Thus ends another loaded week here at NVYVE Studios! We’ve finished up some long-running tasks (Christian is glad to be done the huge inventory/equipment/loadout mega-menu overhaul), as well as integrated some exciting new abilities and items.
Welcome to the 50th P.A.M.E.L.A. dev blog from the team here at NVYVE Studios! It’s been a nice sense of routine for us to put these together each friday, and we do hope that you all enjoy checking in every week!
This has been another solid week, with everyone accomplishing some great work (except for Adam and Alayna, who were super sick and in quarantine most of the week… but are now recovered!). We’ve finished up our huge sprint of mo-cap work, which is kind of a huge relief as there was quite a large list to work through. To provide a highly dynamic combat experience, each NPC has almost 200 unique animations for movement, attacking, dodging, being hurt, retreating, etc. The number of animations we’ve done for these new characters is roughly twice the amount we used to record, which means less repetition and much more organic reactions to the player.
In art news, Mathew finished up a huge batch of awesome high-detail props for the Garrison security area, which will go a long way towards fleshing out the area’s military feel. Patrick finished up a datapad model, which will be scattered throughout the world and contain lore for the player to track down, as well as almost finishing a few new shield models the player will be able to equip. Good stuff!
The programming team made some huge progress this week as well; several Pamela abilities have been implemented, store Kiosks for buying items have been created, and more which you can read through below.
Another week comes to a close, and another chunk of items checked off the ol’ to-do list for the NVYVE Studios team. We’ve been keeping up some great momentum on integrating a few significant usability improvements, as well as new features and items.
It’s getting difficult to summarize everything concisely as there’s such a wide range of work being finished each week! Some of the highlights from this week would definitely have to be new mo-cap animations being recorded, new working bed item, further work on the “build mode” feature, and our Genome point upgrading system. Build mode and Genome points are particularly exciting, as they allow you to create/reorganize your base much more easily, and upgrade your character between subsequent playthroughs, respectively.
Welcome back to ye olde’ dev blog! Another week comes to a close, another great deal of progress made.
The big news this week is the addition of a new team member! We brought James on board to join the programming team so we can push the bar even further in terms of features and mechanics we’ve been hoping to implement. Every single person on the team makes a huge difference in terms of what we can accomplish, so this is definitely this week’s highlight!
In other news, we’ve been experimenting with some potential weather effects, that would allow us to implement fog, rainfall, and thunderstorms. Testing so far has been very promising; the actual effects look pretty great, and the performance impact is relatively low as well. Exploring exterior areas in pouring rain completely changes the dynamic; we still need to put a bit more work into it before we can share anything, but so far, so good!
We’ve got an extra special weekly dev blog for you this friday. We were looking through a few old, oooold old builds, and realized that some of our very earliest prototypes for PAMELA were created 2 years ago on this very day. It was a strange mixture of nostalgia and embarrassment that we felt as we played and explore those ancients prototypes we’d created, but despite how far we’ve come since then, you can still clearly see the early seeds and vision that are still very much part of the game.
As creators, seeing this evolution is extremely exciting and we wanted to share some of it with you! Here are a couple side by side comparisons of several areas/mechanics, then and now…
It’s that time again. The time we’ve all come to know and love/dread/feel neutral towards; weekly devblog time!
We’ve been chipping away as always, making solid progress across many aspects of the game. On the art side of things, we’ve been churning out some new NPC and attachment models, as well as making some great progress on polishing up Eden’s transit hub, Origin Station. It’s been coming together quite nicely, check out the screenshot above!
Continued work on animations is another major highlight for the week, as we’ve begun restructuring our back-end systems to accommodate the new methodology we’re implementing. The end result with have much more natural movement overall and make all of our AI behaviors more organic.
Those are the highlights, but wait, there’s more! Check out the in-depth list below.
After our huge mo-cap recording session last week, we’ve been working on cleaning up the data and prepping the animations for use in game. So far the results look like a huge improvement, and we’re all extremely excited to get the whole batch imported in a rough state for us to preview.
Here’s a sample of some raw mo-cap data, on a preview skeleton; there are still numerous tweaks such as adding hand animations, blending between different states at the end of the attack, and more. Even in this raw state, they already look far superior to the previous batch.
In other animations news, we’ve also been overhauling the player’s attack animations and camera movements. Another common piece of feedback we’ve gotten time and time again from you guys is that the player’s attacks didn’t feel impactful enough; they’re already looking much, much better. Once we’ve imported the new NPC hit reactions and tie them all together with the player’s attacks, it will be a huge improvement over the earlier version we showed in our last trailer.
We also made some further progress on optimization. In this case, it meant going over each and every material in the project, and packing some textures even more efficiently. Overall combined with last week’s work, this has resulted in huge texture memory savings. We’ve actually got a pretty safe margin at the moment when it comes to our minimum and recommended GPU specs, which means we can push certain things even further before launch.
Lastly, more progress has been made on saving/loading; items and player inventory are now successfully saved, which was one of the larger challenges. Also, saving/loading speed has been increased by 1000%. Yes, that is a real statistic, the new method we built is literally 1000 times faster. Feels good.
So much mo cap. So many new animations (214, to be exact!). So many sore muscles. Worth it!
At long last we finally got back into some more mo-cap this week. Our animations are, frankly, one of the weakest points in the game currently, and we’ve gotten a fair bit of feedback over the past months. We’ve been extremely eager to remedy this, and have put a great deal of thought into why the last batch didn’t turn out, and how we should go about improving them.
In short, the animations overall need more… oomph. The impacts were not forceful enough, the run cycles weren’t “immediate” enough, and the combat felt too stiff in general. With this new batch, we’ve put extra attention into making every animation feel natural, emotional, and forceful.
And thus ends another week of development. The big item on the list this week was the beginning of a proper save/load system, which was being put off in favor of gameplay development. Finally time to bite the bullet on that one and get it done!
Sorted out a few bugs/polish issues with the new player character, and HUGELY smoothed out the transitions between crouching/standing while aiming or in menus. Overall player movement and navigation feels much better.
We’ve also made solid progress on implementing a new melee weapon which was finished up being textured last week. We’re excited about the special effects for this one; should be a ton of fun to play with soon!
And last but not least, a great deal of work for done in the art department. We’re about halfway-done a huge detail pass on Oasis, the exterior courtyard area. There’s a new female NPC in the works. There’s also a ton of new consumable items being finished off, including new medical and stim items. Cool stuff all around.