In preparation for this week, last week I had created a script to follow for my “Making of” documentary. There were a lot of key points that I wanted to cover, such as the origin of the game as “Tidal Force”, showing off key gameplay, and being able to talk about my struggles and successes during this project. I want my documentary to be an honest look at the work I’ve created and the progress I have made, and to be a reflection of my character. My script is as follows:
Guardians, The Beating Heart of the World. Guardians is a single-player experience which sees the player taking on the role of an unnamed villager navigating a world that has been decimated from passing too close to its sun. In order to restore the world, the player must traverse the different landscapes of an underground refuge to seek out the Guardians, the cornerstones of life in this world, and heal them from a deadly blight.
I’m Logan Hunt, the sole developer of Guardians. My main areas of work are in art and design; I’m especially fond of worldbuilding, both the ideation process, as well as the physical building of the world, as you’ll see later. I also dabble in character design, particularly those of different creatures and enemies you might encounter during your travels through the various worlds I create.
Guardians originally started out as a puzzle game called Tidal Force, which spawned from my chosen research theme of “The Ocean”. You would be able to control water to solve different environmental puzzles and progress further in the game, however, I wasn’t feeling so passionate about this idea. That’s when I was suggested that I could make a Metroidvania, which I resonated with strongly. Some of my favourite games are Metroidvanias, such as Hollow Knight, which I’ve taken a lot of inspiration from during the development of my game.
When planning out my project goals, I had to consider what was most important to me in both this project, as well as what’s important to me going into my career. Art will always be my passion in any aspect of my life, not just game dev, and so I wanted to be able to focus on improving my art and creating a truly beautiful world. I have no shortage of inspiration when it comes to my work. I’ve already mentioned Hollow Knight; Ari Gibson’s work can range from simple to complex, which is something I’ve always admired. Gris, developed by Nomada Studio, has also been an inspiration in my work, utilising muted tones and vibrant hues to contrast the different states of my game world.
Over the course of this project, I also wanted to improve my knowledge of how Unity works. I’m by no means a programmer, and so I’ve been worried about how much progress I’d make with the project but given that I have no affinity for programming and minimal experience with it, I was surprised at how much I was actually able to accomplish. From simple things like movement and health, to linking that health to UI, or expanding the player’s movement options to other objects in the game, there was a lot that I didn’t know I’d be able to achieve. There were still many roadblocks, which ultimately hindered my progress more than I would have liked, but I have to try and see beyond those and appreciate the work I’ve been able to make right now.
The development of Guardians has been a learning experience as I tried to navigate my way through the world of game development. I’ve learnt a lot of new skills and especially feel that my art has developed in a direction that I’m happy with. Looking back to the beginning of the year, I never would have thought I’d be in the position where I am now that I have a game that can be played, and I only feel more energized to continue working on the project.
For the rest of the week, I’ve been making smaller adjustments to the game, such as fixing levels to make them more traversable, and adding a few extra sprites, specifically those for platforms, to flesh out the overall look of the world. With the limited time, I only had the chance to make a couple, and with the varying platform sizes, some look stretched out which is unappealing, but I’m wary of the time I have left and I still need to work on my documentary and trailer, so I’ll just need to leave this for now. I think if I were to redo this project, I’d need to create some kind of “size guide”, as a lot of the sprites I’ve created for this project aren’t quite in scale with one another.
I’ve also been populating my levels with the different enemies I’ve created. I made some animations last week that I was happy with, but they didn’t quite function, as the Unity editor recorded the local positions of the enemies, and so I could only use the one animation for the enemy it was created for. So instead, I had to work on implementing movement through code, which was easy enough. With enemies sorted, I began thinking about how I could place them around my levels, guiding the player throughout the area to different locations.
I also discussed with Harry the state of the project, and he shared with me the revised track for the Healed version of Windfell Forest, as well as the Dead version, and I’m in love with both tracks! It’s always a joy hearing back from Harry and listening to what he’s created. We had a discussion about a main theme for the game previously, and I had sent some example tracks of what might be interesting a few days later, but unfortunately it’s a little too late in his schedule to create a new track, which I take full responsibility for.
Example Main Theme Tracks:
- Hollow Knight OST – Radiance – YouTube
- Pokémon Scarlet & Violet – Area Zero Theme [HQ] – YouTube
- Jujutsu Kaisen 0 Movie OST (Full) -Greatest Strength- Lyrics – YouTube
The above 3 tracks have a “holy” or atmospheric vibe that I wanted to go for to illustrate the power of the Guardians of the world, while the below videos include different Oriental instruments, which keep with the shrine theming I wanted to carry throughout the world.
- Beautiful Asian Music – Koto Music, Relaxing Music, Hotchiku. Sleep Music, Meditation | 3 Hours – YouTube
- 6 Traditional Japanese Instruments That You Can Listen To Today | LIVE JAPAN travel guide
Towards the end of the week, I’ve started recording footage for my documentary video. This was a terrifying experience for me personally, as I’m not a very confident speaker, but I’m glad to have undertaken this task, as I hope it will help me become a more confident speaker in the future. The next steps for me will be to start editing the footage I’ve taken today with my pre-recorded footage of my art and gameplay to create a documentary that explains the story of Guardian’s development.
I’ve also managed to create and set up 2 new animations in Unity: the player idle and player attack animations. I couldn’t create anything too detailed, but this works especially in the attack animations favour, where you just want a quick and snappy action that feels responsive to the player’s input. I still have a long way to go in terms of creating animation, but I am happy with how all of them have turned out.