Devblog #2 is here and as promised we’ve got a public trello board up and running which lays out a nicely detailed roadmap for any upcoming milestones we’re working towards. I know you’ve all been patiently waiting for this and truth be told, there was a lot of uncertainty in regards to what features we could actually get in by our first big milestone which is scheduled to ship this quarter (we’re aiming for the end of November) However, I think we have some reasonable goals in place and I’m truly excited to get your feedback on a lot of these new features that I believe will have a significant (and positive) impact on player experience and retention. We will also be holding a free 2 play weekend to kick off the release of the patch, and that will be followed up with a substantial discount on the game itself. To all of the community members that are staying positive and sending us supportive and rightfully concerned messages- I want to thank you personally and on behalf of the team. YOU are what inspires us. YOU are what keeps us striving to improve and to innovate. So I’d like to thank everyone out there who’s giving us your patience and sending positive vibes while we build something better.
Link: https://trello.com/b/bP9wJnnw/islands-of-nyne-roadmap (or click on image above)
If you don’t like reading, here’s a nice little list of the features we’re working towards shipping during this quarter (Q4) which will kick off our F2P weekend:
- Beam Drop Skin Extraction
- GameOn Tournament Servers
- Rewards Suite (leveled rewards, daily/weekly quests, credits shop)
- Scrap Upgrade System
- Class System
- Reworked Armor System
- Regen Shields
- Text Localization (13 different languages)
- Stability Improvements
So without further ado, lets see what the boys have been up to.
As our coders have been hard at work implementing some of the new gameplay systems, it’s time to go into a bit more detail about some of them. All of these features are highly experimental and will go through several testing stages before we ultimately sign off on them. As always we will pay close attention to the feedback and make adjustments when necessary.
The first major system we have been working on is the Scrap Upgrade System (temporary name). The concept is simple: Scrap any item to increase your scrap resource, then spend this resource on upgrading your weapons or other improvements.
Initially we will allow weapons to be upgraded to two levels, with the highest level being roughly equivalent to the current “Elite” weapons. Resource will be balanced so that the first upgrade is relatively easy to achieve, but you will rarely be able to upgrade more than one item to elite status during a match. Later we will expand this system to upgrading gadgets, special weapons, and even armor. It opens up a lot of design space for us while also providing us with a special resource we can award players (e.g. through drones, beam drops, and dead bodies) that is always desirable, no matter which state of the match you are in.
While simple in nature, we hope that this will have a big impact on the pacing of the game. Once you are fully kitted up, you currently don’t have a clear direction on what to do next. The scrap upgrade system, together with improved beam drops and drone functionality is designs to fix this.
Of course we will stay true to the skill based nature of IoN and ensure that upgrades do not become the sole deciding factor in an encounter. They will however be able to shift the odds in your favour.
The second major feature we are experimenting with is a class system. The main purpose of the class system is to provide a framework for special character gadgets (think Siege operators). These gadgets are designed to provide additional gameplay options and enable various playing styles, while not taking anything away from the core gunplay mechanics. We will be talking about those gadgets a lot more in the near future, for now suffice to say that there is virtually no limit to the design space they provide to us. We will be experimenting with some crazy designs and the best ones will eventually make it into the game.
Additionally we are also revamping the shield and armor system. We’ll be talking more about this as we flesh out the details, but the nutshell is this: Shields will be default and rechargable (shield extensions can still be picked up), armor also comes by default and will be upgradeable, and as part of the class system you will also spawn with a light weapon and a few bullets. Our ultimate goal with all of these changes is not just to slightly tweak the TTK (especially in the early stages of the game) but also to reduce the amount of “chore” pickups you have to find before you are ready to fight. In place of this we want to focus more on loot that feels actually good and rewarding to find rather than simply necessary.
This is just a small part of the design changes we have been working on, and we’ll continue to reveal more details about our plans with every development update. Again, do keep in mind that all of it is highly experimental and always subject to change.
I’ve been implementing a few different prototypey features within the Character class, including a new scrap retrieval/upgrade system, PlayerClass exclusive gadgets, and an overhaul of the current wearable shields.
The scrap system currently allows for the breaking down of equipment into scrap currency, and the subsequent exchange of that currency for better weapons, equipment, or usables. Scrapping and upgrading is all done from within the standard inventory screen.
Gadgets work similarly to knives currently: each character has one on spawn that cannot be dropped or picked up. Each gadget is PlayerClass specific, and the current implementation shows off an example of what the ‘Support’ class might end up with.
Shields now work a lot more like the ones in Halo, with the main difference being damage overflow. Shields soak a given amount of damage, and will automatically recharge at a given rate once a period of x seconds has passed since the last damage taken.
I’m currently working on implementing some of the PlayerClass passive perks.
I’ve been working on some of the player class features.
The first thing i did was setup a simple class selection screen at the main menu. In the future it will look much nicer and list off more details about each specific class.
From then to now i’ve been setting up the assault class with its selected perks and gadget. The first perk which was rocket jump was extremely simple to implement with our new plug and play perk system. After that i started work on the plasma projector and its knock-back effects
I’m hoping to start updating the ui soon so it all looks unified and well built
While @zenity and everyone behind the awesome gamedesign ideas worked on the gameplay elements, our art department focused on the process of desiging the actual props and items for these.
This is done by concepting in 3D which gives the possibility to use the created geometry as proxymeshes for testing purposes in the engine.
As mentioned in our previous devblog the Beam Drop was redesigned. The bubble thing will be gone in the future and a more alien esk drop pod is going to be implemented as time goes by.
For the general art direction, we want readable big shapes in the presentation of the silhouttes while creating a lot of depth in smaller organic details.
The pod itself will unfold itself in its landing sequence, revealing its 3 doors. With the 3 doors, we want to create interesting player moves the way the position while running for the loot that the drop offers.
Sci Fi Guns and Attachments:
As @zenity mentioned we will allow weapons to be upgraded to two levels. With that idea in mind we played around with the design of a gun that could change it’s fire type by it either being a shotgun or an assault rifle. The overall shapes are inspired by the direction of having a big read in the silhouette while showcasing little organic shapes.
A feature that hasn’t been revealed yet is the implementation of sci fi bows. With different types of arrows, ranging from plasma arrows to explosive ones the bow is going to offer a lot for all gamestyles!
The hoverboard, a one person vehicle, will be available for all players to mount on right at the moment after the landing. Players will have the possibility to shoot from it, while hovering through the arenas of the nyne. The mobility comes with the risk of being exposed and an easy target to hit!
Next to the hoverboard, we are currently working on the design of a hovercraft. With those vehicles we want to increase the speed of the game by giving the player the possibility to use a vehicle alongside with their teammates. The cameras while using those vehicle won’t switch to a third person view and will stay in fps as we think that this is the way a true fps should be designed!
With the introduction of the different classes and their class type abilities, we decided to give all of them a basic gauntlet, on which the different class type attachments will be locked on. The gauntlet will be used the same way our weapon items can be used while laying on top of the armor parts of the players right arm. The attachment will have two abilities each, which will be covered in the design of each.
As a next step, we will focus on finalizing the design of the attachments, while continue working on new and awesome alien weapons, assets and everything else that comes with the Nyne!
The Update of our engine version to 4.20.2 introduced some changes to Unreals HLOD-System (HLODs are what makes buildings in the distance look like paper-mâché to save FPS).
These changes broke some of the existing HLODs and required me to revisit the System, but also gave a chance to utilize the new features and tweak the Settings for them to finally solve an issue we’ve been having for a long time and that also has been reported multiple times:
Windows and Doors not showing for these HLOD Actors in the Distance has been addressed
In addition to that I am currently working on getting the last minor bugs resolved that occurred from the engine update in regards to the map
Spectral & CB
@Dexter and myself are working on custom servers for partners to create tournaments on their own.
@cb and Myself are also polishing up the skin 2 win system and getting that tested. We have decided that skins won will be in a players cache (can be used in game but not in the players offline inventory until after 30 days of winning it. This is to prevent hackers from getting skins then getting banned). Any players banned by the Anti-Cheat system will lose all skins that have been won.
Picking up rare AK skin from droppod
Successfully extracting skin and being rewarded in post-match stats screen
We will also be doing a Test Server weekend with the shields and scrap system that are done once QA signs off and our play testers confirm no major bugs. The test weekend will be used to gauge feedback on the new features and find any missed bugs. We’ll have more updates on how you can join once we schedule our first test!
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