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