Oh Geeze

Oh geeze, I've done a horrible job at updating this! So much has happened since my last post, and there's still so much to do. Long story short, still doing tons of work to do on the game (new tools, plans to upgrade to Unity 5 and new GUI tools, etc.), but good news is the team is still in tact and still kicking butt with moving forward.

I took a bit of a break over the holidays due to family get-togethers and gaming it up (Dragon Age 3 was surprisingly fun). I have a few new distractions including exercise and potentially Pebble development (holy crap, I should've gotten one ages ago as it has seriously increased my productivity).

It's gonna be a busy but fun year :)


Checking Out Plastic SCM

A few weeks ago I realized that we now have over 1GB of content in our Git repository, which sprung me through a journey of learning about Git's limitations and wanting something that would scale better. I briefly tried to get a server set up with Perforce until I ran into an even better-sounding version control system: Plastic SCM. After a day of headaches while trying to set it up on Amazon EC2 (woohoo for 1 year free trial), I finally finished configuring the server and client to access it from my home PC. I didn't want to use the embedded database file, so it took some extra time configuring it to work with Sql Server Express (gah for permission issues).

So far I've gone through their quickstart documentation and section of why game developers should use it. I'm pretty excited about what I've read so far as using it wouldn't be too different from our currently workflow, and we'd  get a few extra nice features such as file locking, better branch visualization tools, diffs on images, and of course scaling to accomodate large repositories. There's also Unity3D integration, but we're not going to utilize it since it requires a pricey Unity team license and paid Plastic SCM license.

I'm gonna be playing around with it for a lil bit, and if all goes well, I'll see about us moving all our Git repo content to it. One thing I need to test is bandwidth performance - Bitbucket is pretty slow when it comes to that - but I'm not going to expect anything amazing considering I chose the low-performance server instance.

Even though this has taken a good chunk of my week's available game dev hours, I'm pleased I found a good version control system to switch to. Plus I learned how horrible linux is to deal with compared to windows server :P thank you, Microsoft.


Test #2

Just realized how long it's been since my last update. Time really does fly. So long story short, the first test well well months ago, and the team has been hard at work designing; creating new assets; and implementing new features. It's been a really fun ride so far, and it's almost time for our 2nd test, this time to test pretty much all the core features of the game and how they interact with one another.

Our designer already has plans for more features we're going to implement after the test is released, but this week we're mainly focused on squashing bugs so we can release a hopefully fairly bug-free build.

I'm ending this post with an awesome art piece our 2D artist and 3D artist created for the game.


Fancy Logger

Wow, been awhile! Lots of stuff is happening at the moment. We're preparing for our first semi-public playtest in mid-April with the focus on our combat system. While half of the team tweaks graphics to make them look as good as possible for the test, us folks on the other half are pushing forwards with combat design and integration.

Today I worked on a fancy logger that is based on the one over here. Displaying categorized messages and stack traces with fancy colors and formatting is waaaay better/cooler than the default Unity log file with plain text. I also added the suggested screenshot feature. All in all, it wasn't too bad to fill in all the holes to get it up and running (C# code, hooking up into Unity's log events to grab exceptions, tweaking the javascript and css, etc.), and was pretty fun since I actually got to utilize some things I've learned from my day job + learned more of the available functions in the Unity API. Super cool stuff!


New 2D Artist Recruited

Feeling pretty good right now as we recently got a new 2D artist on board, and his first pieces for us are pretty rockin' :D He'll be covering most of the 2D art in the game.

I was a bit worried during our recruitment efforts as it has been pretty difficult finding an artist that can achieve the art direction we were imagining, and is cool with our time needs. Despite the challenge, it still only ended up taking about 2 weeks, so I count ourselves lucky. Since that's now taken care of, my stress levels have gone down (I've been the main recruiter for our team), and I can shift my focus completely back to programming. woohoo! Onwards with developing the game :)

On a slightly related note, our 3D artist will soon be presenting some alternative views of the game - really looking forward to it. We realized 1st person view isn't the most flattering for what we're trying to achieve with space combat, so we're going to experient with some variations of 3rd person view.