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Jester

Devblog #3- Are we there yet?

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Through the time spent so far with this project, the rough patches, good times, busy times, we've simply been through a lot with this project. And, reasonably, a lot of you are likely curious is to why SCP: Ascension was both not able to hit our original expectations and why it will still continue to take quite some time before we are comfortable with releasing. 

  • We are a limited team with limited resources working to pull off a really ambitious vision. We do have resources aligned for mid-year and late-year. We simply have to wait/continue working smaller-scale until we are able to get more of what we need.
  • We've had to restart development multiple times.
  • 2019-2020 will definitely be the big years for us. Our original scopes were definitely clouded and working to aim with more flexible time is the best-case for all of us. We don't want to rush out the game and permanently ruin all foreseeable expectations and the overall vision people will have on us.

To really sum up the state of this project relative to others, we started the Kickstarter in our first-ever prototyping phase. Which indeed is allowed on Kickstarter but it isn't a common thing, so we get the misunderstanding. With the resources we have considered mixed with the time we've spent, we've made a lot of ground. We will be showcasing a lot really soon (and I truly mean it and am sure of it this time), and we are really excited to do so. Worst-case for Pandemic's public release is around Fall-Winter. Which, the big part of that span is mostly shit we have to wait for, nothing too much in our control. But we will have testing much, much sooner than that. There isn't any intended flip-flopping, there is just a lot of moving parts and I really want to make sure there aren't any disappointments. We'll be as transparent as we physically can, as we've been. This project means the world to us and we've spent tens of thousands of combined hours working on it thus far. We really aim to please and impress.

I'll also enlighten you guys on the stresses and issues we've had thus far with releasing Ascension and our planned showcases/teasers, mainly since not a lot of you are aware: We started this project pretty fast with big ideas without much idea how to really execute them in the beginning. We really wanted to go high because games have bored us and we wanted to have our impact within the industry, within both SCP and other genres we like. Through the first year was especially rough, as we were understaffed and the staff we did have were not adequate for the vision we have. Moving onto the recent, we have restarted our development several times, we even got to having playable builds and had some fun internally. But, quite simply, we weren't happy with it nor did we want that to be the first impression of both our project and overall studio. So, we decided we rather delay over rush something out that we simply didn't want being out. Within the last few months we have restarted the entire project outside of our 3D design and whatnot. Although, delaying has also laid out a ton of opportunities and resources we otherwise would not have been aware of to wait for to start with, so thank god we did. Truly. (ex. New PC stores, Epic Online Services, new UE4 features, our interested co-publisher starting up shop, and much much more).

Delaying has been honestly the best series of choices we've made, it's really laid out a really solid path for us to take to make this into the project we truly want it to be. We've had our hardships, stress, exhaustion, you name it... but we will always dedicate ourselves to this project. It's what we breath for. We have a fuckton of ambitions, because fuck not wanting to push things further than they already are. If we gave into that, things would just stand still with half-baked ideas and the often 087 or CB-inspired games (lmao), we really want to put this project into what we want to. As we near the first release, not promising any timeframes, I can honestly say I am proud of the decisions we've made.

 

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Under some tough times, we decided to create Pandemic. Easily a great choice of us to create something smaller-scale to build up partner interest, add additional layer to our story, and so forth. Making this has really eased up our expectations and allowed us to really consider how to properly build the game and our assets for long-term usage for both us and future players who want to create modded additions. 

I'll start with the technical and move into the sentimental. I really want to explain our workflow as I believe it will add further explanation into the time we spend into the early prototype (InDev) versions of the game. First off, we are making all of our level design assets completely modular. That's right, even people who do not know how to 3D model will be able to pick up our work and create level design and easily edit in additions. To sum up the style, we practically make a lego set with all the pieces in the box with a vague instruction manual is-to how to assemble it, with tone of room for post-modification without having to pull it back into Maya or Blender. It really makes life within the engine much easier. Here are some examples (everything shown is made by us):


Reactor room (Currently being worked on):

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We have assembled even big areas like this to make it so we can easily add onto it later and reuse parts whenever we need to. This primarily serves as an example of (WIP) cylindrical modular assets + squared modular assets.

 

Transport bay/Transport tunnel junction

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You can see the tiled nature of this block-out: the floors, centered door frame, railings, beams, and alike. 

 

Canteen/Messhall:

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I mostly want to show this one as an example of how modularity really works in our favor. This started as the original layout, but we decided last minute to make it a more interesting space to be in. 

 


What we changed it into:

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We were able to make this without having to export/import new assets, just simply moving the pieces around into a better, more roomy layout (ignore the blurriness, it was taken from a Discord screenshare).

 

Transport Bay staircase:

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Another example where you can easily see the modularized assets and their effectiveness in building them in-engine without having to go through a huge process, rather just moving stuff around.
 

 

Before they become concepts

I would also like to explain is-to the even more time-consuming (but necessary) aspect of creating these modular level assets. The simple gist is, we go from concepts to usable assets. 

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As you can see, here are images of non-modular, unoptimized (at least not consistently), freeballed 3D concepts before they are picked up by another artist into becoming a modularized environment set. Not much has to be said here, I'm just giving an example to the depth of the workflow. It's broken into the following stages:
 

Description
This is where I give a description is to what's needed  for specific rooms, the needs, rough measurements, mood images, and alike.

 

Concept
This is where the team gets a concept made, generally 2D isometric or 3D mock-ups. 

 

Modularization
This is where the team (mostly Pyrew) takes the concept and starts making a modular level asset kit. 

 

 

To be continued...

There is a whole lot more that can be explained on the programming side of things, but I rather save stuff like that for the upcoming development vlogs. This is the last development blog. We will be moving on to better, more detailed content very soon. Thank you guys for sticking around and giving us all the support you have.

 

 

 

 

 

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