Screenshot from 2016-08-26 09-46-16

Dev Update – 26th August

So, this is exciting. Linux Voice – easily my fav tech magazine – very kindly asked if I’d be interesting in writing a quick Dev Diary about Lumo. Obviously I jumped at the chance. Having grown up reading Zzap!64’s “Diary of a Game” series, from the likes of Andy Braybrook and Jeff Minter, this was too good an opportunity to miss. The LV team did a lovely job, ending up with a 6 page feature – including some of the early prototype screenshots – in this month’s issue. Massive thanks to Graham and the lads for that!

It’s taken a couple of weeks, but I’m definitely back in full-on ‘work mode’. Which is good, as it’s going to be a really busy few months ahead. I spent a couple of weeks in Modo messing around with tutorials and getting a feel for things, and I have to say I’m really happy with it. For some reason it just clicks in my head. I didn’t get to the character or rigging, but I did spend a long time messing around with a low poly look that I want to use for a possible prototype: Oh Snow!

Winter%20Scene_Final

I’ve also spent a week in UE4, messing about with Blueprints. There’s a lot to learn here and I’m already starting to feel that the Blueprint system isn’t for me. They’re not really much of a time saving as the workflow is labourious; drag pin, type the first few letters of the command, find box, drop box, hook up inputs/outputs, rinse repeat, so I could pretty much type what I wanted into Visual Studio and compile in the same time. I may have wasted all the work I’ve done, but it was a useful process to at least start to understand some of the jargon and API.

Nothing to show from that effort, so far, and I suspect it’ll take me a few days to start everything again with C++ classes.

Unfortunately it may be a while until I get back to UE4. My teaching schedule has been sorted and there’s a lot front-loaded between now and Xmas. This means I’ll be at the Uni two days a week.  I’ve also signed up to a Finnish language course, which is another 2 days a week, meaning the bulk of my dev time is going to be evenings and on the train. Because of this, I’ve started re-writing my old 2D framework, as I have a bunch of ideas for simple, small games that I might be productive on. A lot’s been done on that over the last few days – mostly under the hood prep – but I have sprites. Enjoy the mesmerising, floating head of Kevin Toms.

 

Dev Update – 5th August

NESJoypad_Final

I’ve been on holiday! I know, that’s not exciting, but it’s the first proper feet-on-the-table, sat around playing games in my pants, do-nothing break I’ve had for, oooh, a while. And it was good, thank you for asking!

Anyway, I’m back, and I’m going to try and be a bit more open about what I’m up to here, rather than just random tweets and Tumblr posts. I can’t promise how regular these devupdates will be, but I’ll aim for at least a couple a month.

This is the first week back in front of my Dev PC since Lumo shipped. Despite having a bunch of ideas for new projects, I’m easing myself back into work by completely replacing my tool chain.

Er, what?

Lumo was created with Unity. For the most part Unity did what I wanted but the 10% of work to take the build from a nearly finished game to a polished, commercial release was, well, painful. Very painful. Much more painful than it had any right to be given the maturity of the middleware and the number of people using it. By the end of the project I needed 3 different patch versions of Unity, (one for each of the skus that I was handling: PC, Mac & Linux) just to get around crash and rendering bugs. Not good. Don’t get me started on the hoops the chaps at JAW had to go through on the console side. I also shipped with a lot of awful looking bugs that just weren’t present in earlier builds, all of which were completely out of my control. Wand particles would render incorrectly, or jump around the world, some of the animation blending is broken in specific circumstances, UI elements will pick up and render garbage for a couple of frames, lighting is broken in a few of the mini-games, etc. etc. Things that most of you won’t notice, but feel like a knife to the heart every time I see them. Unity 5.3.x was an absolute shit-show, so I decided to drop it and move to Unreal 4. There’s not going to be much news on the new projects until I start getting my head into UE4 and learn the ropes, which is why I mention it now.

The other big change is on the art side. As you can tell from Lumo I’m a bit of a noob on the modelling side of things, but I spent enough time learning how to rig, animate, model & texture, that toward the end of the project I was happy enough to jump in and make the things I needed rather than search the Asset Store. Unfortunately I was doing all of this with 3DS Max, which is slow, expensive, crashes all the time, and had a 50/50 chance of actually exporting to an FBX file that Unity could use. I hated it.

After asking people far more knowledgeably than me about what I should use, I bought myself a copy of Modo. This week has been all about learning the ropes and I have to say, I immediately love it. The NES Joypad at the top of this post was the first thing to fall out of my monkeying around. Nothing too complicated – and yes, I know the DPad looks wrong – but I’m still pleased with the result.

Next week I’m going to be 100% focused on Modo. I need to make a character, rig and animate it, and then I can start looking at getting assets into UE4. (Note: I reserve the right to do anything I want, contents may be hot, may contain nuts).

Other stuff this week: Setting up Backblaze B2 for offsite backups of my NAS (I made a post about this on my personal blog) and finding things to stretch the new GTX1080 GPU I’ve pushed into my Dev PC.

It’s nice to be back at work! 🙂

Archiving…

Strange feeling, but the Lumo adventure is drawing to a close. I’ve just updated my PC to Windows 10 and I’m in the process of archiving up all the software, source code, assets, documents and miscellaneous paraphernalia that I’ve accumulated and used over the last 2.5 years making the game.

I recently put out patch 1.06.27 which, I believe, is going to be the last update. There’s a tiny little bug I noticed during the Director’s commentary that I’d like to fix, but it’s not worth a patch for. So, I’ll keep an eye out for any reports of obvious game breaking bugs or compatibility issues, but should none arise, that’s officially the end of Lumo’s development.  Fingers crossed.

It’s been a hell of an adventure, dark at times, but ultimately worth it. I’ve given up a few things in order to be in this position, but the end result is something that I’m proud of. I can look at Lumo and see a game with a good level of polish that does a lot more than I originally set out to achieve. It’s bigger than I anticipated, and took longer to make than I hoped, but it got a far wider exposure than I ever dreamed possible and received more than fair critical reactions from the majority of the press. So lots to be thankful for. (The metacritic is exactly where I’d put the game (solid 7/10, maybe an 8/10) and in places some people have fallen head over heels [ahem] for it, with 9s, 10s, Sizzlers and Editor’s Choice awards in the mix).

I’m going to take a couple of weeks off now and spend some time with my other half. I have one last Lumo related thing to do (an article that’ll hopefully be printed soon) before this chapter’s officially closed. And I’m looking forward to starting on the next thing…

So thanks to everyone that’s been supporting the game. More news on what’s next soon…

Lumo, Vita release imminent!

As noted by the fine folks over at Eurogamer, the release date for Lumo has been announced; 5th July.

This is much later than originally promised, and for that I do sincerely apologise for keeping you waiting, but the folks over at JAW have been working hard optimising, squeezing, cajoling and generally persuading what is, at heart, a PC game into the Vita’s tiny innards. No easy task…

The form factor should suit the game well, and it’ll also support Cross Buy and Cross Save, so it’s a steal for all you Sony chums out there!

Anyway, enjoy!

Director’s Commentary, Part 3 & World’s first Old School run!

Exciting news, and worth recording for posterity… The world’s first Lumo Old School run has been recorded and put on You Tube. 1 hour 28 minutes to beat!

It’s a pretty sane any% run, but there’s plenty of time to come off that. There’s another hidden short-cut in the game, and a few little exploits that haven’t been used. I’d guess a good any% run would be sub 1hr 15, but we’ll see. There’re probably exploits that I’m not aware of…

Check it out:

And while you’re in the You Tube mood, here’s Part 3 of my Director’s Commentary:

Release Day!

Lumo’s out and the reaction from press and public has been great! Phew! That’s a massive weight off.

No disasters have been reported, the game seems stable and there’s a lot of love for it in certain quaters (my twitter feed was going mental yesterday). That’s all I could hope for.

I’ve tried not to read the reviews – there doesn’t seem much point, they can’t change anything – But the publisher’s been sending me an overview. There’re some 9s. A 10. Mainly 7s and 8s, with a few 6s bringing up the rear. That seems fair to me, I’d place it somewhere between a 7 or 8 if I were reviewing it. Happy days 🙂

Massive thanks to everyone that’s bought it, everyone that’s reviewed it, or streamed it, or just talked about it on Twitter!

For those of you that haven’t, you can buy it on Steam, Good Old Games, Humble or the Playstation Store. Enjoy!

I’ve got a few live streams to do this week. Eurogamer this afternoon, then Twitch during the early hours of tomorrow morning. Then I guess I’m on holiday…

Director’s Commentary, Part 1

There’s a lot of stuff tucked away in Lumo, some of it’s obvious, some of it’s pretty subtle, so I’ve had a lot of requests to explain more about the game. To that end I’ve started a Director’s Commentary series of videos. I’m doing a full run through of the game, nattering as I go. I’ll show where a lot of the collectables are hidden, and discuss what ever pops into my head as I play.

 

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Lumo Release Date

Be-de-dip-diddly-dip… News Update!

I’m happy to confirm that Lumo will be released on 24th of May for PC, Mac, Linux & PS4!

The XBox One and Vita versions will be landing a week or so later.

It’s been a long road to get here, but I’m super excited (and nervous as hell) that you’ll be able to play it soon. Woo!

Devupdate, 11th May

So. This happened:

EngineCapture

And this happened:

Screenshot from 2016-05-11 10:18:07

And then I had to take a headshot for Develop:

Me. Yesterday. Ish.

I went for the “turning around at my desk, pleased that you want to speak to me” pose. I reckon I nailed that. The full interview is here: http://www.develop-online.net/interview/gareth-noyce-on-making-lumo-triple-a-isn-t-my-calling/0220110

I’ll explain more about Neutrino and my other plans in a later post. For now, keep your eyes peeled while you’re playing Lumo. There’s a big clue as to what type of game it is in the intro.

Annnnnd… Last, but no means least, the mighty Rob Fearon put words to screen and claimed the crown for the first Lumo review. God bless yer, Rob.

MyDesk-2

Where’s Lumo?

It’s there. On that PC.

Ok, ok. I know we said it would be out by now but a button didn’t get pushed. The machine stopped. But the machine’s running now and in the delay I noticed that one of the achievements was broken, so phew, at least we didn’t live with that…

I’m very very very (very) sorry for the delay. I desperately want-this-out-so-you-can-play-it like you wouldn’t believe… I’m quietly stressing that there’s some other disaster, or nasty bug lurking around the corner but I think we’re good. So, with the wind behind us, we should be out in 2 or 3 weeks. Just don’t hold me to that until the press release goes out, yeah?

On the plus side, the delay means we should be in Good Old Games and the Humble Store on day one, so DRM free copies will be available. That’s a good thing, innit?

Anyway, sorry sorry sorry. It’s on the way. Sorry.