Ryan Hewer, Project Manager
The past week has been nothing short of insane, with the team accomplishing new milestones every day in advance of our first reveal – building up a slick upgrade interface, balancing mission difficulty, implementing new ship’s systems and putting the finishing touches on the script so we can start to work on the development of cutscenes between missions. Character design has been highly productive and we’ve settled on an exciting new look for the Pilot and Artificial Intelligence. We’ve brought in an expert to assist with our branding and we’re working closely with our publisher to ensure our preliminary reveal reaches plenty of eyes. We’ll be adding new 2D and 3D artists to the family over the next week or so and we’re drafting plans for an upcoming Kickstarter in April.
The metagame needs some form of currency so the player may have the opportunity to explore upgrades and unlockables, but because the plot requires the player to be in “debtors prison”, the idea of earning money for accomplishing goals doesn’t really make sense. Instead, the Pilot will be earning “reputation” with the holders of their debt-contract, which when coupled with some extremely rare materials they may find out there in the cosmos, will permit an upgrade path that can take you from flying a fragile cardboard box with a pea-shooter to flying a slightly less fragile cardboard box with a Gattling gun.
Denis Comtesse, Lead Programmer
Last week we made a lot of progress with our GUIs and the ship mechanics. I’ve spent a lot of time implementing new ship disasters and ways to fix them. We removed the old AI interface and replaced it with a new one, with a tile-based puzzle to fix AI errors. But the greatest addition to the game is a brand new ship upgrade screen showing upgrade paths for weapons, hyperdrive, the retrieval probe and other important ship parts. While the player can browse the upgrade trees and install new ship upgrades, the screen shows a stylized 3D model of the ship and displays all kinds of gameplay relevant information about the ship and the installed upgrades. After this screen was in place, my next task was to implement the various effects of these upgrades, which is now mostly done. A few special equipment pieces have yet to be implemented. But most of the upgrade features have already been there and now simply have to be made unlockable, and the standard effects like “+10% weapon damage”, “+1 battery size” have all been implemented within a single day. On top of that, the last weekend gave me the opportunity to write some short trailer music - a very welcome change! All in all, last week was a huge success. The core elements of the game are taking shape. We now have most of the in-mission gameplay working, we have a procedurally generated hex map for exploring the nebula, and we have a beautiful ship upgrade screen with most of the upgrades already working. We hope to have a “hub” screen ready very soon, so we can tie all these elements together.