Archive for January, 2020

Miegakure Update End of 2019

Friday, January 24th, 2020

It occurred to me that it should be possible to give more detailed progress updates without spoiling the game too much. Thanks to those of you who emailed me to check on the progress of the game and thank you for your patience. As I said last time, all the mechanics, levels, story & dialogs are done. We still are polishing up the game. Here are some things that we worked on since the last blog update (a lot of these could, and maybe will be their own blog posts):

We implemented the sound of the moving blocks. The code still needs to be cleaned up a bit. It seems we tend to not really know how it should work until we try it in game. There is still of bunch of sound work left.

I spent a while looking for and building additional methods of procedurally generating 4D geometry, especially for the large tesseract-shaped rocks which are very common in the game. This allowed me to really improve the visuals throughout the game. I initially implemented a few complex generic algorithm, but some of them were not stable enough (I need very clean geometry for collision detection) so I spent some time figuring out how to achieve the effects I wanted using simpler methods, and I am very happy with the original solutions I came up with! Some of this work will also be useful for 4D Toys.

I added a few finishing touches and released this Article with Interactive Diagrams on Rotors and Geometric Algebra I had made back in 2012. It look longer than I thought it would… making a 15 minutes long video took a long time and was very exhausting. I recently updated it, and will do a separate blog post about it very soon.

I figured out the rough look and layout of the few remaining large buildings in the game, and built them as prototypes. There is a strong interconnection between the visuals, gameplay, and story in the game, and that made for intricate “puzzles” with lots of moving parts that I had to figure out… The concept artist is working on the final look for these in the next few months.

I went on vacation, because honestly I was pretty burnt out last year. I went to Japan, which is always amazing and heals my soul. I needed a break after crunching on this game for the last one hundred and eighty three years (give or take).

I worked on nailing down the final look of the game… I worked on some Physically Based Rendering (PBR) stuff to include. A bunch more work remains to be done there.

We found and fixed issues with the animation rig we were using. Working on finishing all the animations now with an animator who has recently joined the project.

I made how the water is shown in the game consistent across every level, and worked to finalize the look of the “empty space” around the “diorama” that is each level.

I finalized the look of the gates used to go from level to level. We have to make sure anything in the game is easy to learn and manipulate for a 3D being inside a 4D world, and that brings all these complications to something that should be quite simple normally… but also: – there is a ton of information that needs to be displayed on this one element (ex: level is done/available/etc…) – there are around five slightly different versions of it with different constraints – it needs to be visible enough but not grab too much attention – it needs to belong with natural elements such as trees and rocks but also stand out as an “interface” element – it needs to match the feel of the game – it needs to use the 4D in a cool way, etc…

As a side-note, many of the things I worked on lately had the property that they were pretty good, but not good enough to ship. For example they worked fine for part of the game, but not for the whole thing. Or my friends would point them out to me saying something feels off there. But I didn’t know how to finish them at the time, so I left them as is, to be picked up later. Coming back to them, I could tell they were often “local maxima” solutions: it felt like any changes made them worse, and I didn’t know how to proceed anymore, but there had to be a better solution. After thinking hard for a while, breakthroughs came and the best solutions ended up very different than the solutions that were in the game for a long time! Or sometimes I found out that they really were the best solutions and I had to move on, ahah.

I made the way the buildings are sliced consistent across the entire game. The old way I was using for some buildings was made very early on, back when I didn’t understand 4D space very much. But it also had extra features that were not trivial to port to proper 4D geometry, like fading out certain sections to let the player see inside. Interestingly, the hacky method I was using to display these buildings was simpler, and so in some way potentially easier to understand. But it was inconsistent with the rest of the game. So while it seemed a bit of a loss, I opted for more consistency and correctness. I am keeping in the back of my mind the counter-intuitive way in which adding the tetrahedral meshes and making doodads be “correct” in 4D made the game more visually complicated but also easier to play, probably because of some unconscious pattern recognition.

The very talented artists on the team have modeled/textured most of the large buildings in the game at this point and they look amazing. We are moving on to the smaller ones!

We also finally built the main element of a very exciting and beautiful level that I had planned almost from the very beginning. This level is so cool that it will be showcased in a video as one of the “Main Miracles” of being to able to move in 4D, along with Going around Walls, Binding Two Rings (which I still need to redo), Stealing From Inside a Closed Building, etc…

And many other things!

As always, thank you for your patience and enthusiasm.

Marc

4D Toys Version 1.1: Happy Holydays Star Polychora Update!

Thursday, January 2nd, 2020

New 4D Toys Update (iOS) (Steam VR & Mouse+KB)

Added 11 new star-like shapes that would look great hanging from or on top of your 4D Christmas Tree.

The Regular Star Polychora (or “Schläfli-Hess 4-polytopes”):

  • Icosahedral 120-cell
  • Small stellated 120-cell
  • Great 120-cell
  • Grand 120-cell
  • Great stellated 120-cell
  • Grand stellated 120-cell
  • Great grand 120-cell
  • Great icosahedral 120-cell
  • Grand 600-cell
  • And my personal favorite, the Great grand stellated 120-cell

Plus a Compound 5-Cell for good measure.

The Star Polychora are the 4D equivalent of the 2D Star Polygons.

Star polygons can be made by extending the edges of polygons, until they meet outside of the polygon.

For example this Hexagram (or “Star of David”) can be made by extending the edges of a Hexagon. This process of extending edges (or faces and cells in 3D or 4D) is called Stellation.

Warmest wishes for a Happy Holiday Season and a wonderful New Year! I felt the need to take a break from updating 4D Toys for a bit, but more updates will be coming next year!

4D Toys Version 1.1 Update on Steam

(Miegakure Update forthcoming)

(I also never posted here about the other updates, such as the gryochora: It turns out there exist 4D dice shapes with any number of sides, even primes! Added an assortment of over 30 new dice with sides such as 9, 13 and of course 42.)

4DToys for (iOS) (Steam)

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