With the leaves slowing turning to yellow, we thought it was about time to give you guys another update on LUNA! Can’t believe these two months have flown by like an arrow. We’re heading closer and closer towards our production deadline. The past few weeks have been intensely busy for us (as usual) so let’s see what we have accomplished so far.
The walking System Optimization
We’ve been focused on optimizing the walking and interaction system recently and have upgraded it to a better, smoother one with some improved new animation sets.
Instead of doing it the most common way, by moving a flat character walking animation between two spots, which usually might appear like sliding/floating on the floor while moving, we have built our walking system with a more realistic, handcraft look.
We added more frames between the idle post and the walking cycle to give it a nice transition. With the variation of 8 different set of walking animations, our character is now able to stop on a very specific spot to interact with an object, each step firmly on the ground without sliding when walking.
This has been one of the most challenging things we've worked on since the beginning of LUNA. It is time-consuming and quite difficult to do. During all this time we couldn’t help thinking, "no wonder most developers choose not to do their walking system in this way!". This is the kind of challenge that makes us really grow and learn from the journey, and it is one of the the few precious moments of pride in indie gaming, knowing we stuck to our unique approach and it worked! Together with our characters’ cell animation and the 2d draw backgrounds, the world of LUNA now feels both magical and also has the tangible feeling we hoped to achieve.
We wrote a dev log about this issue, if you’re interested in the details you can read it here from our website.
Knowing the storytelling will largely rely on the cinematics, we’ve been working on the story for a long time before finalizing our storyboard. Even so, there're still many details, the motion design of each scene that needs to be done along with the animation.
Background - draft animation - line drawing - clean up - coloring. This was and still is the ONLY way for traditional 2D animation nowadays. The magic button I am ever longing for to automatically create the in-between frames still waits to be invented. Until then, keep calm and keep animating.
We have in total about 15-20 min footage of hand-drawn animation in LUNA. Now we've done half of it, basically, 5-10 sec per day is our aim. Our plan is still to finish all the animation before the end of this year. It is a very tight schedule but we intend to keep up the pace! We’re really excited about it and can’t wait to have them all in the game as a whole.
Here is some sneak-peek footage of the animation we’ve done so far.
Music and sound Fx
Two thirds of the levels now have music. We have to tell you, the music adds so much more emotion immediately felt when you play the game. It makes a huge difference.
Instead of each room having an individual background track, our music composer Wang Qian took a broader approach. Each character/chapter has its own melody, each with a distinctive emotional tune. By changing the instruments, key, or tempo, we apply subtle variations that blend nicely with each level or cinematic music track. So the overall album of the soundtrack of LUNA will sound more like one big complete work.
It’s not always a straightforward production process on the music side. Music is such an abstract form of art that within the team we had many differences along the way, sometimes even arguments! But the final result you’ll hear in LUNA is the best that came out of us. (some clips of LUNA’s new music below)
Adventure X and Weplay 2018
As some of you might know already, we will be attending this year’s Adventure X in London on Nov 9-10th, the game show will be held in one of my favourite place in London, the British Library! If you already bought the tickets please do come around and say hi, ask us questions or just chat around! For those who can’t be there in person, please follow our Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, we will have the live updates during that weekend to make sure to share our moment with you all!
Players will also be able to try out LUNA at Weplay 2018 in Shanghai on Nov 3-4th. Some of team members in China might be there to great you too!
Next few weeks plan:
From now till the end of this year we will be aiming to complete 90% of the animation ( if everything goes super smooth we might even finish all of them, fingers cross), then complete ¾ of the music and soundtrack. Meanwhile, we will continue to have industry internal gameplay testing and debugging. We’re also about to start preparing the marking job and publishing / legal business.
We're also thinking to update a new free demo for everyone on the website by the end of the year, we’d announce it in all our social platforms when it’s ready. We’ll soon be back with more news!