Sunday, July 17, 2022

SECRET KEEP - Concept Art Generation with MidjourneyAI (Pt 1)

I generated a bunch of concept art using Midjourney.  I had a surprisingly productive experience just using the 25 free "attempts" you get with the free intro trial.

Midjourney is an AI tool where you describe images with text input.  I planned these out pretty carefully ahead of time, to cover the sorts of things I wanted to achieve, and also basing my inputs on a bit of research looking through the existing efforts of other users.

It was a surprisingly exciting and fun process!  It really felt like working with some kooky collaborator, and came back with great images very consistently based on my input descriptions.

Without further ado, here are my concept art images generated with Midjourney!

Visit mysterious islands across a strange archipelago of crooked towers and unusual beasts.

Step through the standing stones in the mist.

The Scorch scour the land, searching for something forgotten to time.

Dive underwater to explore and find lost relics.

If you are lucky, you may find one of the ancient trinket shops, to buy and sell precious wares.

Disguise yourself and go among The Robed unseen and unheard.

Sail the lands to pursue your destiny, choosing who to help, and what paths to forge.

I was kind of shocked how well it worked, and I'd love to keep doing it for hours and hours more...  but I limited myself to the free trial for now.  :D

In many ways, "jamming out" these concepts in collaboration with an AI program felt true to the spirit of my game itself, because Secret Keep is a generator as well (in many of it's parts), and I want to engage the player as an active participant in shaping the events and outcomes of their playthru. 

I want Secret Keep to reflect something of the player's inputs back at them, generating surprising missions, unique to their playthrough, based on how they act in the game and the goals they choose to pursue.

Sunday, January 2, 2022

SECRET KEEP - Dev Video 10 - "Towers: Entryways, Basic Rooms, Crossbow Guards"

Made some more good progress with the towers.

- Can build any sized tower.

- Land around that tower is automatically flattened and reserved, so that no trees, grass or other objects get placed there.

- Discuss thoughts on future tower generation & mission activities!

SECRET KEEP - Dev Video 6, 7, 8, 9 - Building Towers & Flattening Land

Catching up on the past few weeks!
It's been the lead up to Christmas and New Years, and now both are done!
But I was also very pleased to get a bunch of things done on the project.

  • Taking stock of the project, before embarking on a stint of development coming up!
  • Tweaked the player controller. Integrating a more grounded player with blackjack, sword, torch, etc. Swimming.
  • Thinking about plans for building towers, flattening the land, etc.

  • Basic terrain flattening code working!
  • Thinking through all the steps that need to be done to get this working "automatically" for each tower built.

  • Got automatic building of  towers and flatting the land working.
  • I can now build towers of rectangular proportions, and it automatically flattens the terrain, with padding and falloff.
  • Not yet reserving the land for the building, so currently still getting grasses, trees and other objects being spawned inside the buildings.

  • Tweaking the tower generation system. Smoother code. Updated Blender kit pieces.
  • Talking about my ideas for a Reserved Land system.
  • Talking about ideas for a tower generation system that's more formalised and contextually aware.
  • Was still working with 8m x 8m x 3m kit pieces here. Thinking about 10m x 10m x 4m room size instead.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

SECRET KEEP - Dev Video 5 - Menus, Save Format, "Find the Flag" Mission Stub!

It's a real joy to be getting back into proper development of SECRET KEEP.

I had to take time away to learn more programming (making MUZTEK Base Game systems), to figure out how to fully Pause and Unpause the game properly, and how to do Save & Load of game state.

Now I'm back, and I've integrated these concepts into SECRET KEEP in a basic way, with a Menu System in place, a basic Save & Load system working, and a basic Mission Generation loop in place from the menu, into the game, and back out again.

Here I show the basic menu, save, load, mission generation loop in action...


It's great to now have this in place, as I can start to actually work on game systems, mission types, NPCs, player abilities, etc, all working within this foundational framework I have in place.

Here's a bunch of screenshots I also took at this point in time!

SECRET KEEP - Dev Video 4 - Mission Structure Ideas

I've pulled away from the hand-crafted idea of Secret Keep, and I'm leaning back into the procedural generation systems I've been working on.

Here I discuss the broad concepts behind how missions will be generated...


Here's a series of screenshots I took at this stage...

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

SECRET KEEP: Building a Castle (sketches & plans)

I've been doing a bunch of sketching and planning for SECRET KEEP.  

I thought I'd post a handful of these things here.  :D

Warming up my drawing hand with some sketches of items from The Black Cauldron (Disney, 1985).

Sketching some items from The Sword in the Stone (Disney, 1963).  

Trying out Charcoal Pencils for the first time!  Nice blacks, and a cool sketchy feel, but needs fixative!  :)

A little castle sketch from an interesting picture I found on the internet.

And a watercolor sketch of the king's castle in Daventry!  :D

A sketch of how an arrow loop looks from outside the castle (left) and inside the castle (right).

Thinking about how the user interface and interactivity will work.

It's finally time to knuckle down and actually come up with the layout of my castle for SECRET KEEP.

This task was bewildering me for a while because a castle is a complicated thing, and I want the location to feel grounded and real, and so I got sidetracked for quite some time just studying up about castle, and actually trying to understand all the main parts of a castle, where they are, and how they work.

I started to list out the elements that were important to me, that I wanted to include.

I decided to have six floors in total, including 3 above ground, and 2 below ground, and a tower.  The player won't know about all of these locations to begin with, and will learn more about the hidden parts of the castle, and how to access them, as they continue to explore the space and learn more about the story and characters that inhabit the castle.

I then started to translate those lists of rooms into actual floor layouts on another piece of paper.  It was good to use A3 paper for a lot of this work, to keep connected ideas on one page.  (I usually work on much smaller A5 pages when throwing down ideas, as I can carry an A5 clipboard around with me at all times).

Thinking more specifically about the spaces that would be important to the player, and where the game would start, around the kitchen, the garden and the great hall.

Once I had a sense of the rooms I wanted to include, I did a quick sketch on a small piece of paper, from side-on cross-section.

And finally, I ended up with a rough multi-floor plan of the entire keep of the castle, the crux of my game SECRET KEEP.  

I've just roughed out the position of each room, and now feel ready to start actually building the space in my Unity project.

A close up of the tower top room.

Now I'm ready to start actually building the castle in Unity!