Excuses Galore Devlog 3
I've just uploaded a new video in which I show a bit of how the game is progressing, including the character creator and the basics of the dialogue system.
There are a few other things I could have mentioned in the video but didn't.
The background— I wanted a simple but colourful animated background for the game and spent quite a lot of time working with particle systems and trying to create tiny 8-bit dithered pngs to use as particles because I really like the dithered 8-bit png aesthetic. But I couldn't get anything that wasn't distracting. What I've wound up with instead is a simple kaleidoscope-inspired animation that's the result of me just playing around with masking rotating patterns in after effects. I'm quite pleased with it. I have tested more complex versions with multiple semi-transparent layers and different speed and directions but in the end I think this very simple design is best. I'm aware that even this might be distracting for some so I'll add an option to turn the animation off.
Text formatting— I've had a real struggle to get the text looking like it does and that might be the result of doing it the wrong way. I was thinking about using Inkle's slayout system to animate the text in but baulked at the idea of splitting blocks of text into individual words and flinging them around. In the end though I think my current system isn't great – quite a lot of complexity is required to keep the formatting as it is while it animates and there are limitations to adding one letter at a time. At the moment you can get it to hurry up by pressing a button before the text is done animating, but that only increases it to a max-speed of one letter per frame, which I think will still feel slow if you're playing and you just want to click the button. But I tired just jumping to the end to hurry things up and that also felt bad. I could maybe allow it to add more than one letter per frame, but that would be quite complex. Instead I might try switching to a per-word system. Don't know.
slayout— so I've used ink to write the text for the game and loved it, it's a really versatile tool for doing interactive fiction type things. It's made by inkle who have for some great games and then open sourced it. They also, recently, while I've been working on this project, opensourced an animation system for unity called slayout which seems really neat to use. I've been intending to use it to animate my UI elements around - particularly the 'day cards' but I haven't quite managed to make it work yet so I don't know if we're going to get slick UI animations in the final game or not. Maybe.
I've other thoughts in my head but I'll leave this there for now.
I hope you've found this interesting, I'll try and do these semi-regularly as I continue to work on the game.
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