Yas monthly development update: August-September
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Here is our monthly report on the current progress and a short bit on our planning for the next month. We are making good progress in gameplay areas and concept arts. Also some technical features have been added.
Progress last month
Last month we have focused a lot on making gameplay decisions and concept artwork. We had only a rough story and a vague idea what we wanted to do with that, but now we have more details, thanks to Yoeri, who works on our game design.
The storyboard, describing all levels roughly, is complete and work has begun on the details of our first level. We are aware that level 1 is somewhat special, because it introduces the player to the game. Our first design is just a prototype and will probably be changed completely for the finished game. But we have to start somewhere and this just seemed the easiest.
Yoeri also did a research into different aiming/targeting techniques and slopes in top-down games. This led us to conclude that as long as we have vertical automatic targeting and an indication where your shot would hit (for example: with a visible laser), we can deal with slopes and height levels decently. In our previous game Bloodmasters, this didn't work very well because the game was isometric (the player couldn't see the heights clearly) and the autoaim system always aimed up or down even when there wasn't anything to shoot at. But these issues are not present in our current game.
Antoine did some amazing work on environment concept art. While we don't have all the details for any of our levels yet, the rough storyboard did help him making some interesting drawings. Here we see an outdoor area where small spaceships (shuttle class) can land and dock. Also a drawing of a broken elevator and some concepts for wall decorations.
Pascal has been working on a technical feature that we call 'surface meshes'. These meshes can be used to easily add detail to the otherwise flat walls. The video below shows a mesh and its texture and the combination of those as a 'surface mesh' with a preview showing what it looks like on a wall or on a floor (no this mesh is not very suitable for the floor). After that, the video continues by showing a wall drawn in the level editor with the surface properties configured earlier. Then it shows the resulting wall in the game.
Planning for next month
For next month we hope to get a glimpse of our first Level 1 prototype. Also some work has been planned on game controls and camera controls, to get these in line with our gameplay decisions.
Environment concept art will be supporting the design of Level 1, making drawings of interesting parts once we have more details.