This version of Woodcutter Adventure I plan to be more true to the vision I had when I worked on the game jam project with the same name in 2019. However, the process and feedback from it have influenced my ideas for this one.

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(Please note that this game is still very much in development and is rapidly changing — I hope to have a prototype out sometime soon on itch.io!)

This game has become heavily inspired by A Short Hike, which came after my original idea for the game. A Short Hike really felt like what I wanted this game to feel like. A tiny, contained exploration game that felt fun to move and explore in.

Currently, this game is being designed with a focus on chopping down trees, with the player gaining wood from doing so. Using that wood to help other characters or animals in the forest is currently my vision, with some other resources thrown in. I’d also love to implement a seed planting system, with flowers, trees, and even bees! I don’t want this game to be about destroying the environment for resources though, so I’m still attempting to figure out how to make the player care for the environment instead of solely exploit it.

However, I am not an artist! I have taught myself 3D modeling with Blender for this project, as well as how to rig and animate models. I’ve also been dipping into Photoshop which I have never used beforehand. With Photoshop, I’ve been making simple color palettes to map model’s UVs to for easy coloring, and I have been creating simple textures as well. The most complicated subject I’ve been learning is programming shaders though. They’re difficult and extremely new to me, but I now have a basic grasp on them. A Short Hike uses many post-processing effects that I’d also love to lean into and learn how to implement.

Some tree cutting action

Because of this game being in 3D, I’ve been learning a lot about in-game physics and the dreaded quaternion, especially in regards to character movement. I’ve utilized that knowledge to make my character’s head turn towards interesting objects in the world. The character will also auto-aim whatever is hittable when using their axe, in an attempt to make it non-frustrating for the player to use. However, the character is chopping from right to left, so they can’t rotate the opposite direction to hit something; they’ll rotate into the swing to whatever they’re targeting, which is a little goofy, but I plan to lean into that more in the future. I’ve also learned how to use Yarn Spinner, a dialogue tool most famous for being used in Night in the Woods.

If you haven’t been able to tell yet, this project was created so I had something to work on and motivation to teach myself new skills. It is a project I care about, but as of right now it is mainly a way to use my time while unemployed to learn new game development tools, workflows, and skills I can use. On top of using source control for this project, I’ve also used my first ever Trello board to help me manage a personal project. I was using a text document to keep track of tasks for Gremlin Laboratory, but for this game I had too many ideas for that, so I upgraded. I’ve been focused on improving my workflows while learning new skills for this project.