After all of last week’s excitement, this update in our development is going to seem relatively quiet.
Locking Story Down
For our writer, Brad, this past week was dedicated to inputting changes to the story. We noticed some issues with continuity and story build that felt a little wrong, so an additional animation node and two more epilogues resolved that issue. Now our story map looks like this:
In this same discussion, we started addressing the thing all faculty continue to ask: scope. One professor had mentioned in the prior week that we should figure out which are the most played paths so we can focus on those nodes if we have to pick which to refine more. This felt a little odd to all of us – we want our game to be re-playable, and if certain nodes are less nice than others, the joy of the game would be significantly diminished. Instead, we selected a choice we could eliminate from the narrative. If we eliminate the option for the drawer to be open or closed, we could cut 6 nodes. Deciding on this made our plans feel a little more achievable.
Character Art & Designing Around Mo-Cap
We have jumped around a bit on character design. At first we wanted to make a photo-realistic silhouette. Then, after a visit with Facebook Spaces developers, we moved in a much more cartoonish direction. However, quarters turned us toward a middle ground: a silhouetted anatomical structure. This keeps us well within the style parameters, while also keeping us in scope.
The problem is that, while cartoonish characters give us a lot of expressive bang for our 3D modeling buck, they aren’t exactly anatomically correct. Between the two characters being captured at once and all the objects they will be picking up in the environment; just imagine the clean-up work we would have to do with all the inevitable clipping!
Our fix: We can’t change the structure of the actors, but why not use actors as the structure for the characters? Since both of our actors are students in the School of Drama, they have all of their measurements on file. While these are not a perfect measure for a skeleton, they can get us close enough. Melissa has taken those numbers, modified the skeleton in Maya, and is now working on a silhouetted design for the characters.
Nearing Playtest Phase 3
The final issue on our mind will likely be the focus of next week’s post: Creating our Live VR playtest. Sharon has been hard at work creating placeholder characters and Zoe has been creating a trigger system to allow those placeholder characters to interact with the environment.