Design Doc, Style Guide, Rendering Fix

Hey Folks! Didn't spend a lot of time in the code editor today, except for a rendering fix. I did, however, spend some time on the design doc and style guide for the game.

The rendering fix was to finally rectify the differences seen in Unity's editor vs. the binary. It turns out my ship items and crew were using Fade and/or Transparent shaders, which don't really cast shadows the way I wanted. Cutout, on the other hand, produces nice shadows based on the sprite's alpha channel. This is actually how I had things originally, but the one missing piece was the shader's alpha cutoff value. For some reason, the value for this cutoff seemed to work in the editor but not the binary. Adjusting it caused shadows to behave more consistently across the two. Which is good!

Except for one thing: now the normal maps aren't rendering. I'm not sure what happened here, but it could be something minor. At least it's consistent across both builds :)

The document work I did today was to bring the game's design doc up-to-date. It's been a while since I wrote it, and it's always good to revisit the doc to see if one is still on target. And in this case, I am. Mostly.

I did notice a few things in the doc which are no longer true. For one thing, my thoughts on soundtrack have changed a bit in favor of having a custom one done (instead of licensing existing work, or playing the user's supplied playlist). Also, I made some comments about who the player controls in the crew which have me thinking. I still think I'd like to try out controlling the whole crew vs. only the captain before I decide.

Finally, I also worked on a new section that defined the visual style of the game. Things like the art style, tone, theme, and some specifications like resolution. These can still change, of course. (As can anything in the doc.) But I'm getting a better picture in my head of what I want, so it makes sense to document them.

The rest of the day was more boring tax and admin type stuff, so I won't get into that. Still more on that front, unfortunately, so work will be slower in the meantime. But this still beats my productivity from a few weeks ago!

Anyway, have a good night, all. And see you tomorrow!

Comments

Malacodor's picture
Malacodor

What are your plans regarding turn-based versus real-time?

Ran around with a clown mask before it was cool

dcfedor's picture
dcfedor

Still leaning towards real-time with pause and maybe fast-forward. (similar to Rimworld, Sims, Sim City, Elite II: Frontier, etc.)

I'll have to see how it feels in practice, but I suspect it'll be more fun to watch and tinker with if time flows smoothly vs. incrementally.

There are definitely some benefits to turn-based, too, such as fewer performance issues for complex simulations and more relaxed pace. But I think with pause, real-time won't be too much pressure on the player.

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

Malacodor's picture
Malacodor

In that case the other crewmen should at least be semi-autonomous (acting on their own, but also follow orders, like in WTF). Managing the whole crew manually - even with pause mode - might be too stressful for players that typically play turn-based games. And you really shouldn't scare the NEO Scavenger players off.

Ran around with a clown mask before it was cool

dcfedor's picture
dcfedor

Yeah, I was picturing the game sort of playing itself with the player able to override. The Sims and Rimworld are probably the closest analogues.

The one thing that might differ is the game auto-pausing when something significant happens (e.g. equipment malfunction, argument, combat)

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games