Hi there, and thank you for reading this first In Dev article. Unlike in our main De. Diaries which are a summary of the progress made during each month of the development, these articles will cover all the assets and elements that are actively in development or that are planned for the near future in a much more detailed way.
Cutscenes and Story
A great deal of time is being spent right now to make all the cutscenes and story events for the game's first episode, as well as to sync all the different dialogues of the characters with their lip and body movements. The story of the game has many moments that are told in a cinematic way, as well as dozens of interactions between characters to move the plot forward. These interactions and movements are being made carefully one by one, to give them the highest quality we can achieve.
All these cutscenes are being made using Blender and syncing the audio and animation by hand. This is a long and difficult process, taking many hours for each scene. However, we are pleased with the results so far.
To improve the cinematic feeling of these scenes in the game, and given their importance for the story of the Episode, we are also currently developing several tools to help us with the placement of the different cameras, IK based movement, animation transitions and composition.
While the tools available in more recent Unity versions would certainly help us with the development, we have also found many troubles during the attempts we made to upgrade the project, and due to its size, we have decided that it is less time consuming for us to make the tools we need, tailored for this project and the Unity version we use.
Our aim is to have a robust cutscenes creator to work with for this Episode, as well as a procedural camera manager to be implemented in future Episodes of the game. The whole system is currently being built on top of the basic cinematic mode that we included in our demo for the game, adding new functions on top of it to make the whole experience a lot more immersive. This new system will be implemented partially on Episode 1, and we hope to have it fully implemented by Episodes 2 and 3.
During the last months we've also been improving constantly our tool for lip-sync and facial animations. Facial expressions in the game are very important as the characters will be talking to the player and to each other, as well as reacting to the environment and the attacks from the paranormal creatures quite often. Their faces also must show their current emotional state as a clue for the player to know in which way his / her teammates are going to react.
We are currently adding more and more procedural emoting and AI driven control over the dialogues and emotions of the character, so it can react in a smoother and more natural way to the events that the player (and the different creatures) trigger around them.
New Gameplay Elements
As we develop the first episode of the game and prepare it for the release, we are also adding new gameplay features. We are slowly adding all the needed code for every item in the game (starting with the first video-cameras) as well as the needed AI code for the computer controlled teammates.
The work for the rest of September and October will be mostly on AI for the teammates as well as on polishing the team based mechanics both for single and multiplayer. We will also polish the controllers for the 3rd person view of the game and finish the code for the rest of the items needed for the Episode.
As we explained in our last dev. diary, we are also trying to get funding for the game by selling different tools and assets. We are happy to announce that 2 assets will be sent for approval to the Asset Store this month, a German Shepherd model and an American Bison model.
Both are high quality, rigged and animated 3D models that include a complex fur shader. These assets will also be used in several ways in our game (the fur shader has already been extensively used for several creatures of later episodes).
These tools are also in development, as we keep working in what we expect to be a really busy October.
Thank you for reading this small article, we hope that you liked it and look forward to reading all your feedback and comments. Thanks again, and have a great week!
The Irreverent Software Team