Umbrellas and Level Design

Happy Monday!

April here! I work closely with the story and design of the game. I’m going to talk a little bit about the game mechanics and level design that inspired the layout of one of our levels. As a reminder, this is a work-in-progress and may be subject to change.

One of the key components of our game is the umbrella that our main character, Fella, obtains to help solve puzzles.

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And then there are these little guys called fire spirits:

 

Fire spirits are used like compound keys. In order to open a door that requires two fire spirits, Fella must acquire and place two fire spirits in their resting place.

Umbrellas are multipurpose tools with a multitude of functions. One of their functions is protecting you from getting wet, and since the fire spirits are not a fan of water, they need protection from the rain as well.

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Level progression in Umbrella Mondays is based on critical thinking as well as platforming. In addition to guiding the fire spirits around and unlocking doors, the umbrella can be used to glide through the air*.

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This adds a level of verticality and dimension to our environments needed to solve more complex puzzles. It also makes my job more fun!

Best wishes,

-April

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* Persons attempting to glide with a standard umbrella are subject to injury and not gliding. Fictional umbrellas required.

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Creating a World – Concept Art

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Greetings from Turnip Town’s Lumberjack!

So far, we’ve introduced Umbrella Monday’s team and what our game is about. I figured with this post, we can show you the projects that the artists have been working on during the past development sprint.

Just to reiterate the artists on our team, we have Margaret Clarke as our Art Lead, Mary Flaherty, Evan Schweighart, Jacob Sutherland, and our design lead April Lewer. The culmination of our work has been mostly concept art up to this point, but we are finally nailing down our overall art style,

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The bulk of our concept art has been character design, much of it including characters that might inhabit Turnip Town. Evan and Mary have worked tirelessly creating variations of characters in our world, including a coffee shop owner, a bakery owner, and their son.

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Creating more of the important characters, April and Margaret have finalized drawings of our protagonist Fella and her friend Cornelius. From here they’ve began creating 3D Models for our game prototype.

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On top of characters, we’ve all been working hard on environment art. Mary has been heading up a concept of the Turnip Town, while the rest of us have been working on creating the interior of the Manor. The art team has been trying to nail down an exact feel for the manor, looking for otherworldly influences combined with overgrown plants. To say the least, the design of the manor will be tough to conceive, but will provide a lot of diverse and beautiful ground for Fella to cover.

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Our newest project will involve sculpting our characters out of clay and using photogrammetry to pull them into our game world. This tactic may seem odd when it comes to creating characters in a 3D environment, but this will (hopefully) speed up the modeling process, given we have less than a year to make Umbrella Monday’s possible.

Looking forward to adding more updates about our game!

-Jacob, of Turnip Town Studio

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Team Introductions

Happy Monday!

Now that you know a little bit about Umbrella Mondays, we wanted to talk a little bit about the team that’s making it, Turnip Town Studio!

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Our studio consists of 10 Game Design and Development students from University of Wisconsin-Stout, with an even split between artists and programmers. There may be additional people contributing to this project, but they’ll be credited as they appear!

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Top row: Travis, Jacob, Evan, Spencer | Middle row: April, Bob, Margaret | Bottom row: Mary, Maria, Casey

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The citizens of Turnip Town (in alphabetical order):

April Lewer is the Design Lead and will be working on level design, gameplay design, narrative (as a co-writer), and character rigging, as well as overseeing the design team.

Bob Vogt is a writer, narrative designer, and auxiliary programmer working on the design and programming teams. He is also Turnip Town’s resident linguist and totally not a werewolf.

Casey Holman is Programming Lead and will be working on level design and the dialogue system, even though he can’t spell worth a darn. He will also be overseeing the programming team.

Evan Schweighart is an artist on the art and design teams, and will be working on concept art, character designs, environment designs, and texturing.

Jacob Sutherland is an artist on the art and design teams. He will be working on concept art, animation, and storyboarding, in addition to being Turnip Town’s resident lumberjack.

Margaret Clarke is the Art Lead and will be working on character sheets, sculpting, environment design, and web design. She’ll also be managing public relations, overseeing the art team, and probably drinking lots of tea.

Maria Kastello is a programmer on the programming and design teams. She will be working on sound design, user interface logic, and assisting with public relations. She also enjoys playing devil’s advocate by playtesting for game balancing and quality assurance.

Mary Flaherty is an artist on the art and design teams, and will be working on texturing, environmental art, and concept art.

Spencer Peloquin is a programmer on the programming and design teams. He’ll be working on character mechanics, code architecture, and gameplay programming.

Travis Ott is a programmer on the programming and design teams. He’ll be working on puzzle mechanics and gameplay programming.  

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Here in Turnip Town, we expect that our interests and responsibilities will shift and blend over the course of development. Nobody’s work exists in a vacuum, and we’re all looking forward to learning something new as well as honing our existing skills. As incomplete as they might be, hopefully these introductions give you a good idea of what we’re interested in focusing on! We’re all heavily involved with the game’s overall design, and we’re excited to combine all of our skills together to produce a great game.

Until next week!

-Margaret, of Turnip Town Studio

 

Welcome

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Hello and welcome to Umbrella Monday’s game development blog! Our team is going to be updating this blog every Monday with new content (starting October 2nd), so be sure to check back often to see if there’s anything new! Our team, Turnip Town, is looking forward to sharing our hard work with you throughout development and sharing our cool concept art, gameplay demos, music, and a lot more! Thanks so much for checking us out!

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By this point, you’re probably wondering;

What is Umbrella Mondays?

Which is a very good question. Umbrella Mondays is a 3D adventure/puzzle-solving narrative game about memory and meteorology, but mostly it’s about a little girl named Fella, who wakes up one morning to a bright green rainshower.

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It’s a weird thing to wake up to, but Fella has never heard of rain hurting anyone, so she walks out to investigate. As she’s poking around in the woods by her treehouse, she finds a strange journal containing only a single page that reads:

Fella, the hilltop cabin is the key to your memory.

Finding her name in a journal she’s never seen before is also weird. But, Mondays, am I right? She brings the journal into town and shows it to her florist friend Cornelius, who tells her about an old cabin up the hill that the journal might be referring to. When Fella hikes up to the cabin, all she finds is an overgrown ruin. The building looks pretty unstable, but Fella isn’t about to turn back now. She enters the cabin and embarks on an adventure to uncover the mystery of the green rain, the curious journal, and her forgotten past.

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In the game, you play as Fella and help her navigate environmental puzzles and hazards as she explores the crumbling mansion in search of answers. If she finds something interesting, she might take it back to Cornelius to ask his advice, or maybe she just wants to take a break every now and then from all her adventuring and relax in her cozy hometown. Umbrella Mondays features a rich storyline, unique umbrella-related puzzles, and a diverse cast of characters. We’re looking forward to sharing all of that with you!

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Umbrella Mondays is being developed by 10 University of Wisconsin-Stout Game Design and Development students as our final senior project. We’ll introduce ourselves more fully later on, but until then I hope you’ve enjoyed the first glimpse of our game!

Until next time, stay dry!

-Margaret, of Turnip Town Studio