August 29th 2015
This week’s Star Marine update is attached; we’re making good progress with the animation work needed to get the first release of the module finished, but as always it’s going to take time to make sure we’re doing it right. The effects of the great merge are also starting to subside; there’s plenty more work to do in that area, but we’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. What follows are the details of the work performed this past week.
The staging merge to Game-Dev (from main-1.2.0 staging) began earlier this week, and a concerted effort is being made to resolve conflicts that the automated integration system finds as soon as they come up. Conflicts rarely go more than an hour before someone in ATX addresses the conflict themselves, or hits up a developer to do it. We are resolving conflicts nearly 24/7 with folks in Austin covering the weekends, and devs in the UK studio covering manual conflict resolution while the ATX team is asleep, and so on. That said, as of the time of writing we are at 5860 unmerged CLs, out of the 7718 we started with on Wednesday. Progress is being made, but if we keep the same rate we won’t be done for another 6 or 7 days. Once the merge is done, and then there will be time spent on doing a code review and getting Game-dev stable. Which would be about 3 weeks total! We’re going to have one of our engineers here do a manual merge review over the weekend, and allow for a code review during the week, with a cut off of next Friday 9/4. That means next Friday we can begin the work of making FPS work in Game-dev starting on Monday 9/7.
Todd Papy is visiting the team in Austin this week, and is continuing to direct efforts for the developers at all CIG and F42 studios from here. He’s heading to the next stop on his world tour next week, back to Santa Monica. It was great to have him here in Austin to sync up with the Social Module designers and the FPS QA team.
The QA team in Austin was largely booked up with the Social Module PTU releases this week, but they did manage to test some newly implemented features for Star Marine. The short gameplay video on the post shows a good cross-section of new features; the improved cover animation system in action, the new enemy grenade indicator, the personal barricade vfx, and a lucky explosion. Ricochets are a very real safety hazard, folks. Check your fire!
The Gameplay engineers at Illfonic are working on the objective based game mode that will replace Team Elimination. The F42 designers passed it on to them early this week, so they created the capture and scoring entities for the game rules, up to a point where they could test functionality of the systems today. We will be able to quickly enable playtest these changes as soon as the gamedev merge is complete and builds are stable.
Last week I mentioned that the Foundry 42 audio team did a recording session of a lot of different firearms for use in environmental audio. They made a video for us to review, and it does a great job of illustrating the weapon sounds and the way you can perceive them at a distance, and in different environments. Enclosed hallways, of example, sound different than wide open gallery spaces. I hope to be able to share this with you next week.
Gameplay changes were limited again this week, owing to both the work on the merge and the fact that we’re very happy with the progress made so far. The team worked on merging the streams and resolving merge conflicts (ongoing) and then on general Star Marine bug triage. For the new game mode, being developed now, we’ve finished work on capture object functionality and spawning rules, and the scoring system is now ready for testing.
The UI team is visiting the UK studio at the moment for a global UI summit and sync-up, which includes a review of the ongoing work needed for Star Marine and the Persistent Universe. Expect to hear about the results of this summit next week!
Work on the Devastator Shotgun is done, as you can see in the pictures and attached video! This work is shelved and ready to integrate once the merge is complete. Artists are now focusing on the Arclight material/decal revisions, which you can see in the work-in-progress screenshots (clean and dirty) included in this post. Artists also worked to get line art for helmet interiors for the HUD, which will continue into next week. Character art for the Lobby UI loadout screens are done and approved to add to the UI. Sent them to the UI artist to cut up to add to the Lobby Loading screens. They are static images for now, we will in a future patch, make the lobby screens more dynamic and animated. For now, we want players to know what their options look like. And as you can see, we wanted to give them some personality.
This week, the animation team finished the first pass for all animations for crouch juke steps. The team worked with an animation programmer in the UK, who helped identify some animation asset errors… now fixed! We also re-baked the right weapon bone to fix weapon orientation in the hand and re-exported all stocked/pistol files. There are not a lot of blockers on the animation side – just a need for more time to implement, test and fix. Base locomotion weapon sets are done, although they need thorough testing and another round of bug fixing. Start/stop/jukes first pass implementations are in but still need code support and tuning. Hurt locomotion sets are currently in progress, as are cover, mantling and sliding. Death animations, rag-doll clean-up and unarmed locomotion sets are also in progress. Work on EVA (Zero-G) will begin once this is complete. Other ongoing tasks include mocap cleanup for player cover animations, work on the pistol mag check animations, repairs to all animations to fix the locomotion locator and edits to the hurt walk fast, run slow and crouch mocap data.