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

 

May Development Update 1

Greetings Pioneers!

We have been busy this week fixing up the remaining major issues and bugs. As many of you know we have had some serious issues with multiplayer and moving everything over to our Main branch. We want to get this next release right so please bear with us – thank you for your incredible patience and support so far! Eliminating the previous crash has caused another one to appear but having talked to the guys over at Epic we have found out what the underlying problem is and are are waiting for some work from them that should solve the crash we’re seeing currently. Fingers crossed we’ll be throwing small defenseless creatures around Pharus 7 in Multiplayer soon enough 😉

In the background we’ve also been working hard on animations, the new locations, and a bunch of designs and implementation for the new melee combat system. Here’s the team to tell you more:

Andy – Project Manager and QA

This week I’ve made the executive decision to move myself to the top of the list. This is mainly because my ego couldn’t take being at the bottom anymore but also partly because I’m attempting to usurp John!! As mentioned in last weeks blog we have been looking at the crash in multiplayer and I have continued with the testing of those potential fixes. I have also been testing loads of bug fixes the guys have been implementing and doing walkthroughs/reviews of the new starting area and the new structures the art team have been smashing out.

John – Lead Designer

MASSIVE thanks for the Birthday wishes last week! It was great to see everyone’s comments here on the blog 🙂

We’ve got the main game-loop and progression nailed down FINALLY. This means that there are a number of feature changes that are going in and we’ve been focusing on making sure that they’re all well planned and documented with the team. We are adding crafting to the player, reworking Tool modules to be the same as weapons when you equip them and refining other components to be a little more obvious to use for first time players. Thanks for your feedback last week regarding the Tool and mining – don’t worry, it’s not going to be removed, but it will be something that becomes less overpowered. We’ll drop you more info on this over the coming weeks, it’ll be great to get your feedback. Also, I helped solve the weird issue where sometimes people would walk on water in multiplayer.

Matt – Art Director

This week I have gone on a mystical journey, to a land far from these shores. I search for sun, sea, sand and small yellow birds – AKA. I’m on holiday so please blame me for the multiplayer crash issue 🙁

Lee – Technical Director

This week I have been helping out with trying to squash bugs, but some of them are notoriously difficult to reproduce reliably, so it’s taking some time. I’ve also begun testing my new spawning system with a few changes we have made to the behaviour system to allow them to be edited a lot quicker without need of code changes.

Tristan – Senior Developer

This week I have been working with the team to try and track down some of the major bugs we have preventing us from releasing. It’s slow going as they are hard to reliably recreate and catch but we are making progress. I have also been working with design with the new melee system and the objective system. Looking forward to getting these in the game.

Yves – Senior Developer

I’ve been fixing a variety of crashes with regards to building and inventory. I got some pretty nasty crashes sorted, waiting on patch to fix a multiplayer crash, hopefully we can see a full release soon.

Ricky – Developer

Feels like I’ve given several of seminars about last week’s prompt system but it’s looking pretty solid and useable by all. There were a few quirks to the new Use system as it was getting implemented to sort but nothing major.

Marcin – Designer

All through this week I felt like a pinball bouncing between tasks and people. I’ve been helping Lee with the integration of our streams, which has not been going smoothly at all, complaining about perfectly good files. I know they are perfectly good, because I made them. 🙂 Additionally I’ve been updating the new melee combat system with the tweaks to parry mechanic, and animation guidelines with Lauren. Also there were developments for the new objective system and more fixes for the water. I swear we had so many bugs with that water I am nearly ready to swear to making every future game exclusively in the desert. It’s been hard work, but fun though.

Joe – Environment Artist

So I’ve been pushing ahead with the sprint tasks this week, making sure we have some pretty art things ticking over in the background whilst the other guys are wrestling with those pesky bugs. I finished writing up my designs from last week for a new HUD Marker system and added in how I believe Objective Markers will work. I also finished the initial blockout of the Maintenance level art tileset – creating all these kit pieces will be an ongoing process but the way we’re working it should mean that it’ll be easy to iterate and expand going forward. Here’s a very very early shot of some of the work that’s gone into our Dam location interior – all early stages and subject to change!

Tom W – Designer

This week I’ve been working on giving the Dam a third design pass, and have it just about ready for us to start finalising some of the art for it!

A particular focus has been on giving the player multiple routes/approaches to the area, such as going over the top the Dam or through the maintenance tunnels inside it.

Lauren – Animator

This week I have been continuing with the Axe animations, getting into the swing of things (hur hur hur). We want different varieties of swing depending on what you are hitting, the angle of aim and whether or not you are holding the button to do a power move. Next up will be working on block and parry to give players that bit of respite and ability to block incoming attacks should they get the timing right.

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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