Happy New Year (a month late…) everybody!! With the new year comes a long overdue update about the game. I have quite a bit to share and some good news!
After taking a long break from the game I finally started working on it again in November. I wanted to make a new demo that showcases the improvements I’ve made and the new direction of the game. Well it’s almost here! The new demo consists of the first level of the game taking place as you arrive outside the house. There’s a new character controller, new interaction system, an inventory system, a health system, rebindable keys, graphics settings and a couple more goodies that you’ll have to find out by playing. The first level isn’t too long and is mainly a sort of tutorial to get you used to the controls and how the game will operate. I think the changes are for the better and you’ll like what you see and where the game is heading. All I have left is to record the new voice-overs (with a better microphone this time) and then put them in and release it. (Yes, that’s my voice in the game, a professional voice actor will be used for the final release, LOL!)
Now that the foundation of the game is set I can work on fixing all the old scenes and implementing all the new features. The inside of the house is going to change from the previous demo. I realized all the mistakes I made when building it and promise the new house will be much better! No more wandering around waiting for doors to open, now the story will guide you and you’ll have a purpose for everything you do in the game. Oh, and wait… why is there a health system unless there’s a way to get hurt??? Well you’re just going to have to wait and see what lies ahead 😉
More updates will follow as more progress is made. But I am working on it daily so progress will come faster than the last year provided. Here’s a few images of what’s to come. I hope you like what you read and see and I can’t wait to show you the new demo!
I’m back!! Well it’s definitely been a while since I’ve made my presence known! Actually, it’s been about 6 months since I’ve done anything with the game… Unfortunately life has gotten in the way of development. Making this game is something I’ve been doing in my free time and due to my regular career and relocating to a new city I haven’t had much free time to work on it. But I think I’m at a point where I can get back at it! So let me update you on what I’m doing and the future of They’re Gone.
Right before I stopped working on the game I realized there was just too many bugs in the current build and trying to find the reason for why they were happening would be extremely time consuming and super frustrating. A lot of it probably has to do with the way I started making the game and not knowing certain things back then that I know now. There’s mistakes I made that I will never be able to find and fix because the project is too big. So I’ve decided to take a few steps back and start with a clean project, import the scenes and models and rebuild a lot of the game. I’ll be able to use pretty much all the scenes I’ve built but the foundation of the game (the character controller and interaction system) is going to change a bit. I’ve already started working on the new controller and interaction system. Remaking that forces me to change how doors, interacting with objects, etc work in the game. A bit of a chore but totally doable and the first level is almost completely rebuilt.
I’ve also decided to rewrite the story. Actually, write it properly is more like it. When I first started I made an outline of the basic story and how I wanted it to go. It’s been a little difficult planning how to guide the player with having just a small outline. Now I’ll be writing it all out and creating story boards to use. I’m not an artist so the story boards will be pretty hilarious looking and nobody will EVER see them, LOL! But it will help me make the levels better and create a better player experience. Since it seems to be putting off quite a horror vibe to players I’m going to expand on it a little and possibly change a bit of how I wanted the original story to go. I’ll see how it goes as I write it out and go with what feels right.
That’s about all I can talk about right now, I just wanted to let everyone know that development is still going on. Unfortunately I’m way behind where I wanted to be at this time. I was hoping to release it this year but I’m not sure if that’s going to happen. Thanks for reading and I’ll write another update as soon as I have something new and interesting to share!
It’s been about a month since my last update so here’s a quick run down of what’s been going on. I’ve been dedicating a little more time than usual to the game lately and decided to increase the number of levels a little bit. This may add some more time to development, but I feel it will be better in the long run by allowing me to expand on the story which will give the player a better experience. I started working on the game in August of 2015 and I think that it will take roughly another year to finish it up, so tentatively it will be ready for release summer of 2017. With that said, here’s what I’ve been working on:
- Finished prototyping level 6, then started over and now have a level that’s about 3/4 done.
- Started prototyping levels 7 and 8.
- Removed the thunder and lightning from all previous levels. It just doesn’t feel right and while I thought it would represent what was really going on, it’s not. I’ll have to rethink it and come up with something new.
- Started implementing SECTR.
- Cleaned up the project removing unused assets and updating others.
- Started recording footage for a new trailer video.
So while the list isn’t that long, the main accomplishment was building level 6. Here’s a screenshot of the basic design of it without all the props added in yet. Thanks for reading, see ya next time!
Well, it’s been a while since I’ve posted an update, or a picture, or anything… which kind of makes it look like nothing is being done to the game. However, that is not the case, I have been working hard to add several small details and story into the levels that are already built as well as starting on the next level of the game. But I do apologize for being silent for a while, it’s just hard to find the time to write out a good update when there’s so much going on. But tonight I decided I was going to sit down and write one, so that’s what I’ve done! Rather than ramble on about what I’ve been working on, I’ve decided to just make a brief list of what’s been added and/or changed since the last update.
- Changed the font of the game’s title in the Start and End menus to better match the game and removed the excessively loud lightning noises. Also added an effect to the door handles (you’ll find out why in the game) and changed the menu hover and click sounds.
- Optimized all textures to lower VRAM usuage. Tweaked occlusion to increase frame rate (in the future I’ll be increasing frame rate and memory usage even more with a toolkit called SECTR, but not until all levels are complete).
- Added visual effects to Level 1 to progress the story. Redesigned how the story flows and where the player needs to go in the level so it makes a little more sense and has a better linear flow to it (visual and audio cues have been added to achieve this).
- Continued populating Level 2 with props and added some of the puzzles. Introduced a new player feature to Level 2 (physical pick up and move, but only certain items will use this feature). Added outdoor scenery to Level 2 (when looking out windows).
- Redesigned the Level 3 to Level 4 transition and puzzle to get there. Level 5 will essentially pickup where Level 3 left off so I’ll be adding the continuation of it later on.
- Redesigned the loading HUD and changed how the game loads from the Start menu.
- Started making Level 5 (from Level 3 scene file).
- Started building Level 6.
So a lot has been done over the last month or so. I hope you like the bullet list instead of paragraphs. Perhaps some of it will make sense while some of it won’t, hopefully it all does 🙂 I’m trying not to show too much of the game so as not to spoil it, but I know I need to give you something so you’ll continue to be interested 😉 So below is a pic of one of the visual effects in Level 1. It looks static in the picture but in the game it’s animated. Thanks for reading, I’ll try and post another update sooner than I did this one!
Greetings everyone! So things have been a bit interesting this past couple months. I watch all Let’s Play videos that are shared with me and after watching a couple of them last month it was brought to my attention that there were some major bugs in the game that I had no idea existed. Unfortunately they were hard to track down because they weren’t showing up in my own test plays, which led me to believe it was either corrupted builds or something had gone wrong somewhere in the project and/or game engine. So drastic measures had to be taken! I decided to do a reset of Windows along with a fresh install of the game engine. After spending many hours resetting Windows and reinstalling all the software I was using as well as making a few tweaks to the game itself, I think I finally eliminated the bugs… Only time and testing will tell. But everything is running much smoother and stable and the bugs I saw should not happen again (fingers crossed, lol).
With all that behind me I’ve now started on putting in some special parts of the game. I don’t want to spoil anything, but most of the notes I was using to progress the story will be going away and replaced with some “effects”. It will take some time to perfect so it will be a while until the next demo build is ready, but the improvement will be worth the wait in my opinion. This has always been my plan, to slowly add more features and push better demo builds out as things are added. I sometimes feel I may have jumped the gun a bit and released the demo a little sooner than I should have. It’s just that I’ve been working on it for so long I wanted to share it and see how people reacted. Most response from it has been positive but I realize the style of game it is may not be for everyone. I think that those who like this type of game and can see the potential in it and where I’m going with it will enjoy it the most.
When I need a break from the demo I continue to work on the other levels of the game, my favorite being the cellar! I really like the look at atmosphere it has and I’ve spent a lot of time on it. I’m kind of burnt out on the interior of the house so the upstairs level is on the back burner for now until I get the motivation to continue working on it again. Most of it is finished, I just need to populate it with props and finish up some of the story cues. I haven’t really worked on the backyard lately, although it’s mostly finished as well except for some effects and story.
I’ve been considering putting the full unfinished game out as a type of “early access” on Itch.io since they’ve recently implemented a system that allows this. It would be more of a closed group type of thing with limited keys to get some feedback on game play and bugs, etc. I might put up a poll to see what everyone thinks. Personally I’m not a big fan of early access games, but if it can help make a final version better with a select group of people then I can see how it would be helpful. What do you think?
So to wrap things up, the demo will be much more stable in the next build and will include some major changes and improvements. The other levels are coming along and don’t need too much more to finish. I’m getting closer and closer to a full game build and might release it’s entirety as a closed group early access game in the near future. When will the next demo build come? Probably within a couple weeks… As soon as it’s ready I’ll post a new devlog with links to both Itch.io and Game Jolt.
Thanks for taking the time to read this! Feel free to leave any comments or suggestions below and I’ll see you in a couple weeks! Oh, and here’s a screenshot of the cellar 🙂
Hello everyone! Sorry it’s been a while since my last update. I’ve been so busy working on the game, updating the demo, answering emails and replying to comments that I just haven’t had the extra time to write an update. But today I’m forcing myself to do it!
A lot has happened since my last devlog. I released the demo on two gaming sites, itch.io and gamejolt.com and found that it was well received on Game Jolt! It doesn’t seem to get much action on itch.io though which is fine, I guess it’s just not the type of game people want to play who visit that site. But the ratings and comments have been very positive on Game Jolt which tells me I’m heading in the right direction. There have been a few bugs I missed, thank you to everyone who reported them and for making Let’s Play videos because I probably wouldn’t have been able to recreate some of them without seeing the videos. I’ve released a couple updates with some new features and fixed a couple bugs as well. I will continue to look for other bugs and take feedback to improve the demo. I also have a few more special things to add in the near future 🙂 Oh by the way, there’s an easter egg in the demo, did anyone see it?
I’ve taken a break from working on the demo this week and now I’m continuing to work on the other levels. I will probably go back to the demo next week and fine tune it some more and then make a new trailer for the game. After that I can go ahead and put it on Steam Greenlight and hope for the best 🙂 Even if it doesn’t get Greenlit I will continue working on the game and just publish it elsewhere, like on GOG, itchi.io or who knows where. But everyone knows that you reach a larger audience on Steam…
As for the other levels, I have most of the backyard finished and I’m working on another indoor side level to the backyard too. I think people will enjoy it because it also gives the spooky tense feeling that the house gives and will offer some more exploration.
Based on the feedback I’ve received from players on Game Jolt it appears that the game is putting off a serious horror vibe. And while I wanted it to be a darker spooky kind of game, I do want to let people know that it’s definitely not a horror game. I will continue to make it in the style that I’ve chosen but if you’re expecting a Slender or Outlast kind of clone, that’s not what’s going to happen. Don’t get me wrong, there will be some tense and somewhat scary moments in the game 😉 But once the story starts to unfold people will see where it’s heading. Anyway, just wanted to throw that out there.
That’s it for this update, I will get back to work now and try and post another update soon. Hopefully announcing the launch of the Greenlight campaign! Thanks for reading and here’s a teaser pic of what’s to come!
Hi everyone! It’s been a while since I posted an update so I figured I better let everybody know that I’m still here and still working on the game. I had a demo ready to be released to the public this week but after sending it out for testing and getting some feedback I realized there were some small changes needed before officially releasing it. Nothing too major, just a few lighting changes and a little of the story. So once again, I’m hoping that by next week the demo will finally be released. Of course I’ve said that more than once, LOL! But I really mean it this time, it’s just that I’m too much of a perfectionist to send something out for everyone to see unless it’s the best I can make it…
I’ve been working on a logo reveal for the beginning of the game and for videos, etc. I have a pretty good one made to use in videos but unfortunately it doesn’t play well inside the game. So now I’m making another one just for the beginning of the game which should be in the demo. I’m also working on a pause menu and quality settings menu, not sure if they’ll be ready in time for the demo. Since the demo isn’t very long, a pause menu isn’t really necessary, it’s more for future releases. And some quality settings can be set before the game loads up already, they’re just limited. I also added some ambient sounds and some fitting music that triggers at certain points in the game. It helps set the mood and I think I did a pretty good job of picking the right tracks, but I’ll let you be the judge of that.
Other than working on the demo level, which is basically the second level of the game, I also did a little more work on the third level (upstairs of the house) and the fourth level (outside behind the house). I usually plug away at those when I need a change of pace from working on the demo. It’s nice to switch it up a bit, keeps it from getting too repetitive. As far as the upstairs goes, a colleague helped me out with some animations. They came out looking good and I learned some new things. I also finished up the full layout and started adding some props. Out back I added a secret building and a secret asset….and no, I’m not telling what they are. You’ll just have to wait until the game is finished to find out, LOL!
Well I suppose that’s it for now, everything is really coming together and looking good 🙂 I guess I better get back to working on that demo so I can release it for real next week! Thanks for reading and I hope you take the time to play the demo when it’s ready. I have a good feeling about it and I think the wait will be well worth it. Until next time, cheers!
Hello everybody! An update is way past due so here goes…
I’ve been spending as much time as possible working on They’re Gone. A basic start menu has been created, the downstairs scene has been populated with more props, bugs have been squashed, effects have been added and the backyard scene has been started. I also had the fortunate luck of befriending an advanced Unity developer/Unity Asset Store artist (under the name Gabro Media) that has given me some much needed advice and also took the time out of his day to remotely set up some proper lighting in the game. I’m very grateful for all his help and will include his info on the Contact page of my website. He does quality work and if you need some assets for your game go check out what he has to offer!
They’re Gone will have a downloadable demo coming to Itch.io very soon! I’m very excited about this and hope it will bring some new fans to the game. The demo has been tested already with positive results so I think it’s time to put it out there for all to see. I just want to go through and make sure everything’s as good as it can be for now before uploading it to the site. The download will be free but donations will be accepted from the site. Donations will help me add more to the game and a percentage will go to Itch.io to help them with running the site.
I’m working on a proper trailer for the game with some new video editing software I just purchased. There’s a bit of a learning curve to it but things are already coming together. Look for it to be released hopefully sometime this week.
The Steam Greenlight Concepts page of They’re Gone has received mostly positive feedback. I didn’t get as much feedback as I would have liked, but it was enough to let me know that it could possibly do well in the actual Greenlight voting process. So after a trailer is made and a little more progress is made on the game I’ll be making the move to the Greenlight voting process and HOPEFULLY receive enough votes to get Greenlit 😉 I’ll post a dedicated page for it here on the site whenever I start the campaign.
That’s it for this update, thanks for taking the time to read it! I’m sure I forgot to mention something, a lot is going on and it can be a little overwhelming at times. Keep an eye out for that trailer video this week. As always, I like to include a screenshot of some of the progress of the game, so here’s a little teaser of the backyard. See ya next time!
Hi everyone! I just wanted to post a pic of what I’ve been working on for the past few weeks. The layout of the level is completely done and now I’m adding props and story pieces. I’m getting closer and closer to a demo that I can share 😉 So here’s part of the kitchen I’m working on…
Well I suppose it’s time for a little update since I haven’t really blogged in a while. Everything is coming along nicely and I’ve moved passed the prototype phase. I’m now working on a level which will also serve as a demo for a fundraising campaign I’ll be doing in the future. I’m not sure if it will be on Kickstarter or Indiegogo, I’ll decide when the time comes and research each to see which one will best fit my needs. I feel this is the only way I’ll be able to finish the game in a timely manner seeing how I’m self funding it at the moment. It definitely holds me back as I can’t afford to pay for all the assets or to outsource some of the work involved. I am dedicated to finishing it though whether I have a successful campaign or not, it will just take longer if I don’t…
As far as the game goes, I’ve made a lot of progress and everything is looking good and scripts are pretty much working well together. There are some bugs and glitches of course but I’m slowly getting them figured out and fixed. I’m way ahead of where I was a year ago when I was working on my other game. The learning by trial and error in the past is paying off now. This will result in a much more polished game that I’ll be proud to share with others 🙂
As always, I’ve included a screenshot and as you might notice it looks a lot better than others I’ve posted. I didn’t alter the picture at all, it’s an in editor screenshot, just cropped down to remove the editor toolbar, etc. But thanks to some lighting and better shaders ,the scene has a little more “zaz” to it. Of course it’s not the finished product and I still have quite a ways to go, but I do like how things are looking.
Thanks for reading, I hope you liked what you read and saw. More updates are on the way and as soon as I decide to start a campaign I’ll be posting info on it like crazy to try and get some traffic to it 😉 Until next time, cheers!