This week I spent a bit of time working on improving the existing apartment and building that players first load into at the start of the game. Some of the problems I was looking to resolve were…
Navigational issues and limited exploration areas – This will be expanded even more, but I’ve added more nooks inside the building that were previously closed off.
Mood and lighting – I wanted a more lived in feeling and decay where it made sense, mother nature is reclaiming what was once hers.
Performance – I looked at what was causing some frame drop in some areas and while there is still more to do I’m happy with the result.
The other big task I had was revisiting the crafting room and shooting range. I’m pleased to announce both will be making their way into release branch this week. You can access these both by taking the stairs in the lobby down towards the basement. Eventually you’ll be able to venture out into the city, gather what resources you can find, then bring them back and store them in the crafting room where you can then create new weapons, or repair existing ones.
For now, the shooting range has some prototyped playable targets you can activate and knock down with the firearm of your choice mounted on the wall thanks to efforts this week by Alex. The shooting range will eventually be an extension of the players inventory, whatever guns you have crafted or collected and stored in your locker, will be available to you at the shooting range. To summarize, as your inventory grows, so will the weapons that are available at the shooting range. Depending on player feedback, we may change this and just allow any gun in the game to be used regardless of players inventory. I’ve been wanting to add a feeling of progression in the main part of the game, starting out with very little and being able to feel a sense of progression. We would love to hear your opinions on this.
Took a stab at Programmer Secret #2 a little bit. What is Programmer Secret #2, you may be wondering? Well…wouldn’t be much of a secret if I told anyone here. Although PS#1 (Arcade Machine) is sort of out of bag and needs some love too eventually.
I have also been picking at Save/Load Slot Saving system. It’s very tedious and boring work, but it needs to get done and done right. Eventually, I’ll probably put it out to Open Beta soon. Oh, did you know? I came up with the idea to open up our Closed Beta so that more players can get access to the latest and greatest (and probably cry more because there will be bugs…because you know…that’s why it’s “beta” in Early Access 🙂 )
I worked on User Experience also this week. Did “localization” (thanks for Google Translate) and more Tooltips for new players, hopefully help bridge the gap. Also added a little feature that highlights each firearm’s weapon slide and firing select so that it’s easier to figure out each new weapon you pick up. It’s disabled if you’re in Immersive Mode though.
Squashed various bug fixes as well, snubbing out one of the more annoying ones : the keycard backpack duplication bug.
Other than all that, I’ve been keeping all the torches and pitchforks away from the castle doors on Steam. We are at 68% and 200 reviews as of this writing! Not too bad considering we were at 31% on Early Access Launch Day!
Most of my time this week has been focused on developing the shooting range gameplay. Like Jason wrote above, it will be a place where you can come to practice your shooting skills against different challenges. So far, we have the basic gameplay loop in place; start the round, and the targets pop up at random. each target has a set amount of health, and require several shots to take down. Bullseyes or headshots will multiply the damage dealt (as well as points awarded!), letting you down targets quicker, so you can take down more targets before the timer runs out.
Right now, there is only the humanoid silhouette type target, but we’re going to have zombie and survivor targets soon; nailing a zombie target will net you points, while hitting a survivor will take them away. We also have “launchable” targets, like clay pigeons, but as it turns out, shooting small, fast moving things in VR is actually kind of difficult, so we’re still playing with the size/speed ratio to find the sweet spot of the fun/challenge ratio.
Right now, even with the basic gameplay in place, it’s still a lot of fun to just chew through ammo. I’m pretty excited to get some of the more complex features, and we should have a lot to show in the very near future!
I spent a good portion of this week developing Convolution Effects for our Auxiliary Buses. Once attached to a volume within our level all audio played within that volume is affected by that particular Effect/Aux.
I’ve also been creating new Ambient Audio and SoundFX which are being placed throughout the current maps. I’ve completed reworking the entire audio in SP_Start and StageA_ShootingRange for now and have started on SP_CleanApt. Considering I’ve only really been doing this for a few weeks now I’m very happy with the results.
Zombie with grenade?
What happens if you shoot it?
Only time will tell…
This week I fixed the issues with the physical animation system, which Paul then took over on the art side to bring you the best possible zombie feedback. I fixed the bug causing zombies spawning with no head – which made headshotting rather tricky. Did some CPU optimisation in the city map, should really help with the performance issues there. Redid zombie attack code for more reliable hitting, no more sitting on the floor to be invincible. Also, first iteration of new zombie archetype that you may see about the game sometime soon – the improved, lootable Soldier Zombie: