I'd like to show you a slice of the meta-game I've been working on in Kainga. I knew from the start that short and sweet runs would make this game fun, rather than the long games of the civilization series, I'd like Kainga to be something you can hop into after work but before dinner, but of course make decent long term progress as well.
The way I've accomplished this, is adding Missions, a bit unconventional for this genre but it's working out quite well. Today we'll look at 3 different missions and how they work.
The Devlog videos are available on Patreon a week early!
Enjoy the video and let me know what you think!
As always I'm happy to hear suggestions and weird ideas you might have.
Here's a brief breakdown of the 3 Missions discussed in the video in text below:
1.) The Fight For Glory
This is a more simple population based mission where you build up a larger population, then host an Arena festival to celebrate your well established town.
2.) Build Landmarks
As a construction based mission, this requires you to build a certain number of specific landmark buildings across the landscape, and keep them standing. These structures can range from towers to lanterns, pyres or others. Once you've passed the threshold, a celebration is in order for a job well done. This mission seems easier than it is, as the landscape could lead to some complex maneuverability while trying to build each one further from the others.
3.) Caged Without Options
This is the last mission we'll look at today, and is a combat based mission that requires that you find and rescue another thinker from a cage. Then build an escape vehicle to send them off in.
I plan to add a variety of missions, and keep them rotating availability on each biome to keep each playthrough from getting stale.
I have plans for a Migration mission, and a mission involving Menhirs among others, but if you have some good ideas, please share here or on the Discord! I'm always happy to hear out-of-the-box ideas.
We already discussed basic resources in Kainga, but I'd like to take a moment and talk about the Production Buildings.
These are buildings that take one resource and turn it into another. These buildings must be built attached to a house and convert the house's function from generating population to generating this resource.
In the image above, you can see the ceramics workshop. This particular production building takes clay and produces ceramic pots.
These finished ceramic pots can be placed next to the entrance of houses and can be used to extinguish fires. I got this idea while visiting Nara in Japan, I noticed all the old houses had a pot of water in the front, and I was told that was its purpose (although I doubt its effectiveness).
Anyways, here's the devlog video, enjoy!
As always, these videos come a week early for Patrons.
There's still a lot to be done, but development is falling into place quite nicely. I'm almost ready to release the initial Alpha build. So be sure to Join the Newsletter if you'd like to be a part of the initial testing!
Thanks for the interest and your support.
All the best!
I've been working on the boats of Kainga and I decided to add wakes when the boats move through the water. Not being an expert at materials, I was surprised how well it turned out so I decided to share the step-by-step. I created this in Unreal Engine 4 but I'm sure you could follow along and adapt it for Unity as well. It's not too complex.
First I started with a mesh, the shape of the boat's wake.
I made this simple model in Blender. What's important is the UV fills the box top-to-bottom and, in my case, right-to-left.
I duplicated the mesh and flipped the normals so that the mesh would be double-sided.
Import the mesh into Unreal, and add it to your character.
Now it's time to make a noisy texture for the material.
I created a looping pretzel shape in Photoshop seen below:
I copy-pasted it a few times, and flipped it horizontally and vertically and added each variety to a different color channel:
This is just to increase the randomness of the wake later on. You can use any noise image you'd like, just see what fits your needs.
Make a basic masked material, I put "1" in the Base Color because my game is stylized and adding just 1 will result in a plain white color. If you want to add more detail, this is where it would go.
I added our texture, connected it to a Panner with time and a speed of (1 , 0.1) so that it moves to the left and slightly up. I also had to rotate it 90 degrees. This should have just been done in photoshop! (Doh!)
I duplicated all this, and panned the second one at a slightly different angle, (1.2 , 0.5) and added just 2 of their color channels together. Doesn't matter which ones, as long as they're not the same one.
I added a gradient texture on the bottom that fills in the bottom half so that there's more volume to the wave. I also subtracted another one of the color channels from that to add a bit of variety:
Finally, I use the gradient again on the top to fade away the hard edges. I made the gradient negative using the "1-x" node, then multiplied it to the whole thing before plugging it into the Opacity value.
I added a second wave mesh in front to make a better splashing effect as seen below. The UVs are EXACTLY THE SAME so that the material still works the same way.
(Note: The longer the segments of UV, the faster the water will "move" across that section)
Here's how it looks on the model itself in the engine:
That's it! Now you can put this mesh on pretty much anything, I scaled mine vertically based on the character's velocity/max movement speed, which makes it appear and grow based on the speed of the boat.
It's pretty neat! For not too much work, you can really improve the look of the boat's movement.
Check out and wishlist Kainga on Steam if you like the looks! Thanks!
Today I'd like to write a bit more into detail of one of the specific units you can get: The Beastmaster. As you may have guessed, he is a master of beasts and is able to tame the wild animals in the world of Kainga.
(Videos like this will always be available on Patreon a week early too!)
Although not great in combat, the beastmaster is able to attach ropes to large animals, slowing them down and over time converting them to your side. As long as the taming procedure is not interrupted, the beast will join you in your efforts.
The Beastmaster will then hop on the beast as a "pilot", and the animal will remain under your control. If, however, the beastmaster dies while piloting an animal, the animal will go into a fury as it's bond has been slain.
As of writing, there are only 2 animals that are fully functional in Kainga. There will be quite a few more and I have some surprises and unexpected beasts that push the limits quite a bit.
The two animals that are currently in the game are the Snail, who eats crops, spits acid, extinguishes fires, and produces silk, and the Walker, who eats coconuts from trees, can walk over almost all terrain and in water, cannot be attacked without ranged units, and can be built on.
Again this is a total work in progress, and many things may change, but I'm happy to share a bit of the progress as things go on.
If you have suggestions for weird animals, I'm always open to hear.
Feel free to join the Discord and chat with the passionate Kainga fans!
In this devlog we take a look at a few of the basic unit types. The Brave is the base unit that constructs and works every building. They can also be trained into other combat and utility units.
The video below looks at Warriors, Spearmen, Archers, Riflemen and Priests. There are going to be a lot more types of units in the end with the idea being that you don't need more than a few varieties, but each time you play, you get a new combination. I'm going to try my best to make each unit unique and have clear benefits and drawbacks.
Other types of units that are in the game, like beastmasters, are NOT included in this video as the mechanics still needs some work. I also have a slaver, grenadier, axeman, thurible and others in the plans. If you have some unique ideas that match the theme, let me know and I'll add them to the list!
The video also takes a closer look at the Thinker and how the Thinker interacts with the world and generates technology (this is still a work in progress and may be changed quite a bit).
Take a look at the video below and let me know what you think!
Again, if you want to see videos like these a week early, sign up on Patreon!
I have some words to say about how the combat was developed by looking at other games:
Nearly every strategy game is centered around a system of combat. It's easily comprehensible and crystal clear to the player who's winning through combat. There are games that don't use combat in competition (Offworld Trading Company) but most do. I knew how I wanted the combat to feel so I looked at a few examples of other combat systems.
There are a lot of detail oriented decisions to make in a combat system that have massive consequences to gameplay, so things need to be thought through fairly well.
Being a game based in the ancient era, combat has to be centered around a solid melee system with viable ranged as well. Unit numbers are in the dozens rather than hundreds, and the first obvious combat system to look at is Age of Empires.
Age of Empires, Warcraft and the like have a combat system where each unit seeks out and attacks an enemy unit. Each unit can be controlled individually and this can lead to some micro-heavy gameplay. Another notable feature of both of these games is that the units can bump into each other. This seems like a moot point but it actually defines the pace of the combat and how well you can micromanage your units.
Some units in Age of Empires use formations to help keep the units moving briskly, but formations are not a thing in tribal warfare so I thought it best to leave that out entirely.
The whole combat feel of most RTS games didn't fit the theme of Kainga. So instead I took inspiration from a fantastic game I've played too much of, Kenshi:
Groups of units will lock on to each other and fight it out individually while others support. The combat uses a system like this where people group and fight it out, then find a new group to join. It's hectic, fast paced and can't really be micro-managed which is ideal.
Sorry that's a bit of a ramble, but I hope you enjoy!
What would you like me to focus on for my next devlog video? I'm open to ideas!
Welcome to the first installment of my video devlog series!
In the first episode, we talk about the 5 main resources, Food, Mud, Reeds, Logs, and Bamboo. We take a look at how to acquire each one and how each resource is replenished naturally. Of course there are technologies you can get to increase your access to these resources and others.
In addition to using these resources for basic buildings, and making basic units, you can also use these resources in production buildings to generate more complex resources, further unlocking available technology and advancing your culture further.
Enough reading, let's watch!
This videos will be published on Patreon a week or 2 in advance, before being published here, so if you want to take an early look at the videos, check out the action over there!
Let me know what you think of the new format and what I can do to improve!
I'm always open to feedback and criticism and willing to take every comment into consideration.
Have a wonderful day.
While adding natural disasters to my game I hit a problem: all the problems affect the lowlands more than highlands. I removed resources from the highlands to encourage players to risk going to the lower levels. But it wasn't enough. There was no risk involved with building a city on the highlands and wandering below to get resources.
The solution came with fire. Since the highlands were already dry (not many trees) it only makes sense to have fire be an issue in the flat, grassy lands above.
The narrative behind this idea is that in the lower, swampier lands fire spreads slowly whereas in the highlands, fires spreads quickly and dramatically through the grasses, covering the entire area quickly. If your city is unprepared for a wall of fire to potentially sweep through your town, the results could be dramatic loss of population.
The way that fire works is taken from the write-up by Jean-Francois Levesque on the fire propagation system in Farcry 2 . Once a fire is started, it spawns a grid of potential fire-boxes. Each fire-box has a certain health that gets damaged by nearby fires. Once the health reaches 0 it also ignites and begins damaging surrounding fire-boxes. The amount of time a fire-box lives for decreases as the fire spreads to keep the fire from spreading forever.
You can see the fire boxed are extended by 2 squares every time a fire box successfully catches on fire. Fire boxes damage their neighbors, and the speed of the fire's spread is dictated by 3 main factors, what soil is below the fire, the wind's direction, and the weather.
The soil type below the fire dictates how much damage the firebox takes before it ignites itself. You can see in the above gif the fire has a harder time spreading on the green grass.
There is a global wind direction, that dictates the movement of smoke particles. I check to see if the firebox's neighbor is in the same direction as the wind direction, and if it is, add some bonus damage to make that box ignite sooner.
The last check, is to see if it is raining, foggy or somehow wet. I have a simple booleon that dictates if the box "IsDamp" and if it is, then the amount of damage it deals is reduced, slowing the spread of the fire.
Maybe you can see what's happening clearly here when I used my old fire effect:
You can also see, that fireboxes can hit other objects like trees and people which activates a Function on through an Interface that allows a huge variety of actors to be affected by fire.
Here you cans see my OLD and NEW fire effects next to each other.
I still like the old fire effect, so I use it for my campfires now.
So how can you fight such ravaging fires to protect your town?
Units can battle the fire by carrying water to the site of the fire and dousing it. However, you have to have a water source like a watershaft with a winch, stepwell, or the Ceramics Workshop to produce water jugs.
Alternatively, some specific wildlife might help you fight the fires if you learn to coexist with them!
Firstly, I recently changed the name of the game from "Tribal" to "Kainga", here's why:
Let me know your thoughts!
Getting in the Habit of Showing Off
Having worked on this project for over a year, it's difficult to know when it's "ready" to show to the world. Often when I'm about to show something from the game , I stop to reconsider because the game is not yet in it's ideal state. Well that's going to change!
Art is never "finished" so why not show the process and accept imperfection!
I'm quite happy with the trailer above. It captures the emotions and tones that the game is going for: a bit of adventure, feeling small in grand world, overcoming difficulty and a general sense of wonder.
But still when I watch it, I see so many things that still need work!
Dealing With Hesitation
One of the great things about playing games is the immediate feedback of your status. The level-up mechanic plainly expresses to the player that they're now more powerful and better than before. Unfortunately, life doesn't come with a leveling UI so we're left guessing what our current capabilities are on our own.
At some point in a creators process, the thought goes through their mind that their ability and skill is no where near their peers, and at some point, everyone's going to figure out that they've been faking confidence all this time. This is known as "imposer's syndrome" and it's very difficult to realize that everyone is always winging it, and there is no point where you suddenly become an expert.
The best thing to do in my opinion is to ignore it, stay positive, and try to not care.
Best of luck everyone!
Sharing it All
I want to take this opportunity to share the game, the process and all available channels to get information:
The game will be released on Steam and the Epic Store. Wishlist it and you'll get a notification when it's released!
Current plan is to have an Early Access release in the winter of this year.
This is the easiest way to show your support!
If you're the interactive type, or want to join the conversation and bounce ideas around or just chat and have a good-ol' time, Discord is for you. Welcome!
If you're interested in making sure that this project gets off the ground, and are willing to put even a little bit of money behind Kainga, become a Patron!
You'll get bonus content, behind the scenes views of the development, and have a say in the development of the game itself.
To be honest, Twitter is quite new to me but feel free to send me some cool cultural images, games or just chat @game_tribal.
See what's being worked on and what the upcoming plans are. I'm trying to keep this updated as best I can, but often, results may vary!
I compiled this comprehensive presskit to help you help me promote, if that makes any sense!
The presskit above includes, videos, images, descriptions, logos and more.
Feel free to share as much as you want!
Since my last post in September, I have been spending nearly all of my free time (I work 3 part time jobs!) on developing the visuals, the gameplay, balance and feel of Tribal.
As you will see the look is quite different and actually went through quite a bit of iteration.
The game is now set on a few larger islands that give you a bit more room to build while maintaining quite a bit of verticality.
I've added Papyrus and Bamboo as building resources in addition to the Mud, Reeds and Wood already present. I've also added Silk as the first luxury resource to be a part of the trading system not yet implemented. I redid the visuals of all the resources, all structures and working on particle effects now. Roof and wall textures can be changed simply to add a lot of visual complexity.
I've added raids that come from land and sea to keep you on your toes, I've also added a Hunger system which I initially didn't want to do as explained in my Farming post, but it seems like a good way to push the player into activity. I've also added fishing and hunting as a viable source of food with many varieties of techniques still to be added (spit roast?).
I've also completely reworked the thinking system by putting all technologies into different slots so you can choose what is most important to think about. Basically, now each Thinker has a different set of Slots (combat, transport, food, etc.) and each slot can be filled with a technology of that type.
I also added festivals, wild animals, fog, lightning and other weather effects. As well as overhauled the menus and UX design.
I'm working hard to get a video trailer and a demo done in the first month of the new year. I'll have a booth up at Reboot DevelopBlue, the game development conference in Dubrovnik, Croatia on the 23-25 of April, so stop by and try the demo there!
If you're interested in Beta-testing you can add your email below and I'll send you a link for the demo when it's available.
Here is the gif in video format, it may be easier to share like this, I have no idea :D
This week I tried to make a stylized water that looks decent, and matches the character's cartoony style.
I think, overall, it looks alright! for being the hacky mess that it is...
So how is it done?
Basically there are three layers, a surface layer (which still needs some work) a "Deep" layer, and a decal for the Caustics on the ocean floor.
Let's start top down. The top layer is the water's surface and there's not much to it really, but it's still probably the most important of the three.
This layer is just a plane with a material on it. Its main component is just two colors blended on a depth fade. So the further away from something the material is the bluer the tint becomes.
The depth fade is pretty common for water material tutorials and if you have beaches, you should probably fade out the opacity on the edges as well.
I opted not to and instead make the edges even MORE noticeable with a white border.
This white edge is probably why you've read this far as it's a pretty sought after look for cell-shaded and stylized games.
It's pretty easy to do, and is just the second two boxes in the image above. It took me FOREVER to figure out, but alas it's as simple as a "Distance to Nearest Surface" node. My scalar parameter "FoamSpread" determines how wide the foam edge will be from another surface.
The result is fantastic, and it works dynamically, creating foam around the boats as they travel through the water!
The next step is a deep water coloration, because even in the image above, you can see my skybox where there is no sand below, so it needed to be fixed.
My solution was to add another plane 100 units below and add a depth fade similar to the previous material.
The only difference here is that there is a depth fade added to the opacity as well, so that at a certain depth, the ocean becomes 100% opaque.
The two effects end up looking good together and the illusion that the water fades into the depths seems to work. If you're doing this yourself, you might as well put the two effects in the same material. I might too in the future.
The only reason why I did it in 2 layers was because I have a separate Nav-Mesh under the surface of the water that the boats can "walk" on while overlapping the water's surface.
The last part to make the water look like water are the caustics. What does that mean? I didn't know either but now I do. It's the light refractions on the bottom of the sea or a pool that have a moving pattern.
This managed to be the most complex graph of all my materials but probably because I followed a tutorial that was pretty in-depth. I know you can't read the nodes in that image so feel free to follow Dean Ashford's Tutorial here to get the same result that I did.
The material is added to a Deferred Decal volume instead of a plane, covering the entire underwater architecture. This also renders dynamically which is fantastic for adding anything under the water that will move, as it will still cast this effect on it.
Putting all three effects together results in a decent looking water!
Colors may be a bit strong, and it's not perfect, but it's good enough for a first pass.
Now to figure out how to make things sink slowly...
I create, design and develop video games I'm interested in playing.
The Fire System
Melee and Ranged Units
Weather and "Seasons"
Ladders and Elevation
Animating 2D units in a 3D world
Setting the Theme
Setting the Focus