March 6th 2020 Update


The last two weeks have been very interesting. We are at the tail end of upgrading from Unity version 2018.2.17 to version 2019.3. The migration gives us access to tons of awesome new features, but we knew going into it that we would have some bizarre side effects to overcome. In simple terms, we decided to take advantage of a feature called the “The Universal Render Pipeline.”

The official description for the “URP” is as follows: “The Universal Render Pipeline (URP) is a prebuilt Scriptable Render Pipeline, made by Unity. URP provides artist-friendly workflows that let you quickly and easily create optimized graphics across a range of platforms, from mobile to high-end consoles and PCs.” If you’re super inquisitive you can read more about it here:

That last line is very important for us… we want to be able to launch our game across platforms, including mobile devices, PC, Mac and Nintendo Switch. Taking advantage of this technology will help us reach our goal, but flipping the switch catapulted our engine into asset compatibility conflicts out the wazoo! Our weather system and water would not turn on at all and our terrain materials, rocks, trees, structures, even our characters all turned neon pink!! Check this out!

In the case of the characters and structures, one flip of a switch changed all of their materials back to normal. Score! But the terrain was a whole different story. It took hours of tinkering with what felt like dozens of settings to finally get it back to normal. From there we worked on the weather system for a few hours to get it back where it was. We still have a lot of terrain tweaking to do, and we haven’t even looked at the water system yet, but here’s where we ended up at the time of this writing:

WHOA! Okay the environment is coming along but we spotting something else to sort out. Our Lead 3D Artist Eric Crosby completed the Mohave Armor set, and it looks epic… but we found a few areas that had some obvious clipping going on. You know what clipping is right? We see it all the time in video games… in this example we can see the player’s left elbow popping through her cape, and her armored skirt is overlapping her right leg. We also see some “artifacts” near the right shoulder area. There are different ways to minimize this phenomenon including an invisible restriction mesh that should prevent this type of overlapping, but our 3D team will need to do a little testing to be sure.

Speaking of our 3D squad, Mohave armor isn’t the only thing they churned out over the past two weeks. After the Mohave Armor, Eric moved on to the Mohave Boss himself, Scowlin. Check out the concept, WIP and final versions below:

And after finishing up a Kalapana mob named Flickerwhip (you’ll see this guy in a future update), Caleb Embleton-Oliver tackled the game’s final boss, a yet unnamed supped up angry version of Chuck! Here’s a look:

To round out the last two weeks our programmers made lots of progress. We worked on the Battle Trivia workflow, in game store, the transition system that brings the player from the world, to a battle, and back, and agreed on an approach for character creation that will allow our players to use sliders to create a one of a kind avatar!

Rounding out the past two weeks, we’ve got some audio news. Bill Bressler finished both songs for the Mohave zone. That means he’s created 7 of the 9 songs that will be on our soundtrack. Oh and the soundtrack will be available at your favorite digital distribution channel of choice, we expect it to be available in the springtime! And in other audio news, our pal Roger Middenway has been redoing the ambient sounds for our four zones. Things are still very much a work in progress, but here’s a tiny taste of what the Mohave winds are shaping up to sound like in our Alpha build:

And that wraps up this team update! Super big thanks to the hundreds of new Facebook followers that joined us over the past couple weeks! We broke the 3,500 mark!