Eve DevBlog 37: Galleries

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Okay I think this new schedule is working out well. It’s always more satisfying, when I get to the end of the week, to be able to report even small progress on a lot of fronts rather than to put all of my eggs in one basket and end up, to abuse a metaphor, with those eggs on my face when I don’t make much progress on… the thing I’m working on… weaving the basket? I dunno, I’m lost.

Anyway! Let’s start off with the coding stuff, since that was the first thing I worked on after the last DevBlog and, as I’ve related, is a somewhat troubled aspect of the project. I’d like to think that that’s because I’m starting with the hard bits, but only time will tell. I’m still hammering away at the collision system, but I’m making definite progress on that front at this point. I’ve reverted to a simpler, if somewhat very inaccurate, physics model for the time being, which is probably what I should have started with because it makes it much easier to see what’s going wrong. This simplified interaction is making it relatively easy to see what parts of the code aren’t working, which is helping me focus my efforts more precisely. Once I fix these problems with the simplified collision reaction code, it shouldn’t be too difficult to substitute more sophisticated reactions back in. Now, there will probably be a ton of tweaking after that point to get things feeling really nice and fluid, but for now I just want to get the basic interactions up and running.

I’ve also been working a bit more on planning out the musical side of the project. I wasn’t struck by a big inspiration this time to leap up and start composing, but I brainstormed a lot of musical ideas for the project which I think have the potential to be really interesting– of course, that’s just potential, and in the end it will all depend on my personal compositional skill, but I at least have some good interesting places to start. Mostly, I pick out two or more themes from my music library that I think would make good background music for the area I have in mind and note them down as references. Because I’m pulling from a lot of disparate sources here, the reference tracks tend to be quite different from each other, and the ideas presented by trying to combine them are super exciting. I should definitely have a lot to work from when it comes time to start writing more game music.

Finally, last but not least, I’ve been working on the main loose end I’ve left in the game design: The Galleries. These are mysterious rooms the player encounters in each area, sometimes hidden, sometimes unavoidable. These seem to exist in an impossible space, either rooms occupying a space that’s too small to hold them or simply substituting themselves for the current environment with a flicker of light. I had originally envisioned these as being the main engine of exposition for the game, but since there’s a lot of ground to cover when it comes to exposition and I didn’t want to have to force the player to sit in front of a picture while someone talked for three or four minutes this started seeming like a worse and worse idea– and yet, I really liked what the galleries’ existence implied about the malleability of this world, and had already tied their presence into the backstory of one of the characters, so I was loath to get rid of them. The game would have felt empty.

So, after pondering this off and on all week, I figured out a way to kill two birds with one stone. If you’ve been following the devblog for a while, you might have seen me post some verse after I ran out of stories. These little mini-story poems had interesting ideas and insights into the story, but didn’t really have a place to exist in the game. Well, now the galleries are going to be that space. Each gallery has an ‘owner’, and will be a place to house their perspective on what’s going on and some kind of insight into the world of the game. There’s going to be six normal gallery areas, with verses like this, and then two special ones with different rules that I haven’t entirely finalized. At this point, I’ve adapted two mini-stories for use in two galleries, and written two more that I will probably use for another two galleries. Just two more left to write, and then figuring out the exact nature of the special galleries… and the last hanging thread is tied up, and it will be time to compile all of my notes together into a proper design document.

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Little wolf pup ran to see

Her mama called to let it be

She kept running through the trees

Kept going ’til she was free

 

Free to eat bugs and splash in the rushes

Free to tease bears and dash through the brush

Free to sleep in sun and howl at the moon

Free to dig in dirt from morning to noon

 

Little wolf pup all alone

Her mama called to come home

She can’t hear ’cause she’s gone to roam

Chasing a bone all on her own

 

Alone in the rain and shivering wet

Alone in the woods and hungering yet

Alone in the dark and scared of each sound

Alone in the leaves piled up in a mound

 

Little wolf all curled up

Her mama calls out through the trees

Finally finds her crying pup

It ain’t easy being free

 

Little wolf all curled up

Her mama called to let it be

She kept going past her pup

Bones in leaves she couldn’t see

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