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[Project Showcase] [Dev Dump] [WIP] [UE4] Cepheus-Protocol an independently developed top-down RTS

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Indiedb: https://www.indiedb.com/games/cepheus-protocol

Discord: https://discordapp.com/invite/8ASY9s?utm_source=Discord Widget&utm_medium=Connect

Game Beats

A lethal virus has infected Treasure Island,San Francisco and it is up to Captain Winter, a U.S. Army soldier working with the Center for Epidemic Research and Control (CERC) to stop the mysterious and deadly Pangu Virus from spreading to the mainland. The Cepheus Protocol is an independently developed top-down RTS inspired by XCOM, Company of Heroes, and Parasite Eve.

In Cepheus Protocol you will make decisions that will force civilians to either rally behind you or attack you outright. How you decide to combat the virus is entirely up to you. Will you fire bomb and leave no trace of human life behind or will you try and save everyone at the cost of your squad's safety. The game features a full day and night cycle and will adapt over time to make the Infected more dangerous as the days go on mutating and adapting to combat the player at every turn.

Welcome to the first Dev Diary of Cepheus Protocol! I will be writing Dev Diaries depicting specific mechanics and elements of Cepheus Protocol. While I can't promise every week will be shown a Dev Diary, I will write one as much as possible, and not leave you stranded for too long.

Ontop of that, the Dev Blogs that are released on Sundays will still be done on a weekly basis showing you our development week by week.

This weeks Dev Diary will be about the game as a whole. While next week I will talk about the story itself in depth. From there on out every Dev Diary will be about specific game mechanics that the player will experience and in depth explanations of them.

Of course, all things are subject to change during development, and nothing shown is set in stone.

What is Cepheus Protocol?

Our vision of Cepheus Protocol is an RTS game that takes influence from several well known RTS's. Company of Heroes and WarGame being the most heavily influential in that order, as well as other games such as X com also being an influence.

We wanted to give the player an experience in an RTS like game that is more unique than usual, where squad management similar to X com meets the squad management and money management similar to Company of Heroes in a setting that is also unique taking place in San Francisco during a virus epidemic. (More on this in the next Dev Diary)

In Cepheus Protocol, we want the player to be able to experience dealing with a virus breakout on Day 1, from an unknown source, as the civilians and population around you as well as your own soldiers are caught up in a whirlwind situation that spirals out of control. (Think of the beginnings of the T-Virus in Resident Evil Raccoon City). While the player attempts to track down the source, and keep the peace.. Or not.

Throughout the game the player will have various tools, soldier types, and bases throughout the city which he or she can build up, and attempt to wrestle control from the epidemic, as the player attempts to lock down and control different districts throughout the city as he or she fights off the "creatures" which have been spawned from this virus.

This isn't going to be an easy task however, as AI and virus will be spreading at all times. A constant power struggle between player and AI as both attempt to achieve complete control, as the player deals with civilians caught in the cross fire, and infected mutations. Technologies to upgrade your soldiers, combat the infected, and even deal with the civilians will be vital to completing your goal.

Do you try to save as many civilians as possible? Or burn it all to the ground? Every decision you make will have consequences that may help or hinder your ultimate goal.

Next week as I mentioned we will cover the story as a whole, then get into the nitty gritty of individual game mechanics that the player will be able to play around with while playing.



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  • andrewsmith3d
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    Tentative Steps Towards our first internal build #2

    This weeks blog post i will highlight the progress we've had over the week. Across all the various divisions we've had a good amount of progress as we work towards our first internal build.
    Animation
    Philip has been working on getting all the gameplay animations implemented and situated from radio call ins for some units special abilities to establishing blend-spaces and ranges of motion for all the various weapons. All still WIP

    Image from GyazoImage from GyazoImage from Gyazo
    Image from Gyazo

    Concept

    Now let me introduce the first special class the deadly Spitter class. Spiting acid at its enemies to melt through metal and flesh alike. They will be a huge adversary to your troops, when your units are placed to tight and for armored cars. Their razer claws make them just as worthy as an assassin in close range, they are a special class to be feared in mid-late game as the mutation worsens during the game as the days carry on.

    Bongani

    Worked on setting up some mood painting for the level designers and to help establish lighting and overall feel. Still works in progress but they are coming along.

    Modeling


    Dimitry
    Worked on the Barracks structure and continued planning and working on the other structures.


    Rich

    Blocked out the Striker and started on blocking out the Blackhawk blockout . After that we'll start to do final texture passes on all the vehicles.

    Elfrain

    This week we decided to show a bit more of the currently planned 11 weapon types. As you can see we have a lot of different weapons. Some like the .50 sniper will be good for taking out special infected but in-practical in urban combat environments when being massed. They will basically be your best weapon for targeting and taking out special infected before they can get a jump on your men. Larger weapons like the Machine guns will be attached to your guard towers you will erect around your bases like the Browning Machine gun. Smaller more squad base machine guns will operate in terms of crowd control when things get hairy. Bullets will have a penetration system that will allow hits to penetrate through several infected at times depending on the caliber of the weapon shot.

    Level Design

    Jacob worked on catching up on his planned blackouts shown from last week and we continued adjusting and tweaking as necessary. We ended up scaling Jacob and Antons section to make it more uniform with Joel's right island. We also worked on setting more standards internally of minimum road widths to ensure they complied with the GDD.

    Jacob also worked on mission breakdowns and planning for our first internal build getting everything situated internally so things are properly planned out for when we transition to blueprinting and scripting for player missions.

    Joel

    Worked on further tweaking and placing the player starting base, and after further discussion we're adjusting and tweaking this area further, to better facilitate the gameplay we want for this player starting region. We will detail and show more of this areas progress as we proceed. It should be noted these areas are still WIP and will be changing as we work on them.

    Antons
    Figured out building placement and got the roads situated for his section of the island.

    Programmers

    Free-look was fully implemented as with Right and Left Rotating for the player camera.

    Image from Gyazo

    Derek

    Implemented the base Fog of War System and Tighten up squad formation and Loosen up

    In later version we will be switching the more average fog of war system to one directly based on their peripheral vision. I.E Any area you dont have a unit actively looking at will result in a gray area appearing. Making it extremely important that you actively move in formations or staggered positions to give you units proper line of sight to ensure nothing sneaks behind you.


  • andrewsmith3d
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    Dev Update #3


    Over this week we worked to cleanup and expand upon some ideas we weren't so sure about over the previous weeks relating to level design and we worked to get further assets implemented and ready for our coming up internal playtest.

    Our wip indiedb splash graphic for the main page, Ashley is still working to polish/finalize this beauty up!

    Community Discord Server

    We started a Discord! Join it and support the game we're still turning on the lights so it will be more filled in over the next few days!


    Level Design:

    Jacob worked to implement and update his commercial and residential zones. He got a few fire escapes meshes from Dimitry this week and they've been cracking away at polishing up that zone for their deadlines.

    Joel worked on his player starting island after some internal discussion we're tweaking it further to give players more space to build defensive walls as we felt the building - neutral structures around this starting area didn't provide enough space for guard towers to be effective for the AI.

    Anton further worked on deformation in his district and established further buildings and layout for this zone.


    Modeling:
    Efrain worked on the high polys for the remaining weapons and getting ready to deliver them to rigging. They are coming out quite awesome!

    Rich got us the blockout of the black-hawk so we could start to get the rig created and pass it into the engine for testing before we finalized them.

    Lauren did her first texturing pass on the transport helicopter. Its getting there!

    Dimitry

    Worked on the building meshes for the deployable structures in the game.


    Programming

    Derek worked on the door and gate system for AI and NPC's alike!

    We had a few issues relating to making sure the Navigation Mesh was responding correctly but its now fully dynamic and working!

    After some mishaps nightmares are made up related to the vehicle system we were creating. We decided to take it out back and shoot it promptly several times before simplifying the system.


    You have been warned

    After some reflection we fixed her up and got a working garrison and car system working a few hours after. We'll work over the next few days to polish these systems up and improve the AI's turning logic to fake the most realistic approaches to car movement in RTS games.

    Concept

  • andrewsmith3d
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    Dev Update #4

    Over this week we revised and worked on a few internal systems, worked on polish across the board and worked with the other divisions as they worked towards their internal deadlines.

    Concept
    Maik drew some promo art and designs for the "Exploder" class

    Plus a cool little promo shot for the spitter.

    Bongang worked on some mood paintings. We opted for version 2 and pushed that into the final stages

    Modeling:

    Dimitry worked on the other building type and worked to get it ready for skinning.

    Rich further detailed up the cougar ensuring all the bolts and belts are almost finalized!



    Elfrain worked on finalizing the high polys and UV"s working to get them situated.

    Chris our new character modeler started today working on on the infected spitter. In a day hes well on his way doing an excellent job on it. We gave some tweaks and edits and he was off to the races

    Level Design:

    Jacob finished his commercial zone mostly and started planning for his interiors and detail passes.

    Joel and Anton

    Were delayed this week with revisions and life so there wasn't much to show really.

    Programming:

    He also worked on the talking logic for NPC's in the world

    Then he mocked up some UI designs for the main menu and various other screens. The loading screen will be next more in the polish stages.

    Derek worked on a few quality of life/ odd control bugs we had for selecting units and refined the selection logic.

    There was some refinement to the driving logic but it will require more extensive tweaks over the month to come! But its looking great.

    Robert

    I worked on some base weapon attachment and creation systems and worked to get any AI that are armed with guns the ability to perceive their environment and have the ability to shoot and kill other targets. You can see an example of some early trace tests and latter the working system where the Military unit shoots the red "creature" dead causing it to rag doll.

    Naturally in the final there would be a proper animation/and muzzle effect but this was effective enough to let me know my code was functioning in the base form.

    Animation and Rigging

    Clara worked on the Black Hawk rig plus just her duties for managing deadlines internally

    Philip finished re-targeting and cleaning up the military anims not much to show for these as they are heavily WIP.

  • andrewsmith3d
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    Dev Update #5 Additive Animations For Everyone!

    A big keynote for this week was figuring out a huge feature for utilizing additive animations. Aside from that everyone else on the team kept trekking along for their weekly updates. We also brought on several new concept artists and other developers to bolster our development. You'll start to see their work over the following weeks to come!


    Animation

    Over the week we worked to implement additive animations and have a few setbacks we finally got the system situated. Basically an additive animation allows us to apply animations over a base to lower the overall amount of animations required. You can see in this example we applied over a default walk cycle 3 idle poses for 3 different guns making it so we dont have to reanimate and tweak it for every variation in our animation software for every single different type of pose or stance type.


    Level Designers:

    Jacob worked on further polish and refinement to his sections

    Anton Blocked out some different buildings types that will comprise the upper districts

    Joel worked on blocking out and establishing Chelsey's home in the confines of story missions


    Modeling:

    Elfrain worked on the Scar and M9

    Rich Finished the Striker NPC

    Dimitry polished up the motor pool


    Concept Art:

    Jon drew up the civilian hold: This structure is for if you decide to take civilians in to save them from the infection they will reside in this compound inside your base.

    Bongani worked on polishing up some mood paintings for mid game late. They still require some final edits overall but its getting there!


    Programmers:

    Derek Worked on further refinement to the vehicle systems and UI for navigation for initial blocking out of functionality

    He worked on some Vehicle AI and tested it out in the testing environment Epic provides to indie devs to fine-tune and clean it up.Over the next few days we hope to wrap this system up and fully implement it inside the live project for our internal build. In this example he simply told a car to reach his location upon it spawning however it could using the navigation mesh.

    Robert i wrote up the Standard Infected AI and set it up so they will actively seek out and attempt to kill them. You can see a few examples showing the Infected Melee attack and the Scientist shooting back at the infected via the Line Traces as it attempts to attack him. I also had Derek implement a double right click to run feature and single click to walk. Making it so when you run they will completely ignore infected and break their focus only trying to reach their location. But inside the normal walk mode they will actively engage any target in any direction unless they are locked inside a formation.

    I also setup a roaming,bored state for the infected so they could aimlessly walk around while they waited for stimuli.

  • andrewsmith3d
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    Dev Update #6

    Did someone say Modeling? Waa Where?

    Modeling

    Elfrain worked on finalization of the various weapons and edits we gave him.

    Rich worked on finishing up the Blackhawk

    Dimitry worked on the Motor Pool/Armory

    Cary showed some drafts of his car blockouts

    Programming

    Derek did some additional work on the Vehicle AI porting over his test code from a sample project to our game build. It came along quite great. Here are a few examples of the progress he's had! He also added a right click feature for the cursor to change depending on if the selected unit you are selecting is an "Enemy" . He also added a double click to run feature and single click to walk.

    He later refined the system to allow cars to rotate in place to face their target direction

    Robert: Well i worked to finish up the building system and get it ready for our first build. Heres my progress so far!

    Concept
    Ashley worked to refine her promo piece.

    Jon did some mock-ups of the UI. A lot needs to be changed and simplified but its getting there. As with getting rid of the white dots and weird black background plus just removing some visual clutter.

    Level Design

    Jacob pondered the existence of boats in his Marina part of his level this week quite a bit.... Seriously someone model a yacht for him...

    Then he went back to blocking out various interior variants and preparing for the detail passes

    Joel worked on the starting island some more detailing and setting up player zones and whatnot

  • andrewsmith3d
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    Dev Update #7

    Concept

    Maik worked on some mood paintings to help us establish how latter segments might look.

    Jon mocked up another WIP of the in-game HUD! It was looking pretty darn great since the games vantage in the RTS takes-place from the perceptive of a drone we played with a few visual effects shown. We plan on waiting for an actual build before we finalize a few elements. Over the week there was one simplification to the HUD relating to switching to weapons and choosing Special equipment but otherwise it was pretty dang good.

    Modeling:

    Efrain further worked to finalize the weapons up

    Cary got his civilian cars ready to bake and start the texturing process.

    Rich has a few adjustments to be made to his helicopter mesh for cutscene related matters. But overall he wrapped up the Hind and is moving onto the first responder cars over the next few weeks.

    Programming :

    Derek worked on some predictive systems for moving AI out of the way of moving cars to avoid their AI path finding from bugging out. He also worked on some control related additions to being able to control the vehicles cruise speed by tapping a button that will tell the car to slow down or speed up for its max speed.

    Robert - Myself i mostly was in a support role for everyone on the team plus just helping clara for she needed while she went on vacation this week and played around with the Building system while i awaited the final assets. Some assets were way over-sized so we'll be tweaking that over this week.

    Animators:

    Clara worked on cleaning up and learning the additive and Animation Blueprinting systems. Nothing new to show yet till next Sunday since shes on vacation this week!

    Level Designers:

    Jacob charged ahead finishing up his grid mostly!

    Anton worked on some interiors that are going to be used across the island

    Joel worked with Nigel a new Aussie level designer we recently brought on to plan out and break up his levels remaining sections to ensure they were done internally by the end of the month.

  • andrewsmith3d
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    Dev Update #8 When a plan starts to come together.

    I worked on the Day/Night cycle and setup the time dilation effects so time would properly cycle between day and night


    After that i worked to implement further tweaks and improvements to the building/defensive emplacement deployment system. I ensured the concrete slabs you can build for player walls are functioning and properly work.

    After that i worked on the Infected vs Scientist\Military Units AI testing some mass tactics for them and how the armed units would respond. Over the next week i'll polish these systems up entirely and remove the remaining bugs related to their threat system.

    Derek hammer away at the Vehicles adding it so they can maneuver more effectively in groups when paired together and dont slow down as much as they turn corners.

    He also wrote up the turret AI for the striker and more armored Vehicle classes.

    Concept:

    Jon worked on a few more UI mock-up edits

    Modeling:

    Cary worked on creating the various car interiors.

    Rich worked on the Civilian Vehicles littered around the level

    Elfrain worked on a few weapon low polys

    Chris alsop worked on the Spitter character model and got a few more revisions for his.

    Level Design:

    Jacob worked on his grids doing further polish and refinement

    He also blocked out some of the upper districts of treasure island and setup the second player FOB the police station.

    Joel worked with Nigel to figure out textures and play around with placement

    Again these areas are heavily WIP and will be discussed at length and change quite a lot over the next few weeks

    Satya blocked out and worked on the upper left Military Zone

  • andrewsmith3d
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    Dev Update #9

    What's that you have an internal Build now? Can i Play?

    The short answer no, as its still extremely early in the development process but soon! Give or take a month or so. The start of this weekend started with a lot of panicked developers, loads of energy drinks and coffee as everyone worked to get as much as possible in the first core gameplay test. A lot of new features and bug were tossed around Sunday at our weekly meeting and frankly i cannot wait till next weekends internal build and the promise it shows.

    New Additions/Edits from playtesting:

    I added a togglable follow camera for the units because who doesn't like to every once and a while kick back, relax and watch their squads dish out justice? It's just an early implementation and will be included in next weeks internal build.

    We also decided to add a toggable slow down effect which will allow players to judge their tactical situation a bit easier. Frankly there were so many infected, sometimes easily in the dozens on screen at times it was pretty hard to single out units with direct attack actions.

    Again all these GIF's are first our very first playtest so a lot is subject to change and just the general improvement that come overtime.

    We also had some weird issues relating to turning and target acquisition via the threat system. So next week thats a HUGE priority for the programmers to address.

    We ended up increasing the player cross-hair size from 16 PX to 24 PX so we didn't need to use a Magnifying glass to play the builds Simple but it helped!


    Level Designers

    Joel and Nigel turned their Australian powers up to over 9000+

    and frankly knocked their part of the island out of the park

    Jacob worked on catching up the top right grid of the map our new level designer Thad partnered up to keep this area situated in the next week.

    The other level designers used this week to switch gears and take over a few sections that had fallen behind. Expect more updates for the other various zones in next weeks update!


    Programmers

    Derek worked on things that were included in the build heres a few excerpts. Mostly working on polishing up the formations/Cone of fire to ensure they kept their preset directions to cover and never turned around or rotated out of the zone they are responsible for. Not to mention a few utility things like selecting a group button or key to auto select all the units tasked to that group.


    Modeling

    Efrain started texturing all the weapons

    Rich finished a few vehicle variants

    Dimitry made the building structures sizes more unified


    Concept Art

    More UI edits from Jon for the UI and Bongani for the Striker paint-over.

  • andrewsmith3d
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    What's that Sound? O, its just a Juggernaut no big deal...
    Dev Update #10


    Concept

    Maik worked on the Juggernaut one of the most dangerous enemy variants in the game. Easily able to wipe entire squads effortlessly if your not careful.

    Ashley worked on Patient 0


    Jon further refined the HUD

    Bongani worked on vehicle paint-overs for the prop modelers

    Level Design

    Satya caught up after being sick for the past week.

    Joel worked on refinement of the right island

    Joel worked on some main menu concepts we're still experimenting but a final approach is starting to formulate.

    Jacob worked on further refinement of his district

    Nigel worked on optimization of shaders and various VFX such as this.

    Thad worked on finishing up Jacobs zone on the right right while hes on vacation.


    Animation /Programming

    Myself and Clara mostly clara worked to get the animations implemented and starting debugging and getting them implemented. There still some details missing like upper body recoil + some bolts moving but its getting there over the next few days.

    Over the weekend i worked on a target acquisition system so the AI weren't as aim botty as they were in previous builds. They now require time to actually look at their target and build an internal meter simulating them aiming to engage their targets.

    AI will actually aim and wait for the perfect shot to ensure they maximize their damage.

    I also added a system relating to how they handle turning left and right adding a Interpolation between their switching between targets. Again this is all incredibly wip and simply the first implementation of the system.


    Hive Mind AI

    I added the first steps in a Hive mind that orders the infected around as you cause more and more commotion on the game-map .Infected will now attempt to surround the player and flock across the entire map in groves once you start to rack up kills as you are enraging Chelsey(patient 0) well simulating that aspect of the story in this play session i cleared out the base and by the time i attempted to head into the forest on my way back to the city, the Hive mind had ordered the city mostly emptied and charged into the nearby forest trying to find me and spreading out a good distance to attack on multiple fronts if i was still in the area. Also added it so the infected will randomly run about when they are issued move orders by the Hive mind like they are being directed by another force once you start causing a big commotion I.E starting to get enraged.


    Programming/Build Additions Cont.

    Derek worked on a dynamic formation system for trying to keep squads in formation over vast travel distances.

    He experimented with Nav Proxy actors for doors but we're still debating if this is the best way to approach this.

    He made switching formations even more painless allowing them to instantly reform on a simple key-press instead of having to reissue another move order.

    Preview visualizations and more bug fixes to units and how they occupy their formations when the location is blocked/invalided.

  • andrewsmith3d
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    Is that a Fog of System You got there?
    Dev Update #11


    Character Modeling

    Clara worked on the basic infected and took a few weeks off animation to help catch us up on some character modeling that has fallen behind.

    Andrew Smith was a recent hire and got started on his task of being in-charge of all player customization aspects. Its coming along great.

    Currently we're implementing or planning to at least test customization in these fields. So stay tuned!

    • Head Accessories(Masks etc)
    • Choosing the unit of all your units
    • Basic naming ability
    • Gloves
    • Knee Pads
    • Elbow Pads
    • Face types /color shader


    Concept

    Maik drew up some quick character concepts for Clara to get the base male infected situtated

    He also drew up this mock up of Winters clearing out the hospital in the beginning stages of the game it looks great overall but just wasn't the camera angle we wanted. So we gave him some edits on the perspective we wanted and cant wait to see his next version.

    Bongani worked on the final paint-overs all CERC and Coast guard vessels in the game

    Cary worked to get his vehicles textured and delivered to the level designers

    Vlad worked up and did the news truck


    Level Designers

    We setup and sliced up the level for the first vertical slice and talked greater focus on optimization across the board. We used the engine tools to assess and locate areas were artists had gone a bit overboard for the quality and scaled it back across the board while trying to retain as much as the high fidelity that was feasible for an RTS game. We also took the liberty of shrinking the World Composition grids by in some cases 3/4's to optimize loading times for each grid.

    By utilizing the Shader Complexity screen several problematic materials were mentioned and we are in the process of revising and ensuring the game preforms better across the board.

    From the recent black ops beta one of our modelers noticed they were utilizing a better method of drawing grass that was relatively inexpensive so thats a goal for this week as well to replace the grass with more efficient ways of rendering them.


    Programmers

    Derek stormed ahead and resolved some screen jitters that was occurring, it seems the Interpolation i added in last weeks dev update resolved it partly and it came back with a vengeance

    Aside from that he worked on formation code refinement and ensuring the system was mostly bug free!

    The threat system was revamped and rethought by myself and and frankly its a lot more responsive as the infected and military units are a lot more fearsome.

    Derek worked on some corrective logic for when you reform squad/formations as well continued here

    We located a better approach to handling the units fog of of war line of sight and implemented it this week as week over a huge programming pow wow we had over the last week.

    We later refined the system and tied in the actual sensor component to control how far they can actually see. But now it was time for a field test

    It certainly didn't play too nice with object blockers the code will take a bit more refinement but its getting there!

    Me just fumbling around with the formations/new fog of war system its all coming together quite well

  • andrewsmith3d
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    andrewsmith3d polycounter lvl 4

    Not One Step Back

    Dev Update #12


    General Notes:

    We brought on 2 new character modelers this week, a few Foley/SFX artists , A composer for our musical score and we're preparing VO Character packets of Bio information of all the main characters as we prepare to start casting. So stay tuned for our cast list announcements in the next few blog updates!


    Concept Art

    Maik worked on some promo shots that will be used on our website that is launching soon!

    Ashley worked on concepts for the doctor Juliet Wu

    Lastly Bongani worked with Chris to brainstorm some logos for CERC the organization you control using the events of the game.

    Level Design

    Over the week we worked to formulate a better plan to maximizing optimization for the various zones we had. Some visual fidelity was cut back when we ripped out the previous version entirely, overall the new Auto-Material system came out great from the toolkit we obtained to help streamline development and allow us to scale up and add more custom assets over time.

    Joel stress tested the new zones with myself with the other level designers throughout the week and we put it into full product the other night. We turned off the layers and buildings for these tests and bench-marked each aspect determining what was hitting our computers the heaviest. Turns out it was draw calls and VRAM on the video card this new solution fixed the VRAM and optimization on that front. But our buildings were another case entirely! When we build better LOD"S and merge the final assets once the levels are finalized this will resolve draw call related issues

    Basically our Australian level designer Joel was becoming one with the Bushes

    From here i devised a new custom level streaming system devised of grids illustrated like below. With some overlap allowed to help the level designers.We approached it on a basis of kinda how Skyrim or Fallout 4 approach their level design. The system relied on checking where player owned units are, Fog of war checks and where the player camera is currently looking to better clean up memory of loading levels that weren't needed.

    For the rest of the work the level designers worked to cleanup their grids and refine a few key aspects as each color was a level designers assigned section to development relating to fully fleshing out up to their final deadlines.

    We were also having some issues with our snappy road systems after this adjustment to our pipeline so i worked with the level designers to setup a soft referencing system for road segments so we could stream in and out roads in each grid instead of having a global map for all the roads. It has been our priority to squeeze every last bit of performance back to the gameplay.


    Programming

    Derek worked on a mission manager/quest system but ran into a few snags relating to its stability. Otherwise we tag teamed a few bug related issues to the AI. We worked to remove a few bugs relating to health bars not removing when units died and a few memory management related issues relating to units not properly clearing their enemy list when they should. As you can see there are a few things still needed to "help" the AI better shift to targets that are closer to them. The threat system is still undergoing tweaking and adjustment as we refine this.

    I played with a bit slower infected speeds here and just play-tested their effectiveness in hording. It still leaves a bit to be desired and will require more refinement over the weeks to come to make them more effective killers.


    Modeling

    Vlad got us his first drafts of his model texturing jobs. All WIP still!

    Dimitry worked on the high poly for the primary player CDC trailer. Your main structure for control.

    Cary finished the Mustang low poly


    Character Modeling

    Clara worked on some mock ups of the Infection pod that spawns backup for the AI. Not to mention she worked on the standard female infected meshes

  • andrewsmith3d
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    We have a Customization System
    Dev Update #13

    Over the week myself and Andrew worked to implement a character creation system that will randomly generate different armor configurations for different units upon creation effectively allowing us to give bit of randomization to newly built units. Aside from that we started to formulate a character customization UI.

    In these simulations we showcased how on each "play session" the units would randomize their starting out gear

    We immediately tossed the system into the levels and checked out how the system handled in various environments. Overall its looking pretty rad and we'll be expanding the system substantially over Oct so we can wrap it up by the conclusion of the month. Next up we have misc objects like water canteens,a few different helmets, base BDU's, hair styles and knee pads.

    Next we worked to implement the individual unit customization heres a basic mock-up! We'll again add a few more choices in the latter version and add more preview weapons and a few special preview animations in the window.

    Derek:

    Worked firstly on a spore node that will increase a units infection level if they arent properly geared for those zones. Basically when your inside these gas/infection zones they will slower your max sight radius of any units inside it and slow tick at your units infection level till they die.

    Worked on the mission manager system and got that baby all situated take a look at the beauty! A few beauty shots of basically the dynamic kill count mission type Derek added in this week.


    Concept

    Bongani showed his mostly final CERC logo will require a few adjustments here and there!


    Clara worked on the male infected

    Fabian

    Worked on the Berserker and got quite well in his first week. He'll be done quite soon i would imagine!

    Andrew again worked on the customization system shown above and added a few last minute additions tonight to the systems. A basic helmet + base BDU progress for the males


    Level Design

    Jacob worked on further refinement of his section with the new level streaming system implemented and replaced more of the housing with a new version. He'll be working to completely close out this section by the 14th as with the rest of the level designers.

    Thad worked to cleanup and catch up on lost time after we had to recreate portions of the landscape and repaint some segments to a few optimization approaches we had to implement.

    Joel worked to finish up a few parks but over further discussions we decided to refine and add a few details across his section like a expanded port/docking area and larger warehouses to better accommodate gameplay requirements of the zone.

    Also with Joel and some of the level designers we talked about modernizing some of treasure island by adding skyscrapers and larger naval/docking zones. So they will be working on that over the next week.

    Satya didn't get much time to work on his section this week because he got busy but he did some very good work check it out!

    Again these are wip and some assets are placeholders like some of the textures till our artists have time to make more customized variants


    Modeling

    Vlad got most of his vehicles approved by the art director

    Cary started texturing the mustang

    Elfrain started texturing half the player structures with Dimitry

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    The Infection Spreads
    Dev Update #14


    Character Modeling

    Clara worked on the infection pods and we devised a route to make them a bit more modular and unique via the creation of a spline based system to allow the infection to spread outwards along other zones. Its still in the early stages!

    Fabian worked on his high poly getting it situated.

    Andrew and John worked on the base BDU's


    Concept

    Ashley worked on Adrian Winters

    cropped Patient 0 for website 1


    Level Design

    Joel worked on a few adjustments before being moved to cutscenes

    Jacob worked on detail passes for his assigned zones.


    Modeling

    Dimitry worked on finalizing the primary CERC trailer

    Vlad worked on getting his vehicle texturing approved

    Elfrain worked on the Command Center and Civilian hold structures


    Programming

    Derek worked some further adjustments to the UI for sync all progress as with creating a mission over screen for when your hero unit dies.

    Derek also setup a cocoon system for when AI are being re-spawned to fill the losses for the infected ranks that you can kill them. Thus in these prototype stages the mesh just kinda instantly disappears once their "build time is over"

    Robert i worked on creating a custom payload for syncing customization between units and applying them correctly and unifying the systems to make new additions easily. We also added the ability to name/rename non-hero units.

  • andrewsmith3d
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    Into the Breach yet again!
    Dev Update #15

    This week we started VO casting for all characters and continued to bolster the team after a few individuals had to drop out due to lack of time. We started work on cutscene blockouts and trucked away at getting things situated. This week dev blog wont be wasn't tremendously packed like last weeks but we'll show more next Sunday


    Music

    George worked on the theme and made some very good progress. We gave some revisions here and there buts its certainly getting better!

    Level Design

    Joel was switched to cutscenes and did a few basic passes of the intro cutscene he collaborated with myself,Chris and the new storyboard artist Chris Na. Joel did an amazing job on his blockout and will continue to improve and tweak as we get closer to starting the animation aspects of it.
    Yes we have two Chris's on the team xD

    Thad worked on adding more misc objects and populated the docks/marina area.

    We brought on three new level designers as well from a few notable indie games and this week and next week will serve as their orientations as they get caught up! So you'll start seeing their work next week!


    VO Actors

    Danielle Macrae was cast playing Chesley the primary antagonist of the game. You would have heard her in recent games such as SkullGirls, World of Warcraft and League of Legends

    We do have a few more positions open so take a read here! We will have more casting announcements over the weeks to come.
    Read more about the open positions for VO here.


    Concept

    Jon worked on a few more mock ups and we made some definitive decisions on how to balance out the UI. We're hoping its entirely done by next Sunday.


    Character Modeling

    Fabian finished the low poly and will start texturing this week

    Andrew and John worked on the customization system we made some adjustments to how we're approaching this system to make it more in the vein of X com and simplify some systems. You'll see that in next weeks dev update!


    Modeling

    Vlad worked on the Taxi and vechicles

    Efrain did another texture pass on the weapons

    Dimitry worked on the Industrial modular set


    Programmers

    Derek worked on his mission manager system


    Robert: I was mostly in a support role all week and worked to improve pipelines and interview new members to the team.

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    Hold Onto your Butts
    Dev Update #16


    This week we also announced the VO casting of Rachael Messer in the lead role of Cpt.Winters. You might have seen her on DisneyXD or heard her performances in Black Clover, the System Shock remake and the english dub of Attack on Titan.

    We are still looking to fill a few roles read more about those here!
    Concept
    David worked on the patreon graphics

    Juniardi worked on the YouTube banner

    Jon worked on the final UI version

    Maik case files for the website viral marketing

    Version 2 was worked on from the storyboards as Chris C. worked to revise and get the final versions done.


    Character Modeling
    John worked on more variants for the customization system.

    Fabian finished the blow-guy

    Andrew made over a dozen customization's in terms of camo for user units.


    Modeling
    Vlad worked on the police car

    Elfrain experimented with some different shaders for weapons

    Alex worked on the fence


    Animation
    Clara worked on rigging and getting her base infected in the engine with LOD's created for them

    Programming
    Derek worked on the fog of war system for compiled builds and added console commands for turning the system off and on.

    He also worked on the civilian reputation system that allows civilians to openly attack the player depending how they've been acting towards them.


    Level Design
    Anthony worked on blocking out the final boss barracks
    We also talked about removing his hill and evening out the area based on more discussions, this higher zone wasn't going to work in terms of the gameplay we envisioned.

    Vesa worked on a polish pass of the residential homes area, changing out placeholder sections with more elaborately planned sections.

    Derrik Hunter worked on the Marina retrofits after further discussions we decided to cleanup and space out the warehouse district and place in a parking garage for added tactical options.

    Thad had a very busy work but worked on final refinement this week of his patio area and will be finishing his assigned grids this week.

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    Those Tantalizing Final Steps
    Dev Update #17

    Over the week we set some hard deadlines across all the divisions and drew a line in the sand in terms of getting the build situated internally to play the first few hours and getting away from just purely combat test maps. We also worked on submitting and getting our early internally build on steam for internal dev members and QA latter on. We also worked on getting our website live sometime in the next few weeks!

    We currently have 5 minutes of animatics like this and we're going to start scaling up recruitment for 3D animators this week. We expect roles to fill in quick so apply if your interested.

    We also worked on our website where you will be able to discover clues about the virus before the game launches. We are building a whole new universe and backstory to Cepheus Protocol so stay tuned and buckle up as we start to put all the final elements into the place these next few months.


    Animation

    It should be noted we'll be expanding our animators in November to start cutscene work and to work with Clara and getting the final elements situated. Expect to see more progress in terms of animation from these base animations over the weeks to come!

    If your an animator or interested in helping out shoot us an email!

    Recruitment

    Currently we are seeking talented individuals in the following roles. It should be noted the project is post launch compensation and we are incredibly willing to work with any individuals schedule that might be interested. Feel free to send me an example at with your reel.portfolio and/or website.

    • 3DMax Animators
    • Prop Modeling

    Email : [email protected]


    Concept

    Juniardi worked on mood paintings to help the level designers setup final post process effects

    Jon and myself finally cracked the culprit of the UI scaling so we worked to get more of the final elements in.

    Chris made the entire intro cutscene as a fully animated animatic. it goes without saying everything is coming together quickly!

    Ashley worked on the Stage 1 of patient zero and how she will be found during gameplay segments


    Character Modeling

    Clara worked on the skin shader and we set several internal meetings over the week with various divisions as we worked to perfect and get this fully situated

    Fabian worked on polishing up the Spitter for some final tweaks that were needed

    Andrew worked on the helmets and various texturing techniques to get them all situated

    He ended up switching the rails to a more realistic shader/texture after some discussion in today's meeting


    Programming

    Derek worked on the civilian barricade/base building system that allows civilians to have erected small settlements during the span of the game. He did a few tests and it worked so hes moving on to the next system.

    Next he worked on the civilian talking system so random NPC's will talk to you and react based on your reputation level to them in the city.

    I fooled around with the "Purge" policy that allows you to shoot civilians on sight if you feel they might be infected or just a threat.

    I also worked on the Weapon market WIP system that will allow you to buy gear to equip your units in the field.


    Level Design

    Anthony worked on further blueprints of the final boss zone and did research of the real world barracks on treasure island. We watched various videos on YouTube and other samples to gather ideas and help inform the design of the overall segment. Suffice so say this area will take quite a bit to find the right balance for the ending.

    Vesa worked on getting some commercial zones situated and doing further detail passes across his assigned grids.

    Derek worked on finishing up his deadlines and starting work on his next grid this week.

    Thad did further detail passes over this week.

    We had various discussions on problematic areas and just zones that require tweaking or were lacking thought on how gameplay will operate so we broke a few sections up and planned out the next 2 months of deadlines to have all the levels wrapped internally. Dont you just love my drawings skills?

  • andrewsmith3d
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    Interrupting your regularly scheduled program for a Whopping Sized Dev Update #18

    State of the Game

    Well folks we're closer then ever before to having the first build internally for being able to play all the mechanics and systems together in a complete playtest with mission scripting. As we near December everything will fall into place and leave us in a position to play the first few hours of the game and start to move resources around to polish and tweak aspects before we start to seek private QA testers. We've come an extremely long way since starting development of this game in late June and in about 6 months we would have gone from idea to actual game you can pick up and play. I think thats a huge milestone for our development team coming up in mid December.

    So what does this mean for you? In Q1 of 2019 we will be starting to seek outside QA testers that will be required to sign an NDA to pickup the game and be the first to play it. Tell us what works, doesn't and give us feedback to help inform our design processes. Over the 2-3 months we project we'll address balancing and QA sessions we'll start to reach out more to the community plus give out free keys to our play-tests and rely on you guys for feedback.

    We have also cast all VO roles and will start to make announcements over the next few weeks as we lock them in and get their approval to announce their casting. Now i leave you with the latest version of our Theme composed by our brilliant composer Georg Mausolf


    Programmers

    Robert: I worked with Andrew and Derek and tag teamed the vehicles getting them fully functioning and plugged into the motor pool build system. We got all the vehicle transports functioning and even got the Striker Guns so it properly targets and defends itself.

    Derek worked on the Away and Defensive teams settings that allow you to fully staff and setup which units wil have free rein to move outside the base perimeter while other units outside these "Away teams" are restricted to guard patrol and protect player bases.


    Concept

    Chris Na worked on further main menu mock up designs we chose a few and passed it over to the cutscene artists to flesh out and create in a 3D space for our dynamic 3D main menus.

    Juniardi worked on further mood painting and helping the level designers structure their look latter in the game.

    Ashley worked on our Youtube page banner

    Jon setup icons to appear above units for visual information on their current status effects


    Character Modeling

    Clara worked on the Skin shaders and going for simpler art style approach to skin shaders.

    She also worked on the Poses for the "Live Main Menu". She'll be doing the final poses and setting them up over the next day or so and working to finish all the main characters for our big internal build.

    These will be 3D Menu's that the camera will pan around while your just idling on the main menu of key moments of the games story arcs.


    Fabian got the Spitter done and started on the last enemy class.


    Level Designers

    Vesa worked on his assigned grids and finalization before he moves onto the final grids for the left island.

    On the second week he turned it up another notch

    Joel worked on the hospital starting mission and doing blockouts to get it situated for mission scripting.

    Anthony meshed out the barracks arena parring some final discussions relating to gameplay its getting close. We are getting some paint-overs done for these sections to help flesh and make this area pop a bit more! While he works on the exterior for a week waiting for those assets.

    Derek P worked on the interiors for various warehouses and misc structures.

    Thad worked on his grid and various interiors and exteriors shots


    Modeling

    Cary worked on misc objects that were requested

    Vlad worked on Gas Station Assets

    Efrain worked to make sure all the player buildable defensive structures function correctly
    with the nav meshes

    Animation

    It should be noted we'll be expanding our animators in November to start cutscene work and to work with Clara and getting the final elements situated. Expect to see more progress in terms of animation from these base animations over the weeks to come!



  • andrewsmith3d
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    Turkey Stuffed Update Dev Update #18

    State of the Game

    Over the week we got further elements relating to the main menu screens, level design interiors and gameplay mechanics integrated. Naturally our development was also slowed a bit by the rush of the holidays as well! We expect things to pick up even more as the team works to construct and get our big end of the year build constructed and everything just starts to come together.

    Exciting News! We also formally started recording of the gameplay and SFX script and all VO roles have been cast for the project.

    Haley C. McCarthy was cast as Dr. Juliet Wu

    Jordan Haro was cast as Male Adrian Winters



    Natalie Hitzel was cast for various Misc Roles

    We will announce more over the next few blog posts!

    Level Designers

    Joel worked on the main menu's and collaborated with Clara to get the main menu sequences created. Final character shaders should be in within the next week or so! So say bye bye to those gray boxed characters

    Joel also worked on a third main menu, but some of the poses were rather meh, so we requested a few paint-overs for new poses and hes collaborating with Clara to get them finished.

    The first missions hospital planning and roof landing for the cutscene were constructed and scripting was done.

    Thad worked on his interiors and play tested and ensured his zones were functioning properly. While they build and create their requisition lists.

    Thad worked on a basic blockout for the TV Station interior while he waits for final assets to finish his blockout.


    Vesa worked on finalization of the bank

    Vesa also worked on the skyscraper interiors and getting that fully meshed out

    Derek has been having navigation related issues so we did a few pow-wows and get them situated over the past few weeks. Building and getting them situated to ensure areas play as intended.


    Concept

    Ashley worked with Clara throughout the week doing paint overs of character modeling progress to help guide the progress of her creation.

    Jon worked on a few icons that will appear above your units as you play to give feedback to what is affecting your units.


    Programming

    I worked on the call in's and got the Ammo Drop situated and fully working so you can correctly call supply anywhere on the map via this abilities panel.

    Over the last week we also moved away from units have unlimited ammo and adding resources you'll have to manage like the amount of bullets they currently have to make players make more tactical decisions on which engagements they can take and which they should run from.

    Derek worked on the building wall system and got that situated with various prototypes and proofs of concepts. Including setting up the zones you are allowed to build inside.


    Character Modeling

    Fabian finished the holy poly of our last monster type.

    Andrew, Robert and Clara pondering some hair meshes and converting them so we could properly use them in the engine. So we started that process and hope to be wrapping the various hair styles up over the next week or so.

    Andrew also worked on the base BDU for all males and female and is currently finishing up the morph targets for the differences between male/females.

    We brought on a new character modeler Peter, hes currently working on various gameplay armors plus winters main armor type. Hes hoping to have this done over the next day or so and fully textured

    John experimented with some hair modeling techniques

    Clara did further character modeling adjustments following a few paint-overs by Ashley!


    Modeling

    Dimitry worked on the boat seen in the main menu scene

    He worked with Clara to get a better skin/eye shader working in our game build.

    Vlad did the AC130 and got some adjustments passed his way as with some retaining walls for the level designers. Over the week he'll work with Efrain to get all his vehicle textures in the engine as well.

    Efrain test further extensive testing of his assets to ensure the collision and all aspects played nicely in combat and general gameplay.

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    Steady Ahead we Go Dev Update #20

    Prop Modeling

    Dimitry worked on some "fake interiors for the buildings like the ones you can find in the new Amazing Spider-man. Plus he got the ship for the main menu implemented in the city as they rework certain elements

    Efrain worked on civilian barricades

    Plus just the Turret upgrade for walls


    Level Design

    Vesa worked on the military base and Baseball stadium

    Thad put the final layers of polish in this section before being assigned to a new section

    Anthony got bogged down with work as with Derrick so they should have more to show next week.

    Joel worked on the intro cutscenes and hospital entrance


    Programming

    Derek implemented the building system/volume zoning

    I worked on the AC130 call in and ability to directly control it during its pre-set flight path for manual targeting.


    Concept

    Ashley did various more paint-overs for Clara

    Jon worked on selection and UI elements

    Juniardi worked on steam chat emoji's


    Character Modeling:

    Peter worked on Chesleys gameplay outfits plus Main Menu cutscene outfits

    He also worked on dozens of base variants of civilians to populate the city with, John took the males and hopes to have them done in the next few days

    Fabian finished up some adjustments and is rolling into the next to start texturing

    Andrew worked on BDU's and final skinning plus putting in the male mesh

    Recruitment

    Currently we are seeking talented individuals in the following roles. It should be noted the project is post launch compensation and we are incredibly willing to work with any individuals schedule that might be interested. Feel free to send me an example at with your reel.portfolio and/or website.

    • 3DMax Animators
    • Prop Modeling
    • Character Modeling
    • Concept Artists

    Email : [email protected]

    Community Discord Server

    We started a Discord! Join it and support the game we're still turning on the lights so it will be more filled in over the next few days!

    Discord : https://discordapp.com/invite/8ASY9s?utm_source=Discord Widget&utm_medium=Connect

  • CybranM
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    CybranM greentooth
    Thats a lot of stuff posted in one day.
    Project looks like its coming along nicely :smile:
  • andrewsmith3d
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    Steps to our full Alpha Build Dev Update #21

    Over this week we worked to border up the remaining assets that needed adjustment, adjusted across the board to ensure all the various systems were ready for a huge alpha its the final stretch towards our alpha build, fixed and ready to go. We set various small quotas meetings to ensure we would be ready.


    Programming

    Derek worked on further tweaks and adjustments to ensure the walls and defensive structures were functioning and infected could properly damage them we had quite a few issues this week relating to this.


    Level Design

    Thad started on Chesleys final house authors and inherited the mountain region of a small section remaining to do final quality passes

    Joel worked on the hospitals to try and get it ready to go.

    Thad adjusted a few roof adjustments we gave him

    Anthony worked on a barracks closer to what we wanted for the zone

    Robert- Worked on HLOD early testing and working to get build performance optimized to ensure everything is silky smooth

    Vesa worked on the baseball stadium


    Modeling

    Dimitry worked on the container ship in the cutscene

    Cara worked on the thunderbolt mesh for airstrike callins


    Character Modeling

    Fabian finished the last monster class

    Peter worked on adjustments for Female Winters outfit BDU


    Concept

    Maik worked on some promo for the website launching latter this month

    Jon finalized the last hud revision for the playtest

    Nico Kaeber worked on some elite guard infected types for Chesley

    Juniardi worked on steam related cards/badges


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    A Xmas Update Dev Update #22



    Past this Dev Blog: We will be omitting certain tasks people have done throughout the week in sake of spoilers! Sorry :), but over the past 2 weeks we worked to resolve, optimize and ensure performance was stable. We brought on a few new animators to help out Clara in wrapping up the gameplay animations and generally to start on cutscenes in January.

    We also had to let a few level designers go as they didn't have the time we were looking for, best of luck to them! We took a few days off this week for XMAS but right after we're hitting it pretty hard up to new years to apply some final coating for our build. In some cases we would see very low frame rates across our hardware so now it comes that time to optimize our code and levels and get them ready for internal play testing.

    Our website went up this week as well folks! There are some story hints here as well!

    Click here to visit our new official site

    We're also now twitching daily or every few days based on our schedule pop in once in a while share the love! Drop us a subscribe to follow as we work on the game!

    Watch live video from HalcyonWinds on www.twitch.tv


    Level Design

    So over the last 2 weeks we had quite a few delays relating to the holidays and personal life issues. So the goal was how could we apply the final layer of polish? As a few months ago a level designer that has finished the previous right island had applied an auto material that well put the performance to be lack luster. So Over the last few week Dimitry whipped up his own custom setup that would bring performance back to more management levels for the Shader Complexity levels. Said quite frankly Auto material setups for a game we want to be as widely enjoyed across different hardware configurations was simply a bad idea.

    So Thad, Vesa and Anthony and Derrick started out with this layout and brought it up to par with this layout.

    Vesa pretty much knocked the Military base outta the park over the 2 weeks. As with the police station

    We also talked Mission planning layout and the final paths for some mission objectives to force the player for the opening tutorial to bring them to the military base. Suffice so say we settled on the red path.

    Thad worked on several zones and took over zones 7-8 to wrap them up before the 30th. He also did Chesley's house for the mission that takes place there.


    Early Play Tests

    Add silly bugs like this where the Cougars would bump into each other or skid nearby friendly ones into the water. xD We tweaked these up over the past few weeks to ensure everything was honky dory for their path finding and overall mass to how they respond to objects.

    We had some odd bugs with the player Camera not being able to zoom in so we ended up making the camera a bit more simplified and adapting an approach of doing it via the spring arm component and trace channels prebuilt into UE4.


    Character Modelers

    Peter, Andrew and Clara worked on Retopo of various character customization objects for all the characters


    Modelers

    Vlad worked on the boats

    Dimitry wrapped up the Voyager ship textures

    Cara worked on the Thunderbolt

    Elfrain modeled the different tiers of the gates you can build

    Vesa worked on misc objects


    Programmers

    Thad whenever we talk programmer to him ^

    Derek and i worked across all the various divisions to support them and make sure mission scripting, Infected and Civilian zoning systems were operating .He also managed to finish up the defensive stricture system

    Setup gates and enterable segments

    He put together a debugging tool for Dimitry for tweaking the handling.

    I worked on some minor systems like adding it so units talk and bark out dialogue when you issue orders, change out temp tracks to our composed theme and music and basically helped out across the board to ensure everything was running smoothly.


    Concept

    Came up with some icons for the game we went with 1111.

    juniardi did some steam backgrounds WIP to experiment with

    Ozan worked on mood paintings to help the cut scene artists better get a feel for the lighting and general color pallete

  • kanga
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    kanga polycounter
    Great road map you put down here! Loads of success to you and your team.
  • andrewsmith3d
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    A build delayed; a plan reevaluated
    Update Dev Update #22

    We also twitched streamed last night a full review of our build and discussed problematic zones. Take a listen here! These videos expire in about 30 days so watch them soon! Over the past 2 weeks we had quite a few technical issues crop over from animation to level design and we've been working to optimize, get in the final elements and test them internally.

    Watch Level Design Review Meeting from HalcyonWinds on www.twitch.tv

    Watch Level Design Review Meeting from HalcyonWinds on www.twitch.tv

    Watch Level Design Review Meeting from HalcyonWinds on www.twitch.tv


    Concept Art

    Some mood paintings were suggested for the ending cutscene shots.

    Some artists worked on the next chapter of the main section


    Level Design

    Thad worked on finalization of zones 7, 8 and 9.

    Vesa worked on the final construction assets


    Programming

    Derek worked on the various walls and building systems


    Modeling

    Dimitry worked on the Commercial Set some more over the week

    Elfrain worked on the Parking Complex modular set

    Vlad worked on misc objects

    Fabian worked on the yachts and various boat types and the patio area meshes

    Roberto worked on the drawers


    Animation

    Clara and the other animators Bree and tyler worked to get the infected and military animations imported back into the engine for our next internal deadline.


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    Internal Playtesting Begins

    I think it goes without saying that Indie Game Development is hard grueling work, it’s certainly not for everyone. Every aspect has to be planned out and hand crafted to ensure for consistency, But in the end when it all comes together is when It all really starts to shine, the level of collaboration the accomplishment and having something you made its priceless.

      

    Over the past 2 months we’ve worked internally after burning through a few deadlines to get our build in a fully playable state. For the most part we succeeded and in doing so set the path towards weekly “sprints” where the development team started to engage in large scale development/meetings 2 days out of the week. We’ve accomplished significant strides in the core gameplay loop, but in the process we also discovered area’s where we were falling short logistically and Game design wise. It’s an important aspect of game design, self-reflection and ensuring what you’re making is actually fun and your approaching it in the most effective manner.

    Conan OBrien Plot Thickens GIF - ConanOBrien PlotThickens Plot GIFs

    With every coming week, our builds have gotten far better and with the greater levels of collaboration across the team it only stands to improve as we work closer and closer to our internal dates. We’ve seen a huge interest in applicants wanting to join the team from level designers to Voice actors. So this Friday, I’m taking the time to put in a huge blog update on where we are currently and where we need to go before we’ll even consider a closed QA testing session.

    I’m sorry did you think that was a good idea? Think again.

    Hospital Game Opening/ Diegetic Interface Design and core gameplay evolving over time!

    The opening mission, we spent a lot of time behind closed meeting discussing this zone and the level designers that were involved in short, it just didn’t have the level of detail we wanted from the zone and level pacing after playing through it several times. Short story we torched the section to the ground after learning more about how our systems were coming together and how to effectively communicate that in the first mission. So Chris our writer and Game Designer put together a briefing packet for the next version. For the time being this mission is on hiatus as its redesigned and retooled following the reevaluation of the game’s opening mission.

    Shortly after being put on hiatus, roughly 2 weeks after the level designers finished the major sections of the levels allowing us to switch over Davis to combat this zone.

    Elevation and its role in RTS Games

    Initially based on the amount of AI we wanted in levels early in the first playtests we realized how expensive it might turn out and well not fruitful at all to keep any of our varying heights for the larger mountains/hill regions. In early playtests it was extremely buggy, unfun and the sight based line of sight system would have required a major revamp to support making sure AI can actually know when you pitch their heads up and down slightly for different elevations. In future zones we'll experiment with this more, but it was a bit out of our scope and based on doing research on RTS games and comparing and contrasting between our level design, the level of steepness and general elevation changes were a recipe for disaster. Not to mention adding dynamic systems like this would have affected the max amount of infected we could spawn and bring that targeted 40-60 down to a much lower number for lower end systems.

    So we cut our losses, we flattened out the zone, talked about it over several long meetings and situated a new plan for how gameplay would operate in those starting zones. From here we did a basic blockouts then passed it over to the concept artist division for a few paint overs and finally settled on a layout we felt fit the gameplay and look we wanted.

    What Worked…? At least for the most part...


    Core Combat is fun

    We noticed that running around the island, the moment you step off the base it turns into another sort of game all together in essence a tactical shooter with its emphasis on clearing out city blocks, trying to rescue civilians trapped in their homes or roofs. To be honest watching these systems come to life from a game design doc we wrote 7 months ago was inspiring. In these early builds we are only focusing on side missions, ensuring they are fun and helping us flesh out the core gameplay here and there plus just balance adjustments. But we’re certainly not going to let this be enough, over the next week sprint we’ll double down on the quality of these missions, get VO done for them and ensure they are fun and a good splash of randomness to keep the player entertained and funded between the primary missions.

    UI

    From playing the build we realized also the build we had cobbled together just wasn't cutting it. It lead to a lot of confusion from non-programmers playing the builds and we put together a plan to rehash and cleanup the UI so it properly conveyed all the gameplay mechanics and features of the game. Right now we're prototyping with a HUD like this, it should be finalized over the next few days and then we'll have a paint over session by our concept artists for the final version.

    Live Rendered Main Menu Sequences

    After one of our Cutscenes guys had to drop out over the last month due to time availability I took over the Cutscenes with the help of the animators and worked to get concepts and proof of concepts situated. Over the course of several days, I wrangled together the animators and got this basic blockouts situated from an animation standpoint. As the weeks go on level layout, lighting and final texturing will be adjusted and prioritized.

    Character Customization and Civilian Spawners

    In all we got a robust system modeled, animated and skinned plus with my coding implementation for an easily added to clothes/armor pool for adding new variants.

    We setup dynamic systems that populate the city based on the day and varies them across the zone filing in civilians and infected alike. As the days progress in game we work to slowly tick up the infection rates and enabling our civilian barricade system that allows neutral AI to hold up and fortify city blocks and neighboring zones. Through this system randomly spawns holdouts of civilians each play through providing unique challenges. In the early play-tests you would come across civilians either fleeing from infected or welcoming you with dialogue. If your reputation was low they would run away from your units fearing for their lives.

    Recruitment

    Currently we are seeking talented individuals in the following roles. It should be noted the project is post launch compensation and we are incredibly willing to work with any individuals schedule that might be interested. Feel free to send me an example at with your reel.portfolio and/or website.

    • 3DMax Animators
    • Prop Modeling
    • Level Designers

    Email : [email protected]

  • andrewsmith3d
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