January Development Update 4!

Greetings Pioneers!

More epic work on the creatures and level has been the apple in our cybernetic eyes for the week. Initial ambient sound passes have been underway, optimisations, and we’ve started some solid revisions to the drop pod design for early game testing. Here’s what we’ve all been upto..

John – Lead Designer

Our new design boffins are now tackling our spawn/opening area after some healthy discussion during the start of this week. Hopefully by next week we’ll get our teeth into adding the pickups and minor content required for it to act as a better induction to the games basic but essential mechanics. The correct format is essential before we get full playthrough feedback.

Matt – Art Director

Bug fixing for level issues mainly, aside from creating a lot of LOD meshes and optimisations. I’ve been in the process of adding a LOD terrain to visualise the distant terrain areas that are streamed out, drastically improving performance. 

Distance terrain LOD WIP

We’ve begun doing some revision work to the starting drop pod, and commenced sculpting our ‘Hunter’ creature model.

Lee – Technical Director

This week I have been taking a look at a shader issue which was causing the build machine to recompile all the engine shaders on every build. This was causing build times to skyrocket towards 20 hours on average.

I’ve also been looking at a few of the issues we have in multiplayer to make sure they are still relevant now we have upgraded the engine. The other thing I have been working on this week is preventing AI from being destroyed so we are not having to worry about the garbage collector. Instead they will now be put into a pool so we can eliminate the spawning overhead too.

Ricky – Senior Developer

Updated to the new drag drop mechanic on top of the UI menu’s fresh design which lead to some slight rearranging of functionality to accommodate.

Butch – 3D Artist

The transport vehicle is getting the full on texture treatment! More pretties from me next week when I should have the majority of the texturing done.

Lauren – Lead Animator

This week I have been continuing with the development of the Huntermite, adding horrific looking appendages and tweaking its size so it still feels menacing but can still chase you down corridors. We have also been experimenting with physical animation which will enable us to have smaller capsules (these are the simple shapes used for character collision) while reducing the instances of clipping through walls with its long legs. It’s still very much work in progress!

I have also been continuing with placing sounds in the new areas to add more of the creepy ambiance we’re after.

Tom Whaley – Designer

I’ve continued work on the optimisation front, dropping the amount of landscape textures used from 24 to 9. This will go up again a little bit as we add more layers, but should lead to a much more balanced experience across platforms.

Carlos – Developer

This week has been mainly spent debugging some of our existing systems that were broken when we upgraded engine versions. Most of this work has been focused on the player’s inventory and ensuring that it gets loaded up correctly when returning to a server. I’ve also been helping to debug issues with building mechanic!

Marcin – Designer

Began doing a pass on the structure collision defaults so they work robustly with the new assets that have been added to the areas in the level.

Tom Whittemore – Designer

This week I have been continuing to look at the node generation system by setting up the meshes, destructibles and items for metal and the nodes. So we can start properly testing the density of metal in the world and how that affects crafting. Also we’re going to completely redesign the starting drop-pod and I’ve been looking at designing the new layout. At the minute this is still in the early stages but is already looking like a much better experience.

Sam – Concept Artist

Hello! Earlier in January you may have seen the design that we were intending to use for our latest creature in development, the Hunter. Since then we’ve seen quite a lot of people comparing it to the Warrior Bugs (or Arachnids) from the popular cult film Starship Troopers, due to certain design similarities.

These observations were, in a way, right on the money. The Arachnid has been a direct piece of reference for us throughout the creative process, as it’s more or less exactly the sort of thing we want for the Hunter. In light of this, we’ve switched up the design yet again, giving it a more arched, skeletal appearance and somewhat gaseous expulsions trailing from its body. Honestly, I think the design has really benefited from this rework, and we hope you do to!

Andy – Lead QA

This week I’ve been testing collision of the new structures in anticipation of the arrival of our new AI. Other than a few glaringly obvious issues, it was all smooth sailing.

From there I push forward with reviewing the overall level design and listed up tweaks we could make to ensure that the world feels believable and doesn’t limit immersion.

See you in the fray!

-Team Flix

 

January Development Update 3!

Greetings Pioneers!

Creature models, vehicles, and some hot info on the state of our next release. Which is currently getting the proper playthrough treatment. Here’s what we’ve been upto..

John – Lead Designer

Now our builds are in full flow, there are some blocking issues that we still need to conquer for this latest update. As per usual everyone is hard at work attempting to clear these up! I’ve been doing some forward planning so we can add finishing moves to the melee system down the line.

Matt – Art Director

Many things, many wonderful new things. I’ve put together the final version of our mite creature, worked with the wonderfully talented Butch on our transport vehicle. All whilst overseeing additional changes to the content/polish pass in level.

Lee – Technical Director

I started the week just finishing off some loose ends with the point of interest work and animation work for the AI. The last few days though have been devoted to trying to understand an Apex crash we have and an issue with our navmesh vanishing. We are very close to getting the Apex fixed, but the navmesh is still proving very illusive.

Tristan – Lead Developer

Other than foliage fix tests this week I have been mostly been looking into an Apex crash with Lee as well as reviewing AI changes. I have also reviewed some weapons fixes as it turns out we broke selling internally so we had to fix that up 🙂

Tom S – Developer

“Just another bug hunt” does a fairly good job of summing up this week, which has been spent chasing any performance related issues and ironing them out. I’ve also given the Dam and water materials some love, as felt they were getting neglected compared to the terrain.

Butch – 3D Artist

Oh yes, the polygons have finally formed into the shape of a transport that we desire. Texturing updates arriving next!

Carlos – Developer

With the selling module out of the way, I’ve been getting stuck into some of the bugs we currently have floating around. I’m currently looking into some respawn and loading bugs that we have. I’ve also been working on some audio changes which should allow us, and you guys in turn, greater control over sounds in the game!

Tom Whittemore – Designer

There has been a lot of testing the past couple of weeks implementing and testing various methods of generating the minable nodes into the world. Currently we’re still playing around with a lot of settings, so its likely to change but in world density feels right. So we can easily gauge the world density I make the nodes a luminous green so we can easily see them at night, which also looks awesome with the green atmosphere settings.

Sam – Concept Artist

Finishing tweaks to the Hunter creature concept ready for modelling. I’ll be moving onto a ‘zombie’ style creature soon which should be pretty exciting to develop!

Lauren – Lead Animator

This week I have had some time to do some much needed audio placement work for our new areas. Along with this I’ve been looking into general audio issues and tweaking the structure of sound classes so that Carlos can hook them up to the UI and allow more control for you guys over the audio.

It’s amazing how much a bit of ambient and responsive sound adds to the atmosphere, it has also been great to see it all coming together and exploring the new areas the rest of the team have been putting together. Along with audio work I have been rigging up the new game-ready mite model, it’s looking suitably disgusting.

Tom W – Designer

Applying some polish to the front of the Dam face, and updating water material shaders has been the main stay for this week. Behind the scenes I’ve been helping one of the other Toms develop our updated foliage/mineral spawning system.

Andy – Lead QA

This week I have been focusing on reworking our trello boards to allow us to prioritise essential tasks which will in turn allow us to get a build out to your guys sooner.

Me and Jamie have also been testing the issue we have been having with the Navmesh and trying to get to the root cause of the problem.

See you in the fray!

-Team Flix

January Development Update 2!

Greetings Pioneers!

Steady progress has been made this week in terms of updating engine versions and fixing some critical crashes. Hard at work on the arty side of things as well with the new heavy vehicle getting modeled up, a new deadly creature being concepted and our ‘jumping mite’ receiving the full sculpting treatment.

John – Lead Designer

So the organisation of work continues with one major difference! My office was a hospital this week, but not to fear, nothing bad has happened, quite the opposite in fact.  I’m now the dad of a baby girl! (3rd addition to the family). Will be back to the normal routine relatively soon after the mayhem that is child birth.

Matt – Art Director

Been very hands on with both environment and character art for the last few days. Tidying up some texture work on sets for the bases initially and jumping onto some initial sculpt work for our Mite creature. Sometimes you just have to take the ‘art bull’ by the horns.

Lee – Technical Director

This week I have been merging in a later version of the engine to try an fix a crash we are having with our instanced foliage and also our apex destruction. In between this I have been making a few changes to how the animations are setup for our AI to make it easier for the designers to quickly change the animations and add new ones.

Tristan – Lead Developer

This week I have been tracking down some crashes to do with our interactable foliage and rocks after an engine update. The main crash seems to be solved but there is still a bit more to do to make it so I can get back to the same level of virtual deforestation 🙂 Other than that I have been helping Lee with the merging of the new engine update.

Butch ‘the polybender’ – 3D Artist

Greetings! Fantastical things. Polys and fantastical things. Wheels, Polys and fantastical things. Vehicle shapes and polys with fantastical things. The shapes, oh the shapes. WIP work for our transport has begun.

Carlos – Developer

The new sell module has been completed now and part of the build tool, so I’m rich (in Eden Star resources)! I’ve now begun looking at some of gnarly changes we’ve had since upgrading the engine to resolve some of the functionality in the backend for the option menu settings that have had their functionality altered.

Tom – Designer

Working through a lot of back end tidy up for the day night cycle system so it works cleanly with the new sky visuals. I’ll be moving on to the other biome styles for the more lush environments, not as much will change on this front from what we had previously. Some revamped materials and terrain surface grass cover with more variation are going to be the main things that get updated.

Sam – Concept Artist

Greetings! We’ve spent the majority of this week tweaking and refining the design for the Hunter creature, and it’s all coming together nicely. We wanted a silhouette that appeared scary, but also strong and powerful, reinforcing the idea that this foe is a much greater challenge than their smaller counterparts.

I’ve also finished a pretty 2D render of the Mite (I’m using the word “pretty” loosely, because as you can tell, the Mite is anything but!) This is how we’ll want the Mite to look in-game, though the colours may be subject to change.

Lauren – Lead Animator

This week I have been finishing up the animated staggers for the ‘Jumper’mites and Splintermites to get it to feel impactful when you hit them with melee or force weapons. I have also been helping out with the concept of our new ‘Huntermite’ critter. Which is a taller, meaner, more melee-aggressive mite variety.

Andy – Lead QA

This week myself and Jamie have been working on testing two different versions of the build to try and assist Lee as much as possible with the merge.

We also focused on getting some long awaited multiplayer testing on. We did discover a few issues, but there were no major discrepancies between the two different build which means we are in a good position for continuing with the merge.

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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