It's been a long while since the last devlog. True to the themes of Forgotten Fields' story, gathering momentum and and keeping work going at a steady pace can sometimes be really difficult, and - for me - if the core development work isn't flowing along at a quick pace, writing devlogs/ marketing etc becomes lower priority and falls by the wayside.
But having kept up development through this slow period, I now have a foundation of the new bits and can sprint through the remainder of the game - because there isn't much left!
We're now at the final scene - Sid's house. Sid is back home for the party that we've been moving towards since the opening. Of course, if you'd rather see the house when the game is out, then maybe skip this devlog.
The design for the house is something I've had in my mind from the beginning. It isn't something I'd planned for any specific reason, it's just the place that I saw while imagining the game's story.
So first of all, here's a stop motion video of me building the house, set to classical music, because why not?
With Sid's house (mostly) completed, the next step was to make the backdrop. While you can't really explore the neighborhood, it was important make the bits that are visible realistic and believable, in order to make the atmosphere feel cozy and lived in. I must admit, I got a bit more ambitious with this part than I'd planned. But I really loved creating the little neighborhood, and it was a great learning experience!
Here's some pictures of the neighborhood under construction. This area is of course, also inspired by the kind of places you'd see in Goa, while also maintaining some of that Ghibli flavor I've tried to have in the game from the beginning:
I've tried to add as many details as possible - wires, AC units, pavements, gutter covers, transformers, water tankers, satellite dishes - things that really make the neighborhood identifiable as set in India/ South Asia. I may add some more if possible!
After that, I went and got myself a plug in for the skies and the environmental/ ambient lighting system (Enviro Sky and Weather) which will help me change the time of the day during run time in this scene. It also pushes up the lighting quality up a notch!
Plus, it allows me to add some beautiful skies and clouds to the game. Check it out (along with some more great music by Micamic) in the video below!
Finally, having finished up the neighborhood and lit it up with some Realtime GI lights, the next step was to focus on improving the performance. Of course, the final optimization run will be done once the game is fully finished content wise, but I also don't want the game to chug during testing!
One of the steps I took was to dynamically turn off unnecessary lights in the neighborhood when the player isn't present in that spot/ when the camera can't see it. I did this by simply switching the lights on/off using triggers. So when the player is in the house, the lights in the front and back streets are turned off (and replaced by a single light to keep it lit when in the background), when the player is in the front street, the lights in the house and the backstreet are turned off, etc - you get the point.
Only, switching them on/off abruptly didn't look good, so I decided to fade the power of the lights in and out by animating the properties. This took a little time, but was totally worth it! The framerate improvement was also the same as switching the lights off. Check it out in the video below:
That's it for this time! The next devlog will probably be when the game is almost finished.
If you've got any thoughts/ feedback, I'd love to hear it - send me a mail or leave a comment! I'll see you guys in the next post :)