With that out of the way, I’d like to talk about what we’re planning for after the game is released, starting with the VR situation.
Back in October, we tweeted saying that it looked like Astray would have full VR support at launch, but unfortunately that won’t be the case due to Unreal Engine not duplicating the UI in stereo mode yet. Astray can still be played with the Oculus Rift; most of the VR-specific functionality is in-place, but the menus and HUD (including in-game notes) don’t work in stereo mode and thus are impossible to read. Playing Astray with the Rift right now means missing out on the story and having to mentally track battery usage.
We do still want to release Astray in multiple languages and will likely be rolling out some language packs in the coming months. Currently, the languages we’re likely to localize to include:
At the moment, Astray only has a Windows build. Since neither of us have any real experience with operating systems outside of windows (and since this is our first major release), we decided to stick to the one platform for launch. We’ll be working on other platforms including Linux and possible console release – hopefully shortly after our Windows release on Steam.
It’s been 25 days since we launched our Steam Greenlight campaign for Astray and honestly, we didn’t think we’d make it without some sort of additional marketing push. But as of two hours ago, Astray is officially greenlit! Thanks to everyone who voted.
Now we’re hard at work finishing the game. Also of note: our Oculus DK2 is expected to be shipped in the next few days so we should soon have a concrete answer to whether or not Astray will support Oculus VR at launch.
Well, it’s finally time to drop the codename. As of yesterday, Project Erebus is now known as “Astray”. This follows the launch of our gameplay trailer and greenlight campaign for the game.
We’ve amassed a healthy number of yes votes so far and the comments have been overwhelmingly positive. Thanks to everyone who’s voted on our greenlight page so far. As of the time of writing this (approximately 17 hours into our campaign), we’re 12% of the way towards achieving a spot in the top 100, so we still have a long way to go.
If you haven’t already, please vote on our greenlight page using the link below and tell your friends about it. We need your help to get Astray on Steam.
Thanks for all the support! We’ll be posting updates on Astray as well as some tutorial-style posts in the coming weeks. Any news is usually posted to Twitter first and new blog posts are tweeted about, so if you’d like to keep up-to-date with the news regarding Astray, please follow us on Twitter.
We missed our blog post and Screenshot Saturday last week because I was feverishly trying to get all of the art assets finished. Well, as of yesterday afternoon, the art milestones for Project Erebus are complete! – two months ahead of schedule no-less.
This is going to be another short post as we’ll be transitioning to making the actual environments for the game starting today.
And here’s a full set of screenshots for the zones that we’ve built test scenes for, featuring a zone we haven’t shown before: the caverns beneath the museum. Some of the art for the Egypt exhibit has been re-done to bring it more in-line with the other art.
Remember, these are just art test-beds, not actual zones for the game – some are less fleshed-out than others.
So it’s time for another post; this time we’ll be looking at a few features of the Unreal Engine 4 editor that you may not know about that could increase your productivity. We use most of these features on a daily basis and can’t imagine working without them.
While in simulation mode (Alt + S), you can keep the changes made to any actor by selecting it/them and pressing ‘K’ (alternatively, Right-click > Keep Simulation Changes). Usually, in simulate mode, any changes made are lost when you drop back out; but this lets you keep them for specific actors. Combined with physics, this means you can easily stack/scatter objects in a realistic way by enabling ‘Simulate Physics’ on a group of actors, let them fall in simulate mode, and then keep their new positions.
Press ‘End’ to snap an actor to the surface below it.
Ctrl + End snaps actors back to the grid.
Ctrl + Number keys (not numpad) bookmarks a camera position, pressing the number keys (without holding Ctrl) moves the camera to the corresponding bookmarked position.
Pressing ‘F’ frames a selected actor to your viewport.
Ctrl + P opens an asset menu where you can search for assets and drag them into the scene without going through the content browser.
Holding Alt while moving (or rotating) an actor will duplicate it. Holding Shift while moving an actor will make the editor camera follow along.
Right-clicking a vertex of a brush will snap it to the grid (only if positional grid snapping is enabled).
Using the ‘[‘ and ‘]’ keys will increment/decrement the positional snapping grid size.
Copying an object to the clipboard will copy it in a readable text format, allowing you to copy between levels/projects, share actor settings with other people, and make changes by hand before pasting back into the level.
Just a small update today: the art to be used in the demonology exhibit is just about done, this brings us to around 77% of the art complete (although we expect more art to be needed that we haven’t accounted for).
Now that the level whiteboxing is done and the art is almost complete, we should be able to build the actual levels for the game starting next week.
Here’s a quick demo scene we put together in an hour or two to showcase the art that will be going into the demonology exhibit:
It’s been a long time since our last post. We had to stop working on the game for a little while but now we’re back with an art preview for four of the zones in erebus (the first 3 exhibits + an outdoor area).
In total there are 10 visually distinct zones in the game (6 of which are exhibit areas). We wanted to make each area interesting and obviously different from the others and decided that making each exhibit themed to match what was on display was the best way to achieve that. Each zone had to be eerie in its own way.
There’s a lot of artwork involved in this game, I’d say the art assets easily take up most of the development time. In hindsight, developing a heavily-art-based game might not have been the greatest idea we (as a two-man team, with no artist) have had.
Anyway, this post is a little short on information, so here’s a couple of screenshots and a video showcasing the first three exhibits of the museum.
It’s time for our first ever dev-blog! I’m afraid it’s nothing too interesting, in future posts we’ll be going into more detail and probably talk about the development process. For today though, we’re just going to be showing the very beginnings of our currently-in-development horror game codenamed Project Erebus. The most important part of a horror game in our eyes is the ambience and “feel” of the game so we made it our first goal to set up the character controls and a simple test scene for prototyping to make sure the way the character and camera moved felt just right. We didn’t want the character to just float around the environment, which meant the camera had to move around to try and simulate (or exaggerate) a person walking. The majority of the development time so far has been tweaking values to get just the right amount of head-bob and camera sway and we think it turned out pretty well – it’s mostly been a case of trial-and-error. As for modes of travel: we wanted the default walk speed to be fairly slow as it helps to build tension. At the same time, we wanted the ability to run for short bursts in situations where the player feels safe to do so. And last but not least, the ability to crouch we think is vital to this game – there will be moments where you’ll need to duck into small (and not so inviting) areas to traverse the environment. So far, the character has the following capabilities:
Sprint short distances
Crouch into confined places
Peek around corners to survey the environment before progressing into a potentially dangerous room
Pick up physics objects and move them around (think Amnesia: The Dark Descent)
Pull out a flashlight to illuminate particularly dark rooms
Footstep sounds – combined with the near-silence in the environment really help to build tension and leave the player wondering if they just heard a noise or not
The flashlight is going to be key in building tension in the game. It lights up the environment just enough to see what’s directly in front of the player but doesn’t reveal too much and has a really creepy feel to it. Here’s a video showing the character in action:
And here’s a few screenshots showing the visual style we’re going for. We only have a few environment pieces right now but hopefully we’ll be able to pick up the pace a little now that the base functionality is in place.
So, we’ve returned from an extended vacation in purgatory. Much longer than we had anticipated, but we’re finally back.
We’re re-submitting Trave to Steam Greenlight. Trave got a huge spike in the percentage of ‘Yes’ votes it got after the graphics overall we did before release. Unfortunately, it was after the initial flood of visitors to our Greenlight page and we weren’t able to capitalise on it. We’re a lot more confident that we’ll get through the Greenlight process this time. At least we’ve learned something for our next project: graphics may not be everything, but good graphics make a bigger difference in how appealing a game is than people might be willing to admit.
So please, consider voting for Trave on Steam Greenlight, it’ll really help us out. Thanks!
Well, Trave has finally been released today. More information and links to places to buy can be found here.
The game is currently available through Desura and directly through this website. As of right now, it doesn’t look like we’ll be getting on Steam.
We’ve also managed to start work on the design and programming for our next game which will, as promised, be significantly more ambitious and less of a casual game. It’s still far too early to release any information yet but with any luck, we’ll have something to show within the coming months. We intend to use this website as a development blog for our next game so you can keep up to date with exactly how the game is progressing.