Author Topic: A WoD dev blog  (Read 147211 times)

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Offline niffiwan

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Quote
I hope you will all look forward to the eventual end result.

Oh yes! All my yes, this is looking fantastic :nod: :yes:
Creating a fs2_open.log | Red Alert Bug = Hex Edit | MediaVPs 2014: Bigger HUD gauges | 32bit libs for 64bit Ubuntu
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Linux OBS Packages: FSO 3.7.0 | FSO BP Build | wxLauncher (?) | PCS2 (?) | wxVPView (?)
Debian Packages (testing/unstable): Freespace2 | wxLauncher
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m|m: I think I'm suffering from Stockholm syndrome. Bmpman is starting to make sense and it's actually written reasonably well...

 

Offline Nightmare

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Escaping the clutches of FRED's awful briefing editor, we're moving onto JAD style briefings now.
Somebody should change the UI for the briefing room, so that retail FS2 can be liberated as well from this slavery :warp:

Quote
I hope you will all look forward to the eventual end result.
Yes, your highness! Any WoD effort will be appreciated and celebrated!

 

Offline LoneFan

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This is amazing. I'm getting pumped up now.

 

Offline Commander Zane

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I'm actually in tears. Those videos are superb and I already like Zeri. My lust for combat personified.

 

Offline 0rph3u5

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I hope you will all look forward to the eventual end result.

I do ...

ps. drop me a line if you want to make the stream I talked about happen for Episode 2 ....
"When you work with water, you have to know and respect it. When you labour to subdue it, you have to understand that one day it may rise up and turn all your labours into nothing. For what is water, which seeks to make all things level, which has no taste or colour of its own, but a liquid form of Nothing?" - Graham Swift, Waterland

"...because they are not Dragons."

 
I saw the gameplay video posted a few weeks ago and have been merrily spreading it around the internet hangouts I visit. So yep, still hyped.

 

Offline Spoon

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Weapon crafting, a feature long planned and recently implemented into the game. Remember that brief bit of gameplay showing some mining from the last video? Well, any of the none critical ore that you get from that mission can be used to create some modified versions of existing weapons. And you might be able to obtain more resources at various points in the campaign. Needless to say, these crafted weapons will carry over to the next episode. (Thanks to 'eternal' variables).


Axem's visual novel script is really amazingly versatile.
Urutorahappī!!

[02:42] <@Axem> spoon somethings wrong
[02:42] <@Axem> critically wrong
[02:42] <@Axem> im happy with these missions now
[02:44] <@Axem> well
[02:44] <@Axem> with 2 of them

 

Offline 0rph3u5

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Not a exactly a feature that gets me excited but cool to see it happen nonetheless ...
"When you work with water, you have to know and respect it. When you labour to subdue it, you have to understand that one day it may rise up and turn all your labours into nothing. For what is water, which seeks to make all things level, which has no taste or colour of its own, but a liquid form of Nothing?" - Graham Swift, Waterland

"...because they are not Dragons."

 

Offline Nightmare

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While I always appreciate anything that happens here (as well as new features), I think I'll switch to not-sure-if-want mode for this one. Loads and loads of weapons always confused me at some point, and generally prefer weapons with proper gameplay roles.

If it's already going to that direction, than why not directly deliver only a bunch of basic weapons that do this or that, and leave it to the player to configure E-use/ammunition/ROF/Damage themselves? Maybe it could be done via scripting, lots of tabled weapons or a mix of both...

Also, story-wise I'm wondering whether they modify their weapons aboard the GA due to use of raw materials (hence no spare parts or prefactored addons). I thought it was supposed to be a warship, not a factory (unless you call Episode 2 "Exile" ;) ).

 

Offline Commander Zane

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The nice thing about the system is it looks like some mods will result in the same weapon with some sort of improvement as well as others changing the dynamic of the weapon itself. That doesn't even acknowledge that time is being taken to also show us how it changes.

The fact you can even do this is mind-boggling. You'd get some bizarre reactions next time someone asks what you're doing and you answer with "Mining asteroids for materials to turn some plasma cannons into shotguns in a FreeSpace mod."

 

Offline Lorric

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Clearly Spoon wants to beat Star Citizen in all aspects. Even feature creep. :p

 

Offline Nightmare

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Clearly Spoon wants to beat Star Citizen in all aspects. Even feature creep. :p
Star Citizen is good!
Wings of Dawn is better!

Beating SC can be done by simply releasing something complete though, so it is a simple target...

 

Offline Spoon

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I saw the gameplay video posted a few weeks ago and have been merrily spreading it around the internet hangouts I visit. So yep, still hyped.
Spreading the WoD word is really helpful, because I am socially inept and don't do any kind of social media. So I'm not much good promoting my own game.

Not a exactly a feature that gets me excited but cool to see it happen nonetheless ...
How so? Does it conjure up images of triple A open world games that obligatorily include some form of crafting in all of their titles?

While I always appreciate anything that happens here (as well as new features), I think I'll switch to not-sure-if-want mode for this one. Loads and loads of weapons always confused me at some point, and generally prefer weapons with proper gameplay roles.
Well the crafting part is entirely optional. So you definitely don't have to use it if you don't want to.
The overabundance of weapons to choose from is actually kind of a concern to me. I've been doing a lot of pondering how to best dripfeed them to the player without overwhelming them with choice.

If it's already going to that direction, than why not directly deliver only a bunch of basic weapons that do this or that, and leave it to the player to configure E-use/ammunition/ROF/Damage themselves? Maybe it could be done via scripting, lots of tabled weapons or a mix of both...
While a neat idea, it's basically unworkable. I've thought about something like that initially, but the sheer amount of extra work that would require would be insane. Not to mention, that WoD is already currently at 249 weapon entries out of the engine max limit of 300.

Also, story-wise I'm wondering whether they modify their weapons aboard the GA due to use of raw materials (hence no spare parts or prefactored addons). I thought it was supposed to be a warship, not a factory (unless you call Episode 2 "Exile" ;) ).
Even historically, warships have had some limited refinery facilities onboard them. (Graf spee for example, suffered battle damage to her facilities, which crippled her for any future long voyages.) It's not that big of a stretch for a futuristic large assault carrier to have the means to process ore and to be able to produce some spare parts itself.

The nice thing about the system is it looks like some mods will result in the same weapon with some sort of improvement as well as others changing the dynamic of the weapon itself. That doesn't even acknowledge that time is being taken to also show us how it changes.

The fact you can even do this is mind-boggling. You'd get some bizarre reactions next time someone asks what you're doing and you answer with "Mining asteroids for materials to turn some plasma cannons into shotguns in a FreeSpace mod."
Your posts are good and encouraging.

Clearly Spoon wants to beat Star Citizen in all aspects. Even feature creep. :p
Star Citizen is good!
Wings of Dawn is better!

Beating SC can be done by simply releasing something complete though, so it is a simple target...
Well, it's not technically feature creep if it was planned to be included from the start. I've always kind of wanted something like this in my game.
Urutorahappī!!

[02:42] <@Axem> spoon somethings wrong
[02:42] <@Axem> critically wrong
[02:42] <@Axem> im happy with these missions now
[02:44] <@Axem> well
[02:44] <@Axem> with 2 of them

 

Offline ngld

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If it's already going to that direction, than why not directly deliver only a bunch of basic weapons that do this or that, and leave it to the player to configure E-use/ammunition/ROF/Damage themselves? Maybe it could be done via scripting, lots of tabled weapons or a mix of both...
While a neat idea, it's basically unworkable. I've thought about something like that initially, but the sheer amount of extra work that would require would be insane. Not to mention, that WoD is already currently at 249 weapon entries out of the engine max limit of 300.

I remember some coders talking about extending the scripting API to allow scripts to modify weapons without adding new table entries. You'd be able to modify the weapon properties directly from Lua (if I understood correctly). Not sure if that helps you but if you're interested, I could look into whether it was implemented and how it works.

 
I think weapon crafting is a really cool feature for WoD, because of how it encourages a wide variety of weapons with its armour types and hull/shield balance. So providing power increases via upgrades rather than just continuously dumping new weapons onto the player eases the burden of knowledge. There are some neat little tricks you can do with certain weapons and you don't have to keep learning those if you're not constantly using new ones. Things like loading up a Ray 3 with 2 VX08s against Nordera and then switching banks right after you fire, just like you would with bombs. Except you don't have to deal with lockon times so you'll essentially get double the firerate of a single VX08. You can also do this with VK03N and VX08 when shooting at hulls, just sneaking in a few VK03 shots between your plasma bursts to optimize DPS.

And the upgrades seem to increase a weapon's strengths or add new quirks rather than covering up weaknesses so you'll still want a varied setup.

A small nitpick about that video though, the "Rate of Fire" stat seems to be $Fire wait. RoF usually refers to the number of shots per unit of time rather than the time between 2 shots. So the VK03Ns Rate of Fire would be 2.5/s or 150 RPM rather than "0.4". Though that really is just a small nitpick.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2018, 10:33:55 pm by FrikgFeek »
[19:31] <MatthTheGeek> you all high up on your mointain looking down at everyone who doesn't beam everything on insane blindfolded

  

Offline Spoon

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I remember some coders talking about extending the scripting API to allow scripts to modify weapons without adding new table entries. You'd be able to modify the weapon properties directly from Lua (if I understood correctly). Not sure if that helps you but if you're interested, I could look into whether it was implemented and how it works.
Definitely interested. Something like that could have a wide range of uses.

I think weapon crafting is a really cool feature for WoD, because of how it encourages a wide variety of weapons with its armour types and hull/shield balance. So providing power increases via upgrades rather than just continuously dumping new weapons onto the player eases the burden of knowledge. There are some neat little tricks you can do with certain weapons and you don't have to keep learning those if you're not constantly using new ones. Things like loading up a Ray 3 with 2 VX08s against Nordera and then switching banks right after you fire, just like you would with bombs. Except you don't have to deal with lockon times so you'll essentially get double the firerate of a single VX08. You can also do this with VK03N and VX08 when shooting at hulls, just sneaking in a few VK03 shots between your plasma bursts to optimize DPS.

And the upgrades seem to increase a weapon's strengths or add new quirks rather than covering up weaknesses so you'll still want a varied setup.
:yes:
A small nitpick about that video though, the "Rate of Fire" stat seems to be $Fire wait. RoF usually refers to the number of shots per unit of time rather than the time between 2 shots. So the VK03Ns Rate of Fire would be 2.5/s or 150 RPM rather than "0.4". Though that really is just a small nitpick.
Valid nitpick. Not something I'm going to bother changing at this point, but you're right.
Urutorahappī!!

[02:42] <@Axem> spoon somethings wrong
[02:42] <@Axem> critically wrong
[02:42] <@Axem> im happy with these missions now
[02:44] <@Axem> well
[02:44] <@Axem> with 2 of them

 

Offline 0rph3u5

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Not a exactly a feature that gets me excited but cool to see it happen nonetheless ...
How so? Does it conjure up images of triple A open world games that obligatorily include some form of crafting in all of their titles?

For one, I am an old RPG-hound who has learned all too well, that every shiney newly crafted/bought item is only as shiney and new as the next one that comes along, so I would be hoarding ressources until a point of no return anyway...

That being said, item crafting (in the narrow sense) has featured in some of the my most recent top games (Breath of the Wild; Horizon: Zero Dawn; Monster Hunter World) and my view on it is always informed by how well it is implimented - One of the one hand, HZD infurated me by not tracking normal animals despite them being a source of valuable crafting ressources. On the other MHW offered the option to save a "shopping list" so I didn't have obsessively track my next object for acquisition. BoW thankfully restricted it's crafting to consumables (meaning you where you good as long as you had plently of Bananas).
In the same vein, I will hold my verdict once I see it implimented in Wings of Dawn.


Now putting the player role aside, there are some design problems I see, which give me pause to do something similar:

Firstly, there is the impact that ressource gathering and crafting have on a player's psychology: How you are going to adress the issue that any players (excluding completionists) might feel compelled to invest an disproportiante ammount of time in gathering and crafting on the off-chance that any of crafted items might turn out to be the key to a difficult mission down the line.

Secondly, there is something you have already adressed, which is the "overabundance of options rendering the choice meaningless".

Thirdly, there is of course the ever present spectre of any optional activity in a video game ruining the pacing of the main story...
"When you work with water, you have to know and respect it. When you labour to subdue it, you have to understand that one day it may rise up and turn all your labours into nothing. For what is water, which seeks to make all things level, which has no taste or colour of its own, but a liquid form of Nothing?" - Graham Swift, Waterland

"...because they are not Dragons."

 
I think the things I'm most excited for other than the new missions is the greater attention to characters and cinematic elements viewed "outside" of the cockpit. The bridge battle cutscene for example. Anything to immerse the player in that they are a pilot living on a ship with comrades and friends as part of a larger galaxy, rather than a cockpit which flies around and makes things explode. :P

And no, I'm not talking about sacrificing good gameplay, but there's a reason people remember Metal Gear and Resident Evil so fondly, people get invested in the cast.

The fact that Freespace was successful without these elements was due to its great sense of tension. You didn't need the plot to tell you you were outnumbered and outgunned, you could feel it while playing the missions.

But anything to enhance those story telling elements gets a big thumbs up from me.

 

Offline Spoon

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I never numbered any of these posts, let's give one the arbitrary number of 99.
Welcome to blog post #99 where we give you all the amazing insights on what we do with your thousands of backer dollars/euros/yen/rupees/zeni/credits that you've poured into this project to make all your dreams a reality. I can't believe we keep getting away with this. Let's just never release anything and keep raking in the money.

Let's start off with some genuine ~feature creep~
As Axem was working on an amazing Nordera model, he decided to finally ditch Wings as a 3d modelling program and step into the world of Blender. And in order to get to know the program a bit better, he decided to make a simpler Nordera ship as practice. Without consulting me, can you believe the nerve of this guy? Unbelievable.
Thankfully, it came out cool and neat. Because Axem is awesome like that.

The Nordera raider is fast, it's furious, it burns a lot of fossil fuel and it's terrible for the environment.

Its primary role is to serve as a light attack craft with it's forward mounted fixed cannon and as an anti-fighter platform with it's various point defense turrets.

Banana for scale


Since Axem made the Raider with various destroyed subsystem states, it suddenly started bothering me how every other large multipart turret in the game just vanishes when destroyed. So I went and feature creeped a bit myself and made destroyed turret models for the majority of capital ships: https://www.dropbox.com/s/j8eiotyqm6haxz7/Fs2_open_Wings_of_Dawn-EX15-SSE%202018-09-21%2016-35-05-79.webm?dl=0

And since we're on the subject of turrets. I mentioned that Axem is working on another Nordera model. Which I'm not going to spoil. I'll just show you this small part of it:

Ten barrels? Who designed that even? Or perhaps a better question, why hasn't anyone designed this before?


But let's leave the feature creep and absurd turrets behind and let's instead look at the current status of the missions of episode 1 and 2:

Missions
Tutorial - A bit improved, done.
E1M1 - Remade, done.
E1M2 - Remade, done.
E1M3 - Mostly unchanged, done.
E1M4 - Remade, done.
E1M5 - Remade, done.
E1M6 - Remade, done.
E1M7 - Mostly unchanged, done.
E1X1 (The optional distress call mission) - Mostly unchanged, done.
E1M8 - Mostly unchanged, done.
E1M9 - New, done.
E2M10 - New, done.
E2M11 - New, done.
E2M12 - New, done.
E2M14 - New, done.
E2M15 - New, done.
E2M16 - New, done.
E2M17 - New, done.
E2M18 - New, done.
E2M19 - New, done.
E2M20 - New, done.
E2M21 - New, done.
E2M22 - New, done.
E2M23 - New, done.
E2M24 - Not started yet.
E2M25 - Not started yet.

Looks suprisingly green.
Disclaimer, though, they are 'done', but not playtested yet by anyone other than me and occasionally Axem. And the entirety of episode 2 is not even in a campaign file yet. But still, isn't that a nice list?

The Visual Novel segments are a bit harder to list, some are done except for editing, some require some art or a cutscene to be made etc. And I can't really name from the top of my head what the status of each file is without going through them in depth. And there's a lot of words to go through. My amazing buddy, mpgrey, is still helping me out with editing. I can't even promise him fame and exposure yet he still takes the time to correct all of my bad writing.

VN
VN1-12 - Done, some editing/spell checking may still be required.
VN13-23 - In various states of completion. Majority of work has been done.
VN24 - Not started yet.


Art
All characters are done. There's still some tweaking here and there and some expressions that still need to be made, but the vast majority of character headani's and vn portraits are done for episode 1 and 2. There's still a few story related drawings that have to be made and most importantly, a lot of anime titties that have to be drawn for the 'R18 patch'. Since I figure I'll release WoD as a relatively 'family friendly' game, and have people opt in on all the filth fine culture through an optional patch.
There will be smug Cyrvans in episode 2, isn't that lovely?



Weapons and ships
I kind of wish I had kept some kind of actual change log history on all the various weapon tweaks I've done between episode 1's release and now. But since I haven't, I'll just try and mention the noticable things I can remember for the weapons that you, the players, have actually potentially used in episode 1.

CHI-MPC1v Proton - This used to be a cycle weapon and nobody really seemed to like it much. Because it was cycle firing, it's push effect didn't really shine, and it seemed a bit weak in the damage department.
The weapon has received various buffs and tweaks, changing it to burst fire and generally improving its allround performance. It's a very solid energy weapon now, that can properly knock an enemy off course.

Type-74 Cannon - This weapon actually did twice the damage it was suppose to. Since it has a explosive radius, which meant that the game applied the damage of the weapon twice. First for the shot hitting itself, then again for anything inside the blast radius. This has been adjusted (nerfed) so it won't be one shotting targets it's not supposed to. It's still a powerful weapon, though. I personally love putting this weapon alongside the CHI-MPC1v Proton in the Ray MkIII. Since you can keep switching between each weapon and significantly increase your damage output that way.

VX-08 Plasma - This Nordera buster has gotten a bit faster in its projectile speed and its shield damage has been increased a small amount. Otherwise mostly the same.

VK-03N - Has mostly remained unchanged.

Missiles have overall been much improved and feel a lot more solid and fun to use. A lot of their previous performance woes have been due to the majority of them being 'swarm' missiles. Turns out that making a missile a swarmer, apparantly alters quite a bit of its characteristics. Target tracking becomes significantly worse, especially when you fire the missiles off bore. Changing all of the swarmers to be 'corkscrews' instead, instantly made a world of difference.

The DHSM-3c Dart is a lovely dogfighting missile now, that is supremely useful for finishing off a target that is going evasive while you're on its tail. The SMHS-15 Wildfire has become a bit more potent in its damage, and now fires a volley of 5 instead of 6. Which means it won't cause weird ammo counts and a half baked last volley. Speaking of volley's, the VFAS-16 Volley has been reworked, for it felt supremely unrewarding to use. It now has double the ammo count, though its range went from 1800 to 800. It's turn time went from 1.1 to 0.5, making it extremely nimble. Instead of firing a standard salvo of 4, it will now lock on each seeker individually, so the longer you let it lock on, the more energy missiles you can unleash on your enemy. (This wasn't possible before, because the A.I. couldn't fire any missile with multilock attributes. Thanks DahBlount for changing that)


Of course, ships have been endlessly tweaked with too. The Dragonfly-EX has gotten a significant boost to its afterburner, letting it reach a speed up to 170 (vs the 160 of the MkIII) and it accelerates significantly faster than before. But since you, the players, didn't get an opportunity to fly anything other than a MkIII and the Dragonfly EX in episode 1, there's not much sense listing a bunch of changes that won't mean anything to you.

Model asset wise, the vast majority has been covered. Axem is working on the last critical model for episode 2. And after that there's two more alien capital ships on the to-do list, which are technically not critical for episode 2's release.

Anyway, that's all for this dev blog post.
Until next time!

Edit:
Actually that's not all. I forgot to mention Sound. Which is again an aspect that has been massively improved since Episode 1. Since there's a whole bunch of new sound code features that lets the overall soundscape be a lot more diverse. Taking the Nordera as example again; they used to have just a single cannon sound effect that was used over most weapon variants. But with the new sound code, that cannon sfx now has 4 seperate variants that play randomly when fired and also differ in pitch and volume each time. 
And this new feature has been applied to a large amount of sounds, like shield impacts and laser hull impacts and the majority of weapon fire.
Not to mention that with the old sound code, most sound slots were hardcoded to be played only a very limited amount at the same time. Which often led to sounds stuttering or being cut off when a new one overwrote it. None of that anymore!

Okay that's all for real now.
Until the next next time.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2018, 07:13:17 pm by Spoon »
Urutorahappī!!

[02:42] <@Axem> spoon somethings wrong
[02:42] <@Axem> critically wrong
[02:42] <@Axem> im happy with these missions now
[02:44] <@Axem> well
[02:44] <@Axem> with 2 of them

 

Offline Commander Zane

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Getting home from work and seeing a new WoD post, I don't think there's a better way to start the weekend.

And yes, I believe smug Cyrvans is indeed lovely.