27 Dec 2016

Christmas presents from the devil's son.


So naturally I was not really able to work too much during the christmas. We traveled few hours to the north and spent Christmas there. The weather was not great, but it was fun overall.
Lucius has been on #wintersale and is once again very cheap. -78%


We did a giveaway on facebook and gave away few steam keys. It got pretty good results (2,6k reactions) and we had a christmas themed image created for it.  Pretty dark. A little secret here is that this image is using some assets from Lucius III and it's a straight image from the engine.



I've been working on the mud city a bit and it certainly has a very unique feeling instantly when you enter it. I'll show you the area with music next week.

-Johannes




16 Dec 2016

Houses, Blankets and Progress.

Ah. I really have did not have any time to work on Unintended this week. We are close to buying the apartment though. Which is nice.

As a consolation prize, I'm gonna show you what my gf made for us:

It's actually pretty big. It almost covers our whole bed. It took her something like nine months to make. I have to say that it's pretty cool. She used this image as a reference for it.
I give it  9/10.  Only way to get a 10/10, would be to use Lucius as a reference, or maybe the Unintended kids.  :)


Lucius on the other hand is coming along nicely. I think we are somewhere around 30% of content done. 
On the right there's a slice of our workload and how it's progressing overall. This would actually only be like a "pre beta" stage, but it still looks like it's going to be ready somewhere around 2018.  









We published this image in facebook during the week. It was drawn by Mika Koskensalmi. He was our main concept artist during the design phases. This is actually quite an accurate presentation also on our current progress. We are pretty much creating this area right now.

Okay maybe that's enough for now.
Maybe next time I'll have some Unintended things to show.

ps. I'm not really sure how well the friday works for me. I might be changing the date, I post these during the upcoming weeks, but don't worry, I'll keep posting at least once a week.


Kind Regards,
Johannes Aikio



10 Dec 2016

The Unintended Mud city and Kudo

Hi.
Some very small updates today.
I'm working on mud city. Currently it's still very much a work in progress. They kinda look like gingerbread houses, but I assure you they are mud houses :)


It's coming along. I'll show you more once I get it to a more respectable stage.
While building these houses, I also worked on some bugs that got reported to me.
Coincidently I have a real life apartment hunting going on too.


In other news:
I watched Kubo and didn't really think too much of it at first glance. It seemed like a very normal type of 3D movie to me, but after learning that it was fully stop motion animated, my jaw dropped.

Check this out. It's really incredibles.

Kudos to them!

And Cheers!


2 Dec 2016

Small Unintended updates.

Hia!
So I've been pretty busy. I finished the bossfight and continued the cave puzzles forward.
Here's an example of what's to come:


It's pretty obvious what to do here. (I hope)
These are called the "mud caves" so I'm trying to bring more and more of the mud thing to the forefront.


The puzzles continue with a similar fashion and they continue to get more challenging hopefully.

I've also added some currency finally to the game. From breaking some rocks you get these gold nuggets. The Mud City would be the first place to use them in.




I also ended up redoing some of the graphics from the movable tiles so that they are correctly in perspective. Also after some feedback of a tester I decided that the tiles need a pulling possibility.
So I had to also make an animation for this.

Now you need to target first the object and start pulling/pushing by pressing a button.




Well that's about it for now.
I'll try to keep friday's my posting day from now on.
-Johannes




24 Nov 2016

The Arrival and Hacksaw Ridge.

Hi,
So this is a bit of a bonus post. I've been going to a lot of movies lately (not developing games, I know.) and decided that couple of these would deserve a special mention. Who knows, maybe someone will get some more business.

Last sunday we went and saw Hacksaw Ridge. I was already very much aware of this movie and I had quite the high expectations going in. It certainly lived to the hype. It was a very moving film with lots of majestic moments and an underlying story that still even now after reading about it extensively online, is hard to believe.




Many times the lady next to me was in tears during the movie, and I have to say so was I. I tend to get emotional easily but still I think it's a good indicator that the movie has something.  I'm very glad Mel Gibson is directing movies again. He certainly has a talent for it. 
I would not be surprised if this movie would go and win one the big oscars this year. It's all about the politics I guess. It's possible that few of the scenes in the movie might of been slightly overly majestical, but I was able to get over it quickly after learning about the true story behind the movie. It certainly should be majestic. I would say it was not majestic enough!
I give it 9/10. 



So a couple of days after this, we went to a mystery screening. It's this thing where you go into a movie theater without knowing what they are going to play for you. You only know that the movie has not been released yet. The movie was called The Arrival. This was also a very good movie. I have to say that this movie benefited a lot from the whole mystery thing. I was very focused on the movie and eager to learn what it was. I only found out the name of the movie from the end credits. During the opening act, I noticed that the soundtrack was from the great Jóhann Jóhannsson. It was very easy to recognize from the simplistic and still epic sound of it. After watching Sicario I became a big fan of him. The plot of the movie was very familiar from a couple of 90's movies, but the execution I would say was exceptional. Very well done and worked very well as a mystery movie. I would definitely recommend it.
8/10



21 Nov 2016

Unintended Boss fight


First boss. It's a Troll evil troll named Mokok'



Sign to warn you is always good :)
I'm still contemplating on how to kill this Monster. I've tried  a few different ways already, but I'm not really sure yet.  Maybe someone out here in the "internets" has ideas?





How should Mokok' be killed?
If you have any ideas, let me know! 

-Johannes


13 Nov 2016

Ufc 205, Us Elections and Multiplayer.

Well now..
Quite the week we've had. Trump was voted the president of the United States, and there was a historic first ever UFC event in New York. I just finished watching the fights and I have to say it was pretty incredible night of fighting in Madison Square Garden.

The US election is kinda weird. You can win the popular vote, but still lose the election makes no sense to me.

I haven't had much time during the week, but I did manage to squeeze my few hours in anyway.
Mainly I've been still working more on some the issues that came up when I added the multiplayer feature. Anyway it seems to be finally working now around 90% certainty.


There were still quite a few bugs looming here or there, but I did manage to finalize the camera movement, added support for multiple inventories and things like that. I think this still warrants quite a few changes on some of the basic systems, like conversations with npc's and player item slots.

I also started working on a first boss encounter which I found quite interesting. Hopefully I'll be able to show you that during the next couple of weeks.

Maybe that's enough nonsense for today.
I'll try to keep these more detailed when I have actually something interesting to show.
Until next week.

-Johannes




6 Nov 2016

The Unintended stuff

Phew. This week has been quite the pain in the ass. Adding the co-op feature has given me some headache. Mainly I've been struggling a bit on assigning all the controllers to appropriate players.
I did finally get it to work correctly. My issue was differentiating all the controllers to each player. I was using Rewired for the input and in the past we've noticed that this works great with Unity. With Rewired  we've been able to fix issues where virtual joysticks were bugging the controllers, or few issues that Windows 10 had when using Xbox one controller. Rewired on the other hand has keyboard assigned to each player by default and it took me a while to figure out how to bypass this.
Eventually I got it to work and I created this character selection screen. It also took me a while to figure out how to make this work with loading and all the other possible issues that may arise.


At this point it seems to be working well. I still have many issues that I need to tackle on the whole multiplayer. For instance the level changes are still an issue and also I need to write some system for audio and the camera placement. I'm thinking of placing the camera in between the players and place the audio listener there too.

So not so much visual progress there, but a lot of headache. I've been also thinking quite a bit about these characters what this world IS exactly. I'm still looking into it deeper, but at the moment I think I'm starting to have a clear picture of whole.

Last week I told about this mud thing I'm playing with and I thought I might show it now. It sticks to anything that goes past and takes it to the flows direction. There's some puzzles around how to handle these and how to use them to your advantage.




Lucius is also coming along well. The Halloween sales have been dominant everywhere and the bundle is still very cheap.  Here's a concept of the area I'm currently working on. I really like the atmosphere that we are able to get done this time, but a concept is unfortunately all I'm able to show you guys at this point.



Hopefully I will be able to get some more stuff done during the upcoming week.
Until then, cheers!
-Johannes



30 Oct 2016

The Unintended player two


Hello hello! Another week has gone by.  I've finally have my first iteration of a co-op mode. Two players working on the same screen. One is controlled with a Gamepad and the other with a keyboard.


There are still a lot of issues that need to be fixed on the whole ordeal. These are just the very first steps of the overall process. It currently supports four different players at the same time. There are still some issues with showing the players moving on the screen to their own directions.

Ideal thing would be, that each person will be able to travel freely from area to another without any restrictions. However, that will be much more difficult to implement on the current level change system. I'm also thinking of the possibility that you need to wait for the whole group to a single exit before they change area. I'm probably gonna try that first and see how it feels. If it feels too much, then I'll probably start working on the real system where you can travel freely.

I also made some sticky mud, that will catch the player and traverse them to their doom.

On a side note. I went to the theaters and watched Dr.Strange. I felt it was a great superhero movie. One of the better ones out there. It was very similar to the Matrix and everything was made very well. All the fractals and very clever humor was working for me. Definitely worth the trip.
I'll give it 8 of 10.

I finally released the Lucius Demake soundtrack in Steam.
http://store.steampowered.com/app/538460/


Lucius games are also part of the whole Halloween sale on Steam. If you don't have them already, get them now when they are practically free.

http://store.steampowered.com/bundle/799/



 Until next week.
-Johannes


23 Oct 2016

The Unintended Atmosphere


Hello Again.
So.. What happened during the week? Well I worked on Lucius mostly.  Hopefully I can start showing some stuff on that too. It's pretty hard to show anything when it's not 100% ready. I did manage to squeeze a couple of days of Unintended developing also. This week I mainly focused on improving some of the atmosphere in the game. Even though it's a fairly simplistic game, I still want the game to evoke some feelings when your are playing, and I want to give the feeling of awe from time to time.

It's not easy, especially when I'm not that talented of an artist.
I worked on a one significant cave mostly. It's the same cave where the pathfinding monsters are first met.   After the first room I wanted the player to arrive to a open pit area with some heroic music to let him know that he is now travelling a meaningful path. Could there be a boss coming soon?





Well maybe not just yet. Few mud based puzzles and perhaps then we can introduce our first boss. I'm quite happy how the background turned out, but I feel like there's still room for improvements in the overall area. I created couple of new songs during the week and I was fairly happy with this one.


In other news:
There were a lot of interesting announcements during the week. Nintendo finally revealed it's new console Nintendo Switch and a trailer for Red Dead Redemption 2 was also released. I've not owned a console for years, but now for a first time in a long time, I feel like I might buy one.
The new Zelda looks incredible and so did Red Dead Redemption. They also released a trailer for the Logan movie and that looked very interesting too.

Talking about movies:
I watched Captain Fantastic during the week and loved it. I think it's one of those better movies in a long time. It reminded me of Little Miss Sunshine for some reason.
I give it an 8.5 out of 10.  It was very good.

Another thing I watched was an old movie from 1987 called The Princess Bride. I've never seen this before and I was amazed. It was surprisingly watchable considering how old it was, and it had some cool scenes with very strange comedic and acrobatic acting. It featured "Andrew the Giant"who I've heard about a lot, but never actually seen him in a movie before. It was almost like a cross of Monty Python's Holy grail and The NeverEnding Story. They just don't make them like this anymore.
I give it an 8 out of 10.

Well.. I guess that's about it for now.
Have a good week and Play well.

-Johannes
















17 Oct 2016

The Unintended Enemies #1

Hello,
Today I'm gonna talk about the enemies in Unintended.
I wanted to avoid your basic hack-something-to-death style of gameplay as much as I could. So currently all enemies kill the player instantly if they hit you. It's possible that I will introduce later some health system depending on the feedback. Also I think there will not be any traditional weapons in the game, but rather just combinations of different tool usages.
For instance to kill this cute bunny you need to first freeze it and then hack it to pieces with a pickaxe.


One should not get fooled by their cute appearance. They are most certainly very deadly.

The bunnies have a very simplistic movement and are easily avoidable. 
Same goes for this Mud Monster. He is not  killable at all, but you'll need to lure it to another area.

This week I mostly worked on some pathfinding solutions to get more interesting enemies done. 



This will open up possibilities for something different. For instance the player can block these creatures to inside somewhere and trap them there.
I also created some caves with bats and stuff and they turned out nicely atmospheric. 
That's what's been going on with this game. Hope there was something interesting here. 
I'll be back in a week or so.

-Johannes






9 Oct 2016

The Unintended, Mafia III, Lucius and Soundtracks

Hello Folks,
Another busy week. I've been doing quite a few extra hours at the office and Lucius stuff is coming along nicely. We are currently working on Lucius III, but haven't really given any official announcement yet. The script is fully done and most of our design is fully done. It's gonna be tight money wise to make it all happen, but we will try our best. I really like where the story is going and how it's all going to end. Lucius III is going to concentrate much more on the story and hopefully we will be able to give some real depth to the characters this time.




Mafia III was just released on Steam and it looks like it's getting raped with reviews. Currently it's
Mixed (55%) with 5,713 reviews. It's interesting that it's currently lower than Lucius II. After reading the reviews and watching some of the YouTube videos, I feel like it kinda tried to do something similar to Lucius II with a sort of similar result. I know they are not really comparable but it's interesting to see them battling with similar issues.  Basically I think they tried to add more freedom after making  a game that had a focus on the story. I guess they ended up with a lot less stable product with more bugs and also the story seems to have suffered a bit.  Frame rate locked to 30 and major crash issues seem to be the bulk of the problem. I felt like there were going to be some issues with the game when I was looking at the videos near the launch. Steam can be a rough place sometimes. On the other hand I'm glad to see Quantum break doing well on Steam. Congratulations to Remedy, our fellow Finnish colleagues.

There are certainly lessons here we need to also remember when releasing Lucius III.

I've been also working on some more  puzzles for Unintended. I created a complicated tunnel network where you need to solve different types of puzzles to get through. It ended up being pretty complicated overall thing. I had to create system for myself to keep track of all the entrances and exits. Here's a picture of a desert with some tunnel caves.


This is something what most of these caves have inside:



So.. that's something I guess. I would like to be able to use more time for this, but I need to prioritize Lucius overall and it's currently taking quite a big chunk of my time.

That brings me to my last point. We had some emails and messages about the Demake soundtrack and it's availability online. So I decided to release it on some of the major online music distributors.

Here's a spotify and itunes link:
https://open.spotify.com/album/5FySxFUSuCBIJ0YDeCHr2j
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/lucius-demake/id1161260852

It should be also available soon in Amazon, Deezer, Google and Tidal.
We are also looking into getting the soundtracks available in Steam. Not sure if people use those, but it doesn't hurt to offer it there too.



It's October and Halloween is coming. The Lucius games are going to be on many sales during the upcoming month and the first one is starting tomorrow on Steam. Hopefully they do well, so we can put more resources on the sequel.

That's enough rambling for one post.
See you in a week or so.

Cheers!
-Johannes


2 Oct 2016

The Unintended Graphics #2

Hello,
Today I'm gonna show how I'm doing the characters for Unintended. It's a little unconventional method for a game like this.
My first version of the main character was hand drawn, and it looked like this.


I liked the look, but the animating turned out to be quite the ordeal. In the first village where the player starts the game has something like 8 characters. Animating all of them started to feel a bit too much for me to keep doing all by myself.  So I started to look on other options.

I ended up modelling a 3D version of the character and using the 3DS Max to animate the characters. I've done quite a bit of animating of characters for the Lucius games, so this was a much more efficient way for me to get it done.



After I got this modeled and animated version of the character, I then proceeded to render it to sprites and use only a certain frames for the animation. I also worked on the materials a bit to get them look more fitting for the game. This is how the character now looks in the game.



I'm pretty happy with it. It's still noticeable that it's not a hand drawn character, but I can live with it and hopefully so can the players. This ends up saving a ton of time for me and I can use that time to create more meaningful content for the game.



-Johannes

25 Sep 2016

The Unintended Graphics #1

Hello,
It's been a tight week. I've not had much time to work on Unintended. On the beginning of the week I started working on a bug reporter and made it possible for my testers to report some bugs and the rest of the week I kept on polishing some of the already found issues.

Main thing that I've noticed this week is that I need a some sort of system for keeping track all of the spawn points and entrances between areas.



So.. The Unintended graphics. First when I started the project I just created some green land and couple of houses.




The houses are still there, but I noticed that I need a better way to create the area.
I've never really done 2D graphics before so I had to do quite a bit of learning to get this to a reasonable state.




The house I felt pretty comfortable  from a very early stages. My main reference here was a game called Soleil for Sega Mega drive.
After just creating the furniture for this I was able to create pretty different types of houses with ease. I still need to figure out a better way to create the base for the houses. It's currently not very consistent.



As for the environment I ended up doing a basic tile-mapping and finding a tool for painting it easily to the actual game. After several variations and different attempts, this is what is in the game now. We will have to see if it survives to the very end of the production.


Mostly I struggled with the cliffs and how to get them all to work together seamlessly. After this first one, creating the other areas has been much easier. I mostly just copy this base and start working from there. I also brought my ancient "Wacom" from the office to help me out a bit. After doing the houses with mouse only, it's been a welcome help.

I still haven't really figured out a way here to automatically add animated tiles to the map, but I think I'll just add them separately all together.

That's what I have for you about the environment-art at the moment. I guess next I should talk about the characters and how they're made.

Until then..
Cheers!
-Johannes







16 Sep 2016

The Unintended Music #1

So. It's that time again. I need some new music.
I've just started a new desert themed area and I'm also planning on a castle type of area.
Maybe first some caves and then some mid boss castle.

On the desert theme, I felt like it had to have this feeling of moving slowly and getting stuck, but I also wanted to keep the original theme there in the background.

So I'll let you compare the two:

This is the Over-world music. It's your basic cheery and happy music that tries to stay on the background and hopefully does not get too annoying. No complaints so far.

And here is the desert theme. It kinda sort of has some of the same elements there.


I also did not shy away some of the eighties synth sounds this time. I guess watching "Stranger Things" might have influenced a bit there.

So then there was the castle theme.
My all time favorite song for games has always been the Super Mario world castle theme. So I immediately started to look for something similar. Being that the whole game is very much influenced by the games of that era, I saw it only fitting to do that with the music also.

Now getting it actually done was a whole another thing . There's been several iterations of this "churchy" castle music and I'm still not really 100% happy with it. It's very likely that I will be changing these to a more fitting style, once I actually have the castle area ready, but I though some of you might want to hear it as it is.



Let me know what you think.

-Johannes

ps.
Here's a link to some of my earlier music from Lucius II.


10 Sep 2016

The Unintended Puzzles #1



I'm trying to create some classic move-the-rocks puzzles. It's surprisingly hard.

This is the first iteration of pushing some movable rocks.  The darker rocks are immovable and the lighter ones can be pushed around. I think in Zelda and other games of the genre, they tend to only allow pushing one rock at a time. Here you can push several at the same time without any restriction. I'm not sure if its a good idea but at least it's slightly different. I will probably end up also adding different types of these since I myself find it very satisfying to solve these.


It's interesting that the route has to be different when coming back. I guess these are pretty common puzzles to have but I still like them.

I guess I could combine some of the usable items here like freezing objects and rock breaking.

I'm sure there's plenty of options.






I like the idea of the game being more puzzle based, slow and relaxed, rather than quick action.
So far every monster is able to kill the player in one hit. Not sure if that's the way to go, but I'm trying it out for now.

-Johannes

3 Sep 2016

Unintended.

This is the project that I've been working on this summer.
It's a 2D adventure game where you play a little boy that accidentally breaks a magical item that freezes his home and family. He must adventure in a far away land to find an antidote for this spell.

It's still in very early stages and subject to a lot of changes but the main idea should come across.



I'm actually hoping to make this into a local multiplayer game. I noticed that Steam was lacking on adventure games that I could play together with my girlfriend so I decided to make it myself.

I'm not really very familiar with 2D graphics and I haven't done something like this before.
It's an interesting learning experiment. I think these graphics you are seeing are already the fourth iteration of the games overall look.

It's gonna still take a good while until this is done, but I'll try to keep posting about it while it progresses.

-Johannes

27 Aug 2016

What is this blog about? Reviews, Lucius or Unintended?

Hello,
This would be my first post. In a very Finnish manner, I will start by apologizing. Even though I'm the main person who writes the stories of our games at Shiver Games, I still feel that my written English is not up to par in many ways. This blog is meant to be just my random thoughts and ideas as they come. It's mostly for my own benefit and I do not intend to edit it too much. So for this I apologize.

So what is this blog really about?

I do not really know. In Finland we have this law that everyone needs to have at least 5 weeks of vacation each year and most seem to keep four of them during the summer. This summer I decided to start my own game project separate from my company that does mostly horror games.
If you are not familiar with them then please check out these links:

http://shivergames.com
http://lucius.shivergames.com
http://lucius2.com
http://luciusdemake.com


We mainly publish our games in Steam and that's our main source of income. We also do retail and several other digital distributors.

Shiver Games was founded 2010 and we've been pretty much Lucius oriented the whole time. This year was my first year during that time, that I decided to actually keep this famous Finnish vacation. During this five weeks I decided to start my own side project that I'll work on my free time.
I've named this project Unintended. This project with the combination of buying some recent hardware made me feel like I should share some of the things that encounter from time to time.
For instance: I just went through some years of trying out different types of wireless headsets for gaming and felt like I should write about some problems on some of them and some really good features on some. Also it's an area that I find interesting, since many people do not give a **** about wireless connection on headphones and I actually do. I'll try to write these reviews of these different headphones soon..

I will also try to post some progress of my own project and our next Lucius project.

So anyone interested on the next Lucius might also get some "inside-scoops" every now and then.


Kind Regards,
Johannes Aikio