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!
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!
Hello all, I just felt like posting a quick update on the progress of the game. There’s been a lot of exciting things going on lately, but not necessarily a whole lot of work being done on the actual game, at least not on the visual side of it. This past weekend I finished writing the outline of the game as well as writing some of the story and dialogue for the first and second levels. I’ve also been busy making several different prototype levels to get a general idea of how they would look and where I’m going with everything. I posted screenshots of some of the them but others I decided weren’t worth sharing or were too broken for a good screenshot. But hey, they’re just prototypes after all and not meant to be actual game levels.
I remember reading an article a while back (I can’t remember where) on game development and how you should make your first level last. The reason behind this is because towards the end of development you’ve realized your strengths and weaknesses and where you could have made better decisions. So if you make your first level after all the other levels are done it should turn out as your best level, which will make a good first impression to the player and influence some of the mood of the game. So as hard as it is for me to do, I’m going to start by developing my second level first. I’m hoping to actually start making it very soon but I don’t want to jump into it too fast like I have in the past. For now I’ll share a screenshot of one of the many prototypes of the second level that I’ll be starting on first (am I confusing the hell out of you yet? LOL!). Here is a pic of what the second level may sort of look like… and yes, for those who have been following my progress for a while, it may look a little familiar….
Thanks for reading and for the support, see ya next update!