Sky Noon has finally gone live on Steam Greenlight! Thanks to everyone who has already voted and commented, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and we are over the moon! After just two days we are so close to the top 100 on Greenlight and we can’t wait to get the game out so everyone can try it! For anyone who is in Auckland, we will be at Armageddon Expo next weekend so feel free to drop in and play. If you haven’t voted yet please do here!
Work has begun on a new FFA map and so far playtest feedback for it has been great. The map’s design focuses more on verticality than the previous free for all map which causes players to take more risks as they move around the map. Super crate spawners have been moved to the very edge of the map, making it more risky to go and pick them up. As you can see the map is currently just made of existing assets and BSPs so stay tuned for more pretty stuff to come!
Its finally time to publicly talk about our new weapon, the revolver! We’ve been wanting to add a long range, accurate weapon for a long time but it couldn’t be two handed because of the grappling hook mechanics in our game. The revolver is a 6 shot weapon that can be charged by holding fire, consuming more ammunition but dealing more impulse on hit. We have started work on grey boxing the revolver and in game implementation will start early next week.
Character customization is here (minus the assets)! From the game menu players can now change what their hat, head, chest and belt will look like and this is saved to your online profile. All of your character customization will be visible to other players in game.
Time Trial Improvements and Leaderboards
We’ve been cleaning up the time trial mode to make it easier to make new levels. Check points have been added so players have to tag each check point to be able to complete the level. We also now have online leaderboards so you will be able to compete online to see who is the fastest gun in West!
You asked for it and now full control customization is in! You can now rebind any key you want to whatever key you want on both keyboard and gamepad! We don’t recommend that you play with the controls below.
From the Artists
This week started with some shader R&D. As the project has progressed I have become more and more interested in the ins and outs of shader development in unreal. I have been taking advantage of the unreal material node system to create some cool effects. What I came up with was two effects that will add life to the game. The First is a radial hit effect, when the mesh is hit it passes the hit location to the material and creates a gradient around the hit area. This then drives a radial pulse. This will eventually be integrated with the Kill Sphere to give visual feedback on killing other players. The other shader is an adaptation of the first, it takes hits and uses them to deform the mesh. Using timers and curves the deformation wobbles then settles back to normal. The rest of the week was pedestrian with a lot of housekeeping for ui assets. Lots of the icons haven’t been changed since the coders implemented temporary art. I have been going through changing and updating ui and adding motion where necessary.
Aside from from finishing up the greenlight trailer and doing a few minor tasks for marketing and presskit stuff my main job was to work on the Revolver. I made a greybox first, so that Craig could get started on the programming side, and then quickly moved forward with the high poly. I primarily based the design off of a LeMat revolver since I haven’t seen a lot of them in first person games and thought it would be interesting enough without losing that sense of a classic old west revolver. The design has been modified to work within our theme and I also changed the cylinder reloading mechanism to be a side loader because Nathan has a pretty clear idea of how he wants to animate it (the LeMat usually cracks open at the front). It also now only has 6 rounds to stop it from being overpowered in-game. So in the next couple of weeks Sky Noon will finally have a revolver!
Hello again my adoring fans. I’ve been busy this week sorting out the animations for our cowboy friend, wrapping up what was missing from last week and getting them ready for implementation. We faced some challenges when attempting to export animations, mainly issues with controller keyframes not baking onto the skeleton. Luckily with help from the ever fantastic Alex, we figured out how to force Maya to bake all the keyframes by specifically selecting the channels to bake in the bake keyframes menu, thoroughly baking what needed to be baked according to our baking needs. Once baked to death, I was able to put the animations into the engine with no issues.
With third person animations out of the way I moved straight into greyboxing a new free for all map. I approached it similarly to how we did early in development by rapidly greyboxing a rough idea using existing assets and BSPs. This time we had all the mechanics to test the maps with which helps to better know what can and shouldn’t be done in the level design. For example, areas against walls aren’t as bad as they used to be with the new pull hook being very viable for removing campers. Corners and dead ends still aren’t great because they are too safe but it opens up some breathing room for design. We have also been able to regularly playtest the mock ups as I produce them, resulting in a better idea of how the maps play sooner. I ended up with a new map called “Hole,” a name I hope lasts until release.
From the Programmers
Full control customisation took more work than I initially estimated, and consumed most of my time this week. I did manage to get keyboard and mouse rebinding done on Monday, but the implementation caused crashes for unknown reasons and had to be disabled. I was only able to fix the problem on Wednesday as I was absent on Tuesday due to sickness. Getting gamepad controls to be bindable was slightly more difficult due to the nature of the axes of the thumbsticks (different to ‘action’ mappings of single-press buttons), and also making sure keyboard keys couldn’t be bound to the gamepad mappings and vice-versa. I’m happy to say that control customisation is now fully implemented.
I also fixed bugs that popped up throughout our play sessions this week, and spent some time sharing our Greenlight submission with friends. I’m encouraged to see positive feedback on our Greenlight page, and I’m excited to see it grow.
I started off finishing the customisation implementation this week – we now have fully functional Player Customisation! Next on the agenda was fixing a problem with the Minecart Game Mode – no clients could connect to the host. After losing a day rolling back the repository looking for the issue, it turned out to be each crate calling a Server RPC every tick to rotate a Widget – which is a massive load on a networked game. Reworking this, the issue was fixed, but took a lot longer than I had hoped. Next was on to polishing the Time Trials, giving them leaderboards and checkpoints, so Nathan as the Level Designer could have more freedom designing Time Trial experiences for the players.
Lastly, I added the functionality for the Revolver that Logan was modelling. Due to the setup for the weapons I did back in Alpha the setup was easy, and the entire functionality including networking support was done in only half an hour.
This week has been a marketing week for me! I did messed around with some player spawns in Unreal at the start of the week. Since then I’ve been super busy getting our Greenlight page together and trying to contact different people to help push it through. There are a bunch of other NZ studios that have been really helpful and have given some awesome advice as to who to contact and what/where to post. I have fallen behind on my programming work so it might be a weekend of work for me this weekend!