DEVLOG#30 – Irritating Implementation of Platforming Predicament, Part IV: Shader

Oh hello there, guys! Here already? Come on in! There are pictures to feast on and stories to savor, so pick a comfortable place to sit and eat well.

Haven’t I introduced myself yet? Well, if you follow this blog from the beginning, you surely must know that I am Chalcedony, one of the programmers of Ascender. Well you know what – now I’m not an intern anymore in devlogging – I am a full-fledged one!

Here we go, the appetizer: sneak peeks! The never-ever-seen-before scenes are ready for your eyes only! [*Plays awesome sound effect*]

Firstly, we have the tendrils. Sky can jump on and off it. Note how they react accordingly to sky’s movement.

sulur
Do the villagers climb on them too?

This kind of trampoline is also fun for some boing-boing. Hold the jump button for more air time.

trampoline
Trampoline image just for placeholder.

How defying gravity sounds? You can climb wall and even fall into the horizon.

skyWalk
The house is still in repair, no worries.

For today’s special, we serve shaders. What is a shader, you ask? Wikipedia says “a program that tells a computer how to draw something in a specific and unique way”. Shader is used for special (and not-so-special) effects, like these.

Remember this big robot? His laser effect was my first shader creation (not counting failures, of course)!

bro
The rune stays intact, so why sky does not?

The layer where sky is standing is affected by the light from the lamp, whereas the background and the foreground are not. Just shader.

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Villagers have nothing to do, so they spend the whole day standing there.

Even simple menus need shader to clip the items so they are not rendered off-window.

menu
Why so many tasks for so little robot?

Look closely, the water distorts the scenery behind it. How to do it? Shader.

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It distorts my sanity too.

Contrast to C# in terms of language, one should use Cg/HLSL language when creating shader in Unity. The scripts below both are for B.RO, the left one is written in C# for controlling the movement, and the right one is in Cg for you know, shading.

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These are among the first scripts for this game! Bad, bad scripts.

 Those two look alike, but in truth are quite huge in difference! Debugging is especially a hell in shading. You will often end up with this kind of result…

badWater1
Error in shader equals magenta for you. My favorite color!

Of course without you knowing what’s wrong. For some cases, Unity will be a good guy and tell you (approximately) which line caused the shader into haywire. Granted, I am by no means a master in shading, but still, when you went to fix the line, then it goes boom…

badWater2
Very menacing water.

Gah! Dealing with these stuffs always drives me to my boiling point!

Anyway, that’s all for today’s meal! Did you enjoyed it? What now, you need dessert too? If you are still craving for more, be sure to play our public preview now, and let us know what’s on your mind!

Wow, it’s been ages since my last post, but now we must apart once more. Fret not, we will prepare more special dishes for you to relish, so stay tuned, and eat well. Bye!

 

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DEVLOG#29 – Perfect Fifth: Power of Beauty

Hey hey it’s me again, the music composer. Zircon’s the name, I think. I don’t really know what I wanna talk about right now, so I’ll just talk about whatever I’m doing right now. Good luck reading this.

 

Well things are kinda rough right now. Aside from being an <sarcastictone>awesome music composer</sarcastictone>, I have these other annoying responsibilities in my life as well. In fact, most of the team does. Well some of us are full-timer, but the rest have another job for a living. Lecturers, teachers, librarian, even college students are doing their best managing their time. Me? Not so much. Lately my focus is too unevenly-divided. I still come to the studio, ideas for music still come to my head, but I have these other things and projects I can’t stop thinking about. To be honest I’m kinda jealous of the other who manage to focus 100% to whatever they’re doing lol.

 

Oh I mentioned about ideas, didn’t I. I’ve been experimenting recently. Mostly about instruments, some about music ideas, and some about technical things. Since I’m still struggling to find what I want to talk about right now, maybe I’ll talk about those.

 

You see, the songs I’ve made so far don’t really have much variation for the instruments. I mostly use strings, harp, flute, percussion, and some guitar riffs for quest songs. All songs you hear in the alpha version only have those. Of course I did make plan for the future that contains more than those, but I still think there’s something missing. Shortly we’ll release beta version and there will be more area you can explore, which means more songs too. I think there are like 4 or five more songs, I forget. But the thing is, the atmosphere for the new songs more or less is similar to the songs you’ve already heard in the alpha version. At least to me anyway. People in the team haven’t said anything so far, so maybe it’s just me. But still, I’m not satisfied. That’s why I started experimenting on new instruments.

 

Dolopo in the alpha version has not fully revealed. There are more areas you can explore in Dolopo when the beta version is released. There are different songs when you walk in certain areas, and these are what I’ve been experimenting on. One song I’m really satisfied with is the song for government area (yes, there’s a government area in a game about quadruple amputee blonde girl and a bipedal Roomba). In this song I only use three instruments, flute, viola, and harpsichord. If you have watched some movies where there are kings and evil kings and dragons and castle and stuffs, chances are you’ve heard what harpsichords sound like. They look like pianos, but sound thinner and more trebly.

Inverted key color is not mandatory

I always wanted to do something with the harpsichord just because I think it sounds really beautiful. For the government area I wanted the song to have a bit medieval feeling in it, so I was sure this instrument was what I just needed.

 

Now let’s move on to the music itself. I use dorian mode for this song with a LOT of fifth harmony. This type of harmony is what you get when you combine a note with the note that is four notes away in the scale. For example, let’s say you have a C major scale, which consists of the following notes: C, D, E, F, G, A, and B.

The last C is not mandatory

If you played an F note and wanted to add the fifth harmony of it, just count to four from F. So from F it would be G-A-B-C. So the fifth harmony for F note in C major scale is C. Play both of them together, and you get the fifth harmony. There are a lot of these pairs. You can combine one note with another that is one note away, or two, 3, 4, and so on and so forth. Usually what you hear in the radio or MTV (wait, does MTV even play music anymore?) just use the third harmony, which is two notes away. This is fine and I use them a lot too, but fifth harmony works much more beautifully for this kind of song.

 

The fifth harmony is also known as the perfect fifth. It’s the most “stable” and “colorless” out of all the harmonies, hence the name. If you play guitar and people often struggle to read the logo of your favorite bands, you’re probably already familiar about the term “power chords”. You know, that chord when you only play two string (usually the 6th and 5th or the 5th and 4th) and mute the rest?

Pink beard is not mandatory

Yeah, that’s an application of the perfect fifth as well. If you play it, it will still sound like the root note, albeit “bigger” sound is achieved. It doesn’t color the sound in a certain way. It’s just “perfect”.

 

Well, I think it’s enough for now. Other songs in the beta version are pretty much just old ideas I had, so this is the “newest” one I’ve made. For beta version, that is. Of course there are more to come, but I think you can only hear them in the full version, so be sure to check it out when it’s released. That’s it folks, you can close this now. You really need to finish those assignments you left hours ago. Good luck and be happy, okay? ❤

DEVLOG#28 – Let The Story Begin…

For hundreds of years, harmony has left the world of Ascender. It was once a captivating habitat for celestials, humans and creatures that live in unity. These humanoids were living in magnificent environment made by placid surroundings and they work together in balance. However, there is no such thing called perfection…

The Celestials, felt their existence threatened due to being outnumbered by humans, combined their power and bring the lands towards the sky, calling it Atlas, and creating their own civilization. Below Atlas, they created a barrier called Ut by bringing up water terrains. Enraged by their action, The Scientists decided to build a floating island using science and advanced technologies in order to reclaim their beautiful land. They call this floating island, Spunk Island. The rest of the civilization was left on Ataran, the cracked ground full of sulfuric gas.

Ascender world_ok
Civilization Divisions Concept Art

Professor Toro Hudo was an inventor and key person in Ataran’s civilization. He was betrayed and deserted by Spunk Island developers, but his big heart and wisdom has kept him away from revenge. With his wife, Marr Hudo, he decided to stay in poisonous Ataran land and help others by making equipment for them. Both of them didn’t have any child, they were living in modesty and humble life with one goal: everyone in Ataran can get a better life. They invented survival tools for individuals, families, humanoids, and animals in poisonous environment, then they get foods and raw materials supplies in return.

buatBonar
Ataran’s Concept Art

One day, Professor Toro Hudo was on his way exploring Ataran, he saw a shiny light in the shade of clouds. A golden-haired limbless baby was going down rapidly from the Ut direction straight to his standing area. He caught her and saw her eyes, strong intense feelings made him hug her tight and tears just came out. Realizing that the baby couldn’t survived long in Ataran, he took the baby to an undiscovered area deep down in the world of Ascender… to a mythical area… to a place where it all starts…. Goa…

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Dolopo – The Central Capital of Goa