There’s been a fleet of ships waiting to be put into the game and the time has come. Some were already in the game – for use in screen shots and videos so – not always all the way in, and sometimes causing crashes depending on circumstance (eg: firing a weapon, or dying – the assets not existing or being changed causing a crash). So that is what I’m doing right now, going through the fleet starting from the drones and calling it a night when I got to a destroyer. Making sure that sound assets are right, that particle effects match the projectiles/missiles, that turrets have proper skeletons and that debris exist for when the ship is destroyed.
Adding a ship to the game is easy, but adding a bunch gets repetitive, luckily adding a ship includes testing it – something that I very enjoy and I get to add it to a testing map where I look at the fleet as it grows. Though what strikes me is that the fleet as it currently stands is uniform in terms of weaponry – I’m going to have to tweak some ships to be a bit more unique and memorable.
In other news – I spent the week still working on the new story content, this leg of the story had a bunch of particular loose ends to be filled in. Including fully adding some new features to the game engine, and resurrecting some very old features and getting them ready for players that enjoy nosing around into things. The story portion is very particular so I had to think of a few different out comes and plan for those, basically adding “non death” failure states, in case the player doesn’t do what I want the player to do I have to make it clear that the path is back in the other direction. I have to be vague about it here because saying what exactly I did would spoil a bunch.
So as I’ve been working on story content I’ve been thinking more and more how long it takes to add an hour of story game play, it appears to be about a month per hour. I hope that the end result is as good as I think it is (I’m pretty proud of it) but then again maybe it is held up by paper thin illusions? I tend to be very surprised by what players actually do. I’ll have to wait and see. With this content the game should be at about 50% completion story wise – so in thinking of the month per hour time line – I’m really hoping that the ending 50% of the story is going to go much quicker, and it should the way I imagine it, much less talking and much more explosions.
Another bit of news – some new HUD additions, replacing my terrible art, hoping for more very soon.
A while back my sound designer sent over “lateral thruster sounds” but they didn’t fit the game too well. They were a bit too shrill and because there were other priorities they were left for later. So early last week we decided to revisit and my sound designer created some more thruster sounds. These times they fit really well, further more he created a mockup vid which alternated the thruster sounds a bit depending on the direction, it sounded very neat!
Long story short they are now in game, along with alternating forward/reverse thrusts/engines as well, so players will hear a bunch more engine feedback. Due to the relatively recent – other ship’s engines sounds don’t play now – change, I could now tweak the engine sounds to be louder (before – with other ship’s engines sounds playing it tended to be too much noise, so I quieted them) so I think that the change helps with immersion and gives more “joy of flight.”
The rest of the week was spent working some more on the current end of the content, the boss fight. I needed a certain thing to do something a certain way, and I came up with some decent solutions. I think the end result is both clever and in game universe fitting Can’t discuss it here since that would be a spoiler, but I’m happy – so I accomplished my goal.
Now that the boss fight is essentially finished – the next parts of the story are being worked on – since there isn’t a lull in the story, I need to get those done before releasing the update, hopefully that will be done very soon.
About two weeks ago my wife and I went on a mini vacation – which came at a great time because my “mouse forearm” was killing me. Every time I’d sit down and move the mouse around a bit it would start to hurt. A few days away from the PC and the pain is gone, luckily. So as far as two weeks ago – nothing much happened though right before the vacation I tweaked some very early content to make it much more epic.
Basically I extended a lot of the fights. The challenge here was that early on the player is either in a single (and fairly fragile ship) or in a big ship with very few guns. So extending the game meant a careful addition of enemy and friendly ships. Some tweaks to the map, some tweaks to how ships exit gates (specifying the “exit distance”) and other fiddling around. It was worth it in my opinion because the early game is now expanded, more dramatic and more interesting. The early game is so incredibly important, one of the biggest reasons is that nearly every player that plays Void Destroyer will play the early game, but much less will play the late game. The late game is pretty good – big battles, boss fights, unique enemies, surprises etc – so I’m glad that the early game got some love to hopefully keep players interested in the game to reach the later game.
So this week I spent working on a bit of a house keeping task that I’ve been meaning to do for a while – making some turrets always visible in tactical mode. Before only turrets on a “selected” ships were visible – this meant that some huge turrets (turrets that are attached to platforms, or big ships) didn’t show up in tactical mode – and this meant that the platform or ship model – looked bare and incomplete. This was fixed on Saturday and early Sunday – hopefully not many bugs were introduced.
Then late yesterday and today I spent tweaking the current final portion of content, the big boss fight. The challenge is that at a certain point I need the boss to go through a certain thing, but in 3D space this isn’t a guarantee. So what I did was to disable the ship’s engines via a script, however – this lead to a problem – momentum on collisions, the ship would/could drift – so I had to do a non-cheating way of accomplishing this, and it appears to work… we’ll see
Then there’s the matter of actually fighting the boss. What happens with the way I design/create boss fights is that overall I think of a strategy to fight the boss first, then model the boss around that. Noticed the “think” part? Well eventually I have to actually test this in game – and it wasn’t working… until I tweaked some values in the ship’s xml data file.. and voila! Strategy I had in mind is now viable. Only question is whether player’s will figure it out, I think this boss fight is a bunch more challenging than the first. Hopefully interesting and fun in its own way.
Almost forgot! A few days ago was the 1 year aniversary of the start of Void Destroyer’s Kickstarter campaign. This means that the project is late – as far as my promises and time lines a year ago are concerned. Though I’m sorry that I was wrong and my estimates were (and still continue to be) misleading – I think that the project is – a better project than I envisioned delivering a year ago.