(If you guys haven’t checked out our first post last December, please do so. It contains vital information about our development so far: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2122031929/novus-aeterno-the-next-evolution-in-rts-games/posts/2073403)
The first topic for today is an apology for the lack of an update last Wednesday.
We did have one planned of course, but unfortunately, a bug in our movement code meant that we were unable to record the footage that we wanted to use for both the update and the launch of our website, which we wanted to announce in that update.
Because of this bug, we thought that it might actually be fun to tell you guys about how development works behind the scenes, as this is stuff that you don’t often hear about from most studios. Let us know if you guys like these kinds of behind the scenes updates, or if you would prefer it if we keep to just feature updates and the like.
In this week’s first “behind the scenes” blog we want to highlight the movement bug first, since it’s being a pain in the ass, and then introduce you to our first “Player Story”, what they are and what function they serve.
The Movement Bug
Both for last week’s update and the website we needed to have working movement, which looked like it had the last few kinks ironed out a week or so ago. Unfortunately, this was not the case, but we are working hard on a fix for the issue so we can get our new website live and some sexy new footage out to you guys!
Now, what is this bug we are fixing right now? What happens is that when the player gives a move order, it visually looks like it is indeed going to its destination (although slowly). In reality, however, its actual location on the server is going in the exact opposite direction at the intended speed * 118 million %, as you can see in the screenshot above. It’s a math issue we hope hope to completely have eradicated soon.
Player Stories: what are they?
A Player Story is a story written by the developers, about an average player playing a part of the game in the most average way possible. They typically are not very “sexy” hence why they are rarely spoken out outside of the studio's doors.
One fairly obvious advantage is that more documentation is better. However, Player Stories are a very different form of design documentation, nothing like a classic Game Design Document.
Player Stories are meant to help developers visualize exactly what the player will be doing, It may sound simple, but I'm sure every one of you have had countless experiences in a game where you knew what the developer wanted you to do, but you personally had no motivation to do it or did not find it fun at all. IMHO this is typically due to the developer failing to properly visualize players playing thru there game.
However, with a Player Story, for some reason, things that seemed like good ideas in your head, show their flaws much clearer. Effectively allowing us to take a fresh look at the same problem.
One of the things Gil our volunteer graphics enginer is currently working on is new planet rendering. In this screenshot, you can see our new planetary atmosphere he is working on. Notice the fully volumetric clouds, these will support peaks and super strictures sticking up out of them, as well as dynamic shadows being cast through them.
Player Stories: Part 1, Preparing the Fleet.
NOTE: Player Stories are ever-changing as the game develops. You may see this same story again in a year in a completely different way.
Beginning in HADES 9, after logging in, the player first checks on the progress of their new Flagship. He visits the Flagship Void Dock, checking the resource banks that store the construction resources of the massive ship. These banks have been draining since construction started, and are being topped off by the player periodically to keep production from stalling. He sees that a store of rare resources is running low, so the next time he heads out with his fleet he will be searching for those resources in order to be able to finish construction.
Next, he checks how his Escort production has been progressing. A few of the new Escorts he has wanted for a while have been finished, for which he’ll want some more higher leveled commanders in order to use them all in his fleet. He then proceeds to queue up some more Escorts ships, enough to last him another day while he is away from HADES or logged off from the game. In order to produce the new ships, he’ll need enough resources in store to instantly buy them, which is not an issue for him at the moment.
He realizes that in order to achieve both his objectives, he’ll need to be able to travel fairly far from HADES 9 without running out of supplies, be able to mine enough of the rare resources he plans to mine, as well as take on enemies with his fleet since he is going out solo and wants to get his Commanders some more experience.
To this end, he opens the Fleet Design UI, where he decides to select a lower-tier jack-of-all-trades Flagship from his collection. It lacks a specific specialization, but in turn it allows him to mine the rare resources needed for the trip, yet is also able to provide enough Command Points (CP) for a decent Escort Fleet. In addition, it is able to equip components that grant it the ability to intercept fighters, send out bombers, and hold its own in combat far away from HADES.
Once his modifications to the Flagship are done for the moment, he goes to his roster of available Escort ships. The ships that just finished are armed with a longer range missile battery. These new ships have little armor, so he selects some beefier Escorts, to intercept enemies and soak damage before they can reach his vulnerable new missile ships. The player now decides to double up on this. He goes back to the Flagship and replaces one of his current components with one that can generate an emergency shield bubble, which he can deploy in case his missile ships get in trouble.
Next, he checks what commanders he wants to assign to his new escorts, he is fine with the Commanders he had already assigned to his Flagship and escorts during a previous play session. He has enough high level commanders to command all but one of the new Escorts. This becomes another good reason to head out and level his commanders as he doesn’t want to spend credits on the market in order to acquire one from another player.
That done, he fills the remaining CP with more general purpose Escort Ships and a few civilian ships that help carry supplies, and a research vessel in order to get some extra research points if he is able to keep it alive.
The new ships he added to his fleet allow him to use a new ‘Fleet Activatable’. The ability to deploy a chaff cloud that greatly reduces damage from beam weapons on units within the cloud. He then remembers that he had a Flagship component sitting in his inventory that buffed the damage resistance granted by the new Chaff ability, he plugs the component into an open slot on his Flagship.
He now takes command on the bridge of his Flagship, and orders the fleet to be launched from HADES.
We hope you like these more technical Behind the Scenes posts. If you are interested in more behind the scenes look we are happy to do these kinds of posts more often.
You can let us know if you liked it, or if you have any other feedback below, but the best way to get into direct contact with us Devs is through our Discord. We are on there quite a lot, talking about topics like game design, monetization, voice acting, general sci-fi discussions and more, so join us if you want to hang out with us: https://discordapp.com/invite/JnMrrhg
- Nick, Matt, Dan, and Luuk
Website (under construction): http://www.hades9.com/