Welcome back, friends! This week we have some visual and auditive goodies, and talk about the Process; how to better ideate, iterate and execute our design ideas into actionable steps and playable mechanics. Let’s dive in.
Concept Art & Asset Pipeline
Six new dog breeds are being added to the Menagerie: German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Great Dane, Boxer, French Bulldog, and Beagle. Now that the concepts are done, they can be added to the art asset production pipeline. The first step is to model them in 3D, then UV wraps them (they are ‘de-skinned’ to be textured). After, they are rigged (the bone structure is set up), and finally, they are brought to life with animations.
Two weeks ago we showed you the plant animation made by Merlin. What you see here is the real-time Foley sound design process. Foley sound is a crucial element of game design. If you notice sounds are missing, or that they don’t match up with what you’re doing, then you will be removed from the moment. Foley sound can help make the game experience more immediate and immersive.
So how do we do it?
Dusko is working on bringing the plant animation to life by recording the wind, leaves, and falling apples outside and in his studio, and then layering that real recording on top of some other sounds. This gives the sound a texture that we recognize as more realistic with our ears. It’s a lot of work, but we are certain it’s worth it in the long run.
After each release, we hold a retrospective so we can discuss what's going well and what we want to improve. This time we discussed how we’ve been sprinting hard to build features, and while we delivered, we have been setting aside some technical debt, process, and workflow. Also, I admit I have focused a bit too much on new features instead of improving the AR experience. So we will do some shuffling and balance new features with workflow and process items, and AR improvements as well…
We discussed Process
— Ensure everyone on the team is clear on the task before we schedule it
— Plan for less ambitious builds in return for more time to polish and fix bugs
— Do more knowledge sharing amongst the team and with the community
We discussed Workflow
— Get our artists onto a better version control platform
— Automate our app build process to save time
— Set up live configuration management to easily iterate on the game design
— Set up content delivery systems so we can add stuff without a build
We ideated AR experience improvements
— Polish the food growing animation.
— Be able to drop the food into AR space for the companions to eat.
— Improve the AR UI so it is easier to read.
— Incorporate immersive 3d sound based on distance and direction
— Have the pet be more aware of your device so it can interact with you
— Give the companion a “digital shadow” so if it walks into the air it makes a bit more visual sense
In summary, we are taking a step back to look at our process and make sure we can ideate, iterate and execute. We want to make sure we are striking a good balance between delivering short-term and long-term value.
On a side note, part of the team is off-site in Croatia this week, and we made a temporary HQ in our sound studio. We are exploring some more experimental features of the Matterless experience, and taking the time to become closer face to face. This is our first meetup in a physical location!
It feels great to put our minds together; the work that comes out of this will be instrumental to our future.
That’s all for this week!
-Jason, Product Owner & Damir, CCO