Bon Vivant - the tale of a mysterious guesthouse

Sign Bon VivantThis page is about an amazing story about a mysterious abandoned guest house in the middle of the woods somewhere in the Netherlands. I have always loved mysterious adventure games and the idea of this story came to me more than twenty years ago, during a lonely period of my life. The story evolved the last twenty years and many times I tried to write the game. As I put the expectations very high for myself it never came to an actual result. But these days the technique is more advanced and I discovered Unity as my main development tool. Suddenly all the pieces fell together, I was going to make it this time. On this page I will inform you about the game and the progress of the development. I plan to distribute the game on the Steam platform, but until then a lot of work has to be done. What you will get is a fascinating story that you can discoverer when you play this first person graphical point and click adventure game. Regards, Hein Pragt.

Last week I learned a lot about Unity, I did buy several asset packs from the asset store (for about 120 euro right now) and I think the grapical artists deserve this. But I learned how to design my own assets and I created some myself this week, using freecad and photoshop. I also wrote a C# localization module for multiple languages (Dutch and English) and a new C# opendoor script. I learned that the examples I found on the internet are sowewhat buggy and I rewrote the whole script and now it works fine and smooth but also exacly the way I want it. I am a certified C# programmer and as I want to write a lot of C# code myself I ordered this book and it will arrive today. Just like in every programming job, at first you create a lot, but then the finetuning and small detail design takes a lot of time. But I really like it right now and I learn a lot, and thats always nice. Sometimes its hard to see the object model, last night I wanted to make te players light to also go up and down and it took me a few hours to find out what objects te use and what properties and methods I could use. But its nice to see it work after a few hours of comfusion.

After a quick start, the hard work starts, I've already written a lot of C# scripts and rewritten and changed the structure again. Agile development is making something work and then improving with new insights. The exterior of the guesthouse is almost finished and works, on some points you get the first intro stories, you cannot walk out of the world and there is sound and background noise that enhance the atmosphere. Also, the ground floor is almost furnished and many doors and other moving objects are already working. I have played adventure games for all my life and know what disturbs me in certain games. What’s important to me is that the atmosphere must not be broken due to unrealistic events or the player performing unrealistic actions. It is also important that everything is in line with the time in which it takes place and that nothing can disturb the atmosphere and feeling that you are really part of this world. I think its annoying that in many adventure games the player can carry an almost infinite inventory while a real person cannot. In many games people collect everything in case they need it somewhere. In this game you can carry a lot of small objects (such as keys) in your pockets, but can have only one big object (like pieces of tools) in your hand at a time. So first put away one heavy object before the player can take a new heavy object. This is also the way it would work in the real world and this makes the game more complex but also more realistic. I am also designing that the player can freely walk through the world and collect things in an (almost) random order, but that for some things multiple conditions must be met in order to be able to continue. To really play the game one has to solve all challenges (I prefer not to talk about puzzles). The challenges must, in my view, fit in with the environment and the story and they must be natural and logical. I also try to imagine what an old house looks like when it has been empty for twenty years and I adjust textures so that they look old and weathered. In everything I try not to break the atmosphere and that is sometimes quite a challenge. The game has to be a little creepy but I try to keep every form of the supernatural out of the game, the game must be family-friendly, for any age that can understand a somewhat complex story and be free of, for example, cursing and hurtful language. The main character is an honest, sensible and well-educated person.

After programming for about 100 hours now, my youngest son did some beta testing this weekend. After a few minutes he was able to jump on a bed, then on a cabinet and then jump over a wall, because I have no colliders in the ceilings. At some point he was standing on the roof... Then he was able to throw an Axe into a stove and the he was rolling on the ground with laughter because of the look on my face. As developer I only test the "happy flow" but I now now that I must make everything IDIOT proof. It took me a few hours to fix all these bugs and now I am programming and designing much more defensive.

After working on this adventure game for more than 220 hours I can assure anyone that writing a game like this is not something you do in a few hours. Especially when you're doing it all by yourself. I spend over 300 Euro on assets and tools from Unity Technology and if I count up the hours (against regular IT tariff) I don't want to count that. I have learned an awful lot about Unity, I know my way around in the editor, I have learned how to use the profiling tools, I have learned a lot about performance, textures, C# programming and the Unity object model. And the story grows on the way, when I see a technical possibility I thing of nice challenges and twists to the story that hopefully will be a very nice player experience when I am done. That still seems far away, I have now decorated most of the rooms, created a few challenges, create items to pick up and to use and wrote a lot of storyline and hints. (In both Dutch and English) It's a lot of work and I have thought about this game for many years, and all is coming together now. Last few days I spend on optimizing the game, using a lot of assets and big textures really slowed down the game and I want it to be playable on regular PC's, So there is also a nice challenge, beside writing very optimize C# code, I also have to think about all the graphical resources. It is a a challenging journey and I like it a lot, despite of the amount of time it takes.

I put more than 350 hours of development into this game now. Last week I spend a lot of time optimizing for speed, you can add a lot of nice details to the game, but ten the framerate drops below 10 and the user experience is bad. I learned a lot about optimizing and also the neat tricks that game developers use to create visual nice scenes at the lowest cost. I now get more and more respect for good game developing. The outside of the guest house is now completely ready and debugged, the intro triggers work fine, the landscape is very realistic. Inside every room is now decorated and assigned to a part of the story, and a few challenges work fine and have been debugged. Now the coding of the challenges takes a lot of time, last night I spend 3 hours on graphical designing, coding and debugging a single challenge. I sometimes realize that I put the bar up high for myself and this is normally a teams work. I am a certified C# programmer and this is a very good exercise for me, I push myself to the limits. I think its going to be a great adventure game when I am done. I only am not so sure how log it will take, I really underestimated this project, but I will finish.

The game is progressing but my laptop is having performance difficulties. When I use Unity, Visual Studio and Photoshop at the same time, the 8 Gb of memory is hardly enough and the cpu and disk io rise to the top. Last week I had two hangups and I lost a few hours of work because I was stubborn enough not to save more frequent. I changed an important thing in the game, at first you would be trapped inside the guest house and now you can find a way to get out and in again, This way I can expand a puzzle to the outside of the house. The story is clear but the challenges must be difficult enough but also be logical. Last weekend I thought of a very nice multilevel challenge that I will implement this week. It's a awful lot of work and a lot of programming and optimizing for speed (I now have some singleton game managers running) to cache a lot of things and this works nice, but was a real challenge for me to design and program. It's going to be worth it.


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Reacties op het onderwerp: Ontwikkeling


33 - Adventure game Bon Vivant »  -  Ontwikkeling »
2018-09-01 16:00:00
Here you can ask questions or send a response about the Internet page about the development of the adventure game Bon Vivant. As all Q & A will be checked, it can take a few hours before the will be visible on the site. Regards, Hein Pragt
Q & A development adventure game Bon Vivant
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Last update: 22-02-2018

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