November 22nd, 2013
Hi everyone! Busy month, lots going on. Here’s the run-down:
We’ve been Greenlit for Steam! Thank you to all of you who voted for us and helped spread the word! Anyone interested in PC/Mac/Linux copies will be eligible for Steam keys, just be sure to indicate your preference when we send out your surveys.
Since our last update, I moved out to the west coast to be closer to Kalen and Aakaash. Working side by side with Kalen has already made a huge difference as we continue to refine the art direction and set up our asset pipeline to fit our technical constraints. Check our our sweet digs!
With the game’s new style decided, Kalen’s been working on putting together some amazing environment assets. Here are some samples:
The assets are created in a modular format to minimize our memory footprint, and we’ve been spending a lot of time refining our process for constructing levels. Here are a few shots from our editor to give you a sense of how it all works:
Characters & Animation
In addition to environments, we’ve been working on revamping our character models. Here are a few of our new animations running in our updated engine with tricks like real-time lighting, 360 degree movement and animation blending applied:
Aakaash has been creating some awesome music to go along with our new art. For this update, we wanted to share some of the more atmospheric, ambient pieces he’s been working on: Development
FInally, on the code side, pre-production continues. Here’s a screen of what my workspace is looking like to demonstrate some of what I’ve been focused on:
1) Building customized editing tools in Unity to streamline our workflow
2) Early performance profiling with our new architecture
3) Re-writing core functionality (movement/animation, the tactics engine)
I’ll try to do a walkthrough later on to walk through these in more detail. For now, here’s a little teaser video of in-game footage that shows how our art, sound, and code are all coming together:
To close out, I just wanted to share a few cool projects from friends who’ve supported us in various ways since our start. Check them out!
Stellar Wars - Recently launched RTS/Shooter mash-up for iOS
Battle Worlds: Kronos - Recently launched sci-fi turn based strategy game
Lobodestroyo - 3D Action Platformer Game (funding, < 3 weeks left)
Graywalkers - Post-Apocalyptic Turn-Based RPG (funding, < 1 week left)
Cheers, and until next time!
October 12th, 2013
We’re a bit overdue since a lot’s been going on, but we’ve been working hard to get things ready to share with you. To start, I wanted to let Kalen and Aakaash share some insights into our progress on art and sound.
Over the last few weeks, we’ve been honing in on the new look for our in-game environments. To start, I created some rough exploration sketches:
From there, I created a line art of the in-game art style. At this stage, we started looking into how we can add depth and perspective into the game, while adhering to the grid that will be required for player movement and tactical gameplay.
Since we’ll need to create lots of environments, I created a modular texture set to help speed things along:
From there, I used the textures to fill in our line sample, and we moved on to exploring color and rendering style:
After a few iterations, here’s a sample of the final in-game environmental art style we arrived at:
Here’s another version, with the movement grid shown:
I’m excited to say that now that John and I have finished hashing out the general soundtrack details, composition for Liege has begun in earnest. As mentioned in the earlier sound update, one thing I’m really looking to do with the soundtrack is to use motifs to represent certain characters or emotions. I’ll be bringing these motifs back several times in the various tracks of the score and developing them as the plot itself develops. My goal is not only to add a sense of cohesiveness and continuity to the OST, but also to evoke familiar emotions and themes when a previously introduced motif is used again.
Today, I’d like to share with you Seren’s Theme, a duet for violin and piano:
The melody you hear in the piece, introduced by the piano and then repeated on the violin, will serve as the motif associated with Seren. This track will likely not be used as is in game, which is why it may sound a bit disconnected at present; instead, I’ll be working the melody into several different pieces to score scenes that center around Seren. For example, in the piece featured in the earlier sound update, “A Quiet Farewell,” you’ll recognize variations of these melodies.
Many of the games I’ve worked on in the past have been less story-based and thus have required less thematic soundtracks; ambient environmental tracks, rather than more involved melodic pieces, were the norm. In this sense, Liege presents both an opportunity and a challenge. Because the soundtrack calls for strong melodies, composition begins at the piano rather than at the computer. Motifs and melodies have to be memorable enough that the player will recognize it when it reoccurs in a different form later in the game, yet they have to remain flexible enough that I’ll be able to work them into several tracks of varying moods. The process of composing forLiege is certainly quite different than what I’m used to, but if all goes well, it’ll pay off in the completed product.
As mentioned in previous posts, I’ve been working on implementing our framework and workflow in our new engine (Unity). For those interested on the technical side of things, I wanted to share a bit about what’s going on behind the scenes.
Going into our Unity port, I had a few key requirements apart from simply porting over existing functionality:
- Layered 2D environments with 3D character models
- In-game skeletal animation (for smoother animation and effects like slo-mo)
- Real-time, dynamic shadows
- Efficient workflow that leverages Unity’s WYSIWYG editing features
- Acceptable performance with the above on our weaker hardware targets (mobile)
Below, you can see how our scene is composed in our editor with the above features in place:
Going from left to right, we have:
1. A system of cameras that controls the order in which the scene is drawn
2. Parts of the scene that are normally drawn over characters (i.e. trees)
3. 3D characters casting real-time shadows, rotated to align with our view (note the model is a placeholder)
4. Collision bounds, which are automatically generated from a 2D tile map
5. Parts of the scene that are normally drawn behind characters (i.e. the ground)
Here’s the game running in our editor (with an older iteration of Kalen’s art):
As you can see, our content aligns precisely to form the composite image that’s seen in-game. This is very different from how 2D is normally handled, but it opens up lots of interesting graphical possibilities.
As this update hopefully shows, things are taking some time as we try things and iterate, but the updates will be more regular as we get further along. Thanks as always for your support!
August 29th, 2013
So… it’s been a little while. Sorry about that! Here’s a quick recap:
First, our Kickstarter wrapped up with over 2,900 backers and a funding total of $81,458. We hit every one of our stretch goals, including Playstation 4, Vita, and Nintendo WiiU, Art 2.0, and more! Here’s the full list:
How It’s Made: Characters
I put together a little video showing a little bit about our character creation process. Check it out below:
Introducing Kalen (Our Art Guy)
After a long search, we’ve finally found our artist, Kalen Chock! Kalen’s a conceptual designer whose previous clients include Industrial Light and Magic, Autodesk, Ember Lab, and many others. Here are a few of his samples:
We were fortunate to have lots talented artists reach out and express interest in this project, but when I came across Kalen’s work, it immediately stood out as a perfect fit. The first thing I noticed were the vibrant colors, dramatic lighting, and unique, painterly feel, and I personally can’t wait to see him bring these elements into the world of Liege.
We’ve been speaking at length about the game’s new art style and are hoping to have some in-game samples ready for our next update. In the meantime, check out more of his work here, and his Livestream here.
Sound Update – First Song!
With our initial meetings on the sound direction out of the way, work on the score has already begun. Here’s an early sample from Aakaash!
Midway through our campaign, I decided to port our game engine to Unity to support our new target platforms, streamline our production pipeline, and enhance the game’s overall look and feel. Unity is an amazing platform, but it’s fundamentally different from our previous set of tools. At this point I’m past the steepest part of the learning curve, and I’ve been plugging away at reimplementing basics like player controls, event handling, and character animation. The port work will be continuing over the next few months, but with Kalen now handling art and basic due diligence out of the way, this process should start moving much quicker.
Thanks again, and until next time!
July 16th, 2013
Hi guys! Lots of stuff has been going on over the last couple weeks. I’ve been super focused on churning out updates for the Kickstarter and trying to get press for the game, so I haven’t been able to update much here, but here’s the run down:
- We doubled our funding target with over 1000 backers with about two weeks left in the campaign!
- I released an overview of the key figures in the game, as well as some more teasers on the playable cast. Check them out below!
- I shared an early map of the Kingdom. Things are still a bit sparse, but I’ll be filling it in as the locations get finalized later on in the dev cycle.
- I did a Reddit AMA which got over 750 upvotes and over 280 comments in the thread
- We announced a bunch of stretch goals and already hit the first two (“Mounts and Ships”, “Ports and the Sea”)
- Last but not least, we got Sony’s approval to bring the game to Playstation 4 and Vita!
For the next couple weeks, the Kickstarter (and Facebook / Twitter) will be the best places to get the latest on the project. Once the campaign ends though, I’ll be back here updating regularly. Stay tuned!
July 2nd, 2013
Our Kickstarter target goal has already been met! Thank you to everyone who’s been helping to support this project! Let’s keep spreading the word on Facebook, Twitter, and Greenlight! Also, check out the Kicktraq for more stats on the campaigns progress!
I’ve also posted some super early gameplay footage. Keep in mind that the assets, mechanics, etc. are all still very much work in progress, but I wanted to share so anyone interested could have a better sense of the overall direction up front:
June 28th, 2013
Hi everyone! So while I’ve been providing updates over the last few months on this blog, today is the game’s official reveal. I’ve just posted LOTS of in depth information about the game (from the story, to the tactical gameplay, to the art) on the new official page!
I’ve also put together a small announcement trailer with some footage of the game:
June 22nd, 2013
Hi! So I’ve been hard at work over the last few weeks… too busy to post updates, but that means this one will be a big one!
Now that most of the core code is in place, I’ve switched my focus toward putting together content like new environments, character sprites, weather/day/night presets, etc. There’s too much to list in full detail, but here’s a whole bunch of screenshots. Enjoy!
I’ve really begun to make full use of the character sprite generation pipeline I mentioned in an earlier post. Here’s a high res of some character animations generated using the process:
I’ve also been putting together an official reveal video trailer for the project that I’ll be sharing early next week, along with a Kickstarter campaign for the project! With the reveal and campaign launch, I’ll be sharing much more in-depth info on the project, including details on what I’m aiming for with the story and combat system.
May 11th, 2013
Hey! So here’s some concept artwork of the playable cast. They’re still a bit rough, but they’ll do as an intro for now. I may share some more details on each of the characters over time, but I’ll probably save most of that for you to discover in the game!
Also, here’s a bit of (very poor) video from the 4/30 meetup which shows some recent progress and a basic example of the combat engine in action. Excuse the video quality (filmed/cropped from an iPhone)… will try to get some better footage up with more details soon.
Coming up: a new (castle) environment!
Subscribe and stay tuned!
April 22nd, 2013
Hey! It’s been a little while- here’s a couple of updates on the last few weeks:
First, GDC was like, way awesome! With all that was going on, I got zero actual project work done that week, but it was an amazing, insane, inspiring experience. For all you game nerds out there, definitely try to go if you have a chance.
Aside from that week, I’ve been hard at work on the combat engine. I’ll be showing the latest build of it at next week’s New York Gaming Meetup on April 30th. If you’re in the area, come by and say hi! I hear there will be pizza and beer. I’ll be putting a video with lots more details following the meet up next week, but in the meantime, here’s a quick teaser shot of the combat UI:
Lastly, I’m in the midst of a little rebranding. Don’t be alarmed! Long story. It’s Coda Games now. Yup.
Stay tuned- lots, lots more coming very soon.
March 16th, 2013
Hi! Over the last few weeks I’ve been fine tuning some of the basics I’ll need to support things like cutscenes, dialogue, etc. I’ve also been playing around some more with effects to get different types of atmospheres/weather/etc. Lastly, I’ve been working on figuring out how combat animations will work, and how to quickly produce them in large volumes using Blender. Here’s a quick video and some screenshots which showcases some of what I’m talking about: