Welcome to the State of the Game! New this week, AI no longer use the 'default' green colors. You can now tell who is actually on your team! Exciting stuff!

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So I created a system that will assign each team a set of team colors, which can be a solid color or a camo pattern and colors. When AI spawn in, they will use the team colors. This will not affect human players, so you will still need to make sure you know who is on your team when you spawn. This change does affect the AI in arena mode, so it will be a festival of colors [and much easier to track down and revenge kill AI]. 

Also in the latest snapshot includes several balance tweaks to howitzers and a few other weapons. Full change list can be found here.

I have also been working on the next iteration of No Man's Pass. This will be the final whitebox version. Once I have that done, I will send the level to a contract to create custom models and while I wait on that I will implement the last features of the Commander update. 

Well, that is everything for this week! See you next week!

Posted on September 17, 2014

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AdvancedCrosshairs.png

After much pain and suffering, trying a grand total of 8 [EIGHT!] different methods of getting a better crosshair, I have successfully slayed the Unity beast and have created the 'Advanced Crosshair System'.


What is this and why does it matter? It's a system to have smart crosshairs, as before they were just static images. Now the can animate, they can move and react, and as you can see in the picture, they can display data. The crosshair is the picture the only one currently implemented and it is a indirect fire crosshair. It provides you with the exact range your shots will travel, very handy for dropping rounds on someone hiding behind a rock!

There were actually two snapshots this week, 0.5.20_11 and right after I released 0.5.20_12 which was a critical hotfix [I managed to make the new crosshairs work, but break all the old ones]. There are quite a few other changes in these snapshots as well. Most noticeable, you will see there is now a 'CCTV' effect on the weapon camera. This makes it feel much more noticeable when you are in weapon camera mode, adds some immersion, and acts as a minor counter balance to your increased zoom and accuracy.

 

Full Change list below:

0.5.20_11

Added a 'CCTV' effect to the weapon cameras
Fixed missing vents in the garage
Projectiles now do splash damage on direct hits
Decreased howie base damage
Increased Rocket start speed
Increased Rocket Max speed
Increased Rocket acceleration
Created Advanced Crosshair system
- Added 'Range Finder' crosshairs to howies and rockets
Fixed blurry text

0.5.20_12
Add cctv effect to flamethrowers
fixed null exception in weapons with normal crosshairs

That is it for this week! In the coming week I will be focusing back on the level design and fully whiteboxing out No Man's Pass V2 to prepare to send it out to outsourcing for final art. See you then! 

Posted on September 10, 2014

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This week I was focused on adding in batter support for long range, indirect fire, weapons, namely the howitzer and the quad rocket packs.

The goal was to change the way they fired to allow more consistent 'ranging', basically allowing you to place rounds in the same general area over and over. Part of this included a range estimator integrated into the crosshairs of the weapons. 

 

Physics Changes

First up on the list are the changes I made to the physics model. Before, both weapons relied on a pure physics model, with additional forces added to try and make the projectile arc fit a better gameplay curve. Unfortunately this was really difficult to tweak and always resulted in very unnatural arcs.

The change was to remove the pure physics model and instead us fake-physics which force the projectile along a modeled arc. This gives me absolute control over the arc and allows me to control the shell enough for the range estimator to be accurate to within a few meters.

Damage Changes

Sticking with the theme of curves, I also changed the damage falloff values to be no longer modeled in pure math but also uses a predefined curve. This resulted in a MUCH better feeling for splash damage and making both weapons significantly more powerful

 

The Advanced Crosshairs

The last piece of the puzzle was to implement an advanced crosshair to allow the range information to be available to the player. I was able to create a full system that would also support more advanced crosshair interaction [like animation] but unfortunately I ran into a show stopper bug that I have yet to resolve. The issue seems to lay within a weird interaction with unity render textures and unity's default UI system. Instead of drawing the great crosshair to the screen, all it will draw is a big black box. I have a support ticket open with unity about the issue.

 

In the mean time, go grab the 0.5.20_10 snapshot update and let me know what you think!

Posted on September 3, 2014

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Welcome back to another State of the Game!

This week I added a very highly requested feature to the server system of M.A.V.. The server operator can now queue up levels, select the levels to play next, and remove levels from the rotation. This has allowed players to really test out the latest version of No Man's Pass and provide great feedback on it! 

More progress is continually being made on the 'Commander Update' as well. While the name 'commander update' makes it seem like it was focused on a single role, it is actually focused on expanding out the 3 role triangle of a good team, namely the commander, the scout, and the support role. While the other 3 roles benefit from teamwork, they are much more 'lone wolf' type roles. These heavy teamwork roles are harder to play, but can be a devastating combination when wielded in experienced hands.

That said, I have started working on how artillery fire [currently howitzers and rockets] work. They don't currently fill the indirect fire role as much as I would like, so I have begun tweaking some of the mechanics. The first of which will be a range finder, which will notify you of the exact range your rounds will travel. This is important, because of the long travel time, you need to have additional information to help place your shots. This also allows you to more consistently deliver rounds to the same area, shot after shot.

Now, this 'exact' range firing is a little tricky, as it's mathematically impossible to match up the target ranges, with the required shot speeds and shot angles. I am working on coming up with a solution that will allow somewhat realistic shot arcs, but still provide the functionally that is required.

This also means howitzers and rockets will likely go through another round of balance tweaks [I already started messing with howitzers] that will help them fit their new firing method better. 

After that is done, I will need to teach the AI how to use the new method.

So far, the results are exciting! It's much easier to drop rounds on a target at long range and they are less likely to dodge, since the rounds are coming straight down on them. I hope to have a snapshot with the new mechanic out in a few days.

Until next week! Happy M.A.V.ing!

Posted on August 27, 2014

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So, this is going to be a little different of a post from me today. I saw some stuff yesterday that really fired me up and now that I am free from all other game studio overlords, I feel I can speak completely free about them. Warning, I am going to use language that I don't typically use.

Really, it all started with reading this article from puppy games. 'The Dark Side of Indie PR'. Quite the catching title.

I don't want to be attacking Puppy game directly here, because I am sure they have reasons for saying what they did. I don't know them, and I haven't played their games. What I DO know, is my experiences and how different they sound from theirs.

 

If you want to skip their article, they are saying players, as individuals, are completely worthless to them and it makes more sense to just be an asshole and lose the player than spend time trying to 'fix' the issue. Let that sink in.

WHAT THE FUCK?

Seriously? 

They also talk about all the terrible abuse they get as developers, how much it sucks, how little money they make, and generally how shitty the whole gig is. Guess what?

I AM HAVING A FUCKING GREAT TIME!

No, really, I am having the time of my life. Being an indie developer is second in joy only to my family. It's freaking great! You know why? Because I don't have players, I have FANS. I have yet to run into these life ruining trolls everyone feels is 99% of the customer base. Oh actually, I take that back. I had 1 troll post mean stuff, but I can't even tell you what it was because one of the FANS, reported it and had it deleted before I even saw it.

Maybe, if I treated everyone like shit, focused only on getting 'players', and generally looked down on everyone that I am trying to build a game for, I would not have any fans and would have a bunch of trolls that haunt me with hate. But that's not what I do. Instead, I treat 'players' like they are people. I treat them how I would want a company to treat me. When I get an email about someone having an account problem and not being able to play the game they bought, I DROP EVERYTHING, and fix it. Right there. I pull off the road and fix it from my phone, if I have too. Because that is MY FAULT. If something doesn't work, that is on me, not the player (in most cases). 

It seems game developers try to justify treating people like trash because they are not making any money. Is that the customers fault that you picked a shitty business model? You want to make a free to play game and then treat the free players like trash? That is not the players fault! 

All my fans matter to me. They are the reason I am here, they are the reason M.A.V. exists. The guy that went out of his way to break the game, every single day, and tell me about it [even HOUND me about it], I didn't ban him. Some people might have even considered him a troll. I didn't. He is not only a Moderator on the message board but also helps me as a Community Manager. Why? Because he cared. He cared about M.A.V. just as much as I did and he wanted it to be better. Seriously, what single greater thing in the world could you ask from someone than for them to care?

And that is why I say I don't have players I have fans. I have people that log in and play the game, every single day, for a YEAR! Mind you, M.A.V. is not even done yet! But they care. They want M.A.V. to be as great as I do. They want M.A.V. to be as successful as I do. Hell, I didn't have a successful kickstarter campaign because I am a marketing genius, I was successful because the fans went out and told everyone they knew about M.A.V.. They contacted the press [when the press wasn't listening to me] and got news coverage. They made videos and shared on youtube and twitch. They RE-BOUGHT the game, just to continue to help.

So, puppy games and all developers like you. I am sorry your community sucks, but that is your fault, not theirs. Treat them with respect, show you care, and maybe, just maybe, they will treat you as well as the M.A.V. community treats me.

-Chad 

Posted on August 20, 2014

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