General updates, procedural generation, shout out
Before we delve into the rest of the news I wanted to give an update on the general state of things. First off we are SO close to hitting the 40% funded mark!. We are working hard on some big marketing pushes so we hope to see some uptick in the near future. We still need your help spreading the word though! Click on the share button here on the Kickstarter page to spread the word on facebook, jump on Twitter and tweet about us or re-tweet our posts, head over to Reddit and talk about our project or check out our existing posts, post on forums and tell everyone you know about us.
As far as Greenlight we saw a big uptick the last couple days, not exactly sure from what, but we are now 67% to the top 100 - about a 10% jump. If you haven’t had a chance go over there and give us a vote. Also get any of your friends on steam to give us a vote. The sooner we get Greenlit the better, this will be just one more piece of news we can put out to the press to get them talking about us!
I also have a question for all of our backers at the $10 level. What made you decide to go with the $10 level over the next step up of $35? The reason I ask is that this pledge level is one of the places we could see a big jump. If we had all of our $10 backers go up to the $35 level that would be over a 10% increase in funding getting us close to 50% funded. Maybe there is something that we can include in that level and above to make it more enticing? We want to hear from you so tell us what you think in the comments!
Even with the Kickstarter running we are still working hard on the game. Our big focus over the last 8 months was to get the pre-alpha demo together and ready for PAX East as well as for you, our Kickstarter backers. Now that we have passed those milestones we are moving forward on getting the game to an alpha state where we have all the base functionality in the game and ready for testing.
There is still some work that needs to happen to break up the static demo level and get it ready for the randomization functionality and the alpha but we have continued our hard work on the randomization functionality. I’ve asked our programmer to give us a rundown so here is some input from Chris.
In our demo level we used a static level that was composed of various modular tiles. These pieces are organized by hand by our level designer in a few variations to create everything in the game. Initially we hoped we could make tiles perfectly modular so that any tiles could fit with another but for the scope of game we are looking to make it would be needlessly complicated to try to do this and result in a less believable world. To alleviate this we have created an object layer that contains a group of boards which we can make quickly by piecing the board tiles together in any formation we wish. We are referring to this layer as the "Area" which is a general grouping for such things as Buildings, Parks and any other object grouping in the game. The goal here is to be able to build out a large number of board tiles as a base and then quickly piece them together into dozens of variations of each area. Using trigger objects in boards we can also randomly generate events and scavenging points that synergizes with the area it belongs to. By making these triggers have a chance to spawn as opposed to always being present we can have an event or scavenging point appear visually in the same building several times, for example a refrigerator, but react differently depending on how the trigger is set. Sometimes you may be able to scavenge food from it, others you may not find anything. If its trigger is set you may find something completely unexpected.
We have been building out the first iteration of our level generator and the scripts required to start creating the above mentioned areas. The first iteration of our world generation uses large chunks of space to stream content. The chunk you start in will be preloaded but as you progress in any direction the appropriate local chunks will begin to construct themselves without additional loading required. Each chunk will start as a main road which acts as a seed. By branching out into sub streets in semi-random directions we can create roads/paths that are different each time you play.
Depending on level constraints this can be used to make urban world chunks or tightly packed towns. We then can grab from the pool of areas which are appropriate for the theme of the chunk to populate the road system with. Pieces of the chunk not affected by the road system will be assigned areas based on how much open space is available and what type of biome the zone is. As we generate these chunks we are also working on putting in radius values for the areas. These radius values would dictate what other areas can be built within a certain radius of the current area. This allows us to make sure that you don’t have an elementary school built right next to an advanced military base. Essentially it will allow us to constrain what areas will be allowed to be built close together to keep a semblance of reality for urban planning.
This real boon for this system of chunks and roads/areas is that it allows us to create areas that have a level designers touch but always keeps you guessing as to what will happen in each area.
Heavy Steam cross-promotion
As some of you may have noticed we are running a second Kickstarter for our next boardgame. The projects are both being run by separate sides of the company (Jeff heading up Heavy Steam and Shawn heading up Zpocalypse: Survival) but we wanted to offer those of you who are supporting both games a special thank you! As such we have a new cross promotion weapon with our sister project Heavy Steam! This new weapon will be a card in Heavy Steam and a digital unlocked weapon in Zpocalypse: Survival. The card will be added to all backers at the $30 level and higher on Heavy Steam, and the digital version will be available for anyone at the $10 level or higher on Zpocalypse: Survival. This is just a small way for us to say thank you for those supporting both of our projects.
Another Kickstarter that our team is really looking forward to.
Popup Dungeon is a roguelike digital board game in a papercraft style that lets you create any weapon, ability, enemy, or hero you can imagine. Its turn-based, tactical RPG gameplay is inspired by Final Fantasy Tactics and Dungeons and Dragons board games. Delve into the dungeon alone, play with friends online and local co-op, or take control as The Dungeon Master.
We thought some of you might be interested as well since it does have some similarities with the roguelike functionality. Check it out if you are interested! As always we would love to hear from you in the comments.