Slime Time, New Interfaces & an Unreal lack of Unity…

Before we get into my plans on what’s to come, let’s quickly wrap up the remaining Unity developments.

A lot has transpired since my last log a few months ago. If you’ve been following my posts on the Discord or SubscribeStar, some of this may seem rather familiar~

The Map

Our original sandbox map wasn’t feeling all too coherent, so I went ahead and redesigned it from the clouds up~ It was made to serve as a better analogue for conducting tests, and I made sure it could easily be expanded upon.

Following this, I chose to rewrite the player animation back-end. As to why, It quickly became apparent the system I had been working with wasn’t performing fast enough, and would not scale with my plans for NPC / enemy generation.

As the existing player animations had to be completely scrapped, I took this opportunity to improve upon the design of the player. The new design was a little larger, which allowed for more detail and style.

A larger player requires larger trees, and so these elements were reworked to fit the new player scale. I also updated them to cast shadows and sway in the wind. The end result is quite pretty.

I speak for the big trees~

But that’s not where the last domino falls…

The Interface

After prototyping out the new player animations, throwing together the new animation backend, and having our character run around the environment, I came to find our newly enlarged player now occupied too much of the screen, which in turn lead to me changing the games native resolution from 480×270 (270p) to 640×360 (360p), which in turn forced a redesigning of the games interfaces..

Arkavite UI Overhaul

Now this isn’t so bad, is it? I would say the game was in dire need of a UI touch up to bring everything in line. I will say, I am quite proud of the end result. While it took a good amount of time to implement, the improvement in quality, and consistency between interfaces is substantial. The only interface left to update was the character creator. After which a new public update would have followed. It hurts, but now we have a good template to follow into Unreal with.

As you may have noticed, I’ve also created a little loading animation, improved upon the loading transition, added some transformative effects to the Catgirl-Taiyaki, improved the sprites of various items, and touched up other bits and pieces here and there.

Arkavite Equip Preview – Item equips also function as expected~

I also souped-up the production value of the startup intro sequence… But I’ll keep that as a little secret until the next build arrives.

The Combat

My most recent developments have focused on combat, MOB AI, loss scenarios, and adding in some player sounds.

Our loss screen presents you with a sombre “git gud” message which is nice and all, but I could see about having it change depending on the cause of death and/or loss condition. Conditional loss messages may even allow me to provide the player with useful hints which could aid in the prevention of further needless losses.

The Slimes themselves were set up to meander around the map until spotting the player. At which point, they would begin to follow the player and lunge. This would continue until they either ran out of HP or evade the enemy.

Lastly, I implemented a command console for issuing commands! The console is primarily intended to be used as a tool to aid in development, but people should also be able to use it for more cheatsy/fun things like spawning 100 bosses, giving yourself every perk, or consuming an infinite amount of cheese.

While that about wraps up recent Unity developments, the news doesn’t end there!

What’s Next?

As I mentioned in my announcement, I will no longer be developing with Unity. At this stage, they simply cannot be trusted. I have begun migrating development to Unreal Engine.

Changes & Additions

Moving to a new engine is a great undertaking. Unfortunately there isn’t a magic button to port everything across, so I’ve hit the ground running and I am racing to reproduce the game systems as quickly as possible. Reaching where we were in Unity shouldn’t take nearly as long as it did to develop the first time, but it isn’t any less painful.

Given the amount of work that will go into porting the games framework, if there’s any time to make core changes, it’s now.

Rest assured, the core game play loop, (VN System, Transformatives, CYOA creation, Combat, Sandbox, Survival, Lewdness, World Sim, e.t.c.) won’t be changing in the move to Unreal. The fundamental essence of my vision is set in stone, and I doubt anything can shift that.

It’s no secret Unreal is more of a 3D focused game engine, and with that in mind, I feel it would be beneficial to lean into that capability rather than working around it. What may change is the visual style of the world, look of the player and entities which populate the world. While the pixel aesthetic is lovely, 3D does present a lot of enticing benefits. Namely:

  • It’s far easier to produce animations for customized characters.
  • Movement through the world can be far more dynamic. Jumping, swimming, sliding, climbing, shield play. Not to mention, you have a lot more options available when developing puzzles in a 3D space.
  • Body sliders and jiggle physics. Booba growth and pregnancies could be visible on the character model.
  • Penis physics ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
  • Dynamic lighting and shadows.
  • The camera could dynamically shift between top down and third person perspectives. This I think would be really cool for dungeon exploration and labyrinths, and mitigates the need for “fog of war” in these settings. You never know what could be lurking behind the corner. Exploring interior spaces and custom builds more intimately would also be quite nice.

I do like the look and feel of the interfaces I’ve landed on, so I will do my best to preserve that aspect. I have been testing to see whether I can emulate the pixel aesthetic while utilizing 3D models. The holy grail of 2D pixel animation as it were. I believe games like Loot River and Signalis do just that, though I will need some time to test what is possible and works well in the new engine. I also want to spend some time experimenting with the visual styles depicted in games like BOTW and Genshin. If executed correctly, I believe something like that would also synergize well with the more colorful fantasy aspects of the world.

As for the character aesthetics I have in mind. I’m envisioning something like System-Tan. For the face, I may tone down the anime level ever so slightly and introduce a touch more elegance to the design.

I’d want to create armor and clothing that are stylized and comfy, but not ridiculously intricate. Not just to save time, but I think there is some beauty in simplicity. The weapons however.. I’ll try going all out on those. Modelling has already begun, starting with the Female body base. (see below for more details).

Why Chose Unreal Engine?

I selected Unity in the past because I wanted an engine with some headroom, and Unity was a perfect fit. Flash forward to where we are now, and Unity isn’t a viable option anymore. There are other game engine solutions out there like GoDot or Game Maker, but everything I’ve tested is unable to meet Arkavite’s level of scope.

So I’m left with two options. Either I go with Unreal, or I develop my own engine. I think the latter would take a bit too long so I’ve opted for Unreal. While it does come with its own host of quirks, I would consider it to be the most capable game engine that’s widely available. The only engine that could come close to it was Unity, and that ain’t doing so hot right now.

As for any future fees I’ll have to contend with by going with Unreal, I believe their terms are acceptable, so long as they don’t attempt to pull a Unity on developers. Based on their track record of catering to developers, an after witnessing the developer response to Unity’s greed, I doubt they ever would.

Sculpting ~50,000 Polygons worth of ass because that’s what heroes do.
Don’t worry, I will optimize the models before putting them in game~

Due Dates

I was initially hoping to have the Sandbox out by the end of the year, and as aspirational of a goal as that was, that’s clearly not happening now. I will keep the experimental release cycle going, so Subscribers will be seeing the first Unreal build a lot sooner. As for the next public release, I estimate I’ll be able to have the new Character Creator alpha out by Christmas. I will also be redeveloping the sandbox in parallel during this time, and if all goes well, I’m hoping to get that out the door in the first half of next year.

Wish me luck, as I probably won’t be sleeping for the next few months~

I’ll be sure to keep pumping out updates as I go and will keep you all in the know if things change. A new Roadmap will be laid out in the coming days as I put together my plans for Unreal Arkavite development.

With all that said, I would like to make a massive thank you to everyone who has been supporting this project thus far! Thanks to your generous support, I am able to put more time and resources into this project than I otherwise would have been able to. I’ll do my best to ensure we get back on track in a timely manner, and strive to push us all a little closer to Arkavite~

That’s all I have to say for now! Please be sure to share your thoughts and feedback down below, on Discord, SubscribeStar, or wherever really. I hope you have a wonderful day, and I’ll see ya in the next one~

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