[#02] Status Update

It’s been a while but here we are again! Let’s dive into the changes since last post without wasting any time and afterwards we’ll get to the hot stuff.

What’s changed?

The first map has been in a WIP state so naturally there has been some changes. We have mostly replaced the parts that became obsolete, and we are also adding in new details here and there as well. Overall, the map is about to be complete and so we are slowly shifting our focus on the new maps now. Those are currently either in the early blockout stage or have no definitive models. We might get to showcase them even if they are not complete and perhaps include on the alpha release for early testing. (Don’t tell that to our map artists)

Characters also went through very small tweaks model wise. At the time of writing this post, we didn’t get to rework their textures; however, that is the next step. Even then, not all of them will be reworked so hopefully we will get more time to create new sets soon.

In-game screenshot

You can see the character wearing our base set™ in the map for the first time! The map is using baked lighting for better results and performance, but it is still affected by real-time light sources as well. Naturally the characters are also using real-time lights. Although we currently don’t use that many light sources, you will still get to see the dynamic lighting in action while playing.

Side note: We hope to make better use of that once the systems we use works properly with the deferred rendering path.

What’s new?

I want to start with the visual effects. Since the last post we tried to handle a few visual effects ourselves both for the weapons and the environment. Some are nowhere near ready and rather experimental but some of them already feel solid enough. We’d like to present at least one of them give you an idea on the style we are going for. But as always, consider it as WIP.

Dash effect

This will be our dash effect for a certain weapon type. You can both expect to see this and its variants in the future.

Aside from the ones we made ourselves, we are also gathering and adapting some visuals effects that we find fitting. Not only that but also we have our first camera effect as well. The main difference between them is that our camera effects are full screen, applied as post-processing.

Anime styled speed lines (slowed down)

Now let’s take a break with some boring(?) but good news. We now have a launcher in place that handles patching as well. Both the launcher and the game itself is cross platform thanks to Unity. In addition, on our discord server you have brought up using different rendering APIs like Vulkan. Switching rendering API at runtime isn’t supported due to the game engine however it is doable with Unity Player’s command line arguments. So, to handle that we added in game launch parameters into the launcher settings. Technically that is the only setting. It is a simple JSON file, so you can easily edit it.

Launcher Settings
Example launcher settings

You should create the file yourself like in the example if you wish to make use of this feature. I suggest using this only if you know what you are doing, otherwise these are unnecessary as the game will work just fine by default for most people. Also, as a side note, it will skip the arguments “-nographics” and “-batchmode” for obvious reasons.

Gameplay: Resources

Resources here refers to 2 resources with bars, the health and stamina but we also have the ammo, so there are actually 3 main resource types that we care about. We decided to try out a slightly different formula than what you might be used to, while trying not to make changes for the sake of changing something. As always, remember that this is WIP and we mainly want to test out how this system works in the Alpha.

In the (long long) past we talked about stamina usage of skills in a Q&A session over our Discord server. Our take on the matter is that players shouldn’t necessarily need to spend the precious stamina bar, especially if the skills are designed with this idea in mind from the start. We can simply have game mode specific restrictions as well as a cooldown mechanic to prevent over-usage/”abuse”, while not taking away your ability to do tricks or run fast because you spent all your stamina using a skill. This was mainly taken positively and in our internal tests we felt like it plays well.

Health system is left intact. There is no unique health buffer or regeneration mechanics integrated to it. And say if there is a healing involved, it would be an outside factor like a healing weapon. So, there isn’t much to say here, it’s just your usual health resource.

Now here comes the reason why I separated this title. What we really want to see in action is a new resource called “Focus” that joins the party while ammo is no more. Focus will be a resource that gets consumed with most weapon attacks, which makes it sound like ammo, but this is not just for guns but also for melee weapons. This gives us finer control over balancing the weapons and brings them closer to each other just enough to provide a fine “unlimited” experience.

That was the very first feature but there is more. Unlike ammo, you won’t be managing and reloading 3 separate weapons. Focus is a shared resource that is fuelled by your character just like Stamina and Health. This will reduce the amount of resource management you need. In addition, you don’t need to trigger the refill yourself (or reload, if this was ammo) because it will automatically do so while you are not consuming focus.

I want to make this part clear; we are not trying to water down the gameplay. While this system reduces the complexity of resource management, it doesn’t take away your need to think of your attacks and their consumptions in a battle situation. Furthermore, it opens up even more possibilities as now you are able to run or do tricks while your focus refills. Effectively, reducing your downtime in this fast-paced game.

Earlier we said that focus is consumed with most weapon attacks, let’s talk about that a bit as well. With the way it is now, while normal attacks of guns would consume some amount of focus, normal attacks of melee weapons wouldn’t consume any. These usages are decided by multiple factors for every weapon and allows us to balance out power/cost of attacks.

I should note that running out of focus does not take away your ability to do attacks. The effects will differ from attack to attack but in common, they will simply be weaker when used with insufficient focus. For example, a dash attack will deal less damage and cover less distance, but it will still work. This helps the attacking player in various situations such as being able to finish off an enemy without having any down time, not letting them recover or get away, even if you are out of focus. In some cases, this even takes away the need to carry 2 similar weapons. Which once again opens up more possibilities. Only downside here is that in those situations you will have higher TTK (time-to kill) but that’s a fair trade-off for not replenishing your focus.

In the end, focus system has more features and depth than the classic ammo system and that does make it relatively harder to balance for us from the get-go. Which is why this system will be experimental during the alpha.

Extra: We gathered some of the ideas last time for alpha players and plan to distribute them into different founder pack tiers. We saw that the most popular one was a special weapon skin as well as a limited costume set. The very first set designed by @Pinlin is planned to be the set as it became our key artwork early on. It is stylish and community is already familiar with it. (But in case you missed it, you can find it in the first post where the artwork and sets are shown) As for the rest, we do plan to do a special weapon along with a Discord title role. But of course, you can expect a small surprize along with them as well 🙂

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