Development Diary #21: Blocked…

Another quick little milestone update, environment is all blocked in, puzzles now have stand-in grey boxes and I’ve got a ball-on-a-stick moving through the game to plot out the different sections… 


  • 3rd Oct. – Project Start
  • 7th Oct. – Design Locked:  Story/Puzzle Dependency Chart finished
  • 7th Nov. – Environment Blocked:  Environment blocked in with temp. geometry, walkable areas defined and navigable with character stand­-in, cameras placed.
  • 21st Nov. – Character Locked:  Character design, modelling and walk animation finished, nav-­agent set up in environment.
  • 19th Dec. – Environment Locked:­  Environment geometry detailed and lit.
  • 9th Jan. – Audio Locked:  Spot FX and ambiance/music finished and implemented.
  • 20th Jan. – Game Locked:  UI and menus implemented, environmental interactions finalized, ­testing.
  • 31st Jan. – Final Delivery:  Final testing, bug fixing and delivery.


Initially, I was planning on using a nav-mesh/agent setup for the main character; animating walk-cycles in place and then moving the character around using the agent velocity to blend between clips. I’ve now decided to have separate animation clips for everything; it means more animation in the first place, but I’m hoping it’ll end up actually simplifying the whole process in the end. The way most interactions are dealt with in Reel doesn’t really rely on the position of the character, they tend to involve the player manipulating objects directly with the cursor; removing the ability of the player to move the character anywhere around the environment also removes a lot of the potential for errors like errant ray-casts, rigid-bodies getting stuck, clipping through scenery etc. It might feel a little restrictive, but I’m hoping a better variety and specificity of animation will make up for that.




The above gif is an attempt to plot out the course of the main character throughout the game, its very basic, but helped a great deal when figuring out where cameras and lights should go,  how many separate animation clips I’m likely to need etc. At this stage I’ve also blocked in each of the various obstacles/puzzles in the game, most just have a grey box with a button action at the moment but it all helps to get a better grasp on how the finished game fits together.

Next up is character design and animation! As usual, I’ll be floating around on TwitterTumblr and Facebook throughout development, if you fancy following along. If you just want to hear about the big stuff, release dates etc. you can sign up to the Arcto Games Tinyletter.


Reel is being developed with the support of Northern Ireland Screen as part of their eXP Project.