SITREP - 4, 2015
published Thursday, 14 May 2015, 00:00 by ZPSPhyrefli
We've been making great progress on Hell Week, which releases June 12th. Read this SITREP to get the latest in-depth info on what we've been working on.
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 May 15th, 2015
The last few weeks have been very, very exciting for us. We've released a hotfix to Update 18 - which included a number of bug fixes and the new rate of fire feature - while also continuing to focus on Hell Week's development. In addition we've started a new vlog series called deVlogs. They're very short videos, quickly created, which focus on keeping you up to date with the freshest information on what we're working on. The latest one is below, please let us know what you think!
Producing 9 Starcrown-sized maps in just a few months would be a humungous undertaking for a team of 10+ level designers. In our case we have only 4 working on Hell Week, so they need to work extra hard and be supremely focused to bring the levels to a releasable level. By May 15th the aim is to have the terrain and buildings almost done, so that after the weekend the level designers can start adding the additional elements to the maps to make them playable.
There is a lot more to building a level than just the terrain and the buildings. This is a non-exhaustive list of the additional elements which are added by the level designers to each map in Hell Week so that it can function:
- Spawn points
- Spawn elevators
- Elevators/tunnels between zones
- Ammo / storage crates
- Intel points
- Reverb zones
- Weather system loop
That's a lot of tasks to complete, and hugely increases the amount of work required for a single map. And then we of course have testing and balancing to ensure that the map is fun to play and has the right combination of replayability and reality.
Here's a few images from the latest versions of three of the maps to give you an idea of where they are right now:
(Early version of Siberia)
(Early version of Canyon)
(Early version of Wetlands)
Most of the items from the above list which need to be added to the levels have some form of coding task attached to them. The vast majority of these coding tasks have been done now, which means the level designers will not be impeded once they've finished the terrain and buildings. This is important, because after May 15th we're into the last development sprint prior to release.
One of the new additions to Interstellar Marines for Hell Week is the ability to collect different things. We now have limited ammo in the game, so you can collect ammo, pieces of intel, gold and weapons. Long-term we also plan on adding several other things which can be collected, for example med packs, silencers, scopes etc. In the future we will retro-fit the current maps with ammo pickups, which will add an additional tactical narrative to games. It could also open up the potential for new game types as well!
On Monday 18th we'll sit down and look at the outstanding tasks, and what we want to accomplish in the remaining month until we release on June 12th. There are some large tasks in there which may not make it into this first version of Hell Week, but we do plan to be adding new content to Hell Week for a few months after release, as well as working on the co-op and single player side of things, so we may move them to a later update.
The closer we get to release, the more excited we are to see your reactions to Hell Week. And the more excited we are to play it ourselves!
Here are the important dates for development over the next few weeks:
- May 15th - Second large test to spawn in and be able to move between servers.
- May 18th - Final sprint meeting to decide on the last coder tasks and general direction up until release day.
- May 19th/20th - Start of ITO testing of Hell Week zones.
- June ?? - Spearhead test of a Hell Week. This will be a stress test to see how all our server architecture holds up with > 64 players.
- June 12 - Release!
Movement and Stamina
With the recent changes to the accuracy, sprint and stamina system there is now a lot going on with our movement system. To highlight some of the features, we released this video which uses a debug version of Interstellar Marines to highlight some extra info:
(Movement and Stamina in Interstellar Marines)
I hope you enjoyed this SITREP - please let me know what you think.
FOR THE LOVE OF THE GAME,
Paul (Phyrefli) & the team at Zero Point Software