Update for June 2012. Mapping, modelling, Character Development, Weapons and playtime are all addressed.
Posted by agent00kevin on Jun 26th, 2012
Hi all, its time for a NovaCor progress update.
Mapping is progressing slowly but steadily. I have finally taken the time to start building some areas in Source that were drawn out as concept works early in development. They are coming out better than planned, and very much fit the theme I have set.
Some of the earlier areas will not be making the final cut, as they do not quite fit the theme I have developed. Here are a few preliminary screens of one area in development. The others are still in Dev textures, and I dont post Dev shots.
Some fine detail has been added over the past couple months to some of the maps that are further along; mainly the Labwork maps. There is still some detail to add, but its getting there.
Ive also been reskinning some models and reworking others. Many have been edited and recompiled for efficiency; resulting in less vertices and less surfaces rendering. Pictured are some of the equipment models I recently reskinned. I also reduced the vertices on these particular models as well.
There has also been a lot of behind the scenes work going on. Ive been editing the plotline and locations visited in the Mod, as well as working on a very important - and thus far overlooked - aspect: Character Development.
Not only have I been working on developing the Main Character, but his allies and enemies. Its something I had overlooked in the past as I developed the maps and overall visual theme, from textures to architecture. So, Ive turned a lot of attention on developing the attitude and personalities of Administrative Personnel, your few close friends, and a couple main enemies you will love to hate. Soon, I will have a rundown of the lead characters for you to pore over and get to know.
Now, about those weapons. I really like the Pulse Rifle we 'borrowed' from Aliens, but it will be cut from the final product. This is to be an all original work, and we have enough talent and skill in the weapons department to make our own weapons through and through. Our weapons animator is busy with school right now, but we remain in contact and discuss the future of NovaCor regularly. Our modeller is involved with some other Mods, but has not abandoned NovaCor. (as far as I know that is) We have a custom Assault Rifle partially animated and fully modelled, as well as some work Ive been doing on more custom weapons. Some will not be traditional weapons, and will need to be constructed from parts and tools found on NovaCor. I felt it was more fitting to the theme and Main Character's position on the station to go with a mishmash of standard weapons brought aboard by NovaCor Security, and weapons made by the player out of the tools and parts available to a Engineering Tech on board.
NPCs have also been part of the behind-the-scenes work going on lately. Ive been working on some redesigns of the NovaCor uniforms and NPC faces. The ones currently in use were made waaaaaayyy at the beginning of the Mod, and really do not fit the quality of the rest of it at this point.
I am also considering removing the Infected and replacing them with something more sinister, akin to the fastzombie from Half Life 2. Something scarier, and more threatening. There will still be Infected Crewmen, but they will no longer leap and claw the player - they will bludgeon him/her with weapons instead. One of the reasons behind this is that they just dont act quite right and the animations will not play as well on a human skeleton as they do on a freakish, twisted creature. I worked on it for several weeks and it just is not up to my standards. Opinions on this matter are welcome and appreciated!
Lastly, Ive also decided to go with a more reasonable goal as far as play time goes. I was originally shooting for 8-12 hours of gameplay, but after 15 months of development I have decided that may be too lofty. With only one map near completion, (but many, many others in progress) it seemed daunting to try and create such a large amount of content. I have shifted my focus to producing a shorter, but higher quality Mod, as opposed to pumping out maps and repetetive battles and puzzles. The goal now is an attainable 4 hours of gameplay. This will allow me to make better models, better maps, and a better Mod.