As some of you likely guessed, the V8 integration walkthrough was not a one off. I have been growing a pretty healthy appreciation for the JS language and so I put it to the test and started linking it into UE4. This past weekend I sorted out the details of defining objects and linking static methods in that reference those objects, which was far from well documented.
Either way, it is working and committed.
BetterTech development has continued, and I have unearthed a number of very interesting things have come of them. Hopefully I will be able to start talking more openly about the state of things soon.
Changes for Alpha 2
- Agents need to check in on a regular basis when they don’t have any jobs.
- Link in V8 with standard placeholder functions
- Agents need visible meshes
- Menu – Pause
- Menu – Settings
- Menu – Intro
About two and a half months ago I agreed to come back to the FA:S team, to help sort out the state of things, get a programmer back into the ranks and help shove the project out the door. The first few weeks were pretty good, exploratory research and all this, but as you may have guessed – much has changed and of those things that have changed I am not happy with much of it. Part of the problem of having closed doors is that no-one sees in, no one can comment and those that are inside get a jaded view of things.
Firearms is no outlier in that regard.
Over the last 148 weeks there were many plans, many ideas and many other implementations that lead the team to its current state, most of which has been for not. The game has evolved into another silly CounterStrike clone, albeit with more accurately animated weaponry and push gameplay. They also went through a gungame phase where the project took a wild bend for the comically tragic.
When Projects get this old, Firearms has been in development on the Source engine for nearly 10 years under many different managers and teams, so it has had a number of incarnations that have come and gone, each slowly pulling away from the original. To be quite frank, it feels like the first time I played Halo 2, where the health/shield regen thing became the norm to speed up combat and get people to use cover. The shock to the system has been tough to understand but it is not difficult to see why.
Many players may be aware of the news posts and updated UI screenshots and such along the way, but very few people played it that were not testers, and when you have the same 30 people playing a game over and over without the target audience getting ahold of it, the gradual changes to damage values and hit box multipliers start to add up.
We are currently narrowing in on a releasable state, with guidance from Vinnie, myself and a couple other key members, but the technical front is always going to need work. Our release is going to be used to test and see who is interested, hopefully a lot of people, hopefully they will forgive our tardiness.
In between running tanks in World of Tanks, trying out mods in Minecraft, and of course working… BetterTech has been evolving, although definitely not in the beauty department. As with most everything, the devil is in the details.
I have also started work on agents. Agents are the dudes that do all of the work in BetterTech, ultimately you are an agent. Your job is to do whatever you choose, as discussed earlier. The other agents in the game request jobs, queue them up for the day and go execute the work needed. Currently the only job types that exist are delivery – raw goods are requested by job sites, and the delivery agents move goods between the two points, receiving a nice tip in the process. In the next iteration more jobs will be included.
I just completed the update to the Programmers Notepad 2 scheme for UnrealScript. The keywords and some base classes are supported. Unfortunately the case sensative flag is not really working with me, but ill be reaching out for assistance in the next couple days. Hopefully I can add it and the API doc to the supported list in the next release!?
XNA has been really quite nice to play with, a pleasant change from the grind of UDK or Source where everything is done for me, and UI is simple – a lie on Source mind you. Building the Hades POC out in XNA has been fun because it feels like I have been on an educational adventure, experimenting and rebuilding portions of the game slowly and analyzing the results then rehashing it and repeating. Of all of the elements/tools in XNA that I’ve been able to use, tripped over and even those I thought I understood but didn’t one stands out – I love the fact that components exist.
In a moment ill show you how I used components to ensure that my screenshot mechanism never includes the debug information but always includes the screen, also known as the back buffer.
Disclaimer: All of the code & discussion below refers to XNA 4.0