Hey folks, Jon back once more to talk about what I've gotten up to over the last month. It's been a very busy one for Flintlock Studios, with the visit to Ga-Ma-Yo #7 which saw the team descending on Leeds for the day which you can read about here. The evening itself gave me the opportunity to play some fantastic games, chat with people in the industry and of course get an idea of people's opinion on Lithic, the story and the concept behind the game. The feedback we had was immensely positive and I was humbled by just how interested people were in our Studio and what we're working on – it's nice to see people becoming passionate about a project, especially one you're involved with on such an intimate level.
The first week and a half of the month was spent preparing for Ga-Ma-Yo and making sure the scenes we were displaying on the evening were bug-free and represented what we wanted to show. This involved making sure the basic AI framework we had in the build was playing nicely and the commands issued through the radial menu executed properly, along with adding placeholder graphics for the radial menu itself (they were just blank white images beforehand).
The latter half of the month has been spent creating the 2D graphics we'll be using on the in game UI and main menu, implementing them and in certain cases replacing and rethinking the layout entirely. The challenge has been finding a scheme that looks the way I want and at the same time gels well with the game world. A lot of the brighter colours I had planned on using have been muted and now the whole UI has a grittier feel and fits into the overarching design concept of Lithic. I'm really pleased with how the menus flow together and we're maintaining simple methods of giving player feedback whilst remaining subtle about how it's done. I also changed the font to something widely legible!
Time for another update on what I've been doing the last month. At the start of the month we were busy getting ready for Ga-Ma-Yo, so I was spending time prettying up and preparing assets for our demonstration videos for the most part. Unfortunately nothing much exciting here – making specular maps, normal maps, checking skinning on models and getting some basic animations in as well as crushing any bugs in the AI routines we needed done.
However after that was all prepared I was able to move onto something a bit more interesting, getting more character models and there blendshape animations into the game and re-working the terrain meshes.
You can see a bit more on the character work here, in brief I was making blendshape targets for body and face shape morphing as well as personality type morphs so that the characters in Lithic have a good level of diversity.
Once they were done it was on to the terrain meshes, mainly putting together a sensible workflow for getting them into the game engine along with correct collision and tweaking UV and texture settings to get the level of detail we want without using too much in the way of overheads.
We're happy with the results so far but we don't want to reveal to much because of the latest thing I've been working on, perhaps the most exciting (for us at least!) which is that we're migrating the build to the newest beta version of Unity. This gives us access to global illumination and physically based rendering which improves the graphical presentation of Lithic massively. It's a fair amount of work and we expect it'll take a few more days to get everything carried over and any resulting bugs fixed – then we'll have a raft of new screenshots and videos to show you using the new rendering techniques.
So that's it for this month and remember as usual you can let us know your thoughts or ask any questions in the comments below.