First the obligatory HAPPY HOLIDAYS from the ID team. Secondly, hello to Freddeh who was remarking on my lack of update (though I said it would be up days ago). I PROMISED him it would be done before the end of today and as I'm typing this note it's 11:25 so go-go me :)
Now onto Intelligent Design news.
First we have a couple of new additions to the team. We have selected a new art lead. His role is going to be very important as his visual style will be reflected in many aspects of the game look/feel. I have chosen Kazaq as our man for this task. With this decision, a clear artistic voice will hopefully emerge and we'll be pushing out art assets in a really timely fashion.
Occasionally, we also stumble onto help when we least expect it. Khaim has some experience with the Source SDK and has joined our team as a coder. With the combination of talent we have working on the programming side of things, I suspect we'll be making some really impressive progress over the next little while.
On a non-staff related front, I want to talk a bit about our next steps. In order to understand what we've done and where we are headed, you need to understand a few background things.
Most Source mods (with the exception of Insects Infestation at the moment (to my knowledge)) use 2 teams of humanoid characters so determining shapes/sizes/hitboxes etc is very simple as HL2 has this functionality very clearly outlined in the SDK and model files. There's no real tricks and mod teams can concentrate on instead getting the models, weapons and gameplay code done.
We have 2 significantly different teams, with one team consisting mainly of quadrapeds (4-legged classes) and the other being typical bipeds (humans).
The issue grows in complexity when you start taking into account things like wall-walk. Currently in our code we have some of the classes movement techniques in-game but troubleshooting these can be tricky. Here's an example why :
Imagine a doorway, now when you have a humanoid model wall-walking across that surface, he has a lot of his model beneath his eyeline, so while it may look like he shouldn't be sticking to the wall in actuality his legs/feet are still on the wall above the door-hole and therefore he sticks.
So as you can see using the default biped models are not going to cut it in testing. It produces bad tests and in the end bad unreliable results.
So we called on an old friend, BASHH to build us a set of character boxes (based on some rough specs I provided) that will come to represent in-game each Feral class. Using these boxes as a guide we can do some pretty exciting things.
The first of which is perfect our sizing, since we can quickly edit these boxes and get them right back into the game we can make alterations to the sizing of the characters and see how they then interact with the environment until they are perfect. (length, width and depth). We can then give the mappers out there these specifics which they can use to work on their maps.
Secondly it allows us to get the rest of our class framework done which includes weapons and unique individual movement styles. So now we can simulate battle situations and see which weapons work, which don't and alter them as needed. We can also check out health and armour totals and being tweaking movement. So this leads to our first set of true playtests shortly where people who aren't me/on the team can begin to move around as the classes and get a feeling for how they play and what types of things we intend to do with attacks etc.
As mentioned above, people have been requesting class sizes so they can prepare maps, so I have to answer those people and say, I don't have the exact heights/widths at this time because we are still altering them. But because I'm so excited about the progress we HAVE made, I've posted the initial sizing image on the idmod website (www.idmod.net)
You can see we have some obvious sizing issues just by looking at them (and we are working on correcting those) but each of these 'boxes' are currently available in game as you select between each class.
Oh, BASHH also made up his own names to further confuse you and us :) Here's a translation
Ranger = Scout
Guerilla = Quick Fighter
Soldier = Medium Fighter
Tank = Base Buster
Heavy Soldier = Heavy Fighter
Augur = Overseer
So what am I really talking about here. They are just some boxes. Well, we have taken the 'next' step in terms of our development requirements and feel that the next few months are going to be fast-paced and quite interesting.
We will be selecting our first alpha-testers from our active forum community so if you haven't hit up the forums and started learning more about the game (there is a released design information sub-conference there buckos) now might be a good time to get on and get active.
We are also seeking a character animator. We have the scout model being rigged as I write this and will need someone to put it through it's paces. If you have experience with HL2 animation or feel your skill set meets what we need, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have a really good feeling about this new year, and what we should be able to accomplish in regards to this mod. I hope over the coming weeks we are able to start getting you excited too!!