SITREP - Week 3, 2014
published Saturday, 12 July 2014, 00:00 by ZPSPhyrefli
The interns get the interview treatment, we release a Linux maintenance patch and the very first single player test map is released to our Spearhead backers.
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 July 11th
Been fairly quiet this week with various team members departing for their holidays - it's just Ronnie and I left in the office at the moment! We did have two very exciting events this week though; the release of the Linux maintenance patch and Get Killed By Bots! for our Spearhead backers.
After feverish activity working on the animations for the CTRs, Ronnie has spent most of this week working on various types of textures and effects for Project Coop. The walls in the Get Killed By Bots! map have gone through several iterations as he's created new textures and tested them out in the level.
The texturing work is important as it sets the tone for the whole level. Do we want to have something that looks used and/or dirty, or do we want something that is clean and antiseptic? As Project Coop is the first coop experience we'll be releasing we need to clearly set the visual tone and palette precisely where we want it to go.
Keavon came into the office on Monday and Wednesday to spend some more time working on the props. He also developed a very interesting glass shader in Unity which may find itself being used in some maps.
After some "encouragement" (and by encouragement I mean I had to practically twist his arm to get him to do it because he felt it was too narcissistic) he put together a few small easter egg props which I'm hoping will find their way into Project Coop. With the amount of hard work Keavon's put in it's only fair there is something within Interstellar Marines to stand testament to his dedication to the cause!
Before going on holiday Miki was able to adapt the test level for single player play. This meant we were able to release Get Killed By Bots! to our Spearhead backers as a thank you for all the awesome support they have given to us :)
Get Killed By Bots! is a test level for Miki's work on the CTR AI. The AI is still in an early stage, and we're buzzed to be able to watch so many community members enjoying the gameplay and giving the CTRs a run for their money. We're watching the various videos players are posting up to see how the AI works "in the wild" and to check for any bugs. Miki will be using this feedback to improve the AI, so please post up those videos and send them in to us!
This week Mikael has started work on the connection between the Interstellar Marines website and Steam. When complete this will allow our Steam Spearheads to claim their Spearhead profile on Interstellar Marines and receive their special Spearhead avatar and profile. Woohoo!
On a marketing note, the Spearhead connection will also allow us to start using the Briefing Room again. This is a protected part of Interstellar Marines which is only accessible to Spearheads and is a special place where we put bonus Spearhead content. We haven't used it since the Steam launch as we felt is was unfair to put info there which our Steam Spearheads could not access, so having the connection complete will be doubly awesome.
At the end of last week Jonas recorded the 3rd producer diary (it's the video above this). In this one I interviewed three of the four interns to try to give our community a sense of what it's like working on Interstellar Marines, especially for someone who is new not just to the code but also the team.
The guys didn't disappoint! Keavon showed off some of the props he's been working on, Niko explained the work he's been doing on VOIP, and Andre described server rollback which he's been delving into.
It's important to remember that although the interns are with us to help, they're also with us to learn. This is why Andre was put on server rollback - it is a monumental task, but simply going through the logistics of it and working on a solution will teach him new skills. Benjamin and Miki have also spent time with Andre (and the other interns) answering questions and pointing them in the right direction.
Unfortunately I was not able to interview Marcus before the holidays. But don't worry, I'll get to him next time ;)
The two big things this week were the release of the Linux maintenance patch, and Get Killed By Bots! The curious thing about the patch is that it was a direct result of this post by Tak! (and again, a huge thanks to Tak! for posting that up). We're really glad the mouse stutter bug has been fixed - it was a Unity problem, but as a developer it's really uncomfortable knowing there's a bug in your game.
This week wouldn't have been complete without Get Killed By Bots! We've been playing that map internally for a few weeks now and having tons of fun, but we knew we needed to spend some time converting it to single player if we wanted to release it. So how do you do that when there are so many more high-priority things to work on?
To answer that, I need to give you a glimpse into the secret, murky world producers live in....
Picture the scene: Ronnie, Miki and I are having lunch about midday on Tuesday. It's Miki's last day at work before going on holiday, and he's only got to work that afternoon before he jets off. Once he goes all the coders are away on holiday, meaning it would not be possible to release the test map to the community. So, why not kill two birds with one stone? Keep Miki highly energised, while getting what I also want. So I set Miki a challenge....if he could get the map into a releasable state by 4pm I'd get him a latte from the local coffee shop.
Miki is such an incredibly gifted coder that by 3pm I was already walking out the door to the local Baresso to go buy his latte.
He also picked up on several additional bugs which he fixed, making the gameplay even more fun and intense.
That's it for SITREP Week 3. As ever please let me have your feedback and ideas on how things can be improved!
FOR THE LOVE OF THE GAME,
Paul (Phyrefli) & the team at Zero Point Software