Feb 2014 Update - Alpha 2 is (almost) here!
We have a lot of new features in this build! But with a lot of features, came a lot of bugs... We were planning of releasing Alpha 2 today, but we still have a couple of bugs that are just too nasty, and we'll fix them in the coming days. As we mentioned in our last update, everyone that got into the Beta tier will have access to the Alpha builds after this one. And Grinsevent, because he's cool like that.
Meanwhile, let's take a look at everything we've been working on in the last two months, shall we?
Steam Dev Days
We went to Seattle! We visited Valve's offices! We got a Steam Machine! We got a Steam Controller! We got swag! Free cabs, free boose, free party! It's way too much stuff to write about here, but it was the most ubber awesomest gamedev congress of all gamedev congresses. And Valve is awesome (let the flame wars begin). And so is Carlos Madrid - thanks for everything man! Here's part of my run on the Dev Days in a few random pics, in the order that they happened:
Regarding the Steam Controllers, we are planning on adding native support for it, and we think the Adventurezator is a great fit for it. If you haven't already, be sure to read this announcement on our Greenlight page, where we go into greater detail about it.
Sitting, Sleeping, Eating, Healing, Chopping, Sound waves
And more. Instead of writing much about them, I'll just post a screenshot of some of those, because "Hey, screenshots!"
The shockwave you see on this next one is not just for eye candy - characters sleeping in nearby beds will awake to the noise and go investigate. The sound waves will also have additional interactions with other stuff later:
Fighting, Friends, Enemies, Stuff
We fixed some stuff with the fighting, and allowed the setting of friends and enemies lists on the NPCs, as well as stuff that they'll defend, so we can setup complex iteractions between characters in a level. We still need a faster and easier way to visualize all that information to the player.
As you can see here, domestic violence is on the rise: (look away now if you are easily offended by dark humour):
Scheduling, tasks, NPCs
Everything we've discussed in a previous update regarding NPCs behaviors, and then some:
One thing that was really bothering me about the dialogues, is that I was previously planning on having the dialogues be defined one for each actor, meaning that in levels with more than one controllable actor, the dialogues with any given NPC would be the same for both. I settled on this initially because I couldn't think of an easy way to allow the player to set this up on the editor at the time, and I want the editor to be really easy to use.
After the NPCs started trying to talk to each other (by accident BTW, it just emerged after I implemented the scheduling feature, and they picked random actions to do when idle), I knew I had to figure out a way to break that limitation. It hit me in the form of a circular view with everyone linked to everyone, like the diplomacy view in Civilization:
Breaking with point-and-click adventure tradition, the dialogues are a simple sequence of linear delivered lines, instead of a branching dialogue tree. So far I don't think there's a way around this without making it too hard and error-prone to setup.
The addition of the chopping action meant that now we had to allow the actors to wield stuff in a different pose then before with the lantern. Not only that, we had to allow something to be wielded with one hand, and another at the other hand.
Here our time spent on porting our animations to Unity's mecanim system really paid off - we can have the main animation layer handle the walking animations, another handling animations only on the right hand, and another only on the left hand. It all works nicelly to allow us to have our limb & lantern wielding pigman:
New Demo Levels
The thing about having your gameplay be emergent, is that you don't really get a lot of complex and interesting behaviors until you have a lot of content and interactions implemented, so they can actualy emerge together. So even though Level 2 of the campaign is relatively simple, a lot of things that we thought we would implement further down the line kept creeping up on us: "Ok now that the schedules are working, they are trying to talk to each other, so we need to revamp the Dialogues setup UI on the editor.", "now that chopping is available, we need to make it properly wield an axe, which wields differently than a lamp. What about wielding more than one thing in different hands? What about using something with the right hand when it's busy wielding?". "We need to implement crafting to allow him to cook that before eating it", and so on, you get the picture.
While we did implement most of that, Level 2 is still far from being close to where it will be on it's final incarnation. Meanwhile, we are finishing up a standalone level that will be a better experience with the features we currently have. I'm thinking of making these extra levels a permanent thing with each new build, so we can better focus on the new features for testing and feedback, and I can withhold releasing too many levels from the campaign before release, to avoid putting out too many spoilers.
Here are some teaser shots from it:
If you got this far, thanks for reading, and until next time!