Timothy Tinyhat - A game about burnout
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Timothy Tinyhat - A game about burnout

Sam Claydon
by SamClaydon on 9 Nov 2021

I want to indirectly tell the story of a person going through a burnout. I want the player to go through that experience playing from the perspective of a cartoon doodle.

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Update - 19 Jan 2022

Devlog of Timothy Tinyhat


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Update - 6 Jan 2022

5th January 2022 - The Demo is out!

The demo is out! Give it a try!

https://samclaydon.itch.io/timothy-tinyhat

Since the last log, I have now put everything together in a small package, ready for the showcase. I screen recorded myself playing through the game and used the clips in it to create a gameplay showcase if the game didn’t work when downloaded. 


Update - 29 Dec 2021

29th December 2021 - Biggest Update to Timothy Tinyhat yet!

Over the Christmas period, I have been very productive with the development of Timothy Tinyhat. I have now created a build of the game and have reworked elements to make the game feel more alive.

My initial goal for the game’s development in December was to remake the main animation for the character. I got into a method of creating animations quicker by keeping the top half of the character static and then drawing out the legs of Timothy. This allowed me to spend more of my time on the levels themselves and polishing the game.

I have now created 2 new levels to my game, showcasing the player’s creator burning out, bringing the total to 3 (almost finished) levels. I wanted to represent this in a way that you can see something is going wrong but you’re not entirely sure why. This is how I believe burnout can feel, like you’re stuck doing something that you should be happy but it is not. I think that telling the story through sticky notes is a good way to tell it. I want the player to figure the story out for themselves and not be outright told about it.

Below is a showcase of all three levels and the lighting I have made for them...

I now have a working main menu, using Unity’s Bolt. I have given myself the challenge of teaching myself how to use Visual Scripting and I believe that it is going well so far. I have animated the camera in the background of the main menu to give some depth to the scene.

I have also now added a small message at the start of every level to give some guidance on the story as it progresses. I felt that the game could be rushed through but now I have got those text sections, it breaks it apart well.

When I do finish this game in the coming days, I will be releasing a demo to play so come and visit my Itch.io page to check out some of my other work in the meantime!

https://samclaydon.itch.io/


Update - 1 Dec 2021

After using my 1st pass animations for the majority of my game so far, I have now taken the time to work on the frame by frame animation of the main character. Last update I mentioned my focus on the main menu, now I have an animated camera that flies over the map and showcases the main menu over the top.

I have also been testing out potential post process options for the other levels of the game. I am still working on this idea so I am not entirely sure if this will be implemented by the end of the project.

As you can see by the image, I now have a tutorial section in the game that will be entirely inside the game world. This is how I want gameplay to work, I want all instructions in-game and be able to walked around by the the player.


Update - 19 Nov 2021

19th November 2021 - Logo Creation and Updated Gameplay

Over the past few days I have been focusing on how to present my portfolio so I haven’t had much time on the game itself but I have now created a snippet of gameplay to showcase for this update. 

I was very surprised to see that I got the Editor’s Choice award for my project and it has given me the boost in enthusiasm that I can get this project finished by 2022. 

The music used in the showcase was created by myself a while ago and I now have audio help that I will be crediting. The music will be created by NemoSoundtracks (https://www.instagram.com/nemosoundtracks/?hl=en) and we will be working closely to find the perfect audio fit for the game.

I have recently worked on the story of the game and now I finally have a title logo for my game! ‘Timothy Tinyhat’ a game that showcases the struggles of burnout and the importance of not overworking yourself. I had some initial ideas of the name and design of the title and I am happy that I experimented with ideas before solidifying an idea.

As you can see, I had several directions of how I wanted my logo to be showcased. I got rid of the spacing between the two words as I believed that it would make it seem more of a cohesive design. I also gave the typography some bevels to make it stand out from the screen.

For my next update, I will be focusing of the game itself and hopefully I will have a main menu sorted by then.


Update - 16 Nov 2021

16th November 2021 - Updated Environment

I have recently been working on the background assets to my game and focusing on getting prefabs for each obstacle so I can have collision in my game. Now that I have a good amount of assets I will be working on how I want my game play play out and potentially get to work on a main menu for the next update.

As you can see, there are now sticky notes in the background. I plan to use these as a form of visual storytelling. I want the player to discover the story rather than being outright told.

Next update I want to have the first scene completed and ready to be tested as a demo. I could create a discord to house a playtesting server for anyone that might be interested in playing the game.


Update - 14 Nov 2021

14th November 2021 Update - A New Direction

Development has really picked up pace now. I have now created an asset list and an aspirational list of potential additions I could add into my game for the future. I have slightly altered the story direction of my game, I now want to create a game that has an impact on the player. I want to indirectly tell the story of a person going through a burn out. I want the player to go through that experience playing from the perspective of a cartoon doodle. I don’t want to dwell on the hardships of burn out, instead I want to highlight the importance of not over working yourself and keeping healthy.

It sounds like a strange story and an even stranger way to tell it, but I believe that I can create an immersive story for the player that represents burnout. In my mind as a 3rd year student, I want to create a piece of work that I am proud of and something I can use as a key portfolio piece.

Over the past week I have been creating assets for the desk area of the game. So far I have been filling up the scene with more and more assets to give some variations to the map. One main piece I worked on is the desk light. This will be the main light source in the scene so I made a mid-poly model and I think that I will stick to the poly range as it doesn’t seem to be effecting file size or performance at all.

I have been posting my work on my Instagram (@sam.claydon) and there has been a lot of positive feedback on it. I have also had someone reach out to me regarding music. I had a phone call earlier today with him and we talked about music tracks to create for the game. He has had experience creating music and this is his first venture into the Game Dev world so we have both agreed to collaborate without any funds. This has worked out really well as this has now given me a new pathway of networking with potential freelancing audio clients.

I have been currently working of lighting for my scene and focusing on the placement of objects. For my next update, I will have a small showcase demo set up of the first section of the game. I believe that I have kept the scope reasonable for me and it hasn’t been too much work as of yet. I do wish to spend a bit more time on polishing up the game as I want it to look unique and stand out.


Update - 9 Nov 2021

9th November 2021 Update - Overcoming Difficulties -

Recently I have been struggling with the development of my project. I want to make sure that my final piece showcases my abilities as a game dev and artist. I experimented with the initial concept with the hand drawn art style and I believe it looks promising. I was finding it hard to pinpoint the direction of the story and how to go about the black and white aesthetic within the game so I tried to introduce colour. I created a small scene that would showcase the main character running around on top a desk.

But throughout the week and looking at the art for long hours of the day made me want to try out my preferred voxel art style. I created a small demo scene with a character I created in 2017, an office worker called Suit Man Steve. I wanted to try out and see if the 2D character in a 3D world would work well with a voxel and pixel art combination. 

The art did look visually appealing and could work as a short Game Jam game but it doesn’t reflect what I want to get from my final solo piece at Falmouth University. I want to make my game stand out and have a unique art style and gameplay that differs from other games on the market. 

That is why I will be going back and working on more of my hand drawn art style and creating a more eye-catching game. I will be focusing more on making a polished vertical slice than expanding the game. I do feel that when I start a project, I get too ambitious and add so many ideas that the game feels empty as those ideas aren’t good enough quality. I will be redeeming myself in this project as I want to make a game that stands out and showcases my skills as a solo game developer and artist.

I also got around to creating a splash screen that I can use for this development blog, I am also interested in creating a development video in the form of my previous devlogs for older projects. (Click here to view)


Update - 9 Nov 2021

3rd November 2021 Update-

Welcome to my project, I will be creating a vertical slice of a 2.5D adventure that will include elements of my 3D art skills and my 2D drawing and animation skills. 

Here is my initial project outline-

“I will be creating a vertical slice of a game concept that will feature 3D environments with 2D, hand drawn and animated, characters. I will be focusing on making an immersive and comedic game. I want to be able to have enough material that I could show a publisher and pitch the game. I plan to make a demo of the game that will be a short playable area.

I will be mainly focusing on the cartoon characters but I will also be working on my 3D environment art for the background and areas around the player.

For the art style of the game, I want the game to be set with a black and white colour scheme. I will be using different shades of grey to highlight the importance of assets.

I had the idea to create a 2.5D game during the first lockdown in May 2020. I want my project to look professional and represent my growth from 1st year to 3rd. I will be showcasing the development of this game on my Instagram (@sam.claydon) and trying to gain a following for the project.”

So far, I have tested 2 ways to go about creating a 2.5D game. Initially I wanted to create the game with a fully rotatable camera but I soon found out I would of had to create several walk cycles for different directions and it would of taken a lot of time to make it look right. Instead, I decided to create a controller using a visual scripting language called Bolt, that would keep the animation simple and easy to polish.

Below is my initial concept ideas for Timothy Tinyhat as a character and game.