Gaming Your Way

May contain nuts.

Lost Outpost Trailer

So we've got some good news. Let's start with the trailer should we ?

In other good news, the game is now content complete. Thank fuck. We've got another couple of weeks of bug fixing, tweaks and polish ( Plus I've got some copy to write, I've not done the info-cards yet ) but we're nearly there.


Gears are polygon bitches.

After last weeks post I started working on the real version of the "cave" showcased in the last week. Basically it is the "puzzle" part of the first block for the game. The idea is to compose a set of independent blocks that are connected by doors, portals or "glitches" (I'll give an explanation for that in a later post).

Let's talk about controls first (be patient, I'll come to the gears soon enough).

My main method of control for this game will be twin-stick gamepad (with a WASD/mouse fall back - maybe). I played with a few types and settled whit what I call "locked view" 3rd person controls. My first idea was to go the classic twin stick route and have one stick for movement and one to set the aim direction. I admit I don't like that very much, so I started looking for another method. The method I use now uses one stick for moving AND aiming (read you aim into the direction you move) and the second stick is used for moving the camera (classic 3rd person I would say). I added one addition to it, though.
In fights you can "lock" the view aim direction with a button press (and release it with a second press) this way you can move towards a group of enemies (thus aiming at them), lock the aim and retreat backwards still aiming at the enemies. When moving the camera you keep aiming relative to the camera, so you'll be able to shoot enemies nearby without having to heavily move around.

Puh. That's a lot of text, let's get to the gears.

This machine is a part of the first puzzle.

You'll notice the gears in this image, and the eat up polygons. Although I cheated and removed all invisible faces of the gears in the background, they still make up a good part of the polygon count for this block (10k so far, but there's room for optimisation), but then I liked the mechanic look of them. Seeing them in motion when solving the puzzle was reward enough to keep them the way they are now. The game isn't purely about killing enemies, so I wanted to add puzzles to the blocks that unlock new locations (rooms, blocks, mazes). This isn't a great puzzle, but it's a start and as the game grows and I'll add more blocks with more puzzles adding a hint of adventure to the game.

This bridge leads to a different part of the block.

I doubt this area will stay like it is right now, as I had the idea of adding a BIG spiral staircase down to a big room with lots of ... things.

The "cave", not quite looking like the one I showed last post.

This area is still not finished, I'm going to add at least one bigger wooden structure to the right "island" (which you can't reach without solving the puzzle) and a portal.

Oh someone told me that the images are a tad small, so I'll have a g+ post with bigger versions ready if you follow this link: bigger version images.

And with this ... see you all next week. 

Grid killed vision ...

I think I mentioned last week that I'm going to spend a few days doing a dummy level for The Hellstrom Project. I started by doing a few basic tiles I wanted to use, which didn't look that bad (in a cheap kind of way):

The finished set of dummy pieces.

Basically some floor tiles, walls, a simple door and 2 traps (the red things). This took about an hour to do and afterwards I imported them into unity, eager to start "messing around with a nice level" - well in theory anyway.

The first thing is that unity isn't very good at this kind of level building (or it's just me) but the lack of usable grids and quick edit possibilities (you can do it with some 3rd party extensions) quickly showed the limits for this kind of editing.

So I fired up my 3D Software and thought: "Well just use the tiles and export the whole level in one go then" - well in theory anyway.

I ended up with something that looked ok'ish, but at the same time showed the destinctive grid structure you get when you start using (and limiting yourself to) a limited set of items. You might argue that this works with LEGO, but the keyword is "limited" here.

I smell grids.

It does make for a distinctive art style, but not quite what I wanted. In the end I started from scratch and ended here:

Not even remotely the current state or finished (and not optimized at all).

Which I find a lot more appealing, even without textures.

And with this, I think I close this week's post and see you all next week.

It's been forever hasn't it

We've been crunching for weeks now, hence my disappearance from here ( It was nothing you said ).

And in saying that, this is only going to be the shortest of short updates.

We posted a new demo to our Facebook page the other day, and have had some great and really useful feedback, so that was well worth the effort of getting a vertical slice in place.
Level design / build is on-going, just to prove it, here's some level 6 action:

I've literally just finished that level off, hence me having 5 mins to post here.

So we're looking at 3 more levels, all of which are already in some state of development, and the Swarm levels, and that should be nearly it game content wise.

We're getting closer...


Enter title here

Another week passed already? Damn.

I'm not sure if I mentioned it, but I'm having two weeks off. No coding except what I want to, I even could have a complete lazy day. During the last week I've been digging out an old game that went to oblivion - because paid work took over all the free time and there was a distinctive lack of "vision".

Both problems have been solved for the time being. MTR, the racing game is partly client work so I decided to let it rest for two weeks.

Is back from the dead.

On Monday my first action was to zip away all the old files (except the 3d models already made) and start a new project. I did this because one of the main features of the game is gone: randomly created dungeons (not entirely, but not as sole method of creating the environment).

A rather ... unspectacular first screenshot.

As the game will be gamepad controlled (but I'm also working on a wasd/mouse version) I spent some time making the controls feel right. Next things to work on are traps, doors (keys), terminals and connectors (which will be used to connect pre-built blocks) - all as dummy objects to see if it works like planed.

There are still some decisions to make, mainly player progression and inventory, but I need something to post next week.

New rules ...

It seems that I'm now a proud member of the Iron Blogger Community, in my personal case it's The idea is to write at least one post per week or you have to pay a fee (which is used to buy beer when we meet once a while).

Announcing that I'm now a member of an Iron Blogger "chapter" counts as a post for that week, but that would be a bit lame.

I'd like to post some progress on the MTR racing game and as a surprise ... I even have to report some progress - sort of.

I'm not sure if I mentioned how the AI in MTR works, but I guess I might repeat myself to get to the point.
When I posted the last time the AI was using waypoints to move along the track and not, say, a fixed spline (which would be oh-so-much easier). I use waypoints, because there is a track editor build in and players can build their own tracks, if fact I do some blending between waypoints so it's nearly a spline.

Anyway, the trick is to actually hit the waypoints when moving along the track, because sometimes you're coming a bit to fast down a ramp and the "hit waypoint" radius is just the few digits to small and so you missed your target waypoint. Detecting that is quite easy - if the allowed angle between driving direction and car/waypoint is too big, we simple jump on to the next waypoint in list and continue driving. The problem is: what do we do if for some odd reason the car turns a bit too much before it hit the waypoint (crashed into some other car maybe) - in this case it all can go berzerk faster as you can mumble "fuck". 
And then there are the other cars, having 4 cars chasing the same waypoint always ends up in a crash and then in missed waypoints ... the obvious solution is to prevent crashes, but that doesn't always work out like planed, too.

The first change I made, was to add 2 more waypoints and so having "lanes" on which the cars drive - this worked better. I created waypoints on the left, right and center of the road and give the cars a "lane" (ie: 0,1,2) on which the want to stay. As far as you want that all is good, but once you want to change lanes things get complicated again.

The current version uses a "floating" waypoint, it goes from the left side of the road to the right side and the AI cars use a float (0-1.0f) to see where they want to hit the wayoint (this also allows to use a "desiredLane" value and blend the current lane with the desired one over time). Now the AI cars cannot miss the waypoint any more, they just can miss their desired lane).

Phew, a lot of words, time for an image.

This is what I've been working on for the last couple of weeks (and prevented me to do any real work on MTR): animating and rendering a lot of small animations showing smoke and fire (sorry no further explanation just yet).

And with this, see you all next week.


A Ule by any other name

Yet more news we've got to shoot directly into your eyes, like a milder informative kind of pepper spray.

I guess the biggest news is that Outpost2:Stranded isn't a thing anymore.

Not because someone called me a name on twitter, I'm not fucking 12 years old, but because of trademarks and the like. Boring stuff.

There we go, O2 is now "Lost Outpost". We're still going to call it O2 for weeks, it's like writing the wrong year on a cheque all the way through January.

We should really have made a microsite to announce this properly. Hang on a second, we only did.

Lost Outpost site.

Check us out planning ahead properly for a change.

There's still some news to come ( Although the bottom of the new site does contain some pretty big spoilers ) but for now I've got to get back to finishing our vertical slice of the first 4 levels plus the Swarm level which we're going to post to the Outpost Facebook page real ( Real ) soon.



So I've been teasing big announcements for a while now, and today I can finally mention the first one.

Lux and I have been working together for a while now, since Ionic, and with him recently leaving his job to go indie we decided to set up a business together, Garage Collective.

The site has just gone live,

What does this mean for GYW ? Well it means all my future games will be released under the GC brand, so I guess Outpost:Swarm was the last GYW game from me, which is a weird thing to say after devoting so much time to all things GYW.
But that doesn't mean the death of either GYW or this blog. Olli and I haven't fallen out or anything, setting up garage collective with Lux just makes business things a lot easier with a clean start, plus Olli is still developing games under the GYW banner ( I may be the most vocal, but I'm but half of a team ).
I still want to keep the development of games posted here, because I have more freedom here to say when something is shit, I don't have to keep my prose as shiny.

And that's the first of a few more big things that hopefully we'll get to you guys over the next couple of weeks.


This isn't going to end well

Thought I'd show a quick grab of Swarm mode now it's back in. I don't think Jameson is going to survive this somehow.

Just in case you were wondering, that highlighted area is a "Hardpoint", earn double cash for every kill you get in there.


The size of this thing

I'm well overdue posting here aren't I, and in saying that this is only going to be a very brief post.

Currently I'm restructuring the bullet code in the game, which has a knock on effect that I have to update the baddies, and what we call "Noninteractive baddies". These are objects we treat as a kind of baddie so one set of code can handle both, so for example they're triggers for playing music stabs, enabling the flies, the large fan shadows etc. Basically everything which isn't a physics object, like a crate or a desk, or a baddie.

I've just done a quick count up whilst going through them, and there are currently 96 of these objects. That's a hell of a lot of unique things in a game. Also on the subject of numbers, there are 232 sounds in the game, and I can see that rising to at least 250.

This is a beast of a game.

Back to it for me, this soul destroying updating won't do itself. Maybe next time we can talk about Swarm mode seeing how that's back in the game now.