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