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.
Hey guys, Cambo here!
This week we continued working on slings, storage, planning (tons of it), and future tech stuff. I can’t say much about planning and tech, since that’s still in the works, but we released a video for the slings and storage yesterday which you can check out below. You can now be David and take down Goliath (a goat) with a sling!
No inside scoops today and I know you’re sad but I’ll make it up next time. Our programming dudes are hard at work coding away, while our artists are creating beautiful art assets for future content. The last thing I wanted to do was cause havoc by poking around and distracting them. Alright, you caught me, as that’s the first thing I would do and enjoy it!
I was organizing some of my files today (super fun) and came across some real old screenshots during our pre-alpha stages. It still amazes me how far we have come and can’t wait until we reach the stars. Our tech and art style changed a lot since then but we have a lot planned for those. We will write more regarding the terrain tech and art style once we get closer.
In the meantime, enjoy some of these old screenshots:
Super duper early stuff here, so early you probably think it’s minecraft!
Before our cave system was implemented in the prior terrain generation tech
Trenches and Cave systems implemented in biomes
Seeds started with a glove back then, but we have plans for something similar down the road
Check out Azzy’s Development history trailer up to our Steam release (P.S you should update this man!)
Leave us a comment or tweet us on what inside scoop blog you are interested in reading about!
My name is Paul aka ConceptGuy, I am the Art Director here at Nerd Kingdom. My job is to guide the look and feel of the project visually and make decisions that impact (hopefully for the better!) the quality of our projects.
Our team is a bit smaller than most established game studios, but we are constantly growing. Currently, I direct a team of 8 artists (including myself) consisting of 3D enviro/prop artists, animators, concept artists, character artists, a special FX artist, and a rigging artist. On an average day, I am usually sitting in on a multitude of meetings with various departments including art, design, code, and management. When not in meetings I’m typically at my desk doing production work or providing feedback to the team on work as it is being developed. I make it a point to sit with the coders and harass them at least once a day. This usually manifests into some form of random nerf gun attacks, asking inane questions and forcing them to explain complex algorithmic solutions as if I’m a 5 year old, or offering my supremely generic advice of “try harder do better,” which usually garners a chuckle. Aside from that, I can also be found working with the marketing department to provide art, screenshots, videos, renders or ideas as needed or requested.
My personal art disciplines range from concept art to environmental modelling with a heavy emphasis on character modelling and texturing in zbrush. That being said I typically jump in wherever I can and do what must be done. I also have extensive experience in UI/HUD design, so those tasks typically land on my plate as well. If I were ever forced to choose a pure discipline it would likely be concept art as I enjoy drawing, painting, creating characters and biome design. Throughout my entire career, I’ve always been something of an art generalists which has made me versatile to the studios I’ve worked for and has opened doors for me to pursue lead and directorial positions. I enjoy the ability to have a larger impact on the overall project and visual design of the game. It is very fulfilling for an artist who’s been working in the industry for many years.
I have been asked by several people over the years how I got into the industry and I always tell them that I drew every chance I could and still do. I fill my sketchbooks and find my influences in all sorts of media including movies, games, comics, animation, and games. Everything fills your mind with ideas to build from and expand upon and every artist has to create a mental bank to pull from. I attended advanced art programs in high school and pursued an art degree in college. Beyond that I worked on my portfolio and looked for opportunities, which meant doing things I didn’t always want to do to get by such as web development and design. I always have and to this day actively work on side projects to further my education and entertain myself. I know enough coding to get by in my personal projects which gives me valuable insight into how art assets need to be put together for a coder to utilize. I worked many years in the indie and mod communities which led directly to professional freelance work and eventually full time studio jobs. My first professional paid contract was as a character concept artist for Unreal 2K4. I later went on to work on Halo Wars, Star Wars, Ghostbusters, Brothers in Arms, Walking Dead, Age of Empires, along with a few other (some regrettable) projects. I have also worked on a multitude of mobile and handheld games for virtually every platform available. I enjoy what I do very much and am extremely grateful to be doing what I’m doing.
If you’ve stuck with the story this far then I thank you for lending me your time. I hope it was informative, inspirational, and maybe a little entertaining. Feel free to contact me if you want to drop a resume or have any questions, we are always looking for potential talent! 🙂
Email: [email protected] Subject: Attn Paul, Art Director
Hey TUG Community!
The new TUG build is here! Please take a look at the patch notes below and for further discussion please visit the the TUG Forums.
For NON-STEAM users, please make sure you have “FORCE” checked in the launcher to update TUG.
NOTICE: This build is for 64-bit users only; the 32-bit build will be coming out in a few days.
We are also excited to announce that “Survival Games” is now called, “Proving Grounds”! This means that… Survival Mode is now going into development!
TUG Alpha 0.6.1
This build is for 64-bit users only; 32-bit will be released in a few days.
“Survival Games” is now “Proving Grounds”
Rock pebble color adjustments for resource and weapon textures to match variations
New green thorny vine variation added
Corpse pitcher resources added
Lotus teeth resources added
Reeds resource added
Bark strips resource added
Lilly pad and lilly nut resources added
Double cap stem and cap resources added
Daisy petals resource added
Daisy clusters have more geometry
Updated daisy flower texture maps
Watouwr tree added to red cliffs biome
Young trepod plant and resources added
Mushroom hand added
Fixes for mushroom FX – ambient and on hit
New resource FX
Cypress tree model and textures added
Hostas: green, spotted, & edged; plants & resources
Ferns: peacock & paisley; plants & resources
Broadleaf plants: banana plants & elephant ear plants; plants & resources
2 handed weapon animations added to the cane staff
Added damage states to the two-handed cane staff weapon
Environmental ambient FX added across all biomes including drifting/gusting sand, snow, and fog
Fly FX (The buzzing insect type)
Unique destruction FX added to many items
New large torch
New small torch
Added rock knapping to the crafting process; players must use the round stone to break off jagged stones from small rocks and then use the jagged stone to cut down plants and tree saplings for the next level of crafting resources
Adjustments to player health and game balancing of weapons, tools & food
Missing ambient sounds added to game objects
Recipes added for weapon and tool variations based off new resources
Converted all asset files to work with exposed LUA engine scripts
Fixed ambient sound not looping correctly
Overhauled the engine and transitioned to a component based architecture. Which provides our designers (and modders) a more data-driven way of creating GameObjects
Fixed lighting, shading & bloom bugs for all FX
Script- The Eternus Engine has been integrated with Lua support! LuaJit has been selected for maximum performance.
Script – Added the first iteration of the Eternus Lua API. This api exposes numerous systems and classes for use in LUA gameplay code.
Script – Added an OOP Lua framework (available to modders) that supports complex class hierarchies- including prototypical inheritance, class/member variables, and constructor/destructor hooks. RTTI and Mixin support will soon follow.
Script – Added Lua scriptable GameObjects and GameStates that provide standard gameplay hooks into the game.
Script – Began porting existing gameplay code to lua.
Physics – Replaced Bullet physics with Havok
Physics – Added mesh decomposition. Allows for higher accuracy collisions without a massive hit in performance. Auto generated from Static meshes being used with GameObjects and a Rigidbody Component
Physics – Added “Level of Detail” collision shapes. Shapes at further distances will collide with less precision whereas shapes closer to the player will prefer to use a decomposed shape
Physics – Added collision shape caching that allows for much faster load times of physical bodies. A cache is represented by the extension “.hkt”
Physics – Added the “Gamer Position Supervisor” to provide specific details about the player’s position in the world. Saves players who fall through the terrain and also detects when a player might be stuck in terrain. lots of other functionality coming to lua
Physics – Added a world wide physics rule: The backface of a collision shape does not produce collisions. This means if you spawn in a tree, end up flying under terrain or somehow end up “inside” of any object, that you will be able to walk out
Physics – No longer using a discrete kinematic controller. The new Character Controller is a much more sophisticated implementation that allows for finer tweaking. No more running up hills spamming jump or any other weird behaviors
Updated compiler from vc++ 2010 to vc++ 2012. May require reinstall
Re-enabled Third Person DEBUG camera. Press X to enable
Known Issues (incomplete as we are still testing/fixing)
Proving Grounds games don’t end correctly if new players join an in-progress game and stay in the lobby or spectate. Game will end if these players disconnect (and reconnect after the game ends)
When loading into Creative Mode, some objects and terrain changes may not load properly. The changes/objects are still there, and additional loads may display these properly.
Mouse button 3-4 can’t be bound to actions
Game can crash if USB headphones are plugged in while TUG is running
Saved World list doesn’t update properly after a world has been loaded/created
32 bit and 64 bit clients cannot play with each other
Sprint cannot be currently remapped
Certain world generations have terrifyingly high/deep columns of ground types which can also cause large performance hits
Some special characters do not display properly when entered into chat
If you try to pick up the same tool/weapon tier of what you are holding in your hands, you will swing and potentially destroy the one on the ground
There are some performance hitches when moving through the world. To help compensate for this, objects will pop in small bunches. Reducing your view distance should help
3rd Person camera not fully functional; interactions are not working correctly; use only for viewing the seed
Falling deaths aren’t sending death messages to other players
The staff cane attack animation isn’t synchronized to the actual hit and sound
In Creative Mode, if you move the mouse cursor across the quickslots, the inventory can become unclosable. Move the mouse cursor out of the game (or switch windows) and then back into the game to fix this for now
When starting a game as a spectator you will be stuck as a spectator for the next game unless you exit the client and restart
When breaking down world resources spawned items can become stuck together and misbehave
Physics GPS is based from the camera’s position in the world – not the character
When cells are being generated there is a small chance that Physics will run out of triangles for that cell’s collision shape and cause a crash
Sometimes the Physics world stops following the player
Rarely, complex objects can cause physics collision cache generation to take much longer than expected
Double jumping to get into fly mode is too sensitive / misses input
Player mass to world object masses has not been balanced. Many objects move like “styrofoam” giving the character an unhealthy amount of “Wrecking Ball” syndrome
To help stabilize physics behavior the game Engine’s internals have been temporarily tweaked to keep from updating faster than 60 fps
This past month has been very busy for us over here at Nerd Kingdom and I just wanted to give you guys a short preview of some of the things we have been working on in this next update for TUG.
First, one of our biggest changes was overhauling the engine and transitioning to a component based architecture. We really felt it was necessary to change directions with our engine architecture given in order to really achieve the game we wanted to make. Primarily, this provides our designers (and modders) a more data-driven way of creating GameObjects, increasing performance, and allows us more flexibility to work on features in a more modular fashion. This restructuring was a few months in the making.
Second, we completely removed the Bullet Physics Library from our project and replaced it with Havok Physics. Bullet helped us early on in our prototype development, but we just kept hitting too many walls. Moving to Havok will allow us more guaranteed synchronicity for physics based objects across players in the game. It also allows us to have even more physics objects with a much faster and more optimized physics implementation. This change will really help us in the long run to develop the features we want in TUG.
Third, we have really put in a lot of work in building up our modding system. We’ve begun to expose a large amount of our engine code to our Lua API. This update won’t have everything we want running through Lua, but we are piece by piece converting game logic over to Lua. The end goal is have the majority of TUG running through script and building a system that allows for powerful mods to be quickly and easily created so modders can change/expand the game how they want to.
Fourth, we have added a bunch of new environment objects to populate the biomes all through out the world. Among this there are new FX, sounds, animations, and tweaks/variations to existing assets. We’ve also adjusted a lot of the balance surrounding PvP and introduced some interesting new ways of using the resources available.
Finally, as always we have fixed some bugs in the world as well as introduced new ones! Game development is always a balancing act when actively developing and trying to create a stable product. So it’s safe to assume that as bugs get fixed others with crop up. We do our best to squash these bugs as fast as we can.
We are planning on releasing this update next week (first week of May).
For more a up-to-date view of our progress head to our Trello board. http://bit.ly/1hKcfdK