Monday, 30 September 2019

Coworking and Cracking On - Sprint Roundup 30.09.19

Hello faithful OFF GRID fans!

We had a fairly unique sprint this time around, with loads of doing stuff IRL!  And with that we have got plenty to update you on with this sprint:

Facetime

This sprint we had a great co-working session with the team in Essex.  It was the first face-to-face gathering with all of the current team in one place, and so we made sure to start it off well!  Sarah welcomed the team with fresh, homemade doughnuts and Rich had several racks of ribs ready for the smoker.

It was an extremely useful co-working session with lots of planning and organisation - with discussion carefully curated by Filipe.  The team also got together with other Essex devs for a bowling session one evening... and we've learned there are no standout bowlers on the team!


Essex Dev Bowling

Thursday, 26 September 2019

OFF GRID Release Update

Since our incredible Kickstarter backers helped us successfully smash our Kickstarter goal late last year, we’ve had a big year of development.  We also opened our FIRST ACCESS programme, started doing dev streams every two weeks, and have been enjoying some great banter with our Discord community.

Now we’re nearing the end of 2019, and you might be wondering if there is a release announcement coming soon…

During the Kickstarter campaign, we promised delivery of the game by December 2019.  This is possible, but we believe OFF GRID would be better served by delaying its release into 2020.

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Sprint Roundup - 28.08.19 - I AM Controlio

Welcome OFF GRID fans, we are back with your regular dev update. Lots to tell this time around. Plenty of nice new features in both the game and the modding tools, new content, and some pretty crucial fixes, as well as a special edition modding stream we collaborated on with our First Access modding community in the Discord!

Want to hear more? Read on...

Giving you "the feels"

Character controls, and what some people like to term "the toy", are incredibly important, especially in a third person game where you see the character all the time and the camera revolves around that entity.

Walking in a Unity wonderland

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Sprint Roundup - 20.06.19 - Information Underload

We are back with another Sprint roundup! Loads of progress to tell you about and a lot of great stuff to poke and test out in the newest build if you are a First Access backer, so let's get to it!

Working on Information Underload

Now, bearing in mind the game is still pre-alpha - one of the most frequent pieces of feedback we get from first time players is a sense of information overload, and that it takes about 20 minutes of play time to really break though and "get" the game, but once there they love the depth.

Information overload

This is unsurprising seeing as the demo level that we show people drops you in the mid-game in order to give enough of a tech demo and playground, and has very little tutorialisation in it, other that some dense walls of text to set the scene for those interested.

Many people who bear with it really get a kick out of the moment when the game "clicks" for them, it can be quite rewarding to feel the pieces slot into place as you work out how Off Grid mechanics can be used and combined to your advantage, but it's not optimal that it takes so much perseverance to get there, and this is something we have always hoped a good opening to the game would help solve.

In steps our first pass at tutorialisation!

Thursday, 30 May 2019

Sprint Roundup - 30.05.19 - 'Fluttery' will get you everywhere

It's that time again: here is your regular sprint round up of development! Read on to find out what we have been up to...

"UI the long face?"

As promised as one of the stretch goals in our Kickstarter campaign, we've now added our in-game short message social media app, which we've decided to call "Flutter."

Some 'fleeting' in action
Similar to our existing SMS system, it sends procedurally-generated messages using the profiles of non-player characters in the levels. In addition, it sends messages from the rest of the people in the the game world. PLUS we've made it Lua-scriptable (even more so than the SMS system is), and added support for sending custom messages, both from our own game systems and from Lua scripts. So, the messages the player sees can actually provide some useful feedback about something you've just done in the mission, or reflect on some previous choice you've done during the game. They may also help explain what may be going on in some NPC's AI mind at the moment...

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Sprint Roundup - 14.03.19 - Doors of Perception


It's that time again! Here is your regular sprint round up of development! Read on to find out what we have been up to in the last few weeks and if you are one of our backers on the FIRST ACCESS level, what you can expect to see in the latest build update!



Content (Level Design and Art)

  • Created new Character LUTs amd some character variations (as seen above!).
  • Cleaned up on the geometry of the IRL hacker and activist characters.
  • Setup new system for door prefabs
    • Wow this was a big one, but one we have had our sights on a while - the doors and door frames all now conform to sane dimensions and make use of the new nested prefab system in Unity meaning doors and their variations are infinitely easier to create.
  • Lots of work on an early level and tutorialisation of rooting your phone and glasses, and the hacking tools you have to install and learn at the beginning of the game.
  • Some more scripting of interactions with a more neutral NPC than the fairly intolerant guards you meet in other levels.


Gameplay and Mechanics

  • New mechanics for data view trace time & app use and costs. Hopefully this will sort out some of the pitfalls of the old trace time system and instead turns that into a proper game mechanic. Plus the changes give us a way to upgrade player abilities throughout the game while keeping things balanced. We'll test this a bit in action and will then tell you more details. 
    • This also came with some visual prototyping  with Josh Ge's ASCII art and animation editor REXpaint (as you may recognise from his game Cogmind) to try and get an ASCII art / homebrew software feel, we are still playing with this, but it's a nice start:
Prototyping visuals with Josh Ge's REXpaint
  • Added support for using physical inventory items (and the Lua API for scripting what the items do).
    • This helps evolve the game's  "adventure game" like elements
    • This allows for finding and using items which can be scripted now to do pretty much anything. We have yet to add a "combine items" button, but watch this space. Mini crafting system here we come! :0
Speaking of 'adventure game like elements' - Rich talked a little bit about this on the retro gaming podcast last year. One of the host's, Ben, described the game like this:

"Its kind of like an adventure game that is then set within this 3d stealth game - which gives you more fail states than 'well I'm too stupid to figure out this puzzle'.

You can listen here around the 1hour 30min mark.

Modding and Lua API additions

  • The above point to do with physical item inventory comes under Lua API too of course.
  • New scene hierarchy in the Template scene in generated when you create a new mod LevelKit to give a guide to help keep your mod scenes tidy and

Other

  • Fixed NPC prefabs to have the correct navmesh area tags so that NPCs would use stairs again!
  • Lots and lots of small stuff about doors. How their logic is set up, how the player and NPC's unlock them, and making sure they open away from the character instead of hitting you in face etc...
Testing doors!


If you haven’t already - be sure to wishlist Off Grid on Steam - each wishlist makes a big difference to us, and we really appreciate your support!

Thursday, 31 January 2019

Sprint Round Up - 30.01.19 - The FIRST Sprint of 2019


Hello hello, here is your regular sprint round up of development through January!  Read on to find out what we have been up to, and if you are one of our backers on the FIRST ACCESS level, what you can expect to see in the latest build update!

Content (Level Design and Art)

  • Work on workplace level design and early game tutorialisation, mission scripting and character conversations
  • Wrote some new AI states, goals and actions for a nuetral NPC character (using our new moddable, data driven AI behaviours) 
  • Worked on existing geometry in the Workplace level to get it closer to a completed level
  • Paper sketches of new level designs
  • Started grey-boxing on new levels 
Greyboxing a new level

Gameplay and Mechanics

  •  Design work for data view & app use cost changes

Controls and UX

  • Added a crouching first person camera:  the look from point is no longer parented to the rig, which improves camera targeting
  • Reworking of character controller and camera to give finer control
    • Now players have better control of jogging and sprinting both on controller and keyboard and mouse using Space/ B to jog, and repeatedy tap to get a sprint burst 
    • Crawling animations and controls have been fixed to work properly and feel nicer
    • There is a crawl sprint too!
  • Turn animations and transitions in blend trees have been sumplified for better control overall but smoothing and polish is needed still for smaller movements (some finer turning / control has been lost and is to be fixed in next update)
  • Started converting various UI elements to better font rendering and animation systems
  • Support for displaying controls as icons in middle of text in the UI
  • Rebuilt the AppWheel UI to better handle adding and removing apps
Converting the UI to Text Mesh Pro

AI

  • AI function to prefer or avoid particular devices.  Example:  the coffee offer message, sent to a guard, will reduce the cost of the UseCoffee Action, meaning that Guards prefer that Action and will go out of their way to use it rather than alternatives.
  • Added an optional personality requirement to have actions that are only runnable if an Agent has a particular interest (or not!)
  • Added stats to the Agent definition
  • Added generic actions to the Agent definition
  • Added responses (to other Agent's actions), adjusting Agent stats
  • Added reactions (stimuli in the world can thereby adjust Agent stats, based on personality)
  • Added an audio attribute to actions in agent definitions, to be played when they are performed

Modding tools and Lua API additions

  • Added support for loading apps from your current mission (as opposed to the global Apps folder, or app mod)
  • full screen modal window, 
  • Updated gizmo icons in LevelKit
  • Correct scale & rotation for bounding box when editing mission triggers etc.

Bugs fixed

  • Fixed a shader problem introduced after updating Unity

Other

AND:  WE MADE THE BRIT LIST!
http://www.kotaku.co.uk/2019/01/11/games-of-2019-british-games 


Thanks for reading, look forward to seeing you next time!


If you haven’t already - be sure to wishlist Off Grid on Steam - each wishlist makes a big difference to us, and we really appreciate your support!

Thursday, 3 January 2019

Happy New Year from Semaeopus!

Happy New Year

2019 is here and we are thrilled to welcome it!  There are so many exciting things to come in 2019!

Before we move head on into the new year - we just want to pause and reflect on all that came our way in 2018.

We did a quick recap in our December newsletter, but upon reading it back, realised we missed out some seriously significant moments. 

Without further ado, here are our highlights of 2018:

1.  Rich and Sarah attended GDC for the first time - an eye opener!

2.  The team demoed at PAX East as part of Figs and Co!

3.  Made our print debut with a double page spread in GamesMaster magazine 

4.  Semaeopus was named as part of Creative England's 2018 CE50 cohort
 
5.  Attended EMF Camp with a base at Milliways!

6.  We brought a fun new artist on board - shout out to Sophie! 

7.  Rich started streaming and we launched our DISCORD!
 
8.  Gave talks at GameDev Camp and IndieCade
 
9.  OFF GRID was featured in InsideIntel, a modern art show on privacy put on by the CIJ

10.  Spoke at  Sweden Games Conference, and won the Indiecator award in the form of a giant cheque!


11.  Ran a successful, overfunded Kickstarter campaign​ - hitting the first stretch goal! 

12.  Announced the line up of real life hacker characters to feature in OFF GRID!

13.  Semaeopus won the first ever UK Games Fund Smart Studio Award
 
14.  Kicked off our new and *exclusive* FIRST ACCESS programme


WOW.  What a year 2018 was!  Thank you to each and every one of you for supporting us and helping us make all of this happen!

...and now it's on to 2019:  GOOD THINGS ARE COMING!

We wish you all the very best in the new year!

THANK YOU!

The OFF GRID Team

If you haven’t already - be sure to wishlist Off Grid on Steam - each wishlist makes a big difference to us, and we really appreciate your support!