Weekly Dev Log for February 16th, 2018
Hello everyone, and welcome to the Weekly Dev Log for the week of February 16th, 2018. If you haven't heard, we've recently retired our old Daily Dev Log in favor of the Weekly Dev Log, which will allow us to give a broader picture and explain things in plain English, while also including some photos from development. Without further ado, let's get started.
Tower Unite 0.4.1.0 Update
We've been spending time this week bringing the update into a releasable state. Things are being wrapped up with the Underwater Condo fixes, and some general optimizations and we're hoping to release this update as soon as we can, hopefully aiming for sometime next week.
Condo Tool Updates
Being introduced in Tower Unite 0.4.1.0 is the Scaler Tool. This tool will allow you to quickly scale items up and down, making them larger or smaller. Players will be able to modify the increment of scaling, and see the current scale that the item is scaled to. Players can also use this tool to restore an item to its original scale. In an update from the last dev log, the max scale was bumped from 5x original size to 10x the original size.
Scaler Tool View Model
Another Condo Tool being introduced in Tower Unite 0.4.1.0 is the Stasher Tool, which will allow players to quickly stash items in their inventory by shooting the items.
Stasher Tool View Model
The Copycat Tool is getting an upgrade as well. Not only is it being upgraded to support copying the scale of items, but it now will allow the copying of items onto a grid.
Copycat Tool Grid
@Johanna has been going through the game, identifying textures which are way bigger than then they really need to be, and bringing them down to a size that makes sense. This will not only improve performance, but help to reduce loading times, as there's less overall data needed to be loaded.
@macdguy and @Zak have gone over some of our blueprints to identify and attempt to remove references that aren't needed. To give a background, lets use an example of a Shotgun. Let's say this Shotgun is textured, and has 3 sounds that can play, a drop sound, a fire sound, and a reload sound. In order to load this Shotgun, the game has to load not only the model, actor, and code of the Shotgun, but all the textures, and the three sound files. Now, let's assume we have a actor in the game that has a reference to this Shotgun, or in other terms, this actor uses something that the Shotgun has, or invokes commands on the Shotgun. Upon loading this actor, not only is the game having to load all the actor's stuff, but also having to load the Shotgun, which in turn loads all the assets the Shotgun needs.
You can begin to see the issue if you have an asset that references an asset which references assets that have their own assets, so on and so on. @macdguy and @Zak looked over some of our actors, and found areas where these references can be reduced or removed all together. What does this mean for you the player you might ask? By reducing this number of references, there's less data that needs to be loaded for a particular actor, which can improve loading times even more. We've been doing this since the start of the game, and will continue working on it in the future.
The hunt to reduce and remove un-needed references continued after research into the Black Screen Boot issue that occurred with our upgrade to Unreal Engine 4.18. It was found that one of the reasons this is occurring is due to weird issues with references.
@Matt finished creating models of the Turret Item in its different variations (1 Barrel, 2 Barrel, 3 Barrel and 4 Barrel). @Madmijk worked on making the Turret Item operational.
Zombie Massacre: Turret Variants
Zombie Massacre: Turret In-Game & Textured
Zombie Massacre: Massive Turret In-Game (Blooper)
Zombie Massacre: Turret Recoil Test (Blooper)
Zombie Massacre: Turret Recoil Test (Success)
@Madmijk also worked on integrating the model for the Orbital Laser, along with sound effects.
Zombie Massacre: Orbital Laser w/ Model + Sounds
@Madmijk experimented with creating some new Health Bars for Zombie Massacre.
Zombie Massacre: Health Bar Static Color Test
Zombie Massacre: Health Bar Dynamic Color Test
Zombie Massacre: Health Bar Animated Material Test
@Lifeless continued working this week on the Compound map.
@Wergulz continued re-topologizing the Zombie Model, and @Matt has begun work on the Blade Trap item.
@donglekumquat continued working on the music, working on Round 3 and conducting some preliminary drafting for the next tracks.
@JJosh continued working on some furniture items, adding LODs and a Color Mask for the Gamer Chair.
Gamer Chair Render #1
Gamer Chair Render #2
@krionikal continued working on the first person hand, currently rigging it. @Lifeless continued working on the ???? which'll be found in Tower Unite 0.4.1.0.
@macdguy was out of the office a couple times during this week due to doctor visits from his surgery. @Matt also took some time out of the office, and @Caboose700 took the day off on Wednesday (but ended up having to fix one of our servers that day).
Wrap It Up
That about covers everything that happened this week at PixelTail Games. We'll see you all next week, and have a great weekend!