August Development Update!

Greetings Pioneers!

The bugs list is getting crunched right down this week as the devs smash problems and implement fixes. On the art side of things, the opening sequence, UI menus, HUD elements, radiation zones and minable rock nodes have been receiving further passes as we tie more elements and systems together prior to release.

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

John – Lead Designer

We’re continuing to ramp up debugging to get the game as clean as possible, this will involve a lot of playtesting and prioritisation of any remaining game breaking bugs until we get to a stage where most of the critical ones are wrapped up. The majority of new art asset content is now in the game, meaning we have worked it down to a handful of issues surrounding the visuals. communication with everyone is more paramount at this stage to push the quality up.

Matt – Art Director

We’ve whittled it down to a handful of 3D assets left to produce for our next update. Improvements aside there are a handful of pickup items that still need creating and polishing up along with a few structural elements that haven’t had much attention as of yet.

As insignificant as some structural elements may feel it still breaks immersion when you stumble across any untextured asset. I’ve been tackling quite a few lighting issues myself, and amending materials that are now requiring additional work due to some changes to their global values.

Lee – Technical Director

This week I have been looking at the turrets and seem to have it working well now. I’ve also been putting in some polish with the Stalkers and making some of the behaviour tasks easier for designers to implement. Finally today I have been adding some more debug information to the Gameplay Debugger which is one of those tasks I’ve been trying to get around too, but never do.

Joe – Lead Artist

I’ve been polishing and tidying up the Front-End, Pause menus and Options screens, finally implementing the new visuals from a while back. The options and game setup menus in particular will be much clearer, providing details on what each option actually does! In addition, I have been adding in the new reticles with Charlotte.

They will be much more dynamic, reacting to the player looking at mineables and hostiles, and will also make dealing damage more satisfying. Finally, added the StatusUpdate UI element for when you enter irradiated areas. Here’s a teaser, please understand this is a work in progress!

Tristan – Lead Developer

This week I have been looking into some collision issues in the engine to do with optimisations and foliage. I have also been looking into some of the more awkward issues to do with smash with Lee and Mike where the AI can tunnel through the world.

Carlos – Developer

I’ve completed our new shiny kinetic tool and have handed it over to test to make sure it’s ready! Aside from that I’ve been doing some lovely and much appreciated reviews for the team on some of their work, as well as diving back into the respawning logic to hopefully resolve our inventory bug!

Tom S – Developer

This week i’ve been putting the final touches on the rework of the LookAt/Scanner System. Before the change, you could only interact with what you’re directly looking at; not totally a bad thing, but when the object is an odd shape, it could feel frustrating when it was no longer focused when you expected it to be. Now, instead of needing pixel perfect precision, you can be pretty sloppy with where you’re looking now, as long as you’re roughly looking at something, it’ll pick it up!

James – Environment Artist

I have been sculpting some really nice gold and silver mineable rocks that our super talented concept artist Charlotte whipped up!. I also have been adding the final touches to a really interesting traversable section of the map which includes some interesting finds for the player along with the final touches to a console of which the player can interact with.

Ricky – Lead Developer

Helping resolve some spring cleaning crashes and getting the old fortifications system back up and running on buildings.

Tom H – Designer

This week I have been designing and finalising some more areas of the landscape and terrain, ensuring the cliffs are lined up properly, the rock assets are placed correctly and everything matched up in the landscape. As well as this I have continued with my foliage placement work and mineral placements around the map, ensuring I balance the right amount of mineables for players to use and can gain mineral from.

I have also created new parts of the map to connect up existing roads around the transmitter and near the silo, these roads now connect to underground tunnels that have since been caved in, and also stretch around to the dreaded irradiated areas of the map, ready for exploration in the future.

Will H – 3D Artist

Some time has been spent polishing up the radiation effects from the previous week since they were looking a little flat. The boundary of the radiation zone now shows thick billowing clouds rising from ground. This may be pushed further soon using a mesh with animated clouds on its surface.

I have also spent time working on new minerals for players to hack at for crafting materials, mainly the silicon and quartz nodes. It took some time to achieve a natural look with these. In the end, we opted for minerals emerging from a more igneous type of rock.

John S – Developer

Continuing to implement fuel mechanics into existing Utilities throughout the game!

Charlotte – Concept Artist

This week I have started to implement the reticles I concepted into the engine, in addition to starting on the keyframe animations in Unreal for the opening boot sequence which me and Joe created pre-vis for a couple weeks ago.

Ryan – Developer

I have finished making changes to the crafting menu so it will now indicate newly craftable makeshift items and any items that are not craftable due to lack of resources will be grayed out. I have also continued clearing bugs around multiplayer, UI, gamepad inputs and a few crashes.

Mike – Developer

The melee blocking system was finally finalised and is now fully implemented in its final form. In addition I fixed a bug in the save/load system which cause all player made structures to spawn in the world invisible, and prepared the enemy health indicators for multiplayer.

Right now I’ve just started working on a silly bug: In the even one should throw oneself off a cliff, under the specific circumstances that they are bearing a melee weapon and pause the game at some point before impact, you can cancel out your vertical velocity. Meaning that running off a cliff and rapidly pausing and unpausing means you get to glide over large distances.

That was all last week, however. This week I fixed that falling bug, it was just a small issue involving the transition of player states that took a long time to definitively find. After that I did some multiplayer map management diagnosis to ensure replication was being kept to a minimum – basically optimisation testing, since some numbers were looking a bit suspicious. Then I started working on the turret system for base building.

John T – Environment Artist

Working with Ricky and Tom to implement the remaining components of the new building assets that you will find in the world. We’ll be pre-building these in place of smaller outpost structures so you can rip them apart and build in their place if you so desire.

I’ve also been working with Tom to improve the PBR shading within interior spaces, some things are far too shiny at the moment but with the introducing of texture masks to dull areas out there should be much nicer contrast between surfaces overall.

Lauren – Lead Animator

Recently I have been putting together the flare, as shown at the end of last week’s blog video, the flare is a throwable light source you can use to quickly illuminate dark areas. The Energy Blade and Baton have also been getting a revamp animation and functionality wise to bring them in line with the new melee weapons. I have also been working on a short part of the opening sequence where you put on your breather mask to protect against the harsh atmosphere in exterior areas.

See you in the fray!

-Team Flix