Friday, June 30, 2017

Give me some time

When I say this update is going to be big, I really do mean it. But I'm going away for the weekend, so expect the update to be sometime early next week!

Concept Art #7:

Also, I estimate the beta to be mid or late July! Things are coming along nicely.

Colony_31 "More movement"

This update is pretty simple, it's making so the player can crouch and go prone. This doesn't have any effect right now besides making the player go lower and slower, but it will in the future.

That's it.

Sorry, this wasn't a big update, but I'm getting a lot of programming done for the next one, so stay tuned! Here's some concept art:

Thanks for reading, feel free to leave a comment, and I'll see you in the next one!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Track development on Trello

Many of you are probably wondering what my checklist is for the beta (what I need to get done before releasing it), while I've made an official Trello to help me keep track, and I figured I would share it with you guys! Things may get added, things may get removed, we'll see!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Colony_30 "New Features & Controls"

So I've come to the conclusion that the starter 'story note' is really hard to read with the naked eye. When the beta comes out you'll know what I'm talking about, for now, take my word for it - It's a piece of paper with a bunch of writing on it that's hard to read.

Now I had planned to add a 'Notes' section to the game because I wanted the player to 'write down' recipes as they discovered them, but as I was developing the Notes section I decided that it would also work well for the player to write down game lore and story.

So that's the new addition! When your character writes something new in their notes it will be displayed at the top. To read your notes, well I'm releasing the official control map for The Colony!

Some of these things haven't been implemented yet like Crouching, player stats, console, toggle debug display, and map. But this is the official planned controls map and because I'm so confident in these keybinds, I felt comfortable releasing them.

I've also added Raw Meat and Stone Axe to the game!

Now I had already made the Stone Axe model (shown to you previously in Colony_24):

But it's now officially in the game and can be used to chop down trees and deal damage!
As for the meat, it is not yet able to be consumed (that is not yet a feature) but it's the next thing on my to-do list!

And finally, to top things off I've added sickness and temperature to the game! Your character can now get sick, and there is a 'World temperature' and a 'body temperature'. World temperature is the outdoor and effects your body temperature, and body temperature is pretty self-explanatory.

Right now temperature doesn't do anything, but in the future, it will directly affect the sickness of your character. You can get sick though because I've made so you can drink water from the stream. Now drinking this water here and there isn't a bad thing, but keep in mind that fresh water doesn't mean clean water. If you refill your thirst you probably won't notice anything, but if you constantly rely on the stream water for all your thirst needs then you will notice your character begin to get sick.

Even cooler is you can 'catch a sickness'. This means that if your character is no longer healthy and left untreated then they can get sicker and sicker over time. There is a 'virus-fighting' factor, but when you first catch the sickness this is very low and is unable to fight off the sickness on its own.

So there's now Notes, temperature, stone axe, raw meat, and sickness implemented into the game! Talk about moving fast! I've also fixed a few bugs related to rain and made rain a lot less stressful on the PC. With all these features implemented, the beta feels like it's getting closer and closer!

Don't forget you can sign up for the beta here, and thanks for all provided feedback!

Thanks for reading, feel free to leave a comment, and I'll see you in the next one! Stay awesome :)

Monday, June 26, 2017

Colony_29 "Optimization & Performance Update"

I was talking with a friend on Skype and he told me about Unity's Profiler. It's basically a game developers best friend. It tells me what in the game is causing a performance decrease.

Using this tool I was able to isolate parts of my programming that caused massive lag to the game, and the result was:

My PC Performance (Max Graphics Settings):

Before Optimization Update: 57fps

After Optimization Update: 239fps

I couldn't have asked for a better result! I make it sound simple, but this process was re-programming hundreds of lines of code, changing behavior, and coming up with new methods to achieve results. This was only about an hour and a half of work and yet look at the massive difference! And this is editor performance, the standalone game will be running even better (in fact I bet on the standalone game I could probably get 260+fps no problem).

This is great news because it means that the game is MUCH more optimized for lower-end PC's now! Which is a good thing, because that's most of my community! It also means that lower-end PC's should be able to play the game on default settings, which is fantastic.

Thanks for reading, feel free to leave a comment, and I'll see you in the next one!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Colony_28 "Animals - Part 2"

Very productive day as I hope most days are. Beginning in the simpler things, I've added wind that shakes bushes and trees:

It's not the coolest thing in the world, but it's one of those misc. things that help add detail and give life to the scene. This new change applies to trees and bushes alike.

The next thing I did was re-work a lot of the new Animal's AI for pathfinding. The original pathfinding worked more-or-less but caused problems like the animal getting stuck in-between trees or walking in place infinitely.

But most importantly, the animal now attacks the player when it gets near and damage is dealt to the player accordingly. And even cooler than that, the players screen changes depending on how much blood they have!

The players screen after being attacked to near-death by the tiger
With this implemented, it means that land animals are now almost fully functioning! The only thing left to add is making so they can take damage, eat, and drink!

Soon animals will be crossed off the list, then it's more Tools/Recipes, and then the Building System! Once all of those are crossed off the list (and probably other misc. features), then the Beta will be announced!

P.S I also added the sound effect of the wind against the trees. It's the minor things that add life to the game.

Thanks for reading, feel free to leave a comment, and I'll see you in the next one!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Colony_27 "Animals"

So far in terms of animals we have a bird that moves tree-to-tree giving off a chirp now and then, and thats been it. But since I first implemented that bird I've been working on here-and-there a new system for animals. This system is not simply they move place-to-place and need food and water, this system will make animals crave food and water like their life depended on it. The more they've gone without it the more irrational they become, and if they get low enough, the weaker they become.

When you go up against an animal, it wont simply be X amount of hits to kill, they go this fast, they deal this much damage. Instead it will be, I know that the bunny population in the area is low, I know that this animal eats bunnies, so I know that this animal in this area is probably weaker than it usually would be. The focus of this game has always been about survival using your brain, not just some stats and grinding.

Now that's all good in theory, but what do I actually have done so far? Currently there are spots for birds to fly to and that's about it for birds.

Originally I was going to program one big script to manage all animals, but that turned out to be over-complicated and a lot less efficient than just making multiple scripts. So now that the Bird AI is programmed separately from land animals I was able to make a lot more progress.

If you want a more in-depth explanation of the new animal system, you can click "Read more" at the bottom of this post. But what I've done so far is successfully make the animals able to wander place-to-place, switch between animation states, and chase after the player when the player gets near (the tiger specifically growls before chasing). Doesn't sound like much, but that's over 250 lines of code!

If you're interested click the Read More Button!

Friday, June 16, 2017

One Week Pause

It's a really inconvenient thing to do but I'm going to have to pause all game development for one week. Then once I'm back it will take me another day or so to get an update ready for the blog.

We're making great progress, and right now I'm working heavily on animals and then I'll be working on core gameplay like crafting and tools.  So this isn't some boring post, here's a teaser for the post that will be on the blog in about a week:

Thanks for reading, and I'll see you all in a week!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Colony_26 "Hotbar Equipment, Stone Biome, and plans"

Today was completely focused on equipment, more specifically: Hotbar equipment. Hotbar equipment is anything that is equipable in your hotbar. This is tools, notes, weapons, and traps.

The new stone pickaxe model:

In terms of actual programming, certain things can now be equipped and your character with his arms will bring up whatever it is you have equipped, and each equipable hotbar item comes with its own set of animations (No lazily shared animations)!

I've also implemented a new biome to the map: Stone. And even already attached the coal deposit to it. This biome will be for mining:

I also wrote about 180 lines of code for the mining system that I described yesterday, now I just need to make a tool to do it with.

I've also worked to change textures for a few items, and improved some of the original textures.

After I post this, I'm going to be focusing on figuring out how the player will acquire some of these tools (figure out a bunch of recipes), probably add a few items to the game and I also want to work on animals. As it currently stands there is only one animal in the game: a bird, and all it really does atm is move tree-to-tree and chirping now and then.

Thanks for reading, feel free to leave a comment, and I'll see you in the next one! :)

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Colony_25 "Resources"

I've figured out how I want mining to work in the game. Each ore will have a 'damage threshold' (the amount of damage you need to do in order for it to give out the ore that it has). I only plan for pickaxes to be able to deal any damage to ore deposits.

The ore will have a max health and 3 stages. When at full or slightly lower health it is at "Stage 1" where the ore is just looking like normal ore. Then at 66% health, the ore enters "Stage 2" where you will notice some of the ore missing (Or in the case of iron deposits, you will notice a chunk of the rock missing). Then when the ore reaches 33% health it will enter "Stage 3" where most the ore will appear to be gone, or large chunks of the deposit will be gone.

That is how the ore will visually work, in terms of mechanics the deposits will give out ore every X damage that is done to it (Defined by each ore as a 'damage threshold'. The amount of ore given out is a random value between a minimum and a maximum like if it were 3 to 7 that means you'd get anywhere between 3 and 7 ore. Then when you completely destroy the ore it will have a modifier attached to it, so that 3 or 7 would then + a modifier, so for example, if the modifier were 2 and the random value was a 6 then you'd get 8 ore.

If any of that is confusing, here's a visual aid:

Hopefully, that makes sense. This is all now programmed into the game, but now I need to make a way so the player can do damage to the deposit in the first place (so technically I don't know if this works yet). I've modeled the stages for the coal deposit, and right now I'm modeling a pickaxe model and working on making so you'll be able to equip said pickaxe.

Other resources are more simple, for example, if you wanted to cut down a tree you just had to deal damage to the tree until lit falls over, then hit the fallen tree until it gives you lumber.

Thanks for reading, feel free to leave a comment, and I'll see you in the next one! :)

Colony_24 "Models for the future"

An important part of the game of course will be the tools and ores/resources you craft/find around the map. So it's important that when the features of using and harvesting are implemented that I will need items ready.

Stone Axe

Coal Deposit

Iron Deposit
Iron Deposit 2
Iron Deposit 3

It's mostly on the side of resources, the triple iron deposit is for variety. That isn't a problem with coal since the model you see is meant to be placed in the ground and can be rotated and adjusted in many different ways. These are not the only ores by the way, there will be more.

I also apologize, these models don't look very interesting without their color/texture but I like to keep things mysterious until release, so you'll just have to wait so see what they look like in-game.

Sorry for the smallish update, but I figure I'd keep you guys posted as I work.

Thanks for reading, feel free to leave a comment, and I'll see you in the next one!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Colony_23 "Core Features & Multiplayer?"

I've been dedicated to working on the game for the past two days to bring you an update worth the wait!

Beginning in visual, the island is no longer a large circle but rather has a 'bay' that even features a cliff and a stream!

The next important thing about this update is: Trees can now be chopped down!

Right now the only tool you can craft in the game is the Makeshift Knife, and it doesn't do much damage to trees (about 4dmg per swing) so it takes awhile to chop trees down with it (a long while) but it's still possible! This feature now means that when I implement things like axes into the game that the ability for the player to chop down trees will already be implemented!

Weapons do reduced or increased damage to certain objects, in this case a Makeshift knife actually does more than 4 damage normally, but it only does 4 damage against a tree because well... It's a knife versus a tree. Chopping down a tree also drops the new item 'Lumber'.

Also implemented into the game are some 'audio reverb zones'. Which basically means some fancy audio effects when you're in the forest or at the bay

I've also added in a Blood bar, Stamina bar, Hunger Bar, Thirst bar. It's called a Blood bar because rather than health your player has blood, and a lot of it. Blood will be able to be taken away over time by things like sicknesses or diseases, or quickly taken away by more obvious things like breaking your leg. And yes, breaking your leg (will) be a feature.

Stamina goes up over time, and goes down when sprinting, in the future doing things like swinging or jumping will also cause stamina to go down.

I also added resolution support so people on lower resolution won't get wonky and weird interface problems (hopefully).

But one of the biggest things about this update is the notifications! An important part of the game rather than you constantly checking your stats is your character informing you of them. For those of you familiar with DayZ then you'll understand what I'm talking about. Your character will alert you with things like "I'm feeling well fed" or "I feel a bit thirsty". You can then check your stat bars in the inventory menu.

So to sum it up:

Added features:
  • Chopping down trees
  • Stat bars
  • Notifications

  • Changed terrain
  • Added cliff
  • Added stream
  • Added water sound effects for stream & shore
  • Added resolution scale support

  • Fixed game blacking out at start
  • Fixed rain sound effect not playing
  • Fixed UI collisions overlapping each other

Known bugs:
  • Can jump in water

But I still haven't finished. I have a couple of bomb shells for you, so get ready.
The Colony will be releasing an official multiplayer mod after it releases on Steam.

This doesn't mean that The Colony will have an actual multiplayer, but it means that it will be sponsoring an official mod that adds multiplayer to the game. This means that it will most likely be very buggy, have missing features, and limited support but if you can put up with all that then you will kinda be able to play with your friends! But just to be clear, the game does have multiplayer but a mod that adds multiplayer will be releasing after the game releases on steam (most likely within the first month of it being released).

Pretty big, huh? While I haven't gotten to the second bomb yet.

You can now sign up for The Colony CLOSED Beta #1. That's right if you want to get a copy of the game just click the link below and fill out the information!

The beta will be releasing this summer, the exact date will be announced at least a week in advance.

A big update indeed, getting a lot of the core features in the game like thirst, stamina, hunger, chopping trees, and notifications means that this game is getting closer and closer to being ready for the beta! I can't wait to see how the game turns out!

Thanks for reading, feel free to leave a comment, and I'll see you in the next one! 

Monday, June 5, 2017

Resume development date

Development of The Colony will officially resume on 6/10/17, and you can expect the next post probably around 6/11 or 6/12. This is when exams will be over and other responsibilities taken care of.

Thanks for sticking around, and I hope to get back into development ASAP!