State of the development in May 2016
Woohoo, time sure flies! So, what's up with Gangs of Space since last month?
The new enemies can now have a special "champion" visual effect. These enemies will be faster, stronger, more dangerous... but more rewarding too.
Grouroux also did a pass on updating our environments, including the starfields, backgrounds, suns and planets... and most importantly (even if it's not that visible on screenshots) the lightings, which are extremely important for the ambiance and readability of the game!
We also have a lot of small touches here and there, including a small re-design of the enemy lifebar to display their (eventual) champion attributes, or an update to the trails of the enemies...
My big task during the past weeks has been the re-haul of the enemies with the new difficulty progression. This implied a LOT of changes to the enemy attribute system, which grew 100x in complexity. Where it used to be "1 enemy = 1 value for each characteristic", now all the enemy characteristics can be influenced at spawn time depending on the map tier, the sector level, the champion attributes, the variations in the spawn table... and also at runtime depending on debuffs from the player, or buffs from other enemies or the environment. That brought a lot of changes to the AI and the display engine, but fewwwww.... it's almost done! So far we have all the basic variations for 8 Pirnat enemies, with one more to go (the Pirnat Gunz). When we can test that everything is fine on this front, we'll add the missing 2 variations for each of these 9 enemies. That's.... a lot more content to handle than we expected (and we still have to re-introduce the bosses after that...)
Since I was working on the AIs, I also took the opportunity to do some R&D on obstacle avoidance. Those who followed my live dev streams last year might remember that I implemented a very crude steering system in order to allow enemies to navigate a bit more naturally in asteroid fields. But now I've managed to implement a much robust system that is integrated at the AI layer, and not only at the physical navigation layer. This doesn't change much for our current open environments, but it finally opens the door for much more varied environments in the future.
Aside from the enemies, I also finished the implementation of some missing gameplay elements (critical hits, extra item and DNA drop rates) and polished some interfaces (crew XP bars, clearer tooltips for subsystems).
Oh, and I almost forgot... I finally implemented a proper UI for re-binding controls. There is still work to do to better support controllers bindings, but at least this now looks like a proper Gangs of Space UI and not a ugly default Unity one...
Of course Grouroux is complaining that it's ugly, but that's what you get from letting the developer do the color schemes!
As you can see, work is progressing at a good pace, and the game looks more and more playable every day! See you soon for more advancement news!