We managed to hit quite a few major internal milestones this week, and made serious progress on our refactoring goals. We have a working, though as of yet unpolished tutorial, our phantom block system almost fully refactored, and we pushed out a patch that should finally get our Linux friends up to full speed.
As you guys may recall, we talked about implementing a tutorial in the game a few blogs back, and how that was a goal for us. The idea here is to have a system that will allow a new player to just hop in and learn how to play the game naturally without having to look up videos on youtube, or ask on the forums, or contact one of us to find out how to play during a live playtest.
We’re planning to break down every aspect of the game and present them to the player as small, quick-fire tutorials. They will have to be simple, concise, and clear. We set up a simple scripting system that uses triggers to jump to specific contexts and then wait for specified conditions. This system, as we mentioned before, also required us to revisit our old cinematic system that we had removed from the game, and to re-implement it back into the current build.
The triggers and cinematic systems together bring birth to a new system of scripted events that will, in one form or another, become a permanent part of the game. The tools that we’re developing for this tutorial could eventually be re-used elsewhere, such as for a single player campaign.
Benoit and Germain were able to get their first prototype of this system running this week. It’s still a very early version, and the scripting system is still dangerously low-level, but it’s still a very large step ahead in the right direction.
Here’s a little video showing the system in action. Note that all the messages and interactions are incredibly rudimentary at this point, since this was really just meant to show the system working. The final version that ends up in the game will be much, much more refined.
So, what does this new system actually do? Well, phantom blocks aren’t really considered as individual objects in the game right now, and everything around them is sort of hacked or cheated. This results in loads of different issues, such as when a stockpile that said it could go down couldn’t, or when yellow boxes appeared on them when you wanted to remove them. This new system fixes those issues, but it also gives much more flexible control over them. For example, you could move a complete tower from one place to another, or even rotate it completely with these new methods.
Note that these features aren’t right around the corner for the main game, since they require this new system to work. The current system and this refactored system can’t both be in place at the same time, and since this system touches so many other parts of the game, those other parts need to be ready for the new system as well.
Unfortunately, we can’t gradually add in these changes, we have to get them all ready, and then apply them all to the public build in one patch, like a bandaid. I know it sucks to hear about new things and bigger things and to be unable to see them until some unknown time, but believe me, we want to get them in the game sooner rather than later too. But we don’t want to break everything in the process.
Yay! The patch passed the test phase, so we can now release it to everyone. Like we said last week, this patch primarily affects the Linux version of the game. However, it does have a few other fixes put into it. They won’t be incredibly visible on the user’s end, but it will seriously improve overall game performance. The update will push tonight on Steam, and next week on Humble.
Soundtrack of the Week
This week, Swedish accordion stuff! I know, doesn’t sound like fun, but it’s actually pretty darn good. It’s been my background music for the e-mail trials. Enjoy!
And, as always, thanks for reading!
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