Posted by on February 10th, 2017

Ahoy!

Our adventure into gameplay prototyping has begun, with big steps towards making our development environment much more seamless and flexible. The benefits to having a small team of brilliant minds, is that we are constantly forced to looking at ways to make our lives, and the lives of our users, easier. We have to find ways of making things accessible, faster, and easier to understand, and while that can take more time than just smashing a system into an engine, the results are exponential, and keep everyone excited.

In the coming weeks, we will continue to take note of the QA document the community has been compiling, and aligning our internal leads to address them as appropriate. Without question, it will result in more and more questions, so we are discussing how best to address this. We get a lot of live feedback from everyone involved in our discord channel, and please know it’s invaluable

As an update on our investor presentation, it went fantastic. Everyone is pleased, and excited about our progress. It’s always been a chore, to focus on the idea that we ARE making a game, but not understanding how important all of the technology and tools are, in being sure we can make it, and the community everything it has the potential to be. The investors, and many new opportunities, are seeing what is now being accomplished and it’s very exciting.

The members of the community that have been messing about with our current build of the engine, has been leading into a lot of interesting discussion, and strong insights into our approach. Much of the thinking has made it clear we are on the right track, which is an empowering sentiment when working on something this ambitious.

On that note, we will be clearing out mods from devotus from previous mod jams, to start prepping to get another version of the engine out in the coming months to a larger community, and start our own mod jams as a studio, with members of the community, to start focussing on more aspects of process and communication. Its understood that no dates creates a lot of frustration, but we have to put stability first, especially since we know there are a lot of high expectations, and locking down hard dates right now, have the potential to set everyone up for failure.

The QA will be a smart step forward, get everyone on the same page about what is happening, shed some light into general milestones, features, mythos, etc. And from all the pieces missing in the QA, we will have an opportunity to define the angles that we need to work to communicate better.

As always, thank you for all the support, your near endless patience, and confidence in what we are doing. Not one decision gets made for us, that doesn’t have us asking “what would the community think”, or “how would our community use this”. And this thinking is producing some really neat solutions, that are exciting enough to keep us working hard.

Expect another update from us in a couple of weeks, as next week is a big rush for us on dev goals, where we can lock down a schedule for the QA session, share some video, and get out some general milestones and feature lists for our first public release of TUGv2.

@Ino

 

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Procedural Maze Generation

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Posted by on January 13th, 2017

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.

 

 

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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.

*high five*

ino

@inoritewtf

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Posted by on December 22nd, 2016

Ahoy!

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.

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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.

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Posted by on February 8th, 2016

Hey all, it seems that lots of people are taking bits and pieces of information from different places, so here is a breakdown of something with specifics, so there is not any hearsay involved. Please note, we will update this list as discussions advance a bit further as well.

  • strongly considering giving TUG away for free, but don’t know what that looks like yet
    • monetization for TUG is all about aesthetic, not gated content
    • design and experience are not changing with this consideration
    • game is playable offline and moddable, so not really something that allows for us to gate or control content, since you could just mod around it
    • discussion is needed with community over next year to figure it out.
    • focus on getting into as many hands as possible, both dev and player
  • mod monetization/support
    • important to give modders a way to earn living from amazing work
    • quality control is first priority, not everyone can just monetize (skyrim fiasco)
    • empowering amazing modders = more amazing mods and support
    • (thoughts) would need to be proven modder, and proven content
    • (thoughts) near professional level quality to be considered
    • how it works unclear, community dialog needed, a year till decision, at least
    • doesn’t mean people are paying for every mod
    • NK interested in licensing mods that make TUG better as an experience
    • monetized mods perhaps optional with some aesthetic reward
  • no updates to DX11 TUG, but new engine getting done fast important because…
    • DX11 is limiting who can play
    • OpenGL will be able to reach a great deal more gens of hardware and paves the way for Mac and Linux in the future
    • comes with better performance across the board
    • comes with “new” art style and awesome graphics improvements
    • comes with improvements to dev environment (faster content, better mods)
      • powerful behavior and analytics tools available to all players and modders
      • powerful distribution system to share and distribute work
      • new modding platform with real time debugging
      • new tooling platform with direct engine integration

We will share details of these things over the course of our development, and we are only a few months away from being able to show progress, which we will do as regularly as possible.

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Posted by on October 8th, 2015

Hey Everyone!

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.

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What else did we get done in September?

  • We’ve almost completed a large overhaul of the pick up and looting systems. Many of you have requested that we separate the controls for looting and other actions, so the pick up command is now a separate key press. We’ve also made some distinctions on how placed objects and lootable resources are handled to minimize accidentally picking up crafting stations and decorations. We’ll post more details on these changes during the patch notes.
  • The Crafting Journal will be available in game for those that choose to use it. It logs recipes as you discover them.
  • For all those people with extra junk laying around you wish you could get rid of, we’re introducing a Void Basket soon that will destroy items you throw in it. Hooray for magic trash cans!
  • The world has gotten a little more dangerous as some plants have started developing defensive mechanisms.

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!

We are always looking for talented developers to join us, please check out our career page here or send a tweet to our CTO @CoreyClarkPhD

– Cambo out!

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Posted by on September 24th, 2015

Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No! It’s a flying dessert?

Hey folks! Time for another new face: Flying3.14 is the name, full stack is the game. I wandered in a few months ago and have been banging on things behind the scenes; recently, I’ve been  focusing on the user experience of the new modding system that Maylon introduced us to last blog, Devotus.

Access to this new mod system comes in two parts: a web portal and the game launcher. This blog will be focusing on the development of the web portal which will facilitate mod creation, versioning, and multi-author management. We’ll go over how to create a mod with Devotus, upload the source to GitHub, how to tag that code as your first version, and download the mod for the first time!

To create a mod, users must have both a Nerd Kingdom and GitHub account. After providing some basic information about the mod, the front end sends the create request while the user is free to browse the rest of the portal. On the backend, Devotus is busy creating the GitHub repo and preparing the customizable marking page. After a few moments the mod is created, a push notification is sent to the user and the new mod is available from the My Mods page.

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All mods are created with an empty git repository, just waiting for awesome code. To add source to your project you’ll need to clone the repo and commit as usual. If you are new to git or GitHub, here is a resource to get you started. Helpful links such as the mod’s GitHub page can be found on the Management page. Here you can edit the basic info entered earlier, add authors, add dependencies, add media, and publish updates.

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As explained in the last blog, one of the common problems we wanted to solve was mods with multiple authors. The Authors tab within the Management page allows you to add multiple authors, and Devotus will do the footwork to make sure GitHub knows who can access the repository.

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Once everyone is on board and pushed their code, the Versioning tab will help you tag your release. Updates are made simply by creating a tag on any commit in the master branch. You can do this by visiting the GitHub Tags & Releases page via a link located in the Versioning tab. The tag must be formatted like so: vX.X.X-release. In most cases Devotus will be listening for these tags and will automatically start building the new download package in the background. In the event a manual check of the tags needs to be made, a link is provided in the Versioning tab.

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Once Devotus is finished creating the download package, the status in the Management portal will update, and a ‘Test Download’ link will be available. Wa-lah! A single .zip package that contains your mod! Soon the Launcher will be collecting these, installing and managing the updates automagically!

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Each mod comes with a marketing page that can be customized using the Nerd Kingdom Page Editor.  Share this page with players and followers on social media to give a detailed insight into what your mod provides. This tool is found on the Management page and runs off the same media and information provided throughout the portal. Change the look and feel through the theme menu, and add images or YouTube videos in the media manager. Entire new sections can be added containing multiple types of content including lists and tabs, allowing you to fully explain the features and usage of your mod. We believe by providing modders with an easily customizable interface to reach players, each mod’s presence can be a little larger than the typical profile page on a mod management service. To try out the Nerd Kingdom Page Editor head over to the ExampleMod page where you can fiddle to your heart’s desire.

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The frontend is still a work in progress, but it demonstrates the direction modding is heading, and we are excited about all the opportunities that brings.

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