Hamish - War Angels
Feburary and March have been busy months for me, unfortunately alot of it hasn't been strictly game development (Talking, planning, organising, designing and so on) so I don't have as much to share as I'd like, but I'll do my best.
Definitely the highlight of the month, I've just taken on board the awesome swedish band Machinae Supremacy, who will now be composing the soundtrack for War Angels. I would go on about the great work they're doing, but I'll let it speak itself. I've uploaded two short song samples which you can hear by following the links below. If you're interested in hearing more from the band they have a huge amount of songs available on their site, specifically the discography section.
Panzerfaust (39 Second Sample)
Lightning War (28 Second Sample)
Making Level 2
When I haven't been dealing with overhead tasks, or playing Battle For Middle Earth 2, I've been hard at work on the second level of War Angels. I decided to do a new map now seeing I had all the required game features to build it from start to finish. Level 1 isn't completely done, but it requires some features that I haven't put into the game yet - indoor maps, sub-objectives, and so on. By going ahead and making Level 2 now I can time how long it's going to take to finish an average map and get a decent estimate on how long this game will take to finish.
Each level is divided into a few sectors for ease of editing. Pictured below is one of the sectors in two stages of development. First I lay out the place in cubes and floor tiles, as seen in figure one. Then I throw it to the game editor where I place enemies and objects and create the 'gameplay' for that particular sector. There's alot of tweaking at this stage, going back to the map / object editor and moving stuff around for the best playability. This takes about a day.
When that's done I go back to the map editor and fill in all the details. This is where it moves from the picture you see on the left to the picture you see on the right. This only takes about two days if I have all the textures I need. Creating new textures will inflate the time I need to create a sector quite a bit, but I haven't measured this properly so I can only speculate about it. Hitting the right balance of creating interesting and varied looking levels without taking years to do so is one of the biggest factors deciding how long the game will take to finish, so it's important to get this done as soon as possible.
Here are some screenshots of the map in action - the levels not completely detailed, but hopefully detailed enough for it to look good.
A new map wouldn't be complete without new enemies to go with it, and here are the most significant ones I've brought in for Level 2:
Mechs have been in the game since as long as I remember, and now I've finally finished them off so they can appear in this map. There's two varieties, the weaker conscript mech which will appear in this mission (pictured), and a stronger Nazi mech with a deadlier selection of weapons which include a chaingun, a flamethrower, a missile launcher and a laser beam. You'll also be able to pilot one at some point in the game which you can see briefly in my last dev diaries video.
These autonomous turrets differ from the norm in that it's usually easier to avoid them than attack them. If you step through their laser detector, or fire at them, they'll retaliate with a burst of highly accurate gunfire. I've been using them to provide some variety to level 2 by breaking it up into small "nazi sections" and "turret sections", one which has you shooting up enemies and the other has you dodging laser beams. There won't be any undestroyable enemies in this game though, so they can be dispatched if you have enough heavy weaponry.
The patrol bots from the first level can now be fitted with gravity generators instead of grenade launchers. These guys will drive up to you and deploy, creating a strong gravitational field around them pulling you in. I came up with this one when one of my friends was running through the first level, and pointed out that you didn't need to fight any of the enemies - you could run past them all to the end without them being able to catch you. With this enemy is place that strategy is going to be alot less effective. I like the idea of enemies who do things to you other than take off your health so expect to see more like this one.