Development Diary #23: Everything at once…

It’s been nearly a month since the last post and lots of things have been going on, that January deadline is beginning to feel extremely close…  


  • 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.
  • 31st Jan. – Final Delivery:  Final testing, bug fixing and delivery.


The latest milestone says “Environment Locked…” and while there has been plenty of progress on the environmental front, I don’t know if I’d describe them as “locked” in the sense that there isn’t more work to be done on them, there’s always more work to be done on everything…

They are at a stage now though where I feel confident adding lights and cameras and animating the character in relation to fixed points, knowing the space isn’t going to change drastically…

I mentioned last update that, instead of having a looping walk cycle and a nav-agent, I was going to have separate animation clips and I’m still pretty happy with that decision. It is definitely a lot of work but I’d much rather be spending extra time on animation than pulling my hair out trying to sync up path-complete percentages and animation triggers. It also means each animation can be tailored to each scene…

I’ve also been trying to settle on an approach to UI I’m happy with, as minimal as possible while still remaining intuitive. Recently I’ve been working on close-up objects and it’s a real challenge trying to get each layer of interaction working together without resorting to on-screen buttons.

The object itself is rotatable by dragging the mouse, then the keys on the laptop respond to mouse-over, there also needs to be a way to exit the close-up. So far I’m relying on visual cues, the dark sphere for rotation, the cursor changes shape to indicate something is clickable and there’s a focus pull on the background to show you can click to exit.

In other news, the Toryansé website has been updated with a little description of Reel and some updated links, the tumblr passed 1000 followers and Chris Priestman wrote a little article about Toryansé for Killscreen.

The next milestone on the schedule is “Audio locked…” but at this stage all aspects of the game need to be worked on in parallel, the next few weeks are going to be a mixture of everything all at once! For my own psychological benefit, the next really important landmark will be getting the game playable from the menu to the end, even if most bits are still pretty rough. I also talked last month about a little teaser trailer which I haven’t gotten around to yet, and there are a number of games festivals and conferences with application deadlines in January, so it would be good to have something presentable for them too!

As ever, I’ll be 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.