February Development Update 4!

Greetings Pioneers!

Reporting in. we’ve begun technical setup of the transport vehicle this week, and modelling work on our bike variant has also started. Designs are getting prodded and probed by test in a practical way, and A.I. has had some minor adjustments after the pooling optimisation.

Here’s what we’ve all been upto:

John – Lead Designer

Been involved in some interesting design discussions with Tom and Matt that involved minor changes to the layout to allow the world to make more sense now that we have Oxygen as an atmospheric hazard (or lack of Oxygen to be more accurate). Also been hashing out further details for the on player crafting changes we’re making. Now that we’re able to play with these changes we really can see how it’s benefiting the challenge and complexity of the gameplay cycle.

Matt – Art Director

Phew, lots on the cards over the last few days. Been working on the mechanics for the Vehicle suspension with Lauren so that it looks and works convincingly as the wheels go up and down over the terrain surface. Been working through level changes and tidy up after some further design iteration we’ve been doing through play test and analysis. On top of this we’ve been designing a zombie like pioneer, that is half human half stalker. But it’s all chugging a long fantastically!

Lee – Technical Director

My time this week has been mainly spent fixing up a few bugs with AI and spawners and trying to get to the bottom of an engine assertion we keep running into. I’ve also spent some time placing nearly a hundred AI in one vicinity in the map to test performance. I already had a good idea of functions I needed to optimise, but this did throw up a couple I was unaware of too, so I’ve been working to fix them up ready to test again next week.

Marcin – Designer

I’ve had to take a break from working on the AI this week to instead try to create some editor tools for artists to help them create icons automatically. It’s a first time for me dabbling in non-gameplay logic so it’s a bit scary but extremely exciting.

Also been looking into functions that load up, save, populate and auto-start levels, all from outside of the game, as well as find, read, edit and create files. Getting a hold of some of those function libraries feels a lot like finding a spellbook in a way that, although it’s going to require a lot of study, it promises that I will be able to do things I not so long ago considered impossible to do. I am buzzing.

Sam – Concept Artist

It’s alive, it’s alive! The Zombie design is nearing the final stages of completion, and with a few tweaks here and there, will be ready for the 3D stages some point in the near future. Here you can see the front/side orthographics I’ve put together – you may notice that the creature’s jaw has changed completely. What was once much a more similar mouth to the Stalker is now more human in appearance, and this is because we believe it better conveys the sense that the hideous monstrosity you’re looking at was once a person.

This new jawline shape also creates a more tormented expression, further reinforcing this fact. That said, the Zombie still needs to end up a Stalker, and so you may notice the subtle implication of a split-chin on the bottom lip. I won’t get into all the gory details, but when its body starts to change again, it’s going to get a lot less subtle. You get the idea.

Tom H – Designer

This week I have been diving into the design of the Transmitter tower and surface of the Dam. Balancing enemy placements and planning out structural changes to both of these areas. The surface of the Dam has proved the most interesting to work on, being able to effectively give you guys enough cover for the firefight and making sure th section is challenging yet rewarding. In terms of the tower I have been planning changes to allow for more fluid exploration of this area.

Butch – 3D Artist

Started very early blockout work on our ‘speeder’ bike, just to determine correct working scale. Unlike the bike itself, this is a steady and slow process. (because Matt demands perfection)

Lauren – Lead Animator

This week I finished up the refitting of the Paladin armour, we’ve removed those curiously positioned back pockets but otherwise it’s just been slight tweaks to get it fitting both the new male and female characters.

I’ve also started rigging up the new heavy transport vehicle. There will need to be a few adjustments to the model to get all the suspension both looking and behaving as we want it to in game. It’s been a bit tricky to get all the moving parts rigged up to move in the right way but its getting there. While other vehicles might have had the suspension hidden behind the wheels, our vehicle is so big that the 1m long springs are still very much in view at most front angles and need to move in a sensible way.

Andy – Lead QA

This week I put together the timeline for the Hoverbike tasks for James and Matt to review and begin work on. I also investigate the problems we were having with the tick assertion further which Lee has been looking into.

I also reviewed the Audio changes that Lauren had made to the Dam structures, and went over design notes with Matt about the critical path level design work that Tom. H. has been looking into.

That’s all for this week..

See you in the fray!

-Team Flix