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[DEVLOG] Droplet: States of Matter (3D platformer)

I’ve been a tad busy lately so I don’t have as many screenshots or videos, but here are a few behind the scenes updates:

-Proper title screen with a save feature.
-Time trials - Earn an additional collectible for completing a level within a certain amount of time
-Watercycle segments are now being moved to their own separate levels - this means there will now be four total watercycle levels which are unlockabled via completing time trials.
-The six hidden levels are now unlocked by finding their specific key hidden somewhere across the 25 main levels
-Added the first boss named Princess Cara Bonnie. A crazy diamond princess with a crush on Droplet.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=_iZldHt_eq4

Here’s the treetops-themed level with collectibles in place.

It looks like you made a lot of progress !

One thing that I think might need some work is the camera . your character is at the top of the screen when your character is moving up ( like at around 2:25 in the video) . It will probably be hard for the player to know where platforms are .

Lokking forward to see the next update . :slight_smile:

Thanks!

Yeah, the camera’s been the one thing that’s been tough to get right. I’ll keep tweaking it here and there to make sure all the angles are okay.

Thanks a ton!

I’ve been making some graphical updates to the game. Here’s a before and after comparison of the castle level which is now called King Cole Castle:

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https://forums.unrealengine.com/core/image/gif;base64

D3_Castle4.png
Cliffs were added at the edges to make the area feel a bit more like part of the ground as opposed to floating islands in the sky (though there are levels where that is intentional). The purple lake is in fact toxic waste which I’m explaining in-universe as being the result of pollution at the hands of Lord Krypton - the game’s secondary antagonist. The indoor castle sections now have proper roofing and walls. The area that leads to where the dragon comes out is now a cave.

Though I still need to convert the BSP to static mesh, the geometry now more closely resembles what I imagined the final version will look like. For the terrain, I’m going for a bit of a blocky, low-poly style to make creating these levels much more practical in terms of workload (given that there’s more than 30 of these to make). The characters themselves would have an average poly count between 1000 and 4000 - still a bit low poly, but practical for the workload. At some point, I’m planning to replace the starter content textures with something that would match the game a bit more tonally.

I’ve also been working on redesigning Droplet himself so that the player can more easily tell apart the different states of matter. I’m looking to have parts of his mesh change out such as his head changing shape, and to have additional particle effects such as a glowing trail from plasma form.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=nFRUD3WZBes

Here is some new footage of the castle level.

After receiving some feedback from playtesters, I’ll have to adjust the game’s difficulty curve. I had no idea the game was so difficult since I had grown accustomed to replaying the same stages over and over again, but for now, I’ll keep an eye on gaps on user expectations in the game. I will be working on adding some content that serves to better explain some of the game’s mechanics such as a tutorial level.

I’ve also got an additional music composer on board to help me out. We’re currently reviewing all my existing music tracks to see how they can be tweaked and improved.

Added five more levels, bringing the total main level count to 30. While I will admit this is a bit more than I initially planned, I found it necessary to improve the game’s learning curve. They are far easier to complete than other levels, and they also introduce difficult mechanics in safer environments. Here are a few screenshots.

Just added a few optional abilities that can be purchased through collecting atoms. For example, collecting a certain number of atoms can give you the ability to cancel your current state of matter to the default of that level. This is very useful for the time trials where you can skip the wait time to transform. Other moves like the ground pound and slide dash were also added, but I’ll still have to balance them out so that they don’t break the game.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=znSS1sj6WXk

Another level to share! This one was built more with the new controllable camera in mind. I’ve also made numerous quality of life updates.

I’m currently holding a closed beta for the game. If you’re interested in trying it out or you just want to show your support, head on over to my Discord channel. The Windows 64-bit version will be used for testing, and if you have a controller, you can use that too.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=5gZnvQWWNMs

A small video showing some new animations.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=3qjaICg6_NE

An updated version of the Waterworks level with new enemies and collectibles to find.

D3_Fireworks.jpg
Adding all the enemies has proven quite challenging, but it’s coming along. These kung fu monkeys are intelligent enough to dodge your attacks so you have to be careful.

I like the core concept of this game!

Thanks!

Things have been progressing very well lately. I’ve placed nearly all of the atoms in the game - there are planned to be 18000 to find, and there will be 190 crystals to collect. Aside from the polished graphics and voice acting (which I’ll seek external aid for), the game is nearly complete in terms of content. I just need to add the enemies, bosses, and a few extra bonus levels. Hopefully, by next year, I can get the game on Steam early access.

September 3, 2018 Update

Last night, I released to my Discord channel a new build that culminated all my work in the month of August. All atoms in the main levels have been placed, and about 80% of them have enemies. I’ve added a new blue crystal that is awarded when you find all the atoms in a single level. This is to support multiple playstyles. For perspective, here’s all the crystal types:

  • Green crystals - Rewards basic completion of a level
  • Pink crystals - Rewards curiosity and side exploration on a basic level
  • Gold crystals - Rewards speedrunning and skilled timing and platforming (aka the time trials)
  • Blue crystals - Rewards completionists who explore everything there is in a level

The total number of crystals you can collect is 190 with an additional 18000 atoms to find. This number still isn’t technically achievable in-game in the latest build given that a few stages and bosses have yet to be added to the game, but all the blueprints and other mechanisms are in place to make this happen.

In addition, here are a few other features:

  • Two new bosses (who still need models drawn).

  • A two-headed dragon called Los Ninos who flies between an arena that is hot and cold. Los Ninos is now the second boss in the game with Princess Cara Bonnie being moved to the first boss.

  • A pirate captain named Salty Peter who attacks you with the cannons on his ship. You have to board his ship where he will then go after you with a blunderbuss.

  • Several new music tracks added - unique themes for the bosses in the game as well as for a few other levels.

  • An optional “Kray Time” challenge. Once you find all 190 crystals, you’ll see a new best time to beat for the time trials. These are much more difficult versions of the gold crystal challenges and require the use of the buyable abilities and knowledge of certain shortcuts to beat. Think of these as similar to the platinum relics of Crash Bandicoot. In the current build, I haven’t added them all yet since I have to be able to do the challenge myself. Obviously, it’ll be one of the most difficult things for me to add given I’ll have to become the ultimate speedrunning master of my own game.

  • Miscellaneous quality of life updates and bug fixes

I’ve also slipped in a very difficult to find Easter Egg. One that I (hopefully if I hid it well enough) don’t expect anyone to find within the first few weeks, maybe months of the final release. I got inspiration for this idea from the Batman Arkham series which had similar obscure, very hard to find Easter Eggs.

Anyone interested can check out all these changes by becoming a playtester on my Discord channel linked in my signature.

I haven’t had as much time to work on the game at the moment, but I managed to finish the two remaining main campaign bosses: Lord Krypton and Dr. Ruby Dium. With the main content now completed, now what remains is to finish up the optional/bonus stuff. I can’t say for sure when (current estimate is either October or November given my busier schedule), but the next build I put out should have the remaining bonus content - 2 bonus bosses, 5 motorbike levels, a redesigned hub area and all the abilities you can purchase with atoms. By then, Droplet will officially be feature complete and I’ll begin to more actively seek out volunteers for graphics and voice acting.

One of the bonus bosses added - Fireling, who is based on the boss fight from the original game. This boss is unique in that the terrain you fight in is procedurally generated and changes over the course of the fight.

Also been working on the motorbike levels. They are pretty easy to create since I’m using a lot of existing assets I’ve already created. So far, I have 1 complete out of the 5 planned.

Recently ran into problems with the navmesh system. For some reason, the navmesh disappears whenever I hide a level in the editor and for me to get all the navmesh back, I have to rebuild the entire game which takes about 20 - 30 minutes. I don’t recall UE4 acting this way before, but I figured it was time for a consistent work around especially since none of the enemies really absolutely needed navmesh movements given the nature of the game.

While the pathfinding may not be the most advanced, I just now have them rotate to the face the player and then input movement. Even with this method, they rarely ever get stuck on walls due to the level design. But it definitely works better and more consistently than before.

On a different note, I happened to finish all the bonus bike levels. Now I just have to do the boss that you fight when you get 100% completion.