August 2018 : Part One

Hello! Here’s what’s been happening during the first half of August!
When you create furniture and other items in the game there will often be “requirements” attached to that type of object. These “requirements” are in place so that the objects you create can be properly used by the villagers. Chairs need a space villagers can sit on, for example. These requirements are now properly checked when you go to save your furniture, and if there’s something wrong, visual feedback is given telling you what needs to be fixed.
An area of the chair design is blocked when it needs to be clear
After the new town layout was sketched by Jonas I went through and set it up in Unity using the new environment pieces from last time. Once set up some tweaks were needed here and there to make sure running from area to area felt good, and that the player doesn’t need to go “the long way round” to get where they need to go. These sorts of things you often can’t tell when looking at a concept, and only really become apparent when you traverse the level in-game.
Town layout concept
Layout in Unity
After Jonas blocked out the new heads for the villagers last month we decided to get one of them up to a near-final level. We chose the dog to go with (as that was our favorite) and Jonas fixed up the mesh and added new textures. This head will act as a reference point for the other animals in terms of style and feel and so we spent some time iterating on the texture to make sure we got i right.
New Dog head!
Water! There are a few areas of water in the town where you’ll be able to fish and until now they were just empty; so this month I decided to get a water shader in and pretty-up these spots. I had initially wanted to write my own shader, but I decided to take a look at the Asset Store and see if there was anything there that could work. Thankfully I found a shader that fit reasonably well the look and feel I wanted and so I got this in and set it up in the level. With some tweaking I feel I got pretty close to what I was after, and now there’s water for the fish to swim in! Hoorah!
Standing on the beach with the new water in
Something that had been niggling me for a little while were the trees in the game. I felt that the amount of movement was too little (only the leaf meshes wobbled) and decided to update the tree shader so that they would get blown in the wind. The additional movement of the swaying adds quite a lot to the image on screen I think; making the world feel more alive. I also added a wind intensity so that further down the line, when implementing different weather, the trees could sway more intensely to match the feel of a blustery or stormy day.
Different wind intensities
With the new head that Jonas made for the dog I worked on a new shader for the villager heads that combed eye textures onto the base head itself. This shader is used to make the villagers blink and mainly, to show emotions on the villagers. This is done simply by switching out the textures used on the head based on the emotion they’re displaying. These emotions I set up as assets that can be shared by all villagers, each one consisting of an emotion and an eyes and brows texture. Different eyes can be used with different brows to make more varied expressions. Later on body animations will be added to these emotions to make them even more expressive.
Different villager expressions
Jonas got busy with improving the train station and adding textures. Our goal with iterating on the train station was to find the right feel for the textures; as, similar to the dog’s head, these would act as a guide for other textures for the houses and other buildings yet to be made. We ran out of time to get the whole station finished before Jonas had to leave, but the roof and wall textures we were happy enough with to use as reference for future buildings.
New Station Textures
A little while back I implemented painting in the game. This part of the game allows you to choose from colors and brushes and paint an image. This image can then be used for a variety of different purposes, like being applied to furniture, or used as a design on clothing. This month I extended the painting tool so that you can use clothing templates with it. When you’ve chosen a clothing template and painted your desired design you can then save that design to a piece of clothing. All the villagers in town can be given clothing to wear; allowing you to dress up the villagers in your own custom outfits!
Painting a t-shirt design
Villager wearing the new very fancy t-shirt
Two new, small animations made it in during the first half of month; pulling of weeds got a more strenuous motion (previously it was using the “pick up” animation) and I added an animation for villagers going into sitting. Now when a villager goes to sit on a chair they no longer just pop onto the chair in their sitting animation; their position is blended from an “entry point” (one side of the chair) into the sitting position, with a little jump animation to mask the blending.
New Weed Pull animation
Jumping onto the chair
In the last few days before Jonas left they did some concepts for UI elements of the game. Focusing on the backpack as the main starting point they aimed to get a look and feel of the UI that fit with the overall visual style of the game. After a few iterations we got to a design that we liked; something a bit more papery in feel, and more fun too.
https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/401304768863141888/477462915201630258/uiInventory_01.PNG
Backpack Concept. A bit too old-school UI
https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/401304768863141888/478549705454911488/uiInventory_20.PNG
Final Concept
Jonas also looked at concepting the “furniture cards” that will be used in game, and on the online catalog. These cards will present you with the stats for the furniture and items you design in game, and then also will be what you see as you browse the online catalog of other players’ creations. I wanted to get a trading card/collectible card feel from these to really make them feel attractive when browsing new furniture to download; and to show off the player’s creation when they’re done designing. 
First Designs
More designs
https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/401304768863141888/478882881620410368/cards_06.PNG
Final Selection
So there you go! The first part of August’s goings-on! Hope you enjoyed it, Part Two will be coming soon!
Thanks for reading!
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