January 22, 2013
So finally after an excruciating wait, have we managed to finish our trailer. I have written a lot about the work process here earlier. To be honest we had planned to finish earlier but we did a couple of things on this project that we haven’t tried before. One was using our cinematic editor which hadn’t been put through this kind of hardcore testing before. It seemed simple at the start but then the project grew, we wanted to be able to record game play and replay it and place cameras along it to make the game-play seem more cinematic. Then we needed tools to fast forward and backward through these and then the ability to take screenshots during them. It quickly grew which means that a lot of things had to be done with half-baked tools, However this is just development.
The other thing was that planned,filmed and then cut the entire trailer before adding any music and instead had the music be composed to match the trailer. This allowed us to tell exactly what we wanted to the viewer and also give the exact emotion we want at any part of the trailer. However it also left an huge amount of different possibilities and the more possibilities you have the less time you have to polish one because you have to decide first. While we are very happy with the end result it took almost 2 weeks to do the soundtrack and our poor musician worked nights every day of those. In the end result it too to much time and energy and we probably will go back to the music first clipping afterwards methodology for coming trailers.
However this is not all that we did. While the rest of the team was working hard on building the new verisions of the first 5 maps of the game so that we can test them and then adjust and retest. I was working hard on the trailer and our greenlight campaign, between writing texts,taking screenshots and directing a trailer it became way to much for one man alone so we took in Tommie Hansmar to help with directing the trailer and his help was invaluable with adding the cinematic touch to it. So because we created the trailer together I could find enough time to do all those other stuff. And really get everything ready for our greenlight launch which was today ! So if you have followed us or just feel that the game concept has promise please go over to greenlight and vote for us. Just click on the image below and you will be taken there and to the trailer.
This is however not the end we have more things coming soon. The current trailer is a cinematic trailer we are also aiming to create a trailer that really explains the core game-play showing booth real playthroughs and the resulting end timeline side by side to really give a taste at what hides behind the scenes in the game-play. Except for this we will be continuing to push towards the final release by creating testing and polishing and we hope you will be along us for the ride.
January 13, 2013
So this weeks update has gotten slightly delayed, we had a rough couple of last two days getting all the finishing touches added to our cinematic editor and putting it through the paces by making the final clips for the trailer. Making a trailer that actually conveys our game-play has been a challenge for us on this project, how do you convey a puzzle game in an interesting way while still showing it’s core. Going through an entire puzzle is to slow and showing the solution doesn’t help much either as it won’t show the process that goes through the players mind and it’s hard to understand. The original portal trailers used small flash style clips showing the solution visually first and then showing it in game to help the player to grasp the concept, With the portal concept being such a visual concept it was easier to show since what happens in Temporality is more behind the scenes it’s harder to show, Instead of trying to show real game-play we have opted to concentrate on showing what the game-play is about. Single player cooperation using multiple time clones in differing timelines to resolve the problem before you.
Obviously not all puzzles lend them self to showing so we choose a couple that easily demonstrates the concept. To do this we have opted to use recordings of game sessions with moving camera showing of the action from the best angles. An interesting thing is that since the concept of time in the game allows the player to control multiple clones at the same time during different time lines. This we can’t show as we can’t show multiple timelines at the same time. What we do see is the final timeline with all the clones performing their actions at the same time, the way it would seem to anyone not using the TP-205 Implant. This allows us to show the concept of multiple clones cooperating to solve a larger problem. However the actual time manipulation won’t be seen. An idea we have is to do a dual recording where we show booth the players actions from the players point of view and the resulting timeline side by side to show the differences. We will see about doing one of these as a complementary trailer.
But at the moment we have other focuses that are even more important than our presentation material (as important as that is for a smaller studio), our game. As we talked about last week we are now working towards putting together the final levels and the final puzzles based upon the myriad of focus tests we have performed earlier. This week we have managed to put together 3 levels in what we hope will be a near final state we will put together another one beginning next week and then we will run a focus test on the beginning of the game. Incidentally that will be the complete set of levels put together in the Cybernauts environments (we will try to do a lore post later explaining more about the games setting but to give some info Cybernauts is one of the four companies that has build the different parts of the test facilities).
This will mean that we will hopefully have the 25% percent nailed down soon and production wise that is important since the difficulty of the puzzles on later levels are depending on what the player have learned earlier which forces us to put the game together from the beginning towards the end now that we are homing in on the final levels and not just testing around. Thankfully putting together levels are quite quick it’s coming up with the puzzles that is the hard part and to put them into a proper flow and we have done a lot of work on that so it’s not like we are 25% done by now. I would say we are around 80% done which goes well with our plan for a spring release now in 2013. Yeah we are finally going to push this out. since we increased our staff size during the fall we have been able to progress much faster than earlier and we can definitely see the finish line approaching which for the ones of us that has been on the project since winter 2010 feels quite welcome.
We might do some posts later on the evolution of Temporality through the years booth visually but also some of the puzzles that got used along the way and the different map designs and what worked out and what didn’t. Again if you have any preferences of what you want us to cover in the future don’t hesitate to contact us either through the comments or our webpage.
As a company this has been an amazing roller-coaster ride of focus changes at the beginning of the fall we had a huge focus test session with 10 levels in the test and a really strong game-play focus. Then after that we had to buckle down and find out what we wanted to do visually and now with the trailer work we have worked that out and will again turn our attention mostly to the game-play part to nail down the final levels there will always be time for visual polish after the levels are solid. Which means that we aren’t even placing props on the levels we are building now. We feel that it’s important to focus on what is important at every part of the development so you don’t get lost. But then I admit that we have been very lucky, the core game-play worked well straight out of the box during the spring of 2010 and since then the focus has been more on what mechanics we can add to that core and how we can create interesting puzzles using them instead of having to spend a ton of time on making the core work. This is why we had time to focus on booth looks and level design to reach the level of polish we are at right now. And things will just get more interesting going forward.
Until next update
November 30, 2012
Well if you want to make a living out of creating a game you have to sell it, make people look at it and get them interested enough to consider buying it. The sad truth about making a game is that you have to present it in a light that makes it look exceptional and pretty. At this first stage off attracting the customers eye the gameplay doesn’t matter yet. In order to make them look at your game and remember it, you have to make a good strong first impression. And you can only do that visually, with screenshots and trailers.
So last week I’ve been working on a cinematic editor for us to use in order to let our artists create something really awesome in order to make people excited about the game. The previous trailers have all been done by recording while walking around in the game. Now the artists have the possibility to create a cut-scene, place key frames for the camera and tweak post processing effects. Of course this cut-scene functionality will be used in-game as well.
The artists can manipulate the camera by simple number crunching in the panel to the right. But they can also enable free-flight mode and physically fly around to place they keyframes exactly where they want to. First I used N-order Bézier curve in order to make the flight smooth. Bézier have the property of giving really nice curves but unfortunate that they are not guaranteed to cross any more keyframes than the first and last ones. You can work with it, having the points act as “forces” pulling the curve instead of being physical positions. But it’s harder to work with. So we changed to an algorithm that is simpler to work with because it guarantees that the curve intersect every point, the Catmull-Rom spline .
In the editor in addition to camera keyframes we also support interpolation between different field of views, depth of field values, HDR exposures and the color gradings. Interpolating color grading is probably the effect that gave the most visual impact. Here is an small example of the system in action,all coder made of course
A lot of work were put into making this tool easy to use. Like the fact that they can set everything up using a free-flight camera so they can see exactly how everything will look at this current frame. That was probably what got most work on it in the entire editor. The actual implementation of the cinematic was straightforward with simple interpolation between set key-frames which is provided by the artist with the already spoken of tools.
Other than that it isn’t much special. You create a look at matrix and shader variables based on the values given by the artists and you provide the tools they need so it becomes easier for them to make awesome stuff. I can’t wait till I see them start using my tool
Also if you like what you see please go to http://www.indiedb.com/games/project-temporality and vote for us as the Indie Game of the year for 2012.