This is just a quick update regarding the state of the upcoming patch build. Progress has been somewhat slow due to various factors including team and tech related challenges, as well as scheduling.
While this upcoming patch doesn’t appear to have a lot of things in it, as I mentioned in previous updates, most of the work is in the underlying tech which will be required for the remaining tasks we’re working through in tandem.
For starters, the supporting code in the underlying framework needed for the revisions to the ADS and certain FPS components, have spawned a series of issues which needed to be addressed. One of the most serious ones involved a crash that has proven difficult to track down and fix. The ADS revision itself, while it has been the best way to do it with the engine, also spawned a series of bugs which needed to be fixed, tested etc. As these bugs and issues are in the current build, which wasn’t released to CBT yet, they are not reflected in the changelog because they are going to be fixed ahead of the release of this build.
In addition to this, due to resources, scheduling, and dev costs, I also made the final decision to complete the PC version of the game using the existing custom engine in order to avoid any long term delays and complications. As a result, I am in the process of setting up another team to work on the UE4 port which would power the console versions of the game. This is similar to what I did the Line Of Defense Tactics spin-off game which was developed with the Unity game engine in co-operation with a third-party team. While it would have been great to port the PC version to UE4, then do a multi-platform (PC/XB1/PS4) release as we did with LOD Tactics, this game is too large and too complex. As a result, a million things could go wrong. And the longer the release is delayed, the more it will cost, while not generating any revenue in the interim. In the end, we’re going to end up with two engine versions of the game, one for the PC, and the other for consoles. But due to the similarities between our Havok based custom engine, and UE4, there are currently no concerns related to parity in the game’s features. If anything, most of the noticeable differences will be in visuals, due to the vastly superior graphics of the UE4 engine.
Some people keep asking about the Steam store page etc. We disabled that back in April 2016 and moved the game to CBT. As we have enough people who access the CBT servers helping us test, it allows us to focus test the game without distractions. That’s why we now have very few known issues left to address; which for such a large game, you would agree, is pretty impressive.
Finally, as I mentioned in last month’s update, we’re working on some exciting things related to the game and future plans for the Line Of Defense series. I will post more about those when the time comes.
Since our last dev update, we’ve been hard at work putting the finishing touches on the upcoming build in preparation for the next major milestone (unlocked player controlled ground vehicles).
As mentioned in the 05-31 dev blog update, having made the decision to stick with the Havok based custom engine (which we spent over three years building) for our final PC release, we have been busy with various cleanup and revision work to some underlying parts of the engine. I will have a more detailed dev blog update on this at a later date, along with some news on our UE4 porting plans and effort for the console versions.
In the meantime, realizing that after all this time, all this work, and all this money spent, that we only get one shot after we flip the switch and release the game, we’ve been doing quite a bit of tweaks and revisions to various game play mechanics and interfaces. One of those is the handling of the first person infantry dynamics and handling. For example, we revised the Aim Down Sights handling and UI. This required new 3D model assets (ADS attachments), a revision to the first person view (e.g. depth-of-field implementation), a new shader, as well as revisions to pre-existing shaders etc. You can see some of the work-in-progress results in the FG45 and ZS12 rifles, and the SCAT1 pistol. We expect these to work quite well when we replace the old weapon models with the new ones.
As the above work is on-going, the physics handling of the player fps movement is also undergoing some revision so that it “feels” right. All that work drags in other infantry related handling for inventory items such as the HAIS and the wingsuit/wingchute UI and flight dynamics which we’ve also revised.
As development is winding down, we’ve also contracted Peter (aka WiNT) to work on a new game trailer, as well as to provide on-going game play movies showcasing the game. We will be adding these to our YouTube channel, as well as the updated Steam store page when we re-activate that later this year ahead of the Open Beta Test.
I also want say a bit about news updates. I have tried to provide regular updates as often as is necessary. But from time to time, I get messages or emails asking for a status update. Unlike those other guys who tout “open development” while not actually being open, we really don’t have the time to be posting a litany of mostly useless and repetitive updates which are just “Hey! We’re still here” padding. If there’s nothing to report, there’s nothing to report. And though we have three (Line Of Defense, Universal Combat TLC, and an unannounced title) games in development, we’re also now at the LoD stage of development whereby all the game’s major components are in place, with most of the remaining work left to do being related to implementing remaining game play mechanics and features, tweaks and bug (of which we have very few pending) fixes. As with most games in development, most of the exciting and nightmarish events happen behind the scenes, and there really is no benefit to writing about them.
Anyway, there’s more exciting news; but until certain things are in place, there’s not much that I can say about it at this time. But it’s good.
This patch is still on-going. We’ve hit several snags and blockers with various things; some of which required some major code revisions. And of course, those revisions spawned a whole new set of bugs.
But we’re on it. In the meantime, there is a new dev blog update.
Just a quick note to let you know that this patch is coming along as planned. It’s mostly tweaks and minor bug fixes, and not a major update like the upcoming player controlled vehicles update which is being done in parallel.
With the tweaks to handling and flight dynamics for fps controls, wingsuit/chute, HAIS etc, a lot of those are more fluid (than clunky). I opted for these to be done now, in tandem with the player controlled vehicles, so that we could get them out of the way at the same time.
We’ve also made some welcome revisions to weapon ADS, and other similar tweaks.
See the changelog for more.
The revision date of the changelog and known issues is now at the top of those pages, to give an idea of what is new, without me having to create these announcements. So do check those pages, and the roadmap regularly, as they are updated frequently.
As we prepare for the release of the next and final major milestone (player controlled ground & naval vehicles), this patch addresses some pending and new issues in the current build.
We are still doing on-going performance optimizations on planetary scenes. We’ve done a lot, but so far both Nightbridge and Frostbite still need further improvements. Profiling reveals areas such a ice chunks, water reflections etc. We’re going to keep doing various performance improvements as we move along.
Server stability has vastly improved, though we’re going to keep hammering away at that on an as-needed basis.
In case you haven’t read it, this is the latest State Of Play dev update released on 03/17.
We also released some new screen shots on the media page.