About this blog: we would like to invite everyone to comment on what we post. So don't hold back and tell us what you think! Making games is a process where you constantly learn new things and where you have to adjust to them, evolving the game in something new. All things that we show here are very Work In Progress and should be regarded as such.
Alpha here we come!
While we are still trying to grasp the fact that we won the Indigo award, we are moving full speed ahead to deliver the alpha build for you to play (and break!). If you haven't done already, please sign up on the main page. We are working really hard to complete the main game loop, in other words: the ability to complete a level and move to the next.
Without further ado we would like to announce the date:
Alpha Access: From 23th October till 25th October.
We will provide you with more information through the email address you signed up with. So stay tuned!
New week and renewed inspiration! What's new? Well, first I'll say something about the Wayfinder (from the previous 2 logs). The tool was finished and has been used extensively. Viktor gave me plenty of feedback and all of it has been processed and turned into something very useful. Plus, Jom also tweaked the node icon a little bit. This bit a little lengthy, sorry. :)
First of all, Viktor can choose to see what he wants to see during editing. Which lines should be visible, whether the range circles should show or even the labels. This is particularly useful if he works with a map of over 100 nodes and gets crowded. Especially being able to see only connection lines of particular status (All, Green, Red, Other) helps him track down problems faster.
Additionally, he is able to test out the Wayfinder inside the editor. Previewing paths is as simple as dragging and dropping two points and hitting Test.
It'll hide every other line except the generated path inside the editor. When problems arise, previously it'd only show what kind of problem it might be and it would force Viktor to go on a hunt. Now, when there is a problem, several things will happen. In the example below, I've placed a very large cube and it stops the connections. Hitting rebuild, the first thing that happens is the Collider Log window appears and it shows exactly where a collision happened. Clicking on this record will focus the editor on the object (the Cube). No more searching!
Additionally, when we look closer at the nodes (see below), we now see an outline of why exactly it breaks. This is the thickness of a standard Player/Enemy collider as it casts across nodes and we can clearly see it going through the Cube. When Viktor attempts to make tight corners, a visualized problem like this will make it obvious that enemies simply cannot pass. All the affected nodes are shown with their problems this way.
The Wayfinder itself has been optimized this week even further, enemies will now properly give up on their path if they can clearly see you in a straight line. At the Indigo event, we saw enemies playing dumb; unnecessarily turning and not moving. This has also been fixed, they appear somewhat smarter now but might turn slightly faster.
I've started work on a Feedback form in preperation for the Closed Alpha. This is an in-game tool you can use to directly communicate with us without leaving the game at all and works anonymously. You can select the category and drop us a note, even include a screenshot (it's done for you, no worries about uploading). Of course you may leave your e-mailaddress in the form. It breaks anonymity a little bit but it allows us to ask you some additional questions if we want a follow-up on your feedback.
Lots of smaller things have been fixed, such as a problem with Ready buttons not resetting when players join or leave. I've also tweaked the way movement is synced over network so it should reduce the jitter and erratic jumps sometimes seen (both players and enemies alike).
The feedback form should be working and we might see the first things of items dropping from enemies and looting them. Don't expect anything major, just setting things up first. Difficulty adjustments based on amount of players and cleared levels will also be a reality. The game does became harder if you survive longer, yes. And it'll be generally tougher when you're with 3 others than 2. More on that next week!
New Controls, again
While some people liked the controls in the latest build, an equal amount of people didn't like it. Some even hated it so much they stopped playing. While I think the controls are a bit ok when you use them for some time and take the time to get used to, they still have a mayor flaw: You don't move around as much as you should. A lot of the combat in the game is based around movement on the battlefied. From the shield beam that targets a position on the screen to dodging an incoming arrow, movement and position are really important.
The original control scheme was designed around that idea, yet it works in a way that confuses some players and needless to say that's not something I aim for.
One of the best feedback I got was from Roel, one of the developers of Action Henk who pushed me to get out of my comfort zone and pursue a different control scheme which I already tested, but couldn't get used to. I think this really shows how bad of a tester you are for your own game. Something I didn't like felt a lot better for someone who didn't really played the game before.
Here is a rather crappy drawn visual representation of the controls previously and currently in the game. The one on the left is the local control scheme, where pressing 'w' is always forward seen from the character. The one on the right is the screen space control scheme, where pressing 'w' is always to the top of your physical screen.
For the first Alpha we are trying to test the game as much as possible. The game is still a bit broken and maybe not as much fun to play, but we value the feedback so much. So please, let me know what you think about the new controls.
The level generator isn't broken, yet needed some optimizations and more features. Rooms now generate much more centered around the start room, which should in theory limit the amount of walking time. To get the main gameplay loop working we need an endroom, where you can proceed to the next level.
Oh, and for all the players that liked breaking the game and walk out of the bounds of the game, I am fixing that too. Sadly no more walking around in the big nothingness of space for you!
Working mostly on the generator and behind the scenes stuff.
So this week was a lot of rework, I found a bug with the human rigs that didn't allow the rigs to share animations. In example the bandit warrior couldn't use the players attack animation and vice versa. I reworked the rig to apply to all humanoid characters in the game and improved the rig itself. So now I can rework some of the animations to improve the quality.
I am going to work on more character stuff, optimize the animations and rig.
Personally I took some days off since it's the last week my significant other is in the Netherlands before moving to London for a few months to work on some big movie(s).
One of the small things I was able to produce was the 'EndRoom' level where the boss entrance is going to be located. In this level I tried to use some more water and make it less 'grid' looking by placing some props around the edges.
Compared to the left shot it feels more 'lively'.
I'm going to focus on the boss entrance and room.
Props and more props!
I have worked on more props for the forest area, with the focus on making an environment where the player can create their own story.
Because the game is very low poly and has solid colors as textures, my art becomes more of a guideline instead of the final representation. I also try to think of ways to interact with the props when I create them so that the world is more immersive and interactable.
For the next week I will be thoroughly designing a "significant environmental(I typed this right in one go!)" element which is the activation of the boss rooms and warp rooms.
UI Menu Design
Last weeks I’ve been spending my time on the interface of our game. I made a design with healthbars and nameplates etc. And now I’m still figuring out how to put it all in Unity. Next up is a design we can use for the background of our menus.
Big Guy Design
For our sets of enemies, each group consist of two tiny creatures, two mediums, one big and one boss. Our first set already has two mediums and one tiny enemy, the archer, sword bandit and the capybara. We didn’t have a design for the big guy yet, but we did have some thoughts about his attacks.
We want this big dude to be strong, doing loads of damage. All his attacks should be dodged, but we should also give the players opportunities to beat him. He has two attacks, one slam where he raises his arms and smashes the ground in front of him, damaging all nearby. The other attack is a rush, where he runs in a straight line until collision with a wall. Any players standing in his way, will get damaged.
The bandits who are training the Capybara’s tried some experimenting to make a stronger species. This has been a bad idea throughout all of fantasy history, and unintentionally they made a mutant, uncontrollable version; the ferocious CABRAH!
Next week I hope to have finished the backgrounds for the menus. Making it more pleasant for everyone in the World of Benefits.
We were mentioned in the press for the very first time. Hooray! Some of them are really short and some of them are a bit harsh, but that's okay. Even though we don't agree with everything, we still try to digest the deeper meaning and learn from that. We can't stress enough that any type of feedback will result in us making a better game, so don't hold back.
Here's a list of mentions with a small excerpt, all of it is in Dutch.
"De game is procedurally generated dus de wereld om je heen zal nooit precies hetzelfde zijn wanneer je het opnieuw speelt."
GameBites - from 47:20
"De olifant in de kamer is dat dit Diablo is, maar dan met kut besturing"
"Rogues with Benefits belooft een online co-op action-adventure RPG te worden met random generated levels."
"De jongens van Rogue with Benefits zijn pas drie maanden geleden begonnen met de development van de game, maar zij toonden op Indigo al veel potentie."
Thanks for taking the time to read this development update. Remember that you can sign up for the alpha if you want to play the game in this early stage of development. If you like the game, please tell your friends!