It's November already?
We also updated Spy DNA to run on Unreal Engine 4.20, which turned out to be quite a bit of work, but as a result, we've got much finer control over the user interface behavior and appearance now.
As a companion piece to that video above, have a gander at this blog post Jason wrote about interacting with the game-world objects.
We use a five-segment menu for our interactions with the world. The center action is the default action. If you quickly left click an interactable object it will select this action. The mouse cursor changes to reflect this default action. This is to allow the player to know what will happen without having to wait for the menu to appear.
Around the center there are other actions that will appear after a very short delay. The bottom option will always be examine. We always show this option, even for non-interactable objects to avoid leaking which objects are interactable and which are not.
On the right we will display an aggressive action, if applicable. For example, break down a door, attack an NPC, or trip a trap. The option displayed will change with the object. The available options are set as part of the object editor.
For the other options we will place a stealthy action on the left, if applicable. For example, sneak if moving, lock-pick to pick a lock. On the top will be a neutral action, again if applicable. Examples, knock on a door if locked, lock if unlocked. [continue reading]
Videogames are a visual medium (the "video" part is a dead giveaway), and how each level looks is as much part of the game experience as figuring out how to complete your objectives. As a matter of fact, level design can help you get your bearings and figure out what you should be doing.
To loosely quote Warren Spector: "It's not fun to figure out what to do. It's fun to figure out how to do it."
It's a difficult enough task with hand-made levels, but Spy DNA doesn't have those (aside from the base island), so we need to think carefully how to create those visual anchors for the player to find their way through a level.
Noises and voices
Sound design in our game includes background music, ambient noises, event-triggered sound notifications, and of course character voices.
When you play the video below, you can tab away, because it's all about sound!
As we work on the missions and figure out the best ways to make each team member useful for the team, we get to know our characters better. As a result, we were able to add quite a bit more detail to each of their bios. Additionally, we’ve changed a few callsigns to better match their owners’ personalities.
As we become more familiar with the characters, we can begin to flesh out inter-team relationships. Who would befriend who? Would there be any conflicts? (The answer is always yes!) Read on to find out how our agents get along