December Development Update 2!

Greetings Pioneers!

Chunky progress on the lead up to Christmas! The surface and new world assets are starting to align with our 3rd person work, plus our additional AI is now being brought to life (and it’s terrifying).

Here’s what we’ve all been upto:

John – Lead Designer

Choo choo, here comes the production train. Chugga chugga, clickety clack, everyone’s getting on but its not stopping because we forgot to give it any breaks. Our in game vehicles do have breaks however, thankfully.

Matt – Art Director

A lot of implementation work has been going into the level, including alterations of the road system and positioning of our key locations, plus a very satisfying new dynamic sky system which gives us more versatility at different times of day.

Vistas are probably the most important part of these alterations, so a lot of the time is being taken to carefully consider views in relation to our encounter placements.

WIP sky and reworked vista – Not representative of final detail levels

Lee – Technical Director

This week I have been tweaking some of the AI bugs that have cropped up while Marcin has been fine tuning some of the various types of Splintermite. I’m also in the process of upgrading the engine to try and fix a crash we are having mainly with destructible foliage. I thought I had it fixed at the beginning of the week, but it’s proving to be a resilient bug.

Olly – Junior Programmer

Made a bunch of handling changes so designers can modify things like turning circle easily, and change the way the vehicle feels going forward and in reverse!

Marcin – Designer

I’ve been doing some more work on the AI, but more specifically 2 things. Firstly I’ve grown tired of how withholding the unreal engine can be on the information about certain animation systems, especially montages, so i’ve implemented a few new tools that reveal such obscure and delicate information like: the length of the montage, or its blend times, or whether any are being played on specific slots. I don’t know why those aren’t part of the standard package, since they are so vital that whenever was working on animation without them I always felt so blind and limited.

The other thing I am working on is jumping and leaping logic. We are looking to have some AI being able to leap onto you to attack or onto higher ground for better positioning. I am currently working our the physics part of the calculation, he navigation part comes next.

Alex – Environment Artist

Texturing and revisions to our bases are well underway, this will go through a few iterations so bare in mind this is all still WIP.

Tom Whittemore – Level Designer

This week I have been starting to look at material generator nodes and the different types and sizes we want, and their rarity throughout the world. There are two objectives I want to achieve with the mining and crafting system. First, to create moments of opportunity when the player finds a rare material and suddenly can craft a significant new item, weapon or technology.

The second is to balance all ‘basic’ materials to ensure their availability in the world is in line with their uses and requirements. So hopefully it doesn’t feel like you’re constantly short for basic materials but also you don’t have so many that it allows you to easily grind out enough materials for a small town.

Node Types

  • Salvage – These are existing structures, crashed vehicles, ships and anything else manmade.
  • Metal Node – Classic mining rocks/outcroppings but these will specifically contain metal
  • Mineral Node – Classic mining rocks/outcroppings but these will specifically contain minerals
  • Organic Node – Trees, bushes and other flora
  • Living – This remains an outlier as it is technically looting the corpses of slain foes, but as this is the main source of this type of material I’m classing it as a node for now.

Not all node types will have all node sizes

Node Sizes

  • Tiny node – All over the place to provide basic materials when you desperately need them.
  • Small node – Abundant throughout all of the world your go to for basic materials.
  • Medium node – Your standard node, these will be abundant throughout the world but will be more base on geographical location so you might not see them everywhere, have very small chance to give you something little more rare.
  • Large Node – Rare nodes that will be geographically located and will yield lots of materials and maybe something rarer.
  • Huge Node – Jackpot nodes, these will contain a ton of material and rare items but they will be rare and probably in treacherous places.

Sam – Concept Artist

After some lengthy discussions about behaviors I’ve managed to pull together our finished concept of the mite. Think half life Headcrab with this dude, in terms of behavior at least!

Lauren – Lead Animator

Been working through the new Mite animations based off our initial proxy model of the creature. Just a few days left to finish up on that, so we should have something to show very soon 🙂

Andy – Lead QA

Had an extended play session this week to try and catch any issues that arise from single player save files that are over 150 in-game days. Had some more discussion regarding new cheatures for the game and planned out future sprints so when back after the holidays we can hit the ground running.

See you in the fray!

-Team Flix

 

December Development Update!

Greetings Pioneers!

This week we have started prototyping an important weapon for defeating the smaller A.I. foes. It will be one of the first of our ‘makeshift’ items that can be constructed from found materials in the world, before you are able to build gather up the materials to make fabricators and construct more complex tools.

Lauren has all the info on that in her write up! Here’s what we’ve all been upto:

John – Lead Designer

The newer creature classes have undergone scrutiny by the A.I. team, so we’re now more confident that the system will be robust when we introduce the new types planned. I’ve mainly been putting this into motion by getting the visual process rolling.

There are a lot of solid designs in the background for the rest of the game systems as you’ve seen with some of our major blog posts (and what is currently playable) Although the improvement work is taking time, this thorough approach is ultimately going to making the game far more enjoyable for everyone. Again, we really appreciate the patience on the communities side.

Matt – Art Director

Mainly working through task planning for the vehicles and new creature models this week. Some modelling updates coming up for those soon! Me and Tom have also managed to get the level work in place to start adding in Lee’s revised spawning system. So expect to see lots of visual progress on the lead up to Christmas.

Lee – Technical Director

This week I have been trying to refine some of the AI’s perception so that they can now pick up the points of interest that they are only interested in. I’ve also made a few optimisations to how often the perception updates run.

I’ve also been working with Marcin this week trying to get our turrets working correctly with the AI and trying to understand a crash we are having with destructible foliage.

Sam – Concept Artist

Working on some silhouettes for our new ‘Mite’ critters. We want a variety of forms for a variety of behavioral archetypes, but the key is to make them distinctly different in silhouette.

Olly – Junior Programmer

This week I have been refining the feel of vehicles, working with the design team to make the controls feel right. Initially the entering and exiting mechanic will be simple but we’re already making plans for there to be a walk in back entrance to the cockpit for the larger vehicle/vehicles.

Marcin – Designer

I know I am making progress with the AI, and a lot of it at that, but whenever I am to talk about it I always draw a blank. What did I accomplish since last week? And is it interesting enough to even mention. It’s usually a 50/50 situation. We had a few meetings, we gathered references for the new creatures we want to see in the game, discussed ideas, revised, and started the task breakdown from implementation and animation work. Riveting, I know 🙂

However on the “lots of progress” side of thing, Lee and I have integrated the AI to interact properly with turrets, finally. The creatures vs structures combat is very important part of the game and it was broken in our development for far too long, so it’s good to see it back.

Oh yeah, there was another thing – target switching. I wanted to improve that logic for ages too, so I’m excited it’s finally working. The logic you know from the current version of the game on steam is gone. Now the creature can switch “aggro” between entities attacking it according to damage received, priority and distance. The goal was to give you more control over the AI so you can be more effective at protecting your base by “tanking for your turrets”.

 

Lauren – Lead Animator

This week I have been getting stuck into more AI designs with Marcin. We have several of the base enemy archetypes nailed down with designs for the base behaviours, attack sequences and animations. The next step will be creating these new animations and getting them into game.

I have also been animating and prototyping the new spear weapon this week, a simple melee weapon that can be used to jab and stab enemies at close quarters or be thrown for a bit more of a range.

Andy – Lead QA

Testing plans going in for next week as we introduce some additional craftable content (the spear). All early game stuff including some of the new creature classes, but it has to feel good before we can check it off against the designs.

See you in the fray!

-Team Flix

 

November Development Update 4!

Greetings Pioneers!

So we’ve crossed a bridge and the foundations for our vehicle system are fully in place for designers to get a handle on it. After much deliberation in the art department over the islands surface details, decisions have been made to add a more realistic selection of material types and blends.

We’ve also been putting some serious time into making our placement system more automated as whole (especially for foliage) to help speed up further development and make eventual modding of islands more user friendly.

Here’s what we’ve individually been upto:

John – Lead Designer

Working on Enemy Archetype designs in between managing projects 😛 – Again, I’ve been looking how this can be tied into progression. We’re working on systems to make sure that the variations of AI can meet a set number of modular systems that we already have in place. We have a number of the team who will be working hard to get these functional over the next 12 weeks.

Matt – Art Director

Finishing our review of surface types for the island. Wanting to make sure the details we go for are excellent quality and feel believable in both first and third person views (que more realism with surface photogrammetry). Tom has been piecing these together mainly.

A lot of the re-population of the surface will be done with more automated tools so as to speed this process up. When we’re ready to hit the go button you may notice the world is a tiny bit larger than before due to these systems..

On a final note we’re in the process of getting the blocked out spaces for the vehicles refined!

Lee – Technical Director

Galavanting n stuff like a boss. I’ve been working on the AI planners for the turrets and cleaning them up. I’ve also been trying to fix up some engine issues to do with our foliage where trying to damage them would cause the game to crash after our engine update.

I am all for Tree preservation but seems a bit extreme in a virtual world when the nights are cold and the natives don’t seem very friendly.

Tristan – Lead Developer

This week I have spent most my time reviewing code and telling Lee to let us mine trees again.

Carlos – Developer

First blog in a long time!

I’ve been working on the selling functionality to be inline with the new tool module system that we’ve implemented. This should allow us to only attach this module to any others that we want to be able to sell and keep any other modules free to do another action should they not implement it!

Olly – Junior Programmer

So I reached the magical point (code climax) in time where I’ve committed the base of work for our vehicle system. The new designers can now get their hands on the basic tools to adjust stats and spawn vehicles with a variety of variables which can be modified to change the feel and look.

Marcin – Designer

This has been a rather eventful week. First of all we’ve had some additional meetings and designs for our AI, which with the new system almost done can properly take off the ground.We are solidifying the set of archetypes we want to focus on in the first place, and we are referencing games such as Halo, Dishonored, Half-Life and Doom to help us with that. Secondly, tis the season to get the common cold, so I am currently all about that and writing this from my bed. I should be back up and running on Monday.

Tom W – Designer

Hey guys, I’ve had a pretty busy week. One the one hand, it’s been full of meetings about our ai and animation pipeline, and on the other, I’ve been busy working on our base material layers for the more barren/desert portions of our landscape, which you’ll all hopefully appreciate!

Previously, I was having issues where we’d have a great looking sand material, and some lovely rocks, but when it came to combining them they didn’t look particularly natural or cohesive. To solve that, I’ve developed a workflow which keeps everything much more grounded in the same core biomes. Once they’re all combined in engine, all this hard work should result in a much more photorealistic world for you all to explore!

Thomas W – Designer

This is my first blog post for Eden Star but I have been working behind the scenes for a while on overhauling the crafting system. I’m still in the early stages of planning as and have been looking at how a player progresses throughout the crafting system to try and make the mining and initial crafting stages is more streamlined, but also try to keep the depth and creativity possible in the later stages.

Right now that means consolidating the basic raw materials required for simple base building, but making significant upgrades and buildables required key materials that are much rarer in the world. Hopefully this should mean you can get up and going quickly and spend less time mining and more time exploring for those key materials.

I want to make sure that the direction we’re heading with crafting feels right, and more importantly fun, with the rest of the upcoming additions and changes. So you can view my ‘wonderful’ ideas and planning spreadsheet here (many aspects are work in progress or ideas and not final) to take a look at what we’re doing.

Sam – Concept Artist

I’ve shifted from vehicles and started producing some silhouettes for different mite versions with a variety of abilities. There are a bunch of other plans for variations of creatures but I’ll leave that to speculation ;D

Lauren – Lead Animator

This week I have been planning the archetypes of AI we will have in the world with the rest of the guys, taking references from all the games we love. I have also been experimenting with sharing of rigs for multiple characters so that we can get more use out of a single skeleton into multiple AI varieties.

Andy – Lead QA

We have had some fixes made to both multiplayer and turrets that I had the chance to test this week and I am happy to report that the turrets are working as expected and multiplayer, though there are still a few issues, is coming together nicely.

On a slightly different note I would like to thank all of the members of the community who take the time to post on the forums. I know Early Access can be a slow and sometimes arduous process, but all the love and support you show us each week on the forums is massively appreciated and I would encourage you all to keep posting.  

See you in the fray!

-Team Flix

 

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Eden Star is a product of the GamesLab West Midlands programme, developed by Creative England and supported by the Regional Growth Fund.

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