Dev Update #04

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.

Watch out! Alpha incoming!

With only a week to go till the alpha, we are working really hard to implement all the missing features that ensures a fun play trough. Well, the ability to play at all really. At Indievelopment and Indigo, the only places anyone ever played the game, the amount of time anyone spent on playing the game is in the 10 minute range. The game is playable for that amount of time, yet there were no real goals or any way to complete the level.

The focus for us has been all about completing the main game loop, the ability to complete a level, start a new one and a difficulty increment.

To manage expectations a bit: you won't get to play a complete game and even the core gameplay is lacking in most aspects, everything is still far from finished. It is playable however and it is purely meant to be a way for us to gather as much feedback as we can. We really like to know what you think and we will use that to make the game a lot better.

This Alpha is our very first Alpha event ever, so a lot could go wrong. We plan to have a lot more of these Alpha/ Beta events and those will probably be a lot better, more fun to play and more feature complete. We just have to start somewhere and that's what we are going to do next week. We are really excited and hope it will be a fun time for both us and you.

Next week we will talk a lot more about all the things to expect in the Alpha, the known issues and the near future of the game.

In case you missed it here's the date again, you can still sign up at the bottom of this page:

Alpha Access: From 23th October 12:00 PM UTC till 25th October 20:00 PM UTC.

We will provide you with more information through the email address you signed up with.


Lance

A lot of my work has been behind the scenes. This includes a lot of networking refactor behind the scenes, and especially a rewrite of the loading process. We had some interesting issues that required some creative thinking. Not to say loading has become less stuttering (this part will change, but not before the alpha), but we have a more useful loading process which doesn't just include loading the world. In other words, it's more modular which we can expand upon more easily (think special events, special rooms or specific pathways, things like this).

Now, originally, I was going to work on a difficulty scaler for the game but I left it, last few days, to give Sebastiaan some breathing room as he's working on the generator stuff - which I would've partially worked in as well. This freed me up to work on some other stuff I had to do!.

So I did some front-end work, albeit not skinned yet with Jacqueline's assets. Finished the feedback form which our dear alpha testers may use! Top right corner of many a screens will be a Feedback button. Pressing it will bring up the form. Notice how a screenshot has also been made evident by the tiny preview. This is useful when you encounter graphical glitches or some other that you wish to share. The screenshot doesn't include any personal info, though, just the game itself (although the chat will be included so keep this in mind if you're sharing state secrets).

Hitting Send will deliver your feedback directly to us. Included in the mail will be some basic info about your computer and how you're running the game. If you've entered your e-mail address, this will also be present. Additionally, it also includes:

  • Game version
  • Resolution and whether it's windowed or fullscreen
  • Current state of the game (e.g Hide-out/Tavern/Game)
  • Your OS name and version
  • Your CPU model and # of cores
  • Your RAM size in megabytes
  • Your GPU model and associated VRAM in megabytes

Next to that, I've added some loot drops to the game for every creature (so far)! Martin has been so kind to provide me some cool looking models and I've hooked it all up. Those of you who follow me on twitter might have seen the work in progress, but here's the in-game result. Check it out!

It's missing some polish of course, some drop and pickup effects here and there, but it works. The next step will be to add the loot score to each character. It's already handled behind the scenes, so just needs a UI for it.

Next week

For the coming days all the way to next week I'm going to connect up all the different facets of the main game loop. Being able to go to the boss room, then proceed to the campfire scene and then back into the combat phase for loot. This will be completed and we'd have a basic game that can be played from begin to end (in its most basic shape, wouldn't represent full game yet).

Additionally, a difficulty scaler is in order to gradually make the game harder, despite being promised for this week (sorry). The rest of my time will be spend on some last few bugs before we release our very first SUPER EARLY alpha build. No pressure...


Sebastiaan

Generate Everything!

Just like last week a lot of my time was spend on the generator. We came across a game breaking bug where the level would spawn differently for each player. Needless to say that had a really high priority to fix. But I think it's working now. A big issue was the debugging of all the generated levels for each client. I made a handy tool that outputs all the made rooms and attempts to a text file which I can later compare to check where everything went wrong. This has proven really valuable in fixing all the generator bugs. The endroom is now being spawned correctly so that you can complete a single level. There is just one big bug remaining where the generator runs out of options to place the endroom and enters a loop to try to place it on any remaining exit, yet can't find any. I know how to fix it, but it requires way more work on the generator than I can handle right now. In the rare occasion that this might occur, we transport everyone back to the lobby, so the generator can try again.

Other stuff

I did some bug fixing, the most notable one being the screen shake bug where the camera would drift off screen by a really small amount each time. After firing the arrow skill for a 100 times or so, the player would be off screen.

I am really glad the screen shake effects are back in place, as I really missed them, especially the camera lerp, where the camera would move in the direction of your swing.

Next Week

Finally some time to do some other things. I might add the door/ key mechanism where you have to kill all the enemies in the room to proceed, but that requires a lot of work.

I will mostly try to improve the gameplay: Balancing skills, improving camera behaviour and tweak some more stuff.


Martin

This week I made a couple of loot models for the enemies to drop on death. We want the loot to be diverse and not just a bunch of coins, so I made something you would find in a treasure room. Including the Mona Lisa as a rare drop. For now this is enough as a first impression but eventually there will be more for you to loot. This week also a lot rework on the humanoid rig/animations, the rig is now more dynamic with IK's and sliders handling a lot of the bones and making things more easier. For instance closing the players hand is now just 1 slider instead of moving 3 bones around.

Next Week

I'll be testing out the new rig and see if I can research into some animation polishing.


Viktor

Triggers

One of the things I did this week is creating the "bosstrigger", or plateau to be exact, where the players have to stand all together to unlock the bossroom. It's not done completely yet and is missing some cool effects that indicate when how many players are standing in the zone. Think of glowing eyes, a fire that lights up on top of the crown. I would also like to let the chains break/explode when the requirements are met and the bossdoor unlocks.

The trigger that opens up the bossroom!

Next Week

I'm going to focus on the boss entrance and room (again) and the campfire scene.


Jom

Creating warp zone and bosstriggers!

I have been working on the warp zone trigger for the game and the bossroom trigger. These are re-occurring game elements so there was a bigger design process then the forest props.

Warp Zone!

Remember a few weeks ago? I made a couple of warp zone designs to see where we wanted to go with the idea. With the team we gathered and decided what we wanted as a result.

Continuing with putting more ideas on paper my team had different opinions of what they wanted to see. So I had to use that feedback and try to implement it in a way that everyone can agree with.

So the main idea of how it should look was finalized and i tried to refine it more, but when I showed the above image some members of the team started to want to see back elements wich I drew in the very first draft. This can be frustrating but what can you do!

So here is the final version with some minor tweaks. As a reminder this is more of an inspirational tool for the 3D artist because our game is so low poly.

Bosstrigger

This is an interesting one, every area has a boss to beat. But the boss is in a different instance and we wanted to create a smooth transition towards that "bossbattle" so we decided that every level has the same bossroom trigger. All the players need to stand on top of the trigger to activate the bossroom.

After a lot of doodling i decided that I wanted these almost totemic looking heads on the portal and that it should be square as a contrast to the warp zone.

I decided that the head that you see is a character named the "King of Rogues" being a mysterious legend that has been around the land before you! Will you ever get to meet the "King of Rogues?" Who knows!

Next Week

I will be working on the Campfire Scene making sure that we as a team can agree with how it looks and feels.


Jacqueline

Last week I’ve been working on the background of the menu’s and a 9-sliced button which can be used in several spots in the game. So far, there has been little design in that part of the UI so it’s up to me to make it look spiffy.

For this to work I had to use Unity (finally) and I realised I forgot everything I knew about Unity. So I got a small refreshing course/tutorial and I got to test some of the new images in the interface. It turned out like the image below. Eventually this menu will be redesigned, but this will work for the Alpha.

I’m still struggling with the 9-sliced button. For some reason the corners still get stretched and the whole point of the 9-slice was that, that was avoided. If anyone has some pointers, I would love some advice. I’ve been digging through google, but all I come up with is people with the same issues and no answers.

The 9-sliced button of horror.

I’ve used a 512x512 version for the game. Maybe this is too large? As you can see the corners are really stretched. I’ve played a bit with the settings, if I change the pixels per units to 150, the quality seems to be a lot better. But shouldn’t I try to avoid this? I’ve also tried using a rectangle image, no difference there. I also tried making the slices more equal, but that doesn’t seem to matter much either.

Next week

Implement the new Menu look


Jon

My second appearance in a blog, how exciting for the web guy. Now that the site has been online for a while I've been helping the guys plan additional features and tools to help gather information. One of these tools has gone up this week; the Feedback button.

Feedback

You should by now have noticed a rather stand-out button at the very top right. Please feel free to use this to give any feedback regarding the game, the website, what you have read or for whatever other reason there could be. It can be anonymous or you can provide your email address so we know who you are. You'll have a similar button in-game when your playing in the closed Alpha, so we have every opportunity to hear your thoughts.

Next Week

I have been thinking and planning for the web side of things in terms of preparation for the closed Alpha that received an official date on the blog last week. It's time to start working on the download system that will let you guys get your Alpha build and actually play the dang thing. So if you haven't already, put your email address into the box at the bottom of the page so you can be one of the first to play the game.


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!