The Very Organized Thief – Developer Diary #3

For the last few months, we’ve been building our new randomization system for the placement of objects within our levels. Since The Very Organized Thief’s core mechanic is finding randomly placed items, this system is an important and major part of The Very Organized Thief.

And now, after a bunch of work, Alex is going to talk about it!

WARNING: A programmer is going to talk about… …things!


In the original game the randomization was very simple. Each object that could be stolen contained a list of locations it could be found at, meaning each of those locations was unique for that object. Because of that each item location had to be meticulously placed to avoid overlapping other objects, random or stationary, that it may be placed near.

It was really crude, but it worked.

The major downside to this was once an item of a particular size could take up the location, nothing else could be placed there. Limiting that location to either having one item placed there, or left completely empty. This meant a lot of wasted locations in the level that other items could of been taking up.

All the locations of  the "Office Key"

All the locations of the “Office Key”

While studying I spent my extra free time to doing a little research and documentation, looking at various ways to fix the above problem, and then some. I ended up reading a bunch about procedural generation and watching stuff on YouTube to help come up with some ideas.

I like doing documentation, so I spent a fair amount of time writing up how I thought it might work and applying a few of the ideas that we tried with The Maze – KOD to how it worked. We decided to call it the Game Object Randomized Placement System, or GoRPS for short. We know it’s lame, but it helped when writing the documentation.

So how does the new system work?

GoRPS works pretty much the same as the old system, except it is way more flexible. Rather then placing just a single point, you place a Box of a particular size.

These boxes can then be made to accept objects which fit inside it. It also has some additional rules attached to it which allow it to control the types of objects which can be placed there. Such has allowing only Antique objects, or a very specific object. Plus a variety of other randomization options.

This way we can see how much space the biggest object is going to take up without an object actually being there. Though you to have to use your imagination when working with it sometimes.

Something I adapted from The Maze was the customization feature which allowed us to control how and where maze unique cells would be determined. It’s essentially the heart of the whole system and controls how random the objects will be placed, as well lets us add things to objects in different modes.

One of the most recent things I added was Templated Layouts. The idea is that an artist or designer can come in and place a set of props in a nice arrangement, and then convert it into a Templated Layout. You could then place that template around, and then GoRPS will randomly fill them at runtime with the appropriate objects which would also be randomized. The affect of this is that the template itself could be also random, filling all the locations, or only some of the locations.

I got the Template Layout idea from watching the Dungeon of the Endless Rendering and Procedural Content talk by Sébastien Dubois of Amplitute Studios at Unite this year. So big shout out and thank you to those guys for sharing, and a recommended watch for game developers into procedural games. Our system is nowhere near as cool as theirs but it is still pretty early days for GoRPS LoL.

It’s also pretty fast. I spent a little bit of extra time optimizing it so we could do something pretty cool with it. Which I hope everyone will like.

Gif playback is almost real-time.

Super fast and random!

Though it wasn’t always.

GoRPS failing to handle instancing and pooling appropriately.

GoRPS overfilling the (instance) pool.

It still needs some more work considering it is in a bare bones basic state compared to what we’re hoping to do with it in The Very Organized Thief. Such as creating some additional tools to simplify working with it. But in all it’s a good start to making very organized thieves feel a little less secure with their own memory. Also the possibilities of what we can do with it in the future are pretty exciting.


We hope you enjoyed that little behind the scenes. Until next developer diary!

- Alex and Elise : )


The Very Organized Thief – Kickstarter

It’s been a long time coming, but it’s finally happening!

We’re happy to finally announce the Kickstarter for The Very Organized Thief!! So show your support by pledging to turn The Very Organized into a even better game, with more levels and even more things to ste… “borrow”! Just click the link below and share it around!

Also, to help us celebrate the Kickstarter. We’ve updated the game to include a Kickstarter Achievement that is only available during the kickstarter! The owner will also kick you… because you know… just for kicks. Download and play at anywhere below.

In other news, The Very Organized Thief also has an official website.

We want to say thank you to everyone who has played our game and supported us over the last few months. We wouldn’t have reached this far without everyone!

And thank you to everyone who pledges! You guys are awesome!

Expect more announcements soon! : D


The Very Organized Thief – Developer Diary #2

It’s been a busy two weeks as we plan, design, code and do arty things to get everything ready for our next big step and beyond!

We’ve been reworking the original house making the house up to the same quality as the sneak peak we showed a few months ago.

Elise has been modelling some new props for the house and the new levels we’ll be doing. She’s also been drawing some pixel paintings to be hung up on the walls on various levels.

Pixel Art paintings created by Elise.

Pixel Art paintings created by Elise.

Alex has been rebuilding a number of systems to allow the game to handle some new features that have been planned. The original gameplay is all there with the only exception being to the AI which is currently going through another update to allow us to do more things.

All the tools and libraries of code we're currently using. "Red" and "Vo" are our code frameworks.

All the tools and libraries of code we’re currently using. “Red” and “Vo” are our code frameworks.

Compared to the original version, the time it took to jam it out over 7 days has been longer (to put it mildly). Turning it into something much larger has required us to be much more methodical, making sure all the things we hope to do is possible to ensure that the game actually gets completed.

This whole process has also been pretty challenging as a lot of the work is done on a single computer, where we take turns at certain times of the week.

For the first half of the week Alex does Unity work, constructing the levels, placing new props and programming everything to make it work. We also spend a lot of time talking design and what we could do to make things a little more interesting and challenging for players.

The second half of the week the computer is occupied by Elise, modelling new props in Maya and painting new textures, ensuring that it fits into the existing style. During this time we talk business about what we intend to do with The Very Organized Thief and how we hope to do it.

(We also spend a lot time freaking out!)

It’s not exactly an ideal situation, but progress is being made. Part of our plan is to hopefully change that through some kind of funding which will help us acquire additional software licenses. It might be kickstarter, but it’s likely to be something else.

We’ve been looking into alternative ways to fund development, which has required us to write up a fair few business-y documents. We’ve been trying to answer the question, “do we really need to do a kickstarter?” and evaluating what else we can do. The resulting side affect of learning the alternatives has made it difficult to make a decision as to what we should do. You can chop this indecision down to us being methodical and in-experienced in this area. But we can say we are leaning to one side more the other.

But regardless of what funding model we go with, our ultimate goal in the end is whatever decision we make The Very Organized Thief still gets made and everyone gets to play it. Which is the most important thing. Whatever that decision ends up being, we’ll be sure to let everyone know. So expect some announcements!

We’d also like to say “Thank You!” to everyone who has been asking us questions on ask.fm. Although we haven’t answered some of them, we appreciate every single one. If you did ask us a question and didn’t receive an answer, it’s likely we want to keep some things a surprise! ; )


Back in the Groove

It’s been a month! Again!

The last month and a bit has been the most quiet month for Redefinition Games. With a large lack of activity and celebrations as we finalized some major assignments and Alex prepared for, and completed, an exam. Meaning development on our games has been very minimal and falling asleep at our desks was at an all time high!

But luckily, after much stress and rest. We’re finally free! : D

So we’ll be flying off the handles and jamming loads more hours into developing The Very Organized Thief as we get back into the groove and get all those things that we have been wanting to do, happening!

Here’s what you can expect over the next few months.

  • Developer Diaries for The Very Organized Thief
  • Updates to The Maze – Keeper Of Doom
  • Kickstarter for The Very Organized Thief (finally)
  • More and regular updates!

We’re sorry for the lack of updates. Especially to all those of you who have been asking questions and leaving comments. We have been reading them! And we will be answering some of them very soon!

The last month has also given us some time to think away from all the buzz and excitement that people had been generating around The Very Organized Thief. And it has given us the time to really look at what we need to do and evaluate how we can do it to help Redefinition Games grow into something that sticks around.

So hopefully with all the things we have planned, we can make that happen.

And again, thank you to everyone who has continued to play and support us through The Very Organized Thief. For the lack of better words indicating how grateful we are, you guys are awesome!


The Very Organized Thief – Developer Diary #1

It’s been a while and keeping people up to date with news has been a little challenging considering Elise and I (Alex) have been studying. We’re currently in our final year of studies and our class workload is annoyingly heavy at the moment. Throw in some part time work and booting some other projects into the open and things as you can imagine are pretty chaotic!

But we’ve managed to create a bit of extra time to start writing a Developer Diary! To hopefully keep everyone up to date with the development progress of The Very Organized Thief.

Let’s begin!

So the original version of The Very Organized Thief is pretty much duct taped together. Being bashed out over a 7 day period which then had features glued on over several months. It is now quite the mess, and a big headache to make new changes in. We also weren’t studying at the time which gave us the freedom to go all out and try a bunch of different things we hadn’t tried before.

The original house in Unity. Shows all random locations and AI related components. Very messy!

The original house in Unity. Shows all random locations and AI related components. Very messy!

At the moment, we’re keeping work on that version to a minimum. Fixing what we can without adding to much workload on top, so we can have more time to work on more important things, such as the new version!

For the last 2 months, we’ve been rebuilding The Very Organized Thief from the ground up. Looking at the original game as a base and coming up with ways to do things better, more flexibly and hopefully speed up the development process. Since time has become a precious commodity for us, finding ways to speed things up is pretty important.

We ended up doing a number of experiments in The Maze – Keeper Of Doom. Testing out a number of unknowns and optimization techniques to do with assets and mesh data.

Used to improved rendering performance in procedurally generated maze with cells containing complex materials.

Used to improved rendering performance in procedurally generated mazes with cells containing multiple materials.

It was also a testbed for our improved AI system. Although the AI does behave the same as the Owner, it was done with half the amount of code making it a little easier and more manageable for us to do increasingly complicated things.

From all that experimentation we’ve learnt many things which we have applied in the new The Very Organized Thief. We’ve taken into account a number of problems we encountered in both the original The Very Organized Thief and The Maze – Keeper Of Doom, as well as fixing a number of recurring issues which some players have been running into.

The new project also has an improved asset pipeline using Unity’s AssetPostprocessor (which is awesomely fantastic!). We’ve taken the repetitive tasks, mostly to do with optimization and organization of an asset, and automated it. This is super neat for small team like us since it has free’d up time to allow us to focus on developing the art and creating the game.

We’ve also been building additional tools using Unity’s Editor GUI customization, to help us with the creation and management of game specific items. Some tools are still in development, but we’re working on some tools to hopefully give us better control and feedback over randomizing objects in the scene. Random locations are currently done “by hand”, which is relatively problematic due to the number of items we’re potentially going to be moving about with additional levels. So we’ve been coming up with a solution to make that less tedious to hopefully let us add more random locations and make finding items even more challenging.

We’ll hopefully talk more about the above in detail in future developer diaries.

VO Tools - Loot Manager

So with studies getting in our way, streamlining our workflow has been critical for us in finding more time to work on The Very Organized Thief. By automating where the most time gets taken up, we’ve given ourselves more time to work on more important things for The Very Organized Thief. As well as given us the time to keep everyone up to date with new developer diaries!

We hope you’ve liked our first developer diary for The Very Organized Thief! Expect plenty more to come!


The Maze – Keeper Of Doom

We are happy to announce the release of The Maze – Keeper Of Doom!


The Maze - KOD - Screenshot1

Prepare to be lost in this procedurally generated maze game! Find the key and escape the maze! But beware, things are a little relaxed in this maze. A little TOO relaxed.

The Maze - KOD - Screenshot2

The Maze – Keeper Of Doom is currently still in development. Overtime, we will be adding more content to the game to eventually turn a simple maze game into a unique adventure for everyone to play.

The Maze - KOD - Screenshot3

It is also a recreation of our previous title, Minotaur Maze.

Minotaur Maze was never made available on game hosting services because of a number of playability issues as a result of limitations with Unity Flash Beta. A large portion of work was also lost when moving to a non-beta version of Unity resulting in the project losing steam. You can play the surviving version of Minotaur Maze here.


The Maze - KOD - Screenshot4

Since then a lot of work has gone into redeveloping the code and art to make The Maze – Keeper Of Doom happen. It now has stylised 3D art, improved AI and dynamic effects such as a day night cycle and weather.


The Maze - KOD - Screenshot5

It currently can be played over at GameJolt in browser. But we will be releasing standalone versions for Windows, Mac and Linux soon to download and play.

We hope you all enjoy The Maze – Keeper Of Doom!


Stay in the Loop!

As we get closer and continue to prepare ourselves for the kickstarter for The Very Organized Thief, we are also near the completion of our next game!

But it hasn’t been easy.

Things have taken a bit longer then expected to finish as unexpected life happenings have been occurring around us. Without explaining too much we’ll just say, it’s been a bit tough for us lately.

That aside, our new game is nearly complete. We’ve had to drop some features in order to speed up getting it released, but we will be adding them back in over time. And depending on a number of things that could happen in the next few months, it’s best not to get too ahead of ourselves!

We’ve also been setting up a few other things for people to stay informed and up-to-date about The Very Organized Thief.

There is now an official twitter @TVOThief and Facebook where we will be posting bite sized news for your tweeting and Like-ing pleasure. We welcome any YouTubers to share their Let’s Play videos on the Facebook page for everyone to enjoy as well.

We also now have an ask.fm account. If there’s any questions you’d like to ask us, feel free to ask there. We are more then happy to answer you.

And that’s that for now! More updates are coming soon! Until then stay organized!


Preparing to Kickstart

Just a quick exciting update!

As usual, we’ve been flat-out doing a whole bunch of things.

For last few weeks we’ve dug deep into working things out and preparing to kickstart The Very Organized Thief! Which we hope to be kicking off in the first, or second week, of June!

We’re hoping to raise $39,000 AU (which is roughly $36,000 US) to help with the development of The Very Organized Thief.

However, we hope to generate more to help support the development of Redefinition Games as a business and hire some much-needed talent.

So we’re currently in the process of nailing down a few things, waiting for sample rewards to arrive and sprucing up the campaign page.

We have also been making sure that if it doesn’t go to plan, we have alternative plans to fall back to. This has mostly been research into hand-held devices, like Android, iOS and Playstation Mobile. It’s our first campaign after all, and we have no idea what is going to happen! So better to be prepared for whatever the outcome right?

Stay tuned for more news in the coming weeks!


April Update

It has once again, been a long time since our last update. So what’s been happenin’?

We’ve been working very hard on our next game which we will hopefully be releasing soon. Our scheduled release for the game had been pushed back a number of times due to some unexpected happenings. As a result we’ve had to take some time off from the project and focus it into research and non-game development related things. The Very Organized Thief has also suffered from a lack updates because of this. But we’re happy to say after a few months of pandemonium to reorganize, we’re back on track.

We hope once our next game is released we will be bringing a few very needed little updates to The Very Organized Thief.

And sorry for the lack of blog updates since Christmas! We’d like to thank everyone who has been playing, and continues to play, The Very Organized Thief. You guys are awesome!