Now that we’ve entered the ‘post-alpha’ stage of our IGF build, we’ve started to shift gears to include more ‘juice’ in the game – namely visual effects, sound, and payoff.
This is due, in large part, to the analysis of the feedback we received from last week’s feedback.
By ‘juice‘ I mean beautiful user feedback:
A juicy game element will bounce and wiggle and squirt and make a little noise when you touch it. A juicy game feels alive and responds to everything you do — tons of cascading action and response for minimal user input. It makes the player feel powerful and in control of the world, and it coaches them through the rules of the game by constantly letting them know on a per-interaction basis how they are doing.
(via Emily Short)
See a deeper explanation and examples in this awesome presentation by Martin Jonasson and Petri Purho on Juice (then hit the jump for some examples in our projects)
Here are the 5 areas of our project we’ve smothered with deliciously juicy effects:
Matinee is Unreal Engine’s module for animating cameras and objects in the world. As you can see in the initial test embedded below, it’s a very powerful system. I’ve loved working with matinee and plan on doing a lot more of it in the future. It really allows developers complete control. Even though it’s a little wonky to set up, it hearkens back to my love of video production and photography. I can see myself spending a lot of time setting up awesome shots and showing off the amazing stuff our artists are creating.
Though I will never claim to be an artist, I do have a special love for particle effects. I’ve mentioned that in previous posts, and I don’t think that love will ever quite leave.
One of the areas where we need the most juice is on the ground, considering our player is prompted to look at the ground for most of the time playing the game. With the help of some faculty and artist input, I was able to work with Siddharth on getting an initial pass of our ‘popping arrow’ animation.
The reason this was difficult is my lack of experience with the material editor. Through some great tinkering and tutorials, we were able to take a small mesh provided by Rachel, plug it into the particle editor. As of right now, it’s a component of our fast tile blueprint, but that will probably change in order to get the correct rotation. Here’s where we ended up:
The other fun part of this was figuring out how to get it to coincide with our blueprints just right. The particle system still isn’t quite right, but it’s a solid start!
This one is a big deal and will greatly affect the entirety of our visual feel. Joe and Siddharth worked tirelessly on the first pass of our main shader. It’s a beast of a system, and one I hope to share on in more detail as we get closer to the final product. For now, here’s a first look at the feel you’ll get when looking at in-game geometry with the shader applied:
4. Ability effects
One of the biggest areas of interest in our project is with using hints and visual feedback as part of the mechanic (at one point, it formed our entire thesis statement). So this is very much an area of importance for us, and one we’ll be tuning until the project is over. Using UE4’s empire state building sized (really, Epic?) post processing node in blueprint, we’re able to achieve a pixelation effect.
This one is a definite WIP, and hot off the press for this post. Antonio has been working on the tuning with this and you’ll soon see a polished version in the project.
5. The Character
Ok, so this one isn’t quite in a spot where I can share public images with you. But fear not! Cory has put out some awesome posters for our big branding/naming push. You can see the first one here:
In the next 2 and 3 weeks we’ll be pumping out insane amounts of content and work. Follow us on the road to GDC!