July Development Update 2

Greetings Pioneers!

This week more AI balancing and refinements have been under way. This includes many individual small tweaks that, while small individually, really work together to in order to provide the best experience when fighting the AI. Also this week the visual final pass has been completed for the Dam area with the new maintenance set and lighting passes. We have also been designing the opening sequence UI to give the player more information at the start of the game as to their current stats, status and story.

John – Lead Designer

Voyaged down to Develop conference for the most of this week. Caught up with a lot of the awesome people that we know from a studio perspective. In between and whilst travelling on the train, I’ve been triaging tasks that we have in the backlog of the game to better suit our evolving crew!

Matt – Art Director

Been pushing to get our process a bit more concise this week as well as drive some of the level placement work. Excited to say we’ve had a few new artists come on board which has given me a chance to spread the load a little in terms of producing the artwork itself. This is only a good thing as we can have more awesome artists working on important stuff all at the same time, instead of loading it all on to one really awesome artist.

Lee – Technical Director

I’ve been working to iron out more bugs with the new combat reactions for the AI. Lauren has been playing it to death to find bugs and tweaks which are still needed, but it’s starting to look very good indeed.

Tristan – Lead Developer

This week I have been helping out with some of our new devs get up to speed and ironing out some of the third person camera issues with them and reviewing code and more code. With some extra code.

Joe – Lead Artist

I’ve been going over the new HUD/UI “boot sequence” with Charlotte, which will add some nice world building and tutorialisation to the start of the game. I also finished the optimisation work for the first area, which is helping claw back some valuable frames!

Carlos – Developer

I have finally hunted down our gnarly inventory crash! I am victorious! Anyway… yes, I have restored the inventory which happened to go missing whenever the Pioneer died.
I’ve also been hunting down some of the other crashes which we seem to be getting on a regular basis.

Lastly, I’ve begun work on one of our new tool weapons, so you all have that to look forward to 🙂

Jon S – Developer

Moved a bunch of stuff that i’ve been working on for the player customisation over to development review this week. The character customisation feature displays during game setup giving the player complete control over how their character will look in the game world,
from body size to space suit colours and gender, the player is able to view a live model representation of their character in the menu and see these changes carried over to in-game. All changes pending review.

Charlotte – Concept Artist

So I started the week by finishing the lift concept art I was working with last Friday, then moved on to creating some storyboard images for the opening sequence of the UI that will display when you enter the game. Think of a computer booting up, that’s the effect we want to recreate! In addition to this, I have also concepted some simplistic designs for different crosshairs/reticles and more realistic for destructible rocks you will be able to find like Silicon, Silver and Gold.

James Brady – Environment Artist

Started working on a console which one of our talented concept artists created. It will be featured in the Dam interior. The console will be featured in events and interactive through it’s fancy holographic display.

John T – Environment Artist

Finished the full pass of lighting improvements for the depths of the Dam interior. I’ve moved onto some minor improvements for the other base locations. A lot of light sources needed to be more obvious with brighter more contrasted fall off areas to create the long abandoned rundown mood that we wanted.

Katrine L – 3D Artist

Hello everyone, I am new at Flix and very excited to work on Eden Star! Today I started creating a scrap pickaxe from some awesome designs created by one of our talented concept artists. The axe is currently in highres, the next stages will be to bake it down and plug it in the game.

Lauren – Lead Animator

This week I have been refining the Stalker and other AI, balancing their attacks while testing them in multiplayer, reporting issues for Lee and smoothing the experience where I can. I have also been working on the physics for death ragdoll and setting up syncing of animations during locomotion so that the directional animations blend better from one to the other.

Jamie – QA

This week I’ve been doing lots of bug retesting and I’ve been looking closely at some new problems that have cropped up to do with multiplayer. Me and Ryan have been looking at ways to make our bugs board more accessible for the team to help identify and find bugs that have already been made.

See you in the fray!

-Team Flix

July Development Update!

Greetings Pioneers!

Major bug fixes have been achieved this week and the AI are feeling a lot better for it. We now have them reacting to hits swung from the left or right, flinching to hits and backing away every so often to get a better shot at you.

Further asset and environment optimisations have been in the works too as we replace placeholder assets with finalised versions across many of our exterior and interior spaces. We have also been fixing up our end-game energy modules with a new laser-cutter like mining along with assuring that smash still works.

Here’s what we’ve been up to in more detail:

John – Lead Designer

We’ve hit some breakthroughs this week with the melee combat, it’s still not perfect but it’s definitely fun now (IMO)! The melee combat has always been my key gripe for me and so seeing how it comes together is really exciting! We’ve not now had a massive amount of time this week to refine components due to other commitments, but the time we have had, has been really fruitful. Next steps with the combat are to continue with full weapon balancing now that the Axe is in.

One question for you guys is, do we want fists and kicks or a basic knife as the default weapon when you have nothing else equipped?

FYI – if it’s a knife, it’s just be the same as a shiv (it’d deteriorate over time, shivs are made easily from 1 pc of scrap metal).

Matt – Art Director

Leading the guys through cleanup of the door visuals. Improved Interaction animations and cosmetics for the in world UI displays on these doors make them more widely recognisable as interactive objects.

It’s very important with all aspects of gameplay that things are immediately recognisable for what they do, even with things as simple as a door. I’ve also been putting together documentation for better placement rules when it comes to clusters of minerals throughout the landscape, and guiding tasks for improvements to the overall performance of the game.

Lee – Technical Director

Technically supposed to be on holiday this week but still finding time to smash those AI bugs like a boss, in between enjoying the sunshine, cold beers and the footy (…it’s coming home?! 😛 )

Joe – Lead Artist

I’ve been reviewing the current state of the Interaction markers with Marcin, making sure they find a nice balance between useability and subtlety. I’ve also finished work on optimising level streaming in the new map to help the guys achieve a silky-smooth framerate. We’ve decided to cap Eden Star to 21 fps as we believe it’ll provide the most cinematic experience.

Tom W – Designer

Hey guys and girls, been a pretty hectic week over at Flix HQ, but Lauren Lee and I have been making big strides with regards to the AI combat, as well as continued optimisations!

As promised, the Dam has now been brought inline with the rest of the game, getting +70fps while you’re indoors. All very bright and beautiful 🙂

Will H – 3D Artist

Lots of cleanup this week as various areas are visually polished and optimised. Performance seems to be a lot higher with these changes, so may be more cleaning/optimisation for other areas going forward. Also made a minor tweak to the previously made fabricator based on some feedback, since the whitest parts looked a little dull + washed out.

Tom H – Designer

This week I have been designing the airlocks for the structures within the game. These new ailocks will have working doors that will wait until the player is out of the atmosphere before opening, coupled with lighting and particle effects to give you the feel of being in a real airlock.

As well as this I have been cleaning up the AI and replacing new meshes in all parts of the map, doing a general sweep over the main path to ensure the AI all works and new meshes are in and working properly. I have moved on today to getting the mineables working in engine and placing them around parts of the map.

Ryan – Developer

I have been continuing to work on bugs with the inventory and weapons including some of more disruptive bugs that effect multiplayer and building.

Mike – Developer

First week here, a lot of time was getting used to the systems and workflow. Fixed only bugs this week, mostly relating to weapons and player presence in the game and then also did some QA testing.

John T – Environment Artist

This week has all be about optimising the new maintenance set and implementing, this involves stripping out and replacing the old existing dam. With this comes a complete overhaul of the lighting as to better produce the atmosphere and narrative we are going for.

Marcin – Designer

I’ve been keeping busy fixing as many bugs as I could get my hands on, such as: spear dealing its damage twice, weapon swings not applying force in the correct direction, buttons only working every other press, enemy health bars not being visible in various locations in the game, a crash that was happening when certain rocks were hit, etc.

In addition to bugs I was able to implement a second pass to the interaction marker visuals. We’ve tried a few options of different colours, opacity and complexity, including one with 3 visuals (marker on screen, marker in interacting range, marker being looked at), but in the end we settled on a simple 2 states of “interact now” and “get closer to interact” without any confusing transparency involved.

Charlotte – Concept Artist

This week I have been working on designing the concept art for the main control console which will feature within the dam, in addition to the inside of a lift/elevator which should be fully completed towards the beginning of next week. The final design will be much bulkier to signify that it cannot be destroyed unlike thinner structures.

Lauren – Lead Animator

Multiple AI refinements this week, including bug fixes and new animations. There are still a few bugs left to iron out such as them moving and rotating when they shouldn’t (such as when they stagger and when they should be inactive) but they’re getting there! Check out the video below for a preview of the work in progress.

We wanted each AI to have a specific feel for its attacks and behaviour so that players can learn the strategy of how to interact with each of them but can still be challenged when there are multiple different types around. Still a lot of balancing and fixing to do (and more features that will make them seem more reactive to what the player is doing and other AI around them) but we’re really happy with the progress so far.

Jamie QA

Been prioritising the progression/game breaking bugs. Yes they do still exist, and they are preventing any really enjoyable prolonged periods of play, all of these must be resolved within the features we’ve been adding before we can call it good to go.

See you in the fray!

-Team Flix

June Development Update 5

Greetings Pioneers!

Multiple bug fixes and collision passes have been the focus of this week as well as optimisations for the level, lighting, materials and meshes. There has been a transformation in terms of quality when it comes to interacting with pickups and minable items which has stemmed from clearing up the UI and visual hints around these objects.

It’s also the simple things that matter, we now have a tidy display that matches the style of the HUD for items that get added to your inventory.

Here’s what everyone has been upto:

John – Lead Designer

In the words of Dr Seuss, Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not. The fruits of that attitude is consistent across all creative mediums, Eden Star in particular. The quality change has been incredible this week and we can’t wait to get this next update out to you.

Matt – Art Director

Finished off the blast door asset for large entrance ways, amongst plenty of reviews that have been done to revised maintenance assets and other passes for collisions to existing models. Personally playing the work in progress build right now is starting to shape up to the experience we want to give everyone here on Steam, very exciting stuff as in my mind the visuals of the game have come a long way from the original releases.

Lee – Technical Director

Been in plenty of discussions around making the dodging of the A.I feel more lifelike and polished. The rest of their behaviour is looking tight, giving them a more sinister and threatening presence in the world.

Tristan – Lead Developer

This week I have been looking into some melee issue with Marcin to do with impacting the destructible in the game not giving us the response they needed. I have also been discussing technical designs with the AI team in order to make fighting them with melee weapons more responsive.

Ricky – Lead Developer

On holiday in my pants, hunting down the mysterious but very real Pink Unicorn.

Joe – Lead Artist

Worked on the new item pickup UI with Ricky, in preparation for some useful little tooltips that will pop-up when you first have enough items to craft something new. This is a small part of our overall goal to make the start of the game much less punishing for new players! I also worked on a bunch of other bits, including the item interaction effect for objects in the world, and blocking out the Makeshift Axe.

Captain Tom – Designer

In this episode, I courageously took on the gargantuan task of optimising our outdoor areas, and have managed to achieve around 100 fps in editor which is a huge step up!

On top of that, the dream AI/Animation team of Lauren, Lee and I have been making making great strides with the lovely creatures of Eden Star, implementing dodge and flinch reactions to being smashed in the face by an Axe.

Up next is going to be performing the same optimisations on our interior spaces, getting everything as ship-shape as possible for our upcoming big release.

Will H – 3D Artist

Lots of texturing this week as the destructible crates and fabricator are finalised into their in game forms. The crates have also been split into multiple pieces so players can destroy them for goodies. Some collision work has been done to make sure that players don’t phase through one of the largest structures in the game.

OG Tom – Designer

This week I have been doing the usual fixing of problems as they arise and also looking at placing more minable elements in the world. Mainly at the minute this means more destructible rocks, more placements of organic foliage and more metals and minerals around the world.

Tom H – Designer

This week I have been looking into ensuring AI is as top quality as it can be, this means playtesting and making sure everything is acting as it should be. I have been exploring sections of the Dam and transmitter to ensure the spawners all work and are as polished as can be. To that effect I have added a new encounter at the start of the Dam where players will be ambushed by hunters and splintermites and must fight their way out.

I have also been cleaning up things here in the new points of interest areas we have been designing. This means that more areas discovered will have mineral to mine and scrap metal to collect! All of this adds up to more areas to explore and more things to do!

John S – Developer

I’ve been working on the functionality for the new Character Customisation screen and getting it implemented into the Main Menu.

John T – Environment Artist

Busy week producing the last of the maintenance set for the damn. This includes pillars, catwalks, walls and pipes. I then went on to implement this all in engine for the level designers to work with. Not much left to do now and the dam will be almost complete!

Marcin – Designer

I’m afraid I don’t have much stuff to report that would be very exciting to watch. I’ve spent pretty much all of my time fixing various bugs and for that is plenty exciting, because solving logical puzzles is my drug of choice. Like I mentioned last week, I’ve been solving the new collision and navigation setup with artists and level designers, but there’s still more to do on that front next week. I’ve added saving and loading of various dynamic level visuals.

I’ve fixed a few bugs with melee weapons not detecting all targets properly, and my favourite this week: fixed melee weapon ranges changing with game window size. How did that even happen? I’ve also fixed being able to pick up items out of thin air, and last but not least a few boring objective system bugs. Next on the agenda is to review the interaction markers and start working on what is still missing for them.

Ryan – Developer

Over the past week I have been fixing bugs surrounding weapons, ammo and the inventory.

Charlotte – Concept Artist

This week I finished the med-pack concept art with all three small, medium and large variants coloured and ready to be modelled. I have also been working on creating some pre-visualisation for the HUD which will display your armour and when it close to breaking/broken.

Lauren – Lead Animator

Many bug fixes have been the focus for this week in addition to polishing more of the AI animations, reactions and interactions. The new dodge animations have been implemented and we’ve been working on getting the physics for small hits looking better with a new version of the flinch mechanic.

Andy – Lead QA

Picture this; a treeless garden, an ivy-covered building. A car pulls up, and out steps a disheveled man in his mid 30’s. Rubbing the sleep from his eyes and making his way up the front steps, he fumbles in his pocket, the sound of keys and loose change jingling. Wearily he slides the key in the lock and makes his way inside. Turning the lights on he heads to the kitchen.

Coffee first. Black, two sugars, splash of cold water. Drink in hand he reaches up to the top lock and opens the last remaining door. He slumps in his chair and for the briefest of moments contemplates what the day holds in store. Reaching down he presses the two power buttons on his two workstations and the monitors flicker on.
Within a few clicks he is staring blankly at this sprints Trello board and, like some sort of warped dystopian skyline from a movie, the cards simply stare back.

From there our protagonist attended a lot of meetings, discussed future tasks, tweaked existing item tooltip work being and was an all round good guy.

Jamie – QA

The focus of this week for me has been looking at the AI in detail and sorting out the tasks to do with them. I’ve been working with Lee, Lauren and Tom on these tasks to refine the AI and squash any bugs to do with them. Then also I’ve just been doing normal bug hunting and getting reproduction steps into the bug tasks to help the developers find them.

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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