Dinosaursssssss

[Dev Log] SHADOW of SOMETHING

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Alright, I've now played Glitch Simulator. I'm happy to report that Shadow of Something (kinda runnin out of time to come up with a better name...) is a better game than Glitch Simulator. GS is arguably a little more feature rich in that it has a menu and settings so I have a little more to do.

 

I actually might keep the name, unless I'm really inspired. Part of me would feel bad releasing for real with a Thumbs ep title, but I think it's kind of perfect? The format calls back to  STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl, and it is but a shadow of the greatness of that game. The light stupidity of the 'of Something' also serves the sorta half-assedness of the game as well.

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Alright, game's submitted to the jam page!

 

https://dinosaursssssss.itch.io/shadow-of-something

 

Came out alright. I'll need to make a quick video and screens before it goes up on Steam so that'll probably happen tomorrow.

 

For now I'll say that I think the stuff I bought laid down a pretty good foundation. As expected the rigging/animation working right took the most time; the Tactical AI plugin was a very solid first 90%, but getting the last 10% of the way was going to be a serious undertaking. The FPS plugin likewise had some great features that got me a long way, but I can't help feeling like what I paid for is a bunch of really minor stuff that doesn't contribute, and often interferes, with making interesting games.

 

What I think I mean by that is there were a ton of great features in UFPS...weapon sway, recoil, inventory systems, muzzle flashes, etc, but if I had specific needs that didn't quite fit, implementation took longer because I was working in a codebase I only have a loose understanding of. And as a result it just didn't make sense to work on those features, but even though some of them were minor (bullet drop, leaning) I feel like it just drags the identity of the game closer to Average. And getting nice procedural weapon animations (they really are pretty good) probably isn't worth the trade off? Admittedly with more time I probably could have gotten that stuff in, and I have no idea how much I could have got done without these tools in a couple weeks, but it feels like I had to make some serious compromises.

 

Anyway, when I started fiddling with the faction system and having AIs that patrolled areas, and actually started building the simulation the game really became interesting to me. I'd sort of like the scrap this and really rebuild the game around some of those systems. Gonna be pretty busy up through the spring, but post-GDC I'd like to come back to this and flesh out the simulation.

 

Also the weather and environment plugins were rad and I'm gonna definitely use them again (Envirosky and Gaia)

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I enjoyed reading your thoughts on the plug-ins.

 

I wonder if the problem with extensibility is a problem you with the specific plug-ins, or a problem with all plug-ins. You said you were unfamiliar with the code base, which would be true of all plug-ins. That said, does the code make it easy to get familiar with? Is it commented? 

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Extending asset store plugins has been a problem for me pretty consistently...I think it's worthwhile to get a working version of something in relatively cheaply, but for any core system like 'the shooting' or 'all the AI' I feel like you're basically guaranteed to come across situations where your design will be at odds with SOME portion of the plugin? Professionally I've also run into a ton of situations where plugins were clearly never intended for use in a large scale game, and have either performance or source control issues (or both).

 

In terms of ease of use / commenting, the plugins I used for this were well made and had pretty solid docs. I only really dug into the AI and UFPS and both were commented, not amazingly, but...enough (with maybe the exception of the inventory stuff in UFPS). Not perfect, and Tactical AI in particular I think assumed you would spend the time poking through their samples to set things up rather than just reading the quickstart. Also for all the difficulty it gave me, setting up blend trees and AI that works at all on arbitrary characters like it does is pretty impressive.

 

Now that I'm really thinking about it, the worst were the 3D assets...no LODs, blank Animator components left on prefabs, high poly physics colliders. One had a sample scene with a bunch of walls without back faces, so you'd bump into invisible walls all the time. That one (it's the brick warehousey stuff) also had buildings built to a weird scale, so a large warehouse was about 3m tall. Another didn't have a single prefab, just a folder of fbx's. And I don't think either of those had any metallic maps or atlassing. If I was going to continue working on this I would probably delete the cityscape, set all the prefabs up properly, and start over because it's a disaster right now.

 

Alright anyway I'm gonna quit blabbin and go cut a trailer and put this thing on Steam.

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alright actually turns out they wisely don't let you instantly put a game up for sale, so I have to wrap up making assets and wait two weeks. I forgot how much of a pain in the ass this is, I don't have all the promo images and stuff I need. So, one more day...

 

I DID cut this surprisingly passable trailer though. And yes I know it's cropped weird, my OBS settings were not ideal and I'm definitely not gonna spend the time to redo it.

 

 

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The lens flare title reveal is the piece de resistance.

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Did you like how the guitar amped up a bit right then too?? Definitely intentional and not just a great coincidence (though it probably cuts a couple seconds too early)

 

Anyway another product review from me is that Windows Movie Maker is garbage. I don't get why they never bothered making something to compete with Garage Band or (in any serious capacity) iMovie. Really feels like a pretty easy win to me, especially since with the Surfaces they've been going after a more artsy folk. Shrug.

 

edit: it was incredibly boring and I hated it but I got all my various store page images cropped and stuff. Couple days for Steam to review it, 2 weeks on the store listed as 'Coming Soon' and it'll be out. Here's some of the fun that awaits you if you wanna upload a game to Steam:

Generating store images at the following completely insane resolutions:

460 x 215

231 x 87

467 x 181

616 x 353

Generating community page images at the following resolutions:

444 x 208

184 x 69

Generating a 32x32 .ICO icon file.

 

Uploading your game via the SteamPipe Build Uploader. This app, which looks like it was made in WinForms 15 years ago, is the easiest, sleekest way of uploading your game to what is currently the biggest storefront in games, made by a company that makes more money than every user on this forum combined: 

image.thumb.png.73895a113e2effd46cece27affc2cf0e.png

 

 

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Yup, this is fascinating stuff!

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You need to put a trigger warning at the top of this post. I hated doing the steam stuff. If you really want some fun with image sizes, add trading cards!

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6 hours ago, Spenny said:

You need to put a trigger warning at the top of this post. I hated doing the steam stuff. If you really want some fun with image sizes, add trading cards!

 

You mean there are no Shadow of Something trading cards? How am I going to earn those sweet, sweet rubles?

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This turned out great :) I bet when you redo it from scratch it'll have the potential to be a Good Game, that faction system sounds interesting, and the level design was solid despite the dumb prefabs.

 

In terms of plugins, I might try Envirosky based on your recommendation. I use a variety of assets to cobble that look together but I've been eyeing this all-in-one one for a while. I briefly considered using UFPS for my own game too, but maybe also some of the resistance you encountered with it comes from the fact that it's getting to be quite old. 1.7 was an update after they got aquired by Opsive, and they've been promising 2.0 for a year or so, so some of that stuff down in the code jungle must be a little outdated by now.

 

Good luck with Steam!

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Actually for real, I strongly discourage all of you from buying / wishlisting / playing this game on steam, or telling anyone about it.

 

Also the store page initially failed review because "there are screenshots which contain non-gameplay overlays."

This is half true; I had a screenshot of the main menu, but I turned all the UI elements off except the logo. For reference, this is the screenshot.

 

2018-01-02-T-22-44-15.thumb.png.e05e67c6b85a3f89743f1027a84f5cf2.png

 

A quick look at the store page shows a promo image with some obviously badly scaled assets, and a low resolution trailer that isn't cropped correctly. And yet, this screenshot is why it fails.

 

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If I ever have to upload anything to steam myself, I will happily pay another person to do all of it, then explain it to me in a months-long course and then do it again for the next project, because this process is so infuriating.

 

Other than that, I played your game! At first I found it weird that I apparently didn't shoot anywhere near where the crosshair was pointing, but somehow I also never died, even if 2 people simultaneously shot me at close range, so that made up for the aiming thing. And then I saw that I had a shotgun, and the other people didn't shoot me anymore, because they were dead. 

I can only recommend this game! :tup:

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Your starting location location being on a ridiculously steep slope gives this game a quirky feeling. Depending on what you are looking for, you could even lean into that more. I found the shooting a bit weird as well but luckily I had like 1000% of health (take that Wolfenstein!) so it didn't matter.

 

I found a glowing anomaly that looked great. Does it do something?

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Thanks all for playing! One quick thing I wanna note is that enemies should respawn every 2 hours of in-game time; you can open the log with...F3 I think to see what the simulation is doing. It'll show when a tick happens, and enemies go on patrol, respawn, etc. 

 

I also want to reiterate that no one should play this game.

 

Anyway, I tried to hook up a damage zone to the anomalies so they'd damage you if you were standing in them; my goal was to get something closer to STALKER, where you'd have a geiger counter type device that beeped as you got close to them, and could be activated to dispel the anomalies, but I ran out of time. Also I don't think I tested if the damage volume was working so they may do nothing. I also put an (also untested) healing zone near the guitar lady. Those both went in super last minute, and I ended up just giving you a ton of health because at the time I thought I wouldn't have time to get in any way to heal.

 

Shooting is a bit weird because I'm sort of mashing two things together...UFPS fires raycasts from the camera center forward, and Tactical AI has bullets with physics and visible tracers that fire from the gun muzzles. I believe where I ended up was I have both happening for the players (enemies all just use the latter system) because all the guns I had in the plugin were set up as raycast only, but I wanted tracers visible. The physics based bullets had inconsistent hit detection, and the raycast ones were just wildly inaccurate at range, so as a result you're firing tracers that aren't going where you're actually shooting, and the actual shots you're taking are really inaccurate, so basically all the feedback is useless and it just feels awful.

 

UFPS also didn't (I don't think) support what I think of as the typical firing model, where crouching/standing still makes bullets more accurate, and the longer you fire, the less accurate they are. The accuracy seemed to be consistently bad and didn't reward taking the time to line up shots. If/when I come back to this, I'm just going to remove the raycast based stuff, use exclusively bullets with rigidbodies, and probably rewrite the recoil/accuracy model.

 

 

 

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I know some of you wishlisted this game, so I want to be very clear:

 

IT IS A BAD VIDEO GAME

 

DO NOT BUY THIS GAME UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES

 

 

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25 minutes ago, Dinosaursssssss said:

Elvaq has pointed out that someone (presumably a non-Thumb) found this game on Steam and wrote a nice comment about it on the forums.

 

http://steamcommunity.com/app/779150/discussions/0/1620600279667227280/

 

It's perfect; I could not have asked for a better first post about this game. It was all worth it to experience this.

The pinnacle of critique from 'Red Pill Addict'

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