Miegakure Update End of 2019

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

13 Responses to “Miegakure Update End of 2019”

  1. Adam says:

    Thanks for the update, Marc, I’m glad to hear that you took some time to recover. Everything I hear about the game makes me eager to play it, but I’m glad you have the resources to make the game as polished as you intend, and to take the time to avoid burning out on it. Best wishes, looking forward to more updates if you get a chance!

  2. Zak says:

    Hi Marc, thanks for sending out the update. Are you able to say when the video you mentioned will be released? Next few months, sometime this year?

    Also not knowing what is actually in the game, have you ever given much thought to how machines could be adapted and operate in 4D? Binding two rings, an object moving in and out of a sealed container etc. I work in robotics research and I wonder about the possibilities.

    • marc says:

      This year would be great, yeah.

      I have given it a bit of thought, yeah.

      • Zak says:

        I’d love to be able to make my own puzzles and experiment with creating 4D machines. I don’t know much about the actual process of designing a 4D object or putting together a level of puzzles, but is that something that could be simplified enough to be user accessible?

        Do you think releasing a sandbox/design your own level add-on would ever be on the cards then? Or is there another project you want to work on when Miegakure is released?

  3. Pablo says:

    I’ve been following updates since 2011, and I’m still extra enthusiastic when I see an update in my inbox!
    Japan helped me a lot after I burned out. I feel like the aesthetics and mechanics of the game will have the same kind of healing power for me.
    Looking forward to it, always supporting!

  4. Brian says:

    I am very pleased to hear that you’ve taken the time to really nail down the consistency of the world. It is always a delight to read the material you publish on the engine and your in-game explanations. I’ve been looking forward towards this video game since I’ve played the demo at Pax East.
    Best of luck!

  5. sep332 says:

    You should link this from the Miegakure Twitter account so I can re-tweet it!

  6. Ryner says:

    I’ve been following since 2010 and as always am really excited about the project.
    Don’t burn yourself out and know that those following you understand that a good game is better than an early game.
    I’ll also add that I always enjoy the more technical posts that you link in your updates and I look forward to them almost as much as the updates themselves.
    Good luck and God Bless!

  7. Sergio says:

    Thank you for the update Marc, it’s allways great to hear whats new about the game.

  8. Adonis da Silva says:

    Looks great! Take all the time you need. Have you been playing some games to get some ideas from? Will you consider allowing beta testers, like Manifold Garden did?

  9. Francisco says:

    Hi Marc! Glad to hear the project is going well. Congratulations on your work so far!

    I know you have your reasons to do the things the way you’re doing, but I’d still like to ask you to consider releasing updates more often. They don’t need to be substantial, but it would be cool to have a couple of paragraphs, say, once every two months describing how things are going. I don’t need to say this is a very unique video game, so we would love to know a little more about the problems and solutions pertaining it. Also it would serve as a reassurance all is going well and we can be hyped.

    Thanks 🙂

  10. Jonathan says:

    So great to read this update. I’ve been checking in once in a while on your blog to see if there are any updates, happy to see it’s still in the works!

    I wish you the best in finishing up the last bits. The last 10% always takes the longest it seems.

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