May Development Update 3

Greetings Pioneers!

This week we have been continuing with the level work in our internal main stream and it’s really coming together. We’re putting together gameplay sequences, placing lights and sounds and hooking up interactive buttons that do things… 🙂

Very good news on the condition of our update to the multiplayer with turret upgrades – we’ve managed to remove the majority of critical crashes! so we confidently say you can expect to see a new version landing shortly.

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

John – Lead Designer

Heading up another fantastic testing session with Staffordshire University. Getting the students involved in UE4 always brings a smile to my face, and it’s eye opening for them to see a working title in it’s development stages. The production on Eden Star has been rapid these last two weeks as we move to the later stages of implementation where we start to see everything come together!

Matt – Art Director

Lighting passes, mesh work and all sorts have been done. The guys have vastly improved the benchmarks for the different areas of which variations will come throughout the level. Our primary goal has been to replace the design blockout with our tile sets ready for artification. Personally I’ve been working on the silo area and bringing the lighting quality up to standard.

Lee – Technical Director

So this week has been mainly testing the latest fixes to do with the multiplayer server issues. Everything looks good! I can now focus on finishing off moving the AI over to our new behaviour component.

Tristan – Sandwich (Lead) Developer

This week I have been putting in some partial optimisations for the spawning the prefab bases and general level loading. I have also been working on bugs oh glorious bugs. I also made fishfinger sandwiches on monday. For the team. Coz I’m kind.

Yves – Senior Developer

Working on implementing our new melee system, it’s looking good and should vastly improve the feel of close quarters combat (plus make it much fairer than it stands currently)

Alex – Designer

Lots more revisions have been made to the transmitter tower this week, making sure it’s a fun play space, that also seems functional and realistic. An entirely new top section has also been modelled and with some inspiration from watchtowers and air traffic control towers going into the design of it. Still lots to do before it’s ready for release but it’s going to be worth the wait.

Ricky – Senior Developer

Preparing to implement the first of 3 shiny new features…

One will allow level designers to build deeper underground. It was a request, don’t tell anyone but I think they want to secretly build one of them evil bad guy superbase compounds underground.

There’s next crafting of makeshift items on the player.

And finally finishing touches to the new use interact system which will enable you to do things like pick up items from the floor or either tap or hold the use key to do different actions such as open a blocks inventory or use it in some other way. This will also allow you to pick up items even while having a weapon equipped.

Joe – Environment Artist

So this week I started on the Silo base – while Matt was working on the awesome Silo area itself, I took a look at the hallways, entrance and corridors that lead to it. They will form a long-abandoned laboratory that should be good for short/mid range combat and tense exploration of a creepy sci-fi facility. I also took a look at some of the collision/navigation issues with the new areas with Marcin, paving the way for exciting AI interactions using all the new Melee and combat systems.

Tom W – Designer

This week, I finalised the Dam’s interior, adding multiple entrances and exits, allowing for a variety of ways to explore the area. Now that the layout of the Dam is complete, I’ve moved on to producing the high-poly assets for various important areas, starting off with the Power Generators.

Lauren – Animator

This week has been mostly about axe animations, improving the feel of the swings for mining rocks and rigging up the latest axe model with the pointy pick side. I’ve also been continuing work on 3rd person locomotion, working on new crouch movement animations and tweaking player acceleration.

Andy – Lead QA

This week I have been working Lee and Trist on the fixing of multiplayer and optimisation of the game. I’ve done several reviews of the Dam, Transmitter and Ancient Eden Kit and worked with the guys to iron out any tweaks we decided upon.

See you in the fray!

-Team Flix

May Development Update 2

Greetings Pioneers!

The new level locations have come on leaps and bounds since even last week’s feature. The art team have been steaming ahead with the new introduction gameplay and layout. The animation updates are coming along nicely and the axe melee functionality is coming together.

Most of the dev team have been deep in the belly of UE4 network code to resolve issues with crashes on respawning in multiplayer but the good news is we are nearly there. We have also been profiling the cause of the long loading times and looking at ways we can optimise our building assets to reduce this significantly in a future update. Thank you for your patience!

Here’s what we’ve been up to:

John – Lead Designer

Production heavy week for myself. Organising sprints and organising the guys into teams. Exciting to see the weapon/melee system changes come to fruition, and the new art and design team moving everything forwards! Hope you’re ready for some lovelies.

Matt – Art Director

A virtual metric tonne of awesome stuff has been completed over the past 5 days. I’ve been working on fleshing out our start area, including new assets for the extended drop pod. Done a clean up for our company website, and planning for new lighting setups in the new encounter locations. Feedback and playthroughs with the rest of the designers and artists for our art passes on several locations. All of which is evident from the latest screen grabs!

Lee – Technical Director

This week I have been working towards fixing a crash we were getting with the server and another issue where the player would get dumped from the server. I’ve also continued work switching the AI over to using a new behaviour component.

Tristan – Senior Developer

This week I have been looking into crash fixes with Lee and and also profiling the load time issue in more detail so we can put something together for reducing this. It’s looking promising so far.

Ricky – Senior Developer

Got quite a few bugs marked off this week. Lots of quality of life changes and a Save Load bug which meant armour didn’t save it’s integrity correctly. We also had some odd problems with collision settings pointing to the completely wrong things, but somehow still worked… I blame the gnomes

Marcin – Designer

Finally i have something to show. This week I have been putting the new melee system designs into a prototype to make sure it all works as intended, feels good, and there are no unforeseen blockers. I am very happy to say that the we’ve made very good progress with it, an all is going well.

The idea behind the new system is to detect, categorise and prioritise what’s in front of the player and make sure the weapon always swings to hit the most important targets and feels good (meaty) doing it. The enemies always take the highest priority, then the destructible, etc. The work is still in progress, of course, so I’ll keep you posted.

Joe – Environment Artist

Getting on with some dam work! Ahem… This week I finished creating the assets for the inside of the dam so Tom could continue arranging everything beautifully using his legendary interior design skills. I then moved my attention to the outside – working heavily on terrain work and asset placement in the world for the player’s starting route based on feedback from playtesting.

Next on the list was the exterior of the dam itself. I started on a new set of exterior meshes and swapped them out, as well as adding a few more areas to explore on your way up! By the end of today I want to get a complete whitebox blockout of the outside of the dam. Dam. Dam dam dam dam.

 

Alex – Designer

I’ve been busy this week concentrating on making the finishing passes on the transmitter towers, making tweaks on lighting and enemy spawn locations, placing items and starting to finally add art assets so it’s less of a plain grey box. On the side i’ve also started making some passes on the small maintenance buildings at the side of the transmitter towers, these will be cool little places to explore and loot up before your ascent.

Lauren – Animator

This week I have been working on implementation of some new third person movement animations for when using ranged weapons, these will create a contrast between moving with a weapon and moving while unarmed. In addition to this I have been tweaking axe swing animations as we have progressed with the new melee prototype, which is feeling great so far. The next steps with this will be block and parry animations in conjunction with adjusting enemy attacks and encounters.

Tom W – Designer

This week I’ve been working on the final pass for the Dam, doing my best to make it feel like a living, breathing place, as well as introducing passageways and hidey-holes for enemies to emerge from. With the layout of the Dam finalised, I’ve started to move more into the 3d modelling side of things, starting with the high-poly for our generators!

Andy – Lead QA

Before I get started I would like to draw your attention to a blog we posted a while back. In it I mentioned that Matt was meant to get me a peanut butter KitKat chunky, but in actuality got me a regular KitKat Chunky. Needless to say I was very disappointed and I thought it a slight that could never be topped. That was until this week. It was a Tuesday morning, I was busy working away along with the rest of the team when the phone rang

“Hello, Flix Interactive” I said in my best phone voice.

“Morning bro” came John’s reply

“Whats on boss man?” I playfully inquired

“Just on my way in now, do you need anything from the shop?”

I was very glad of this as I’d not had the chance to get to the shop myself and needed some peppers and some broccoli. He said he’d be happy to get them. So I settled into my day’s work content in the knowledge that I would be eating good that night.

Alas, the scoundrel never came up with the goods so I’ve been surviving on a diet of brown rice and coffee (not together, obviously) which in turn lead me to be lethargic and distracted by wild hunger pains.

But on a work related note, the guys have been smashing it. The new drop pod, Dam, Transmitter tower and the ancient eden kit silo have had all the pretties added to them and they are really starting to feel like an exciting game environment.

Im also happy to report that we have had lots of activity from the folks on the UDN regarding our multiplayer issue and we are starting to fix up loads of the bugs.

See you in the fray!

-Team Flix

 

May Development Feature – Encounters

Greetings Pioneers!

To break up our blog format a little, aka ‘keepin it fresh’ while we continue to work out the kinks prior to our new updates, we’re running a second feature on our encounter locations progress which will hopefully give you all some better insight into our current direction.

Now that we’re happy with the gameplay besides minor tweaks, we’ve moved onto the arty stages of production with the interior of our Dam and Transmitter getting a more thorough treatment.

As you may of already read in the previous Friday blogs, Alex and Tom are managing the design of the large set pieces. The layout designs are practically in their final stages and artwork has begin to take the place of the less desirable looking but functional blockouts.

The importance of the Dam as a visual draw is evident, and it’s this section that will harbour one of the Pioneers first encounters with those love-able splintermite critters. The introduction of locations like this now allow us to introduce a bit of extra dramatism to encounters and the lead up to them.

We’ve been playing around with the principal of hearing what’s around a corner before you first see it… a touch of horror, adding hints like this to some of the darker locations should help keep things informative for players that are about to land upon a hidden threat.

The layouts themselves have begun to have their lighting planned out properly. Doorways and stairs added, with ventilation and piping to make the interior feel functional. This is always the exciting part as we get to experiment with the mood.

Some of the basic encounter rooms will involve a basic interaction, whether it happens to be turning on a generator to get through locked down doors the other side, or closing an entrance way to stop a pursuer in their tracks. This is being kept simple in the form of panels/buttons, things that you can’t help but look at and say ‘ohh what does this button do?’.

The overall experience is one that we feel should be dynamic as well, there is no ‘you must do’ to any of these pre-existing locations. However if you find yourself persuaded to enter one, be prepared to work to get out the other side.

If any Pioneer decides to go off the standard ‘base building survival track’ they will be able to discover some really interesting and meaningful things, maybe even components to craft an item that otherwise you wouldn’t have access to till much later in the game.

It’s always exciting to be able to share the steps we’re going through to get this up to an enjoyable high quality standard. If you would like to keep a closer eye on progress you can view our public Trello boards here. More coming soon…

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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