Game Development Updates
Wow, May came fast. This week I was kindly reminded we haven’t provided an update in awhile so I figured I’ll fill you in on the latest development news.
We’ve completely revamped the level. As more and more effort went into creating an underground tunneling system, it quickly became apparently that we would have to change the way the level was constructed (replacing Unity Terrain with meshes) and textured (replacing splat texturing with vertex painting).
The details onto why this had to be done gets pretty technical, but at a high-level it had to do with making a seamless transition between one area of the level to the other. We’re aiming for the underground to be just as easy to access and familiar to the player as the above ground and our previous method of teleporting the player around the level wasn’t fitting in with this objective.
This update took some experimentation and discovery to get it to where it’s at now, which did take some time, but ultimately paid off. In the end we get something that’s more maintainable, looks nicer, and fits the overall experience of the game.
We’ve eluded to some of the gameplay mechanics through our forum but this is something that changes constantly as we continue to answer the question of “What’s fun to play”. Recently, through one of our playtest sessions we discovered that players really wanted the play the Queen, whereas up until this point, it was a spawned NPC that you would engage with the enhance your colony.
Now we’ve made the queen a playable character which changes a bit about how the game plays out. The queen is now mobile, so that changes a bit about what constitutes as a colony’s “base” and she now has a different ability load out. She can spawn eggs, take more damage, spawn npcs, and engage in the game a bit different than other players.
Additional, worker ants have been given a new look. As a worker ant, you can now capture points across the level by spreading your team’s pheromone, which will provide advantages throughout the game. These captures points are placed in highly contested areas where most of the fighting will take place.
In our game, the sense of scale is significant. It factors into the weapons, environment, the gameplay mechanics; it a very large part of immersing the player into the world of ant.
One world event that’s been getting a lot of attention recently is rain. Specifically, “What does rain look like to an ant?”, “What does it do the level?”, “How will it effect gameplay?”
These are the kinds of questions we’ve been working to answer. When a rain event starts, the battle field quickly becomes a barrage rain drops that challenges the player’s choices for traversing the world. Below ground changes as well, deep caverns are flooded, passageways are blocked.
This will need some testing and see how player’s respond. In some ways, it completely changes the dynamics of the game, but whether or not that’s something we want to see happen remains to be seen.
The problem with experimentation and discovery is that is often leaves the project a mess. Debugging issues, refactoring code, and adding features requires the project to be rebuilt to be ready for testing. Right now we’re in clean-up mode so we can start another playtest and hopefully get some more public participation.
Once things settle out here, we’ll make another video and post it up. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more.
-The Colony Dev Team