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Isometric, large location learnings

Isometric, large location learnings

After working on the ship location for a while, I ran into some issues that came from the fact that I was working on a game that had fewer spatial limitations than adventure games usually have:

Hovering on intractable items under the floor, or behind locked doors.

This was an annoyance. Basically what happened is that when the character was upstairs, things downstairs showed their interactions on mouseover and icons when pressing SPACE (reveal interactive items).

I had to do multiple floors because the ship script required too many spaces to fit on a single floor. It prompted design changes to the game’s interactions. But will ultimately make the game better.

Also, some items or doors that were in inaccessible rooms would be operated by the character by simply walking UNDER them and interacting with the item.

I had to solve this by adding interaction boundaries for all of the hotspot items. It makes the game a little more difficult as you need to be close to an object to see its interactions, but it is the only way I can make a game where you can see all of the locations at once, not room by room, like normally in point and click games.

There is a silver lining to it: when working on the gamepad port of the game, these interaction boundaries will be used to interact with objects using a controller button. It is an industry standard, but now I do not need to do “extra work” for that

Visualising the walk path

This was a hard feature for me to add. Adventure creator uses it’s own proprietary navigation pathfinding and figuring out how to render the path from Adventure Creator into a line renderer was not something I could google.

I had to dive deep into Adventure Creator script reference and really internalise what made the navigation system tick. After 2 nights of feeling overwhelmed I managed to get the navigation paths visible!

But why would I want to visualise the walk path? In an adventure game? Well, in this game you can see the world from really high up. I dig that bird’s eye view. And as all of the locations are available at once, you might think that you are walking 2 metres to a wall, but actually your character is blocked and will walk 120 metres to the other side of the wall. Saving around the whole location.

I wanted you as a player to have more information on what is happening at that point. Why is the character running away from where you wanted, where is he going? I wanted to visualise the internal strings pulling at your character. So, a tactical game feature, visualised navigation path, found its way into my adventure game.

It is also a nice to know where the character is going if some actions automatically make you move to a specific location in the level.

Why is he walking SO FAR!

Naturally you can turn it off in the options if it is pulling you out of the experience!

A custom navigation path shader

I also wrote a custom shader for allowing the navigation path to clip trough level geometry with a pleasing, soft fade. The shader is based on my interactive water shader for the project. The shader also allows me to offset the path on the Y-axis for better readability.

Ship ahoy!

And as a final relief, here is a video clip of the ship ploughing away at sea!

I’m the king of the world!

Ship modeling

As you can see I have also made some nice progress with the ship location! It is starting to look like a ship! I will make a new post about that progress later.

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