Expedition – Tech Demo Update 7

We have been working on the tech demo for about 13 weeks now. Discuss this update or the game in general at the community here. I will be posting weekly updates from now on (instead of bi-weekly).

Finishing work from the previous week, we did some changes on the Storm mode, changing the values for the scale of the waves, restricting time compression and fixing the camera focus. We also smoothed out the wind direction changes for them to look less abrupt especially on this scene.

Ship navigating a dark stormy sea

Next up, we started adding some subsystems to make this a playable game. We added a general “notifications” system to show events to the player and implemented a test “Fish Caught” event which increases the supplies a little bit.

We made expedition members go hungry and consume food from the expedition supplies, based on the settings for ration size and the number of daily rations. This included calculating and displaying the remaining days of supplies in the UI.

Ship in an open ocean, notification of events happening including catching 17 fishes, consuming 190 supplies, and starving.

We also added a system to affect the morale of the expedition members on an individual basis and integrated this with the Hunger system (so the get increasingly depressed when hungry). as well as other things such as being away from land for too long, and outcomes from the “Man overboard” event. We are also displaying the average morale value on the UI.

In order to implement these, we did a refactor on the events system so that the passing of the time of day is handled by a single component, which then defers further checks and effects into the specific components (such as the Weather controller or the Expedition object)

Desk with a drawing of a naturalist inspecting a plant.

Finally, we integrated a batch of art into the cutscene for Captain Cook’s campaign.

We also had some discussion about future gameplay modes, including additional campaigns that are not strictly historical but rather include fantasy elements and plots, battling with monsters, dialogs with NPCs, all this keeping the focus on expedition management and navigation.

I also created a simple landing page for the game, and linked it from Slashware’s homepage.

Expedition – Tech Demo Update 6

We have been working on the tech demo for about twelve weeks now. Discuss this update or the game in general at the community here

World Map

Loaded the entire world map, and created a system to instantiate chunks of it as the player transverses it. Next steps are adding some base vegetation and terrain texturing.

Weather

Rolled back the more complex particle effects for rain, and left only the simplest one, for now, we need to invest some more time researching.

w12-rain

Introduced a “modifiers” system in order to correctly affect the scene based on the day and night cycles, and the weather, from multiple subsystems. Used it to affect the lighting and FOV based on the different rain levels.

Added a “sunset” effect using color temperature postprocessing.

Tied weather transitions to the passing of time of the day (instead of real-life time).

Also displaying current weather on HUD now.

Storms

Added storm clouds forming when the weather is “heavy rain”. These clusters of clouds travel quickly to the player, engulfing and taking him to the “Storm mode”. Still working on the appearance of these.

w12-stormlets

Tweaked storm mode to fix interactions with time compression and the weather system, and to make controls more difficult.

Added a first iteration of the “Man overboard” event to storm mode, the player must choose between saving someone who fell from the ship, risking introducing more damage to it during the storm, or leave him behind causing a drop on the Expedition’s morale.

w12-overboard

Campaign Details

There was a complete design iteration over the “Campaign Details” flow, integrating the preexisting “Historic Campaigns” and “World Mode”, and leading to a relayout of it. Players will be able to either pick any of the historical campaigns or “create” their own, by creating his character and setting up his expedition’s starting place, time and conditions.

w12-campaign

 

ExpeditionZ – Tech Demo Update 5

We have been working on the tech demo for about ten weeks now. The Slashware forums are now up again after many years! please head >>> there  <<< to discuss this update or anything about the game.

We added a 3D scene for James Cook’ campaign cutscene, including dynamic lighting. The script for this first cutscene was designed and the images that will be rendered on the scrolled are being produced.

screen shot 2019-01-12 at 12.52.42 am

We also have a new title screen, with art made by Jaime Robles. We were considering doing a 3D title screen instead but I’m kind of liking how it looks.

screen shot 2019-01-12 at 12.53.22 am

For the campaign selection view, we created a component to generate portraits, and integrated it with our first pack of art for portraits. We plan to expand upon it adding more variety. We also added tooltips for several components on this screen, including the crew members, the ship and its equipment. Finally, we also added special portraits for the expedition leaders and tweaked the layout.

Campaign Selection Screen

We worked on different things for the exploration view, one first thing we added is a very simple simulation of the wind direction, it changes randomly and affects the speed of the ship, this means you have to adjust your course in order to make the best use of the wind (sailing against the wind is difficult!)

We also added music tracks for the title, cutscene, and world (based on current weather). We are currently using the tracks from the original Expedition project.

Looking forward to having a playable campaign, we loaded a new map covering the journey from Plymouth to Rio de Janeiro, we also experimented with tree billboards for the forest sections of the world and made it so that cities can be loaded from a list which we will further expand in the future.

We added commands to allow the player to change time compression, in order to make long event-less voyages bearable. In the future, it’s going to pause automatically whenever something interesting happens.

screen shot 2019-01-14 at 6.41.43 pm

We worked further in the Storm’s View, doing several graphical tweaks and enhancing the integration with the buoyancy script. We also added a simple model for ship damage based on the difference between the ship’s heading and wind direction.

The game now displays the integrity of different parts of the ship and shows a ship sunk event when hull integrity reaches 0 (Game over!)

screen shot 2019-01-14 at 6.44.52 pm

 

ExpeditionZ – Tech Demo Update 4

We have been working on the tech demo for about eight weeks now.

There has been a lot of work on design and planning for the completion of the tech demo, including the test campaign. Some of the things we did since the last update:

  • Test modal storm event, taking the player to a separate scene with rough waves.
  • Make camera orbit the player following his heading
  • Different levels of rain

exp4-3

  • Test layout for 3D rendered cutscene
  • Reactivate Minimap and include more position markers
  • Show latitude and longitude minutes
  • Surf effect for the ship on overworld mode.

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  • Tests for other units following the player while in land exploration
  • Tests on appearance for Campaign Details screen
  • Tests for soil and trees on the map
  • Display wind direction and change randomly.
  • Point of sail calculation affecting the ship’s speed. (Wind direction vs heading)

exp4-5

  • Navigation from game to title screen.
  • Ship info tooltip on the campaign details screen.
  • Populate campaign details screen with a long list of crew members, including tooltips with their names.

ex4-1

The project’ artists have also been hard at work, delivered the first pack of art for the portraits, and a new cover art which we are still deciding if will be used for the title screen or for the website and marketing material.

ExpeditionZ – Tech Demo Update 3

We have been working on the tech demo for about six weeks now.

exp-dev3-1
More UI tests, working compass

Some of the things we did since the last update:

  • Labels hovering on towns with their name
  • Decrease depth of field of view during night
  • Torchlight during night
  • Pause time button
  • Show hour of the day
  • Allow docking ship in town
  • 3D town scenes (then ditched)
  • Working compass
  • Test title screen and flow
  • Test event popups
  • Test town Popup
  • HUD relayout and temporary UI elements
  • Test “New Campaign” screen and flow
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A storm sinks the ship

Another aspect we also invested quite a bit of time on, was changing the whole water system to use a different library. Even tho we are not using all the features of the plugin (the entire refraction system, for instance), it has allowed us to display foam in the shorelines, create the Storm scene with big waves and simulating buoyancy on the ship, as well as some additional effects.

ExpeditionZ – Tech Demo Update 2

We have been working on the tech demo for about a month now.

Screen Shot 2018-12-02 at 10.36.28 PM

Some of the things we did since the last update:

  • Added (and then broke) a minimap system where the game world gets unveiled as you explore.
  • Add a “journal”-like thing to the HUD, displaying the date, location, supplies, mood, and weather info.
  • Add a day/night cycle, time goes by and is reflected on the lighting conditions of the main map.
  • Moved away from the fantasy land and into Earth
  • Added “rain” particle effect for when it rains.
  • Decided to go 3D for the main map view instead of the antique map aesthetic. Invested quite a bit of time on making the water look fine.
  • Added instance-able test towns including test town view.
  • Added temp title screen.
  • Acquired and imported Earth’s terrain elevation data (mainly from 2000’s NASA’s Shuttle Radar Topography Mission), for a sector including the Caribbean, Central America, and part of South America.

Along with these developments, I’ve been working on finishing the GDD and the plans for the completed Tech Demo. We are focusing on finishing a test scenario, and soon we are going to have more involvement from a cool 2D artist to bring the UI to life. The title screen painting is also being worked on now.