SITREP - Week 1, 2014
published Saturday, 21 June 2014, 01:00 by ZPSPhyrefli
A new start for SITREPs. Read exclusively about what's been happening behind the scenes as we work on the very first coop release for Interstellar Marines!
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.
Welcome to the new SITREP, which we're bringing back after many requests from the community. In this new version of the SITREP I'll be reporting on behalf of team members to update you on what's happening as we continue on our awesome journey to create Interstellar Marines.
Right now we're in the middle of the biggest and most ambitious update we've ever attempted: Project Coop. Release is anticipated to be end July / start August, so the pressure is on to go crazy and produce something amazing!
For the whole of this last week Kim's been whistling and humming as he's been working. His focus has been completely on the level design and overall game mode and experience of this update. Kim has been working in tandem with Jess to create a stunning backdrop for players to enjoy their coop experience in.
Probably the favourite part of his week was receiving the scripts Benjamin has been working on and plugging them in. "I feel like an electrician!" and, "Oh My God that is so frickin AWESOME!!!!" were heard coming from his direction.
He'll be continuing to work on level design and the overall game mode and flow of the next update. As the creative director it's Kim who decides what direction we go in and what needs to be created to achieve that.
Hard at work in his home studio - partly because we've, errr, already appropriated his office desk for interns - Nics is working on sound for Project Coop as well as additional audio requirements for one of the videos Jonas is working on.
The sound requirements for the update and video are significant and cover several weeks of work, so pushing back the update for a month has helped Nics enormously. Everything from simple usage sounds, to footsteps, to ambient sounds have to be created from scratch; an arduous and time-intensive task but one which is critical to the success of this update. Sound plays a huge part in immersion, and all that good stuff flows from Nics' exceptionally gifted fingers.
Combat Training Robot animations have been the word of the week for Ronnie. Above is the third video in a series of WIP videos we've released which show how Ronnie is progressing with developing the animations. You can keep up to date with new ones by bookmarking this playlist on YouTube.
The sprint animation looks brutal, and Ronnie says this is iteration 2 of the animation. Normally Ronnie works on iteration 1 as a WIP, iteration 2 as almost complete and good enough for testing in-game, and iteration 3 is the final, finished article. Expect more out of Ronnie over the next few weeks!
Probably the most important single part of Project Coop is the AI, and this is what Miki has spent the last several weeks on after he finished work on Linux. So far the AI is shooting and moving, and right now Miki is working on adding hearing and sight sensors to the CTRs so they can track you.
After that's done he'll continue to work on AI movement and behaviour to make them as relentless as possible and also start work on importing the animated CTRs into Unity. You can see more of Miki's work in the Producer Diary towards the end of this SITREP.
An early version of the game mode which we'll be using for Project Coop has already been created by Benjamin, and he's spent this week working on various important scripts for Kim. These are scripts which control various parts of Project Coop and are important for the level designers so they can "plug them in" and test out the flow of the experience.
Once that's done Benjamin will likely move on to the networking we'll be using for Project Coop. As time is tight, we're going for the simplest approach, which is the creation of 4-player coop servers across our server network, and then players can join a server and be joined-on by their friends.
The eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed two things; first, we're getting interns, second, we pushed the release date of the update back a month.
On Monday, three interns from The Game Academy will start with us for two weeks, although if I have my way we'll be asking them to stay through summer ;) They're going to be working with us on some of the non-critical aspects of developing Interstellar Marines, so things that are nice to have but not necessary for the success of an update.
Their first job is going to be focusing on VOIP. We have a couple of options on how to implement VOIP, and once they have Unity installed, the project checked out and have been briefed on the code base they'll be asked to start work on that. If VOIP is complete before Project Coop is ready, we'll release it as a minor update - first to Spearheads to test, then to the wider community.
Next week we also have a 4th, special guest intern starting for a week and a half - our very own Keavon will be joining us! We're all super excited to have him with us and cannot wait to meet him :)
Secondly, yes, we did push this update back by roughly a month. Originally we had wanted to release it in time for the Steam sale, which we expected to start around July 10th. As many of our team are on holiday between July 4th and 28th, we had set ourselves a date of finishing by July 4th to give us some extra time for polishing.
As the sale has already begun we took the hard, but in honesty most prudent, decision to release the update end of July / start of August. This gives time for everyone to have their holiday, and come back to continue work on Project Coop before we release. This will result in a better quality and more highly polished update. As it's the first time we're releasing any kind of coop experience I'm very glad we took that decision.
And that concludes this SITREP. Please let me me know what you think!
FOR THE LOVE OF THE GAME,
Paul (Phyrefli) & the team at Zero Point Software