Rocks floating in the sky connected by vines

Devblog Update #5: Vines and Floating Things

Welcome back to another Devblog update from the production of Jasper Vice II! We’re back at it with some work on another environment for the game! This will be an area that the Voyagers use for combat training. The various floating islands will have outposts on them that will take on different purposes depending on the combat mission the player is doing.

Part of the inspiration for this environment came from the “Hallelujah Mountains” in the Avatar series (blue people, not airbender…).  Lush vegetation, vines hanging around everywhere, rocks floating in space for you to fly between/around, etc.

This sort of thing does come with some challenges though, one very practical, and one from a gameplay perspective.

First off, will the foliage be too much of a strain on people’s computers? If it’s really toned down, will it still look ok??? We’ve done a bit of experimentation with some laptops we have around and it seems to work decently well. I think it helps that everything is fairly lowpoly. Still, it can be jarring if the islands are really bare until the trees start rendering in. I’m not sure what a good solution to it is yet though.

The other more gameplay related question is about the players’ collisions with the vines. Should the player be able to fly through the vines? Be blocked off from then entirely? Or only collide with the actual vines themselves? Because of how dense they are, it is possibly to dodge and weave through the vines hanging down under the islands, but it could be pretty frustrating for the player if they got stuck, or kept bumping around. On the other hand, is it rewarding for skilled players to be able to zoom through the narrow gaps? For now I’ve turned off collisions with the vines, and I still get the sense of satisfaction of flying through them and avoiding them, even if I wouldn’t have collided with them anyways, and it protects a new player from a source of frustration. If you have another suggestion though, we’d love to hear it on our Discord! (Links at the bottom)

Something I would have loved to see, but it’s well outside performance limitations, would be to have fully kinetic vines, that sway and move, and the player can collide with and make swing. Maybe someday.

And there we go! The basic framework of the islands is set up and ready for some more details and gameplay integration 🙂