Wednesday, April 13, 2016

April 2016 status update!


Time for the monthly status update and this time with a little video to go along with it!
So what's new? Well, about 95% of the game's content is now done! It's been somewhat insane couple of months, but we actually did it.

The game is not completely finished yet as we still need to add some menu & progression functionality and go through a few polishing & fixing rounds with a bunch of bug fixing, but man, it's almost done!


Behind the scenes


During the past couple of months we've written all of the dialogue, mission descriptions and tutorials. We've added tons of character art, built the remaining half of the levels, improved many older ones, added new enemies, characters & animations and assets.

A new type of a turret doing his thing

Every level has a secret area to be discovered and we have three bonus levels that unlock only by finding all the secrets.


Soundtrack!


Island Delta now has an amazing soundtrack! We wanted the mood to be similar to some 1960's agent- and scifi movies and the soundtrack is the key to achieve this.

We had very high expectations for the soundtrack and the end result exceeds them - we couldn't be happier with it! You can hear a small glimpse of it in the video above.

Here's the talented artist: Zestnut.com


Levels


It was surprisingly easy to find the correct order for the levels. Each level needed editing afterwards though, but everything seems to flow nicely together and we feel that the difficulty ramp is quite right now.

The story is progressed through dialog screens, mission objectives and small in-game cinematic events. There's now actually reasons for doing stuff in the game and it's not just random levels in random order. It was quite interesting to see how the experience changed.

Exploring the villain's lair

It also gave us ideas to improve upon the levels; sometimes the dialog and mission objectives branch out to form new ideas that made more sense than originally, but needed small changes to the level. It really is a holistic experience and we've learned a lot from it.

Occasionally one gets stuck tweaking a level endlessly, but still not getting it right. Because it's your level and you've stared at it for a long time, it might be difficult to see the forest from all the trees.

What might help then is to change something fundamental yet simple, like rotating parts of the level around and thus changing the flow slightly (or dramatically). It's what we did to a couple of boring levels and behold; new improvement ideas started flowing.


Technical challenges


There have been some issues as there always is. Lightmaps needed optimizing because some of the levels required huge lightmaps and it took a toll on performance.

To fit more stuff into a smaller lightmap, scale the background- and other less important object's lightmap scale way down.

In this project it made a lot of sense to scale down big background terrain tiles from 1.0 lightmap scale to ~0.1 because the accuracy wasn't really needed there.

When an object is fully in shadow or is fully lit, it probably won't need all that resolution.
I tweak it on scene basis when needed:




Well, that's it for this one. More to follow in a few weeks and hopefully by then the game is close to being finished. Anyways, more character art, screenshots and videos to come so do stick around!