Hello to everyone!
Let’s start with a small report about 2016: we all had taken no vacation last year, because we aimed (and still aim) on making the DLC1 on UE3 as soon as possible, to compose/record the new music for DLC and Haunted2, to master it and then cut the sequences for the game and have the team for Haunted 2 complete, starting the level design on UE4 plus the work for new characters. Through the following month we saw new team members come and go, because they couldn’t do what they said - or they were much to slow. But professionals who can work faster, prefer to work for large companies with big budget, not for Indie’s. That all wasn’t so funny since our decision to bring Haunted to life again. But, as said in the last announcement, we wanted to have finished the first dlc until christmas, which wasn’t to realize. In addition, there was an accident in november, which still hinders us until April this year. So, we finished 2016 reworked and a bit frustrated.
2017 started with much needed recreation, but also three weeks ago with febrile flu for all plus now shingles for one of us :-( ...and the latest news from the world of justice, aren't constructive, too. Nasty people that still do not give us our money because they think we are dead or they feel safe in their countries and don’t understand why we are still not broke like so many others after our partner THQ has gone bust - which means, the costly lawyer-issues still go on (what the heck costs so much time?).
But that all will not bounce us back and to all the guys who owe us money are said at this point: better you’ll get in contact with us and give us the money you made with our game than being prosecuted and sued for damages for selling copies illegal. We’re gonna get you sooner or later!
And at this point also a big thank you to all of you, who bought our game legally here at Steam and support us thereby! Please have in mind: since we restarted Haunted 1 (Hells Reach) we sell it only here and exclusively on Steam because of the precise separation of legal from illegal sales with respect to the ongoing investigations and law suits.Okay so far, we are going on with keeping you informed - and now Cedric takes over:
Have you ever built a do-it-yourself furniture only to find out that the last piece doesn't fit?
Even if the parts are supposed to fit perfectly, the accumulation of very small mistakes during the construction can sometimes lead to this problem and you have to undo a part of the construction to get things to fit. This also happens when making game levels.
Like their name implies, modular kits are modular and just like legos, you can build a lot of things with only a few different pieces. This makes the production much faster but there is a big drawback and that is that the things can get a repetitive look very quickly.
To avoid art fatigue, I often add a few unique pieces breaking the generic look and that is where problems can arise. Things that should fit no longer fit. In addition, you are at a point where you can not really get back to fix things - since it take a lot of time and could create problems elsewhere.
This is the moment when you have to do things differently - let's say by cheating a bit. If you can not fix something, then you can make it invisible, for example by hiding it. How?
You've got a little gap between 2 wall parts? Let's cover it with a pillar!
You've got two textures which won't connect properly? Let's place a rock on it!
May be you’ll find that is a lazy way to fix unexpected things, but it works, nobody will see it, it saves time and that is what counts. Something that has gone wrong, but can not be noticed as wrong simply does not exist as wrong.
Of course, there are different ways to solve a problem. You could un-build a part of the level and rebuild it with different parts to make things fit, but that's very slow and there is no guarantee that doing so won't break another part of the level. Creating an unique piece just to connect things properly is also another possible way, but I'm not fond of these solutions.
I like to keep my modular kits as simple as possible. What does it mean to have more pieces? Just a higher chance of making errors. Of course, If I want to make something architectural, that means modifying more pieces, but I believe that the most important thing is that if a modular kit is made, it should also be thought of for future potential users. A unique piece which was made to solve a certain situation in ones level used by another artist can become the source of a problem in this artists level.
In a team, you can always communicate with your colleagues to come to a name convention, an agreement for such pieces - but, for example, what about mod-enabled games? The external users know nothing of internal agreements on names for unique pieces and will find themselves with a broken kit to work, which gives them a to the highest unsatisfactory modding experience.
My recommendation on this topic is: if you are going to build a modular kit, you should make it simple and easy to use, not only for you, but for everyone else who will have to work with it.