Over the holidays, Parth and I both did not get as much time on the project as we hoped we would, but when we finally sat down and discussed the project, we started to review all of the feedback we have received during the first semester. While Parth started working on fixing some of the mechanics, including the camera rotations, walk cycles, and fixing how the flower can be grown, I started working on a fully rigged flower. By assuming that this flower would be two days worth of work, I underestimated the amount of time to perfect fixing the flower animation due to the limitations of animating modifiers in Unity.
I started with modelling one flower petal, and creating bones for it so I can manipulate how the flower folds. I duplicated the petals and then rotated bones in each petal to create the final shape of the flower.
I then proceeded to research into how to make “vines” grow without using 3DS Max modifiers. Modifiers would have been easier to use for animation, but since Unity does not support those types of animations, it was not possible to use at the time. Instead, I created a cylinder, and modeled a flower core for it. After modelling, I made bones for the flower and core so it could be animated.
I proceeded to model the soils and leaves of the stem, detailing out how the flower would look. The colours were later changed in Unity, however.
After discussing with Parth, we realized that the animation states needed to be fixed. In order to synchronize the animations, it was much easier to create a single bone structure for the entire flower, instead of creating the bones in pieces.
We quickly realized that making the stem grow was impossible without flattening the flower as well if we used scaling animations. From there, we decided to go back to using the separated bone structures for the animations. After importing it in Unity and adding in Parth’s mechanics, we finalized our flower growing mechanic to be shown in our first class back in Thesis Part 2.
(Video taken by Parth Soni)
Before the holiday ended, I resumed my research in emotions in game play by reading Katherine Isbister’s book, How Games Move Us: Emotions by Design.
After the first class critique, I started to conceptualize the scenery and dynamics of our game world. We realized that even though we have our mechanics for growing the flower, this specific mechanic seems to be an action that cannot be overused. At the same time, we still see a disconnect between the character, mechanics, and the forest because there is no solid connection that answers why the character has to go through this process to grow a flower. At this point, Parth suggested to add more effects to the flowers to show the connect between the petals to the flower’s core when the petals are being dragged, such as drawing a line between the two. This allowed us to think about the possibilities of using drawing mechanics. Considering that Parth’s research was about gestures, which can be interpreted as a form of symbolism and communication, we decided to try out the drawing mechanics by using it as a communication system for the character to talk to the forest, and the caterpillar companion.
During this time, Parth and I had another team meeting. In a word document, we wrote down the possibilities of our game, and what the potential flow of the game would look like. From there, I drew a sketch of the map, and possible scenarios.
(Idea suggested by Anthony Rodi: Having the character nurse the cocoon and protecting it at the pupa stage)
(Map Layout: In progress)
(Patterns and symbols to be drawn on the ground of the shrine. The symbols are derived from a passage, which due to an improper attempt to save the file, is now lost.)
I looked into various references, and tried to imagine what the intro scenery would look like. I also tried to imagine how the character’s memories can be triggered, and what kind of objects the character can find in the island.
After speaking with one of our professors, we received a further understanding about the possibilities of our communication system, and the potential uses of it. However, we decided that it was time for us to return to our research, and continue with our papers. Noting that there has been a miscommunication about the structure of annotated bibliographies between the third year Thesis: Synthesis course, and Thesis Part 1, I decided to rewrite all of my annotated bibliographies to match the structure that was presented in Thesis Part 1, and continue expanding my Thesis documentation.