Ahoy! Just wanted to give you guys a quick update on what has been going on this month, and some things to expect coming into next month.
We have a big investor milestone meeting coming up on the 19th, and all of our time has been focussed on getting all the systems we shared with you, via youtube, stable and clean. Of course, those systems are not fully fleshed out game features just yet, but it’s a strong foundation built on the engine that is allowing us to expand out on things with gusto.
Into the coming months, we will be focussing on what is defined as a “minimally viable product”, that is to say, “what does this game experience feel like, with polish, for a short play session”. So while it may not be perfectly balanced, we need to demonstrate polished animations, some competency with enemy AI, and strong visuals (particle effects, graphics, etc). This also means a grasp on what the actual UX is in a 3d space, which revolves around the process a person gets from a keystroke, or series of keystroke, from a selection to an action.
Working through these things over the next few months gives us an opportunity to start being more open, again, with some of our thinking, and intentions, with design. While we do not expect EVERYONE to approve of all our choices, the product is too early on to allow for any design by committee. We will be responsible for creating the foundation of what the experience is, and leave opportunities for systems to be modified and expanded upon. And this is much of the reason we are so focussed on tools and our own development pipeline. The more clean and streamlined that is, the easier it would be for any of you to do, as well.
Some of you in the community have brought up the possibility of a QA, and that is a pretty solid idea. We love getting a chance to talk to all of you, and answer questions. If nothing else, we can always say that we pride ourselves on transparency, even on topics that are taboo and perpetuate chaos and confusion… (web based cookie clicker FTP clone, anyone?) But first, we are gonna get the current build into the hands of a few of you, and have some footing to get both technical, and experience driven question from all of you. So expect us to start taking in questions in a couple weeks time.
That is pretty much it for the time being, but if you have any questions, you are always able to reach out to any of us, and you will hear back from us.
After a long period of development with TUGv2, under the new engine, internally dubbed “eternus”, we are proud to share the progress we have made so far. Please do keep in mind, that we are building everything from the ground up on our own, to facilitate a lot of unique future goals, so not all systems have been complete. In order to hit our goals for this month, we had to be sure we focussed on systems that made the most sense, to share something today. So be aware that what you see is incomplete, the systems are not final, and we still have a long way to go until it’s “complete” and polished.
As for advancements:
Art: we have FINALLY been able to define visual consistency to work hand in hand with graphics development. And while we are still lacking some general systems like Particle Effects, and proper animation support, to facilitate polish, the general look of the game has really started to define itself.
Technology: Our team is broken into 3.5 major technology groups internally. Core engine has pushed forward our eternus engine, and lowered the bar to entry for hardware requirements, how much that bar has dropped, is still subject to some negotiation with art and design, but it’s still at least lower than the Dx11 spec as it stands. There is a lot to be said about what the engine does, and can do, but i’ll let Josh speak more to that in an update early next year.
The tools team is a massive change for us from the first iteration of the engine with TUGv1. Not only do they create tools that allow for our own team to develop content faster, but also allow for modders to change parameters within the game with relative ease, and even develop their own tools from an extensible framework. This is also another topic to expect being spoken of early next year.
On infrastructure, the ability to create accounts, upload and distribute mods, and be able to house a growing community of players and creators, we have come a long way. While I KNOW Nathan is going to love digging deep into share the emotional themes behind proper documentation and planning of systems, we will be sure he tones it down so as to not over excite himself (does sarcasm read well in blog form?)
And about half of the gameplay team is building systems that sit somewhere between gameplay, and core engine team. Little bits that give the game a great quality of life, that people may not fully get the implications of, until it’s revealed to them. Stuff like persistence of “simulated” data (what happens when off screen”, logic and power stuff, and even object datas and interactions.
On design and the other half of gameplay, it’s been all about making sure tools, and engine are supported so we can accomplish various goals. For now, lots of SYSTEMS are working, and we now have a chance to play and iterate to make the game “fun”. Lots of work still goes into narrative and mythos consistency, defining the “laws of nature” within the world, and the general approach to learning of complex systems is also a thing, but at this point it comes with a great deal more focus.
On the topic of communication, both recent, and going forward, I accept full personal responsibility for how things have been handled to date. The process of game development, and more so, software development, is a difficult enough thing to maintain internally as a group, and a great deal more consideration should have been taken from migration of our v1 to v2 work. We will ALSO communicate the plan for coms moving forward, early next year, so you know what to expect, and we can be held accountable to it.
While we have been active and responsive to community on various channels (Discord chat, email, NK forums), we have neglected a few outlets for various reasons. However regret does come from lack of communication on our Kickstarter page. It was not considered a community to this point, simply a blog outlet channel, one of MANY, and no proper path was given to alter that outlets means of connecting with the project. This mistake, across a slew of others, were opportunities for us to learn and set a plan of action for communication into the new year. We have a lot of progress to share from this point forward, which will be more consistent.
As for “when the game is going out” to the community, some of you guys are going to be getting it sent to you soon, hopefully by end of week. HOWEVER, it’s not going to everyone, just yet. The first hands on have to be with some of the developers we have in the community, to help us catch some bits, so we can do a better job on supporting our own developers getting the game done. We will roll out launches to various groups within the community, and likely put out some kind of sign up in the next couple of months, to start phasing people in.
On the note of “our future”, we have determined that “paid mods” is not the right thing to do, if for nothing else cultural reasons. However, this doesn’t mean that modders will not be rewarded or compensated, it just means it will be coming from NK. The actual final cost of the game, is a bit up in the air, though do know that we are leaning AWAY from the idea of FTP.
Expect us to make more mistakes moving forward, it’s a process of our getting better, if nothing else, we can at least promise to be transparent with everything (no matter how taboo), and hold ourselves accountable for the decisions we make, and learn from them swiftly.
(no, nobody is paying a penny more for V2 of tug)
xoxo, ino, who still lives in his car.
It’s Cambo again! Since the last update we have been continuing our focus on engine tech planning and settling into our new office. We were hoping to release a patch in September, but that quickly changed as we got settled into our new office. Let’s just say our devs are not fans of assembling furniture.
What else did we get done in September?
There are more improvements and tweaks, but we’ll save that full list for the patch notes. We’re looking forward to seeing your feedback once you see these changes live!
The NK family is growing and our newest member is Benjamin. Welcome to the team @5ubtlety!
– Cambo out!
It’s Cambo! There is a lot of exciting stuff happening and we’re looking forward to the future. But before we get into that, let’s talk about what we’ve been working on this month.
We’ve been expanding our team size and will be moving to a new studio space next week. Thanks to @brennanpriest42. As an added bonus, we’ll have more hiding spots during our nerf wars. That’s also a reasonable excuse for a larger studio right?
Tech and art style updates are still our current focus. As a result, you may have noticed the lack of work in progress videos. Don’t worry! They will be coming back more frequently once we meet our tech and art milestones. Better yet, the new office will have space for a dedicated live stream room.
Have a wonderful weekend!
Happy Friday everyone! Cambo here.
July is coming to an end and we have some good news and some not so good news. I’ll start with the good news. We are play testing for the next update and will release it in roughly one week. The not so good news is that we’ve upped the game saves again and your previous saves will not work with the new update. This is due to some necessary tweaks to our biome system. You can tweet your rage to @camfergusondfw
Here’s a quick breakdown on what you can expect in the Alpha 0.8.6 patch.
What else is in the works? The crafting journal is coming along but it will not make this update. Lots of engine tech and R&D involved. In addition, the art style update is still on-going and keeping our art team slammed. We are also in the process of moving to a new studio location soon too. A new battleground for nerf wars!
We are ramping up and hiring full-time game programmer positions in the Dallas area.
More details here
If you missed it, check out the latest in the works for equippable helmets
I’ll keep this one short, promise! This is a week late but I really wanted to write a brief wrap-up for June. It was a busy month filled with nonstop play testing, bug fixes, and nerf wars. We launched Alpha 0.8.5 a few weeks ago but we didn’t stop there. We’re constantly on the grind at Nerd Kingdom, so what comes after an update for us?
After patch monitoring
While we extensively test our own patches in-house, after any release we make sure to monitor user activity to see if you all come across anything we didn’t. It’s fairly standard for game studios to keep an eye on bug reports and rage comments to make sure the patch went smoothly. This means we are ready to look into and do our best to fix any major reported bugs. We have been pretty good so far *knocks on wood*.
We revisit our existing plans after each patch cycle to see how (or if) we want to reprioritize any upcoming features or systems. After that, we break the work into sets of smaller goals that can generally be done in smaller internal milestones known as Sprints. No, this does not mean we are going to race around the office. Our public releases typically occur after 2-3 Sprints; this length can be longer or shorter depending on what we’re trying to get out (and what bugs we encounter).
What we are working right now
Here’s a nice little list for you. We will go over these in detail for our future blogs.
We are committed to making TUG a unique and fun game for you. Give us some time and we will keep you updated as we move forward.
In the meantime, check out the latest “In The Works” episode.