Shadowdancer DevBlog Week 3 – Prototyping II.

Last week we made a bunch of prototypes to test our ideas. A great prototype is an attempt to answer a specific question. This week we processed the answers into the base of our game.

Project Management

Prototyping is a chaotic phase where you throw in ideas and make quick, and temporary solutions to see if it’s working or not. Managing the project in this state is very hard.

We didn’t exit this phase just yet, but we figured out we need to outline our weekly to-do to keep us on track. For this, we created a Trello table and cards for our tasks. We have to handle these task flexible enough, to give us guidance and freedom at the same time.

Why Trello?  We tried many different project management tools. We used Hack&Plan a lot during the creation of the Dark Fantasy Kit. However, we felt, it’s too heavy for this project, with all the features it provides. Trello, on the other hand, is a lightweight solution. I’ll talk about it more in the next weeks.

AI Improvement

One of the most important results of the last week prototypes was that this game requires more complex AI that the one you can find in the 3D Game Kit. This week I started to experiment with different solutions.

Generally, stealth games utilize three levels of Alertness. I call them Idle, Investigate and Attack. Using the chomper behavior as a base, I started to build up these states.

  • Idle: the enemy is staying still or walks on a patrol route. Last week I made a simple patrol script to set up waypoints.
  • Investigate: The enemy knows the player is here, but don’t know the exact position. He should go to the last point he detected the player, and start searching.
  • Attack: the player location is clear to the enemy, he can charge and attack her.

3D Game Kit has an exciting solution for AI state machine: they connected the AI states with the animator states. I really like this setup.

The result of this week: AI is still pretty bad and very easy to overcome. You can easily avoid attacks by simply running sideways, and the enemy lost sight and returns to the idle state when you run behind them.

However, I definitely made steps towards better understanding this problem. Next week I’ll work on sense and memory system.

Stealth

After iterations, I’m sure invisibility in shadow is a too strong ability. It also takes lots of effort from the AI side. I doubt I will have enough time to design and create an AI that can handle this.

I removed the invisibility and implemented a new stealth mechanic. When the player is in shadow, she is not entirely invisible, but the enemy should be much closer to detect her. I added a circle effect to represent this distance.

We think this is much better than invisibility. The shadow still gives protection, but only from distant enemies.

Circle effect for debuging detection distance

First level

We need a level that shows every main feature we want in this game. Sandbox level is not the way to go, we have to guide the player. We also want to represent the advantage of being a small and insignificant creature.

To achieve this, we’ll give the player different ways to pass by the enemy. We want to use the 3D space as much as possible, and make the player able to sneak below, above or behind the guards.

Not every enemy should patrol. This seems obvious, but I didn’t think about it until now. It’s very chaotic if every enemy is moving. The player isn’t able to observe them and makes it hard for her to identify the safe path.

Once we discussed these thoughts, we designed the level on paper, and Dotti started to build it in Unity, using our POLYEnvironment packages. She focused on shapes primarily, defining the color palette of this level will come later.

The lesson we learned: We greatly underestimated the amount of time the scene building needs. We thought it can be done in this week. We were wrong. We designed five sections, but only the first one is done today. Big mistake, but pre-production is about making mistakes without costing too much.

Modeling the protagonist

The first version of our hero is born at the end of the week. The colors are temporary.

That’s it for this week, hope you enjoyed this article. Next week we will continue building the level, and creating a better AI. 

We’ll see you all next week!

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Adam

Adam

Adam is the founder and developer of the Runemark Studio. He graduated with BSC degree in Software Engineering in 2013.He is working as a freelancer game developer and asset store publisher since 2014.

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Deadly Dungeon Traps

Traps are a cool way to give your players a challenge that needs their dexterity or logic or both.
You can really make your game stand out without much effort with this package.

Adventure games like Tomb Raider, RPGs, rouge-like, and soul-like games cry for lethal traps.

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POLYEnvironment

Collection of a cartoon-style environment and props models with 40+ prefabs. Super lightweight because all prefabs are using material colors only, and the average polycount is way below 1000 vertices.

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Dark Fantasy Kit

Dark Fantasy Kit is a modular 3D PBR environment package which contains 400+ prefabs to create a residence of a villain or evil mastermind of your RPG game with a First Person, Third Person or a Top-Down view. Works with Unity versions from 5.6 to 2018.

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