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July Recap

It’s been a pretty hectic month but we are progressing well with the game. Big leaps in UI and overall performance have happened this month as well as extending secret areas. We have multiple cut scenes and a much clearer direction for the final demo we intend to release in the next two months.

We have had to sacrifice most of the old programming, this was linked to previous members of the team which we found too challenging to re-work so an overall has happened and continues to progress in terms of objectives and gameplay.

We have been focusing on set pieces like the one below, which includes mini games and bringing some of the stores to life. the below video shows a work in progress fortune teller machine, which on completion will read your fortune and act as a modifier to gameplay. Fun fact –  Iving (the monkey) is part of an old project a few of the team members worked on so we thought it would be cool to include him! Actually, that wasn’t fun at all, apologies.

In addition to the above we are working on a gameplay scene within the laser tag area. This will be the core focus from now until September as it will highlight the direction of the game and uniqueness of each store. We may bring more machines to life in the arcade too during this period.

The screenshots above are of selected areas and points of interest now in the game. We have a holographic Nutcracker within the laser tag arena, an opening point of interest and the last slide is a teaser to expanded areas waiting to be found. More details about this coming soon!

The UI and inventory system has long needed an overhaul so the team have been busy implementing this over the past month. Although still work in progress visually, we now have the mechanics in place to pick up and sort items as well as inspect them. The functionality will be expanded later to include usable items and tools. 

To accompany the above, we have been working on a main menu and loading screen and intro will be coming next month. Again, this is work in progress but a small teaser is below.

The Nutcracker is still having an AI rework, which will boost performance and allow real time kills/captures as opposed to what is currently on offer which sets the kill as a video. This is too performance heavy currently due to constantly updating target points he can move to and loading in a video on capture is not optimal.

In the next month we have a few events which are 

  • Dundee Pitch Practice (Tranzfuser) – 7th August
  • BAFTA event (GTW) – TBC
  • Comic-Con Wrexham – 21st August

The week ahead will see us finalise small details around our pitch and game so we have something to show off for these events. We are also keen to provide a small demo for the 21st August, which we may open up to a wider audience post event (or simultaneously) depending on progress. This will not reflect the main game but will be a collectable mini-game in the environment with possible prizes to be won! Keep an eye on our socials for upcoming details.

With EGX confirmed as the 22nd -25th September this year we will certainly have a demo by then. We are committed and focused to make this the best representation of our game going forward and look forward to releasing the demo to people signed up to the Alpha sign up at this point for those who cant make the event.

In the mean time we will post some updates through the month and have a re-cap at the end again on here.

Thanks for sticking with us!

Ryan

Post University Update

What have we been up to?

University finished a few weeks ago and are readying up for the next period of work over the summer. Taking a step back from the project we have been able to identify key areas we need to work on and improve during the next period. These will be summarised in this post for clarity.

Phil will be leaving the team to pursue other career goals, we will be covering the work with a variety of contract workers and the rest split between the team. We wish him well in the future. The rest of the team are fully committed to the completion of the game during summer and beyond.

The areas we have identified we need major work on are the objectives, AI, animation and lore. These will be the core focus of the summer period. Without giving too much away, we plan environmental story telling in secret areas located in the mall which is the first thing being worked upon. Once this is implemented we will have a base camp of sorts where a player can store and find information. This sounds very vague but we cannot give the whole game away! There are images from some of the assets we are working on below though as a clue.

The area in question is currently in early stages of development but early footage of layout can be seen in the video below. Again, this very early stages so is not a reflection of the finished product.

Contract workers will be finishing the AI and attached animations of the Nutcracker and the team will undergo a UI and objective overhaul once the environment is complete. We also have someone working on the theme and sounds for the game.

We need to redo current animations of the Nutcracker for quality purposes. Animations to be implemented over the summer include

  • Confused
  • Trapped
  • Opening door
  • Walk/sprint
  • Pick up off floor
  • Look around
  • Stunned
  • Rotation of head 

In summary, we will produce (by September) the following

  • Nutcracker who patrols with multiple capture animations
  • Game with start and end
  • Objectives which demonstrate the direction of the project
  • Lore within the game and some form of external lore
  • Each store will have a hidden item related to lore and an interesting way to acquire it
  • Inventory system which keeps track of items found
  • An example of seasonal change (Christmas items)

We will be posting less frequently on here but social media presence will be ramped up during the period. You can follow us on Twitter for the latest updates. Thanks for reading and like always any suggestions get in contact with us.

Developer Blog Week 13

Week 13 seen big improvements with the mall area. Objectives are slowly being implemented in to the game and the initial first quarter of the mall is near completion. We should have something resembling a vertical slice with a gameplay loop within the next two weeks as environment and programming branches are merged together. This will need refining post university (ends 27th May).

We have a few screenshots to share from the new look environment, which are below.

As you can see, work has begun on the final store within the first section of the mall which will be an esports arena style area. This will be a store in which a user must solve a puzzle to unlock the next area but we don’t want to reveal too much at this point!

We also have a completed map of the first area, entitled the ‘Diamond Zone’. Both of floors will have their own separate map to help you find your way. 

We have introduced a further teaser to the Mystic Dungeons store in the form of the overhead train tunnel which we plan to expand in the future. This will be coming when we expand beyond the initial quarter of the mall. We plan on using secret tunnels and areas a lot more after we have established a base level. 

We are rapidly approaching the end of the University year and should have a trailer to show within two weeks, this will be posted on social media and on the website. After this time we will be actively looking for alpha testers to iron out any bugs which may be present so if you are interested please use the Alpha sign up link to show interest.

There’s still plenty to do and we are all very busy currently. Expect a further update around the time we end university where we will have a lot more to show. Thanks for reading!

 

Anyone for Blu Juice?

Developer Blog Week 12

Another week (or so) has rolled by and as expected there has been much improvement in the scene. Lot’s of work has gone into the stores and and floor area with minimal areas needing work now until this section has been completed. Current estimated time for this section of the mall to be completed is around 3 weeks so expect further major improvements in this period. Some screenshots are below of the current state of the environment as of today (06/05).

As you can see the arcade has taken a major overhaul with only minor details remaining (such as filling the claw machines and prize counter) left to complete in terms of the environment. The laser tag store is currently being worked on and we expect this to be completed soon as well as the sports store. More signs, decals and posters now populate the area to make the mall seem more alive but this is not complete as of yet. In the screenshots above you may notice a new store coming soon too in the form of the dungeons, which will offer something new in terms of gameplay. Work has not started on this yet but plans are in place.

The above video shows an interactable machine within the arcade which will be important for gameplay progression. This is not complete but highlights the type of interactivity we expect in each store as we focus on exploration and searching for items. The idea being that players won’t be limited to static environment and we can introduce exciting ways of obtaining key items. The above example is an arcade machine which requires a skill shot to get a keycard to unlock a new area. The Nutcracker will always be lurking though so you need to time this wisely. To counteract the Nutcracker lurking we are working on mechanics which can help you distract him, which includes (but not limited to) throwable items to lure him away from key areas.

 

As mentioned earlier the new store will be a dungeon/museum which we hope offers something new to the mall. The above is a teaser poster within the mall you may find. Look closely though as a hidden clue is in there somewhere.

FOCUS FOR THE NEXT WEEK

The following tasks will be focused next week with any bleed over rolling to the next as lots to be done!

  • Laser Tag completion
  • Sports Store completion
  • Food area completion
  • More ‘scatter’ objects
  • Play tests
  • Merging of Environment and Programming so we have a gameplay loop

See you next time!

Developer Blog Week 10

New stores and animations in this weeks update

Developer Video Blog 1

The first video blog of the series showcasing progress so far.

Developer Blog Week 9

The lightning pitch is over and big progress has been made. Catch up with what we’ve done in Week 9.

Developer Blog Week 7

Catch up on what we are doing with week 7 of the dev blog!

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