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Add light to your day

We were working hard to get to the IGF, unfortunately we couldn’t get a stable version on time, also there were a lot of visual things to change, so we decided to give it a try the next year.

One of the things that pushed us back, was a shader problem. We were using transparent sprites, so as to have fade out effects and the like, and that turned out to be a bit of problem when we tried to make the sprites emit and receive shadows. It is not trivial to calculate how a transparent object deals with shadows so that took a while to deal with. Finally, yesterday we did find a work around for this (which ended up being quite simple, our solution was having double sided planes on the sprites and switching shaders). Anyway, this is how the sprites look with the shadows on:

(Click to enlarge the picture)

In the screen, you can see two light emitters: the torch and the ambient light. You can see how the first philosopher receives the light from the torch, how the three characters emit shadows and how the background sprites receive shadow. All the complications we had, fixed in a marvelous picture.

This is a vine version, (I’ve just downloaded the app :P) :

And finally, the incredible youtube version, of a classic day in Delphi:

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Tic, Tac, you are at the gates of the IGF

This our last update before the IGF’s submission deadline. We are focussing all of our efforts on being able to reach Saturday with a working version of Okhlos. This is practically our wallpaper:


We still don’t know if we’ll be able to submit a version of Okhlos, because we think that it’s better not to send anything at all than sending a poor version of the game. We’ll always have next year (and Paris).


To illustrate this short update, here is a graphic representation of the feeling around here.

That’s one of Apollo’s arrows, reaching a poor philosopher. We would be the philosopher, and the IGF would be the arrow. I have the pathological need to explain the obvious.


Next week we will return to our usual updates! Full of joy and uninteresting facts.

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Giving life to delphi’s dangers

Like we have for the past weeks, we are crunching time a lo loco to be able to have a prototype for the IGF. This translates into long hours and no weekends until the 19th of october. We have eleven days left, and one of the last things I did was to animate the bad guys in Delphi.
In Delphi, we have four main enemies (the two oracular guards, the griffons and the giants) and a boss (Apollo).


The oracular guards

They are divided into two kind of enemies. The Prophetai, and the Hosioi.

The historical Prophetai were usually the ones who interpreted the oracle, according to most records at least. In the game, not only are they part of the baddies, but they summon other baddies as well. And they do a subpar job interpreting prophecies.

The Hosioi were more guardians/warriors kind of monks, the protectors of the sacred sactuary and the oracle. So it’s only logical that they throw fireballs at will.

(The  .gif above is interactive. You can imagine how the fireball will be)

These animations were not much of a challenge. When we had the green bad guy animated, we took it to grayscale, and then repainting it red. With a few tweaks, we had the majority of the animations of the red one, and then I focused on the attack animation, that was the only animation that had different with the green Prophetai.

Here, you can see the grayscale process to repaint the tunic. It’s not being lazy, it’s being “productive”.


The Griffon

The griffon was complicated, because it flies. Anything that has wings is difficult to animate. To that, add the fact that the griffons could be anywhere  in the level, so it had to have a front and back sprite for every stance.

Another problem with the griffon, was that originally  it was going to be an ordinary griffon (with claws, talons, feathers and everything), but in the middle of the process we came to think that they seemed to have little to no relation with the rest of the level. So we turned them into mechanical griffons, made of gears and clay like the giants who watch the city, and in this way it made more sense to include them.

This is a comparison between the old griffon and the new mechanical one.

This gives to the city, a more controlled dystopia look. And makes the griffons look like they were put there intentionally.

And remember, never animate anything with wings. It’s horrible.


The Giant

The giants in Delphi are the ones who keep everything in order, and they don’t allow groups of three or more people in the streets. So they will attack you if you cross their paths. But they will not chase you. Came to think, they are more of a hazard than an enemy. But you can kill them, though.

Animating them was a bit of a pain, because I had to draw some poses entirely, and in my mind I hoped that I could animate everything moving the already made parts.

Making this animation was the ideal, just moving parts. Unfortunately, animations for like the attack one, I  had to draw a lots of new parts.

Finally, the most demanding enemy, Apollo.



Apollo took a lot of work and planning.  We had to figure how the animation was going to suggest  the user to do some things or to anticipate an attack. Also, we made animations that were easy to loop or delay to respond to certain situations.

I wanted to do the majority of the animations using moving parts, like I did with the giant. Unfortunately, all the animations were so different that I had to establish some pipeline to draw keyframes and turn them into pixel art.

First, I drew the key frames, the more important poses. They were not intended to be perfect, they only needed to be a guideline to make the pixel art part.

(Click in the picture to enlarge it)

These are quick sketches. When I have the main pose, I scale it down to fit the pixel counterpart.

I learned that if I scaled down the sketch with nearest neightbor, I could use it at base and pixel on top of it. Billinear was, obviously of not help at all.

So, in a few days I almost had all of Apollo’s animations, like this one (I love the idle animations, there is something about the balance between being subtle and making it move).




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Green in small doses

One of the things that give life to the environments is the greenery. Making good greenery its hard for two reasons. First, you have to place them scattered enough and try to not make any recognizable patterns. The second main issue is how you deal with the terrain integration.

As we said before, we are working with 2dToolkit, which gives us a lot of versality. Also, we try not to use billboards (except for the characters) to help the performance, because the implementation was done very quickly and right now there are more pressing issues.

So, I started placing some sprites by hand.

I followed some basic rules, like next to roads, next to walls, etc.

(Click in the picture to enlarge it!)

Also next to the mountains.

There were some areas where there was simply too much to do it by hand. I thought that there would be some kind of tool ready to use with Unity and I was right, but the tools I tried were all very clumsy and imprecise. Finally, Sebastian developed a custom tool to stamp some greenery. All I have to do is to set the population density of the objects that it will print, and use box with colliders to determine the areas which will be stamped.

(Click in the picture to enlarge it!)

These are the areas. The white boxes are like stamps.

(Click in the picture to enlarge it!)

Applied the stamp,  you get some grass!

With this, we could make a more unique landscape. It still needs some work, but we are about to finish the first level, which took a lot of work and time. We think that all the things we learned for this level will make the next eleven levels much easier to develop.


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