Ock Alpha preview

Monday, May 26th, 2014

It’s about that time, ladies and gents: we’re officially seeking help from a hobbyist artist who’d like to work on Ock together.

  • Seeking an artist for an unpaid artist position (unless we decide to sell this game, at which point we can discuss 50-50 revenue share or something)
  • Time commitment: relatively low (I’ll likely code one or two scenes per week; each will have a backdrop and a small handful of animated, recurring characters such as “Inmate” and “Guard”)
  • Art style: Open to discussion, although pixel art with a level of detail (little to no facial distinctions, < 8 colors, etc.) similar to what we have now is strongly preferred

Welcome to the Oculus Correctional Facility located in the town of Providence. Built in 2074 and designed by Jonathan Bickham, this is a state-of-the-art facility.

This post will serve as a sort of informational preview page or screenshot/screencap dump.

Here is a shot from the opening scene, where you input your name. Note that in the final version, all the prisoners will look different. They’ll have different body types, clothes, tattoos, hairstyles, etc. You’ll be able to identify yourself because the pre-intro menu will allow you to briefly customize your appearance.

Likewise, in this following scene, you’re all lining up in preparation of getting “sanitized.”

Of course, “sanitizing” isn’t as ominous as it sounds. You just get shaved bald. Insert the sound of hair clippers buzzing here.

This one cuts off a bit abruptly, but it’s the last full scene I’ve built out. You’re assigned your cell. Press “up” to get inside and meet your cellmate. This is where the story really begins.

Once they’ve locked you in there, the camera switches to a top-down view. Screenshot from our previous blog post:

Where's the toilet?

Well, this is where we currently stand. If you’re reading this and are interested (or know someone who might be), email us or leave a comment!

LF pixel artist, plus a simple top-down player template

Sunday, May 18th, 2014

A few weeks back I recorded a “gameplay” video of all the scenes we have so far in Ock using programmer art. When I get a chance, I’ll edit in my voiceover commentary explaining what’s going on and what we’re looking for on the art side of things. The end goal is to be have a tangible video that we can show to anyone interested in potentially jumping in to help with this project. Most artists probably wouldn’t want to commit to a game without a good idea of what it’s going to be like.

The screen capture video came out to just under 3 minutes, which was surprisingly a bit on the long side to me, considering it’s really only the tip of the iceberg. On second thought, maybe a small summary of the game and screenshots would be enough…

This estimate will probably be way off in the end, but I figure the total start-to-finish play time when all is said and done should come in at around 10-15 minutes.

In the meantime, here’s a small code snippet for a top-down four-directional player script. It’s used in all the scenes that take place in the actual tiny prison cell. The cell will look a little like this (toilet and sink coming soon!):

Where's the toilet?

There are dozens of other player script templates out there that are probably more elegant and more suitable as a generic starting point, but I’ll post this anyway. Continue reading…

Up, up, down, down, left, right… whatever

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

While Ock probably won’t feature the Konami code, it sure feels like I’m entering it every time I test the four-way movement. As mentioned earlier, we have some serious refactoring going on, and–amid a very busy month at my day job–I’ve managed to get all the movement down to one player class rather than having a different player for every single scene. Not very impressive, I know.

The trickiest part was rolling over and giving in to the animation state machine built into Unity, which I had strayed away from in the past, opting to go with the more script-oriented approach from a tutorial on Ray Wenderlich’s website.

But alas, the techniques outlined in this tutorial by Michael H.C. Cummings prevail. This is all still a far cry from what I got very comfortable with in HTML5/JS, but I suppose them’s the breaks.

All I have left to do with the player is figure out a way to elegantly dictate which directions of movement are allowed. For example, in scenes where the camera is looking from the side (which most of the game is), you obviously can’t move (or appear to move) up and down. There are some scenes in which you’re forced to step forward (“down”) on command, but you’re not allowed to step backward (“up”) even if you wanted to. Perhaps a simple array for each direction: canMoveIn = [W, E, N, S] ?

A DRY Spell

Sunday, March 30th, 2014

After a few weeks off, we made some progress today working on the following goals:

  • Refactor code for the three main classes: Inmate, Guard, and Player
  • Do a bit of storyboarding for the “Week 1″ scenes, now that the composition of the “Intake” scenes are pretty much done
  • Make some headway regarding the overall story structure

I figured this was a better time than ever to try applying (or at least not grossly violating for the nth time) the Don’t Repeat Yourself (“DRY”) principle of programming. I had previously had shamefully inelegant code, like distinct, standalone scripts for the Player class across scenes, simply because in one scene, you can walk left and right, but in another, you can also walk up and down after a delay. Lots of virtual and override getting thrown around, but surely nothing too difficult.

As for storyboarding, Terry came up with a start for how one of the scenes will look, which is pretty vital since the game’s story actually begins to ramp up quite quickly after Intake ends. Here’s a thumbnail.

Ock Week 1 Storyboard

Continue reading…

Bueller… Bueller…

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

The beauty of coroutines is that they’re actually quite intuitive once you get the hang of them. For example, I’ve split up my “Intake 2″ scene into three parts, each with their own coroutine. So part 1 tells the guard to walk by the inmates one by one for roll call. When he gets to the player, and the player does not reply, the part 1 coroutine decides to do this:


And that, in turn, just repeats the player’s given prisoner ID number forever until an acknowledgement is given.

Anyway, not much else to report–moving onto Intake 3, which is an extremely brief transition scene. Have a great weekend!