Most factions of New Bedlam have access to advanced technology and/or other sophisticated means for developing their vehicles. LEST, however, don’t have such means at their disposal. But as the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention.
The Bouncer, is part plane, part caboose, and all recycled components from whatever was lying around. LEST essentially used whatever parts they could find to make an unlikely behemoth.
It may seem like a mess at first glance, and realistically it is, but the Bouncer is still a force to be reckoned with in the streets of New Bedlam.
That’s all for now. Thanks for reading! -David
Today we’re taking a look at the second biggest NPC vehicle we’ve made so far, the biggest being the Juggernaut. It’s JRC’s heavy vehicle that we like to call the Giant Combo.
The Giant Combo contains 4 drumsticks, 2 wings, and a whole lot of muscle. These enormous trucks haul JRC’s various supplies around the city, everything from machinery to live chickens. They also have a lot of armoured surface area on which to mount substantial defensive equipment.
Given their similar size and navigational limitations, the Giant Combo will most likely be found driving on the same street layer as the Juggernaut. Without a layer to themselves these big vehicles would pose a real problem for traffic.
That’s all for now. Thanks for reading! -David
As mentioned last time, we’ve got a few new weapons in development. At the moment they’re unnamed, untested, and unbalanced but we do have a general idea of how they’ll work.
The first is a heavy weapon with an indirect firing method. This weapon will let you target an enemy and bring down a laser blast from an orbital cannon, though it will probably take some testing to decide what the best targeting system is (lock-on, laser guidance, or something else). This weapon in particular is a faction weapon given to the player if they do enough work for NOR.
Next we have a defensive weapon that releases a temporary but lingering cloud of acid behind you to slowly damage pursuers. It can also be set like a trap because drivers in a grimy city like New Bedlam are unlikely to be smart enough to avoid a green cloud before it’s too late.
The third weapon we have is for when things get a little too cluttered and you just need some space. This set of speakers has been weaponized to emit a force that pushes things back. Useful in a tactical situation or just for annoying other drivers, which is also fun.
We’ll come back to these again at some point once they’re working and polished, maybe with some action shots to show them off. For now though, thanks for reading. -David
Let’s take a look at what’s being done in development right now to help give everyone a better idea of where we’re at.
The big gates between districts have been static for long enough, so we’re working out triggers to have them open up as the game progresses and new areas are unlocked. Annoyingly, while a simple enough concept to implement, I seem to have broken something whilst making it functional so I’m figuring that out now.
The new district is a little more complex than the existing ones in terms of street layout and vertical obstacles. As such we have to plan the AI’s pathfinding road map a little differently and a bit more carefully in order to limit NPC vehicles getting stuck. This should work out fine, though we’ll only find the exceptions through constant testing.
The faction vehicles are coming along nicely, as we’ve been showing off for a while now. Once we’ve got a few for each faction we can start adding them to the pool of other vehicles.
We’ve also got a few new weapons in development, which are coming along nicely. We’re trying to add some variety with these ones but we’ll go into more detail about them another time once we’ve tested them and got a feel for their effectiveness.
I’m also still working on more performance-friendly and simplified NPC vehicle behaviour. I want to get it to the point where it’s not taking up about a third of the memory usage of the entire game.
So that’s a snapshot of what’s going on right now. Hope it was both insightful and interesting. Thanks for reading! -David
Welcome fans and people who were looking up Mexican food! Last year we showed you a near-complete version of Big Larry’s heavy vehicle, the El Grande, and now we’ll take a look at the final product as well as some of the technical stuff that makes it look so nice and shiny.
We’ve talked before about what the El Grande can do. It spits out more weaponized burritos than a Taco Bill’s on a Friday night. The big difference being that you don’t have to eat these burritos to make them explosive.
This week I’m going to show you some behind the scenes of the final texture maps used to make the El Grande look the way it does now.
For the NPC vehicles in game we have a universal material applied to all of them, so whilst they may be different colours, shapes and sizes, they all fit together in our big rogues gallery. We have our diffuse maps which are used for colour and small details like dirt and wear. The normal maps add extra surface definition, but using the engine’s lighting to imitate various plating, bolts and vents. Lastly is our special RGB map that utilizes the map’s colour channels to do all sorts of material effects without resorting to more individual texture maps.
Each of the four channels affect different properties of the material: green for specularity, blue for glossiness, the alpha influences what glows and lastly the red shows what parts can colour within the game engine. Whilst the red channels effects aren’t as noticeable with our faction branded vehicles, it offers us an easier way to provide a variety of different versions of our regular vehicles.
And that was your little peek behind the curtain. We’ll be back next fortnight to show you more of what’s being developed. - Mark
From a simple grey blob to its final form, this week we’re taking a look at the completed Roast Fillet from JRC.
Now that it has all of its features and its shiny new coat of paint you can see the bright orange and white JRC colours and glowing tail feathers that make this flying chicken an impressive sight. It will also be well armed (not pictured), as with all non-player vehicles, though the specific weapons for it haven’t been set. Possibly laser-guided chickens but it will require some balance testing.
That’s all for now. As a reminder from last week, we’re moving to a fortnightly post schedule so we’ll have more for you again in 2 weeks. Thanks for reading! -David
We’re back again for the new year. We took a slightly extended new year break but we’re back to work and making some new beginnings. Specifically this week, Mark has begun work on the JRC vehicle set.
The Roast Fillet is JRC’s standard vehicle. When you sell roast chicken, you want to keep your customers’ minds focused on nothing else. How can you not think about delicious chicken when you see huge ones floating by wherever you look?
Mark has just made a fresh start on it, so the model is still in the early stages but you can see it taking shape to look like the concept it was based upon.
That’s all from this week, and it’s good to be back again in 2016. Thanks for reading. -David
While writing AI code there are two main areas to cover. There’s basic functionality, like how things move and shoot and explode, and then there’s behaviour, like when and why things should move and shoot and explode. Today I want to talk a little about some changes I’m planning to make specifically to the Fuzz’s behaviour in the revised AI system.
Firstly, I’ll give a little run down on the way they currently behave. There are always a few Fuzz vehicles patrolling about in the city with a tendency to spawn close to the player. They are managed by an entity that holds records of any vehicle, player or NPC, that attacks another vehicle without provocation. Each of these records also maintains a very simple “heat” level that depletes over time when not in range of a Fuzz vehicle. Heat is added for any additional violence performed with an active record. When the heat runs out, the record is removed and the Fuzz stop pursuing that vehicle.
That basically sums up the current state of things, and being honest it was kind of a slapped together system for law enforcement when I implemented it. I’ve taken time to look at how other open world games tend to handle similar behaviours and decided on some basic plans for my next attempt.
I’m planning to cut back a little on the randomly patrolling Fuzz vehicles. You’ll be a lot less likely to be in line of site to them immediately whenever you start causing mayhem. Instead I’ll make it so that new Fuzz vehicles are spawned at a distance from the criminal (most likely you, the player) if and when they increase their heat level. Speaking of heat levels, I also intend to revise that by having the heat level remain constant when out of range of the Fuzz. However, much like in GTA, after a short amount of time it will completely reset.
Those are just a few things that I’m hoping to implement to make New Bedlam’s police force a little less annoying to deal with, yet at the same time keep them feeling threatening when you create some chaos.
That’s all for this week. Thanks for reading! -David
We were only planning to take a week off, but moving out of our old office and getting ourselves set up to work again took a little more time and effort than we expected. We’re all good now though and we’re getting back into the swing of things.
So, getting back to game-related news, let’s take a look at the progress that’s being made on an iconic structure in New Bedlam. It’s the weird and twisted (literally) headquarters of Cthulhu Corp.
These pictures show our original concept art for the faction’s headquarters and the first version of the full model. The design stayed true to the original concept because we really liked the idea that the mere presence of Cthulhu Corp’s executives and higher-ups would warp the environment around them.
Here you can see the updated, though still not quite finished, headquarters in its place in the upcoming CBD district of the city. The tower is surrounded by a number of other buildings that create a plaza-like area around the base of the tower. There are a few more little details that we think will help cement this building as a pretty awesome landmark, but since they’re not quite finished yet they’ll have to wait for another time.
For now, thanks for reading! -David
It’s not quite finished, Mark‘s still doing the finishing touches, but this week we want to show you another of Big Larry’s vehicles, the El Grande, because it’s a fun looking truck and we love the idea behind it.
The El Grande is primarily a transporter for Big Larry’s most popular product, burritos. However, not all of them are made for eating. Some of them are specially designed to be used to defend the truck from those who would wish to harm its cargo. When threatened, the El Grande can raise its massive burrito trailer to reveal the aperture containing the weaponized snacks.
Unlike the Burrito Rockets used by the Burrito Launcher that the player will be able to use, the Burrito Missiles used by the El Grande will have a degree of tracking to help find their target. The truck will fire bursts of multiple burritos at a time, a mechanic that will also be used in certain taxi-mounted weapons (though not necessarily with burritos).
That’s all for this week. Thanks for reading! -David