July 13th, 2018
I've mostly been polishing up the first map, or rather the "game's world" this week, trying to make it feel more alive and interesting. This is important not only as a purely visual, screenshot gimmick - but more so because we're really trying to create a game and a concept that sets different player archetypes up against each other. For the players who are into exploring the world and go out looking for rare loot, hidden storyline elements and interesting new areas, the world needs to feel right as well as an exciting place to explore. Even in the seemingly vast and rather empty procedurally generated areas.
To achieve this I've been working a lot with wind in the past week, as that's really one of the few things you'd be encountering in a desert landscape. I've added some windgusts, which are whipping up sand as it flows over the dunes. This is completely harmless and only helps with the realism and mood. Then there is a more intense sandstorm which can occur out of the blue. If you get caught in one, it will be pretty punishing for the mech healthwise, and it will reduce your visible range to pretty much zero.
Both these effects should be relatively cheap resource wise.
The sandstorm effect is simply a few layered planes with a custom shader based off an article by Harry Alisvakis, which blends and animates the RGB channels independently of one 1024px texture along some clever depth math that fades vertically. (plus a few particle effects to help sell it)
While the windgusts is done with a terrain shader and another 1024 map which is set to only affect certain texture splats of the terrain, another part of the excellent Microsplat package from Jason Booth.
I've also prototyped a new drone mechanic which also ties in with moving through and exploring the open landscapes. The idea is that you can launch a drone which gives you a better oversight over the surrounding area and lets you explore a larger area faster - there is however some risk involved as you will lose control over your weapons while in drone-pilot-mode.
I've started on a new dynamic theme called "hell" - which I hope to be able to let you listen to next week! I do have a small, but fun treat for you now though!
There is a central concept in the game that there are certain uplink stations scattered in the world that the three factions must compete over maintaining control of in order to have contact with the NovaCorp Mainframe. When I was told to make a soundloop for the uplink prototype, I was walking around listening intensely to just about everything every day! The concept was weird because it is a future "uplink"! and I'm very obsessive about sounds, I can not pass them easily; I believe humans are always going back to the nature to find something new in technology, so I had a great luck, a nice bird is living in my street and singing very impressive! I started to listening to it every day and I tried to understand the phrases and melodies, I used Reaktor to simulate the sound, and the melodies by bending a note, in that progress I remember those dial-up days,so I did some in-depth research on its sound, but I also remembered "satellites will always have noise issues due to atmosphere" my network teacher said, I used an Exciter to add some noises through the generator, a cabinet simulator to tilt down the sound and selecting a frequency range, 8-Pole Low-Pass Filter to choose specific points again and turn the sound wider, also abusing stereo adjuster to force the left minus right signal to sound like transmitted messages.
...And Voíla, The result:
A retro-futuristic signal, communicating with the mysterious Mainframe!
June 29th, 2018
I've recorded hundreds of Foley (sounds mimicking the actual real-life sound. Named after sound-effects artist Jack Foley) so we do have a lot of sounds so far that will be used in different ways as we progress. I’m setting up a super nice thing for you which I'll release soon, that lets you explore how the sounds are in terms of quality and technical aspects. I will try to setup an diy antenna to help with the internet, so I'll be able to to stream some more. You'll want to bring out your headphones and listen carefully to the themes!
I've also been working with ztif on the trailer, which is starting to come together real nice.
In the past week I revisited the Login Page and improved the visual a bit. Beside this I continoued the work on the work on a propper damage system, which allow us to show you visual which parts are damaged and might causing issues in the next fight for you. Still working on this to make it work reliable . Stay tuned.
All roads now have been re-textured and optimized. This means that the roads will look better graphically while helping us maintain high performance levels. It is a big step forwards as the road system will be a large part of the play - combat area which means you will be seeing them fairly often. Next up is structuring a modular system in order to easily create many different buildings from the same building blocks which will allow for variation and highly customisable assets.
I've wrapped up a quick map which we'll use to do the initial multiplayer testing. One of our main goals with the game is to be able to deliver a huge persistent world that allows both survivalist gamers as well as hardcore pvp players to enjoy themselves and have a purpose. To do that we will rely on setting up a procedural approach with hotzones crafted with the pure love of an artist. For this initial test map, I opted for the quick and dirty aproach and painted the heightmap in photoshop and imported the .raw file into Unity.
I've also only used one of some of the asset tools we'll be using going forward, namely MicroSplat which has some pretty amazing plugins to it that we can expand upon. For now I've been using it to set up heightbased texture-blending of the splatmaps and a triplanar shader that allows me to paint vertically on things like cliffsides without stretching the texture, making it possible to do plateaus and steep hills without having to place 3d models into the scene.
While this test map is quite small (4 tiles x 500m) in comparison with the endless world we'll be aiming for as we go deeper into testing, it still has some of the elements we're looking to put into the game. There are two rather large and dense urban areas and a lot of hostile desert surrounding them with some of these hills that I've tested microsplat on.
June 15th, 2018
I've set up a new top level domain that leads directly to http://mechworld.io rather than having the devblog on a subpage. Hopefully this will help make us more Search Engine Optimised as well as easier to remember for those who are already following -> Update your bookmarks by the way! I also did some css and html work on the site, making the backend able to pull each blogpost as a subpage and still have that look good. Another interesting part of the new-age web-tech and this weeks work has been to deal with the meta property tags. Which allows google and social media sites to pull some nice previews from your links. A must for us.
But what I've been most excited working on in the previous week has had me going back to my roots as a photographer - only this time inside Unity - using the fantastic new tool Cinemachine which was released with Unity v.2017.1. Unfortunately I'm afraid you'll have to wait a bit longer for a full post on what I'm making with it and how I'm doing it, but I am confident that it will be worth the wait!! And until then - here's a tiny teaser ;)
I managed to finish the first sprint and with this the core Gameplay is again in place. With this in place, I'm now ready to apply some buff and debuffs to the mech parts depending on the parts individual health. The idea is that each part and upgrade on the mechs will be taking damage, thus kind of working as shields - but if your rocket launcher has been taking a lot of hits, well you might find yourself in a situation where it malfunctions when you need it the most! I've Also been going over and giving Objectives and Loot-Scanning their first test iteration.
Step by step, the foundation is coming together.
I'm about to start putting together a large texture-atlas that will hold the textures of all of our different pieces of road that are combined like a jigsaw puzzle to create the inner-city battle arenas for our mechs to fight in. The texture atlas is incredibly important because it will allow us to bake together all the different mesh objects into one large mesh with only one material, which limits the number of drawcalls the engine has to make - and thus giving you a lag-free battle. A lot of planning goes into setting up the atlas in advance so that we won't get any apparent tiling going on in the streets while at the same time provide some detail and variation. Here is a Work in Progress shot of some piece of asphalt I'm working on at the moment.
Hey guys. I'm currently working from an amazing studio as an invited artist in a cultural residency outside of Tehran. From here I'll be working with ztif over the next few days, putting my best hollywood action movie mask on ;) Unfortunately wifi isn't so good here, so I don't get to show you anything that I've been working on so far. I promise to do better next week! But I did stumble upon these inspirational casings from what might have been an ak-47.. Good thing i brought my recorder, cause they might come in handy! ;)
June 1st, 2018
Concepts such as Rapid Prototyping and Minimal Viable Product has been coined and popularized in the app and game development sector over the last few years. The idea is simple; you hurry out a prototype to see if your idea holds water and has a true potential. This was the initial plan for MechWorld, that we would create a rough outline of the game, using mostly premade assets and dirty code "just to get the ball rolling", but it became evident early from the response of gamers and friends that this game has true potential, so instead of steamrolling forward on an unstable and messy foundation - we decided to wipe the slate clean, and do it proper from the very first line of code. This might seem as a step backwards, but in reality - a good foundation will allow us to progress faster with the range of features we want to implement.
I've started to build a simple solid MMO base for a Prototype. To create a persistent world, a database was created, this will get expanded with each new functionality. So far, it is possible to register, log in, create a 'Mech', and walk arround. Currently I'm working on the Damage System. We want to enable many different Weapons which you can select, down the road to match your playstyle. To enable this; each Weapon needs different behavior which I'm now setting up step by step.
After implementing the Behavior it is important to handle the Damage Behavior. Depending on the Weapon we will enable different Damage Types to your Mech to expand the Gameplay mechanics.
An important topic is hacking/cheating. To prevent this, we will handle all Game Logic on the Server Side which gets the input from the player and validate this Data to ensure no one is trying to get an extra piece of cake.
And remember Kids, Don't Panic.
May 21st, 2018
Project Manager and Game Designer
Hi, I'm Steffen. I've always been fan of telling stories and solving creative problems, something that was very important in my line of work as a photographer, and which is one of the driving forces that led me to start up NovaCorp and our first title MechWorld.
I've modded and made content for just about every game I've owned. With Delta Force 2 the hobby became an addiction fueled by the feedback from players. With Sims, my little sister hated me for taking up the chair in front of her favorite game for hours and days on end, creating a super hero league and breaking the game in every way possible. Now after some 20 years of modding other peoples games and working withing their restrictions - stretching the limits as far as possible, but never enough to complete the goal of perfection.. I felt it was time to set our own mark in the sand. To create the game we want to play - from scratch! For gamers - By gamers!
Hey, Im Konstantin. I'm an avid gamer since I'm 10. 3 years ago I started my studies in computer science.
During this time I realized that I have to expand my skills on my own to get a foot in the game industry. I am very confident that you can have the first version soon and give us early feedback. This will allow us to put the game on the right track right from the start.
Hai, I'm Behnoud, game lover, programmer, sound designer and musician, I'm working professionally as a sound artist since 2010 and I'm also known as idft. with a classical music and IT background I had digital arts and electronic music works and experiences, I'm sure you will experience good sound and musics in this game.
Hello, im George, as child i had always been a creative person and apparently i found that the computer is the best way to pour my creative juice and express myself (you can imagine the distress of my parents!). I love sci-fi and fantasy books and films and early on cgi and vfx inevitably came to my knowledge. So at the age of 16 i started learning 3D modelling and continue ever since. This project will be a perfect oppurtunity to grow further and reach higher skill levels and problem solving, in my book the more you try the more you get back so almost anything is possilbe.
May 8th, 2018
Moving forward with MechWorld it was obvious we'll need to establish a mainframe on the hyperwebs where we can post regular updates of how development is progressing with the game.
Now, it has been a while since I have dabbled in webdesign and it is always fun to return to it after a hiatus to discover that everything seems to have changed since the last time you opened Atom to get the design down.
This is built on the extremely lightweight Pure CSS framework which weights in just under 4kb. And powered by another very lightweight backend system called Kirby which is a secure flatfile approach, and it doesn't force you to use a heavy or complex template engine or have a lot of dependencies like most other CMS systems. Allowing us to be totally free and creative - just as when we're making the game!
MechWorld is a multiplayer experience which takes the best parts from the RTS genre and mixes it with the intense action and unique class system from the MOBA genre then it brings it all to a boil by incorporating some punishing Survival genre mechanics in a large scale open world.
NovaCorp was until recently a modding studio with around 15 years of experience, but now we're ramping up the bets to create the perfect game from scratch. No more limits on our creativity and ideas, this is how we can create the ultimate multiplayer gaming experience! You can reach us on Steam or Discord for the time being.
MechWorld is currently in its very early stage and a complete presskit will be available when the pre-alpha is going through its first round of playtesting medio july 2018.
A media campaign and support run will be focused once a playable alpha is ready and crowdfunding can begin. Send us a mail to [email protected] if you request more info .