Hey everyone! Welcome back to another State of the Game!
So, in case you missed it last week, I released a new stable version of the game.
Well this week I have continued to work on the polishing, having released 2 new snapshot builds.
The first snapshot build this week added a long overdue fix to the way that the destruction of your M.A.V. is handled. Before, when you died, the screen kind of frozen up and you just sat there wondering what happened, then 7 seconds later you would respawn. This was very confusing and just in general terrible.
Now, there is a new 'death camera' system. When you die, your screen goes desaturates so everything is shades of grey, and you get a nice big bar on the screen saying your MAV was disabled.
In the second snapshot, I sought to address some major issues with the multiplayer system that prevented people from being able to connect to other players.
Looking forward into the oncoming week, I will continue to fix bugs and issues that come up, but my primary focus will be on a new, high quality level.
The new level will have a jungle theme, and I really want to push myself in what I can do, both from a graphics stand point, and a level design stand point.
This will also be a big test for me to make a level that is beautiful and has good performance.
Of course, the game needs some more green to it as well. I mean something has to be in all those green areas on the map!
I also wanted to announce that December is the last month to get the Alpha membership for just $10. At the start of the new year, the price will be going up to reflect all the new features that have been added.
Welcome back for another amazing week of M.A.V. development!
This week, there is a new stable build, Version 0.5.13!
Check out this video for the highlights!
Awesome video, right?
So here is a more boring list of the updates:
- New Part Type : Generators
- New Part Type : Spacers
- Energy system as a build requirement
- New part health indicators
- New Weapon group indicators
- New Ammo counter indicators
- New per part damage states
- New final speed indicator in the Garage
- New weapon camera damage states
- New AI build system, for faster AI MAV generation
- New leg damage states. Speed is reduced when legs are heavily damaged.
- Made is much easier to place legs in the garage
- Added User created Custom part name, S.A. Burnetto
- Made energy use stats visible in the Garage UI
- Added new Muzzle Flash F/X to all weapons
- Added projectile meshes to all bullets
- Made bullet tracers more visible
- Fixed issue when trying to assign the 'A' button on the Xbox 360 controller (or the return key on the keyboard)
- Made repair stations more reliable with what parts they repair
- Fixed issue with some parts not showing the correct name in gameplay
So, as you can see there are a LOT of changes. As always, you can just run the game to auto update, or you can go to your user page and download the latest installer.
So, as I mentioned last week, I have spent this whole week going through and polishing up items that, for lack of a better tram, stuck out terribly.
I started last week with the part health indicators, and this week I continued the trend and removed the last vestiges of the old UI by replacing the Ammo UI. Take a look at these snazzy new icons:
You can see a lot of information is being presented very quickly, perfect for when you are in the heat of a battle. There are new weapon type icons (shown is the howitzer icon), along with the trusty reload / ammo bar. You can also see there is feedback for when you are out of ammo. Also, you can see there is an indicator icon for which weapon is being used as the weapon camera, and there is a weapon group indicator as well.
Also, not pictured, the icons do not disappear anymore when the weapons are destroyed. The weapon groups also do not consolidate (they used to skip groups that had all the weapons destroyed). I made this change because the old system was very confusing when you got hit with a lot of damage and when you look up, your weapon groups look completely different. Also, the icons have feedback for when the corresponding part is destroyed.
But, I didn't stop there!
Since I was already polishing up the weapons, I went ahead and adjusted the tracer effect on the bullets. The old effect just wasn't visible enough and it felt very weak. Here is a comparison shot:
I also added actual projectile meshes to all the tracers, so no more invisible sniper and howitzer rounds. Normally, that would be all I could get done in a week, but I was having some fun! So, muzzle flashes!
While only the assault rifle is shown, I added them to the shotguns, and machine guns as well. In fact, I ended up rewriting the entire system that handles muzzle flashes because I wanted to be able to do even more. The cannon weapon is the test weapon for the new muzzle system :
Well, that is all for this week! I will continue to work on the weapons. I like things that go BOOM!
Another week, another State of the Game!
So what happened this week?
Well right after last week's snapshot build I released 2 more, making for 3 builds in 3 days! These new builds included various bug fixes and solved issues that people discovered in the original snapshot.
Which actually brings me to the point of this post, polish.
What is polish?
Polish, is where you take something that has a solid foundation, like a rough diamond or gemstone and you continue to work on it, smoothing out all the rough edges, in finer and finer detail, until it is perfect.
In game development, this is what takes something from being a prototype, that 'works' and turns it into a game.
So why am I talking about polish? Because I feel that the core of M.A.V. is at a state that I know it is solid. Because of this, I am at a bit of a fork in the road. I can either continue to add new, but unpolished features, or I can take some time to straighten up and polish everything that is in the game right now.
I feel, it is the right time to polish. Now this doesn't mean NO new features, as some of the polish things are kind of features into and of themselves, but it does mean no new major features, at least for now.
In the end, I think this will be better for the game and the community, as a polished game experience is easier for people to get into, is easier for people to share, and it is much easier to present. Plus, I think it will show everyone what quality level they can expect from the game. That is kind of hard to judge for people when the game is in a constant state of development.
As an example of this new polish, I have been working on 'revamping' the part health icons that are shown in game. You can see what they look like now:
I hope you can agree with this direction, and if not, please let your voice be heard on the forums.
See you next week!
Welcome to another State of the Game! This week, as promised, I deliver snapshot build 0.5.12_1 which includes generators and spacers.
To get the update, make sure you have the snapshot option enabled in the settings and the game should notify you of the available update (on the next launch).
So, this was a BIG update and it has a LOT of new things in it. So many things changed, I can't even tell you about them all. How big was the update though?
- 405 Files were changed, created, or deleted
- 23 Models and textures were made
- ~3000 lines of code were written
- ~2000 Test AI MAV's were created
- 32 test games were played
Now lets look at what I did in all those changes:
So what changed?
The most noticeable change will be the inclusion of the energy system. This is controlled by the generators and the mobility platforms. Each of these parts generate energy that can be used by the other parts on the MAV. This energy bar is represented in the Garage UI on the bottom right hand side.
Also, spacer parts were added to the game. These parts are more just solid hunks of metal that allow you to fit other parts into a more desirable manner. They include small, angled pieces, to many variations of other connections and angles.
The first named part is in the game! Scott Burnett won the facebook contest and was asked to rename a part. He picked one of the flame throwers to rename and came up with a really cool name that is a variation of his name and a play on the 'Burn' in his last name.
As a requirement to get the AI working nicely with the new parts, the entire AI building system was redone from scratch. There is a much more robust system in place that allows them to make more intelligent choices about which parts they pick, how they place them, and making sure they meet all the build requirements. It also moved this into an offline process, meaning it does not build the AI MAV's in real-time anymore. This is to prevent lag and frame rate issues when playing. An interesting side effect of this is, I built into the system a way to upgrade it in the future to grow and expand from player built MAV's. There is also a fairly easy way of propagating these builds out to other players, which in theory means the AI could also draw from the creativity of the player base to help build its MAV's.
Other than that, I did a lot of random bug fixing and balancing tweaks. One important tweak I made was, after going over a lot of player data points, I noticed almost everyone was getting kills by blowing out the legs of other players. So I upped the health of all the leg types, to encourage shooing for the cockpit and only going for the legs as a last resort.
Next week I will be bug fixing and polishing issues with this snapshot, so please report any bugs or issues to the message board!