Iron Tower Studio ForumsRPGColony Ship: A Post-Earth Role Playing GameCSG update #23 - State of the Game (the first screenshots)
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Author Topic: CSG update #23 - State of the Game (the first screenshots)  (Read 7649 times)
Vince
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« on: January 29, 2018, 04:00:31 pm »

2017 was a busy year: we did a lot of programming and animation work, produced a lot of art assets, defined locations (quests, places of interest, key characters), factions (leaders, relationships, goals), expanded the Pit’s quests, finalized the systems, and did a lot of work on the first two locations, so we started 2018 in a pretty good shape.

Our main goal for this year is to release a combat demo.  It’s a major milestone as it’s practically a game in itself. We do that, it means we have the engine (fully customized for what we need), all systems except stealth, all art assets and animation, interface, and TONS of small things that take a lot of time. It’s a massive amount of work and it took us 5,5 years to reach this point with AoD. If we do it in 2 years this time around, it will mean that we’re right on schedule for 2020 release and give us 2 years to work on quests and locations.

Here is Nick, our programmer, reporting live from his bunker:

What’s done:

- Map grid. In CSG, the tiles are aligned according to the surface angle and look better by not sticking into the ground;
- Non-combat and combat pathfinding. Two separate systems now, which allows smooth movement when exploring locations and good old tactical tile-to-tile movement in combat. Your combat path is also displayed with a nice spline, so no more uncertainty of "where exactly will my character move when I click here" kind;
- Map checking system that spawns warnings if certain map objects are not configured properly - this should decrease the amount of level-design bugs;
- Hierarchical item classes and visual item editor;
- Chargen;
- The flexible structure of character classes that allows adding new creature types with a different appearance, item slots and behavior easily. Implementing new creature type was a big task in AoD/Torque and required writing a lot of code from scratch every time;
- Party system. Better-looking party following, comparing to DR;
- Animation system based on a proper state machine this time. Animations blended with ragdoll, which should help to avoid situations like dead/knockdown characters sticking into the wall;
- Inventory system and screen. Inventory space is now grid-based;
- Character screen;
- Dialogue system, screen, and visual node-based dialogue editor;
- Cover system which provides defense bonuses based on cover type and angle of enemy's fire;
- Combat exit areas - special tiles, Fallout-style, that allow player to flee from combat and execute attached scripts;
- Overhead icons, more informative than in previous games, since they now can display progress bars, numbers, and other useful context-based information;
- Discrete hitbox/collision system. We got rid of the chaotic line of fire and attack results that were animation-based. In AoD/DR the cursor could report you that you are able to hit a target, but then, when you click, your enemy would turn around or scratch his butt, and your arrow could fly past him despite all the odds;
- RPG Camera, replicated from AoD, also includes optional orthographic projection mode;
- Doors (prototype, not final)
- Basic destructible environment;
- Building system (floors visibility, interior/exterior objects)
- Basic combat system (weapons, attack modes, THC calculation, hitting, missing, simple RNG) and combat flow (start, end, combat queue, detecting enemies, advancing turns). No status effects yet.
- Global and local quest variables and game states;

We still don't have:

- Combat and non-combat AI;
- Feats;
- Implants system;
- Learn-by-doing XP mechanics;
- Nice visual effects (laser beams, muzzle flashes, etc);
- Character creation screen and PC customization (currently in progress);
- Combat status effects (knockdown, bleeding, etc);
- Gadgets and grenades;
- Travelling between areas;
- Saving/loading games;
- Options menu;

It will take us probably around six months to finish these tasks.


Here is our work in progress. We finished the first armor set 2 weeks ago and were still tweaking it 5 min ago, so it’s as rough as it gets, function over form. Same goes for everything else – the models, hair, animations, and clothing will be worked on and improved over many months.

We posted these screens for two reasons:

-   Show the state of the game (that proverbial picture that’s worth a thousand words)
-   Show the targeted level of details, the art direction, and what to expect from the new engine



The Pit, outside of the Medical Depot.


Inside the Depot.

The actual armor models:


Selling these fine leather jackets


Pants with crude metal kneecaps

We'll present the armor system properly in the future updates.
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Stellavore
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« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2018, 07:46:37 pm »

Game looks really good, thanks for dropping an update.
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Sparacul
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« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2018, 07:51:36 pm »

Looks cyberpunkish, for some reason I imagined the game would look something closer to a Firefly universe. Still love it!
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cb.spike
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« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2018, 12:35:40 am »

Great to hear schedule is still on right tracks. Only thing I can say about screen is  I didn't expect game world to be so clean.
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Oscar
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« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2018, 08:42:37 am »

It won't be for long. We still have to create decals and such to bring them down, plus more "run down" assets.
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Vince
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« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2018, 10:17:23 am »

On the subject of the screens and what they show:

1) These are very early screens showing the state of the game (we have controllable characters, equippable items, various assets - the healing machine, the hydroponics thing, etc), the overall direction (closer to cyberpunk rather than pure space western like Firefly), and the engine. Essentially, we're at a stage where we put together the assets but we aren't doing the 'atmospheric' pass yet as it's done when everything else is in place. However, since there's a lot of commotion, we'll do that pass for the interior shot and show you what a semi-finished place would look like.

2) Things like piles of dirt and discarded crap will be done last as they require various 'dirt models', which have the lowest priority at the moment and won't be done until last 2019.

3) It does look different from the concepts because the concepts show the 'big picture' while these screens are close ups; having said that if we do it based on concept #2 everyone will say it looks empty. Anyway, considering point #1 the best way to compare the Pit to the concept art is when the full demo is released.

4) Yes, the ship is old and crumbling but if every area looks the same, it will get visually boring fast. The Pit is a relatively young and still growing town, about 10 years old. The containers provide access to brand new things intended for the future colony. In comparison, the Habitat is more than two hundred years old, damaged during the mutiny and the ongoing war between the factions. The mutant city and the 'monastery' will look different as well.
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Scott
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« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2018, 12:09:06 pm »

Very sexy, very nice! I like everything about those screens. One criticism: laptop seems out of place, too 21st century. I'd rather see a clunky, 80's-style display/interface (not necessarily a keyboard) combo either built right into the desk or too large to just pick up and walk off with.

Re: stealth -I wonder if it's actually worth the effort to implement. As I understand it, you will need to separate the player character from the party for stealth, then have an entire system based around movement and detection, presumably alternate animations, etc. Seems like a lot of work to make that path functional.

And has stealth *ever* been done well outside a handful of stealth-focused games (Deus Ex, Thief)?
« Last Edit: January 30, 2018, 12:11:03 pm by Scott » Logged

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Vince
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« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2018, 03:21:17 pm »

Re: stealth -I wonder if it's actually worth the effort to implement.
I think so. First, stealth is a must in a game with multiple solutions as it's one of the 3 main options: fight, sneak, talk. Doing it as text-adventure is limiting and time-consuming (to set up all those screens and characters), so might as well do it right.
 
Quote
And has stealth *ever* been done well outside a handful of stealth-focused games (Deus Ex, Thief)?
I'd say that a flawed system is better than no system.
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Stellavore
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« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2018, 07:18:01 pm »

Re: stealth -I wonder if it's actually worth the effort to implement.
I think so. First, stealth is a must in a game with multiple solutions as it's one of the 3 main options: fight, sneak, talk. Doing it as text-adventure is limiting and time-consuming (to set up all those screens and characters), so might as well do it right.
 
Quote
And has stealth *ever* been done well outside a handful of stealth-focused games (Deus Ex, Thief)?
I'd say that a flawed system is better than no system.
I disagree with that last statement but if AOD is of any indication i think you guys will do a good job

Edit: as proof I give you the crafting and town building system in fallout 4.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2018, 07:20:43 pm by Stellavore » Logged
Lurker King
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« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2018, 06:36:42 am »

And has stealth *ever* been done well outside a handful of stealth-focused games (Deus Ex, Thief)?
Underrail.
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taj
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« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2018, 09:27:00 am »

*the "shut up and take my money" pic*

well done guys, cant wait to get my hands on this Smile
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Spyros
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« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2018, 03:03:10 pm »

I would be interested in how the team works. I've seen some material before on your design process, but, I believe, nothing about how you organise around the specific issues of remote working.

Quote

Inside the Depot.

Nerd nitpicking: the guy should know his nucleic acids without a poster, they are pounded in the head of every biology student everywhere. One thing that's on the wall of every room where chemistry happens is a periodic table. Or, a working organic chemist might actually keep the full path for the synthesis he is working on on the wall, and it might look like this (there are simpler ones):

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Gareth
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« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2018, 02:54:00 am »

Making some great progress there. And loving the screenshots, that's a rather substantial improvement in the graphics department, relative to AoD. Nice work dudes. Wink
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Vince
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« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2018, 09:14:06 am »

Thanks, Gareth!

I would be interested in how the team works. I've seen some material before on your design process, but, I believe, nothing about how you organise around the specific issues of remote working.
Since it's the only way we know, it seems the most natural way of working 'together' so I can't really answer your question as I don't have anything to compare it to. If anything it feels like a more efficient way. Even when I was managing sales, it was still remote working as sales reps spend 90% of their time outside the office.

PS. Updated screen, after the first art pass:


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Scott
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« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2018, 01:46:22 pm »

Still recommend *not* using conventional laptops and smartphone-like devices as props. The best science fiction posits unfamiliar technology, even if it's clearly not the most advanced or efficient.
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