As you know, this month we are working on the night cycle. Along with our work on the night pass, we’ve also been implementing some fixes/changes requested by the community, some of which you can read below.
We’ve also made some changes to our forum layouts, which means you’ll actually be able to know which threads you have read and which you haven’t! Crazy, we know. And, to make sure that we can communicate better about what we’re working on (and what we’re waiting on), we have also set up a Trello board for tracking issues. If you see an issue or have some feedback about the game, you can take a look at it to see if someone has already brought it up, if we are already working on it, and if it will be included in the next update.
And again, thank you for all the feedback so far!
The last two weeks involved a lot of silent behind the scenes work as I researched and put together the system with which our artists can create the distinct appearance of the day, twilight and night conditions. Previously, our environment, lighting and effects consisted of various components hastily cobbled together and often interacting with each other in unpredictable ways. With so many variables to control, changes like changing the overall colour of the world was tedious and overly complicated.
So I created a new master control for all these effects and linked together the parametres that made sense in order to simplify the creation and maintenance of these new lighting conditions. Emmanuel finally got his grubby little hands on this new tool on Wednesday and we have been working together to improve it and reproduce Whitney’s fancy new atmosphere concepts within the game.
As part of a general cleanup of combat, we’ve decided to try and improve immersion by removing the very gamey suspicion eyeballs that hang over the Wellies’ heads. As part of this, we need to significantly improve both the visual and audio feedback that we give the player about the suspicion states of the AIs. For me this means we need to clean up the combat voice overs. AIs were talking over each other, and you couldn’t tell who was coming after you in a mob of people.
So, one of the things I did this week was trim down some of the Wellie attack lines in Pro Tools (an audio editing program). That allowed us to separate the audio barks into short lines for the Wellies to say while they are smacking you (“Keep CALM!”) and longer lines for the Wellies to say while they’re waiting to smack you (“Why aren’t you happy? You need to be happy!”). Once we’ve done a better job of locating the voices in space (“spatializing”) this should make it easier to identify where the next attack is coming from.
I also wrote more greetings for both NPCs and for the playable character (since everyone’s been asking for them), lines for NPCs to react to night coming on, and lines for Wastrels to react to other Wastrels being in a fight with you.
You should probably soon hear Uncle Jack warning you not to be out at night; you’ll know why ;)
And, Julian Casey (Uncle Jack), my wife Lisa, and I recorded “combat grunts,” i.e., noises people make when they are trying to make you lie down. Those should make combat feel much more visceral.
This week I've been working on adapting a double decker bus model by creating new topology, textures and materials, as well as a small prop. As you can see, we won't be driving it! It will have an interesting mysterious purpose though :)
Finally, this week I have been working on something that is not entirely top secret!
I have been animating and tweaking a lot of gameplay animations in order for the AIs to use a particularly nasty weapon of choice: the bayonet! They may not be able to shoot you, but you have to remain careful about the pointy end!
So basically, I had to retarget most of the combat animations of the generic male characters, and tweak them all so they fit with the proper handling of the bayonet (going from one handed to two handed).
Since we have more than a hundred animations it would be too much and probably boring to show them all. I would prefer that you guys experience them directly in-game!
But I was still able to extract a few of them to show you guys. Enjoy!
Yep, we animators are coming back from the dead (read secret narrative stuff) for the week!
For the same reason that Alex worked on combat barks, I worked a lot on general feedback of the animations this week, both on revising what we currently have as well as creating some additional animations that we needed.
For instance, I have exaggerated some poses for the suspicion of the NPCs, so that the difference between “aware”, “suspicious” and “aggressive” is now clearer. Also, some players were having issues reacting to the Bobbies when they charged, so I added a “rally the troops” kind of animation that will telegraph the sprint, giving you more time to react to it. I tweaked the charge itself as well, to make it look much more aggressive so that it wouldn’t be confused with the run cycle anymore.
Additionally, I animated other things like: standing up from sitting on the ground, NPCs cowering for a couple of seconds before running away, melee blocking for NPCs as well as unarmed attacks (yay, fists!)...
Again this week, more nightly goodness!
Most of my week was spent on prototyping a dangerous new threat that will come at you during the night. We're still not 100% on exactly how dangerous this will be, or what it will look like, but we know enough that I could get the basic functionality in, and I made it as customisable as possible. I’ve made it so that we’ll be able to vary the threat across biomes, which will help us increase the game’s difficulty throughout your play session.
Combined with hostile patrols in the streets, this threat will make players not want to linger more than necessary in the streets at night and be extra cautious. It should make for interesting stealth gameplay scenarios.
Besides that, I did a few changes and fixes for the loudspeakers in the Garden District and TVs in the Village District.
Lastly, I have an announcement to make. I'll be dad of a second child in a few days! My parental leave starts next week, but I'll keep track of the progress on the game to be ready to jump right back in in five weeks! See you all soon!
Have a great weekend!
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