A Mixed year
Over the past year we've had quite a few successes and failures! In this article I will attempt to catalog and go over these events and give some insight into 2018. I will break up and discuss in terms of each division and any progress we've also had since our last update. So buckle up and lets get started!
This year we've investigated and tried to improve the core sections upon internal discussions and in relation to concerns to gameplay ensuring there was consistency. We've cut things and rethought some ideas that just weren't going to work gameplay wise and at the engine level. A good example was the retrofit of the center area to be somewhat what you see below. You can see we've changed the side center areas and refocused on better line of sight blockage and such!
Over constant alliteration we discovered a huge number of issues in terms of optimization and failure in planning that caused us to rethink our internal deadlines and re-scope them as we progressed. Certain areas needs to be broken down and with greater emphasis on optimization/performance we had to simply change some areas it was unavoidable.
So we decided upon the massive undertaking of ripping all textures of the game out and testing them in sequential order so we could hit certain predetermined bench-lines in performance. As those bench-lines were hit we constantly reevaluated and adjusted as necessary. Currently we are attempting to ramp up stage 1 and continue to step 2.
- Test for acceptable frame-rates with just level design assets untextured -Basic Lighting Passes
- Add in textures and make sure we are still within acceptable ranges of how the hardware is affected and overall FPS.
- Finalize Lighting (Final pass)
We've brought on another programmer thank god! And myself and him have been breaking up the work and hammering it out the best we can. But ive been split between directing, helping manage the level designers and just make sure recruitment is functioning.
We've managed to rip out our initial ideas of how to handle vaulting and switch it to a dynamic vaulting system similar to how PUBG handles their system. To make it easier for level designers to build their levels without having to place special blueprint actors.
It worked quite well with the dynamic vaulting system and we're just focused on animation polish and camera movement refinement.
Plus we've managed to improve the grenade throwing arch and create a preview mesh that helps visualize the impact area. Credits to Derek our new programmer that has been extremely critical in programming!
They have cracking along trying to finalize and author the final characters. Heres some screen grabs of their amazing work!
Our prop modeling has been building new assets and ensuring that the center area is populated for one of the last sections we are working to fill in and add to. For the most part the other sections are done from a level design side of things. The center area area and one remaining section the Motor pool requires some edits then we'll be switching over to internal playtesting.
As you can see we've been working to implement more signs and ways of navigation to give the player a way to use weenies or special vista's to remember where they are in the level and generally navigate without heavy usage of a quest marker if they so deem. Its been important for our team to keep these sorta systems discussed and planned for so this place actually feels like a lived in place.
Overall we've learned huge amounts of information from research and just testing on optimization and just working to improve our levels and overall presentation. We've had numerous huge team meetings over the past few months to plan out and ensure everything was being discussed not to mention in numerous occasions we've had to dismiss certain individuals that either didn't have the time or just wasn't willing to contribute in a meaningful way.
Causing us to have to recruit and seek out more individuals interested in joining our little band of indie devs. This has affected development to a degree as searching for people for the right skill level needed for the graphic fidelity required and skill level is sometimes quite nerve wrecking and in some cases we will teach some of the newer greenhorns that have enough time and motivation to learn it. Which in itself a flip of how that turns out. Currently our team sits at 6 dozen developers and around 12-15 main developers that put in on a daily or bi-daily pace. We all do this project aside our normal day jobs and lives and i greatly appreciate the patience our community has granted us on the development of the VR Missions and Ascension as we continue to work through our development woes in bringing something of value to you guys. It goes without saying supporting us by buying the VR Missions prototype or just pledging to our patron greatly helps our development in supporting infrastructure fees to our server hosting and such!
Currently its awaiting final animations so we can author the update. As Stacey and her animators work to author the improvements we need implemented before that update is allowed to be released. As you can see the update will be sizable as huge amounts of gameplay/abilities have been revamped and rethought as we continue to push what Dark Storm needs to be in theirs final form.
Discord and Dev Community Server (All are welcome!)
What we're trying to do by opening up a public discord for people that are interested in the game to talk to devs and follow news and to make a hub for our patreon to talk with us. If your supporter or patron message a dev or post in the chat so we can verify it and give you the proper tag.
Team Discord ^
Due to our game being a royalty contract. (You get paid after the game is released based on how much time and work you put in), we often have people drop out randomly at random intervals as life demands. For this reason we are almost always looking for new people to bolster our ranks and join the Fenrir Team.
If you are interested, please check our post here for more details.
Other Ways to Support our team
O and remember, buying the VR Missions helps keep our server infrastructure up helps us keep developing the game. It makes our lives as indie developers that much easier. If your not interested in the VR or already have it check out our Patreon by clicking the image below. Thanks for following us and we hope to have a solid release soon next year! Also we'll be looking for QA testers to test performance and gameplay! So watch Indiedb closely!