Wednesday, 19 February 2014

The Prisoner - From Concept to Creation

Firstly the bad news! TinyKeep did not get selected to be part of the EGX Rezzed Leftfield Collection, so unfortunately we will not be attending Eurogamer's event this year. Apparently there were over 200 submissions, which made it incredibly competitive and as you can imagine it was very difficult for the judges to pick their chosen 20. However, this now means we can focus all our efforts on the upcoming Update Show in April, as well as submitting our game to other future events as well. So watch this space for more news on that!

Milestone #3 Underway

With that out of the way, I'd like to talk about the work we've been doing for the past few weeks. Our goal for the beginning of April is to have a fully playable "almost polished" version of the first Story Mode level. For those of you who pledged at the Early Bird reward tier (£15), you'll be pleased to know that once this build is completed I'll be releasing it as our first official alpha - so you'll all get a chance to try out TinyKeep at this early stage. Thank you for your patience so far!
This build will be used to showcase the game at various trade shows, so in addition to having a complete playable level, we will also be including elements of voice acting, a fully featured soundscape and last but not least the first incarnation of the player character - our beloved Prisoner.

From Concept to Creation

Chantal Slagmolen, a good friend of mine and an amazing illustrator and digital painter recently offered to help get the initial concept of our prisoner character down. Of course we couldn't refuse so after a couple of iterations we ended up with this:

Sporting a set of dirty ripped clothes and foot bandages, the years have certainly taken their toll on our little prisoner. The original brief was to have a gender ambigious character, so they could be played as either male or female. In the end we concluded that this idea wasn't very suitable due to the amount of detail needed to get the face textures looking right, so right now we are focusing on the male version first. But rest assured in the final game you'll be able to play as either male or female!
The player fully modelled in 3D, taking care to keep the proportions and colours consistent with the other monsters from the game:

Initially we were concerned that the cloth headwrap would look too distinctly Saharan, so we decided to make it customizable so that it could be replaced with a number of other accessories or hair.

For this first demo we're including the headwrap, some hair, a beard, a hood and a medieval nightcap. Expect a more extensive set of accessories in the future!
Our new character customization screen:

 A few possible player combinations. My favourite is the forest ranger style!

And finally here's a little sneak preview of the Story Mode, this is me playing as Aragorn in the starting prison cell:


Next week I'll be back with some news about this:

 And this:

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Voice Actor Confirmed!

Letters from the "Other Prisoner"

We are drawing ever near to exhibiting TinyKeep to the public for the first time in April (at Update Show and potentially even Rezzed 2014 - if we manage to get in!). So getting the first level of the Story Mode implemented is currently our top priority.
Up until now we've been suitably vague about what we are including in the storyline. Without giving too much away, you essentially start the game as a prisoner held deep in the catacombs of TinyKeep who has suddenly been set free by your cellmate (who incidentally has escaped a while ago and is nowhere to be seen). Every now and again you stumble across various letters and notes left behind by your mysterious saviour, giving you hints, warnings and other humorous monologues as you continue to make your escape to the outside. The messages are a glimmer of hope which pushes you on through the dark and lonely dungeons.
We've been auditioning various voice actors/actresses over the past few months for the part of the "Other Prisoner", and today I am happy to announce the newest addition to the team:

Kathryn MacColl is an experienced theatre actress and graduate from the East 15 School of Acting in London. Recently, she has developed a strong passion for voice acting roles in animation and computer games, and has since been assisting various indie projects and local game jams across the North West. As you can see from her voice acting showreel below, she has a fantastic repertoire and we absolutely cannot wait to have her narrate TinyKeep's letters.

We think having Kath on board will add to the already quite quirky and whimsical nature of the game, and will also showcase the best female vocal talent that Britain has to offer, something I feel is under represented in the games industry as a whole.

Phi talks about Random Dungeon Generation at Manchester's Unity User Group

As I briefly mentioned on the last update, I was invited by Unity to present a technical talk on how TinyKeep's dungeon generation was implemented in Unity. The event had a great turnout! As promised, the talk was filmed so I've put it online on YouTube if you are interested in this kind of thing.

Apologies for the bad video and sound quality, it was the first Unity event in Manchester so there were some teething issues with the equipment. I recommend you download the slides to make the presentation easier to follow.
Zipped PDF slides: