With only 4 days left until the Atlas Expo, we are working hard to get everything finished in time!
We are done with all art assets! Everything is in the game, and we are simply working on any last-minute things the other teams need.
Ashley is in the same boat – she has finished all the sound effects/songs, and is able to make any last-minute things as they may come in.
We finished creating the maps in Unity, which included placing ingredient resources and laying out landmarks. What is left for us is more playtesting through the game with all the sounds/assets and seeing what is missing – we are doing this as soon as possible to give the art team and Ashley time to make what is missing. This is also giving us the chance to get the game in outside peoples’ hands, as most of the playtesting thus far has been internal. Narration didn’t have time to write descriptions for the ingredients, so our Gameplay lead, Jonathan, has taken this into his hands and is working to create these.
We have the most work to finish up before the game is displayed at the Atlas Expo on April 25th. We finished the repeatable day cycle, implemented the title menu, started the journal UI, created animal movement, implemented fishing sounds and fixed several fishing bugs, and several other smaller tasks. There is still a lot for us to complete before we can call the game done, but we are working extremely hard to get everything finished in time.
The editing of cutscenes are almost done, and we are finishing up writing the cutscenes – mainly the ending cutscene. The main thing we need to finish is implementing the cutscenes in Unity.
Table Tales is in the final stretch! With our internal deadline being April 17th (only 4 days away), all teams are working really hard to ensure we meet that deadline and have the best game possible. We are showing the game at the ATLS Expo, hosted to showcase student work in the Atlas programs at CU Boulder.
Additionally, as per recommendation of our independent study advisor (Matt Bethancourt) we are submitting Table Tales to be considered for IndieCade.
This week we finished many of the remaining art elements necessary – all of the forest, plains, and dessert decorations are finished, all the character portraits are done, and the map is much more developed. We are working to finish up decorations for the ice biome, as well as to finish laying out resources on the map. The vast majority of UI elements are finished, and by this week we will have a title screen.
Ashley has been working on more sound effects, which includes things like sounds for the day begin/end, the bug game, dialogue, menu confirmation, and fishing (reeling, bobber hitting the water, fish bite confirmation, etc).
We met with Ashley to go over all of the sounds we deem necessary for the game, and created a finalized list for her to work off. We filled the maps with more resources, and ensured that they are balanced within the biomes. There is still more work to finish up the UI, mostly discussing how the kitchen elements are going to work. We added three new quests, as well as we refined previous the existing three quests to accommodate the new ones. We also refined the tasting mechanism: when you go back to your restaurant, you are allowed to use up to 3 of your inventory spots to taste the ingredients. Tasting gives you general flavor information, but no specific values.
Almost all animations (including player, animals, and NPCs) are implemented in Unity. Additionally, we have implemented many UI elements (this is mostly done, but needs some discussion with gameplay before we are 100% finished). Cutscenes/dialogue is still being fine tuned, but for the most part functions. We are working to input sound effects into the game, starting with tile effects and moving on from there. There is a functioning day cycle that is savable, and the only other step is to make this repeatable (day after day). We have a lot of goals that we are working to achieve before the expo, and are working really hard to get everything done. Movement is currently controlled by WASD, arrows move the selector, spacebar to interact, and “t” to drop items.
There was a small miscommunication about which biome related to which taste, so we are fixing some small things in the barks (this is a minor fix and doesn’t require much time). With the exception of this minor setback, we are finished scripting NPC dialogue/cutscenes. Now that programming set up the cutscene framework in Unity, we are working to input dialogue and NPC movement into the game.
Kara created a portrait for the player character, as well as the forest NPC.
We developed a lot of UI components, the most notable being a journal to keep track of recipes, NPC progression, and ingredients.
Narration is working to develop a new character, so we created the sprite sheet for her.
Ashley created more sound effects, and is using a combination of online found sounds and her own recordings.
We sketched out more precise topographical maps for each biome and have begun to implement those into Unity with the help of the Art team. We worked with programming to flush out the gameplay mechanics of the fishing game (shown in a video under the Programming section). As there was some confusion between teams of how mechanics of the game work, we created a document that details specifics of each gameplay element, such as fishing or NPC progression. Our next step is to begin to playtest the layout of ingredients in the biomes.
We developed NPC progression, so their like/dislike of the food triggers different events and dialogue sequences. Saving and loading of the NPCs are also done, so the NPC progression isn’t lost when the game quits. The fishing minigame has gameplay now, so it is fully playable.
We fixed an issue with the plants, so that now you can go in front of them and behind so it looks much more natural.
We felt caught up with our current work, so we decided to add an additional NPC. Sao is a treasure hunter, though she calls herself a “pirate”. She’s loud, friendly but slightly intimidating. She isn’t connected to a biome, but still has a large backstory that comes out through her appreciation of the food. We are working to finish up the extended cutscenes, as well as to create an ending cutscene.
This week we created all of the animations for the 3 main NPCs, as well as created eating animations. We sketched some ideas for UI, and are going to translate that into the necessary digital art for next week. Kara, our newest team member, is working to create character portraits for the player character, as well as the 3 main NPCs.
We added all of the ingredient stats to the game, and are still fine tuning the best way to portray quality of the ingredients. This upcoming week, we are going to hash out a lot of unknowns in meetings with narration.
The main progress for us is cleaning up the code – there are things that we fine tuned, such as not having the player move in the world during a minigame, and fixing the bug game bug. Our most crucial piece to have done by next week is the NPC progression (how they will unlock the biomes through conversation).
We have 1 intro cutscene and 3 restaurant cutscenes for each NPC, as well as all of their barks/reactions. Since we finished with them, we are working on scrips/barks for a new character.
A major update for this week – we finished designing all of the ingredient sprites, and they are uploaded into the game. Now that this major milestone has been accomplished, we are moving on to working with gameplay to develop the UI for the game, as well as to start designing what the cooked dishes will look like. Additionally, we now have a sprite for the NPCs sitting (for when they are at the bar eating food) and normal sprites.
Since the biome themes have been finalized, Ashley moved on to developing the necessary sound effects. Currently, we have footsteps for each biome (individual steps to be triggered randomly), murmur talking sounds, and a confirmation sound for when a new dish is developed.
We finished creating stats for all of the ingredients (sweet, spicy, salty values). We are still working to develop the best way for quality to be portrayed and categorized for each ingredient. Part of that discussion is deciding if high quality ingredients are only found in certain areas, and if so, how will the progression of finding those areas affect the game. Last weekend, we created a scenario for paper prototyping and had people play through a directed, analog version of the game. This helped us learn more about how ingredients should be laid out on the map, as well as how to prompt player-NPC interactions. Additionally, we are still working to give Ashley a list of sound effects we think are necessary for the game.
Cut scenes have been coded to where NPCs can move around on a pre-set path for a pre-set amount of time (shown in video below). We are waiting on narration to fully script out the scenes before setting the paths, but we have the functionality ready to go. As you can see, paths can be set for different amounts of time, as well as with different start/middle/end nodes. We are starting to create animations, such as for the fish and certain players. Additionally, we have been communicating with gameplay to get the fishing minigame created to their liking.
This week, we are finishing up the cutscenes for each main NPC before moving back to smaller tasks. We are starting to script the gameplay-esque elements to let the player know how the NPC liked the food – for example, incorporating thoughts like “this dish is too spicy” into casual conversation. If we are able to finish the above tasks, we plan to start developing another NPC story (not linked to a biome, simply another character).
At the beginning of the project, we only scheduled out objectives to the beginning of March to allow for unknowns. Now, we have asked each team lead to come up with a schedule of tasks for the following month. We are planning to have the game finished by mid-late April to be ready for the TAM showcase on April 25th.
We finalized the list of resources (ingredients) that we would like to see and passed it along to art. After discussing with Ashley and other team leads, we are beginning to create a list of necessary sound effects and are planning to dedicate one person from the team to temporarily focus on sound effects with Ashley. We are beginning to map out the “levels”, or world design. The sketched maps have zones where each ingredients could be found in each biome, which will make it much easier to implement this in Unity and transfer the analog sketch to the current game. We are also working to develop stats for each ingredient (sweet, spicy, salty, quality).
We have designed many more ingredients to go in each biome. We are working to finish all of the ingredients specified by gameplay by this upcoming week, and so far are well on our way to do so. We started to create NPC characters that don’t have a high level of significance.
Fish Inventory Sprites
Ashley created the theme for the mystical forest, so at this point all songs for each biome (and restaurant) are finalized. She updated the url for the SoundCloud, so all sounds can be found here: https://soundcloud.com/koettgamesounds.
We updated the fishing minigame so that when you catch a fish, the game ends and you get a fish added to your inventory. There are still future iterations we want to develop with this. We also have the basic framework functioning for the bug minigame and are waiting on some art sprites to make it more complete. We also have the framework to make it easy to implement the range of quality values for each NPC (they each have a range of sweet/spicy/salty that is acceptable for their personal tastes). Tiles now have metadata embedded in them, so specific sounds can be played (footsteps) when the player steps on specific tiles.
When we first started thinking about ingredients, the quality had more power than the quantity – meaning, the quantity of each spice (sweet, etc) had to be high if the ingredient was high quality. It limited our way of crafting dishes, and there would be no way for the player to adjust the individual flavors of the dish with crafting. We have since made quality and quantity independent of each other. With the refactoring, we made it possible for ingredients to be strong in one flavor while the others stay at a moderate or even low level. It is also possible for ingredients to be maxed out on flavor and still be considered low quality. This refactoring has increased the possibilities of ingredients which impacts the dishes, and enhances the rest of the game.
We are finishing cutscene scripting for each of the three main NPCs. These scripts include an introduction scene, as well as scenes based on the food given to them by the PC. We have also been working to develop barks to naturally explain the ingredients to the PC.
We have started creating character movement from the base character sprites. All of the walking movement sprites are created for the player character: front, back, left, and right facing. Currently diagonal movement is tabled due to it’s more complex nature. If we finish the other character’s basic movements, as well as other decorative arts, we may add in diagonal sprites. Below are examples of the player character movement sprites.
We are continuing to work on decorations to go in the different biomes, and have begun designing ingredient resources to be collected by the player. These include resources picked up/gathered in the world, as well as resources earned through minigames (at this point, namely the fish). Examples of those are found below.
Cactus with resource
Cactus after resource collection
Movement sprite sheet
Additionally, the restaurant is beginning to take form, both internally and externally.
Ashley reiterated the plains song to better match the theme, and it was received with much enthusiasm. She is beginning to work on basic sound effects that she knows will go into the game, such as affirmative sounds and text noises. She is working with gameplay to figure out what additional game events/actions will require sound effects.
We have worked to determine which resources should be found in the biomes, and plan to have a finalized list of resources by this upcoming week. Additionally, we decided on having a crafting process that implements both quality and quantity. Meaning, each ingredient has both a quality value (high, medium, or low) and a quantity value (how spicy, salty, sweet it is). When 3 ingredients are combined to create a dish, currently the quantity value for each spicy/salty/sweet get averaged to determine the quantity value for the dish. The quality is currently constrained to the lowest quality of ingredient used – if there is one low quality ingredient and two medium qualities, the end dish will be low quality. This process of crafting is still in discussion.
We worked to develop a functioning crafting system, where the user would input 3 ingredients, and click a “Craft” button. This is still a basic framework, and we are working with gameplay to further develop this aspect of the game.
With the addition of Melia to the team, we have continued scripting barks/one-liners for the player character, as well as scripting out scenes between NPCs and the player. Currently we have initial scripts for the opening/introduction and all three main NPCs.
We worked to create decorative art for the different biomes – these elements are added to the top of static tiles to represent both visual elements and elements that will be incorporated into minigames. Below are examples of cacti for the desert, which are simply visual elements. Additionally, we are working to develop movement sprites and prototyping the basic UI for the player.
The glacier and geyser below are to be used in a minigame.
The main character design has been finalized as the following design.
Ashley created the restaurant theme, which can be found here. She is going to make the intro a little bit softer, but aside from that the teams all thoroughly enjoy the song.
We decided on five minigames where each biome will have a unique game, in addition to two games found in all biomes. These games are still being flushed out, but the fishing and bug grabbing games are the most developed.
Found in all biomes (slightly different variations in each biome)
Need a fishing pole to unlock the game
Fishing retical will float back and forth (first horizontally then vertically) and the player will time when they want to throw it
Bug Grabbing Minigame
Once the player does the mini game in the forest the mechanic will unlock in the other biomes
The player will see a top down view of their hand above a pile of insects and controls the movement and fingers of their hand
Bat (Sonic) Minigame
Screen is pitch black, can only see player
Player rings a bell in the cave to trigger a ring revealing slowly moving bats. Move around to catch bats.
Main mechanic is walking and dodging debris to gather good items
All of the separate pieces that have been developed – such as dialogue, scene transitions, crafting/restaurant entrance, and resource gathering – are now combined into one functioning scene. Since the last update, we mostly focused on this combination as well as developing the minigames. We have the basic framework for the fishing minigame, as seen in the video below, but are continuing to develop it further. Below is a video showing the integration of music transition between scenes.
We began writing out one-liners for the main character in response to physical items/events in the world as well as to interact with NPCs. Some examples of this are: “Your food’s on the way,” “Can’t go in there it’s way too dark” when they haven’t unlocked the forest, “Oof, sorry about that, I’ll try and make something better next time.” We are starting to develop barks for the NPCs, as well as to script out the full dialogue for the first few scenes in the game.
The main style for each biome was established last week, so we have continued to develop the tiles as well as decorative art – items that will be present and/or interact-able in each biome. Additionally, we have begun to develop both the player character, and in-game characters. Below are examples of those iterations.
Generic character iterations
Examples of decorative art (desert skeleton and meteors)
Ashley created two new songs, one for the ice/water biome and one for the planes. She feels as though the plains doesn’t quite fit, so is working to make it more cohesive. The water/ice theme can be found here and the plains theme can be found here.
We developed a list of potential minigames to be be incorporated in the game as a way to gather ingredients: fishing, egg stealing – maze runner, bug catching, lantern trial, cave trial, melting ice, ice – hopping, cliff trial, wind navigation. We further thought through and developed three minigames – fishing, bug catching, and egg stealing. Below you will find sketches and more information on those three.
We reversed the entrance to the forest – now, the player goes through the normal forest to get into the main spooky forest instead of entering through the spooky area to get to the normal. The player no longer has to complete a task to gain entry to a biome; instead, characters may provide items that give access to the biome. We are working to lay out the gameplay elements on a cohesive map to establish how these elements relate to game progression and the overall game story.
We have functionality for interactions, crafting, scene management/transitions, and an easier tiling system. We switched to Bitbucket instead of GitHub for our code as our whole team can now have access to pushing and pulling code.
Example of how scene transitions will function
We finalized the reference sheets for the three main characters that relate to / unlock the three biomes. There are a few changes from last week, which are as follows:
90-100 years old
Generally trusting and kind, jolly fellow even when talking about his struggles.
Enjoys joking and being sarcastic.
A bit unaware of his surrounding.
He views the world as a beautiful place to explore, he sees it not with malice but with awe.
Feels like a father-figure to the player character, looks after him.
Too trusting, too focused on the past, a bit overbearing
8-12 years old
Quiet but curious, she is straightforward and seems usually focused on her current task.
Reserved and closed, she speaks frankly and succinctly.
She doesn’t seem to care about much, she sees the world as her enemy and that she needs to survive it.
She refuses help from others and is off putting to talk to initially.
Usually Grumpy, annoyed and frustrated but he is kind at heart, even if he doesn’t show it as much.
Mysterious, mostly quiet, always seems distant.
He gives off very pessimistic vibes but he maintains a sense of optimism nonetheless.
He often tells stories about his past and how the effects of radiation impacted him.
Treats the player character like a son – the player character fills a void he has in his life and helps this character save his daughter
Gives off super creepy vibes, for the most part, very secretive.
We have developed the basic framework for the game, which means we are ready to incorporate game-specific mechanics and art. Currently IHunt has movement, interactions with objects, inventory management (image below), save and load, and basic dialogue boxes. As other teams further develop art and game mechanics, we will incorporate that into the current basic code. The game will automatically save at the end of the day, when the player character goes to bed. Inventory will not be stored, so progression made with in-game characters is the main saved element. The map of IHunt will follow a grid layout, and we have the structure ready to easily incorporate artistic tiles for each biome. Additionally, the map will be laid out in one scene with various load points that are triggered by player movement.
We have begun to develop the restaurant layout & look/feel, as well as think through game progression of IHunt (below you will see sketched ideas detailing prototypes of the first two levels).
Additionally, we have discussed possible resources to be discovered in the various biomes. So far we have items such as: flowers, mushrooms, wild onions, fish, small animals, berries, insects, fruits/veggies, minerals, clams, and fantastical animals such as creatures that have the appearance of rocks. A recent development is the inclusion of tools, such as axes or fishing rods, that assist in gameplay progression and assist the player in performing specific tasks to unlock more resources. We are currently working with the narration team to develop key events that move the player along in the game.
Below is a prototype layout for the ice biome, including resources/collection mechanics:
We have developed the defining characteristics of the main characters that unlock each biome, and are continuing to develop these characters in more detail. Additionally, we have begun to develop the player character.
Bombastic, loud, friendly (but a little intimidating), idealistic
Pilgrim, older fellow, jolly contrasted with somber past
As he reveals his past, it relates to you and you are able to learn about your own past
Helps you by having the two of you fixing up boat, almost a father-son relationship
Allows you to travel to the ice biome, since it is not connected by land
Quiet, blunt, reserved
Young girl, shy, replies with one word answers
Hunter gatherer / scavenger
She will make whatever you need to get inside the dessert biome
We are still flushing out what this scenario will be, but an example is that she would make goggles if you need to get through a sandstorm
Looked down upon by most other people, but will open up to you because you treat her as an equal
Older brother – daughter type relationship
Calming, friendly, mysterious, father figure
Gives your character a lantern to help you through the forest
Mysterious, initially cold to you
Familial connections, takes care of a two family, one at home and one that is a daughter that turned into a tree
Rebellious, 20 year old
Semi-kind – will help people / take them in if they are nice to you
Male (option to have male and female as stretch goal)
The initial forest soundtrack can be found here, and the second prototype can be found here. There will be two soundtracks for the forest, a normal theme for the bulk of the forest, and a creepy theme to fit the dark and spooky entrance. The narration/gameplay teams developed the idea for two levels of the forest, so Ashley created the creepy soundtrack accordingly, which can be found here.
We have developed the main color schemes for each of the three biomes:
We are also continuing to create tiles for each biome, mainly focusing on basic concepts such as grass or generic plants until gameplay solidifies which resources will be included in the final game.
For the in-game characters, we have decided upon a short and squatty/non-anatomical design. We are working with narration to design each character based off their personalities, while still following the pixel-art theme.