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Games LANDNAV - Version 0.01a available now

Discussion in 'Works In Progress' started by BIGTIMEMASTER, Dec 1, 2019.

  1. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    whats terrain like out there?

    im thinking i'll probably have time to do a second world map. But I think an easier one would be better. Somewhere like colorado or something, with mountains and big open views.
     
  2. All_American

    All_American

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    It was a mix. Some like yours some harder Forrest. Then some open areas. Check it out on google earth.
     
  3. All_American

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    10th mountain was upstate NY. Not sure where they are now.
     
  4. All_American

    All_American

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    I was doing a tank sim and the terrain was like Texas. Not as big as yours though.
     
  5. BIGTIMEMASTER

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    "A creek! Now all's I gotta do is follow it."

    Have fun getting through that brush. I got a inspired from a hike today near a river. Off trail, walking was almost impossible there was so much tangled stick brush.

    An important part of the land nav experience is desperation. This means that whenever you think you found respite, it's actually the opposite. In time, you learn to let go of expectations, and live in the moment like the stupid animal you really are. It's the only way to survive.
    Annotation 2020-01-26 221655.jpg Annotation 2020-01-26 221455.jpg Annotation 2020-01-26 221147.jpg Annotation 2020-01-26 220514.jpg
     
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  6. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Some instrument mechanics in progress. Tomorrow we'll work on marking the map and animating the ranger beads to keep pace count. Still some minor little bugs to clean up and of course polish to smooth things out but most of the functionality is there already.

    I'm aiming to get a playable build for the first round of testing ready for this weekend. That is exciting, isn't it?

    So what I need to do is get the first exercise ready. In order to do that, I need give some CP's to find. To do that, I need to be able to accurately mark them on the map. Precision is key here, so I want a foolproof method for measuring my game world. A fancy programmatic solution would be cool, but what if there was a little error? How would we know? Gamers complaining we cheated them, that's how!

    A simpler solution will do. Here is my handy dandy mesh grid divider. It took all of 10 minutes to create and it's dead accurate. The only mistake you can make is typing in the wrong transform. But that's real easy to double check.
    With this tool, I can easily mark down the eight digit coordinate for whereever I want to put a CP or some landmark. Annotation 2020-01-27 193444.jpg (i made it bright orange to punish my retinas for being weak little bitches)
     
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  7. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Hey everybody, small announcement here. We aim to have the first playtester build ready in two weekends from now. If you are interested you can shoot me a DM or drop in our discord (see my sig) and just ask.

    This will require a little more commitment than your average playtest because if you don't already know how to use a map and compass, I'm going to have to teach you. :) It is not rocket science but does require an hour or a few of practice before things really start clicking. But if you've ever been interested in that sort of thing, this is a great way to learn. Don't gotta go outside and get all sweaty.

    p.s. I made a little storyboard highlighting my own first experience playtesting now that our tools are functional. Was a great time (and a little pitiful if I'm honest. Been a minute since I used map and compass):
    https://www.instagram.com/p/B743HodDBUo/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2020
  8. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Here's an idea that ended up working pretty good. Slope based movement deviation. Simulates natural human error in movement, which encourages using real life tactics to overcome. Use your compass to shoot an azimuth to distinctive landmarks. This counters against natural tendency to favor paths of least resistance.

    I also noticed that this adds a very subtle sense of weight and momentum. Just feels more like you are stomping through the woods, versus floating through 3d space.

     
  9. Schneider21

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    I just stumbled upon this thread for the first time, and I think it's such a neat project! Immediately brought back memories of my land nav training at Ft. Benning. I like the ideas you're implementing. I think there's absolutely a market for a game that lets you get lost and makes you figure out how to get around using your own skills instead of having a glowing waypoint for you to trudge to.

    I haven't gotten through everything you've posted, but in case you haven't already covered it, I think natural obstacles are a must here. Having to walk around bushes and even shallow bodies of water, not being able to get over too steep inclines, etc, will go a long way to recreating that experience we all remember.

    I know it's not really what you're going for, but I think the game Death Stranding could offer some great inspiration, in a way. That's the first game I played that made me feel like I was actually maneuvering through a world, rather than just pushing a floating object around a varied-height plane.

    Keep up the great work!
     
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  10. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    This is going to be a huge part of it. Otherwise the game would get boring quickly. We are working through the character controller today, but the next step is to start implementing all the collission obstacles. I've got a pretty cool idea that, if it works like I imagine, you might appreciate (being a vet and all).


    I haven't played death stranding but do know about it. I thought it looked a lot like a land navigation game and i read some user reviews talking about how they really liked that part of it. (and of course, many other people hate it and think it's boring.)
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2020
  11. Schneider21

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    I suspect you'd love Death Stranding if you enjoy land nav enough to make a game about it. Granted, there are many other aspects to that game beyond navigating terrain, and many of the elements you're focusing on are abstracted away or outright gamified, so there's clear differences. But in my opinion, as someone who wanted to experience a game world more viscerally, they did a great job with that element, and that's something that's key to your game's enjoyment as well.

    I'm watching this thread for updates, so I'll be sure to provide my feedback once you're ready to show off more. :)
     
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  12. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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  13. BIGTIMEMASTER

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    I'm going to ramble about game design here a little bit...

    I'm really stoked right now. I set up an exercise with ten points in a swampy area of the map. My first points were both within a few hundred meters of the start. Should have been extremely quick and easy to find, but as I said before, it's been like almost a decade since I really did any straight map/compass land nav. I began to doubt the equipment and if I wrote down accurate locations for the CP's. I double checked, and sure enough everything was straight.

    So I had a rough and kind of embarrassing start. What to do? I needed to turn the brain on and start getting smart. I slowed down and began paying close attention to the terrain. Really, really close attention.I took time to shoot azimuths and triangulate my position whenever I could. I felt like I was beginning to understand the lay of the land. I have some advantage too because I know that certain vegetation types only appear based on certain terrain rules - like slope and concavity. This is something I'll want to hint at so players can figure it out too.

    I began to feel like I was learning and developing my old skills again. I managed to find my third point without terrible stress, but it was next to some really obvious terrain features so I didn't get too impressed with myself. But my fourth CP was 1.2 kilometers away. A kilometer movement is a pretty long way when you are in thick woods. Plus with the subtle terrain features, the whole trek felt pretty uncertain. I started doubting myself a lot. That's the toughest thing, when you really want some certainty but there is none to be found. And so you just press on, even though you aren't sure it's the right way. The longer you go without certainty, the tougher it gets.

    But man, when you finally discover your CP and suddenly it becomes crystal clear that the entire journey was done almost perfectly.... phew! Man I get a rush. It's such a sweet payoff.

    I know it sounds like I'm tooting my own horn here but it's not like I invented this game. The tools change over millennia but this is a game mans been playing for millions of years. I'm just recreating it in 3d.

    Anyway, so I'm having a good time playing my own game so far and that's great. But the kind of sweet payoff I am experiencing got me thinking about other games. Because this feels a little different. I think it's a bit shallow to put games into boxes like "casual," "hardcore", etc. Dark Souls is known as a difficult game. Or Ninja Gaiden. But when I grind through a boss in games like that, memorizing movement patterns and honing my reflexes -- when I finally beat the boss I don't usually get a rush. I usually feel relief. An exasperated relief. And I never want to face the boss again anytime soon. Too me, it's as much stress as it is satisfaction.

    Here though, when I go for a 30 min to hour long stretch of agitating uncertainty, and then when my best efforts finally payoff -- I feel elated enough to get up out my chair and run around the house like a maniac -- but more importantly, I feel empowered. It's really wholesome. It doesn't make me feel compelled to keep playing for some slavish reason. It makes we want to like get up and run and accomplish beautiful things. "Why was I doubting myself so much?" "I'm way more capable than I thought. I just had to slow down think my way through!" That sort of thing. I hope other people are going to get that too.

    I will definitely need to ease people in much slower though. This setup of CP's was meant to be my first playtester area, but it's going to be too hard. I will setup a different portion of the map to be more forgiving. I have years of experience doing the real thing in a much more stressful environment, so it's not fair to expect somebody from totally different background to adapt at the same pace. That won't be fun for most people.

    I also think that I will need to help guide the right attitude and mindset. Because it is almost polar opposite of what standard games train. Everything here is about personal responsibility. Humility. Diligence. Introspection. Patience like a tree. Not typical game stuff.

    But I have some ideas on how to do that. It will be a fun challenge.

    upload_2020-1-29_20-46-35.png
    ^^^Here is the CP I traveled over a kilometer in the dark to find. I got really hyped because when I first saw it, it was directly in front of me about 50 meters. Perfect!
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2020
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  14. Schneider21

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    Alright, you've got me excited enough. I've got a nice Alienware laptop with an RTX-2080 in it. I'll do testing for you when you're ready for that phase. Though... I may have to brush up on my azimuth-shooting skills...
     
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  15. BIGTIMEMASTER

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    You'll find this to be a bit more forgiving than in real life. Not because it's any different technically, but because when you eff up it doesn't mean physically hoofing it a click in the other direction. :) So even though it's a bit disheartening when you suck at first, you'll pick it up quick. I was able to finish out my last movement, which was 2 km's, using terrain association only. That felt awesome!

    Our plan right now is to be "ready" to playtest this weekend, but to spend a week gathering recruits and then delivering the following weekend.

    Your laptop is more powerful than the machine I am building the game on, so you should be fine. Performance is actually not too bad since there is nothing in the game beyond vegetation which gets LODDed pretty quickly.
     
  16. BIGTIMEMASTER

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    We've implemented success/failure parameters and I've played through a three hour exercise. Below are some screens I took along the journey. I also made a logo, cause you got to have a logo.

    This is in preparation for our first round of outside play testing. I've put out some public calls for that. Anybody here is welcome too, of course. Inquire at the Discord. I'll put a build up on feedback friday as well.

    Instruments are working great. I think we made a smart control setup. I find it simple and unobtrusive to play. We'll see how total outsiders cope though. The aim is to keep controls as simple and painless as possible, because there is already a lot to learn.

    Regarding gameplay and fun factor, I think it's working well so far. It's definitely going to require more patient and competitive gamer personalities, but there does seem to be a natural, balanced pacing that occurs organically. Just a question of how long you can delay gratification really.

    This play test will have a simplified ruleset. I've put 20 control points in the play area (12 kilometers in total for this first test), and we select five randomly for each game session. Players can save and quit in order to take the game at their own pace. There is no time limit and no stamina management.

    Some point to point movements can take an hour or more. Especially if you get lost. And you will get lost. Some points are really tough to find. Others are pretty easy. I added in a big river, a radio tower, and a couple other prominent natural landmarks to help give greenhorns an easier time. It's nice sometimes when things seem easy, I think.

    We have collision with hindrance vegetation setup, which slows you down and requires you to use a "bust through" maneuver if you become completely stuck, though it needs audio/visual polish. All game mechanics are working relatively bug free, except for stamina management which will be implemented after this first play test. The "bust through" will use considerable stamina, so that will influence the way you have to plan your routes. That and hills.

    We are dramatically ahead of schedule, though I am approaching the limit of my budget for hired help. With careful prioritization we will get the thing done as planned though.

    Desktop Screenshot 2020.02.04 - 16.04.10.26.png map menu.png Desktop Screenshot 2020.02.04 - 20.02.27.15.png Desktop Screenshot 2020.02.04 - 17.16.57.24.png Desktop Screenshot 2020.02.04 - 16.10.42.66.png
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2020
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  17. BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Some work on UI. Character model is placeholder. The buttons should stay highlighted after selecting them but I haven't figured that out yet.

    Here is the main menu. The time of day will change but I've made it night for now because the character model is placeholder.
    Desktop Screenshot 2020.02.06 - 22.27.17.93.png

    Main story mode is called "Selection."
    Desktop Screenshot 2020.02.06 - 22.23.15.64.png

    Some blurbs about the difficulty levels. I leave it vague because story mode is about immersion. Decide how you want to role play and then believe in the adventure.
    "Alpha" is the highest difficulty.
    Desktop Screenshot 2020.02.06 - 22.25.56.19.png

    Desktop Screenshot 2020.02.06 - 22.25.39.56.png Desktop Screenshot 2020.02.06 - 22.25.20.60.png
     
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  18. BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Then for people who want to get straight to business you have the Custom game mode. These parameters are just placeholder but these are some of the ideas right now.

    Desktop Screenshot 2020.02.06 - 22.21.54.30.png
     
  19. BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Some video of using the instruments to plot coordinates and move to a control point. This video is just for the dev diary. After we release the alpha on friday i'll spend a few days or a week building actual marketing content.


    By the way, we need some feedback noises for using the instruments. Enabling, disabling. Dragging them around. I don't have a clue what sort of sounds might fit. Any suggestions?
     
  20. BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Some graphics updates

     
  21. BIGTIMEMASTER

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    An instructional video for the alpha testers.
     
  22. BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Alpha is out now for play testing.

    Visit the official discord in my signature to get a download link.
     
  23. BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Post alpha update:

    Well we've put out the alpha and got some good feedback. I've advertised the game on several channels, but got the most feedback from military focused groups on reddit. It's hard posting on reddit because most subreddits remove advertisements pretty quickly. But I was still able to attract a decent amount of people before getting removed. :) You also got to be smart about how you word your post. It has to not seem like self-promotion. Just a dumb game really. Like dating. You both have one thing in mind, but it can never be said.

    In the first week since putting the alpha out, about 10% of the people have returned feedback. Typical stuff -- small nitpicks about mechanics. Surprisingly useful and some good suggestions as well.

    It is hard to get people to give feedback though. Focused polls seem to help. Much less effort for someone to read a quick question and click a button than to type their thoughts.

    I was a bit disappointed that we put out the alpha with a bug that causes a crash, but I think it's not such a big deal. The people volunteering to playtest a game in very early stage probably expect some issues like this. Anyway, we fixed that and are moving forward.

    My only major concern at this point is performance. The alpha doesn't run well on lower end hardware. But fixing that is a straightforward process. Just got to do some work is all.


    Next phase is focused on marketing. I want to purchase some ad space to deliver to targeted groups. The ads need to link somewhere so I am going to setup steam coming soon page. And for that a trailer is necessary. So this coming week will be busy.
     
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2020
  24. BIGTIMEMASTER

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    I'll also say something about working with a contractor:

    It's been really smooth sailing so far. We made good time estimates at the beginning but have been able to exceed because we are both having a good time and working with few mistakes made.

    Part of that is beyond my control. The contractor is professional with lots of experience and just knows what he is doing. But part of it is up to me, and what I've found helps things go more smoothly is this:

    • Deliver instructions in two parts: 1. A visual representation of end-user experience, and 2. an itemized checklist written in programmer friendly terminology (so knowing a tiny bit about the trade helps a lot).

    • Before contractor performs the work, ask them for feedback to make sure they understand you correctly. Take extra time with communication, and don't back down if a person seems to understand or seems impatient. You need confirmation. It is better to be tedious with communication up front than to ask somebody to do a lot of work over again because you failed to communicate clearly.

    • If you get something and it's not precisely what you wanted, consider full scope of the project before making a fuss. Most of the time close is perfectly fine. And it may be better to save being a tedious c-unt for a later time.
     
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  25. BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Working on some models to use for the trailer. Just blocking out this rucksack.

    I think it will take 3-4 days more just to get the models ready, then a full week to get the trailer done. That seems like a lot of time, but I think it is worth it to do it well.

    Annotation 2020-03-01 195537.jpg Annotation 2020-03-01 195403.jpg
     
  26. BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Okay got that did. I'm gonna submit this to the asset store because I couldn't find a single ALICE pack model for sale on the entire interwebz.


    screenshot004.jpg screenshot002.jpg

    Now I'll retexture this character, get him rigged, and then I can start blocking out some scenes to film the trailer from.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2020
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  27. BIGTIMEMASTER

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    screenshot012.jpg

    Candidate 095 is good and sweaty and ready to be rigged. I've also given him his "rubber duck." Thats just a dummy version of an M16 that you got to carry around, being the army and all.

    He should have an LBE harness but that's a detail nobody would notice but it would complicate my work a lot, so I leave it out. My OCD wants to make everything perfectly authentic, but I ain't getting paid yet so it's better to work from priority list.

    For rigging I use Advanced Skeleton because it's user friendly, powerful, and flexible.
    https://www.animationstudios.com.au/advanced-skeleton

    I'm doing the rigging now just because it's something I'm familiar with and can get done without too much trouble, but before any animations are made I got to storyboard out the trailer. I'm going to give it a shot but if it is too hard for me to get a good result (I've never done this before) I might hire a specialist to help me out.

    For animations, I'll probably start from some mixamo freebies, just to block in basic walk cycle. I'm using my own skeleton so it's not a simple copy/paste, but what can be done is to have the mixamo skeleton in scene as a separate thing and hten just match the animation frame by frame.
    We've got a heavy ruck though and gear in hand, so that will only serve as a starting point. Just a way to save some time, sort of like working from a base model when building a character.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2020
  28. BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Hey guys, let me get some opinions if you got one:

    I've been story-boarding for a trailer. My initial approach was a pretty literal, thematic representation of the game using an animated character. Just follows character on an exercise, through ups and downs of confidence. End result is that you understand the setting, understand that it's a challenge game, and have a sense about what you would be doing in the game.

    But maybe being literal isn't the best way to sell the game because it might kill curiosity -- make people think they understand what it is before they actually do. So another idea is is to define it first by what it's not: "This is a real army game. No fiction, no BS.... etc"

    I think the crux there is that we don't want to fall into that stereotype that a real army experience would be boring and dull. And then whats the best way to tease what it might really be after we've told you what it's not?

    And another approach would be just to show clips from the training area in the game. Little nuggets like, "Now make sure you orient the compass and map before plotting your control points." There's some room for a bit of humor there, and the main idea is that we inform the player that the game will require them to actually lean a new skill.

    From a very small survey of my playtesters, most people either are interested in the game because they specifically want to learn land navigation or they want to take on a challenge.

    I'm not sure what might be best. Technically it could all be done, but I'd like to get a steam coming soon page up ASAP, so there is some sense of urgency.
     
  29. TonyLi

    TonyLi

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    Empathy generates motivation. Not to get all touchy-feely, but your initial approach could work well by focusing on developing empathy for the animated character -- wanting to see him succeed past tough challenges and getting a sense for why he feels it's important to succeed. Even if the gameplay is a solitary endeavor without little NPC interaction, the trailer can imbue a sense of stakes for the player. You're not going to show dragons and spaceships, so I think people will understand that it's a serious simulation, not fantasy.

    You could also take the same approach with your training area idea and/or by using voiceover. But your first idea appeals to me a bit more.
     
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  30. BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Thanks @TonyLi ,

    Yeah for me, I always play games because I want to believe in the fantasy it is creating and become immersed in it. So thats my core focus when I'm designing the game too -- even for this game which is a pure simulator, I still want player to really feel like they are out in the woods on their own, not just perform rote memorized skills.

    I didn't mention it but I think you nailed what my intention for the first trailer idea was. You watch this character taking on a tough challenge, clearly they are an underdog, and the unspoken question is, "can you jump into this guys shoes and overcome the challenge?"
     
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  31. BIGTIMEMASTER

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    I've been working on creating borders for our game world. On the east side is where I will begin the game, and have the training grounds. That's where the barracks and main part of Camp Maccoy will be.

    It's a bit of time investment to make some models like this barracks building here just to be seen in the background, but I think it will be worth it for helping to set the mood and lend a sense of authenticity. The game can be really challenging in a way games typically aren't, so I think making some extra effort to get people into the fantasy may help some better cope with the challenge.

    I tried to finish this in one day but I haven't even finished UV's. Usually a big building model has to be made kind of carefully and make use of techniques like trim sheets. But since this is only a prop that will be seen from a distance, I can keep it simple and just do it like any other prop.

    screenshot008.png
     
  32. BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Props for the training area. The water buffalo is still in progress. That tower came from an asset store package called "shooting range", but I rebuilt it's geometry, UV's, and re-textured it. I think some people have an idea that overlapping UV's is bad for some reason. But if you have a symmetrical thing that both sides can't be seen at the same time, and it's not like a hero prop, it's wasteful to not use mirrored UV's. So that's why I rebuilt that, to make better use of UV space (and thus a smaller texture can be used).

    I just got another building and a few small props to make and that will be all the 3d art needed for this game.

    We've got all the finishing mechanics done but I haven't fully tested yet.

    I'll need to play through an entire game at least a few times to find the right balance for stamina and time hacks. After that I'll be focused on building the training area, and then it will be time to deliver another playtest.

    And after that, finishing touches and then I'll go as far as I can with marketing and publish when I think the time is right. All in all, perhaps 1-3 more months.
    screenshot011.png
     
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  33. BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Took care of a big task I'd been dreading for awhile - filling in all the contour lines with elevation markers. It's not a hard thing to do but tedious as hell with 100km2 to cover.

    To make the job easier I made a gradient texture to visualize elevation. This is accomplished by baking a position map in marmoset toolbag, then I use that as a filter in substance painter and just assign different colors to each layer. Finally, I use that color map in photoshop and that helps make the work pretty relaxed and easy, rather than getting cross-eyed trying to follow individual contour lines.
    upload_2020-3-28_18-19-58.png
    upload_2020-3-28_18-23-29.png
     
  34. BIGTIMEMASTER

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    I've finished out the art for the game. All boundaries are taken care of. To the north is an impact area blocked off by a fence. To the south we have lakes and a river. To the west a fenced off industrial area, and over here in the east the military base and power lines cordon the play area.

    In the picture here is where the training area will be. There will be a handful of stations, each with instructions about one specific part of land nav. Player can go to them in whatever order they want. Each station will suggest a practical exercise they can take on if they want. My idea is to teach players like this:

    1. Define a goal : get from A to B in a time limit

    2. Introduce a problem. Try to make this really simple and understandable. No jargon : it's really far and we are in the woods.


    3. Let player make a short attempt to solve the problem from their own intuition: go ahead and try to get there. If you get lost, just press the restart button to fast travel back here. The goal isn't to challenge player here, only to get them to understand what the real practical issues are that prevent them from reaching their goal.

    4. Introduce tools and methods for solving the problem: Now that you understand the problem, here is how your compass and map can help solve it. If done correctly, this is the part where it gets exciting. There is a big impossible goal, but now I got these badass tools to solve it.

    5. Allow consequence free repetition.

    Desktop Screenshot 2020.03.29 - 16.25.21.07.png

    In addition to the training area, there will be a custom exercise generator where you can further tailor consequence free training for yourself. The importance of these two game modes - training and custom exercise generator - is that they prepare you for the story mode.

    What I want to try with the story mode is single difficulty level, and pass/fail evaluation at the end. Evaluation is based on an internal scoring system, which measures not only performance but also important things like gumption. LandNav training isn't done primarily because it's so important to knwo how to use a map and compass in an age of GPS, but because it test a persons resilience, adaptability, and resolve. So when designing the scoring system, I try to think of ways we can measure if a player is having a tough time but keeps on trucking. And especially if a player is doing poorly, but doesn't quit, and eventually starts to learn and improve. That can be worth as much or maybe even more than somebody who just nails it from day one.

    So I think with that big challenge from story mode there as the overarching goal, that should provide a benchmark player can measure they're own skill progression against.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2020
    Bartolomeus755 likes this.
  35. Alexie_85

    Alexie_85

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    Hello, I was wondering if you still have an alpha available? I have been watching your page here for some time but, was distracted this past month or so when this whole pandemic happened. I literally made an account just so I can try it out.
     
    BIGTIMEMASTER likes this.
  36. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    @Alexie_85
    The alpha is still available. It is linked in the discord you can reach through my signature.

    However, that build has a stability bug that causes a crash pretty often :(. You can still play the game but be sure to save pretty regularly if you don't want to get too frustrated. Unless you are really itching, it is probably better to wait for our next build if you want a more complete (and less buggy) experience.

    I don't have a hard date set, but we should be ready in a couple weeks I expect. The next build will include a mostly finished story mode as well as training. That stability bug is fixed and also performance will be a lot smoother as well.

    And thanks for your interest!

    edit: if you don't have/want a discord account, send me a PM here and I'll send you the download link.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2020
  37. unit_dev123

    unit_dev123

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    Did you make this all by yourself? Can you kindly suggest how you combine enviro sky with hdrp or package that works with hdrp, as I stuggle to make this work together.
     
  38. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    No, I've only made like 10% of this.

    For help with enviro sky join their dicord. The author is pretty active. I don't know anything about HDRP. I'm avoiding the new pipelines until they are more stable.
     
  39. unit_dev123

    unit_dev123

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    Thank you for your advices :) :) :)

    I am making a platformer then fps, but I want my open world game to look great. I am concerned with the way it looks so far without hdrp. It is very disappointing.
     
  40. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Forget about the tools. You can make a great looking scene in Excel.

    Only focus on the fundamentals of art: composition, lighting, color, etc.

    I always recommend Marco Bucci's youtube channel because I think he has a very good understanding and makes it seem just as simple as it is.

    I can also tell you I won't be making any more open worlds after this game. It's too much work. In this case, the game must be open world because it's a simulation that depends on that, but from here on out I will only be making games with confined arenas, and all art is hand placed - nothing procedural.

    Also keep in mind the danger of spreading yourself too thin. If you are starting out, only learn one thing at a time until you are very comfortable with it. I've done nothing but 3d art for three years now, and only now do I begin to branch out into further game design areas. It is really easy to take on too much and get overwhelmed - so I highly recommend choosing one narrow discipline and focus on that for at least several years until you can do the work to satisfactory quality and it's like second nature.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2020
  41. unit_dev123

    unit_dev123

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    Thank you for your updated comment, I just reading it now.

    Yes I'm planning to start small and put my games for game testing every feedback friday if possible. My goal is to make open world game eventually but i know it will be many weeks down the line. Fortunately my friend does most of the art so I can just experiment as i see fit. I'm looking forward to see the finished article.

    Can you tell us what issues you have making engaging gameplay when creating open world environments and do you feel that this factor has inhibited your outlook on open world in general?
     
  42. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    You are starting with the how, but you should start with the why.

    I'll try a metaphor, because metaphors always help me understand the principle of the subject.

    Imagine you have got a new job and a big bonus. You want to build a house. You say, "I want a big ass house!" and you build a huge house. But it's empty. It makes you feel lonely seeing all this empty space all the time.

    Rewind to the beginning again. Just got your bonus. THis time, you say, "Okay, I have myself, my wife, my two kids, and we have such and such hobbies. Exactly what kind of house would be optimal for us?" Then you design your dream home. It's not too big, not too small. Just right. It's never going to be perfect, but it is very well suited for your families needs and you're happy.

    So, in the case of this game, it is open world because the gameplay demands it to be so. If I tried to make this game not open world, it would suffer greatly.

    So that's the order I think of things in, and it helps make better decisions.


    p.s. : when we put out our next build, you should play this game. ALmost everything I know about planning, I learned doing land nav in the army. It's a great way to learn how to make a plan on your own, execute it, and adapt to obstacles and mistakes on the way. It's a really great skillset to have because it carries over into almost any endeavor.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2020
  43. unit_dev123

    unit_dev123

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    I already played it, it was really cool but I got stuck in the bushes too many times. The isolation felt real. My only real issue was with the graphics, well actually the gameplay, I did not feel they quite enticed me, but as I understand you can not use hdrp with enviro sky as I have come to understand through my own trials - and gameplay is very difficult inside procedural world.

    That being said, am sure people looking for that real, navigation experience would love your game!

    As for whys in my game, is no real 'why' just I would like to learn all disciplines as I move through unity. Mostly make something fun. Luckily my friend can do some graphics, she is not great and learning at the minute, but with time now on our hands due to pandemic, we can explore.

    Anyway, i not wish to interrupt your wip too much with my questions. But thank you so much for advice! It has been wonderful.
     
  44. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    elaborate?
     
  45. unit_dev123

    unit_dev123

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    I can send you a private mail tomorrow with more detailed feedback if you like, but remember I'm very new.
     
  46. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    post it here. it's good to read feedback of other peoples games. thats a key part of WIP threads.
     
  47. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Hello, just a small update.

    I've been working on optimizing the game a lot. Before it was running between 30-60fps on my machine, now I am able to get it pretty consistently between 60-90. I do some more work to try and get there to not be such a big range, but for gameplay purpose it is necessary to have some areas which are more thick in vegetation.

    Besides reworking models and adjusting stuff like ligthing, I look for opportunities where I can improve gameplay and art at the same time. For instance, when I started out making the forest here, I just try to make them believable. That's just to get paint on the canvas. Now I start tweaking them towards better gameplay. So in some areas I can reduce the total amount of trees, increasing visibility (making things easier), and then I can put more trees in the obstacle areas. So this makes things a little bit more readable - it's easier to identify an area and say, "heck no i aint trying to go through that" - and at the same time it reduces the total amount of triangles we are drawing on screen.

    The project is at the point where it's a lot of fun to work now. Basically I just playtest over and over, logging every little issue I find into trello, and then I go fix them later. Making lots of checklist, and crossing them off. And with each iteration the game gets a little nicer to play.

    The only issue is that playtesting this game actually takes a lot of mental energy. Not like playing a shooter or something. There is simply no way to casually play this game - you either get fully engaged and pay attention to the smallest details, or you get lost :).

    Desktop Screenshot 2020.04.07 - 13.35.19.52.png Desktop Screenshot 2020.04.06 - 20.52.52.46.png
     
  48. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Small update:

    We now have a protractor to make getting your route azimuths more convenient. It is possible to do all the work with a compass which is my preferred method, but somebody mentioned a protractor, and most people in the army do actually use them so I added one in. An easy thing to model and implement so why not?

    I've also rebuilt the compass model. The old ones ruler had a mistake that made it inaccurate beyond the 2km reading. Now the ruler is accurate as it should be. I bought a compass from military surplus to use as reference, so the entire thing is more accurate to real life as well. Even with a lot of reference from the internet, you can't beat the real thing.

    One piece of player feedback was that during route planning it was a bit tedious dragging the map around to always keep your point of focus beneath the camera to avoid small errors from perspective distortion. This is something I had just gotten used to and didn't really notice.
    We implemented an alternate ortho camera you can toggle when plotting your coordinates to fix that issue.


    I've got the map "finished." It is likely that I add in some more landmarks as I tune the game for difficulty, but for now it represents everything in the game world.
     
    TonyLi likes this.
  49. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    I'm working on some art for the steam page. I try out lots of ideas. I'd appreciate it if anybody has an opinion because I have little confidence in logo making.

    The following images are candidates for the header capsule which goes here:
    upload_2020-4-13_17-10-55.png

    Here's the candidates. Take into account the general style, not the details. My top pick is the upper right corner. It feels the most dyanmic and bold. I think the map style, particular the very last one with white text, looks the most clean an professional, but I think it also is a bit boring and might make the game seem too technical.

    I'm a bit partial to the simple retro camoflauge as well, though it is less distinct and doesn't inform as much. All of the ones with scenery I think are a no-go.
    upload_2020-4-13_17-9-43.png
     
  50. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    I think this works. No need to overthink things here. Still, anybody has an opinion I'd love to have it.
    upload_2020-4-13_17-42-34.png
     
unityunity