Day/Night cycles

Today I wanted to share one bit I’ve been working on recently – day/night cycles.

Those of you who have played Thea: The Awakening surely remember that one of the game’s features was a day/night cycle that affected visibility and difficulty. We’ve decided to keep this element in Thea 2: The Shattering as well. An opportunity to work on this bit appeared after Khash has added handling of specular maps into his terrain and water shaders this week. So to test how things work, I played a while with different light setups and thought it would be cool to put together a switchable animation with a set of lights that would show the day/night cycle. After two days of trying to get the light and shadows right (being fairly new to different lighting settings),  here’s a short video showing the progress:

 

Other terrain elements also got an upgrade – water got an improved normal map, can now bounce off light and also blends with the shore much better. Also terrains can now use emissive maps, so I can add a nice glow to lava tiles on the volcanic island (yet to be done). And KIhash is improving terrain blending as I type  this post. Of course there’s still much work needed – rivers are a bit buggy, fog of war is missing, etc. – but I do hope we’re going in the right direction.

Below are a three more screens from different biomes.

News & Letters

Since a number of people asked, we’ve set up a Newsletter!
You all know what is it for, so just go and sign up if you want the news delivered to your e-mail.

On the development front – works are progressing and Khash has begun coding a first pass of the card minigame (and things related to it, such as networking). Having it in playable state will be a great help for event writers. We have no new screens to show just yet but when we do, we’ll definitely share them with you.

Stay tuned for an important announcement!

It’s no secret that Thea: The Awakening turned out quite well for us. But it’s been a while since our last news entry (and I have to admit I neglected our website a bit…) so people were wondering what exactly are we doing at the moment. We kept our head down for a while and since autumn promised to announce our next title “soon”, but the time has finally come!

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“Hey, I’d like to make a video!”

I have no idea how many games get released each year, but I it’s more every year. Gamers have a good choice of titles, but only some titles are worth the time and money. This is where reviews come in, either in the form of written text in a big magazine, or store page reviews. But there are no truly impartial reviews and a reviewer may like different things in games than we do, right? Different things annoy or give joy to different people so the best idea of what a game is like is to watch someone play it. YouTube has gained a massive popularity among gamers in the recent years, there are tons of content makers spitting out various video material. But from the dawn of game development, the custom is that reviewers don’t buy the games they review. They get it from developers. Continue reading

Speaking of returns…

Today a couple words about returns and refunds.
As you know, some time ago Steam has introduced refunds, which I think in general is a great idea. People are less afraid to try out new games and if something doesn’t go right, whether it is a hardware problem or the game just turns out to be something else they anticipated – they have no feeling of being cheated.
On the other hand… Continue reading

Fun Facts!

Here’s a couple numbers related to development and sales of Thea:

  • The production started 19 months ago, in June 2014
  • Core development team of four was supported by several members of “friends & family” throughout the whole time of production
  • Cost of assets, outsourcing and other development-related (excluding living costs) totaled to ~£15.000

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Back to 5.1.4

I am writing this as a follow up, as 5.2.3p3 and also 5.2.4 turned out to be crashing quite a lot. It was actually crashing not only the build but also the whole editor. A couple days later 5.3.1 appeared, but the texture bug from 5.3.0 remained.

So the last stable, relatively bug-free release was Unity 5.1.4, which we’ll probably stick with for longer. All this testing and wasted time, only to move from 5.1.1 to 5.1.4… But there are also good news, and I only discovered this today – the button-offset-on-non-native-resolution bug seems to be fixed in this version! Now, off to delete the other 6 versions of Unity to save some disk space…

Love – hate relationship

Today I wanted to write a little bit about our planned update from Unity 5.1.1 to 5.3.0 and why it’s taking so long.

First, let me say, that Unity is a great engine. We really enjoy working with it. I might be more difficult to pump out high-end graphics on it (not that we care, we haven’t got resources to provide AAA graphics anyway), but it’s easy to work with and its UI editor is the best I’ve worked with so far. Continue reading