A lot of stuff happened in July that I’m going to do something crazy and spit this month’s update into two parts! Bonkers; I know. Let’s get stuck in!
In the continued focus to move the game onto PC / Mac, I continued the change-over to using keyboard and mouse for the game. The designer tool has been updated to reflect how easy and quick it is to interact with something when you have a mouse cursor. Previously you needed to step through different menus to add or edit pieces, but now you can pick pieces from the list on the side of the screen and add them straight away; or click any part of your design to edit it. Click on an empty part of the screen and drag to rotate the camera; and use the rotate, scale or move arrows to update your pieces.
A big goal for the interface for the design tool is to make it simple to use. I want the user to be able to do everything with the mouse and one button. For more advanced users there will be keyboard shortcuts, but going from zero to having a good looking creation should primarily be simple and fun.
Following on from this the placement of furniture and items in the world is now done with the mouse. The placement has been separated from player movement too, so you can run around while placing until you find that perfect spot. To allow more freedom in decoration the rotate mode was updated too to allow fine-tuning of item rotations. Before you’d be limited to 90 degree rotations only, but now, by holding down the rotate button and moving the mouse, you can choose any rotation you want!
Villagers can now move in to town. If a character has visited a few times and likes you enough you’ll have the option to invite them to live in your town. Once you have a house placed you want them to live in a dialog option will appear, allowing you to show them their new home.
How do you get characters to like you? By helping them out and playing games with them of course! Villagers can now give you tasks for things they’d like building; these tasks are somewhat randomized and based on the character’s likes/dislikes. Give them what they want and your friendship will increase and you might get something fancy in return!
A big part of the game is gathering and crafting resources needed to build homes for your villagers as well as create furniture and other items. I went through and made a list of all the resources I could think of that needed to be in the game and got to work on getting their placeholder versions in. Now you can go down to the mines and gather ore, return to the workshop and turn that ore into metals, and then use that metal in crafting something like a bench or set of shelves, for example; or craft enough bricks and paint to customize the outside of a new home you’ve just made.
Villagers can now interact with objects you create. Up until now any chairs you crafted were chairs only by name; but now settings get applied to your creation that defines how a villager will interact with it. To test this out I created a rough sitting animation, so now characters can sit on benches and watch the world go by.
I did some work on lighting and my custom shader to get things looking a bit brighter, and to get some nicer looking bounced light going on. You can see the difference below after tweaking textures and applying these changes.
You may have noticed in some of the images above the different style of some of the characters? Well; joining me this month and next I have the wonderful artist Jonas Sundberg (indianajonas) helping me out and they’ve gotten to work looking at the style for a whole bunch of things, including the villagers. What you see above are untextured block-outs testing the style of the characters before we get stuck into making them final.
In Part Two I’ll go through the work Jonas has been doing and sharing with you all the concepts; how we’ve iterated on designs; and the new looks for the villagers and the buildings. I’ll also talk a bit about the changes to the town, and the art improvements happening there. It’s going to be an art-filled post, so check it out when it comes!
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That’s it for Part One! Thanks for reading!