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!
Hi, I'm Armaan, the creator of Rainswept and Forgotten Fields. On this blog, I post weekly updates about my games' development (or as often as possible!)