Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Sprint Update 24.10.17 - Back in the Trenches

The sprint since EGX has been an interesting one.  Loads to follow up on with the multitude of interesting folks that took an interest in the game - including a whole raft of journalists, podcasters, Youtubers and Twitchers.  Have you read our EGX round up?!

But now it’s back to the trenches - that’s what you are here to read about anyway - where and how we have been getting our hands dirty!

Nuts and Bolts

There are some things that are just expected to be in a game, and one of them is a way to configure the game’s settings. For a good reason as well. Not only will you need to be able to adjust the volumes to your liking, but some things like graphics options, control mapping, and save game & mod management are absolute requirements for the game to be usable by different people, and on different hardware.

While we don’t really need those options while developing the game, some of them are still handy for testing purposes. But more importantly, we’ve been working on other related systems like game saves, and building the options menus at the same time just makes sense.

In this sprint it’s been just about the background systems:  building up the UI hierarchy and navigation, and setting things up so the actual settings system will have a way to create some menus for users and a way of saving and applying those settings.  Basically - design work with two very different end users in mind.  On one end, the person playing the game, with a mouse or a gamepad in their hand trying to find the relevant settings and understand what each one of them actually does. And on the other end, us as the developers writing our mod loading system, or setting up the sound and graphics systems, and needing a simple and quick way to turn all the relevant values in our code into settings menu items.

Hopefully we’ve solved both sides of that design question now, and can get some actual settings menus up and working in the game in the next sprint!

(No pretty pictures yet. We’ll need to generate some menu content first, and when that’s done and we have some menus to test things with, there’s likely going to be a second pass on the UI design and a bit of polish on the layout and graphics. So the pics will have to wait until the next blog post…)

Mod Manager 2017

LevelKit has had a little bit of a redesign, here’s some of the changes and new features:

Moddable apps can now be created and tested from within LevelKit, apps are created from a simple template and are then immediately accessible for testing when the game is connected via LevelKit Link.

We’ve refined how we layout levels within LevelKit, it’s always been our plan to allow modders to create story lines that span multiple levels and this is now achievable.

When creating a new mission mod, you’ll be asked to fill out information about the first level.

Once you’re loaded into a level of a mission mod, our fancy new user interface will allow you to create more levels.

The same drop down allows the modder to easily switch the current level they’re editing!

Busy in our Workshop

One last surprise :)

We now support the uploading and updating of mods to Steam Workshop from directly within LevelKit! This is achieved with LevelKit link and will require the game to be running via the Steam client. We’re hoping that this pipeline will be easy for modders to use and give them more time in LevelKit!

Here’s a little preview of our Buzzer App being uploaded from LevelKit

Keeping it strictly business

It’s been a while since we have been able to use this line, but once again there have been a few exciting happenings on the Biz Dev side of Off Grid’s development that we won’t be able to go into much detail in yet, but hopefully we’ll be able to let you in on soon!

Gimme a G gimme a D gimme a C, whaddya get?

We’ve also been working on getting some acclaim abroad ;)

We have submitted the game to the IGF for consideration at GDC’s Independent Games Festival summit. We may be a little early in terms of completion for prize winning, but like everything in games, it takes getting your game in front of important people a few times before you start to get recognition (in our experience anyway).  So we’ve decided to give it a punt and see what the IGF judges think to the Pre-Alpha version of the game. Rich also submitted a couple of proposals for talks to IGF summits in the Indie and Narrative categories. Rich and Sarah plan to be at (or possibly just around) GDC either way.  If you are a dev and are going, or have been before, and fancy offering some tips, then please give us a shout!

UKIE saves the day

We’ve been interviewing to bring on a new team member and the good folks at UKIE allowed us to use their comfy meeting rooms. While we were there, Roll7 were having one of their team meetups, and Pontus and Rich got to test their in-progress game ‘Laser League’ with them. Thanks so much to UKIE for their hospitality and and Roll7 for inviting us to hang out and play :)

PR You Ready?

As always, the Loading Bar played host to all of us indies for not only our usual indie co-working, but also an little seminar of how indies can get help with and should approach PR. We had the eminently expert Stefano Petrullo come in and share his knowledge, and in the future we’ll look forward to hearing more from him!

CryptoParty like it’s December 31st 1983

Rich was asked along by the organisers of Cryproparty London, Silkie Carlo and Fabio Natali, to give a lightening talk about making a game about crypto, surveillance, and hacking your way out of an Orwellian world.

They also set it up so that while people were exchanging PGP keys and fortifying their security posture, Off Grid was available to play and Rich was there to chat about culture and its portrayal of surveillance, crypto and hacker culture. The event was fantastic - lots of good vibes and smart people to learn from, and included Mustafa Al-Bassam giving a talk on the case study of how the Tunisian government exploited social networks’ lack of use of encryption to snoop on its population.

Indies Unplayed

Last but not least, what are you up to this Sunday (the 29th)? If you are in London then head on over to the Stratford Loading Bar ‘Secret Weapon’ from 2-7pm to get your fill of up and coming indie treats at Indies Unplayed.  We’ll be there too! You can swing by, play the demo if you missed us at EGX and just generally have a grand ol time. See you there?

That’s it for now, we have a fairly short sprint this time though, so catch you soon!

Rich, Pontus, and the Off Grid team!

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