It's been a long while since the last devlog. True to the themes of Forgotten Fields' story, gathering momentum and and keeping work going at a steady pace can sometimes be really difficult, and - for me - if the core development work isn't flowing along at a quick pace, writing devlogs/ marketing etc becomes lower priority and falls by the wayside.
But having kept up development through this slow period, I now have a foundation of the new bits and can sprint through the remainder of the game - because there isn't much left!
We're now at the final scene - Sid's house. Sid is back home for the party that we've been moving towards since the opening. Of course, if you'd rather see the house when the game is out, then maybe skip this devlog.
The design for the house is something I've had in my mind from the beginning. It isn't something I'd planned for any specific reason, it's just the place that I saw while imagining the game's story.
So first of all, here's a stop motion video of me building the house, set to classical music, because why not?
With Sid's house (mostly) completed, the next step was to make the backdrop. While you can't really explore the neighborhood, it was important make the bits that are visible realistic and believable, in order to make the atmosphere feel cozy and lived in. I must admit, I got a bit more ambitious with this part than I'd planned. But I really loved creating the little neighborhood, and it was a great learning experience!
Here's some pictures of the neighborhood under construction. This area is of course, also inspired by the kind of places you'd see in Goa, while also maintaining some of that Ghibli flavor I've tried to have in the game from the beginning:
I've tried to add as many details as possible - wires, AC units, pavements, gutter covers, transformers, water tankers, satellite dishes - things that really make the neighborhood identifiable as set in India/ South Asia. I may add some more if possible!
After that, I went and got myself a plug in for the skies and the environmental/ ambient lighting system (Enviro Sky and Weather) which will help me change the time of the day during run time in this scene. It also pushes up the lighting quality up a notch!
Plus, it allows me to add some beautiful skies and clouds to the game. Check it out (along with some more great music by Micamic) in the video below!
Finally, having finished up the neighborhood and lit it up with some Realtime GI lights, the next step was to focus on improving the performance. Of course, the final optimization run will be done once the game is fully finished content wise, but I also don't want the game to chug during testing!
One of the steps I took was to dynamically turn off unnecessary lights in the neighborhood when the player isn't present in that spot/ when the camera can't see it. I did this by simply switching the lights on/off using triggers. So when the player is in the house, the lights in the front and back streets are turned off (and replaced by a single light to keep it lit when in the background), when the player is in the front street, the lights in the house and the backstreet are turned off, etc - you get the point.
Only, switching them on/off abruptly didn't look good, so I decided to fade the power of the lights in and out by animating the properties. This took a little time, but was totally worth it! The framerate improvement was also the same as switching the lights off. Check it out in the video below:
That's it for this time! The next devlog will probably be when the game is almost finished.
If you've got any thoughts/ feedback, I'd love to hear it - send me a mail or leave a comment! I'll see you guys in the next post :)
I've spent a lot of time working on the scene that the Forgotten Fields demo ends on - Ethan's house and the surrounding neighborhood area. A lot of that time has been spent on making this place feel atmospheric, warm and alive.
Fun backstory - the vibe of this place has been inspired by a random dead end road that my friends and I discovered after we got lost and took a wrong turn. It's a pretty basic spot, but it's also special - there are fields on one side of the road, two railway tracks that run parallel to the road on the other side, and some old houses a little distance away on the third side. This place has become one of our favorite hang out spots ever, and so of course, I decided to add it to the game.
The spot in monsoons-
The fields are golden and the rest of the foliage is brown in the drier months (which is when the game is set)
The focus of this post is on those previously mentioned trains, and how game dev is quite a bit like film making in that a lot of the things you see are actually illusions and magic. There's some weird stuff going on behind the scenes! If don't want to break immersion, maybe skip this post (or the last part of it) The trains are only set up as a part of the background to add atmosphere to the place and also as a reference to the place that has inspired this area in the game. You can't get on them!
Now first of all, The trains are set up as "NPCs" (through the plugin Adventure Creator) which basically allows me to set up their back and forth movement on the tracks using AC's "paths" system. This helps me avoid having to animate the trains. The paths system also has the option to pause at every node, which means that the trains won't be running back and forth all the time and will instead pass by at more realistic time intervals. Simple, but nifty.
The blue boxes or bogies on one of those trains are the typical sort you see in Indian passenger trains, and are immediately recognizable to anyone that has traveled by or ever seen them.
Having got the movement sorted, the next most important part to figure out was the sound of the trains passing by. This sound should only play when the train is close to the player.
To make sure that the sounds stop after the train is out of earshot, I set up these triggers (the red boxes) on either side of the playable area to recognize the train and only then turn the sound component on. The sound turns off automatically once the audio clip ends (it's about 20 seconds long only) as it is not set to loop. The triggers (also a part of AC) are set up to recognize if the sound is already playing, so that they don't launch the audio clip twice.
The sound component itself is attached to the train, twice - one at the head, near the engine, and one at the end, so that the audio plays continuously and seamlessly for the full duration of the train's passage past the player. Unity also allows you to set it up as a 3D sound with doppler effect. You can see it all in action here in this video -
I think it sounds pretty good!
Another fun little thing going on behind the scenes that amused me is that the house that you see in the picture below falls right on top of the tracks. This house is only seen once, in the shot seen below, and it had to be placed on that spot to fill up the scene and make the world seem more realistic.
Behind the scenes though, you've actually got trains running through it! But with the way the camera is set up (isometric) you'll never really see the train going into the house during gameplay. Check out the immersion breaking phenomenon below -
Thanks for reading, and see you in the next devlog! :)
A lot of progress has been made since the last devlog. I've spent the last week or so working on one of the most important exciting scenes of the game - the beach!
(Btw, I've saved the best part for the end of this post, so make sure to read till the end! BUT, skip it if you'd rather discover it yourself in the full game release :) )
One of the things I love about making games is that you get to sculpt an immersive, beautiful world, and that once you get in the flow it almost becomes a spiritual experience. Sculpting the land and laying an ocean over it felt surreal. Check it out in this timelapse video of the process -
For the water, I'm using the free, open source version of the Crest Ocean System, and the quality of this is excellent. I especially love the subsurface scattering effect that allows the waves to be illuminated by the sun, giving it that Assassin's Creed Black Flag or Sea of Thieves feel. One of the reasons why I love those games is the peaceful, beautiful atmosphere created by their oceans, so it's really exciting for me to have something of that sort.
One of the things I was disappointed about is the shoreline waves - my scene is on the beach, not the ocean, so waves on the shore are pretty important. By default, the shoreline remains pretty static in Crests, with nothing more than foam on the edges.
Not being a programmer and knowing nothing about shaders, I tried to improvise a solution - I added a GerstnerPatch (from one of the example scenes in Crests) and tweaked the settings to ramp up the waves and make them sharper only near the shoreline. Another issue is that by default the shoreline remains static - in reality on a beach, the water runs up and then back down the beach pretty prominently. To fix that I animated my ocean "plane" to move slowly up and down. Here's a video showing the process -
Now I had the beach set up and looking pretty great visually, I was pretty excited for the next bit - sound.
Back when I was lacking inspiration and unsure of what I wanted this game to be about, a visit to Goa (my home) gave me that much needed spark of inspiration, and a visit to my favorite beach was one of the most impactful moments of that trip. In that moment when I was floating in the water, I wished I could accurately share and experience how it actually feels to be floating in the ocean. And one of the most important aspect of this experience is the sound - the flappy sound that wet, bare feet make on wet sand, how the atmosphere sounds on the shore, how the waves crash when standing on the water's edge, how it changes when underwater, and how it suddenly breaks into a large, expansive sound as soon as you emerge from it.
For this I needed a more complex system than the one provided by default in Unity, as the default system only allows you to specify proximity to a sound source using spheres. The shoreline is a line, not a sphere, which meant I would have a mess of a 100 spheres everywhere denoting different zones.
To fix this, I got myself the Volumetric Audio asset - This (among other features) allows you to specify a custom shape for your audio source. Perfect!
Here's a video that shows the different audio zones as set up in the scene -
What do you think? There are 4 different zones set up playing sounds for 1) the wide, atmospheric sound of the overall ocean from a distance 2) the sound of waves crashing loudly when standing close them 3) underwater (heard in the next video) and 4) (my favorite) the wide, expansive sound you hear as soon as your ears pop when you come to the surface from underwater.
Like I promised, I've saved the best for last - first person mode. As you would've seen in the demo, the game switches to first person from time to time. Making this scene playable in first person was super important for me to create that immersion and the accurate feeling of being in the beach that I mentioned above.
With this, you're actually able to feel the movement of the water, the waves constantly crashing over your face, the constant change in sound as your head bobs under and over water, the sound of the wind on the shore, and wet feet on sand. Check it out -
Of course, some of the sounds still need a little tweaking and polishing. I think the first person video above really captures what I dreamed of creating and sharing that day on the beach, and I'm super excited about it :)
See you next time!
Welcome to the first devlog for Forgotten Fields! During the development of Rainswept, I kept quite a regular and detailed record of development through posts like these (24 of them!) and they were great not only for sharing information about my development process, but were also a great way of arranging my own thoughts about the game and feelings about the game's development. Kind of like a journal.
Development of this game has been quite different from that of Rainswept in many ways, and the lack of devlogs this time is one of them. I've just had my mind completely on making the game, and haven't had the time and energy for the other important bits like sharing progress on social media and here, through devlogs. Being only a handful of months away from release, we may not get more than a half dozen posts out, but something is better than nothing!
After wrapping up a successful Kickstarter campaign, I've hunkered down and put myself completely into making progress with the game. At the end of the demo, Sid reaches his friend Ethan's house - he's supposed to pick up some papers here, for his childhood home that's about to be sold off.
This area is much bigger than the previous two scenes, and is one where I feel like the game really shines. There's a few "quests", some interesting gameplay, and some warm, peaceful areas to explore outside Ethan's house as Sid waits for the paperwork to be finished.
But more importantly, you can pet the dog -
Apart from being a fun feature that everyone loves in games, and one that improves any game, I feel that having a pettable dog really adds to that warm, cozy and homely feeling that I'm going for with Forgotten Fields.
Another cool, fun feature that has been added to this area is a couple of NPCs playing football in the streets. If you've ever been to Goa, you'll immediately relate to the goal posts being indicated through bricks and slippers! Is this something you do in your part of the world too?
Here's a video showing the step by step process of how I went about adding details to this -
Finally, this devlog is numbered 0 because I wanted to keep this first, intro devlog short and focused on the introduction while also compiling the above (previously shared on social media) couple of clips here. I'll be posting the next post immediately after putting this one up, but I didn't want to merge the two as that would make it all too long. You can read that one here -
See you in the next one!
Just an update to let you guys know that new things are being worked on, and that there should be more news in the coming weeks and months. For one, I've already updated the website to which now reads www.frostwoodinteractive.com instead of www.rainsweptgame.com (the old link forwards to the new one) The website now reflects the studio's work as a whole, with Rainswept being a sub section.
I'm also hoping to start some work on creating videos (devlogs and other stuff) and I'll be giving it a shot in the next few days/ weeks. Keep an eye out here - Youtube channel
And of course, I'm in the business of making video games, so that'll always be the main talking point! If there's anything new at all ( ;) ) then it's in extremely early, baby stages. But it'll be exciting, and I'll talk about it soon.
Until next time!
I'm a bit late in sharing this news here, but better late than never! :)
After two years of working on the game, Rainswept has finally been released and is now available on Steam and GOG!!
Thank you SO MUCH for supporting the game, providing feedback and for just playing through the demo. It has been super encouraging and helpful <3
I'll leave you with the new launch trailer. Do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need help with anything. I hope you enjoy the game, and I hope to talk again soon!
Hi everyone! I'm thrilled to announce that Rainswept will finally be out on PC and MAC on February the 1st! Here's a teaser trailer -
At the moment, I’m working with a QA company to find and fix bugs, and I’m also working on optimizing the game’s framerate.
In the past couple of weeks, I’ve improved and implemented a couple of features. First, the interaction wheel has been updated. A few weeks back I asked you guys which UI scheme worked best out of these four:
A,B and D were tied, with many saying the colors were good for accessibility reasons, and the colors in option C were possibly the easiest to read and most aesthetically pleasing.
At the same time, many people in the feedback for demo asked for mouse support to be added to the game, as controlling through the keyboard turned out to be clunky.
So I decided to combine all the options above! The game can now played with keyboard+mouse, and the base color options are those of category C, while highlighting an option with the mouse turns them into a variant of option D. Aesthetics, accessibility and comfortable controls all in one! :) Here’s a preview:
A quest tracker has also been added to the game, so that players can keep a track of the objectives. The tracker, of course, updates dynamically and keeps up with the tasks you’ve completed and gives a notification for newly added ones as well:
What do you think?
The next few days (or the rest of December) will be spent on fixing bugs and optimizing the game. If all goes well, ideally, January will be spent on marketing, making the trailer and preparing for release!
Having completed the previous tasks of polishing the game and implementing visual improvements, I’ve now started with one of the most important tasks - identifying and fixing bugs! To be honest, chasing issues is tiring, difficult work (more than I’d expected!) but it’s good to see long pending issues finally resolved! :)
Slowly the game is beginning to reach the stage where it can be released to the public (which is a very scary thought lol) I’m midway through the last round of playing through and fixing the bugs by myself, after which I’ll send over the complete game to a QA company for thorough testing.
In between this there are still a couple of things I still need to implement - a simple quest tracker, improved controller support, better saving/ loading, a few dialogue fixes and some other smaller tasks.
If all goes to plan (as it has, thankfully, until now) this should all be done by mid December. After that, I’ll focus on improving the performance and framerate of the game.
That’s it for this time!
Hi, I'm Armaan, the creator of Rainswept. On this blog, I post weekly updates about the game's development (or as often as possible!)