Only confusing part.

Fun little romp, had to cheat. I do think the level design suffers from "utilize the maximum distance of whatever mechanic you just got" syndrome instead of letting the player explore or feel out the movement. I traded hits with the last boss because I didn't really want to learn the patterns due to that. 

I could not find DSD.

There MIGHT be a soft lock if you attack an already dead enemy in a very short time frame after it dies (I don't know why, it randomizes targets if someone's target dies). Hit spacebar if this happens, it'll reset the battle.

submitted!! I have so much development footage to edit, and probably a post mortem

Looking forward to it, I'm also making a Haver RPG so be cool to see a take on the same initial prompt.

Haven't updated in awhile, but I basically put editing together footage on hold til after the jam as I'm in crunch mode for the next 2 days.

Love the progress done on this, looks neat to explore islands via gliding. Can foresee a lot of potential to jumping off the tip of your ship and using the verticality to make last ditch effort landings.

Still making my battle dev log, been taking awhile to edit as I want it to be good, but here's an article I just wrote about RPG damage numbers, as I've been thinking about how to implement them:

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and anotha one, this time doing the world map and level transitions

part 4, my favorite part is initial level creation, blocking out the space

Will probably message you once I have the story written and punched up for the game.

Third part with actual game dev footage if you can believe it, as it turns out I'm not an idea guy.

Second Part of the dev diary, mostly me rambling and thinking out loud about the story. Later diary entries will probably be more edited and speed work processy.

Figured I'd snapshot my thoughts before and during my solo project. I'll likely update in this thread periodically. I'll be picking "Haver" as my protag and going with the RPG genre. More details in the video... not used to even doing videos but thought I'd do something different.

are you on a Mac by chance? release!

So the game has... an ending. You get to the end of the train ride and bam, a really abrupt thanks for playing thing.

It's very hastily put together but sometimes getting the point where the game prints "the end" is enough to feel like the game is rounded out. Problem is now is that there's a bit of a gap between the morning/day part of the sequence content wise. Sunset and night sections are done though. There isn't really much to the content aside from very limited NPC interactions, but again the point is to give the player something to do occasionally. Also want to add more reasons to look out the window so there's something to look forward to.

This is probably my last major blog post before release as I'm going to spend the rest of today just adding what I can, then release it. Might make a post mortem at some point to talk about what I learned and what the process was like in hindsight.

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Doodled up some animal characters. I never like... draw animal characters or draw like ever. But here are some attempts. Loopy horns are very hard to draw. I'm leaning on the wombat and the sleepy alpaca.

It was a pain having to animate the rhino walking in tbh so most of these characters just might be on the side lines. I wanted to have a ghost appear at night and do some tricky things. I realized though that in this universe the ghost would likely be an animal, Cowberry suggested I make it a goat, a goast, if you will.

Quick animation tip if you want a ghostly tail just line up some artsy waves and have them move towards a single point, then draw over it. 

It's not perfect, but I need to get it over with.

I've mostly been doing all the cutscenes in code, but now I just want to use the animation player to do almost everything.

Since the ghost is supernatural I don't have to worry about pesky train physics and assume they're always moving with the train (that means I can cheaply have them placed at the beginning of the game instead of spawning them in). The idea is at night you see a coin float in as the doors open, then after following it you realize it's a ghost carrying it as it appears. I have no idea where the player will be in the train, so it make sense to have the coin travel across it. Might even be surprising.

Then the ghost flies in lower occasionally to let you pick up the coin, but if you're not quick enough then too bad! Idk the coin collecting has become the entire game as this point but I don't really have anything in mind for if you 100% it. It's just something to do as you hang out on the train, but I hope this sort of stuff doesn't make the player too busy (or angry).