This past week, I've completely converted the game's menu interface so that it uses the NGUI middleware for the Unity game engine. It's a real joy to work with, especially compared to my old system, EZ-GUI. The old interface system was a huge pain to use, hasn't been updated in over a year, and produced low quality texture atlases that made everything look blurry. I was able to recreate everything in NGUI in a fraction of the time that it took me to put the old interface together. In addition, the new interface can be navigated using a controller, which is a must-have feature in case I get the opportunity to port the game to a console.
Also, I recently purchased some sound recording equipment: A Tascam recorder, carrying case, a boom mic, boom pole, and a bunch of cables. I've been playing around with the equipment, trying to get the feel for using it. I don't have much experience with sound recording, but it's one of those things that I'll have to learn to complete this project.
On the art front, last month I created a number of sets that essentially function as levels for the game. I did some research as well, playing Journey for the first time and replaying Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. I also managed to play a bit of Skyrim at my friend's house... that game is mighty pretty. Anyway, what I drew from it all was this:
- There seem to be about 4-5 different tree types in the central forest of Shadow of the Colossus. One of them is a very tall tree with leaves that form a canopy, blocking out the sky. Also, the fog/lighting in this area tints slightly green and sunlight becomes more scarce (Minecraft and other games do the same thing). I have created a canopy tree type, and will modify the biomes so that light/fog gradually change while wandering through them.
- I'm keeping my minimalistic art style, but will be emphasizing the blockiness of it all. This isn't to the same extent that Fez takes it (even the trees are boxy in that game). Rather, I'll be creating/modifying structures so that they have rectangular molding, with more hard edges and 90 degree angles.
- The game will no longer use texture atlases, save for the GUI. I will be using mostly generic textures (wood, stone, metal) and applying them to surfaces as needed. This will slow things down a bit as objects will have to be redrawn for each additional texture. However, it will reduce the amount of work that needs to be done for each model, I would be able to apply procedural textures to the models, and it would reduce the overall file size of the game. Really, I have hundreds of untextured models to work through and I cannot make atlases for them all.