It’s February already and we are feeling the love in the studio! If you are on our social media then you might have seen that we are reposting love songs from the 60s and all the beautiful fan art you’ve been sending us. Keep at them as we really enjoy watching all the peculiar and funny scenarios you are creating!
Engineering Team - Matt, Serge, Michael, Lionel, Rob, Evan, Maarten, Céline and Guillaume (sometimes)
Hi people ! This week I have been working on skills again, as the list got finalized at about the same time we finished Arthur's content. I can't really reveal more than last time I talked about them, but I can at least tell you, we're going to have character-specific, survival, combat and stealth skills. Highest-tier skills will make your adventure in Wellington Wells a lot easier/more fun. Of course when working on skills, you interact with so many features that you're bound to find plenty of bugs. So I also have been fixing plenty of bugs this week. And with that, I really think the game is coming together very nicely !
We're approaching the time when we have to send a build of our game off to Microsoft for them to approve of before they let it on their systems (technically this is called submission for certification). One of the features that is a big requirement for their sign off is achievements, and so this week my task was to go through and add these into the game. It's quite a fun adventure to visit all the different systems in the codebase to add the callbacks. Anyway, the logic is all there now. I won't spoil what the achievements are but I think there's a good mix of mainline progression rewards, and ones that push you to find the more interesting missable moments.
This week was all about extending and integrating our new island system. Integrating took a bit of time because - as with any procedural system in WHF - we never simply replace one system by another, we keep the old system as well as the new one and add an options to choose which one is active. This allows us smooth transitions and extensive testing.
In this case, this was a good thing because while the new system has some interesting and important new features, it was lacking one from the old one. So, I extended it a bit to cover that. I also realized that our shore outline would have to be redone along the way. Doing that now.
Animation Team - JR, Rémi, Vincent, Mike P, Jules, Raph and Franzi
Sup folks, not much to report on my end. Worked on a bunch of Animation Chains for a whole whack of encounters this week. These are where we take our bank of animations, and chain them together inside conversations with NPCs. Mostly this week I revisited and polished up some of the chains so that they seem like a bit more normal conversations and interactions. That’s pretty much it. Exciting, I know. So that’s it for me, tune in next week, Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel.
Narrative Team - Alex And Lisa
This week most of the LD’s moved from Arthur to Sally and our third character. So our intrepid and peripatetic Sally, [name redacted], and I, got into some sound studios – one in Montreal, one in New York, where she’s appearing in a play – and recorded 169 encounter lines and barks for Antoine’s revision of the Sally playthrough. I’ve also been writing lines for Adam’s revision of the third character’s playthrough. Fortunately we have to record Allan Cooke for a secret project next week, so we’ll get those done along with.
We’ve been getting a lot of feedback from playtesters over at Gearbox. It’s really exciting to hear people saying the narrative works, and they’re intrigued by the characters, and they feel real, and the dialog is convincing. You never know for sure until you hear back from players. Having access to Gearbox’s QA people and their playtesters has really helped us.
This week, I’ve been making sure that things I’ve written over the past few years are actually in the game, and that environmental narrative is in the right places and makes sense. This means turning my mindset from writer to player.
At this point, I can probably reveal that SOME of you fans on the forum were 100 percent correct about the identity of Miss Thigh Highs. We were anxious to keep our secrets from getting out too early, so during the past year I seeded stories of other female characters in the environmental narrative, just to throw you off. I’m now trying to make sure that all those stories “pay off” and feel satisfying and meaningful when you play the game. A couple of the “red herrings” have actually turned out to be among my favorite Wellies. Hope you enjoy them!
Art Team - Whitney, Emmanuel, Tito, Marc-André, Sarah, Guillaume, Cary and PH
This week, I’ve been working on a myriad of small to medium to big tasks. I’ve been working with Cary to go over 7200 material instances in the game to write every sign in the game in text form. This will be super useful for people playing in other languages than English. They’ll be able to understand the signs scattered across the world.
I’ve also been polishing up multiple locations and tying up loose ends. I’ve also spoken to Maarten about the possibility of having volumes inside buildings that affect the amount of light visible (with a transition) and thanks to his magic coding skills I already started to implement it across the game.
That’s it for me! Polishing work from now on. A lot of small tasks and details that will make the overall experience better.
Hey folks! This week I did a bunch of environmental narrative for some up and coming seeeeecret locations! So secretive! So exciting! That's all I'll say..:)
Thanks for tuning in!