Friday 9 October 2020

Sprint Roundup: Meta work

Welcome friends, time for another sprint update!

In the last couple of sprints we did a fair amount of checking existing game systems, making sure everything works as intended, and adding some long-planned polish here and there to make those existing features look and feel better. Most visible changes from player's perspective would be improvements to how meaning and use of metadata is communicated to the player, with better messaging about what data has new metadata, making sure player knows when they gain new metadata, and making the effect of collecting data about someone more visible in the UI.

One of the improvements we did was the addition of the save slots, we believe that this change will make the save system cleaner and quicker to use. Each slot (the current number of available slots is 3, but that value can be increased before launch) can have one manual save and one auto save, also the difficulty option will be associated with a specific slot, to give the option to have different game states with different difficulties at the same time, every other game option will be general and not associated with a save slot.

Improving the AI system is another important feature that we worked on in recent weeks, it's still a feature in development so we will talk more in-depth in the next sprint roundup, but essentially we felt the necessity to change the NPCs behaviour in the middle of a mission in a more flexible way, using the specific agent Lua script, doing that in an easier and transparent way. This will be a powerful tool to us and modders, to change the AI in a more dynamic way, but also it will help us to debug and improve the NPC behaviours in a faster way. For example, with this we can give a NPC a taser in the middle of a mission to attack the player. We'll have a full update on this topic on the coming weeks.

On the art front we have been importing a load of art assets into the project and reorganising our source files. We've been reworking all Existing LUTs, essentially cleaning up any old redundant character textures. 

Whilst we made these changes, we updated the wiki to reflect which LUTs are working and a preview of their appearance, this should help to visualise the vast variety of LUTs we have in the game for modders to choose from.

On top of all this we've been looking forward with some funding applications for some interesting post release collaborations we have in the pipeline. We've also done a lot of back end organization work, we moved cloud provider for our documentation for the studio, and it takes a surprising amount of time to make sure everything makes it's way over to a new system properly, and when you move stuff you realise you have a bunch or organization to do at the same time!

In the latest game and Levelkit build : 

So, what can you expect to see in the next build of the game and modding tools?
Content (Level Design and Art) 
  • Dynamic light cone mesh for flashlights (no more flashlights clipping through walls!)
  • New gates, fences, light models, concrete barriers, road/sidewalk parts etc added to LevelKit 
  • New character LUTs have been made based on the older designs that work with the new LUT template

Gameplay and Mechanics
  • All game systems will now only display a character's name if the player has actually learned the name from metadata or not.
  • Targeting system will show if a data point has new metadata the player hasn't found yet. (also cleaned up the target info window a bit)
  • Data download notification shows the amount of new metadata gained from the data.

Controls and UX
  • Save slots added

  • Improving and fixing various issues on the AI system such as NPCs being able to move form neutral to adversarial mid mission
  • Setting and changing NPCs actions and goals were improved
  • Cleaner NPC animation state machine setup
Modding and Lua API additions 
  • Changes made on agent Lua script to allow for more flexible modding of AI
  • Lua track for Timelines (run any Lua command from a timeline - DANGER!!)

Bugs fixed 
  • Character LUTs were not assigned correctly if only color or only smoothness/metallic was defined in mission Lua script.
  • SocialInventory was not assigned correctly so all collected metadata was just sent to void
  • Lua API was not handling null/nil values consistently, some API calls returning a nil value from Lua side as a nil, and others as null.

  • Funding applications for post release DLC
  • Cloud and documentation migration
That's it for this update, we'll be back again soon with more, in the mean time stay safe folks!

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