Hello again. We’re back!
Some stuff has happened since our last post. Perhaps the most important thing is that we have moved to a new office. We’re still located in Uppsala, actually just a few blocks from where we were seated before. But this time it’s our very own office.
Mowhammer explained for the Uppsala municipal office that we would have to move Night Node to Stockholm if we couldn’t find an office in Uppsala. After that they set us up with an office pretty quickly. I guess they want us to stay.
The new office is really nice and now we’re going to establish our own workplace culture. Yesterday we moved everything and has almost finished setting up again. Now we just need to establish a Internet connection and remove the logo of the previous company which is painted on the wall. After that our Night Node realm will be complete.
In other news; we’ve been in the news! Mats Nylund wrote an article for FZ.se, one of the biggest gaming website in Sweden. The article was about our alpha version of Orbital Gear, and was quite a good read. It’s partly because the review said a lot of nice things about the game and he saw a great potential in it, and partly because it’s been our childhood dreams to have such a huge site publish an article about a game made by us. You can read all about it here (it’s in Swedish though).
Apart from that we won an award! Yay!
It’s called Bona Postulata, and is awarded to growing companies in Uppsala. We haven’t gotten any explanation for why they picked us yet, but we will probably get one soon. Anyway, the award will be in the form of getting help with company management through education and connections.
All in all we feel we’re on a winning streak right now!
Hello everyone! Binarin here.
If you have been reading our blog, social media or any of our posters you know that we just had our first playtesting of Orbital Gear. We thought we would be low on testers but in the end we managed to put a tester on every computer at Dragon’s Lair.
In the morning we went to the office, we knew we had some bugs we wanted to fix before the test. We managed to fix most of the bugs we saw, then we printed the surveys for the testers and took the train to Stockholm.
We got to Dragon’s Lair, which is where we had our test. Installing the game on their computers went fine and everything seemed to work. When the testers came in we quickly noticed that the number of players on a single server was for some reason capped to 5. Kind of ironic since 5 was the most players we’ve had on a server before. It was not a big problem tho, our level was probably too small for more players. It seemed like the testers really enjoyed playing because they kept playing even when we brought sandwiches from Subway. All of the testers filled our survey, which we now have collected useful data from.
Regarding the balancing of the weapons, it quickly became obvious that Phase Orb was too strong in the current version. After we banned Phase Orb many started using Chainsaw instead. The Chainsaw might have been a bit too strong, but we think after you’ve played Orbital Gear for a while you learn how to dodge it.
Being too weak was Grenade Launcher and Chaingun, which we will take a look at.
I won’t go through all the things we learnt from the test, but it was a lot.
Once again we want to properly thank Dragon’s Lair for having us and the testers for spending time on our game and helping us out.
Now when we’re finally done with this deadline and has reached Alpha version we have to decide what comes next. For me, except for doing CEO stuff, I’ll probably work a lot on how planets and the gravity works. We will soon put together an application for Steam’s Greenlight system. When we’re on Greenlight you guys can give us thumbs up, when we have enough we will be approved to sell the game on Steam. Also, we’re looking into putting up a Kickstarter. Kickstarter is a crowd funding service where you can donate money on projects you like. If they get the amount they asked for they’ll get the money (otherwise you get your money back) and you’ll get different rewards depending on how much you donated. The reason we’re looking into it is because we want to work on Orbital Gear a bit longer to make it even better. We will have stretch goals, which means if we get up to some milestone donations we will add extra features. So I hope you understand why we’re putting up a Kickstarter.
Hello people! Binarin here.
It seems Joxe is changing a lot in the network code (since we can’t play multiplayer right now). Joxe has also been sick for two days now. But I don’t wanna mess with his code so I’ve been working on the planets, as mentioned in my last post :3.
Joxe’s spot hasn’t been empty tho. Our sound guy, Johan, has been here. He’s making some sweet sounds for us. However, the sounds won’t be perfect until we get Unity Pro because Johan want to add low pass filters. Low pass filters will make the sounds sound good at a long distant, so you can hear it’s far away and not just decreased volume.
Speaking about Unity Pro, we need it for several features:
- Low pass filter, as I just said.
- Shader refractions. Crylar says he can make some really cool effects if he has those. Try search for “shader refractions” to see just how awesome it looks.
- IK animations. So the mechs can aim their weapon when firing, and rest their feets on the planets as they stand or run.
- Support for dll librarys. We need this to have weapons written in Lua so the players can make their own weapons :D. Right now we’re using a C# library that is very buggy, and many weapons are written directly in C# instead.
- Importing assets in run time. This is something we most probably need to let players make assets for their weapons.
We’re currently looking into buying it, Mowhammer is on the job!
Like I said, I’ve been working on the non-round planets and they seem to be working now. The shape is made out of an array of Vector2, which can be edited from the inspector or can be imported from a mesh which was much easier to make than I thought. These planets also have a array of floats that states how long each position has to the first position in distance along the edges. This makes it much easier to quickly find where the player lands when it collides with the planet.
Oh, and by the way. Can you see that the trails after the mech goes too low when it lands? That it looks very uneven? This is because Unity calls my OnTriggerEnter function one frame too late. If I look at it frame by frame I can see how it moves into the planet without getting a call and on the frame afterwards it is pushed up to stand on the surface. When I Google for it I find that this was a bug that was reported in February 2012. I guess they’re not planing to fix it for a while. Crylar has been complaining at me over this because it is more visible on these planets. If you have good eyes you can actually notice that something jerks as you land. Hmm, the work around to fix this might be tiresome…
Thanks for reading and stay hyped!
Hello people! Binarin here.
This is the first development post from Night Node. They will be written by the programmers and they cover more technical things, like what we’re working with now and what problems we have.
While Joxe is making cool stuff in the backend, that I don’t dare touch, I can look at adding new things to the game. That is, as long as Crylar won’t bug me about adding his particles.
So I’m currently looking into how we can make our “planets” more unique. I’m using the functionality I added a while ago, that let’s planets override things like how the player moves and the normals of the surface. The aim is to have planets that can have any shape! Or at least planets that are not completely round, coz’ that would be boring. To try this out I’ve made a planet out of a cube.
After a bit of fiddling I got it to work. However, it looks silly as the player moves around a corner because there is no transition of any kind. I will probably make the player airborne as he walks over corners.
I’ve also tried making a planet that takes it’s shape out of it’s mesh. This turned out to be tricky, even if I managed to make a algorithm for making a 2D shape out of the mesh, I would have to save it somewhere. I could probably put the code in a custom unity editor to make sure it was only generated in edit mode, and store it in the planets serialization. But instead I think I’ll just take a array of Vector2s from the editor, that way we can customize the shape more freely without worrying about the mesh, and I don’t have to that 2D shape convertion… Like, where would I start? find the face to the left and follow it clockwise and save every edge? … No.
Joxe will probably write his own post from home some time this week. But he has done some nice work with Unity’s network library. We can almost play multiplayer without crashes again ~woohoo.
If you have any questions or just wanna talk, you can contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org. Have fun and keep hyping!