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Dungeoneering Studios

Lost Paws Version 0.7.2 is now out!

Posted by DG STUDIOS on


Hello Dog Lovers!

Today is the big day! As part of our long-range upgrades and transformation of Lost Paws, we have our first massive update out now. This update is focused on many quality-of-life changes, a graphics and environment upgrade, and most importantly a complete overhaul to the UI. We have been so excited to share all of this with you and can't wait to get into the details!

Quality-of-Life

The quality-of-life changes can be chunked into two broad categories: new things and improvements.

For new things, we added 3 new vehicles including a van that is jumpable, a taxi, and a blue sedan. In fact, the cars are now easier to get on because of some collider changes we made. You can see a sample of it here:

 

Another new system we added is IK for the doggo! Inverse Kinematics (IK) allows us to give targets for specific sections of the doggo’s body while he is doing things. In our case, the focus was on the head of the doggo which allows our good boy to look at things he wants and at people. We also have foot IK allowing the doggo’s feet to shift to match the ground.

For the improvement side, the biggest in my humble opinion is better bonking physics. We now consider the direction and relative velocity of the bonk to make the ragdolls fall over according to where they were hit and how hard. This extends to using the balls as projectiles too! You can see a sample of the improved bonking here:


A final note on the improvements is adjustments we made to doggo’s walk and animation speeds. Doggo’s stride now has more stompy power and feels more grounded.

Here is a comprehensive list of all the Quality-of-Life Changes:

  • Fixed Key Remapping Error with Num Lock
  • Modified dog animation and movement speed to improve visuals
  • Tuned bonking physics to have more impact
  • Improved bonking physics to factor in the direction of the hit
  • Added falling effects for when a dog walks off a ledge
  • Controller fix for digging
  • Added three new vehicles
  • Made the colliders for the cars more accurate and easier to climb
  • Added Look Ik to the dog’s head
  • Added Foot IK to the dog’s paws
  • Fixed sound error for rebinding RPG Skill keys
  • Improved car behavior in the city to reduce the number of collisions

Graphical Upgrades

The next significant improvement we added to Lost Paws was a graphical upgrade to the boundary of the town. We now use new shader techniques to create a seamless or near seamless edge thanks to some creative tricks using multi-layered materials. This process will remove hard boundaries and have fewer things drag your eye away from doggo! You can see a sample of it at work here:

 

We also added stochastic anti-tiling to the grass throughout the town. By doing that, we have removed the patterns in the grass to give it a more natural look, making those gardens feel even more beautiful. In addition, the parking lot also received texture modifications to work more seamlessly with the roads.

Lastly, we also made some minor art modifications around the edges of the town like more grass and concrete barriers. We removed most of the edging and replaced it with a seamless look so you can focus more on the chaos having fun with doggo.

Here is a comprehensive list of all the graphical improvements:

  • Added a new shader blending for grass at the edge of the town
  • Added new sidewalk pieces for the edge of town
  • Added new shader blending for the road to the Supermarket parking lot
  • Added more grass to the edge of town
  • Installed cement edging around the Supermarket parking lot
  • Improved grass backyards in town with stochastic anti-tiling

UI Overhaul

So now is time for the most massive change! Every UI panel and element is now different. Nothing was left unturned, and everything received a graphical upgrade at a minimum and a functional improvement at a maximum. Broadly speaking there are two types of changes made. The first is the preexisting UI upgrades and the second is the additions to the HUD.

For the UI upgrades, the primary thought was to enhance our visual hierarchy and make the whole thing easier to read and more enjoyable to look at. To accomplish this, we decided on a modified color scheme, added gradients and shadows, resized and repositioned the panels, and added effects to highlight valuable information and make things easier on the eyes. Some of the panels got a complete rework to make them sleeker and clearer. For example, the Skill Tree line work was completely redone. Every panel now has these upgrades a sample of which can be seen here:

 

All our panels are now repositioned to the center to have a consistent place to look at them all. We have also decided to use specific colors in the UI to help its visual language. Colors like blue now serve as the background with green for status info and red for critical info. We thinned the lining of the panels to reduce their size and make them sleeker. We also used near-color gradients with a new palette to both unify the color scheme of the UI and make them more pleasing to stare at. All these changes aim to make the UI more compact, prettier, and easier to parse.

We also added new panels! The Menu Hub and the Quest Log are now up and running. Both will aid in making the game easier to understand and play by providing a convenient way to access info. The Menu Hub now acts as a universal connection between all our menus giving you easy access to any panel at the push of a single button. The Quest Log is also helpful allowing you to see what to do next to progress the story. It can be referenced anywhere and gives additional background to the current mission. You can see a sample of the Quest Log here:

 

We felt these panels were critical to get in because it was becoming difficult to remember every keybinding for the growing number of menus. We also wanted to lower the mental load in memorizing things like tasks and give a few hints on how to accomplish certain objectives. With both panels, we wanted players to focus on playing the doggo rather than having a lack of information get in the way.

For the HUD, our goal was to make our systems more understandable and give more information so everyone can make informed decisions. Firstly, the layout of the HUD was redesigned to make it easier to read and include more details. For example, the Vitals Gauges (Health, Hunger, and Thirst) now flash to alert you when any of them are below 20.

The HUD now has areas designated for certain pieces of information. The top center is for major alerts like if a dogcatcher is chasing you. Below the mini-map is a Notification Log for general actions like when you pick up an item. On the bottom right corner, a new keymap legend is now there to help remind you of all the important shortcuts. The locations name pop-up is now above the Vital Gauges allowing us to do it more frequently without being too distracting. On the left of the screen, we now have new status icons to give valuable info about things in the world such as if you detect something to sniff nearby or if you are in a no-stealing zone. The Mission Log has been completely revamped using new colors (green and white for highlighting purposes) and better-sized text. Lastly, we have also changed the interaction tooltip at the center of the screen using green to highlight it and making it smaller allowing us to present more options on what you can do. All these new HUD elements also received general improvements to the rest of the UI including shadowing, color coding, and gradients where appropriate.

A sample of many of these new elements can be seen here:





 

The last major change we wanted to focus on was the map itself. The Mini-Map now has red dots that indicate when there is a threat chasing you. While this is helpful, the biggest change was to the map itself. For the World and Mini-Map, the map was completely remade from the ground up. It now has an isometric view making it accurate across the map and is also higher resolution making it much clearer especially zoomed in.

All these changes to the HUD serve one goal of making the game more understandable. In our testing and feedback, we kept seeing players having fun but missing much of the game's functionality or unsure what to do next. We wanted to ensure everything was discoverable without forcing anyone into anything or changing the balancing. The problem became more accentuated when we started to play test the game without audio revealing we needed more visual support for things in the game. The answer to the problem for us was in information and by adding new HUD elements and overhauling the other parts of the UI, we believed we have come a long way to accomplishing that goal.

Here is a comprehensive list of all the graphical improvements:

  • Added Key Legend of the HUD
  • Reworked Inventory Panel
  • Reworked Inventory tooltips
  • Reworked Achievements Panel
  • Reworked Wearables Panel
  • Added screen mode option (full screen vs windowed) in options
  • Added a default button to reset keybinding in the keybinding options
  • Improved visuals of the Pause Menu
  • Improved visuals of the Main Menu
  • Reworked the Skill Tree
  • Enhanced the visuals of the Stamina Bar
  • Improved the visuals of the Skill Tree tooltips
  • Fixed text sizing issue with the Gorger Skill
  • Changed zone name pop-ups to above the Vital Gauges
  • Added new zone names to the world
  • Implemented a new Notification Log below the Mini-Map
  • Implemented new flashing warning notifications at the top of the HUD
  • Implemented new control pop-ups for the center of the HUD
  • Improved visuals of the World Map Panel
  • Improved visuals of the Mini-Map UI
  • Reworked the map graphic from the ground up
  • Fixed map drift from all maps
  • Added Quest Log Panel
  • Added Menu Hub Panel
  • Added red dots for enemies on both maps
  • Added Vital Gauge flash when below 20% on a stat
  • Added Sprite Status system for the HUD
  • Reworked the Tutorial text to reflect changes to the UI
  • Added the Menu Hub to the controller


Thank you for reading about our first major update of Lost Paws for this year! The next one will be even more massive so stay tuned. If you want to get access to the next update early sign up for the beta here. All are welcome to join. You can also check out Lost Paws here. Thanks again for reading and see you in the next one!


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