Dev Log #1- Born of the Wild: The Depths
Current Design Systems and Mechanics.
Firstly I'd like to say thank you for your interest about BOTW: The Depths it means a lot to me. Today's dev-log is an overview of current implementations of systems and mechanics and some mechanics I plan on working on in the near future.
***Current Design Systems***
Networking is an integral feature for this game, because it's strictly an online game currently and I realize this is one thing I know is important to you all. I'm using a network package called TNet which comes with bare bones essentials to get things going. Whilst this doesn't contain any game-logic it's a start! I've been using TNet for a couple of years now so I'm pretty familiar with it. With this said - I've currently got player movements syncing over the network and I'm currently in the process of creating backend player profiles, what this means is let's say you spawn in as a Great White Shark, the server already has predefined profiles of each stage of life (Baby, Juvi, SubAdult and Adult, etc) and then it can keep track of your data and allow only server-side authorization to changes to prevent cheating.
I haven't yet determined how many players will be supported on the server yet, this will only be known with testing in the future and what if any changes I'll need to make to optimize the network.
I realized from the very start that I wanted combat to be interesting in the game. I can only give you an example based on the Adult Great White Shark as it's what I currently have made. I want each animal to have at least 2 abilities when it comes to attacking, one of course is a simple - 'bite' or 'hit' depending on the animal and the second is some form of powerful attack and/or defensive measure. The Great White Shark Adult's secondary powerful attack is currently an open mouth charge to target and then if it does come in contact with an enemy, it will then latch onto it holding it into place while it sheers its head around thrashing the enemy and then finalizing with 3 devastating bites.
(Below is a short video) showing the Great White Shark special attack with some early testing of ragdoll physics . The animation is NOT final and the Ragdoll physics I'm still in the process of getting just right & of course there will be blood, lots of blood and potentially dismemberment of bodies.
Currently I haven't put much effort into the level design currently. Just made a seaweed plant and some temporary ground textures in substance designer. I did however make an ocean shader so the water has some waves and such which is really cool. Also with the way the underwater stuff is - using the standard Volumetric Lighting system I have tweaked it just enough to where the deeper you go the darker the water gets so that's really cool. I do plan on a lot of stuff soon with levels, but I feel mechanics are more important currently at this moment. But there will be caves, coral reefs, weather events underwater such as currents pushing you around, lots of sand being pushed around making it hard to see, heck maybe even underwater Volcanoes that erupt!
Currently I only have animations for the Great White Shark. They consist of (simple idle, slow swim, charging speed animation, basic bite animation, special attack open mouth, special attack phase 2 - actually hurting the enemy. But I did decide to go a procedural route with head looking, I'm essentially masking out the bones I want to (override) with my mouse and extending upon it my own rotations so I can get both animations + leaning and such so give a more fluid animal that moves more naturally and not so static at the very least.
Near Future Plans
I firstly plan on knocking out all the Great White growth stages (Baby, Juvi, Sub Adult and fleshing out more Adult features).
Each will have unique animations, attacks, stats, etc. It's a lot of work. Determining what kind of sounds I want to give them (In real life Great Whites don't hear anything, don't communicate with noise and they don't even sit still), but in this game of course I'm going to have Idling, and communication to make the game more immersive.
After that I plan on jumping directly to making the ancient Dunkleosteus which is an Apex predator that rivals even the Great White from over 300 Million years ago! Covered in dermal armor and doesn't even have teeth, in fact it has two blades made of (bone) which would result in 7,400 newtons within 50 milliseconds chopping anything in its mouth in half.
I plan on fleshing out the current mechanics first - getting network player profiles up and running, making sure states update over the network correctly such as player movement, attacking, etc. After this I plan on focusing more on the ocean for a bit, getting the colors right with the water depth, swimming on the water surface a bit better and dealing with simple weathering events such as sand, also wouldn't it be pretty cool if your fins pushing water/collisions with body could push the sand on the ground around and distribute all around so yeap that's another mechanic to build.
While the current mechanics are cool and all, the next set of mechanics I'll begin working on before any other animals actually will be the growth system - that way I can seamlessly integrate the growth system between all animals without having to code it multiple times.
Growth, Hunger, Air(if a mammal), Stamina, (perhaps old age??), Disease, Genetic Engineering, etc. These types of mechanics would be better of designed first before going to any other animals so please be understood that the Great White will be the only playable animal for the time being (unless I decide to start on other animals, which I may just well - because why not right?)
Yes animal colors and design will be a mechanic, last resort way will be simple select colors and patterns, but I'm going to try to come up with something really unique on this matter, this will be pretty exciting if my current idea will work smoothly :)
I plan on working on some prototype AI fish here soon, I have a few ideas I want to try on this to make it more awesome than just a single fish moving about, I don't want to go much into the detail of this yet as I haven't yet started on AI fish, but please note I'll be starting on this when I can soon.
I haven't yet decided if I'll be making procedural worlds or not, currently I haven't made a decision on this matter yet. It would certainly speed things up a lot, but I'd have to play around with the idea first to see what sort of results I can come up with and how believable they are. I may make some things procedural, but globally I'll have to play around with it first.
Well that's it currently for this Dev Log. I know it was pretty long and I hope you found it of interest and hungry to see more!