May 18, 2018

Suzy Cube Update: May 18, 2018

#SuzyCube #gamedev #indiedev #madewithunity @NoodlecakeGames 
Holy smoke! What a week! First things first, let me apologize for the lack of update last week. As for this week? There's a lot to fill you in on, so let's get this party started!

Top of the World

Before I get into the update, I just wanted to let you all know why I wasn't around last week. My wife and I, along with four friends were busy climbing this...

From down here, it looks like it's part of the skybox!

It's called Roraima. It's the tallest tepui (flat top mountain) in South America on the Venezuelan border with Brazil and Guyana. The trek took six days up and down and felt like a true adventure as we hiked up and down the rolling hills of the savanna, waded across rapids, climbed through lush jungle and under waterfalls to finally make it to the otherworldly top of the famous plateau. A gruelling and unforgettable trip. 

I really wish you could all come discover Venezuela. It's such a diverse, lush and amazing country. Unfortunately, the political, security and financial situations make this impossible for me to recommend. Perhaps one day.

Down to Business

So what of this week then? It's been a full one! As we work hard to wrap things up, all the last-minute items are bubbling up to the surface and with Noodlecake losing a man to an unfortunate game celebration incident, some of the tasks have fallen back on me.

One such task was to gather a bunch of screenshots so the Noodlecake folks could work at getting the digital storefronts ready. With all the different required formats, it was suggested I provide clean screenshots with no UI which could be easily resized to fit the specific platform requirements. In order to do this and avoid having to use the Mac OS four-finger-salute manoeuvre required to take a screenshot, I dug into it a little and found the perfect functionality built right into Unity!

Using the aptly named "CaptureScreenshot()" function, I was able to make myself a nice little utility which, not only, allowed me to map taking a screenshot to a controller button but also saved said screenshot at four times the horizontal and vertical resolution of the frame buffer! While I was at it, I also had this little utility turn off the HUD elements. Now that's a nice, versatile screenshot!

You're looking even bigger than usual!

Above, you can see what one of these looks like fresh off the presses. By mapping the function to a controller button and appending the current time and date to the file name automatically, I had nothing more to do than simply play through the game dumping screenshots to disk when appropriate. This made it really easy to grab action shots like Suzy jumping or an enemy throwing a projectile.

Jumpin' and rompin'

After grabbing a metric butt load of screenshots, I sent the better ones over to Noodlecake where whey, in turn, picked their favourites, resized them to the standards of the specific platforms and overlaid a reasonable facsimile of the in-game HUD.

I've got a bone to pick with you!

In addition to these screenshots, I also helped out capturing per-level preview shots which appear in the level select menu.

Pick your poison

As you can see, the menu has come a long way and is, functionally, done save for a bug or two. Redoing the UI has been a gigantic undertaking! Doing in a few months what has, in my experience, always been done throughout the length of a project has really been a commendable feat on the part of Noodlecake

Tale as Old as Time

Among all this work helping support Noodlecake, I've been, of course, continuing work on the interstitial illustrations, the latest of which has Suzy and a Skull Bully engaging in a friendly game of "run for your life"!

I guess I can skip my morning run today!

I've only got a few more of these left to do, though it looks like we may have to ditch the animated intro and ending in favour of more illustrations since the guy at Noodlecake who got hurt was the guy spearheading the inclusion of animations in the first place. We shall see!

How Does One Play?

Finally, I worked on our new approach to the controls tutorial. What used to be a separate scene with a non-interactive Suzy mimicking the commands shown on screen has now been turned into an overlay which appears over gameplay when a player first starts a new game.

How do thumbs go?

This was a suggestion from Noodlecake to get players into the action faster which I agree with. Incidentally, the tutorial only slides off screen once the player has both moved and jumped, ensuring they've learned all they needed to learn to proceed.

Well, that's it for this big week's big update. Some of you might be currious as to why it's been such a packed week. Well, we aren't ready to get any hopes up yet, but I'm sure some of you can venture a guess. Check back in next Friday for what is sure to be an equally big update to an equally crazy week!

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