Status Update

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by Madoc, Apr 5, 2014.

  1. Madoc

    Madoc Project Lead

    Messages:
    666
    As you've probably noticed we've discontinued development of the combat alpha. This is because we're focusing on other aspects of the game needed for the prelude. The feedback and testing from the combat alpha has been very useful. We've gotten to a point where the game is solid with very few minor bugs remaining that have mostly already been fixed and in terms of combat we're aware what the major issues are and also working to resolve them. There will inevitably be many improvements to be made to combat and animation in general but we think it's more important to broaden the scope for future releases.

    Since the last combat alpha release we've been working on getting a number of important things to a complete enough state. First amongst these is finalising and putting together all the AI components necessary to have multiple characters moving and fighting in complex environments. While there's been a huge amount of work put into this already a lot of it was still more experimental than complete and we've been working on new and significant improvements in terms of spatial awareness, dynamic obstacles and combat tactics. An important feature here is also the ability to be able to thoroughly customise all behaviour on a per character basis. Some of this applies to just combat and it's likely we'll release a new combat alpha featuring improvements soon.

    Another major area of development has been revising the workflow for underworld (and some other) environments. We've extended our tools to allow for a much more streamlined and rapid workflow while also allowing for more varied environments. We've been rebuilding assests to fit this new system and to higher quality standards, future assets will also be much easier to develop. The workflow is now incredibly fast and intuitive, we can already see how this is allowing us to experiment and focus much more on design rather than getting bogged down in the work itself.

    Finally we've been bringing into action some plans to improve character physics performance so as to support more active characters at once. Some early tests show that we may be able to support significantly more characters than we originally thought and this has some pretty significant implications for the game.

    There are some other very significant things we've been working on but at this point they would seem like a bit of a spoiler. Hopefully you'll be able to see them yourself before long and we're also planning to release a new development video soon.

    We're still unsure what our first non combat alpha release should be. The basic options for an early alpha release would be the early content for the prelude in a somewhat incomplete state or something more along the lines of a free-form test environment. The latter has the advantage of not spoling the prelude experience while also potentially providing a more open testing platform.

    Let us know what you think.
  2. Tom

    Tom Insider

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    220
    This is great news! Thank you for the update, Madoc.

    I think it'd be best for us Alpha-backers to see the prelude; we've had enough fooling around in a sample environment, methinks, and I would love to see a bit of the game, even if it's a sliver.

    I can't fathom multiple characters fighting at the same time. It must be insane :v
    Cooper Holt likes this.
  3. TwoPumpWarrior

    TwoPumpWarrior Insider

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    166
    This sounds like the possibility of large demon companies in the underworld.

    Show Spoiler
    [​IMG]
    credit to wayne barlowe
  4. InfamousPotato

    InfamousPotato Insider

    Messages:
    30
    Thanks for giving us the update!

    I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask, but are you guys doing alright? From some of your posts on the forum, I've been getting the sense that things have been going slower than you hoped, and that at least part of the reason is some of the feedback on this forum has been quite demanding. You folks are making a massively innovative game on a rather small budget, and I'm worried that this is frustrating for you all. I'm not saying that things are going badly for the game, but I do worry that things are tough for you guys. So, basically, are you guys ok in terms of morale?
    crashingtingler and Mr_FauxPas like this.
  5. turtleman155

    turtleman155 Insider

    Messages:
    511
    A free-form environment would probably please me the most but as always its up to you guys :D wishing you all the best :) Edit: hopefully its outdoors because after playing i dont even know how long of the combat alpha and beating it upwards of 40 times im getting kinda sick of that room :D and as always madoc you are a godsend (not religious myself) you just seem to know when to release worthwhile information thanks again.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2014
    crashingtingler likes this.
  6. turtleman155

    turtleman155 Insider

    Messages:
    511
    on second thought whichever one allows us any thaumaturgy i have been waiting to test it for a long time :D
    im still leaning towards the free-form testing because if it has a wider scope to help you guys out more and playing with thaumaturgy in an open environment sounds like such fun :)
  7. peta97

    peta97 Insider

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    24
    This sounds fantastic, great job BareMettle!

    I would love to have an open testing environment for the next stage of development. I think it would be great to allow for a lot of different scenarios for testing, and also allow for vast replayability. Personally, I would much prefer this to a story like prelude at this point, and would allow for (hopefully) use and further refinement of the tools you guys are using to make the game. It would just be awesome to be allowed to experiment and try different scenarios with a free-form test environment.

    On a side note, with a free form testing environment, hopefully you guys at BareMettle could focus more on just creating more tools and continuing your hard work with the AI, instead of building up a prelude based more on story, which may or may not even have an impact on the final game. These are just my thoughts, but I would consider the testing environment a much better option!

    Thanks so much for the update, I can't wait for the next one!
    Mr_FauxPas likes this.
  8. fluffydino2000

    fluffydino2000 Insider

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    596
    Might I suggest a poll/vote for which kind of format the alpha should be in. It's a really underused feature of these forums that could be quite helpful here. I would personally prefer the open testing environment. I'd rather take my spoilers at a beta stage and an open environment allows us to test the game much more effectively.
    peta97 likes this.
  9. turtleman155

    turtleman155 Insider

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    511
    agreed fluffydino2000 +1 :D
  10. Psychomorph

    Psychomorph Insider

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    315
    I'd suggest a dungeon mild puzzle solving level. You find yourself in a hallway that leads to a room with a closed gate. There you have to find a key. The next room has a raised bridge, where you have to cut the rope with your sword to bring it down (over head attack, or else you wont hit it), this part shows how to use force to solve a problem which needs to be used accordingly. If you cross the bridge you find a portal that leads back to the first hallway, but the puzzle is changed in the next room. That way you can have a small level reused multiple times for different situations.
  11. turtleman155

    turtleman155 Insider

    Messages:
    511
    that could be a part of the free-form environment :D a doorway to a sample dungeon puzzle.
    Edit: by the way when thrusts are implemented will the thrust pierce and go into the enemy or just push them away?
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2014
  12. lvk

    lvk Insider

    Messages:
    371
    BM giving the right information every time. It's almost wizardry.

    On the non-combat alpha releases, keep in mind most alpha backers can live with less quality control and polish. While the alpha releases so far have been astounding in quality - I've never had any of the alpha builds crash once on my system, and I tried all of them (which is uncommon even in final and patched releases of some games) - I'm sure alpha backers don't mind even fairly obvious flaws if they don't make the build unplayable in large parts.

    Right now, the quality of the alpha builds is more reminiscent of a late beta/early release, even though it's technically an alpha due to being feature incomplete. It'd probably even be fair to release the current combat alpha to beta backers, but that's not my decision to make (or to discuss - the initial question was 'what to do with non-combat alpha releases').

    If you've developed something cool and it kind of works and you're excited about it, feel free to share! I'm sure everyone in the alpha tier would be just as excited as you are. Being an alpha, I fully expected and would be fine with having to press debug keys to make certain features work, being told not to do certain things as they could lock up the game, and I don't think I'm the only one.

    Added some traps? Cool! A morning star that occasionally flips out and goes superorbital, but generally does fine? Sign me up! Unbalanced thaumaturgy proof of concept that allows you blast enemies into walls with no limitations, severely breaking balance for that build and on some occasions locking the game up if the enemies collide in a certain way? Yes!

    As long as it's made clear during releases what's temporary (even if that'd be perfectly clear by just reading the intended design for the game) and what doesn't work yet, I'm pretty sure that'd work for post combat alphas, as the primary risk I can think of would be people thinking the game's heading in a wrong direction for some odd reason.

    In the end alpha release content is your decision to make, but in the end I think the quality control on the alpha builds is a little tight. While this gives the community a great impression of BM's ability and SG in general, since alpha implies 'adding features that might be broken' it matters less to backers in that tier, and it may end up slowing down community/developer interaction a bit in the future.

    That's already been gone over on at least one occasion, since it seems to be very clear to Bare Mettle where to head with the game at any time. But if not for feedback, you can always just share new features you're excited about for a game you're excited and we'll be excited with you, and that's pretty cool.

    tl;dr: The alpha builds are really good and high quality, but they don't have to be.
    TwoPumpWarrior and IAmEnzo like this.
  13. peta97

    peta97 Insider

    Messages:
    24
    That sounds like a lot of work for the devs to implement, with limited gameplay. I for one, am not a fan of puzzles, but I have no problem with the suggestion, I would just like to point out that I would rather see an open testing environment than this. A puzzle level like this, while completely reasonable and possible, would be a little limited and lack gameplay for feedback which the devs take very seriously, as seen from the combat alpha. Further, any implemented physics puzzles should be good to go with the physics they have implemented in the game, so I don't really know why they would need to test it with a dedicated build. (Although hopefully, if you like puzzles, you could do things like what you described in a testing environment, if that's what interests you).
  14. Crayfish

    Crayfish Insider

    Messages:
    84
    I've heard hints that Sui Generis will be a character driven game to some degree. If those rumours are at all true thrn I'd love to see a character driven alpha to test those technologies. My suggestion would be a simple bar room filled with characters with different motivations. A farm worker and a smiths apprentice, both in love with the bar keepers daughter. A navy quartermaster looking to press a few men. A convict escaped from another town and the bounty hunter who has followed him there. A merchant looking to hire body guards for a long journey.

    I've no idea how it would work but I'd love to dee the resulting bar room brawl!
  15. JOhn6D

    JOhn6D Insider

    Messages:
    28
    I like the idea of a bar room, just to kinda hang out and interact with the characters. Or start a fight with them hehe! Maybe a small surrounding area to explore. But the tavern fight would be a lot of fun!
  16. Psychomorph

    Psychomorph Insider

    Messages:
    315
    I have better idea. Throw everything and everybody (like, everything and everybody) that you got into a large room and watch the mayhem unfold. Rampage supreme.
  17. Fawz

    Fawz Insider

    Messages:
    573
    Thanks for taking the time to keep us backers updated with this post. Much appreciated!

    I've been really curious on how the game's physics heavy engine would be able to handle multiple characters on-screen at the same time for combat situations. Glad to hear things are looking good in that department. Can't wait for the development video, it's been a really long time since the last one.

    A further update to the combat alpha would be really interesting if a lot of changes have been made to the characters and combat, but I think it wise you decided to prioritise work on the Alpha prelude.

    For the first release of the alpha prelude I'd be content with it being solely focused on exploration, where we would get to see new assets and environments. If there were to be a few hidden secrets scattered around to promote paying attention to details or some clues about what the prelude will be about it would be pretty great. It sounds like things are quite far from being to the point where the full prelude experience can be shared to the alpha tier but riddled with bugs.
    Tony and Crayfish like this.
  18. Cooper Holt

    Cooper Holt Insider

    Messages:
    576
    I think I would be OK with another free-form test environment, but one with some exploration, thaumaturgy, different types/races of enemies, and some progression. This way there wouldn't be any spoilers for the prelude, but it would be different enough from the combat alpha to be considered a different alpha stage.
    Fawz likes this.
  19. 666jet

    666jet Insider

    Messages:
    253
    i vote for free-form test environment i would like to face some other enemies
  20. CountReiniardThe3

    CountReiniardThe3 Insider

    Messages:
    109
    In my opinion I'd like to have some form of skirmish map where you can choose what character or monster you are, perhaps have some chests scattered about with weapons in them and allow players a type of skirmish mode using a map you plan on reworking for a prelude release as to cut down on development time.

    It'd be nice to have some enemy slider amounts to mess with, this let's players really get into the game, derive more enjoyment, as well as damper any sort of negative reactions the fan base may have if inevitable delays occur on your release. See major games titles such as the Warhammer 40k series, by Relic. When you couldn't be bothered with the campaign you had the option of loading a map, setting the teams, and jumping right in.

    Rogue likes such as Dwarf Fortress also have seed options, or old school First Person Shooters with bot counts.

    Having some kind of playable version that allows players to explore a few areas as well as fight a seeded map (tailored by a few options for even perhaps indirect roleplaying, like a ghoul infested towns where you set high human survivors to team 1, ghouls to team 2, and player to well, sometimes you choose team 1 and sometimes you're choosing team 3 because you're an ogre or a skeleton pirate with two swords. etc.) would be a great thing to test and play indefinitely.

    But as always it is the developers decision, and that's just my 2 cents.

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