SITREP - 3, 2015

published Thursday, 23 April 2015, 00:00 by ZPSPhyrefli

This SITREP covers how Hell Week development is progressing, and looks at some of the levels that are being created.

The new SITREP is an ongoing progress report where we publicly talk about what we've recently been working on, and what we're aiming to achieve over the next few weeks.

Briefing - week ending April 24th, 2015

For this SITREP I'd like to digress a little from the normal format and focus on how things are going with Hell Week development.

Last night Update 18 was released, and by and large it's gone down very well. We have a clear issue on spawn points which we're looking to address, other than that though we're very pleased with it - and it is a great feeling to bring back the old game modes we have. It's like greeting old friends!

As we've been working on Update 18, we've also been working on Hell Week. Our first production day for Hell Week was March 11th, and since then we've had almost all our team working on it, with occasionally people working on Update 18 as and when needed.

(Early version of the Industrial Zone)

Early version of the Industrial Zone

In the same way we work in Updates, or sprints, when developing Interstellar Marines, we're also working in sprints on Hell Week. Here's where we are now in terms of the larger coding systems and tasks. In addition to these tasks there are many, many other tasks that are on-going:

  • Sprint 1 - started March 11th. Unity 5 conversion started. Server architecture started. NGI keycard bug fix started.
  • Sprint 2 - started March 23rd. Inventory system started. Unity 5 continues. Server architecture continues. Skin manager started. NGI keycard bug complete.
  • Sprint 3 - started April 13th (Copenhagen games, and the Easter holiday affected the start date). Unity 5 postponed. Skin manager postponed. Server architecture continues. Inventory system complete. Pickup and crate spawn system started. Mission overview screen started.

The level designers have been working together on the 10 zones that need to be created. Each zone is 400 x 400 mtr and is a completely unique environment. The level designers have had two major milestones:

  • Milestone 1 - March 27th. Initial test of moving between 9 zones. Partially successful.
  • Milestone 2 - May 15th. Second test of moving between levels using the server architecture. Levels should be fully constructed in terms of buildings and terrain. After this work starts on adding the gameplay elements.

So by May 15th the level construction will be done, and the coders will have created enough tools for the level designers to then add gameplay elements to the maps, such as spawn points, ammo drops, personal pods, intel crates etc. After that the level designers focus on adding gameplay to the zones, while the coders focus on adding the additional features.

(Early version of the Hotel Resort)

Early version of the Hotel Resort

We aim to have a working version of Hell Week ready by the end of May. That will be for internal testing, and potentially for some Spearhead testing depending on how far we get. After that we build on that platform, add more features and more content, until we release around June 12th.

The zones which are being created are:

  • Norwegian Forest
  • Wetlands
  • Siberian
  • Canyon
  • Hotel Resort
  • Industrial City
  • Moon Base
  • Rainforest
  • Hell / End Game

Hell Week has an incredible amount of potential to be a defining moment in the development of Interstellar Marines. There will be many additional features and tweaks we want to make after the first version is released, so we will be aiming to have new features and content released fairly soon after the initial release.

Converting to Unity 5

At the start of production on Hell Week we began converting Interstellar Marines to Unity 5. Due to a combination of factors this has taken a much longer time than we expected.

The code base for Interstellar Marines is now quite large - it's not an easy process to convert to a new major version of Unity. As the code base is converted, it cannot be merged with the live project as it would mean the game would stop working. So we have to take a copy of Interstellar Marines, and convert that to Unity 5, while the other coders carry on working on the Unity 4 version. During the conversion process development on the main branch carries on, meaning that the code which has been committed between taking the copy of IM for conversion, and when conversion of that copy is complete, then also has to be converted.

When we converted to Unity 4 we did not face these issues as we only had 1 coder - so when we were converting, work on production simply stopped. Now we have several coders working at the same time, and we can't stop them working while we convert.

Since we have a finite amount of time before we launch Hell Week, and a finite amount of coders to code, we've had to look at the amount of time Unity 5 conversion is taking and weigh that up against other, more critical tasks. Hell Week will work without Unity 5, but it will not work without pickups, ammo boxes, server architecture etc.

So we've taken the very, very hard decision to postpone work on converting to Unity 5 for now. We are hoping to be able to complete it before Hell Week launches, but there's a chance we will not be able to manage that. If we're not able to complete it before releasing Hell Week, then we'll complete it afterwards.

7 weeks to go

It's around 7 weeks until the launch of Hell Week, and all our production is now focused on making it the most incredible, fun, exciting and suspenseful game that we can create. It's a mammoth task creating all the levels and coding, but the team is working as hard as it can to pull everything together so when we release it is tons of fun to play.

We all hope you enjoy it as much as we've enjoyed creating it!

FOR THE LOVE OF THE GAME,
Paul (Phyrefli) & the team at Zero Point Software


Comments

Avatar

2 years, 2 months ago

Hell Endgame. DO WE GET TO GO INTO A LAVA PIT?!!??! :D

Badge
Avatar

2 years, 2 months ago

No, it's a tango with the Minotaur.

Badge
Avatar

2 years, 2 months ago

"Inventory system complete"

AWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW
WWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW
WWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW
WWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW
WWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW
WW YEAH.

I can safely say I'm excited.

Badge
Avatar

2 years, 2 months ago

wouuuu!!!! It sounds awesome! :D

Badge
Avatar

2 years, 2 months ago

Wow, looking really, really good. Very interested to see the inventory system and skins.

Badge
Avatar

2 years, 2 months ago

Nice! Inventory system? I am excited JUST FOR THAT! And canyon biome! (My name is canyon, so I will probably spend a lot of time here.) Also endgame biome? Ha ha ha. Getting ready for that.

Badge
Avatar

2 years, 2 months ago

Can't wait to explore Hell...If I ever make it past 3 metres in the first zone...

Badge
Avatar

2 years, 2 months ago

Niko was testing ammo pickups last night before we left. Looked really cool, even if the "ammo pickup" was a drab green cylinder ;)

Badge
Avatar

2 years, 2 months ago

We noticed there have been a few comments on the inventory system. Just so there's no miss-conception, it's a purely internal piece of code for storing and keeping track of things you pick up. So, lets say you collect 60 rounds of ammo, it tracks that within the game. It's not a graphic thing or something that is really seen by the player. So there's no GUI where you're selecting things and moving them around.

Just didn't want there to be any misunderstanding :)

Badge
Avatar

2 years, 2 months ago

**Cries a little.

All good Phy, all good.

(Still, awesome work on Hell Week!)

Badge
Avatar

2 years, 2 months ago

It's been a long wait but it sounds like we're about to finally start adding the gameplay to the game.

Badge
Avatar

2 years, 2 months ago

This looks absolutely EPIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Badge
Avatar

2 years, 2 months ago

Looks excellent, can't wait

Badge
Avatar

2 years, 2 months ago

"Hell"

A trip to the surface of Venus.

Badge
Avatar

2 years, 2 months ago

It looks better and better ;)

Badge
Avatar

2 years, 1 month ago

Very nice, congratulations, can not wait to play it!

Badge
Avatar

2 years ago

hola amigos

Badge

You need to login / enlist to comment.


Listing SITREP articles (sorted by date)