nkornek

[(Somewhat) Released] Build the Nublar Evolved

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UPDATE!

Though the actual game is still far from finished you can play Build the Nublar: Evolved: Prologue, the world's first text-based dinosaur theme park builder, right now!

 

____________________________________________

ORIGINAL POST

 

So, this is gonna be a weird one.

 

For Wizard Jam 2 years ago I made a game called Build the Nublar. It was a pretty straightforward dinosaur theme park builder and you can play it over here: https://nkornek.itch.io/build-the-nublar

 

For a long time I've actually wanted to come back to the game and flesh it out further, but I refused to just go with a straightforward "add more content" approach. I wanted to change the focus of the game as much as possible. Recently, I came up with an idea of how to do that.

 

My favourite part of the original game was actually that it was impossible to succeed at for more than a few in-game days. No matter what you did eventually the dinosaurs would break out and start eating people, causing you to move irreversibly closer to bankruptcy. I realized that if I took this hidden system and made it the core loop of the game I could make something very unique: A theme park builder roguelike.

 

So, here's the gist: You build your dinosaur theme park, survive as long as possible, and inevitably fail. Then, just like the real Jurassic Park, you come back a few years later and just rebuild right back on top of the ruins of your past attempt, with slightly better tech and potentially salvaging some of your old buildings. The catch: Any dinos that survived your previous attempt can re-emerge from the wilderness to ruin your day.

 

The only problem: Somewhere in the past 2 years I lost all of the source files to the original game.

 

SO

 

I've started remaking the entire thing from scratch.

 

Over the past few weeks I've been working to get some of the baseline systems up and running again, however I'm well aware that there's no chance of my getting all of these goals accomplished by the end of Wizard Jam. I mostly just want to use the next 2 weeks as a chance to really focus my free time towards advancing the project and getting as much as I can done.

 

I may keep this dev log going long after the jam ends just to share progress as I go.

 

ANYWAYS

 

The game is looking pretty cool so far. Having two more years of experience doing programmer art means that the game will look significantly prettier than it did in the past.

 

Here's some progress:

 

I'm keeping the 2D cutout style for the characters and dinosaurs but this time they're rigged onto 3D meshes that can be fully animated. The effect is quite silly looking:

person.gif.909459760aa8e7d6aa1fe57395345291.gif

T-Rex.gif.e6319f0ff6a3aec3b4897fe10f917bfe.gif

 

The people now come in both Pants Wearing and Dress Wearing forms

Dress.gif.378e21df176b0acf46ff2caeae480354.gif

 

The snazzy new Visitor's center5b1a8d9a1f566_visitorcenter.thumb.PNG.7d332451747abd2ff42ac9eea194711e.PNG

(This one is a static image but the little fires burn and the fans on the big A/C unity spin, it looks great)

 

And there's still a lot more to come!

 

I've mostly been working on back-end systems like camera control and building placement but now that those are mostly done I can spend the jam focused on making cool content.

 

So stay tuned for updates!

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I really like the look of the characters and dinosaurs, especially given the theme of the game. They give a playful, light feel to the game, which could make dying and failure more entertaining.

 

Looking forward to following along!

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I like the direction you are taking the game with this new version! And the visual style is very strong!

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6 hours ago, nkornek said:

The only problem: Somewhere in the past 2 years I lost all of the source files to the original game.

 

Oh noooooo!

 

6 hours ago, nkornek said:

I'm keeping the 2D cutout style for the characters and dinosaurs but this time they're rigged onto 3D meshes that can be fully animated. The effect is **PERFECT**:

person.gif.909459760aa8e7d6aa1fe57395345291.gif

 

Fixed it for you.

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19 minutes ago, Synnah said:

Fixed it for you.

 

You're right, that's much more accurate now. Thanks.

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As a newer coder, I'd really love to see how you made and rigged one of the meeples, because I feel like that alone would take me all two weeks.

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Woooow looking good! I always dig the sprites in 3D look but this goes one step further, very cool!

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Spending today working on terrain stuff.

 

 

I used Unity's terrain tools to sketch out the basic shape I wanted then exported the heightmap and brought it into Blender so I could do precise touch-ups, like creating the flat "Buildable" areas and the smooth ramps between them.

 

5b1bfdfcefe16_terrainmesh.PNG.4be508f00b06e4d47c4cd9b5a3ae16cf.PNG

 

Then I used photoshop to make a quick grass texture that I could loop and found out that it has an amazing feature to auto-generate normal maps from a 2D texture

grass.png.e876bb9660763f0306d39fc94e5f3f0c.png5b1bfe55aed75_grassnormal.png.dd8f7720114bd7df13714e9d0f352384.png 

 

 

So here's how it's looking in-engine so far. I still need to make some rock/gravel/sand textures so that I can give it a lot more variety and then I want to start creating some props like trees and rocks and stuff to snazz it up.

terrain.thumb.PNG.170f37ccc6e5286ae71f12d29575d7a3.PNG

grass normal.tif

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11 hours ago, Koholos said:

As a newer coder, I'd really love to see how you made and rigged one of the meeples, because I feel like that alone would take me all two weeks.

 

No coding required! I did most of it with Photoshop and Blender. The only part I actually did in Unity was the animation (because I'm too lazy to learn how to animate in Blender).

 

I start with a reference image of the dino that I want to make, like this T-Rex, and bring it into photoshop

5b1bffc7ecd30_TRexoriginal.thumb.png.6fc87b02214433c4743eceb1772d6162.png

 

Then I use the path tool to create outlines of the separate parts (body, arm, leg) and color them how I want

 

5b1c002d110be_TRexBody.thumb.png.aaa2e4546015a54c2332638d10c54898.png

 

Then I take the individual parts into Blender and make a very basic mesh outline of them. Since the parts are all flat it's super easy to unwrap the UVs and combine them into one sheet.

5b1c00cf532e8_Rexoutline.PNG.387fa74188c82a7720d82e51e68177c2.PNG

 

Then I take the UV map back into photoshop and lay out the individual parts onto it. This will let me create a material out of them that can be placed on the 3D mesh that we created.

5b1c0141e71e8_T-RexUVexample.thumb.png.550e4dfc4c139bd5176232c9693758fc.png

 

From here we go back to Blender and create a material out of our new texture. I also create a basic skeleton for each individual piece (ie, the bones from the leg are their own armature and are not connected to the torso). Since the model and texture are simple enough I'm not too worried about it deforming in any weird ways when it starts moving so I just use blender's automatic bone weights (weights are what determine how much the movement of a bone can affect the mesh around it).

rexmesh.thumb.PNG.c818a604daef29568babc61d339cba0f.PNG

 

And that's pretty much it! After this I just take the whole thing into Unity and animate it.

 

T-Rex.gif.2a9f7fa6ea4efd96e84d4eafc196f1ba.gif

 

Hope that helps!

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Just wrapped up my rock texture. I'm SUPER happy with how this turned out.

image.png.7605818d84a2355a4ee288c1dc260464.png

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Did a first pass at vertex painting the terrain with the textures I made. I might come back to it later but I think this turned out pretty good for now.

 

Next step will be to model a bunch of rocks and trees and stuff.

 

image.thumb.png.03583adb2074e75556b61b7cb6e580e2.png

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Alright, so I wasn't fully satisfied with the look of the terrain. It was too smooth which clashed with the flat look of the buildings and characters.

 

So I went back to blender and just algorithmically beat the crap out of it until I got a result that I was happier with.

 

So here's the new, more stylized geometry

image.thumb.png.295923d4f2ad3ead21c607cd6cf651ab.png

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On 08/06/2018 at 3:12 PM, nkornek said:

T-Rex.gif.e6319f0ff6a3aec3b4897fe10f917bfe.gif

 

This style is so good! Also wow, was the original made during Wizard Jam 2?! That feels like so long ago now!

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This is shaping up so well! Like everyone else I love the 2D/3D bending of the paper, very effective! Also love how much detail you are giving us in terms of how you are doing things, it's really cool to see behind the curtain like this. :)

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5 hours ago, zerofiftyone said:

 

This style is so good! Also wow, was the original made during Wizard Jam 2?! That feels like so long ago now!

 

How young we were then.

 

3 hours ago, phill said:

This is shaping up so well! Like everyone else I love the 2D/3D bending of the paper, very effective! Also love how much detail you are giving us in terms of how you are doing things, it's really cool to see behind the curtain like this. :)

 

Thanks! Yeah, since this is a larger undertaking that I'm not actually expecting to finish in 2 weeks I wanted to devote more time to the dev log portion of it. 

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32 minutes ago, nkornek said:

How young we were then. 

 

I was actually thinking of your Rich Uncle Cool Uncle game just the other day, and that's even older! 

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3 hours ago, zerofiftyone said:

 

I was actually thinking of your Rich Uncle Cool Uncle game just the other day, and that's even older! 

 

Yeah, that was the very first Wizard Jam ever.

 

I didn't even live in the same apartment I do now.

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Spent tonight working on the building placement tech. One of the issues with the old game was that it could be hard to find spots that were level enough to place your buildings. I made the terrain have a lot more large flat spaces so that will help with that issue, but I also wanted to improve how I detected that flatness.

 

placement.gif.0bd963159bcca2bd769d971ac0e7b774.gif

 

So, beyond the obvious "don't let you place a building inside another building" I needed a good way of judging how level the terrain is. Each of my buildings has a sort of "base" at the bottom (the hexagonal part) so I use that as a starting point.

 

I isolate the vertices of that base and use them to create an array of points at which to check from. From there, I do a raycast downwards to look for the terrain, then compare its height to the root position of the building. Specifically, I choose a position several units higher than the original point so that I can be sure to hit terrain that might be slightly above it. If the difference between the hit and the root is below a certain threshold (the thickness of the base) then I mark the point as valid. If all of the points I check are valid then we can assume the terrain is level enough to place a building on it.

 

There's one further step though. I need to make sure that when we do place the building it doesn't end up floating in the air partially. For this, I simply take whatever the lowest y coordinate from the points that I checked was and use it to override the y coordinate that I get from the mouse position (so long as all of the points are valid to begin with). 

 

You can see this in action here with my debug tools. The grey dots show the points that we will be checking from. I also draw lines from the "hit" point on the terrain to the comparison point (the root of the object) and color them red or green based on whether or not they are below the threshold.

5b21d8ff961ab_placementtech.gif.a4f434eb651c1f4f90da6da7f201312f.gif

 

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The animation effects are really great on this! I played the original, and am looking forward to playing this one as well :)

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Working on the new dock structure.

 

In the previous version the docks were really hard to place since you needed to have terrain that was flat enough and also near water. This time around, the dock will be a larger structure that will be pre-placed for you so that I don't need to worry about any of that stuff :P

 

5b26d48ece41f_dockprogress.thumb.PNG.d6d6cd79ab1b60c775077d204d9c35df.PNG

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Ugh, I'm having a super busy work week so I don't think I'm gonna manage to get as much done this jam as I would have liked :sad:

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Finished up the new dock tonight!

 

dock.thumb.PNG.f354ab5cf63d142b0f699e38b2bb0441.PNG

 

And best of all...

 

dock.gif.01a9ca093967e20738e085cdbb4982cf.gif

 

Little chug chug friend.

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