Drift update – February 23, 2014

We’re back to working on Drift.

What’s fun is that we can apply some of the skills we’ve picked up in our “in between” projects. Eric is doing some pretty incredible work with procedurally generated voxel terrain. I’ve had a little practice working out an oxygen system (originally it was for Debris) so I took my work freom an earlier project and built off of it.

Huzzah for game dev!

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Progress on Level Design – e2d!

"I love you, new me. But where are your pants?"
“I love you, new me. But where are your pants?”

So we’ve gotten a lot done on Summit, in the past few days.

I’m delighted that Eric made the discovery of the Unity asset, E2D. Our use of Uni2D to generate terrain was meeting with some snags – namely, that the editor crawled any time we tried to drag an object with the Uni2D script attached. For the quick generation of player terrain, E2D is much simpler. You just drag and drop nodes, and voila – a new piece of terrain in seconds. I learned how to use the software and generated the environment above in about 2 hours of work – the bare bones of a level, which I can now fill in with environmental details.

Kyle Robot
We took the animation rig from the free robot Kyle and put our new textures on it.

We also have a new model for our dude guy. At first glance he doesn’t look much better – where are his clothes? – but if you look under that pasty pale skin you might see a humanoid Mecanim rig as opposed to the one that Eric valiantly set up way back when. The benefit of this rig is that there are premade animations for it, which we hope to take in, learn from and perhaps modify to work on a 2D plane. Incidentally I recommend that Unity 3d users look into Space Robot Kyle – he comes with a great animation tutorial.

Eric has proposed that we employ something called Agile development, which is apparently all the rage (my mother, working at  a software company, works using Agile). Essentially our system is to set 2-week “sprints” and break up our goals into achievable blocks. I’m down. Thinking about what I can accomplish in two weeks helps keep ambition in check. If I learned anything from my solo Ludum Dare 25 experience is that you need to keep your goals – short term at least – as simple as possible. Get too ambitious, and your interest starts flagging as you toil without any discernable success.

We’re also switching up the control scheme. More on that later.

Honestly, folks, I’ve felt very motivated about the project in the past few days. A gleam of the final result is starting to peer through.

Seriously, 2d indie developers! Check out E2D.

“Astral Battle” – Music by Send More People

I thought it might be interesting for folks to see the music that we’ve been generating for our projects. Even though only one game has been published, we’ve got done dozens of songs.

Astral Battle is a soundtrack from “Drift”, Send More People’s once and future space game project.

The song was intended to be the in-combat music for a game set in the far reaches of space. Drift went through several concept iterations which ended up removing ship to ship fighting. The piece has a soft spot in Derek’s heart, though, and he plans to work it in, when and if Send More People returns to Drift.

Author: Derek Gildea

A New Climbing Silhouette, a Dev Diary

Another silhouette to climb. This one was made in illustrator, then exported as a png file (not a vector). Even though there are pixels in this baby, it’s looking moderately sharp. Eric, for his part, is thinking of adopting a “node-based” drawing script that he was working on for Drift. Essentially, we would be able to create node points and the script would generate a mesh by linking between all the nodes – then we would fill it in with a repeating material texture. Something akin to what the Chasing Aurora guys are doing. We’re really in awe of them, and we’re thinking we’d like to pay homage to their art style. Maybe.

Eric and I are struggling to find a time for both of us to work on the game. Eric says he’s suffering from the classic conundrum of an indie developer with a day job – too much time to think about doing the game, and not enough time for execution. He has a lot of priorities on his plate right now – his long-term girlfriend and his family life not the least important among them. So he’s working on the game every other Friday, and squeezing in time when he has the spare hours. I feel for him, and totally support him working to get his life in order. Sounds like our basic challenge as indie game designers!

For my part, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about the art design of the game – what I’d like it to be, and what I can accomplish. I’ve been spending hours working with the new tablet and watching tutorial videos on concept art and digital painting. There’s a lot to learn here, but I’m pretty sure that I can design something that fits with my style and still looks groovy.

Anyway – keep on trucking.

Oh by the way: here’s a great article we read on staying motivated during the indie games process.

Oh, and also this: