Weekly Dev Update – November 28th, 2014

Posted on November 28, 2014 by Adam

Dave

This week, I spent some time hooking up outcomes to the happenings in a subplot. Note my test location was a Frozen Lake, and the subplot defines what happens when characters explore that location on a planet for an away mission. There are an asburd amount of unique paths through the location story (think: millions), including how it starts and ends. For example:

Chief Blahuta began to worry he was getting lost out in the middle of the frozen lake. He started to reprogram a portable probe to act as a locator beacon, but the circuits couldn’t handle the power differential and it caused a minor explosion. (2 Energy Damage) (Character has died)

Crewman Zezelic neared the completion of his journey through the frozen lake. He paused to admire a shimmering effect and realized a fine powder of naturally occuring ceramics was storing heat from the red sun. His mood changed for the better. (Collected 1 Ceramics)

The above is actual code output. It’s built sentence-by-sentence, and in some cases phrase-by-phrase by the storygen system.

After running a couple of stories, I decided upon some improvements to the system. This includes:

1) Improvements to how events that optionally happen near the beginning of the story better are tied back into it towards the end.
2) More optional paths leading from each plot point depending on specific criteria
3) Custom story paths that take character “outside” the main arc of the story, and bring them back in.

The main challenge is that these are nothing like traditional RPG quests, because everytime a character runs the scenario vastly different things will happen depending on his or her personality traits, skills, abilities, and other RPG statistics.

So right now, I’m working on the Forest location which is really v3 of the system and incorporates the above improvements. Everyone I showed v2 (the Frozen Lake) really liked it and thought it was cool. But I’m really going for the WOW OMG factor, and I’m hoping v3 nails it :) . Also with the Forest location, I’ll be testing out how combat gets called (in code) from inside a story.

Daniel

Greetings Earthlings, this week I have designed and modeled the 3D UI. This of course is more involved than what one might initially believe since you have to design the objects and layout while keeping usability in mind. And then of course you need to make sure it actually supports the technical requirements to ensure they work when implemented fully (in code/game).

After that I got to spend some time having fun making the hydroponics lab where players will be able to grow their crops.

Adam

In anticipation of releasing a playable pre-alpha, Dave went through the build and gave me a list of bugs to fix and features to polish some rough edges off of.

After that, I was able to start integrating Daniel’s 3D GUI elements and the tech behind it all. I basically had to find a way to leverage our 2D GUI tech (manages buttons, scrollers, text, etc.) and project it on 3D geometry in a dynamic fashion. This way, players will be able to look at reports and applications on 3D sheets of paper and on a 3D desk, that they can then sign/stamp/interact with in some fashion.

I’m really excited to get this stuff working because it definitely pulls your into the game universe. It also just feels really good. I’ll post some screenshots once I’m done with the most important components.

Weekly Dev Update – November 21st, 2014

Posted on November 21, 2014 by Adam

Adam

Hey everybody! This week, I focused on un-borking character AI so they could go about their daily routine without freaking out, sleeping all the time or sitting on each other at the lunch table. As entertaining as all that was, it was nice to see the crew getting some work done.

Since I got done with integrating Dave’s mission execution, it was also a big priority for me this week to be able to actually see the text output of what was happening. So, I integrated a quick-and-dirty first-pass of mission reports. They come in immediately, are printed on printer paper and allow the player to abort the mission, which is executed when they should report in next.

One big thing with station construction that I still needed to get around to was being able to actually access different floors of the astrobase. We can build vertically but there is currently no way for a crew member to leave the central “floor”. So, I’m integrating connectors as a quick-and-dirty path for walking between floors (to be used later primarily as horizontal/vertical elevators).

Dave

This week I worked on procedural story text for locations. There are currently two categories of procedural story data. The first is transitory, and these are stories that “travel” with a character, such as artifacts but also pathogens and various other objects that can drive a narrative (tribbles, anyone?). The second category is location-based narrative, and these are tied to a given terrain feature of a planet during an away mission.

It’s this category I’ve been working on recently, and specifically the narrative gen for frozen oceans, seas, and lakes (they happened to be the first set of location ids). Obviously, different things can happen on a glacier than say in the depths of an acid cave which is why they need to be categorized.

Daniel

Hi. This week, as you might have seen, I finished up the first pass on the procedural portrait generation. It is far from finished but at least they look a lot less derp than before. Progress has truly been made. Other than that I have gotten cracking on the in-game 3D representation of our main UI elements.

In order to tie things together the plan is to have several components exist as 3d objects for the player to interact with rather than everything being a 2D overlay on top of the game.

Face, The Final Frontier

Posted on November 19, 2014 by Daniel

Hi everybody! As I’ve mentioned before I’ve been hard at work creating a system and assets to procedurally generate faces. The time has now come to show you guys the first pass.

Now, just a little heads up if you manage to read all this text before looking at the image below, Currently it’s just changing facial features and interpolating skin colors between a few presets. Obviously this is not a finished state. For example; transforms of features, different eye colors, different hair styles, facial hair, wrinkles, moles, scars, and so on are all planned to be added. Not to mention all the exotic things that make up aliens.

abc_portraits_001


Already at this stage the amount of permutations is so high that the number itself sounds ridiculous. Anyway, here’s an animated Gif displaying 60 randomly generated (in a row) faces.

So, with that. I hope you like them, even if you don’t, please drop by the forums if you have any constructive feedback for me.

Weekly Dev Update – November 17th, 2014

Posted on November 17, 2014 by Adam

Daniel

Hi, this week I’m so frelling done with faces. They will still need more work later on but for now it will have to do. At least now they look somewhat like humans. As we were discussing on the forums, non human facial features will be added later, its mainly a matter of putting the time into making them.

In total it can currently generate 645 922 816 different faces. Multiplying with this will also later on be stuff like skin colors, hair styles and asymmetries and different scaling and positions of individual features which will all each increase the amount of possible faces exponentially.

Adam

Given the maximum badassitude of Daniel’s new character portraits, my first priority was to integrate and automate their generation into recruit applications for a start. Needless to say, it breathes some life into everything they’re attached to.

I’ve also set the groundwork for missions by performing actual mission execution. I still need to integrate mission reports so we can benefit from Dave’s wonderful procedural mission storytelling.

Finally, I added analytics. This’ll allow me to automatically receive reports of people’s hardware specs, average session length and all sorts of important information. Before we hand anyone a build, I’ll make sure to add a prompt to enable it, but this analytics system doesn’t map users to data so it’s not like I can use it to find our personal things about people.

Dave

Disclaimer: I lost 4 days to a hardware failure, and my machine was out of commission (had to surf the web from my phone ugh). No work was lost. Fortunately, I’m up and running again.

Despite that, I hooked up the outcomes of procedural stories. They can result in items (resources, parts, weapons, artifacts), relationship changes, damage, combat, trait unlocks, nothing, or lead to other stories. Pretty much anything can happen as an outcome . Keep in mind the procedural generation factors in the personality traits, stats, skills, etc of a character because so much of the story is about how the character reacts to a situation, which leads to a new situation.

So right now, I’m in the testing phase and putting the whole thing through its paces. There’s a lot of minor things left, such as doing the pronoun replacement. And this just isn’t gender, it’s also perspective (the stories can be written from first person or third person). So a lot of I/she/he me/him/her my/his/her stuff to do, which I’ve done before with the conversation gen. But I’m pulling it all out and writing a more proper and uniform method of embedding these codes into the text so the stories are written using proper grammar, perspective, and gender.

We are experiencing technical difficulties

Posted on November 15, 2014 by Adam

Hey everybody! We’ll be getting a new dev update out to you on Monday. Dave has been having some technical issues with his computer, but will have more to report with a few days to catch up. We’ll be back to a regularly scheduled Friday update after that!