W.A.R.P. - VRJam Log #3

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Today it was time to work on the next puzzle room. I've had idea for future puzzles, but I just feel there should be something else for proper progression after the simple first puzzle. I need to introduce something new, since there's not much to do with the mechanics that I have, just nothing to fancy. After some internal debating I decided a movable window was the best next step.

So first I need to adjust the window model to visually represent that its movable. But really, before that my window doesn't make much sense as is. It kind of just floats there. So first I have to adjust the model to better visually show that its stationary, and follows the law of gravity. So I made some legs/braces for the bottom.

After that I moved onto the movable window. This I just figured some basic looking wheels would do. I just made the wheels spheres. They don't animate or anything, but they're good enough.

Now I needed to make the window actually move some how. I quickly just decided to make a script similar to the battery pickup script. Instead of press a button and hold what your looking at, you press a button and start pushing around the window. Basically, the only difference is that the window keeps its y position on the floor.

Once I got this working, I soon noticed a bug. As I run around ramming the window into, well, anything, the object pops between worlds. Huge rocks, terrain, walls, doors, etc. It was unexpected, and amusing. I realize that sometimes unexpected bugs like that can lead to being a intended mechanic. So I decided to think about it before I fixed it. As I often do when I need to brain storm, I turned off my monitor, closed my eyes, and started thinking... 2 hours later, I woke up. DANG! I guess I didn't realize how tired I was. Maybe its the cold I still have a little bit of, or I've been spending a lot time on the project the past few days.

Anyway, objects bigger then the windows are not something I want popping through them, and certainly not things unintended. So I wrote the bug down in my notes in case I do want to do something with it later, fixed the bug and moved on.

I soon noticed another issue. I grabbed the window, moved it over to the battery, dropped the window, then tried reaching through to grab the battery, and I just grabbed the window instead. I didn't think about that. How should things know what I'm intending to grab? Mapping 2 different grab buttons, one for windows, one for batteries, doesn't sound right to me. I tried a couple different things and just ended up going with that windows are grabbed by holding the button down. It will only grab the window after 0.5 seconds of holding the button down. I realize now that I'll have to make the controls known somehow. Maybe a one time pop up? Anyway. This idea worked, and I could now move onto room 3.

The next day I started thinking about the room 3 puzzle. I have ideas for some mechanics, but I just feel there should be some smoother progression before them. I didn't want to work on having environmental effects transfer back through the window yet, but started thinking that, well, I can only spend so much time on this game to get it done in time for the game jam. I'm not going to be able to make the full length game I would want, and also judges probably arent going to spend more then a few minutes playing it. So a proper slow progressing wouldn't work. I don't want judges deciding they're done before they get to the good stuff. So for this demo only, I need to jump strait from new mechanic to new mechanic. So I guess it's time for the environmental effects.

My original idea was to have continuous global environmental effects emitting through the windows. But since I only want to use 1 world in this demo, and don't want to make to many versions of the windows to explain why the first 2 weren't emitting effects, I decided to use localized effects. Meaning, for the hot world I made a red geyser. Just a particle fountain shooting red particles. And when you move the window really close to it the effect comes through. This isn't the awesome elaborate idea I originally envisioned, but again, I'm only one man, and limited for time, so it's good enough.

To go along with this, the effect needs to be used on something. It's hot, so ice makes sense. That was my general idea when I came up with it, but I need to make it work with what I have now. I decided to encase a battery in ice. I grabbed a rounded edge cube I made for a previous project, set its color to a light blue, turned down the transparency, and hope it passes as a ice cube. lol.

It's quite an elaborate daisy chain or scripts for this new mechanic, but in the end it works. Having to move both the window around, the ice cube, then the battery for this puzzle is nice. I feel I'm finally getting close enough to wear I can use the same mechanics shuffled around to create a new puzzle. But I wont be doing that next.

Next I want to try another idea...

Here I toke a couple week break from logging my progress, since few were even looking at these. But I'll try to cover what I did since then.

My next idea was to have some object you need to go through the window so you can stand on it. This was born of my idea to have a sort of jumping puzzle where you hold the window and try to land with it underneath you so that a platform goes through for you to land on, or possibly carrying a window as you have a long object come through it that your walking on. These ideas are a bit much to hope to get done in time due to requiring a ton of trial and error. So I came up with the next best thing I could. A magic floating rock! I didn't like it. The game seems based in science, and I'm adding random magic. But I needed something else so I went with it. It further brought the game away from the alternate realities idea, and torwards alternate worlds/universes. But oh well.

I added the magic rock and called it finished, but I didn't like it. It didn't transition through the window well and was just bad in other ways. I ended up thinking of a much simpler idea. I replaced the magic rock with a simple box. This was better as the magic rock was stationary, but the cube could be moved. You move the window near the cube, grab the cube through the window and place the cube near some platforms you couldn't get on top of before without standing on that cube, hope up, grab the battery and done.

It's here where I stopped coming up with room ideas. I had 4, and while I'd like more, I think anything I'd come up with would require to much time. I needed to start polishing what I had. The good part is that judges will probably only play the game for a few minutes, and thats about how long my game demo will last. Anything beyond a few minutes of gameplay is a waste at this point, and could be better spent by polishing what I have. And thats exactly what I wanted to do. Start polishing/bug fixing.

Over the next week or so I made the grab scripts better in that carried objects don't go through walls. I added a reticle for aiming and to see what can/can't be grabbed. Added text dialogs to help inform the player, and as a bonus reading them adds time to make the demo longer. Cheesy, but I'll take it. Optimized things to help perform better, hopefully enough for GearVR. Wasted a day downloading and setting up all the hassle BS to be able to make a GearVR build. Still haven't tested it though. Fixed numerous little bugs. Added 2 new basic rooms, intro and end. No puzzle stuff. Reorganized the hot world terrain a bit. Swapped around the order of the environmental effect puzzle and the need a box to reach puzzle. Created a special room just for the demo video, to try and show what screenshots don't convey to well. Added a clock and wrote a script to make it keep accurate time. Really, in VR there needs to be more real time clocks so you can keep track of time and not have to take off the HMD. I'll likely release that as part of a VR Starter Package later. And finally I added a Easter Egg. I hope many people find it! But its not a simple thing to stumble on.

I glossed over things a bit, but I hope that covers enough and catches up to my progress. I may make more entrys into the log, but they may not be to long or detailed.


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