Monday, 26 January 2015

Content And Sample Game Levels

With the bulk of the 'functionality' work concluded last week, this week, the third since the start of 2015 will be about adding content, game samples and testing everything as we layer on the final fixes and polish before a major build for some serious testing during February.

Many of the sample levels created for us by third parties either through competitions or directly as a contribution sometimes dipped into legacy or custom content, and so we are painstakingly bringing those into the core asset library, renaming them, putting them in the correct category folder and using a cool new hack I created, the old levels can be instructed through a .REPLACE feature, to swap in the location of the new entity to replace the old one, avoiding the need for the level artist to have to go in and manually replace anything, which I thought was a very nice time saver (and sanity saver).

Friday, 23 January 2015

Flea Swatting Stage

After the monster UBER Character work yesterday and last night, today was a little nicer with some opportunities to squash little bugs and tweaks, which has gone well so far, so the plan is to continue getting the list down to reasonable levels, and then make a test and build for the internal alpha testers for the weekend.

Finally finished at 3:30AM last night, but the Uber Character can now hold any weapon style, and when stood can pivot his upper body around to face and shoot you, and transition to normal animations, plus blend the two states together using a special frame override which can impose static frame poses onto a running model animations, which I thought was a nice touch!

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Coding To Rocky Theme Tune

You just know no bug is safe when you're casually playing movie themes in the background, and then the Rocky theme tune comes on, so it is perhaps best for the bugs that all of today I was working on the Uber Character task, which involves adding Rocket, Shotgun, Uzi and Assault Rifle animation sets to the character animation system which was estimated at 6 hours and looks to be taking entirely that allocation.

I also added a sub-task to this goal, which was to use the new animation frames created to pose the upper body of the character for twisting and firing, and I was about to start writing new DBP commands to override an animation with fixed animation frame poses, when I discovered a SetFrameEx command that I must have written years ago that does exactly that, which I thought amusing and very very useful indeed, thanks TGC!

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Crashes Be Gone

A crash that has been plaguing the software for sometime has now been squashed, and turned out to be the rather simple fact that the Steam API needed to be totally closed down when the executable was terminated, or modules would be left hanging and dire consequences ensued.

As Pool Night is 'Singles Knock-Out' I have decided to stay at home and have an evening of 'more work' which according to my task list on Wrike means I start the code which will allow the Uber Character to hold ANY weapon style (pistol, shotgun, uzi, rocket, none), partially to give this character template life in the first build to help future character artists but mainly to provide the necessary character for the multiplayer gaming where each player can naturally select and run around with any weapon, and you want to see that in a good way, so it's my mission for the evening and hopefully I can get another task knocked off before the final 'function' week is over and we move tentatively to internal testing of a near-final build that will eventually become the Early Access release on Steam.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Strategy Meeting Day

A good meeting today and one decision is that we will likely be releasing a build for all pledgers at the start of February so something for you to look forward to, and also as part of the meeting before we headed off for lunch was a funny rag doll pose as I was defeating characters in the new Get To The River level which will feature in the final Early Access build (thanks to our recent competition winner):

It was great fun winding my way around a brilliantly designed level, and then started to realize I was in the GTTR (Get To The River) level, just massively embellished, and sure the AI can be a little slow to react but the combination of pistol, shotgun, uzi and rocket men as I battled to get to the jetty and the river was pretty awesome and I look forward to sharing it in the next two weeks!

Monday, 19 January 2015

2015 - Week Three

With base line multiplayer sessions in the main IDE, finalized performance and visual settings abd a dwindling list of priority tasks, all that really remains is the Character Kit and Workshop functionality to be introduced, which are the goals for this week, and with a strategy meeting thrown in the week has been reduced by a fifth, but I am also skipping the Pool knock-out Wednesday night which gives me half a day back so all in all should be a good productive week.

Also tackled some left-over nags regarding the Zombie support in the engine with fixes to the ability for them to walk OVER dead zombies, use whole body detection (instead of half body shooting bug) and the last one which was the random vertex corrupt which turned out to be a head reset feature which the Zombies have no use for, and I wanted to post a second picture of something you do not see every day (not that you see Zombies every day), is our total dominance of the Android Educational Chart, perhaps the dream of every app developer and all thanks to the power and awesomeness of App Game Kit 2 now available on Steam (blatant plug):

Friday, 16 January 2015

Welcome To The Slightly Drunk More Than Two Sentences Blog Post

Well after only 2 hours sleep between THU and FRI, and then a solid stint through to 5PM I decided to play fair to my own body and start to shut down the serious stuff.  The new build for the internal alpha testers was uploaded, my own tests went well, a GREAT result from our first Reloaded multi-player mash-up through Steam and a fantastic end to the week.  Surely I deserved a 'blended bourbon' and Cherry Zero mixer (or four) :)  I write my blog post-JD so excuse the exaggerated arm waving but the two sentence tether has been removed for Friday and I am free-styling my way through this post!

A very VERY early snapshot of my Character Kit prototype which I am confining to a weekend (or three) development so it does not get in the way of the main engine work.  More uniforms have been created as well.

If I had to choose from music for this shot, it would be The Ecstasy Of Gold by Ennio Morricone.  Maybe one day I can get away with this on YouTube without getting sued..

Speaking about todays work, a HUGE pile of completed items lies in my wake, and for the first time we had a multi-user mashup in the engine which means each of us make a quick level, then hit the M button and played the level over Steam and had a blast!  It was SO COOL!

On other news, the children of AGK2 continues to blaze a trail on the popular app charts.

I'll give you a guess, we did not develop Toca Hair Salon 2 ;)  We also got a nice treat from the real world too, you know, the top selling and top paid iOS and Android charts that all developers dream of being on.  Not bad for a few weeks of work with the ultra powerful and cross-platform king App Game Kit 2!

If I said this app took just 'weeks' to develop from scratch, you would not believe me so I will not stretch your credulity, but I started it mid-Jan and handed over the project by early March to start the Reloaded project back in 2013 or 2014, so long I cannot recall :)

Now back to Reloaded, hurray!  With Friday a resounding success, the plan for next week is to finish off the multi-player (Ravey) while I continue to close the stability gaps in the product to produce something as close to solid as a rock for the Steam Early Access release.  It's already feeling pretty solid, but with weeks of functionality development and a whole month of testing ahead, I am pretty confident right now.

Not to mention by little weekend task of moving the Character Kit closer to completion, and if possible, inclusion into the main Early Access release. The plan is that characters can be created for both the single player games AND the multi-player games, and the ability to put your own faces on the characters will be especially cool in the multi-player side of things.  It's one thing to frag a friend in a death-match, but quite another to run up to them and see their own face staring back at you :)  It's gonna rock!!

That's slightly more than two sentences, but it's Friday so enjoy the rambling. Just got stuck into a bowl of pasta, Godfather sound track in the background, a bourbon mix by my side, a dog waiting for his walk and a time team in my future, the perfect Friday for a saddy-coder who's social life was tied to a tree and left for the wolves many many moons ago.  Until Monday, enjoy your weekend and be happy!