This week most of the crew are over in Seattle for the Steam Dev Days Conference. An event Valve puts on every couple of years to talk about whats going on with Steam and everything related. Gav is holding down the fort in Melbourne. We will be back into the action mid next week.
So this last week I did some final tweaks on the bomber jacket fixing its collar and how it generally sat around the player neck, as well as baking out another normal map to reduce some of the harsh angled lighting that was happening around the collarbones.
The mesh and basic maps for the combat jacket are done, I am not going to spend too much time texturing them until we see how it would look with player paintable colours.
Up next for me is to bring his current singlet into line, some shorts, and a couple of backpacks. I jumped on the singlet and shorts first as I think they should be fairly straight forward to do. Will do a couple of different types of shorts.
Here’s some marvelous designer screenshots of the new singlet and shorts.
Screenshot of them both sitting on the character in 3ds max.
Hurtworld Update #51
03 10, 2016
This week I’ve been working towards an ItemV2 deathmatch build so we can iterate over the updated gunplay changes. And reparing systems broken in the mass content migration to the SDK. I’ve also been working on designing how our item progression will work in the upcoming months.
Experimental Weapon Changes
Something we’ve been toying with the idea of for a while, is splitting our gear into 2 streams so we can better isolate PVP and PVE balance. We want PVE progression to have uncapped depth while putting a low damage ceiling on PVP weapons / armor. This is so we don’t end up feeling like an MMO where a player with far better gear/level has no danger of being killed by a lesser geared player. We have already setup our gear in this way currently by making most projectile weapons ineffective against creatures, and removing any PVP protection for any gear.
This works to a point, but is a bit confusing when it comes to the strength of an item. Why does my assault rifle feel like a pea shooter against a yeti, yet a bow and arrow does heaps of damage?
What we are going to try in the upcoming patch, is having 2 different types of gear, easily distinguishable from each other, where one has no effect on PVP and one has no effect on PVE. If you shoot a bor with a PVP weapon, it will do nothing. We are going to explain this with the age old video game trope of “just because”.
The current working idea is the PVE weapons / gear with be made up of salvaged technology, that looks a little more scifi, while PVP gear will be more realistic existing weapons.
Our next step with the PVE weapons, is to try a massively deep stat progression on what can be crafted as you move through the world. Think Diablo style, you start doing 5-10 damage and end up doing 1 million+ damage.
On the gear side, we will have separate item slots for PVP and PVE gear, focusing on keeping your external appearance fairly tied to your PVP gear so potential victims can get a good idea of who is coming to kill them.
This will let us easily gate areas with gear checks, making creating new deep content not a balancing nightmare for us. For those not familiar with game mechanic speak, a gear check is where an encounter in a video game is designed to be unbeatable without powerful enough gear. An example of this is enrage timers in WoW, where if your DPS isn’t high enough to kill a raid boss in under X seconds, their damage increases massively making it impossible to win.
That said, there is no place for grind based gear checks in a game like Hurtworld. I will initially be using the gear checks as a geographical restriction like we do currently. Without a winter jacket or a movable campfire, heading to the snow is very hard (atleast the first time you try it).
There will still be scenarios where you need sufficient damage to survive a creature encounter, but I will try to ensure that there is still a 50%/50% split between gear and skill on something needed to progress.
This might all suck, but once we are out of ItemV2 hell, we will be iterating much faster.
Mils has some concepts for the PVE weapons below.
These 3 new weapon designs are for a new category of weapons. To fit with the idea of procedural generated weapon components, I’ve been trying to design these weapons with modularity in mind. As you can see in the first image, the design is broken up into separate areas that do not overlap. This will be our guide to achieving vastly different visual combinations that all fit together for each weapon chassis. This is very similar to the way that the body kits fit onto the vehicles.
Each component will have randomly generated statistical benefits. Our goal here is to make the weapons more interesting and to avoid what we like to call ‘Ronald McDonald Syndrome’ or RMS. By RMS I refer to the way all players nearing end game all end up wearing the same red winter jacket and yellow Chem-suit pants and generally looking like they would like to sell you bulk amounts of burgers a.s.a.p.
This was caused by one set, coloured item, being the most beneficial item above all others for it’s category (ie Red Winter Jacket). To avoid this we will be mixing random stats with paintable, customisable components.
So I wrapped up the textures/material for the Bomber Jacket, as well as test skinning it and tweaking it to make sure it sat well over some of the other gear.
Next up for me is a Combat style jacket. Something that has a bit more going on than some of the previous gear, with pouches, strapps, buckles etc to help break it up and differentiate it from the other jacketets. I built the base of the jacket in Marvelous Designer and marked on it where I wanted attachments to sit.
I then built pouches and clips in max and have been combining them all in Mudbox to get the sculpt for the high poly.
This week I finished up with entity stats for now, and got back into the map. The last thing that needed to be done on stats was binary effects, which are still a little strange in where the responsibilities for doing stuff are, but should be working fine now, and be moddable.
With map stuff, now that the MapMagic tools and extensions have matured, I’ve been looking back at city stuff and getting all that integrated.
The CBD of the city is pretty much done, which you’ve all seen loads of screenshots of. However, it still needs to be integrated into a surrounding map, which means linking up the designed grid roads that Mils put together with my road tool. This lead into some improvements to the road tool which have been a long time coming.
The first improvement was with intersections, which are much more intuitive to place and move. You can see an example below. A future improvement which I’d like to put in sometime is intersections knowing how to look when only some of the nodes are linked up – so if only two intersections are hooked up, the curb will change to reflect that. Intersections also have to change the terrain height below them, which is still a work in progress.
Another significant improvement is mesh tiling along a road. Previously a mesh would just be stretched out along a spline, which didn’t really work when the the nodes weren’t a uniform distance. Now a mesh will be tiled, which also solves for the most part the UVs. Also, the road terrain integration can now handle roads banking, whereas before it required that they be flat. I basically just had to add the tangent to the height that was already calculated.
Finally, I added support for scattering objects to the side of roads. This includes things like streetlights, bus stops, post boxes, and more. This week will be more map stuff, and working towards a playable build.
Hurtworld Update #50
26 09, 2016
This week has been getting everything up and running again after migrating everything to the SDK in preparation for ItemV2. We now have the game running with every piece of Hurtworld content loading from the SDK. We should soon be able to start throwing out ItemV2 experimental builds to a new steam branch. Initially in a very broken state, we are keen to get you guys in on the process as soon as possible.
We will be releasing an update with the Kanga included on Monday the 3rd. This will include a wipe of all official servers. At this point the wipe is optional and shouldn’t cause issues on community servers should they want to keep their savegame.
So the Kanga is now finished on my end. The pics below show some of the colour variation on the 5 Skins. I also designed the icon sets for the body kits, skins, wheels, engine and gearbox. This came out great and fits well with the other vehicles.
This brings me to my new shiny project, GUNS! This is something that I think a lot of kids have enjoyed drawing over the years including me (the big kid). I have been tasked with coming up with some new weapons. These guns will have to take into account the many attachments they will have while fitting into a few set character animations. It is very important that the detail be focused on areas that the player will see the most. The sight area, the left side of the gun and the silhouette when viewed from both third and first person must be interesting. I am designing the gun body first. From here I will design add on parts much like the vehicle system has a core chassis and then components can be added on or switched out. This should make for some very different looking guns, and I am already scheming up some beauties. 😀
OK so I am back from a couple of weeks off and straight on to more character gear! Initially I was exploring how to try and do hard surfaced armour type pieces in Marvelous Designer, but was unable to find any workflow that ended with a result I was happy with. So next item up was to be a bomber jacket, which will hopefully read quite different from some of the other clothing pieces. After this I will be moving on to some jackets with more of a combat feel. Adding a bunch of attachments like pouches and straps to try and break up the shape and give t shape and style that reads nicely.
Sketch over a Marvelous Designer base.
In game Bomber Jacket mesh.
Bomber Jacket sculpt.
Initial textures in unity.
It’s been a busy week, fixing up a lot of broken parts of the game as well as continuing with getting a macro outline of the map going.
Entity stats are coming together now in an ItemV2 architecture. We’ve got the basic stats working again, with effects, modifiers, all the good stuff. Players can get hungry, cold, hot, and take damage again. Now I’m looking at binary effects – things like hyperthermia, or irradiation, or broken legs. As with the old stat effects like health, binary effects were defined in scripts rather than as moddable objects. Now this has changed, and binary effects are coming across to a completely moddable, extensible way of doing things. There’s still a few places where responsibilities aren’t really clear, and the entity stats system will need a bit of a restructure later on I think to make the structure of it a bit neater and clearer, we are one more significant step closer to getting back to baseline with the ItemV2 branch.
I definitely want to do more with stats and binary effects with the ItemV2 redesign. We haven’t really pushed the limits at all of what this system can do. Items that give you temporary buffs, debuff weapons, potion-like items, diseases – all very cool things that we are wanting to play around with and try out!
The map tools have definitely matured. I’ve been playing around with workflows to mash the different terrain biomes together. Check out the screenshot above! This won’t be the layout of the map, but it’s a proof of concept for the tools. We can easily change the shape and location of these zones just by altering a single mask texture and regenerating. Hopefully this will make it both trivial for mod makers to make their own maps, and super fast and easy for us to iterate over map layouts and designs.
This week I’ve been working on the release candidate for the Kanga patch and we’re super close!
I managed to get through a few builds this week and the other guys have been helping me give them a good thrashing. After each test I end up with a list of bugs and change requests to work on and round and round we go until we are all happy.
Right now I think I’ve finally gotten rid of all the regression bugs we could find (although our players will no doubt find a few more) and what we’ve got left to do is some fine tuning (tweaking things like spawn rates, handling stats, crash parameters etc.) as well as getting the final crash animations sorted.
Speaking of balance, the Kanga fits into the vehicle line up as the fastest vehicle and also the most agile (it’s a complete mountain goat) but it won’t be the best outright for everything.
It can’t take any passengers so the Roach is a better choice when travelling with mates. The Kanga also leaves you very exposed making you a much easier target in pvp situations. Speaking of pvp, we imagine the Roach will still be the ‘weapon’ of choice here for the above reason plus the bigger hitbox makes it a lot easier to run your enemies down.
You also run the risk of crashing while on the Kanga which can give your opponents the window they need to easily kill you or even just quickly pinch your bike.
The Roach also comes with storage slots whereas the Kanga only gets storage through the Raider rear panel.
The Goat is now essentially an easier to obtain cross between the Kanga and Roach. It isn’t as volatile as the Kanga as it’s much harder to crash but at the same time it’s still an exposed riding position and it’s also slower than the other two vehicles although it is lighter, smaller and more agile than the Roach.
We’ve still got some tweaking and testing to do and still need to put the latest build through its paces but I’m hopeful of getting it signed off on this week.