I keep plodding along at my (unnamed) Unity project, and it’s starting to kind of look like a game. Here’s what it looks like right now:
There’s a few new things here, like the fire in the fireplace and the water in the pool, but mostly it’s modeling, modeling, modeling. When I was using Hammer I could use Half-Life 2 assets, but here I have to do everything myself: the house, the furniture, the girls. There’s even a little knife and spoon on the table. All of these are modeled and animated in Blender, then textured. (Yes, the furniture gets animated: doors, chests, and wardrobes open and close.)
I’ve learned some tricks to speed up the building and texturing– e.g., I built a single plank of that barrel, textured that, then replicated it to form the cylindrical shape.
Here’s what the whole house looks like so far. Compare to this picture. The only major furniture that’s missing is some shelving; I actually won’t model everything in the linked picture because it would get too full to move around in. (Video game rooms are abnormally large and empty.) However, there will be a lot more set dressing (pictures, candles, chamberpots, etc.).
I started to build walls and such in Unity, but the texturing got too complicated, and anyway there are too many fiddly details (like those closets). So this is all models. It’s easier to mock up buildings in Hammer… on the other hand, things like doors are far easier in Unity, since they can be duplicated at will.
More excitingly, there’s a dialog system now, and I have a story!
My main notion is to concentrate on depth rather than breadth. The anti-model here are games like Far Cry 2, or Remember Me— gorgeous environments where the only things you can interact with are ammo and health packs. Skyrim comes closer to the ideal, as you can pick up and drop objects, as well as use the forges and cooking pots.
For the dialog, I want to get past the thing where you have three dialog options, normally corresponding to aggressive, nice, or neutral, and half the time your choice doesn’t even matter. Besides, if there’s just three choices, you can always just pick one and reload if it worked out badly.
In this game, you’ll take one of a dozen or so approaches– e.g. anger, naivete, flirting, curiosity, intimidation, probing. The clever bit is that the more powerful approaches can only be used once per game. So you can intimidate, or seduce, or kill, one NPC. Hopefully this will make you think about which character to do what with.
Plus, there are actually three possible stories, and the same characters are involved in all three. Ideally details of the story will randomly change between playthroughs, so a) you can play more than once, and b) there is no one right path through the game. (So, think Skyrim meets The Stanley Parable.)
Will this work, or be fun? I don’t know yet! At this point there’s just a lot of modeling and dialog writing to do. I was mostly trying to see how far I could get with Blender/Unity and wasn’t worrying about whether it would turn out to be a game or not. So I’m happy to at least have a plan for the game.
I’m also really tempted to record the dialog in Verdurian (with on-screen translation), which is either an awesome or a terrible idea or maybe both.