Past 4 weeks I added a lot of content to Find the Gnome. In this post I will take you through the things I added and the learnings I had.
And of course, a happy new year to you all folks out there! (Or ’in’ there, if we are literal and take in account the COVID measures lol)
Its not actually a ’video’, this is a GIF. A GIF of the improved catch mechanic. And here you see the new gnome model in use.
The bird is called ’Floris’ by the way.
So yeah, I spend a lot of time getting the bird animation right.
Mac7ua, the character modeller and animator, worked on the bird for some time. He created the lovely character ’Floris’ from the sketches provider by Meinder. And then set forth on animating the bird.
The most difficult part was to get the catch working. He did spend a lot of hours on trying to come up with a solution on animating the catch of the gnome. For example: he tried to animate the claws going forward in the descend, grappling the gnome at the shoulders, and then getting back up into the air. It was very hard to get this right. In the end I was like ’well just hand it over to me, it looks OK enough’.
I ended up removing the part of the catch. And focusing more on an interesting looking flight pattern. So your attention is drawn away from the actual catch. I even simplified it to the point its just an ’attach gnome to claw point and turn the gnome 90 degrees in an instant’. Its hard to spot on the GIF. But in-game it is even less apparent because your attention is on the other gnomes and not the drone.
Another thing worth mentioning is that I integrate all assets myself. I came to this conclusion after working together for a short time with Goran. I had even setup am Azure DevOps account for him. But it was waaay to much to handle for him, to fit into my way of working. So from then on I decided it was much more easy for me to integrate stuff and control the coding quality and project progress management. At least for now.
Another model by Mac7ua is the ’crazy gnome’ you have to catch. Meinder provided sketches for them:
You can also see the bird ’Floris’ here. And some other, very interesting looking drone models… But that is something for later.
Its hard to spot in the actual level, so here is an animated GIF of the crazy gnome model:
Lovely fellows, aren’t they? Its really fun watching them running around, catching them, and returning them home again to join their fellow gnomes.
On the images I show here on this blog of my game: on one hand I want to keep my game secret, so there is something novel to explore if you buy my game. But on the other hand, I want to write blogs about the development process and give my fellow artists a way to show off their work for me in their own portfolio’s.
That’s a trade-off I have to decide on myself. I am more the ’just show what you have got’ type of guy, so thats why a lot of stuff is already known about FtG 2.
About portfolio’s of the other artists: You might want to check out Meinder his website on https://meinder.nl/. He is giving it a total overhaul. While writing this blog it was still under construction, but I know he has some interesting stuff going on. (By the way, Meinder is the cartoonist and concept artist for FtG 2)
Back to my work on Find the Gnome 2 (in short, FtG 2). The map scene.
A part of the game that was a long time in construction is the overworld / map scene. It has seen a few iterations, but I still wasn’t sure on how I wanted it to work and look like. I knew I wanted it to portray the journey the gnomes have taken, it has to be integrated well into the game world, and I wanted it to be the hub from where you can replay previous levels and cartoons.
These are ways the map scene has looked like before:
And this is how it looks today (animated GIF):
So this map scene takes place in the inner hull of the hot air balloon, the same one the gnomes use to go onto their journey. The levels are plotted onto the map. And I want this room to include things you collect during your play-through, to add even more immersion.
Still a lot of work is needed, but i really like the direction this is going.
By the way, inspiration for this scene is from the Assassins Creed games. There are a few titles of this game in witch you command a ship and have a captain cabin in them to do stuff and direct people around.
And a shout out to Mac7ua for his work on all the models you see in view here. I gave him a few directions, but he nailed the execution. And even gave me some more very interesting idea’s, but those are for a later moment in dev time. I will get back to work on the map scene, but for this moment in the dev process its good enough.
COVID, holidays and delays
So, with all this work done on the game. Is there something that didn’t go as planned? Yes, a lot of stuff actually.
My wife and daughter got COVID during the holidays. And my son and I weren’t completely healthy either. So we dialed down the amount of festivities and rested a lot. I had hoped to make some progress on FtG 2 between the festivities, but with my wife out of action I had to step in a few times to keep it fun for everyone.
Also the kids are at home because we are in a total lockdown. The goverment had also mandated an additional week off for the kids before the official holidays. So it was already a bit harder and less efficient working from home. Add the health issues on top of this, and I had enough circumstances to not put out as much work as I wanted to. This total lockdown also limited the amount of stress relieve I and my family could have, so that was another reason I just started to work less to be able to keep my mind sane.
And, as a cherry on top of the pudding, I hadn’t thought about my artists taking some days off too. And that for my plan to work, I needed the assets to be completed beforehand. The plan I presented 4 weeks ago in my blog wasn’t counting in that a lot of my work comes from others having to work at it first. So yeah, my asset pipeline has a planning issue currently…
So combine the short term pandemic related issues with the short to medium term asset pipeline issues, and I think I have to rework my planning. AGAIN.
But looking at the bright side, this plan made me make more progress in 2 months than I had made in a whole year. So I definitely work more efficient if I have a plan.
The downside is that I am not going to launch the full game in Februari. Maybe the demo will be available by then. But the full game will probably be available in late April.