Lapine Tales devlog

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  • Relaxed over the holidays, but also got a present for game development: a Blue Yeti Mic for doing some voice over / scratch audio! First test is below, myself and my Son (with some good direction from Mom who is also a film director IRL, our first takes without her were pretty poor.) I like including voice, but am also considering just doing the Nintendo Zelda/Mario style emoting mumbles and exclamations which also seem to work OK (and require a lot less recording.)

    Recorded with Audacity, some filtering, normalization and compressor used to clean up the audio. Background music from Kevin MacLeod.

    Scratch Audio - Video

  • Inspiration time.

    Attended the online conference Visual;Conference, great speakers and good simultaneous discord chat. The 2017 conference is already on youtube and the 2018 is being uploaded, see the conf link for details. Good stuff to check out, recommended.

    My game will be a hybrid VN / point and click, so a lot of content was spot on and inspiring, even if my genre is not in the main VN genre of 'romance'. That being said they showed a number of existing VNs also outside that main genre.

    A few quick takeaways:

    • Create a good story outline
    • Create full script before doing any professional voice acting
    • Indie voice acting cost: $3/line or $100/hour
    • Limit each line in dialogue to < 160 characters between action (change portrait animation, continue prompt, change speaker, etc.). Otherwise players skip the text.
    • Some Visual Novel platforms earn $1M/day! Choices / Episodes - using freemium model.
    • Get solid contracts for IP or license details (e.g. music, art, code).
  • Working on story based on the Snowflake method, this will help drive:

    • Characters (art and personality)
    • Scenes (level, level design)
    • Dialogue (writing dialogue, voice)
    • Plot (states of the game)

    I'm going to focus further development on making a demo/chapter 0 and releasing that (this would just be the start of the story, a few scenes: intro, exiled, fire, return to the warren.)

    Here's the influence from the VN Conf

    Here's my initial work from Google Doc:

    Lapine Tales Snowflake

    Inspiration, the warren, Dark Mode, fleeting life of rabbits

    “(Because children grow up we think a child’s purpose is to grow up. But a child’s purpose is to be a child.) Nature does not disdain what only lives for a day. It pours the whole of itself into each moment…. Life’s bounty is in its flow, later is too late.”

    One Sentence

    An exiled rabbit hesitantly returns to their warren to save it from disaster, but at a COST to themselves and the warren.

    COSTS (One sentence alternative endings / branches)

    The rabbit becomes savage to save the warren, but so savage the warren will not accept them back into their rabbit society. (Choice is to go to war and destroy all enemies, rabbit and others alike to save the warren.)

    The rabbit sacrifices some of the warren to save the majority of the warren and the rabbit and the warren must deal with the fallout and grief. (Choice to leave some rabbits behind, so that others can be saved.)

    The rabbit callously abandons the warren, but then learns that is not possible nor worth while to live a life in the wilds alone. (Choice to not help the warren once rebuffed. Witness the destruction. Turn to face an enemy, that cannot be evaded by yourself and fade to black. Still a valid nihilistic choice, not a punishment.)

    One Paragraph

    A rabbit is exiled from his warren as a result of protecting their wayward younger sibling from a deadly punishment. The rabbit is scarred by the chief rabbit's bodyguards and told to never return to the warren. After a heartbroken farewell between the siblings and the rabbit's mate, the rabbit attempts to live in the open away from the warren, encountering friendly, fierce and wily creatures in the open that the rabbit has not seen before and they enlarge his life. The rabbit learns of a looming disaster (a fire) for the warren and races back to the warren to save it. In saving the warren he must make important choices, such as becoming a savage fighter to ward off enemies, or understanding the need for sacrifice (his sibling and friends?) to save the majority of the warren. After the warren is saved, he and the warren must face the consequences of how the warren was saved. For example, the savage rabbit is no longer accepted in the society and must self-impose exile or a far ranging scout.

  • Got a bit distracted with some good Unity / AR dev work, but now looking at this again and reading about writing (the cool Vandameer book about writing - the author of Annihilation.) As I was doing on Unity, I got interested by the Adventurer Creator add on which looks like a really nice engine/development tool, but in the end, it's probably more heavyweight than what I need and I'm also interested in doing the engine development, so I'm working on the C3 version again. Adventure Creator did give me some inspiration to try 2.5D ('3D characters in 2D maps with Z like Grim Fandango.)

    Unity did bring up a nice path for doing an art pipeline based on capturing 3d models w/ animation and creating 2D sprites. I did a couple quick tests and I 'll think I'll go with it.

    Basically, download Unity, buy the Sprite Baking Studio asset, some 3D model assets and it's pretty nicely automated to generate a bunch of sprite sheets using different camera angles.

    Here's a quick example (not really integrated into the background and the movement timing is off but gives some idea of the animation/sprite generation quality.)

  • Testing Sprite Baking Studio w/ 3D models (art pipeline from Unity & Unity 3D models to 2d images that can be brought in as images for sprite animations in C3.)

    Can also add dynamic shadows w/ transparency which may help it feel more integrated into the scene.

    The tree 'Z' effect is very simple, depending on current 'Y' coord of player vs the 'Y' coord of the base of the tree, place the tree on a 'foreground' (in front of player) or 'middleground' (in back of player, but in front of background.)

    Also added pathfinding behavior (once reach dest, sets the path to the current mouse cursor x,y, so basically chases around the cursor) also added a polygon cut out in the shape of the foreground hill and also add a rectangle solid as a keep out at the base of the tree.

    Lapine Tales Devlog

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  • Using new Z elevation, made it simpler to 2.5D with characters, new test from first use of Z elevation (still must manually scale Hare and Trees based on Y, but Z and occlusion is based on Z elevation (and Z is set by Y in this case.)

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