Development Tidbits!

High time for an update, methinks!

Non-Technical stuff

I have been demoing the game to more and more people, and I’ve been streamlining the feel of the game according to the feedback I’ve received so far. The design principle I’m trying to use is something you can call ‘layered complexity’. I’m making sure that the basic flight manoeuvres are easy to use; you can now perform broad banking turns using a single analogue stick, for example. Fancier stuff (for harsh turns, flips, barrel rolls) will be accessible by using the other controls, turning off assists, and using the basic controls in new ways. The crucial things is that you will have all those things available from the start, and you can explore them at your own pace.

I presented the game in playable form at Joint Venture: Check de Technique, which was an event in Amsterdam about games, audio and technology. Many people liked the basic control scheme, and noted that while it felt really solid, they also liked the sense of growing instability at high-speed manoeuvring. Jarno proposed hosting a playtest session in the AirRebels office soon, and I’m really looking forward to it. If you’re in the neighbourhood of Rotterdam, let me know!

Also, wingman (which is what we call our courageous stick-figure) now has elbows, and he has gotten a tiny bit smarter. New video soon.

Technical Stuff

I’ve been working on the framework for the game, which consists (among other things) of:

  • Networking
  • Editing, saving/loading player settings
  • Game types
  • Event system
  • Runtime assembly loading (for mods!)

Networking is coming along slowly but surely. It’s requiring a lot more study than I thought beforehand, and I’m starting to understand why networking experts get paid so handsomely. I’ll get it done though, I’m sure of it.

The other major thing I’m trying now is loading .NET assemblies into the game live, as described here: Long story short: That trick allows you to build mods for the game using normal Unity scripts. If everything works out I think I can make the workflow such that you can build a mod using the unity editor, compile your custom code using Visual C#, and tell the game to load your compiled mod at startup. How cool would that be huh? Now, I don’t think there has been a Unity game that uses this trick so I’m unaware of any caveats, but since this is coming from one of Unity’s own developers I recon it has serious potential.

That’s it so far, cheers!

  • Murcuseo

    You’re at an awesome stage with the development right now, watching people enjoy the game even in it’s unfinished form must give you extra motivation and the feedback they give you is no doubt priceless.

    What do the camera and auido symbols represent in the picture?

    Shame I don’t have the cash or I’d grab a flight to Rotterdam just for the test 😛

    Get Jarno to start up his camera in the AirRebels office 😉

    Glad the demo at Joint Venture went well and I’m looking forward to some more videos!

    Keep at it!!

  • Yeah, I didn’t expect the feedback to be so unanimously positive; it’s indeed very motivating.

    Ah, I wondered whether anyone would ask about the icons! The camera icons indicate the locations of sport-tv-style cameras that will be used for spectators, replays and such. They start to track you if you get within range, and the various feeds give a very different perspective of the action. I’ll include some examples in the next video. 🙂 The speaker icons indicate sound sources, so you can see that I’m using separate sources for different parts of the character.

    Jarno’s going to be capturing the whole playtest on camera, so expect lots of juicy footage!

  • Awesome work tinus !
    I can’t wait for the vid =)

  • Murcuseo

    Are you going to have Wingman react to the cameras in any way?

    Remember we were talking about the function in GTA IV where you lock onto a target by holding down a button and the player camera automatically tracks it for you.
    You can have his head turn to look at the camera for the fly-bys and so on plus it would stop the head being so static and give it a proper function. It could be a press and hold or toggle system which would be handy for replays.

    Also, have you had any thoughts on the day/night and weather cycles?

    If you are planning on having them? If so I’m interested in how you’re going to approach it.

  • @Murcuseo for the days and night cycles we just have to change the light and the skybox in the map
    here is an exemple :
    bispen day :
    and bispen night (I don’t have a made a night skybox for the moment but that’s the idea =P) :

  • oh wrong link sry here is the good one

  • @Murcuseo: Yep, those are the plans for the head; it will give Wingman a whole lot of character all of a sudden. There’s some steps involved in creating that system, which is why it will take a while: First off, the body’s torso will need to be sub-divided into several parts, all of which need to learn how to fly (this will aid wingman in his aerobatics too). Second: I’ll need to calculate the required head-movement using some kind of inverse kinematic system. It’s all very possible, but it’s a little further down the todo list. 🙂

    Day/Night versions of maps could be fun, but I don’t think I’ll work on a real-time transition system for it or anything any time soon. It’s a load of work for something that doesn’t add a whole lot to the core of the game.

    @Batiste: Looking good! Very happy to see it up and running inside Unity’s terrain system. 🙂

  • Mihawkler

    Holy shit!

    can’t wait for vids!
    I’m gonna check my subscriptions on youtube every 10 mins now! 😉