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Atavism Dev Log 12 – Attack Process and a New Look

Week 12: March 28 – April 3rd

We are back to the regularly scheduled devlog with a busy week and some good progress. I mull over the art style a little, talk about the current and future state of combat, then mention a few small things I did before talking about what’s coming up next week.

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Status Update: GDC

“Infinite Schism” by Leilani Bustamante

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Programming…

Hey folks, it’s Wednesday. This is going to be fairly sparse, but I want to get this out fast to get back to work, so I’ll try to recount what I’ve done recently and show a few pieces of art I’ve enjoyed recently to make it visually interesting.

I’ve been listening to a NieR Tribute Album recently, which isn’t a genre I typically listen to, but it takes a bizarre and super fresh take to what is probably one of the best soundtracks of last decade. Anyway, onto the blog.

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Atavism Dev Log 11 – Tribesman Combat AI Progress

AI KInda

Week 11: March 15-21

It’s still Wednesday somewhere in the world, which means it’s time to share what I did over the past 7 days – this time from a hotel in San Francisco. I talk a little about the AI’s current capabilities and what I hope to accomplish next.

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Atavism Dev Log 10 – More Animations, AI plans

Week 10: March 8-14

On the tail end of what could reasonably be considered a Wednesday, I come bringing progress. There aren’t any flashy gifs this time, but I go over a bit of the AI behavior I’ve been planning.

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Atavism Dev Log 8 – Tribal Warrior Model

Week 8: February 18-25

After all of my midterms passed and the dust began to settle, I finally got back to work on the weekend and spent a good long time getting this model to a satisfying place. Oh, and sorry this is two days late, but I wanted something significant to show. I’ll never post later than this on a given week.

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ATAVISM DEV LOG 5 – AI Groundwork

Week 5: January 22 – 28

The actual meat of this week’s blog is fairly technical, with talk about the AI framework I’ve been implementing  if you’re into that, but if you aren’t then you get a neat video and a progress plan at the end. Let’s jump right in.

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Atavism Dev Log 4 – Hare Test

“Week” 4: January 14 – 21

After getting derailed 2 weeks ago from my computer problems, the last week has been going pretty smoothly as I’ve moved back into my dorm at University and did my thing over the week. Most of the time working on it was last Sunday and the 20th, where I worked about 11 hours on both of those days with only a passing few contributions over the week. I think I’d prefer to meter my schedule out better, but so far the binging works well until I have a more permanent schedule to work with.

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Atavism Dev Log 3 – Computer Troubles

Week 3: January 1 – 5

This devblog is a week late – and for a good reason! After (and only after) a stressful week of work, on friday night, my computer shutoff while I was folding some laundry in my room. I left it until morning when I troubleshooted, took it apart, and discerned the problem as the motherboard being shot. There was no power, no lights, and the PSU was working effectively when I tested that. Neither the CMOS nor the CMOS battery inspections returned positively. I needed a new board.

In a poorly considered but (barely) affordable financial decision, I quickly researched a cheap set of replacement parts and dropped the cash to get them. It is only now I am able to access my progress, verify that nothing was lost, and put together a dev blog for what even happened that week.

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Atavism Dev Log 2

Week 2: December 25 – 31

Over the week I didn’t get too much that was terribly exciting done with the game. I went on vacation with my family and chilled out with my friends for the week, but that’s not to say I got exactly nothing done.

As a Christmas gift I purchased and downloaded Autodesk Maya LT 2018 and gave it a whirl, my head teeming with ideas how how this professional tool would certainly improve my productivity. I designed a quick animated “enemy” so to speak and got to work on it, but after a few hours I came to pretty much the opposite conclusion.

Working in Maya is nice, and I feel it’s strengths in certain types of modelling (higher-poly models and rendering specifically), but overall I had gotten too used to the maximalist but useful keyboard-oriented shortcuts of Blender as well as the general layout and logic the program has going for it. I’m aware I can probably get used to Maya, but I already know Blender pretty well and don’t need to spend 240 dollars a year on it.

I’d still like to save money on embedding videos to the website, so here’s a link to the test enemies in action, and by that I mean idling. Don’t expect them to be in the game at all, they’re just something I thought would be cool to test. Below is a bona fide jpeg.


Next week I’d like to clean up some animation transitions for the knife (and maybe the hit detection) and then just implement another weapon for prototyping. I’ll also update my portfolio to include an older demo for the older project and then also add my Chillenium 2017 game and write a post-mortem for that – both things of which I’ve been needing to do for a while now. Specifics are something I’ll find out as I delve further into the week.


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Atavism Dev Log 1

What is this?

I should note before launching into this that I figured it would be a while before posting again and that certainly was the case. Because of this I’m going to be clear about this upcoming series of blogs.

Over the summer I managed a fair amount of pre-production on my project. There is a very real skeleton for something I truly care about that’s ready to come into existence, but it’s going to take time that I can’t feasibly put into it to bring it to life. This is because my semester at Uni presented an enormous workload that left no room for free time. It’s a scope problem, and in order to solve it, I’m making something smaller that I plan on finishing and releasing before I finish my Bachelor’s in about 2 years.

This new project is something I’m calling “Atavism” right now. I haven’t got it copyrighted or anything but that’s what we’re going with at the moment. For the time being, I’m working on it alone. The reason I’m able to post progress at all right now is because I have a month of winter break and I’ve set myself on working a certain amount of hours per week. How has it gone so far?

Week 1: December 16-22

Atavism is set to be an impressionist sort of first-person action game with a surreal bend to it, where the player’s environments and weapons progress through a loose analogy of history as they progress and absorb their journey in a fictional landscape. In the weeks leading up to week 1 I already did a bunch of the narrative brainstorming, encounter plotting, as well as weapon, item, and enemy lists and descriptions in a game design document in Onenote.

Some concepts

Forgive me if I’m sparse on the actual details, but pictures will generally speak more than words in a weekly blog. Week 1 began with porting over the engine progress from my previous project into a newer project in Unity 2017.2. In addition, I set up a trello to map out and track feature implementation and an excel sheet to manage my hours.

The most interesting stuff from week 1 includes two weapons. The spear and the knife. Both are things that I generally consider placeholders, as while I went through the effort to animate them roughly to the degree that I’m satisfied with, I plan on replacing the mesh for the arms, smoothing out the animation, and texturing them at a later point in development, so these are meant to serve for a little while.

I plan on giving this short, weird narrative game in my head an interesting amount of depth in two ways: One of them is a focus on AI depth and polish, and the other is through the agency of player weapons. While the latter is sure to constitute the progress for later devblogs for a while, I’m beginning with the player weapons.

The weapons

Each weapon is set to have two “grips” that can be switched between with a mapped button. The spear, seen below, has a two handed mode as default with a shield (that the player will find after getting the spear) as the alternate grip. With two hands, the player must aim before attacking, but will have a good mount of reach, whereas the shield grip can attack without aiming for a regular range, but also attack while blocking damage, which has an even shorter range. In general, the weapon represents a safer, more accurate form of combat with more control and consideration in positioning. Here is a webm of it in action.


The player begins the game with the knife, which at the moment has only the first grip animated. The weapon is meant to be faster and more savage – with a wide hit detection – but the range is far shorter and the block doesn’t accomplish much. Here is a webm of it in action.


Besides these, which have taken most of the time of this week to make and implement, I’ve also developed a crude pause system and a fairly detailed weapon switching system, which is ready to switch between weapons mapped to the number keys or return to the player’s previous weapon when they hit Q.

Next Week

Next week is Christmas. I won’t be working on Christmas day. Next week I’ll also be going on vacation with my family, so I won’t be working on Thursday or Friday either. I’ll try to work more on the days that I can to make up for it and publish a small devlog over what I accomplished anyways, but I can only guarantee that I’ll be working full weeks afterwards until the break is over. Until then, be entertained with this short webm where both weapons are enabled at once.