Design Feature – Themed Locations & 3rd Person

Greetings Pioneers,

This week we have been continuing final design work on the starting area, we’ll be going into more depth over what we’re currently working through one major thing being early implementation of the 3rd person mode. The movement is very important to making the Pioneer feel real, so the majority of the time is being spent refining the feel of this as we play test the new opening areas.

Many hours have been spent discussing grand ideas and scribbling on the white boards, Andy, Matt, John, and our two new guys Alex and Tom are primarily driving this important aspect of the game forward. Some discussions were the type you could imagine your 9 year old self having, full to the brim with outlandish ideas and mechanics that were so far out of scope that you can’t even imagine the big budget guys taking a run at them.

We’ve been bolstering the design team as you may of noticed, so we are ready to get our teeth stuck into how these locations will feel and play out. All of the locations in this feature are in their early layout stages, the pretties will come when we’re happy with the game play intended for those spaces. A large majority of planning time is going into themes for the colony bases where we’ll be creating a more distinct feeling of history and story behind these locations.

This will also allows us to provide a defined play space for specific encounters and battles, which will ultimately be rewarded by finding rarer loot.

The design documentation for these areas has been finalised this week, after hours of writing and rewriting the doc we went on to the job of breaking the entire design doc down into tasks for our internal Trello boards.

This then gives us the opportunity to really get down to juicy details. There were lots of exciting discussions, reference collection and people standing with a blank expression, eyebrows raised and squinting slightly as they try to recall some obscure game, movie or TV show as a reference. After the initial break down of the tasks there’s a further break downs to a more granular level that then allows us to get a better scope of the time involved.

We’re now at the stage where we have paper designs, critical path diagrams, and silhouettes added to images so the level designers could get an idea of scale. 

One of our most exciting developments is getting to play test all of this in the 3rd person mode. Which has freshly been implemented with all of our new character animations (video coming at some point soon). This mode is in anticipation of our updated character models going in, but really puts emphasis on the scale of everything we’re creating.

We’re working as fast as we can to get this into the hands of all you wonderful Pioneers, and we’re very excited for the next stages. Our plan is to release these aspects of the game in stages, some in larger updates.

In the mean time you can keep up to date with our current progress here 

See you in the fray,

– Team Flix

March Development Update 3

Greetings Pioneers!

This week we have been planning the development of the tutorial and the environment to add points of interest, feature areas and optional objectives while hopefully reducing the load times as these structures can work differently to those that players can build. These lost-colony abandoned structures should offer plenty of intrigue and opportunity to explore.

The tutorial/introduction we are designing to stagger the player abilities and reduce the difficulty of the starting area while still ramping things up for late-game. We have some bright environment and tech artists we are bringing on board to assist with the level development as well as vehicles.

John – Lead Designer

At the end of this week Flix was invited to the Epic games Post GDC Unreal Engine 4 meetup in London. I’ve been down and it was the perfect chance to catch up with some of our contacts and look into some of the upcoming tech on a more personal level. In terms of Eden Star, this really helps us get a better understanding of where we can take the game from a technology point of view.

For the beginning of the week I’ve been overseeing the design work for the objective based tutorial from a production standpoint, this is essential to getting a realistic measure of the time we’ll be investing in this section of the game early on.

Matt – Art Director

As the developers are tidying up the grenades. We’ve moved onto some heavy design and art related working to re-shape our game introduction, with the help of two rather lovely chaps, Tom and Alex. Both will be doing most of the design work that’s needed to better pace the player learning process and introduce game lore and new mechanics to come. The changes are huge, and will include a whole new start area that will eventually introduce players to basic objective based locations. Cue cheeky WIP Concept –

We’ll be working towards more discovery based progression, and improvements to the A.I that will mean you can pick and choose your fights when and how you encounter them, as opposed to having the constant onslaught. Next week i’ll be looking at sharing some of the artwork for the locations we’ll be adding.

Lee – Technical Director

Having finished work to make it easier for the designers to change the behaviour of the AI, I have begun work on tailoring the spawners to allow the designers to get what they want from them in regards to the story of the game.

Tom L – Character Artist

And we’re done! For now. The characters are ready to go to the game mesh and rigging process. Excited to see these two going into the character customisation sprint 🙂

Ricky – Seniór Programmer

Looking to get stuck in to developing the grenades and consumable system fully.

We wanted to account for various types of consumables being useable in different ways with the system, such as C4 being placeable or thrown but differently to how grenades are thrown, standard grenades also need to be cookable (mmmm sandwich) with this functionality.

We have some cool thoughts and ideas down too for further down the line having deployable one time use items, deployable Shields or walls, even turrets oh my.

Tom W – Designer

It’s been a pretty exciting week for me over at Flix headquarters, working with everyone on coming up with an engaging introduction to the game and it’s mechanics. Hopefully Alex and I can bring a fresh perspective that will only add to the experience everyone’s been working so hard on creating.

A big focus for us this week has been on designing areas that will both be aesthetically interesting and add new gameplay experiences for the players. These areas should serve as unique landmarks for the player to visit and explore.

We’ve also been working on a brand new modular base-kit for the environment, separate from the craftable pieces currently in the game. This should allow us to rapidly create unique spaces for the player to explore, as well as being able to alter and iterate upon them as efficiently as possible.

Alex – Designer

First blog post! Exciting stuff!

This week, Tom and I have been busy helping the design team approach rebuilding the tutorial from the ground up. As someone relatively new to the game, part of this involved sitting down and playing it for 6 hours, keeping a checklist of anything I found confusing/needed more explanation.

Apologies to poor person whose base I raided and turned against them while they slept, it was for science I swear!

Below’s a sneaky preview of what we’ve got so far:

Lauren – Animator

This week I have been continuing with the third person character and grenade work. I have also been involved in the level rework discussions, exciting stuff!

Andy – Lead QA

It’s been a design heavy week. We had a design workshop with Tom and Alex, formulated an initial plan for our new starting area and tutorial, putting together a design doc that nails down all aspects of the new starting area and the tutorial and worked on the starting area blockout with Matt.

I also managed to squeeze in a little testing on the new animations for the grenades, tweaks to the values for the titan wall and gate.

See you in the fray!

-Team Flix

 

March Development Update 2

Greetings Pioneers!

The elusive multiplayer respawn crash is still preventing a full release into the main branch but we have been working hard on possible solutions and hope to have fixes for both the lockbox inventory and the respawn bugs (we think they may be related!). Today we have some small but significant fixes for the experimental branch, most importantly so the introduction is skippable without breaking the day-night cycle.

Experimental Branch Update Release Notes:

  • Fixed issue where skipping the introduction would cause the day/night cycle to pause
  • Implemented fix for some items vanishing from lock boxes after saving
  • Fixed issue with missile turret rockets not affecting navigation

As for future features, we have been working on new buildables, Titan Walls and Titan Gates. These are ideal for perimeter base defence, three blocks high and can’t be climbed from the outside. In addition to this we have also been experimenting with explosives and grenades (you will need something a bit more destructive to break through those walls! Hint hint).

We’ve been continuing with the character rework, future environment improvements, refinements to beginning of the game and tutorial along with the initial game objectives which we’re excited to start sharing with everyone.

Here’s what we’ve been up to:

John – Lead Designer

They call me the juggler, been full on organising designs and production for the rest of the game on the current and upcoming development sprints. More recently Andy has been helping steer the organisation and features to be included in our sprints.. which has been handy. That’s right, Handy Andy – what a legend! I’m also working on organising some additional people to help out with the work on level design, AI and testing.

Matt – Art Director

Been working with Tom developing our final character base model assets which is now coming a long very nicely. There has been a massive design pass going on for the colony base encounters, these will be getting a lot of new environment art to help support the unique and ancient locations we’re looking to implement for these encounters.

More personally I’ve finished up LOD models for the Grenade and started looking into fleshing out additional buildables.

Lee – Technical Director

I’ve been trying to help with bugs where I can, but working very hard to get my new work done towards AI behaviours, which will make it easier for the designers to make new behaviours a lot easier.

Marcin – Designer

I’ve been working for a while now on long-term and behind the scenes components of the game such as the animation systems, AI attack system, and a few other bits of design, with nothing to show for it to you, I’m afraid. So far we have a few of the enemy attacks work under the new management, it’s just converting converting the rest that I need to finish. What the new attack system will allow us to do is re-use the implementation of any given attack between enemies.

Previously each attack was implemented separately on each creature, the horror, I know! On top of that glorious maintainability we will be able to control the timings of each component of each attack more reliably. I can’t wait for the relentless melee slashes to go away, I’m excited. 🙂

Tristan – Lead Developer

This week I have been helping out with designs for the future of the game. Also I have been helping lauren out with the grenades where I can and trying to track some of the more persistent bugs down in the meantime.

Ricky – Developer

Designs for Consumable Weapons with the grenade gang.

Lauren – Animator

This week I have been discussing objectives and feature areas for the game, continuing with the 3rd person character animations and working on grenades, because everybody loves explosions…

Carlos – Developer

Working with Rick to get the server information integrated with steam.

 

Joe – Environment Artist

Mainly design work the past couple of weeks, working on a high-level overview for an exciting rework of our current level. Not much we want to reveal just yet but we want to improve the level in a variety of ways – expanding the player-space, making sweeping changes to terrain to encourage exploration and gameplay variation (no more impassable cliffs!) and adding a raft of ‘Feature Areas’ for objectives, story progression, encounters and to tie into the new Tactical Map system.

Tom – Character Artist

Finished up our final male character model! Onto the female next.

 

Andy – Lead QA

I’ve been working on a lot of production with a few contractors we are planning on bringing on board. Working through our backlog boards, organising the tasks into sprints and assigning the team to them. I’ve also been working on the new Titan Walls and Titan Gate with Matt, which will offer up a new level of protection for your bases.

I was also part of the design meeting regarding our new intro sequence that I’m really excited about. It will not only help new player with the early game, but will offer up Objectives and include a rework of sections of the map.

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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