Design Dev Journal
Register for an account, sign in with it, click “Play Now”, wait for a few seconds of loading screen, and players are confronted with an awe-inspiring view of the camera soaring above the edge of Nexus, and this represents only the start screen. After the panoramic view of the port, the towering city ahead, the player is confronted with the Character Creation/Selection Screen, welcoming them to the adventure they are nearly set upon.
During the test we were flooded with feedback from players who, like us, loved the intro.
Although the idea was generated months ago, the epic animation wasn’t meant to be implemented in the Sneak Peek. Even days before the Sneak Peek we thought we would go for the older start screen as is presented in the screenshot below.
Admittedly, it doesn’t carry the awe that the game deserves to implore the player to feel. The only reason that justified its existence was that it took up the minutest of resources. But long before the thought of releasing a Sneak Peek we had been thinking of returning to and rebuilding it anew from scratch, and that’s precisely what we did. The labor, those long hours consumed by the new intro, and, painfully, the caffeine headaches. – All worth it. We were confident that the new start screen would be eye-catching and that it would create in players a satisfactory first impression of our fondest baby. However, another predictable problem made itself apparent to us: the resource file of the start screen was around 2.4MBs that would surely take players some additional time to pre-load along with several other necessary files at their first log-in. Even on the evening before the Sneak Peek, when CoS developers stayed overnight to make sure things would work as well as possible the following day, there were different opinions. But then Dave made the final say and it was implemented about three hours before the Sneak Peek.
We all heaved a sigh of relief when we found the server managed to handle it without issues. Apart from some reports from players on the forum about the blackout start screen, most had no problem with it. An issue that was detected a little later was that the start screen FPS (frame per second, see the screenshot) was lower than 30 but we had no sooner discovered it than we figured out the crux of the problem: a bootless extra unity camera had been used unnecessarily. After we left one out (so there is just one unity camera for the start screen now) and reduced the resource file, and tah-dah, it ran much smoother then, with FPSs of between 30 and 50 – we haven’t got another report from players about the blackout start screen again since then.
More development journals are set to be released over the next few days so stay tuned!
Head over to the developer journal page to check more.