[ENG] Godmorgon: Spooky Ride – Devlog 2

FRENCH-SPEAKING FRIENDS: Cliquez ici pour lire le devlog en français !

Welcome to our second devlog! Today, we will finally be able to show you some images of the game, and talk to you about some challenges we met and the next steps of the project! But before that, let’s see how was the resumption of the project after some months of pre-production, and some weeks of holidays without working on it…

As we said it in the previous devlog, Godmorgon: Spooky Ride (in short: GSR) is a project that started at the end of January 2020, and has had a « pre-production » period – a period where we’re going to create a prototype and test different parts of the project, such as levels or balancing (a bit like a sketch before making a painting drawing!). So, when we took over the project, we had to play again to it and above all have it tested by the newcomers to the team.

In addition to helping everyone to refresh their minds on the content and the state of the game, it allowed us to note anything that needed to be improved or modified to move the project in the direction we had set. Our observations were mainly focused on the visuals (art direction and interface), but also on the user experience (i.e. the understanding of the game, and the evolution of the player through the game). And from there, we were able to start working.

But to work well, you have to get organised first! We have therefore modified the entire project and team organisation to focus on more practical tools for our team of about ten people.
We set up a project on the Jira platform (much to the delight of our Live Producer who loves this software), to enable us to better sort, manage and find the tasks of each member of the team. We also had to adapt to the fact that we will often change of artists.
Finally, the most delicate point was to adapt our schedule to release the game on Steam while keeping a development rhythm taking into account our school schedule and the fact that we wanted to do the project at a healthy rhythm for everyone. But we’ll talk a little bit more about this in the devlog section on the next steps of the project!

The major change in the project is visual: we have totally changed the artistic direction (now managed by our Lead Artist, Paul). This decision was taken for several reasons:

  • The very first GSR concept was conceived in 3D! But as soon as the game was defined in its entirety, the choice fell on 2D.
  • Originally, therefore, the project had to be in 2D, with an isometric view (the same view as today), with very precise and detailed graphics. However, this had to be set aside due to a lack of staff, and this made characters movements and setting up the levels pretty difficult.
  • The version used for pre-production contained graphic assets (= graphical elements) that we did not own, or that we had purchased in order to compensate for the lack of staff and the tight schedule.
  • « Low-poly 3D » allows to create more graphic assets in less time and is easier to reproduce by the various artists who will be working on the project than classical drawing.
  • It is now easier for Game Designers to set up the levels they have imagined: they simply have to glue boxes of pre-made sets by the artists.

The game’s interface has also been modified to be more readable and understandable for the player. But we’ll talk about this in a future devlog 😉

A small peak at the changes planned for the User Interface. On the left: the old version // On the right: the new concept

The haunted train in which the game takes place should have different atmospheres. As you can see, the first part, available during the early access, will be more cemetery/crypt oriented with graves, bones or a mysteriously half-open coffin…

Some items you will encounter in the game

We also worked on the lights of the game, with a « cel-shading » rendering (a lighting model allowing a cartoon effect because the shadows are not in gradation). The GIF doesn’t entirely pay tribute to the work of the artists due to the quality, but don’t worry: you’ll be able to admire it in game in several weeks!

Test d’effet de lumière

And to finish this first point on the art of the game, here are some visual effects – or VFXs – that you will be able to observe during your adventure in Godmorgon: Spooky Ride! The fog will hide undiscovered areas. The curse effects (the little pink lines) will inform the player that this place is special and potentially dangerous. The small luminous ball indicates to the player when he has an armour (useful to survive a little longer in this hell…). And finally, the last two show the movement of the wagon and when it has a boost effect to move faster. Once again, the gif doesn’t pay tribute to the in-game quality, but allows us to give you a glimpse of the game!

Some visual effects you may find in the game (fog, cursed room, armour, wagon movement and wagon speed boost)

As explained above, the reorientation of the artistic direction has made the work of a large part of the team easier. But it would be too good if it suited everyone! This has created new development needs in terms of code, especially as the project is moving from pure 2D to 3D. For example, the movements of the characters had to be coded again by the programmers (and many other things too).

Prototype of card use
Prototype of enemy movements (player in pink)

This change has not been easy for our Programmers, but now that the transition is over, the new face of the project is more in line with what we wanted to share with you!

Continuing a project also means new overcoming new challenges! And we have nothing to be bored about on this subject!

These new months of work on Godmorgon have the ambition to lead to some very nice aspects. First of all, we’re going to focus on sharing the game, and creating a marketing campaign to show it and interest potential players. Then we’ll end up with… a Steam release! Yes, our big challenge this semester is to allow you to play our game on the platform! The team is very enthusiastic about it, and we can’t wait for you to get your hands on it and give us your feedback. And of course, we’ve also planned some updates in our schedule, to add maps, levels, and another big surprise… Do you have any idea what it could be?

And finally, we also plan to offer you a community space on Discord, so that you can share and exchange with other (future) players and the development team. We will come back to you very soon with new information on the subject!

We hope you enjoyed this new devlog! We can’t wait to show you more about the game, with short videos, the new game interface and the graphics with textures. But don’t worry, it will all happen very soon!

On our side, we will continue the development of the game, and soon we will open playtests to get your feedback, so stay tuned so you don’t miss the sign-ups! And we’ll see you next time, for a devlog on the new interface, and the redesign of the user experience!

Until then, fasten your seatbelts, keep your arms in your wagon, and don’t try to get out of the attraction on the way… !

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