In preparation for showcasing Sky Noon at PAX Aus we have ramped up development this week and added some much needed features! Let’s get into it.
New Minecart Map
As displayed above, we have added a new map for the Minecart game mode. The old map turned out to be a bit too large for the frantic back and forth gameplay that this mode provides, so this beautiful map was whipped up in record time.
We added some more feedback for getting kills, and for being killed. For getting kills, the effect seen below was added when an enemy hits the edge. For being killed, the camera will jump to third-person and show your character flying away from the map.
Speed Lines and Swinging
Speed lines were also added this week to give a sense of your velocity. Swinging was added to the grapple hook when you are moving at a fast perpendicular velocity to the location you hooked. Together these add up to give a great sense of movement.
The Time Trial mode and map has been updated. There are now multiple points to get to, and a larger area to traverse.
From the Artists
This week was much the same as last week focusing in the same tasks. I was split between UI and particles with some animation set up in between. For the UI I was adding in more juice to the scoreboard, hud medals and the end of game UI. This was mostly taking the assets we have already created and animating them in Unreal with their separate Hud Widgets. The Biggest addition this week was the windlines to the player’s hud when they are travelling at high speeds. This is set to play a looping animated vignette which fades in and out based on the player’s speed. For a while we have been in the middle of changing the third person animations, this week I made time to fix the implementation of the animations in the animation blueprint. This was the first time I had used additive blending in Unreal and in the beginning it cause some issues. However once I understood the systems the benefits were immense. Additive animations are fantastic when you want to blend many loops together to create your final animation. Our third person animation blends the running animation, aiming blend and the firing animations on top of that. Additive blending allows us to run all the animations without having to control blends in standard blend by bone setup. Finally I leave you with the finished kill sphere. This uses a material the uses player death locations to drive a ring pulse that gives all feedback when a player dies.
This week I helped Nathan out with environmental assets for the new cart map. We needed to quickly create a new map that facilitated a small number of players for the PAX build since our existing cart map is massive. The main focus was differentiating the two teams with static elements in the environment such as flags, unique barricades and props, the idea being that at any point the player can immediately identify which side of the map that they are on. When I could spare the time I worked on updating the old Saloon mesh but I knew that it wouldn’t be finished for the PAX build so I prioritized helping Nathan with the cart map.
This time we were all about getting ready for PAX. For me that meant making sure we had a more compact cart level as well as working animations. I made third person animations for the revolver and some poses for Chris to use in his first person leaning animations that he wanted to set up. The idea was to set some extreme poses in 4 directions so that looking in a direction would have the arms move as well. This would appear more natural and less static. Unfortunately this requires a lot of tuning to feel right so it isn’t ready to be shown. As for the map we were able to get it finished in two days from concept to completion. A new record! Of course there is always room for additional visuals but it was ready by the end of the week which is all that matters.
From the Programmers
Similar to last week, this week was spent mostly preparing for another expo, in this case PAX Aus. I worked on fixing bugs and smoothing out the gameplay experience. One of the things I wanted to see in the game pretty early on was smooth aim animations, so that the weapon wasn’t just locked in place on screen but would subtly aim left or right when the mouse was moved. Nathan created the hand positions, and I created a 2d vector that Alex could access to implement blend spaces based on the mouse movement.
I also created the beginnings of a new game mode, Free for all King of the hill (FFAKOTH for short). This game mode would probably not be shown at PAX, so after making the framework I decided it would be best to work on balance, bug fixing and features that would be shown. I have left the finishing of the FFAKOTH game mode for next week.
One such feature that was much needed was death animations. Nathan created a flailing animation for a falling player, and I created the system to spawn an actor that flies away from the map upon hitting the killsphere, and focus the camera on it until you respawn. The effect ended up being quite hilarious (in a good way) and gave the player something to look at when they die.
A major design change was made this week: The grapple hook now essentially has no cooldown on use or on being hit. This change came after we realised that a glitch was causing the cooldown not to proc on hit anyway. I fixed the glitch, and then realised that a cooldown on hit was actually infuriating to play with, so we decided to remove the cooldowns. We will see how players interact with this design at PAX Aus.
Overall a pretty full-on week with a lot of great features added.
Craig and Henry
At the time of putting together this development log Craig and Henry are representing the team at Melbourne International Games Week. Sky Noon will be showcased at the Media Design School booth at PAX Aus, so if you’re attending come along and have a jam!