Last week (had to glance at the blog post to make sure ) I wrote about the repair beam visual clipping through, I posted an update to Kickstarter backers with a video of the effect and got some comments about that there as well. So Monday I fixed it so it doesn’t clip anymore – it will be optional. So some (for example) super powerful beams will still go through the target, but a repair beam won’t.
I still had a lot of thoughts towards rebalancing, so I did another overhaul and changed a bunch of parameters of ships. Removed some turrets and overall increased health and decreased firepower – on ships larger than corvettes. I sped up some corvettes and fighters.
Then the task turned to scripting the mission and boss fight. I actually started enjoying it – mainly because it started becoming cool. There were still a bunch of struggles and balance is an issue. I also changed how the boss behaves – it should be interesting how people new to it will react and what kinds of feedback I’ll get.
So Beta is very close – I was hoping for the “month” post Kickstarter promise to be very literal – but I think that we’ll more likely do a month plus a weekend post Kickstarter. What is left is the “unlockable” instant action scenarios. I want Beta players to experience them along side the story, so I don’t want to add them in post or at a later time. Also I need to add in music (I have several un-used tracks available) and other such polish.
Early this week I received a new ship asset – model only – and then textured it. It is a bit rough doing this myself, but right now this was the best out of the bunch of limited options, and since I need this asset for the Beta the choice was clear.
The asset was meant to be a repair frigate – but became a repair corvette when finished. The model when done seemed a bit too much like a corvette so there we have it. Still I’m very happy with it, any new asset is a huge deal for the project. Over the weekend I added the visual for the repair ship’s “repair beam.” Originally I intended to use visuals similar to the “conventional” laser beams, but in the end I felt that this style of beam was too similar too an offensive/weapon beam. So instead I switched to a “particle effect” style beam. Meaning that I had to add some new code for particle effects based beams. There is a bit of a “annoying” thing in the visual because it clips through the model that it hits. Not sure if I’ll correct this, other games tend to have (some) beams clip through so we’ll see. After the visual I worked on the AI - its very simple its since the repair beam is – technically - a weapon I just have the repair frigate attack the friendly ship – re-using attack code. Some questions arise – should repair ships find their own targets? This would be easy to do – but it could be annoying having ships be too automated, and have repair ships wander into combat. We’ll see.
Today I spent time working on gate travel code in prep for the new sector, and then did a bit of mission scripting. Some more code is required – requesting re-enforcements though a gate, then more scripting.
I was actually fairly frustrated today because I found it hard to concentrate. My mind refused to focus a few times, in the end a good amount of new things were added.
Early in the week I added a few tweaks to the unlock system, it is mostly complete now. Next up was adding to the story/content. This is where a few days in the week got mostly lost. The issue was indecision and at certain points lack of assets.
The end result is a clear direction so the few lost days were well spent. Plus they were week days which don’t tend to yield much anyway due to the time constraints. I spent the weekend working towards the new content, which will feature a boss battle. The focus of the game will change from base building/capture to more of a pure combat and somewhat exploration type deal. What’s cool is that it will serve as a bit of an interlude before returning to the base/capture gameplay. Plus this interlude will allow for introduction and combat versus different enemies – than the rock faction, adding in variety.
In working towards the boss battle I added a new weapon system. The ship that mounts it had been waiting for it for several months, so I’m happy that it is getting to be fully added into the game. I don’t want to post any spoilers here, so I’ll stop talking about it, except to say that I think its going to be awesome
Also I rebalanced a bunch of ships, I added a new turret to the game – specialized for point defense. This turret will replace the “perez turret” which has twin barrels. By having a single barrel turret there will be less projectiles flying around leading to a few neat benefits.
- Improved performance and less memory usage – which is useful for adding in more ships and objects.
- Less damage – longer more strategic combat.
- The Perez G corvette being more unique since not every other ship has the same turret. The turret still shows up in other spots, but its overall less used.
- Neat looking new turret
I have to do something similar to the rock guys faction. I’m striving towards “mostly 60fps” on my somewhat old PC, meaning on very awesome performance on a more modern PC. In my tests projectiles were the major culprits towards slow downs.
The Kickstarter campaign is a success, very happy about that (understatement). I plan on creating a very detailed write up of the process so I won’t go into it here.
This week I’ve started working towards iter 17. Feels good to get back to development. Post Kickstarter – heading towards release and Kickstarter Beta – there are a lot of aspects to work on and consider timing/prioritizing. I chose to work on modifying Tactical mode interface a bit prior to using funds to overhaul the 2D interface visuals via a “selection camera/display.” The change is pretty neat and I think will do much to help out the initial – what the hell is this – aspect of Tactical mode and make it overall better for veterans as well. I tweaked an over sight that allowed building ships of different factions in bases – eg: Karakum could build Bonnies and Intrepids. Then I quickly added a unit cap and after that I worked on the unlock system, which is something I’ve been thinking about ever since I added instant action and the battle editor.
So that we are on the same page – the unlock system is a way not to “spoil” the game as well as a sort of a “game within a game.” When I added the battle editor all objects were available for the player (and me) to add to a map to play. This spoils the game since you could add the final boss to play right off the start (I limited this via not adding every ship to the release). But since I want the player to create cool maps and battles I need a way to unlock the final boss (and other ships/stations/bases/etc in between) – just after the player encounters it through playing the game
The unlock system is going well and I’m nearly done with it, but it is a bit of a slog since it is fairly easy to do, kind of boring and at the same time requires a decent amount of thought. This comes into play because there are many occasions where I want a unit/object to be unlocked (via research, via building, via combat) and there are two levels to the unlock – addable via the battle editor and playable when added via the battle editor.
While working on the unlock system – I also “enhanced” maps created via the battle editor – so that unlocked ships and platforms are now build-able/launch-able out of the asteroid bases and shipyard stations. So if you researched a Shipyard platform via playing the main game, it will be unlocked in a map made via the battle editor and thus an asteroid base can build it in that mode. Meaning that you can create your own custom sandboxes that much better now.
The goal for the next week is to finish up the unlock system and begin working on the story to give the Beta backers something new to play when Beta hits. Then shortly after the next week to start considering/implementing a method on how to distribute the Beta version to the Kickstarter backers. Once Beta is released the plan is to focus a portion of the month between Beta version releases on story additions and a portion on game engine enhancements and logic. Continue that until release while also using the funds from Kickstarter on purchasing art assets.