June Development Update 3

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Greetings Pioneers!

So we have upgraded our Unreal Engine from 4.8 to 4.12 over the past week, now we are well on the way to stabilizing the build in preparation for the next hotfix release. There are still a few big issues left for us to fix however, one of which is that you fall out of the world and die when you spawn in Multiplayer, so we’ll need to fix that before we let it out the door… 😉

Meanwhile we’ve been continuing work on the creatures for the new map, the XP unlocking progression and the survival system, here’s an update to what we’ve been up to:

John – Lead Designer

I have been reviewing the work for the Creature Biomes and we can happily say that there are a decent number of Fauna shaping up for Alpha, ideally 15, plus the enemies currently in-game.

In addition to this I have been reviewing and revising some of the HUD and Menu designs, there is a lot more that we want to do with the HUD and in-world info, it’s about time we started to give it some TLC as we also intend to place the survival info on both the HUD and player UI.

Tutorial and game story are also starting to shape-up nicely and, whilst we are only looking at frameworks at this stage, I intend to introduce these elements shortly after we get crafting onto the player, along with the survival, new map etc.

Production has been a challenge this week due to the unforeseen issues that this last engine upgrade has caused, but I hope we will be getting a release out to you either this weekend or early next week with fixes in for the current issues in game. Sorry again for the wait and thanks for your support!

Matt – Art Director

There’s been a lot of tidy up work going on, I’ve been focusing on the addition of new weapon stocks primarily along with exporting and tidy up of for other components. Next up.. Work on colony bases for the new map plus more detail and revision to the weapon scopes!

WeaponStocksWIP

Lee – Technical Director

This week I completed our migration over to the Unreal Engine 4.12, which wasn’t as bad as the previous migration. We are now trying to iron out any new bugs which this version of the engine has introduced. I’ve also been planning some tweaks to the AI’s ability to select a new target and making some more tweaks

Tristan – Senior Developer

This week i have been working on integrating our physics findings as well as ironing out issues from the latest engine update.

Lauren – Animator

This week I have been continuing work on the ‘Wolf’ animations and setting up simple blueprints for that and the ‘Deer’ using existing AI so that I can see them running attacking and running around. There is still work to be done with the individual AI and group behaviour mechanics for both. I’m back onto the weapon animations now with the shiny new modular pieces from Matt in between helping out with the 4.12 bug fixes.

WolfAttack

Yves – Senior Developer

We’ve made the jump to Unreal 4.12, we have another load of bug fixes to do before we can move on.

Ricky – Developer

Mainly been fixing new warnings and errors in the new build, and a few UI and game tweaks like allowing single players to use Replication Units when available without the need for a cooldown.

Joe – Environment Artist

I started the week by finishing the game-res model of the ‘Deer’ neutral creature before creating some quick initial meshes for a few rather weird looking critters that we will be revealing soon. At the moment I’m polishing up the first of them and am hoping to finish the others next week! Here’s a sneak peek:

CrustyTheCrustation

Marcin – Designer

This week has been all about that base, about that base… with lots of trouble actually, thank you very much. I’ve spent most of the week designing creature behaviour while attacking bases, but mainly – desperately trying to figure out every possible case of [queue damsel in distress voiceover] “This AI will not be able to get to that turret, whatever are we to do?” Those are the kinds of problems you run into when you are trying to have a building system, which lets player build however and wherever they fancy.

Additional bits consisted of designs for how creatures handle aggro and switching targets, as well as how does the ability to run away from and sneak up to creatures fit within the overall picture. It’s all like a big sudoku. 🙂 But you only have 2 numbers to start with.

Tom – Character Artist

I’m texturing our lovely ‘zebra’! Gonna be starting on the ‘Vulture’ soon also!

HorseOfCourse

Simone – Concept Artist

This week I have been working with the team to make final concepts and textures for a set of creatures we have been working on so far. The ‘Deer’ has been modeled and I’ve created a few textures to help get the creative juices flowing for the look and style we want for this creature. There are some changes to be completed on certain creatures to make them more alien-like! Yes yes more tentacles, more bioluminescence and more cuteness…that last one isn’t right, I’ll just paint bunnies on my own time! Praise the bunny gods! \o/

creatureDeerColourPaintover_001

Andy – Lead QA

This week I’ve mostly been using a visual logger that Lee implemented to catch the issues we have been having with the AI. Other than that I have been trying to reproduce the bugs that have come up since we updated the Unreal engine to version 4.12

See you in the fray!

-Team Flix

June Development Update 2

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Greetings Pioneers!

Firstly, just want to apologise for no hotfix yet this week! We absolutely realise the importance of getting the bugs fixed in the current build, in order to tackle these issues we are transitioning engine versions from UE4.8 to UE4.12 whilst fixing bugs. This engine upgrade will give us a huge number of  engine fixes and features from Epic but requires a bit of work to get everything working correctly after the many changes.

Beyond this, we are making some great progress on some of the upcoming creatures to make our new map feel that much more alive in addition to working on several new key systems and features.

Here’s what we’ve been up to:

John – Lead Designer

The new stat manager, weapon system, AI target switching system and progression system have all been a HUGE focus this week whilst Lee, Marcin and I have looked into the best solution for the Juggernaut and spawning bugs.

I have also been talking regularly with Tristan about a massive performance optimisation for servers that he has been working hard on with Nvidia. For me, the next release is now a major bug fix, v0.1.16 will ideally be the survival, stat manager and progression system (with new consumables and fauna), and the following release will be the new world. Can’t wait!

Matt – Art Director

Finishing up texture bakes for the weapon barrels. I’ve included an image to show the finished plain textured versions of the different combinations you’ll be able to get your hands on! Here are a few of the finished combinations you’ll be able to use…

WeaponCombos2

Lee – Technical Director

This week I was finally able to merge the UE4.10 release into our development stream. I’m now in the process of doing the same thing with the UE4.12 release. It’s a slow and tedious process, but there are a number of fixes which we need for our game.

Tristan – Senior Developer

This week I have been working hard continuing to optimise the physics performance in the new map. With a great deal of help from the people at NVidia we have managed to get the foliage system running pretty well so you should all be able to destroy the rocks and trees of Pharus 7 to your hearts content.

I have also been modifying the mantling system as this was quite performance hungry as well.

Tom – Character Artist

This week I’ve been at Flix HQ  working on the ‘wolf’ and the ‘zebra’ creatures.

Wolf

Zebrahh

Yves – Senior Developer

We’ve been planning out character statistics system, this included things like health points and thirst. We’ve put a lot of effort and now have the final plans of the system, so putting it in should be the easy part.

Ricky – Developer

This week I have been sorting out the death markers on the map and compass and helping out with fixing up the UI after the latest engine upgrade changes.

Lauren – Animator

This week I’ve been rigging and animating a few different creatures such as the ‘big fish’, ‘deer’ and ‘wolf’ type critters which has been a lot of fun. Like many of our upcoming creatures, they have placeholder names (suggestions welcome!) that are there as a description of the type of behaviour and general feel of the animal. For the ‘deer’, that’s a timid but fast animal, for the ‘wolf’, an aggressive neutral that hunts in packs.

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Animation is a work in progress

Marcin – Designer

This was the first week after the update of engine, so there was plenty of bugs in need of fixing for everyone. We managed, however, in the meanwhile to have a look at a few of core game designs, which we wanted to improve for a while now, and we’ve made progress with the designs for our creatures,  biome population, attacks on the bases, and loot drops.

Secondly, Lee and I have implemented something we call “Ai Target Points”, which will help us determine where AI should aim on its target, right now for visual fidelity, but in the future – for body parts priorities. And last, but not least, after the initial feedback on the progression system, I have been working on the second pass of the unlocking pace and layout.

Joe – Environment Artist

Over the past week I’ve finished the initial work on creating creature proxies before spending some time fixing a bunch of issues in both our current level and the new one – this includes a bunch of issues that cropped up since we moved to UE4.10.

I then spent a day adding modifier volumes to the new level – the TL;DR is this should reduce instances of ground AI spawning outside of normal playable space and help to optimise the spawning logic as those areas will no longer need to repeatedly be checked for paths when there are none! In between all this I’ve been working on the 2nd pass of the ‘Deer’ creature!

Meeerr

Simone – Concept Artist

Still knee deep in creature designs this week and slowly pushing my way through everything to get to the land! I’ve been working with the team and getting their feedback on all the creatures so far. There is a lot to go through and will take some time to get them all done, but we will get them all done! Strikes battle cry pose!

Andy – Lead QA

This week I’ve been testing almost all components of the game as we have recently updated the UE4 engine, however I was mainly focusing on the UI such as inventories, menus and Keybindings. I also got to hangout with our very own Tom as he was up at the office this week and I can tell you he is a delight.

See you in the fray!

-Team Flix

June Development Update!

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Greetings Pioneers!

With steely determination we’re one week closer to releasing some big changes to the game. Our focus has been on asset generation for the updated weapon system, new creature types to populate the larger world, and a survival/XP system.

Among these big upcoming changes we’re looking into fixes for current issues. For those who are eager to explore the new world, you’ll most likely not be getting deployed on the smaller island for much longer! 

Here is what we’ve all been up to this week:

John – CEO, Lead Designer

I have transcended to a plane of production that only few have experienced. Organisation of the highest magnitude, a perfect balance. Yin and Yang in harmony.  Roughly translated, I’m keeping the game on schedule by kicking ass.

Matt – Art Director

A lot of baking has been done, and more to go. Not the tasty kind of baking either. Infact if I was actually baking I’m pretty sure there would be more cake than actual art done. Unless you consider cakes art. Texture baking can look tasty though, especially when adding more detail to weapons, which is what I’ve been focusing on all of this week.

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I’ve been going through the creatures with the rest of the guys in between the weapon modelling as well. This is mainly to make sure they are varied enough and hit the mark for the quality we’re capable of.

Lee – Technical Director

This week I have been looking at adding a target point system to our AI and Characters to allow us to target specific points for depending on what the AI or Character is doing. I’ve also been looking at adding some more functionality to the Navmesh system to give us greater control when spawning creatures.

Tristan – Senior Developer

These last 2 weeks I have been working hard investigating the performance of physics on our server and coming up with possible improvements along the way. We have implemented some of those but others need further investigation as to how best to approach them. The UDN and NVidia have been especially helpful with all of this so we can’t thank them enough.

Marcin – Designer

I am now back from my holidays and working on designs in full swing. Early in the week, Ricky, Andy and I have finished the first pass on the Unlock screen, which is an integral part of the experience and progression system and will massively help us with the tutorialisation of the game in the future. Have a sneak peak, but please remember that it’s in a very early stage of development.  

UnlocksWIP

Additionally to the progression system, I am having a good hard look at our creatures. We have been discussing internally the direction we want to take them, because in the current state of the game, we feel that our enemies are trying to do too many things all at once, that they end up not doing anything specific particularly well. So far we have been unable to “read” the environment of your base precisely enough to be able to tailor the enemy attack for it.

That means we were forced to just “throw a bunch of creatures at it hope for the best”, in a manner of speaking. We have already taken steps to improve that, and next we are planning to give each of our creatures a specific purpose and the tools to fulfill it during the attack. This will by extension give each of them an identity, making the turret defence part of the game a much more interesting experience.

Joe – Environment Artist

Lots of different things this week. I’ve completed an initial design of our food/consumable types we’ll be implementing sooner than later. The survival HUD has been fleshed out into concept form also.

CreatureProxies

My main focus for the last few days has been producing proxy creatures with Tom, which has been incredibly productive and gives us a great Idea of what the Biomes will look like populated with the variety of Fauna we’re aiming for.

Yves – Senior Developer

We’re finally moving to Unreal Engine version 4.10. I’ve been dealing with all the compiler errors and crashes that result from the upgrade. We’ll finally have Hot Reloading back and the Editor takes a fraction of what it did to load, we’ll be working with two hands again.

Tom – Character Artist

Focusing on fauna creature proxy models this week!

Lauren – Animator

These past few weeks I’ve been making more tweaks to the modular weapon animations. As you may have seen in our feature last week, this can be a lengthy process particularly as we have different rigs and setups for the first person (the hands you see in the world that move with your camera) and the third person characters (the bodies you see on other players).

There will still be some work after I get the final weapon meshes from Matt but while I wait I’ve been helping with the creation of proxy meshes for the creatures. These are simple meshes that help us gauge the scale and feel of a creature in relation to the player and other creatures before working on it further.

Creeper

It was my great pleasure to model up the Giant Swamp Tarantula that Joe didn’t want to make and Lee doesn’t want to program. Am I the only one that thinks it’s pretty cool?!

Ricky – Developer

I have briefly vacated to a festival, fleeing my natural indoor habitat with a clear and overwhelming urge to experience the outdoors with my new friends, Fernando and Dapper Melon.

DapperMelon

Simone – Concept Artist

Creatures!!! All the creatures, we have creatures coming out our ears! We have big ones, we have small ones, we have flying, we have running, we got it all! …So, we have been working through the list of creatures that need to be conceptualised and creating orthographics for these once the designs have been completed.

Andy – Lead QA

My week has been spent testing the next Exp system, which really means I’ve been trying to level up enough to test the Exp system. Then to my surprise (by “surprise” I mean frustration) I was informed that before Ricky went on holiday he added a command for gaining Exp meaning I didn’t have to naturally level up…Thanks Rick. Other than that I’ve been looking at the work Lee and Marcin have been doing with the new AI and their collisions. Few minor issues, but in my opinion it’s feeling much better already.

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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