Welcome to another State of the Game! This week I have been focused on the pre-game lobby system. This is designed to help people stay playing together once they have a game going, allow people to have more strategic battles with allowing them to properly establish teams, and make it a little easier for people running 'headless' servers, or servers without a UI.
So how am I doing that?
The first step is to make the lobby not just a menu. I took some inspiration from some other games and will be bringing the garage to the lobby! Now, this is not the FULL garage, as I don't want people to hold up games while they tinker with their builds. I do want you to have access to your saved builds though. In my playtime, I noticed it is very common practice to leave a game, switch builds, and join back up. This is a very poor way of handling it, so the ability to load builds while you wait to launch should help keep groups together.
Next up is a clear communication of teams and the ability to switch teams. In the new lobby, there will be a clear 'Waiting for Players' phase, in which there is group chat and you can switch teams as many times as you want. After a certain time, it will move to a 'Ready Up Phase', in which you are in team chat only, can see your team mates MAV's and you can change out your MAV. You CANNOT switch teams in this phase and the game will be locked to new players. Anyone that joins the game after this phase will join as a spectator.
After the game, you will be show a new after action report, which will be my task for next week.
As always, you can follow my development in real time on twitter and facebook, and let your ideas be heard, or start up a thread on the message board. See you next week!
Welcome back to another amazing state of the game! As you can see, this is my 150th consecutive update. I want to just take a small amount of time to address all the people that said I would give up on this project after 3 months. SUCK IT!!! But really though, I am glad to be continuing the updates and today is no different.
So, as promised, after cutting the commander update slightly short, I am beginning work on the social update. This update is planned to bring in features that are centered around playing the game with more people, and how those interactions affect you. It will also bring in some bragging rights, with the inclusion of stats tracking, achievements, and profile badges.
To start the update off, I have been focusing on the account system, and more importantly, addressing the differences between steam users and Bombdog account users. What I have created is a system that will allow steam users to connect their steam version to a Bombdog account. This will basically use steam for the sign in process [no passwords required] but use the bombdog account for in-game [so you username would be what your Bombdog account is]. This allows me to focus on one core system, that works for everyone, and then addon 3rd party features, like steam achievements, once the system is completed.
While I was at it, I gave the whole login process an overhaul and changed up the UI so it actually lets you know whats going on behind the scenes during the login, instead of just sitting there blank.
I have also been working on a new shader for the MAV parts, not only to address the issues with white lines on camo patterns, but also to address some lighting issues and general 'lack of feeling metallic' items. I don't have a screenshot for you today, but it is already looking significantly better!
Also, there is no snapshot update today. While I have some additions I have made, I am going to hold the snapshots until I have most of the update complete and then use them for bug testing / balance issues right before the full release. I am doing this for 2 reasons: 1) it keeps the player base united longer on the same build so you are more likely to find mutiplayer games. 2) it allows me more time to do Hype inducing secret projects and build general hype for features.
Don't fear though! Snapshots are not going away and development is not slowing down. It is just that point in the life of the game that I need the freedom to really buckle down and pack in features and give you something to be excited about.
Well, that is it for this week! Check back next week for more Social update progress!
Recap of the features in this update!
+ New battle role - the Commander
+ New parts - Hexapods, Hovers, Hawk, Eagle, and Dragon Cockpits
+ New Level - Outpost Alpha v2
+ New Test Level - No Man's Pass v2
+ New Long range weapon cross hairs
And many more new features [and bug fixes!]
The commander role can be filled by equipping a ComSys part on your M.A.V.. This will great you and your team the ability to create a Uplink Area on the map in Siege mode. Any M.A.V. inside your uplink area will be visible on the map. Additionally, scouts can equip uplink deployables to help increase your uplink area. The Uplink Area must be continuous for the reporting of M.A.V. positions.
Some weapons [Howitzers and Rockets] now have advanced crosshairs. These provide additional data when the weapon is selected. Currently, they are equipped with firing range estimators, which will guide you in placing your long range indirect fire, more accurately.
There are now 2 new mobility platforms - The Hexapod and the Hover.
The hexapod chassis is a highly stable platform that can carry an immense load. It is very slow, and the legs are a large target, but it makes up for it with it's incredible load limit and ability to climb nearly anything. These legs are very power hungry though, so make sure you have a great generator.
The hovers are a fast attack chassis, with incredible speeds, but little armor and almost zero stability. Designed to always be moving, it's best to plan your path in advance, as stopping can be a death wish. They also have a unique ability to glide from higher surfaces, so you do not need to worry about fall damage.
The new cockpits cover a wide range of roles and also introduce the new Attacker type cockpit. This cockpit class is focused on providing a soldier with as many options as possible, while still maintaining a good armor rating.
No Man's Pass v2
This level is still in progress [waiting on art assets], but is still fully playable in it's beta form. No Man's Pass was a typical Linea on Europa, or a crack in the ice along a fault line. However, when the comet hit [on the other side of Europa], the shock wave that traveled around the globe caused the two sides of the ice canyon to slide and smash into each other. They then recoiled back, but forever closer than they used to be. The crashing forced to the surface many valuable minerals, such as phosphorus, peroxide, and sulfur, but also left behind a landscape filled with icy daggers and unstable walls. Linea are also known for their hot water eruptions, making this a very dangerous place to be. Unfortunately, it is also one of the only ways left to traverse what remains of the icy plains, as the surface above the canyons is too cold and is exposed to significantly more radiation. Thus is born, No Man's Pass.
New Surprise Level!
Outpost Alpha v2
The remake of the original M.A.V. level, this bring higher quality graphics, a larger play area, and is properly setup for all game modes. Outpost alpha is a forest map, with destructible trees, rocky overhangs, and even a cave or two. This map was designed with the input of the 'Create a Map' Kickstarter backer.
As promised, New Demo!
With the advent of the Commander Update, a new demo has been released for all to try out the game. The demo will give you access to a limited amount of parts in the Commander update, and a handful of maps. It does not include multiplayer or snapshot build updates.
You will need a Bombdog Studios account to access the demo. Create your account here:
and a final treat:
Alienware Exclusive Cockpit Giveaway
Get an exclusive Alienware cockpit for your custom mech in M.A.V. A tactical third-person, M.A.V., allows you to design and build a MAV for battle that you can truly call your own.
Get your key here:
Now, I will be moving on to the Social update!
While I don't consider all the commander features finished, I had been holding on to it for too long and allowed the snapshots to get a bit out of hand. My plan is to actually have a much fewer number of snapshots and much more frequent stable releases, with more features in each release.
My goal is for the Social update to be released at the end of January 2015!
Happy Thanksgiving, here is a Turkey MAV
In other news, I am continuing to work on my secret project and am planning on having a new stable build out before December 1st.
In the mean time, everyone should go to the builds section and submit their best holiday themed MAV's!
This week I have been busy working on some backend items, along with a secret project ;), but I did get a chance to take care of some annoying bugs and add a large line of new cockpits to the game!
This new line of cockpits covers all the cockpit types, from light, medium, and heavy, and even adds a new type called Attacker.
The attacker type cockpit focuses on having decent armor, but maintaining a large amount of weapon groups and attach points. The Dragon class cockpit boasts an impressive 5 full weapon groups, along with 7! ideal weapon attach points (not including the rear facing attach point). This makes it a great choice for boating machine guns or assault rifles, or any other weapons you prefer.
As for the bug fixes, these were the primary 'gameplay' offenders and they have been squashed.
No Man's Pass V2 : The map would not contain all the data. This was hard to trackdown, as it seemed to have happened randomly after making some geometry changes. After many attempts and trials, I tracked the issue down to the Occlusion Culling system in that level. They system was preventing some geometry from being displayed to the map camera. This is now fixed.
Spectating a dying player in multiplayer can cause the screen to freeze: This one was easier to track down but harder to fix. It only happens in multiplayer and was due to a race condition [things not happening in the right order]. The camera would be attached to the player your were watching, and it should have been removed and attached to a new player on death. However, what was actually happening was the player was removed [along with your camera!] and then the camera would try to move and error out, because there was no camera. I rewrote the system with better checks in place, but also in a way that your camera is never attached. This means that even in a failure case, you will be spectating in the spot the player died, but will still be able to switch to a new player.
That is it for this week! Swing back next week for more updates!