HI HELLO WE'RE OFFICIALLY BACK - AND WITH A DISCORD TOO: Discord.gg
Well it's already been a month since our last update, where all I really had to say was that we were gonna try and salvage the mod, so now it's finally time for an update on how that all went. Let's jump in!
So last time I was here, I talked about how I'd gotten a hold of the JB3 Source Files from the previous programming team, and how we were now seeking new programmers to help. In 24 hours I'd found one new programmer, in 48 hours another joined, and by the end of the week I had a 3rd. So yea, things are going pretty well lol. Next up we getting in touch with everyone that worked on the mod previously. A lot of people worked on the mod before, so I was expecting many to be unable to return, but amazingly damn near everyone was ready to jump back into things. I got our old roadmap fixed up, and (with extensive help from UprightBlue) set up a Discord for us to use (join here: Discord.gg ) and things really started to take off FAST. Let's take a look at the team listing:
Only real difference is that now UprightBlue, our main weapons modeler + occasional texture artist, is stepping up to help me with leading things when needed. I'm pretty hopeless with all things computery, whereas he absolutely isn't, so yea it's a huge help to say the least.
I can't thank everyone enough for returning to this huge mess of a project. You guys are great.
FIXING THE MOD
a LOT of crashes and bugs have been discovered since we got started. Everyone's been chipping in, and Zero especially has made SIGNIFICANT progress in stabilizing this mess. However, there's still a fair few issues that remain, as well as some pretty obnoxious bugs that we're still looking into.
For example, there's this one ultra rare crash that has been in the mod for as long as I can remember - sometimes a player will stop seeing the model of another player. This causes issues because if that player dies in a way that generates a ragdoll, the game absolutely implodes and crashes the player that sees this. We've never once been able to replicate it or even record it, but one of our players happened to catch it for the very first time ever:
To top it off, the invisible player was also streaming at the time and we were able to match his footage to the above to confirm he did indeed use the suicide feature at the exact time Jocosity crashed. So yea, invisible player ragdoll bug strikes again. Who knows if we can ever fix this tho. It's so damn rare that I'm not too concerned at least.
A lot of previously working features also either stopped working, or became horribly broken in the wake of Valve's numerous SDK patches. To make matters worse, things have only gotten more broken for SDK 2013 MP mods, as now the steam overlay doesn't even work normally unless you launch the mod from a command line. It's all a huge pain, but make no mistake: progress is continuing at a very stable pace and the mod is still mostly playable right now!
So as you may already know, we stopped taking donations yeeeaaars ago. We were brand new and I didn't really know what I was doing with all this. I'd seen other mods do stuff with donations and perks for donators, and knew we needed help covering hosting fees, equipment fees, and possibly hiring extra help. So yea it seemed fair game, but what I didn't know was even remotely how long the mod would be in development for. That, and what started as me thinking "lets also reward donators by letting them join us for beta tests" instead basically became a system that could be construed as "pay to play", made all the worse by how long development became due to issues such as us having to switch SDK branches not once, but twice during development, only to get stopped in our tracks again when yet another SDK patch broke just about everything lol. So yeah, I'm sorry for all that. The donations system is never coming back and if you're ever unhappy about having donated once upon a time, just talk to me on here or discord.
Likewise, we can't really do stuff like that private player model idea. Again, seemed a fair idea at the time given all the stuff I've seen other mods do, but because of the nature of this mod, that it uses ideas from other games/mods, and that some companies have recently given us full permission to use their content recently under the pretense we never become a commercial product, we simply can't do that. It could be construed as something along the lines of an in-game store or some stuff. We're gonna play things squeaky clean from here on but yea again, if you donated and were wanting that stuff and aren't happy about this change, feel free to contact me. THAT BEING SAID, we are down to add pretty much anything as a player model so long as it's something you made or that you at least have permission for, is not a rip or contains ripped assets, and is not a depiction of any trademarked characters. We've got all sorts of stuff in the mod right now so yea, anything goes. Finally, while we won't be having DONATOR user tags anymore because obviously we don't want any confusion over our current status, everyone that's gotten early access to the mod will get a permanent QA tag. Since that's what you are after all and nobody can raise a fuss about that.
Sadly that stuff isn't the only thing getting cut. Before development died last time around, Jim had wanted to port at least Battle Royale over onto Lua, the idea being people would then be able to make their own BR mutators and such. While significant progress was made towards this goal, it was never finished, and due to the difficulties of our programmers having to switch back and forth between C++ or Lua depending on what they're working on at the time while trying to address the SIGNIFICANT bugs and crashes plaguing every aspect of the mod, we decided to just cut it entirely for the sake of making this not such a nightmare to fix. If you've got a great idea for a Battle Royale mutator, join our discord and let us know in the "Ideas-Man" channel, and if we like it, we'll just add it officially.
First off, our art director Edward has gone back and redone all our logos and such, and is working on setting up a website for us and doing mock-ups for a new menu. We're all looking forward to see what he comes up with.
Right, now on to the fun stuff. First up to bat, yea, we ditched a LOT of our players models. We said for years all the ripped stuff people submitted would be removed, and we've finally gone and done it. Thankfully, tho, a number of other mod teams and actual game developers have lent us content we can freely use. The developers of BrainBread 2 actually reached out to us and said if we're running short on player models, we can use some of theirs. Likewise, we asked the Fistful of Frags team, Double Action Boogaloo team, Synergy team, Black Mesa Source Team (free version, not retail), and Postal 2 developer Running with Scissors if we could use some of their content (at least a few player models), and all said yes. That, plus some rips from other Valve games and some neat custom models people made just for us, has us at a pretty damn nice spot as far as player model content goes. Just take a look at this that one of our player model texture artists, Ellistron, made for us:
(NOTE: there's a handful of models here we either haven't received finalized permission for, or are still trying to get a hold of their original creators over. So yea, some stuff in there might get dropped come release just FYI)
But it gets even better. While we missed the boat on making new hand models a long ass time ago, new programmer Rara implemented a system to allow players to recolor the orange part of the suit however they want via options. You can even spectate someone and you'll see their arms painted the color they set. It gets better tho, at this color will also impact a LOT of other stuff. Chief among them is of course the player model itself:
Setting up the player models involved editing the textures to every single model and specifying what part of the model will change color. This was quite the task, but thankfully Rara + 4 volunteers from our discord (Gazyi, OTT, Bekoha, and Ellistron) stepped up and tackled them all. So yea, we've now got a LOT of mileage out of our player model selections to say the least.
This system currently extends to other features as well, such as the color of the railgun beam, and the color of the collar on the cat weapons. More stuff will be linked to this soon as well (ricochet discs for SURE) so yea, it's a damn good addition.
We've also got people helping us make new player models. We don't have much to show off just yet, but some goofy ones are at least ready. I'll keep some surprises for you all, but here's this
Here's Mrs. Machine Gun. Mr Machine Gun will come later and will be made out of actual JB guns lol
One feature that Jim had started long ago before shelving, was a kick feature. Rara picked it up again and has been toying with it lately. We weren't really sure the best way to integrate it, but after a late night test session the other day between myself and the other programmers, i finally think I've settled on how to make this work: It'll be a charge up attack that's primarily about knock-back, doing little damage and also making you move slowly while charging it. The idea there is that its more for either sneaking up on and booting a camper across the map, or for quickly knocking someone in the air to set up an easy follow-up shot from your gun. It should work wonderfully once finished and I absolutely can't wait to show it off.
This is a bit too early to show off, but another feature that was shelved early on and is now being revived, is the Scientist Survival game-mode. Jill's been primarily handling this, and has been making great progress with the attack scientist AI. The idea is basically that everyone spawns in with a crowbar, and various kinds of attack scientists spawn in and try to kill you. Last player standing wins. There's a lot of room for fun with this as the idea revolves around taking the kleiner model, and figuring out ways to edit it to turn him into something new. Btw if anyone is actually reading this, reply to this article with the phrase bacon in all caps and if you're one of the first 5 people to do it, I'll PM you instructions to set you up with beta access over our discord. Anyways, one idea i had was to take the head of the kleiner model, and use the existing HL2 roller mine code to get some rolling kleiner heads that chase you down. The idea is they either zap you like a roller mine does to a player, or they latch on to you and slow you down like they would a jeep. We'll probably do both and just recolor them separately.
At this point you're probably thinking "pfft this game-mode will be easy, I'll just camp on top of a box and they won't get me. Well, I won't spoil it yet, but I've got some damn fun ideas for what will happen if a scientist gets 'frustrated' over not being able to reach you directly lol.
BATTLE ROYALE TWEAKS:
One of the biggest changes we made from Podunkian's version of Battle Royale was the addition of KOTH safe zones. These are an amazing fix that really make this gamemode shine and prevent cheap pricks ruining an entire round for everyone. However, the zones were always totally static, and confined to being square shaped using manually place squares that can only be in right angles. It was a hell of a task KOTHing a map. just take a look at the monstrous amount of work I had to put into setting up Boot_camp, with zones that had to use dozens and dozens of squares to perfectly match the intended areas lol:
Thankfully, we've now added brush-based KOTH entities as well that players can use and shape however they want... But beyond that, they can also now attach them to moving objects! We've got a lot of ideas of how to best make use of this, one of which you'll see in our trailer at the end of this post, but hopefully by next update I'll have more to show.
Well obviously this was gonna be included here lol. So yea, it's been years since we worked on this. In that time, all our modelers have made a lot of progress as getting better at making them. We've started an effort to redo all the old models with something new. Take a look:
MagnumPI has also been busy redoing his old models, and also working on some new gadgets for Sneak to use in SvT:
LOTS more to come.
And of course, maps are still being made. Shortyish started a map remaking Meatworld from Postal 2, using all Postal 2 assets since the devs approved it. VIOLATION is currently detailing and expanding the map as we speak. It's looking pretty great:
VIOLATION's also been super busy with a number of other maps as well
Here's jb_g5, very loosely inspired by a deathmatch map from Perfect Dark 64
Then there's jb_svt_deepsea, a map made for our SvT gamemode, and also very loosely inspired by some Perfect Dark architecture.
And lastly is his unnamed map. There's still some stuff to figure out here, but there's def gonna be some unique twists to this as you can probably guess
Next up is JB_Nightmare by CabooseJR. this was finished before development stalled and never got shown in a blog post. Here it is:
And before that was jb_oneslip, by Icemaz. Same deal as before, here it is now, recently updated to feature a snazzy new background
Likewise, here's JB_Subtransit. A massive map by housemaster with help from Jaanus. As you can guess, it's a remake+re-imagining+expansion of subtransit from HL1DM, with an extra train on it and set in a soda factory in space.
Then we have jb_edge, by Dot Operator. Inspired by a quake 2 map and done with a unique and minimalistic art design
MissingNoGuy is also working on porting over his HL1DM map postal_zone. Basically Missingno made a nice map of a building with surrounding road and an exploding train for my HL1DM server, and I just flooded him with ideas to expand and enhance it. This was the end result.
Phanterm is also still hard at work mapping for us. He's been keeping busy making a new VR map for us, vr_red. This one is more meant for SvT
And last but not least, for the 3rd or 4th time we're attempting to get a new model for the attack Kleiner. Dai is the latest to attempt it, and has made some GREAT progress
Christiaan Bakker (AniCator) is once again back on the team. He'll be helping us make loads of music for all our gamemodes, as well as the main menu and any big trailers we do from here on. Check out his bandcamp! it's sure to fill up with new stuff in the future:
STEAM STORE LAUNCH!
Ok first off, yeah yeah, it's 2018 and getting on the steam store isn't really a big deal anymore... but whatever I'm still excited over it lol. We're already hard at work designing a pretty steam page, but more importantly, we're having an absolute blast coming up with all the steam achievements we'll be using. Who knows how many we'll have on launch, but right now we're getting damn close to 100, so yea, should be a fair few!
One bonus of being on steam is also going to be that we can migrate our beta-test from forcing people to rely on using stuff like tortoisegit to stay up to date, and instead just hand out product keys for early testing. Will certainly make things a lot easier for them (and us since we won't have to be constantly helping people who can't update).
As MASSIVE as our team is, we are always looking for more help. Really the only thing we're totally fine on is animators and male voice actors.
To give a bit of quick background as to why we're sticking with just one male voice actor across the entire game: the original Jaykin Bacon had Podunkian voice every single aspect of the mod with his own voice (even the HEV suit), sometimes doing different style voices, or sometimes just pitch shifting the voice entirely. This is something I wanted to carry over to JB3 with our voice actor, BDA. The only exception to this would be for female player models, where using a male voice would just came across as lazy and a pitch shifted voice would be garbage. One of our programmers has offered to take a stab at that tho and if her attempt goes well we may be suited there, but yea I can at least say we don't require more male voice actors.
Anyone else we could probably use, so join our discord and show us what you got (or PM me on here if you prefer). More maps is always nice!
If you think you might be interested in mapping, be sure to take a look at our mapper guide as well:
Lastly, we especially could use programmers that have experience dealing with VGUI stuff. So def give us a shout if you think you can help. We'd like very much to have color sliders on our player model preview screen after all, but VGUI is a bit of a pain.
First off if you actually read all this, congrats. I'm gonna try and do these updates as often as I can, with the goal being roughly once a month. If you want constant as-they-happen updates tho, please come check out our discord, located here:
And finally, here's 12 minutes of highlights from the last month of battle royale testing. ENJOY:
SEE YOU NEXT MONTH (hopefully lol)