The production blog for the game Legend of Hart's Hollow.
Background Illustrations provided by: http://edison.rutgers.edu/

We also recently made changes to much of the UI thanks to the hard work of our teammate Blakely!

Our old UI, while beautifully rendered, didn’t exactly fit with our art direction of a summer camp.  So Blakely stepped in and gave us a hand with that.  Like our login menu (which Blakely also mocked up), we went with an off kilter, worn wood aesthetic to evoke the feel of a summer camp and its signs.  The new UI is more streamlined with less plain text and more icons.  We went through several iterations of icons and their placement in order to best convey the information of players’ abilities, the score, and the time (and our entire teams is completely enamoured with the little ghosties in the score keeper ).  

Menu Updates

Some more changes to the game!  While Ken’s art is amazing, we felt that it wasn’t really what we wanted for our opening menu.

Behold our new menu!  It’s still a bit in its early stages however we feel that this new 3D menu fits better with the aesthetic of Hart’s Hollow.  We decided to go in this art direction since we want to invoke the feel of a summer camp.  So lots of worn, wooden, off kilter signs.  The burning torch and swaying Hart’s Hollow sign, while a small touch, add a more life to the scene and make things a bit more visually interesting for the player.

Level Design Overhaul

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The level design of the game is also going through an overhaul.  Based on the feedback we received over the summer, we’re focusing on guiding the player throughout the level.  Previously, we placed vibrant, red mushrooms throughout the level to lead players throughout the space.  But this wasn’t enough as playtesters still said that they did not know where they were supposed to go nor what they were supposed to do.

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So we’ve decided to go back and start from square one, guiding the player through the four main areas we have (Chapel, Ghost Town, Bayou, and Forest) via “pathways” that lead from area to area.  This makes the level a bit more linear but the large size of the 4 areas will balance that out. Hopefully this will solve our problem but only extensive playtesting will tell.   Fingers crossed for this solution!

The change in camera view also calls for a change in our models.  Since you now can get right up close to characters and other assets, we’ve significantly upped the polycount for our intrepid investigators.  This in turn means our riggers and animators have their work cut out for them as they need to re-rig and re-animate all of the characters (sorry guys, we love you so please don’t hate us).  However we believe that the increase in quality is worth it as both the model will ultimately have more sculpted detail and our riggers will better be able to rig the character with the added edge loops.

A Change in Perspective: Hart’s Hollow’s Camera

Harts Hollow has undergone many changes throughout its production, and the latest addition is the camera.

In its initial form, Hart’s Hollow had all four players on one screen. The single screen meant one map, small characters, and tiny details. The first build had been completed in 48 hours for Global Game Jam 2013. In hindsight, we were super proud at the time; now, not so much. 

Once production time opened up, the screens switched to four split screens. This keeps the classic “playing together” aspect of the initial build, but allows the players to better see their characters and environments. The change in camera allowed the art team to be more creative in their designs for our kids and the environments the kids could get lost in.

But still the camera didn’t feel right. The second placement, called High Horizon Top Down, still kept the player removed from their kid and out of the action. The most recent build of the game has dropped the camera to their shoulder, like you were following along clutching your own flashlight as they traverse the dark swamps. 

Reblogged from hartshollowsummer2013  1 note

hartshollowsummer2013:

A little gameplay video for all of you. :) Still have some stand in assets and UI but things are coming together nicely.