Developer Diary, The Very Organized Thief

Character Collision Overhaul

This week I’ve been spending a lot of time improving the physics collisions to fix a number of funny issues that people could do in game. Such as standing where the Owner spawns and the owner spawning on your head, or using props to “Prop Jump” into the floors above.

After moving to Unity 5, with its improvements to the physics system, these glitches were even easier to do. Pushing the characters upwards on top of colliders if they penetrated too far into the object. This problem was even worse when walking through doors, pushing characters through the roof or on top of door frames, and sometimes both.

Owner Through The Roof

As funny as the glitches can be, it isn’t exactly normal.

The problem lay in the type of collider I was using, which was the Character Controller. A useful component that is notorious for having a number of physics related issues in specific scenarios.

I ended up replacing it with something that behaves similar to the existing movement controls, but without the problems. Changing the Character Controller to a rigid body capsule to allow for more “realistic” results. It still behaves the same, and is less glitchy. It even feels a little bit smoother.

It’s not a ground breaking change and is pretty standard for Unity FPS games.

Thanks to those changes however, I have to rewrite how a number of interactive objects are handled along with the how the AI will deal with these changes.

It’s kind of sad to see the glitches go, but it does open the door to some more interesting game mechanics to do with physics. And I have no doubts that people will also figure out other ways to have fun with the physics.


Art, Developer Diary, The Very Organized Thief

Environment Concept Art

Hi everyone! Elise here. :)

In this article I’ll be talking about the concept art for the environment of The Very Organized Thief!

When we decided to create a new version of TVOThief, we spent time coming up with new ideas and new ways to make the game even more fun. So, besides re-creating props, a lot of my work has been making concept art.

TVOThief - House Front

Originally the house wasn’t planned out quite as much as it was this time around. We didn’t create any concept art because it was just a quick 7 day project to see what we could do (which we updated a bit after release).

So, in the new version, we wanted to keep the original feeling and style of the game intact while still expanding and improving on it. We really liked the simple, 3D retro feel to the art style, and we wanted to keep that in the new version of the game. Textures have been added here and there to add needed detail, but mostly we wanted to keep the style as simple as possible. I think it is looking really nice so far and I hope you all will like it! :)

TVOThief - House, Garden Sitting Area

One of the areas in the house I’ve been working hard at was the front and back yards. We wanted to let the player go outside this time! I drew the area in multiple angles to really get a feel of the place before we started to create the props for the garden.

TVOThief - House Garden

Something else related to the concept phase was… Story! We decided one of the things we wanted to accomplish with the new version of The Very Organized Thief was to tell a story. I don’t want to give away too much, because that would ruin the fun!

But, I really hope you’ll enjoy the fun bits of story you may discover. If you put together all the clues, will you be able to figure out the story we’re trying to tell? ;P

TVOThief - House Side Gate

I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at some of the environment concept art for our game. :) Expect more posts on art related things in the future!


News

Site Updates and Unity 5

Hi everybody! And welcome to my first official developer post!

This week (amongst other things) I spent a little time fixing up the website. Along with a couple fixes for mobile and neatening a few things up, the website now supports individual authors!

But what does that all mean!?

It means we can talk more about what we do and how we do it, in our own way and show off the progress of a number of projects we’ve got going on.

Up until this point Elise and I would sit down and figure out what we were going to post. Write it, and then post it, under a single account. A lot of those posts usually ended up being serious official announcements, and not really anything developer specific (like art and programming).

What Do You Mean?!

Programmer Art

But thanks to all the new stuff, we don’t have to do that! We can now be slightly less serious, and post more articles, more often with behind the scenes news from our own perspectives.

There’s still a few more things I need to do on the website to get it where it needs to be. But it’s starting to feel more like a home for Redefinition Games.

We’ve also been making the transition from Unity 4.6 to Unity 5. Which couldn’t of come at a better time! (Thanks Unity!)

Unity® Logo

Previously we had been budgeting to purchase an additional Unity license for Elise, since she was using the Unity 4.6 Free Edition with its limited features.

For an artist, not having features such as lighting and post processing effects can really make it challenging to tell what something is going to actually look like in game. But thanks to Unity 5, we don’t have to worry so much about that. She can now use those features without limitation on the Unity 5 Personal Edition. Hopefully she’ll be doing a post about some of the things she’s been working on soon.

We’re still setting a few things up, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Expect more developer posts soon! WoO!!


News, The Very Organized Thief

Latest News

The last couple of months have been the busiest months we’ve had at Redefinition Games. With a number of things happening that will help us keep our heads above the water, and allow Redefinition Games to grow as a company.

Most of that, has been paperwork and legal related issues (which are not fun :|).

Lots of Paperwork

Despite The Very Organized Thief’s popularity at receiving over 2 million plays on Game Jolt alone, it has been difficult to develop. With barely enough funds to allow us to create it with more things to do. Even with pre-orders, we are currently not generating enough money to sustain development.

This does NOT mean The Very Organized Thief is dead.

We will be continuing to work on it with a substantially smaller development scope. This means a large number of requested features have been dropped (such as multiplayer) in order to get TVOThief to a release. There will now only be 3 replayable levels to choose from with a number of improvements to the visuals and gameplay. The veryorganizedthief.com website will be updated to reflect the changes in development.

We would love to do even more, but the reality is with the current amount of funding, adding those extra features is just not possible.

It has been a tough decision, but we feel that it’s better than just out right cancelling development. We still want people to enjoy TVOThief beyond the available prototype.

Not Enough Funds

As it stands there is no solid release date due to the above. We are however aiming to release it late this year, with possible early releases of alpha and beta versions throughout the year. The current pre-order price will also stay the same for the final version.

The big question we keep getting asked is. Will it be coming to Steam?

Steam?

The answer is, eventually!

Part of our release schedule is that Steam will be the last place we will be releasing to. We don’t know when we’ll be releasing to Steam, but we will keep everyone up to date throughout the year. But until then, please stop asking, we will let everyone know as soon as we do.

We’re sorry for any confusion this may be causing. Please understand we’re doing our absolute best to ensure that TVOThief is made despite impossible circumstances.

We hope you continue to enjoy our games now and in the future! And thank you to the people who have supported us.

-Alex & Elise


Developer Diary, News

New Computers!

It has been a long time coming! But after about a year of scraping together funds and reaching into our own pockets. We now have much needed new computers!

New Computer's Parts

Why new computers?

Our previous computers, one was a store bought “general” performance computer (WHY?!) and the other an 8 year old high performance (at the time) computer. Both were showing signs of age despite regular maintenance.

They were also not playing very nice. The store bought one would take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes to start up, and the other would constantly run out of storage space. They would also generate a large amount of heat even at idle, overheating to the point of shutdown, or BSOD-ing at really inappropriate times. And in a country which can have 30C to 40C days in Summer, it would be worse! (It’s summer in Australia right now).

We also have a feeling the old computers may have also be sentient, acting peculiarly worse when researching new computer parts or even discussing new computers in their vicinity. One even blue screened resulting in an unsaved parts list disappearing… HMMmmm *suspicious looking around*.

But that is now a thing of the past.

After getting all the parts, Alex spent a couple days last week putting them together, installing software and testing them out. They are now fully operational and ready to go. Both are also very cool, in temperature and appeal.

Elise's New Computer

These new computers will be aiding us in development, allowing us to improve the quality of our games, and experiment more freely with visual effects, art and tech.

We are still likely to develop games on a single computer for a while, as we still gather funds to acquire additional licenses for software, but we’re well on our way to having a better development environment then previously.

Here are the specifications for those that are interested.

  • Intel i7 4790 CPU (3.6-4.0Ghz)
  • ASUS Maximus VII ROG Motherboard
  • 4gb ASUS ROG MARS 760 (GTX 760 x2)
  • 16gb RAM
  • 256gb SSD (Primary)
  • 3TB Storage (Secondary)
  • Hydo Series H100i Water Cooling
  • HZXT H440 Orange and Green Cases with 650W PSU
  • Running Windows 8.1

For anyone looking to build a new computer for game development, we recommend that you give yourself a budget, research the parts yourself and come up with multiple builds. DON’T buy store bought ones even if it’s within your budget and has the parts you want, because the odds are it is likely not to last as long or perform as expected. And always buy alternative cooling for your CPU, don’t use stock.


News, The Very Organized Thief

Pre-Order The Very Organized Thief!

Pre-Order The Very Organized Thief!

The Very Organized Thief is now available for pre-order.
Just click the image above!

The Very Organized Thief is still in development and needs your help. Support development by Pre-Ordering!

Everyone who pre-orders will get access to the early alpha version of The Very Organized Thief when it is released for download, along with future updates.


News

December Update – Thank YOU!!!

For the last month or so we’ve been recharging our batteries and taking time to re-evaluate what we’ve been trying do at Redefinition Games.

This year has been full of wonderful overwhelming surprises and unexpected events which have made creating games, and creating in general, a very challenging and difficult thing to do.

It has been hard to keep our spirits up where they need to be, with studying and part-time work always in the way of creating games and other content. We spent most of the year exhausted and significantly uninspired, but still trying to work on games.

Earlier this year, Alex’s grandfather had also passed away. Which had made focusing on development even more difficult.

So after everything that has happened this year, and after the Kickstarter, we decided to give ourselves some time to think about what we hope to do and find the inspiration to help us move forward again.

With all the excitement around The Very Organized Thief, we had diverted off our original plans and ended up doing things which were opposite to what we had learnt over the years. Resulting in many things that we were hoping to do not happening, and the Kickstarter being a flop for good reasons.

To sum up, we were completely burnt out and stretched very thin.

So next year, we will be returning to those plans. It means more smaller games for people to enjoy, which will also keep us inspired while we iron out issues in our code and workflow through these games. We’ll also still be working on The Very Organized Thief, which will be using the things we have learnt through the smaller titles to help us find out a number of unknowns with certain features and improve the overall quality of those features.

It’s a development process which has worked for us for a number of things before, and will help us spread research and development out over time. We’re still learning a lot as Redefinition Games grows and much of what we do is highly experimental. But we are determined to make sure that the games we create are fun and enjoyable for everyone.

Over the next year we will be making more announcements and keeping everyone up to date with development, along with some new surprises.

It’s hard to explain how much this year has meant to us. To find everyday that people have been enjoying our games and sharing their Let’s Plays of them. It has kept us hanging in there and helped us push forward through the toughest of times. So we want to give a huge thank you to everyone for their support and keeping us inspired!

THANKYOU2014Dec

We hope everyone has a wonderful holiday, a Merry Christmas and your New Years be a happy one!

– A&E


Developer Diary, News, 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 : )


News, 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