Expedition – August 20, 2019 update

It’s been 44 days since the last update so let’s go!

CREA Digital winners

ganadores

We were selected as winners for “Crea Digital”, a program from the Ministries of Culture and Information Technologies of Colombia, with “Expedición: Los Hijos de Bachué”. This will be a scenario based on the Muisca legend of Pacanchique, and the last years of the Muisca Confederation in the central Andes highlands.  We expect to make good use of these funds to enhance production, art and UX aspects of the game while producing quality content to be distributed across the country, inspiring children to become game developers in the future and teaching people about their history.

Changes in Exploration

After a lot of experimentation with the forests, including tests with 3d meshes, I decided to tackle the forest issue with a change of perspective. Of course, this isn’t a magical solution but I believe it’s closer to the sense of scale I want to portray.

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For the “New Expedition” mode, the player now starts on land in the southeastern-most part of the map, using an adequate sea vessel based on the selected culture.

Regarding field of view, our first approach was to use zoom levels for this so that if for some reason your field of view was restricted, the game would zoom in so that what you could see would fit all screen. I found out this to be a bit confusing and troublesome from the art part, so we are now using a “vignette” effect instead.

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We are also now detecting if the expedition is transversing a forest, in which case it moves slower and the field of view is also limited.

Procedural terrain

Worked further in procedural generation, adding controls to ensure a percentage of the map is above the sea, and smoothing out the mountain peaks to make them look more natural.

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Hometown and Transfer Items

For the “New Expedition” mode, the player adventure will start at his “hometown”, where he must stock his Expedition to the unknown. He may come back to town to trade and restock.

The UI is still very early but finally settled on a design for this multipurpose interaction, which will also be used to trade with native towns, and to transfer things between the expedition and locations such as ships and outposts.

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Voyage mode

The current approach for the long voyages in the open sea. It will be a separate mode in which events will be simulated and things will be handled at a higher level. Will probably add some navigation and weather aspects, as well as events with the crew.

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Combat – Pathfinding

We implemented pathfinding in combat using the A* Pathfinding Project, it’s looking much better now.

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UI Tweaks

Added a permanent minimap on the lower-right corner of the HUD, and compressed lots of UI info into the status panel in the lower-left corner. Also increased the size of the Town and Conversation dialogs and relocated them.

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Also, after lots of research and experimentation, we were able to add “markers” for the command destinations, painting them over the terrain using “projectors”.

Rivers

After evaluating different alternatives we settled on handling rivers as meshes generated from polylines (sequences of points), in order to provide more flexibility for their procedural generation. We also added animation to their flow. Their appearance is still work in progress.

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Sound effects tests

We introduced speech effects for “commands” as well as random “expressions” from the expedition members during exploring, as well as new sounds playing when the units are injured or die. This is all still in test.

 

Expedition: July 7, 2019 Update

It’s been about three weeks since the last update so let’s go!

Don’t forget to check out the forums and discuss there, as well as follow the blog!

Cartography – Automap

We had made progress on this some months ago, but with all the changes in the design and now that we have procedural terrain, we practically had to remake it from scratch.

Discovering

We are now generating the base map from the generated (or loaded) terrain, taking into account the heightmap to draw the shoreline as well as icons for the mountains and forests, and then displaying it as the player explores, including the position of the player and adding the discoveries he has made (see below).

Automap

I must say that it looks pretty cool.

Discoveries and Findings

This facet of the game is meant to provide the players with a motivation to explore the map. As you walk around you will find things such as animal or plant species, ruins or new cultures. When you find a new one you will have a chance to name it and will earn “stars” based on its rarity. You can always check your discoveries in your journal.

Discovery Journal

This facet is still very early in progress, it will be heavily based on procedural generation for the description and (2D) appearance of the findings you are making.

Procedural Generation

We invested a serious amount of dev on terrain generation, we are now generating islands using midpoint displacement fractal with preseeded key points and a lot of tweaking to make them look nice, be more controllable, and play well with the base procedural generation we had in place which was 100% Perlin noise.

Islands

We are also affecting the base heightmap so that plains look plainer and mountains look more dramatic, by scaling specific portions of the heightmap.

Dramatic Mountains

Combat

Combat now takes place on a separate “scene”, so when for any reason the player engages in combat (right now there are just random ambushes) he transitions to a separate area with a higher level of detail

Combat

Exploration

Small tweaks on how things are portrayed in the overworld, to give a better sense of scale now that the combat has been moved to a separate scene.

Also, further additions to mouse movement so you can now move in the ocean and enter towns.

Title Screen

Working in the flows for both the Campaign mode and the New Expedition mode, you can now select the campaign (but there’s a single one, the Pacanchique one), or select the “civ” you are going to use for the procedural mode.

 

Expedition: June 17 update

Procedural Generation

expJun17

  • Make individual features of towns “land” into irregular terrain when placing them.
  • Allow setting the tiling sizes of the terrain layer’s textures.
  • Paint terrain with rock texture based on its slopeness.
  • Place towns in grass band.
  • Prevent trees from being placed in steep slopes.
  • Select between premade or procedural terrain based on the selected game mode.
  • Paint “dirt” below trees and towns placed in the map with a semitransparent texture mask.

Combat

expJun17-3

  • Release camera lock on the main unit when entering combat mode.
  • Add visible arrows as projectiles for archers.
  • Transition to Game Over scene when the main unit dies

Exploration

expJun17-2

  • Mouse movement in Exploration mode

Expedition: June 8 Update

Procedural Terrain

procgen

  • Created heightmap using Perlin noise, and apply to Unity Terrain object
  • Add the first layer of textures to the terrain based on height boundaries (ocean floor, grassland, and mountain).
  • Make the boundaries between terrain types fuzzier by fading, dithering and adding noise to the height thresholds.
  • Add forests by seeding with trees on the grassland band, and then growing them.
  • Add support to load towns into the terrain

Music / SFX

  • Added battle overlay so when you go to Combat mode it transitions smoothly into a more active track.
  • Added ambiance background noise for land exploration.

Graphics

  • Better textures for the Muisca towns, more responsive to changes on lighting

Fatigue System

  • Changed sleeping hours prompt to use a slider
  • Check time for the “sunny” modifier (only add during the day)
  • Add notifications when finished resting.
  • Added a “resting” label to the HUD shown while the expedition is resting.

Camera

  • Use scrollwheel or +- to change the zoom level
  • Remove automatic battle zoom

Expedition: June 1 update

Here comes a big batch of work, prompted mainly by us participating in Crea Digital, a Colombia government grant/contest/thing, since some friends told us its guidelines are pretty in line with Expedition.

So we went into it… and after a lot of paper-work, we submitted on Thursday. Hope we can get these funds to pay for the much-needed artwork!

Besides the planning work, most of the dev was aimed to create an Alpha version showing a historical Muisca campaign. Muiscas is the culture that lived in Colombia before the Spanish came, I designed a scenario around the tragic legend of Pacanchique.

Here’s a video of the current alpha release!

There is another thing that changed now. So far I’ve been focusing on creating a “Demo” of the game to show it to potential publishers. That hasn’t worked so far and I’ve almost run out of resources to continue, so we are now looking forward to creating a fully playable version of the game, and publish it ourselves in case we cannot find a good deal, let’s see how far we can go with our own funds.

We are going to focus on a gameplay mode where you land at a procedurally generated island and you explore it to find discoveries (native cultures, artifacts, plants, and animals) while surviving dangers such as animals or savages. You need to build some outposts in order to recover your health and be able to push inland more every time.

Some other project news is the team is growing! we were joined by
David Flórez for art and 3D modeling and Juan Carlos García (QuietGecko) for SFX and Music. Along with the efforts of Paul Pereda and Camilo Ramirez, they were key in order to be able to complete the demo for Crea Digital, welcome guys!

Pacanchique Campaign

pacanchique
Pacanchique and Azay, by Paul Pereda
  • New Campaign “Sons of Bachué”, starting in Hunza with a party of Muisca spearmen.
  • Sample terrain based on the Muisca Confederation territory.

muisca1

  • Add cities and temples to visit using their own test models.
  • Add quest to visit Sugamuxi on a time limit
  • Add Muisca map

tunjo

Unit Selection and targetting

  • Allow selecting units with a single click
  • Show cursor in target location when moving units.

Building

  • Separated Camping and town building, you can now build outposts independently.

SFX and Music

  • Add new SFX for combat
  • Add new rain ambiance
  • Add music for exploration with the Muisca civ.

Camping

  • You can now camp/rest anywhere inland, not just in camps.
  • Add a bonus to fatigue recovery if resting in a camp.
  • Don’t increase fatigue while resting
guecha
Guecha Warrior concept by Davíd Florez

Combat

  • Display death notification of crew member including death cause
  • Make player units move normally during combat regardless of fatigue

Towns

  • Removed town name labels (testing to see what’s better)
  • Added back temporary icons to the buildings in towns, temporarily.
  • Keep faces of people in towns
  • Added option to receive artifact in a conversation

tunjo

Assorted

  • Change camera position on the title screen
  • Added support for localization and Spanish bundle.
  • Fix Pause system to use a state machine
  • Remove the Pause button, redundant with settings.

title

  • Lighter color for water during the night.
  • Access settings by pressing the escape key
  • Added cancel button to prompt popup

Expedition – May 18 update

Strengthened the clouds particle effect, so it looks foggier.

Expedition0518-5

Did some fixes on the “RTS-like” units selection system and some cleanup on the UI.

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Speaking about Combat, you can now commanding units to move somewhere or attack a given unit while in combat mode.

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I still continue experimenting with the visual style for forests… it’s an endless conflict between preserving the intended “scale” of the world, while avoid it looking too flat while dealing with achieving adequate performance. Fun.

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This week we hope to push hard in order to have a playable version of the game that can be tested since we are applying for a government grant.

Behold, the cabbage forest!

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Expedition – May 6 Update

Fatigue System

  • Updates are more granular now (every 10 mins of game time)
  • Fatigue area is more compact now in the UI.
  • Reduce Expedition speed based on max fatigue to a maximum of 30%

ExpeditionZ 5_6_2019 6_32_24 PM.png

Hunger System

  • Add Hunger Alert bar (only display when average Expedition hunger is > 1)
  • Add fatigue modifiers for Expedition hunger. (The more hungry you get, the more quickly you become tired)
  • Kill Expedition units if starving for too long.

User Interface

  • Adapted buy supplies dialog to a new simpler schema (Still pending UI assets)
  • Import new test assets for Town and NPC Interaction UI

ExpeditionZ 5_6_2019 6_31_05 PM

World

  • Make cloud particle effects follow the player.
  • Add grasslands.
  • Tweaks on Island

Combat

  • Drag select units when in combat mode

ExpeditionZ 5_6_2019 6_33_05 PM.png

Coming up

  • Individual movement and attack commands during combat.
  • Changes in Camp command to be able to sleep anywhere, anytime.
  • Enable back Map screen
  • Add more towns to map include native town in the mainland.
  • Add animals and monsters attacking you in the mainland.
  • Add ruins with treasure.