[Lets Play] Chained

 

The most fun I’ve ever had watching a player run through Chained!

 

Thanks to Carrumbum for the video!

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Week 11 Update

Web_Headshots_Adam

This is Adam Purvis and I am one of the environment artists for Chained.

WHAT DO I DO?

Well, like David Scamehorn, I was also brought on about halfway through development, primarily to design and create environment assets for use in the game. As time went on I was also tasked with placing assets in game and animating them to achieve some really great effects in some of the later stages of the game. On occasion I am also known to throw in a good idea or two out about other things as well.

WHAT’S BEEN GOING ON?

Well we just got done presenting our game down at GDC and we received a ton of positive feedback for the game as well as constructive feedback as to where we should take the game next. As of this moment the game is ready to go but with career day just around the corner, we all agreed that we can make the game just a little bit better. Not that it’s not already beautiful, but because we can make it even more so.

Mainly with the polish this time around, we’re focusing on tightening everything up. This means cutting down longer walking segments, re-working some textures, fixing any remaining bugs, and generally just putting the finishing touches on everything. We are all extremely excited for career day and most of all presenting this to the company representatives that attend.

All said and done, we are super proud of what we’ve accomplished and can’t wait to see peoples reactions to the game that we’ve created.

Week 10 Update

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David here, just your friendly level designer for Chained.

WHAT DO I DO?

I was brought on half-way through development to help with the design and construction of three of the gameplay-heavy levels of Chained, as well as to contribute to other aspects of the game’s design. I work side-by-side with the other designers to establish a level flow that fits within the narrative arc and puts the metaphorical mechanics to work. I also get to work on really important tasks with the artists, like hiding toy bears in various breakable objects in every level.

WHAT’S BEEN GOING ON?

A lot’s been going on. We have just recently wrapped up the Beta build of our game, so technically our game is content complete at this point. We have all of our levels arted and sounded, and a lot of polish has gone in to making the game’s endings effective.The game’s lookin’ real good now and it just needs a little more love before we’re ready to release it to the world.

Now we’re all on spring break and all of our tasks have been met for this milestone, so we’re not really working on anything at the moment. That is, except for GDC prep!

We’ve been invited to a party sponsored by Intel to compete against other school teams for a chance to win some Intel technology for our school. Adrian and the team have been really hard at work getting some of the game’s effects to be compatible with the DirectX 11 build of our game to show off on the Intel hardware they provided us with. John, Brandon, David F., and Decker will be handling the presentation, but the majority of the team will be there in person and/or spirit. This all goes down this Thursday night (3/20), so wish us luck!

Hi everyone Keith here for your weekly dose of Those Guys!

BETA!

So we are at an exciting time in the life cycle of Chained. We are just about to head into our Beta milestone, which means that the game is feature and content complete. We still get to do lots of polishing and sprucing up though. Along with the pressure and excitement of Beta we have another awesome opportunity which Asrian briefly mentioned last week. We and another DigiPen team were selected to present at the Intel event down in San Francisco for GDC. This is a huge opportunity for use, it gives us some exposure, a purpose for heading down there, and really puts the pressure on us to succeed. Brandon, David Fenton, Decker, and Jonathan are all heading down to give the presentation, shop the game around, meet some cool interesting people, and maybe even pick up a contact or two to help them get jobs!

What we’ve been up to.

This last week has been crazy for everyone, and we have quite a bit to show.

Adrian has been working to Get his custom fog working with Direct X 11 for the Intel Event

David Fenton, has been fixing player controller bugs as they pop up. Who knew building a platformer character controller that was attached to a weighted object could be so challenging? In exciting new David has gotten an interview with a secret company that needs a rocking programmer. Go David Go!

Hans has been improving the AI and performance of our helper/hinder bats and wisps. They’re looking really good now after Brandon made a pass at them.

Speaking of Brandon he has been hard at work trying to make sure his levels are looking and playing right by incorporating playtester feedback.

Jonathan has been working tirelessly on getting the odds and ends of the game squared away, from the animation controller to making sure the chain stays taunt, to finishing his own level at the end of the game.

David S has been hard at work under some pretty tight design constraints, putting together 3 unique levels to flesh out the middle section of the game.

Anne is progress very well with her animations. Everything looks really good in her animation software , and pretty good in the game itself.

Hojun has been working on “arting” up two levels to include in his portfolio, the Fall and David S. Ball weight level.

Adam has been cranking away on one of our most animation intensive levels of the game. With relive he ahs finished that and moved back to creating environment objects.

Decker has been doing as Decker does, and busting out large chunks of art assets to levels that need them. Performing lighting passes, and putting in so much of Adrian’s volumetric fog it would bring a tear to a Scotsman’s eye.

Jon Everist has been very busy has he has contracted a disease known as “a full time job” but he’s made good and has continued to work on the audio scape of chained, all that’s left is to implement and hear the awesome.

I’ve been stressing out over getting the presentation ready for GDC and trying to make sure that tasks don’t slip through the cracks as we run toward Beta.

Stay tuned as we have some juicy screenshots incoming sooner rather then later.

Week 8 Update

Me

Hello! I’m Adrian Orszulak and I’m a programmer on Those Guys.

Role
My focus on Those Guys is making some of the environmental effects. I research, integrate and/or implement effects that are used by the designers to build the atmosphere of the world.

My Work

I’m now a full time programmer on Those Guys, so that means I can focus on what I need and want to do to make this game look and feel awesome. I’ve implemented a few systems to try and achieve this. Level streaming is something that I focused quite a bit of time on, and this is used to play the entire game through seamlessly without having all the levels loaded at once. I’m also responsible for making the game camera. I’ve implmented a few different states for it so that we could have a follow state, a cinematic state that will move and focus on another point, and multi-target following state that will try to follow multiple targets and keep them all in view. I’ve also spent a lot of time working on shaders. I’ve focused a lot of my time getting volumetric fog in and working. Using simple shapes like spheres and frustums, we can do a lot in the way of building the atmosphere we want for our game. Currently I’m working on a cutaway shader that will be used to add a cool little effect to some of our objects when they’ve been destroyed by the player.

Update about the game

Art
Mr. Fantastic (Decker) has been working on getting a solution working for tar. He’s using a mixture of fog and the wisps to get something that will catch the players eye and look good when the player throws the ball in it. Adam and Hojun have been working on a few environment pieces like childrens toys and rock walls that we are using to art up some of the levels that we will be presenting soon. Anne has been doing her regular thing, getting impossible amounts of animations done without breaking a sweat.

Design
David S. and Brandon have been working on getting the levels finished up and polished for our upcoming presentations. Jonathan has been reworking the animation system he made a while ago so that we could add some logic for our animations or more easily change animations on the fly.

Tech
David F. has been working on his player controller by fixing up bugs and making sure that everything works the way we need it to. It has come a long way and he’s made it work really well, now it’s just polishing it up and getting it ready to present. Hans is working on a solution for aiming our ball. That way players will have a general idea of where the ball will go when they throw it.

Thanks for reading! See you next week as we get ready for Beta and our upcoming trip to California for GDC!
Adrian Orszulak

Week 7 Update

Web_Headshots_Brandon

Greetings!  My name is Brandon, and I am the Design Lead on Chained.  It’s fallen upon my shoulders to give everyone who’s interested a little update as to the happenings around here… hopefully it is coherent.  I also tend to be long winded; I apologize in advance.

What do I do?

I’ll start off by explaining a little more about what I do on the team.  Most of what I do is to actually build the world in which “That Guy” exists in.  I do a lot of level planning, playtesting those levels, and iterating on those designs to ensure that we are delivering on our gameplay goals, but also, and equally important for this project specifically, is hitting our goals narratively.  Chained is a unique experiment where we are trying to utilize the mechanics, which the player is using to play the game, to deliver a story without explicitly delivering that through normal means such as spoken dialogue, written text, cinematic cut scenes, etc.  Using a combination of player action and environmental storytelling to get the player to think about why things are happening, and what they mean, is a very difficult but highly interesting challenge.

I also collaborate frequently between artists and programmers.  Designing the world of our game requires tech to make it work the way we need, and art to make it feel the way we need.  That involves a constant back and forth between artists as I’m laying out levels to ensure we can incorporate and highlight as much of their art as possible, and fitting all of that into the narrative we are trying to tell.  It also requires writing functional specification documents which our tech team can use to build the tools and systems we need to get things working.  As well as writing game logic scripts that can be used to bring all those things together.  But it’s not just that I’m the only one doing this stuff; everyone on the team is constantly in this back and forth process.

Updates about what I’ve been doing:

This last week I’ve brought the three different levels, which I was directly responsible for creating, up to a state of completion to were I could hand the levels off to our environment artists, Hojun and Adam, so they can go through and push the artistic value and visual interest of the levels.  This week I focused a lot on blocking in environmental animations.  Let me explain a little bit about what that means.  From a design standpoint, we need to ensure that gameplay is not broken by putting in some of the fun and interesting environment destruction pieces in the world.  There are times in the game where the players use of the mechanics will cause parts of the world to change, and the path the player takes through the world to also change.

This is done by using Unity’s built in animation system to shift the geometry of the world.  Why am I animating in Unity?  Well, as the gamespace is being shifted and destroyed, the gameplay is changing.  So I need to block in those animations, test that all the elements do not break gameplay, and ensuring that the player can continue to progress through the game.  That way, when I hand it to the artists, they can go crazy with their work and not have to worry about breaking the game.  This, of course, still requires a back and forth between myself and the artists, with constant testing to ensure gameplay is maintained, but it shows the boundaries within which changes can or cannot be made.

This next week is going to be particularly challenging for me.  This week I did a lot of polishing on the levels to build out the atmosphere.  I have an artistic itch that can really only be scratched through building out those fine details in a world that help to immerse the player into the world.  But alas, my job requires me to shift focus onto other aspects of the game as I hand those levels off to the artists.

Updates about what the team has been doing:

Stuff has been happening kind of sporadically as of late, no thanks to Midterms in our other classes, but I’ll do my best to summarize.

This week our team got news that DigiPen selected our game to be one of two games which will be presenting at the Intel party down at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco on Thursday, March 20th!  This came completely out of the blue for us.  We are very grateful for the opportunity to show our game to a large crowd of industry professionals; it will be a great experience for us to show off what we are trying to do, and possibly gain some feedback on what we are experimenting with.

Jonathan has been working hard with Anne to get set up the animation controller, allowing her to animate “That Guy”, bring in the animations, and work with Mechanim to get the different animations implemented and to blend together between the different states.

Adrian has been working hard at getting our volumetric fog system to have frustums, as well as working to get textures working in local space.  This has given us a lot of freedom to play around with the atmosphere, and get some really good lighting effects.

David F. has continued to pour blood, sweat, and tears into the Player Controller; killing bugs to get “That Guy” to behave the way the design vision and playtest feedback is looking for.  It’s not small task to control two distinct objects that need to effect each other in different ways depending on the various circumstances the player finds themselves in.

Hans has been working with Design to get tools up and running, which includes a tool that allows the designers to warp through the game to speed up testing and development.  He’s also continued making additional changes to the AI system as bugs are found and tweaks need to be made.

Decker, Adam, and Hojun have been hard at work finishing up assets and textures, building VFX, and getting their hands dirty in the levels to push the atmosphere further.

David S has been busy building out the last few levels we need to fill out the game.  Building on the principles and mechanics taught earlier and bringing all the mechanics together is a big task, but headway is being made.

We’ve got a little over 2 weeks before our Beta milestone.  We are excited to be getting close to completing the project, but there is still a lot of work to be done.  Hopefully I’ve helped you gain some more insight into what we do and how we do it; come back next week to hear from another member of the team and about where the project is heading!

Thanks for reading,

Brandon

Week 6?

faceeee

Who is Decker Fantastic?

I am the Art Director/Lead for Those guys!

What does Decker Fantastic do??

Mostly I stress out about the deliverables. But my job means that I am responsible for the entire look and feel of the game, so it kinda makes sense. I lead a team of 3 other artists, as we piece together Chained. This means I do a lot of fun drawings in my sketchbook, have a lot of meetings with the Game Designers, and enable my team to create the world we will all get to play in.

WHAT IS GOING ON WITH THE GAME?!?!

Well we just passed off our Alpha build, and that taught us a lot about how much game we have, and where we want to go with it. It was the first time we were ever able to play from A to Z. In doing so we uncovered a lot of little holes to fill, and a few major bumps to smooth over.

so now we are full scale production of our Beta release. This is a lot of fun because we have everyone working very hard and it is very inspiring how much work can get done if you have a group of very motivated people working on it.

Individually, we have all been working in our specified areas, Hojun and Adam have been started their texture painting to polish up our current art assets. Anne has been kicking serious ass with her animations, and continues to work with Jonathan about implementation. Hojun has also been quite vigilant in his security duties. The programmers write their magic poems with numbers and we are always impressed with their Alligator Factories. The game Designers, have basically rebuilt our game from scratch and it is looking so good.

Anyway, We are all hard at work and some exciting things are coming from it. We are proud of what we have accomplished and excited for what is coming next.