Archive for Updates

Sounds Like A Plan

Hey everyone!

We’ve talked a lot about our visual art in past updates, and we’ve talked about the engine and programming. Something we haven’t really talked about is sound. Today I’m going to talk specifically about the music.

Music is one of those things that can really make a game. In our Kickstarter we also mentioned that we would be putting together a soundtrack as one of the rewards, and we’ve recently begun talking specifics with 2 composers, namely Jay Taylor and Kevin Greenlee, both of whom have provided music for us already. We’re impressed by the work we’ve heard from both of these guys and they sound really enthusiastic to keep working on music for us. It’s still early in the process, so I don’t have any details about what the soundtrack will be like at this stage. I would like to say though that these guys are great to work with and you should check out their work.

We might bring you a sample from them at some stage when they have something they’re happy for us to share with you, but for now I’m afraid you’ll just have to wait.

In the meantime you can check out some of Jay’s stuff here:
http://www.impactaudiostudios.com/

And you can check out Kevin’s stuff here:
http://www.kevintg.com/

As always, thanks for reading. -David

Sometimes A Tunnel Is Just A Tunnel

Hey everyone!

Thanks for the dinosaur image submissions, though most were submitted to us personally rather than through comments. We’ve added them to the window and they now mercilessly block out the sun. Dinosaurs are finally getting some revenge against space!

window1

Not pictured: Sunlight, because it’s hiding from the awesome dinosaurs.

window3

Still no sunlight, possibly from laser interference or something.

As you may remember, we got into the top 100 on Greenlight not that long ago. Well after another bunch of games got through we’re now in the top 50!

GreenlightRank2
Not long to go now until we’re Greenlit! Yay!

On a development note, you’ve seen the Green Zone and the Redlight District, and we’ve shown you previews of the Industrial Zone. Now it’s time to show you what’s in between. Behold…a tunnel!

Tunnel Update 01
Impressive, I know. And what’s more the train we showed off recently will have its track run straight through the middle of that tunnel just for some added difficulty when trying to navigate a somewhat confined space. After all, there’s nothing like routing a massive train through a tunnel. Why are you looking at me like that?

Anyway, as always thanks for reading! -David

(Also, apologies for the photos. They were taken with my phone, so the quality kinda sucks.)

Wonderful View From Up Here

Hey everyone!

So as they do, Steam has Greenlit another batch of games as of last week. As it happens I only check Greenlight about once a week and by chance I didn’t notice the last batch till now. Why is any of this significant? Because when everything settled after that batch of games got through Collateral was sitting at #94!

GreenlightRank

Thank you to all of you that have voted for us thus far. If you haven’t voted for Collateral on Greenlight yet, or if you have any friends on Steam that haven’t voted for us yet then please help us edge that little bit closer to being Greenlit ourselves!

We’ll be back on Friday with a regular update. For now, yay Greenlight! -David

Off the Rails… or On?

Welcome back for another week of Collateral goodness. Today I’m here to present the train and its tracks in all their rendered glory. It’s not in-engine rendering, so they’ll look a lot better once they’re in the actual world environment.

Train Shot 01
As opposed to a lot of other vehicles within Collateral we felt that the Loco-Motive would be too massive and heavy for conventional hover-vehicle technology. As such they would need to run on fixed tracks around certain parts of the city. This also has the effect of making them feel more like trains and less like massively-overcompensating semi-trailers.

Train Shot 02
Whilst they aren’t your typical track design, the rails are meant to slot into the pads found under the train, which are consistent with a lot of our other vehicles’ hover pad designs. So whilst the train still has its thrusters and the tech of the Collateral universe to keep it going, it is several times heavier (with it’s extended load) and requires more power to get it moving.

Train Shot 03
So that’s all from us this week. Be sure to come back next week for another update on Collateral. - Mark

A Picture’s Worth A Thousand Words, So…

…a GIF should be worth at least 100,000, right? With all our in game weapons and upgrades we’ve had our animator, Rob, apply his skills to give the cab more life and nuance.

LaserGuidedChickens
Maelstrom
The animations had to be quite drastic and have a lot of obvious movement due to the weapons limited space of screen. So if they look quite extreme, that’s the reason. Naturally, these animations will play in sync with the weapons when they fire, so ideally they won’t be this frantic.

WhaleCaller
JackInTheBox

So enjoy this weeks update, and as usual we’ll be bringing you even more content next week. - Mark

Better Late Than Never

Hey everyone!

There was a little slip in communication in the office, so an update didn’t get pushed out on Friday. Sorry to any of you that were held in suspense all weekend! (It was a long weekend here in Melbourne, so we just got back to the office today.)

This week I thought I’d mention the stuff I’VE been working on. As those of you who have played the alpha may know, the AI aren’t the brightest things around. They’re a little convoluted behind the scenes too, and so is their navigation network. It was a real pain to design and set up too, but now that I have proper source code access and a chance to review past decisions I’m looking at a whole new way of doing things.

In the current build a simple 3-way intersection is comprised of 25 different components to handle a variety of functions, albeit not in a very efficient way. This was because we were trying to do something that the navigation system wasn’t designed to handle. With the experience I’ve had now, and after reading a whole lot of code, I’ve come up with a new network system that should allow those 25 separate parts to be replaced by a single node. Not only that, but in the past the network was connected manually in order to craft the street layout just the way we wanted it. Now it’s generated automatically with only a little extra effort on my part. No more all-nighters playing connect-the-traffic-node for me! :)

So yeah, the AI are making some progress. I’ll let you know when they’re not quite so stupid anymore. That, uhh, may take a while though. I’ll do my best. For now, thanks for reading! -David

We’ve Trained For This!

Good news everyone, whilst David has been handling the lion’s share of the updates these past couple of weeks, I’m taking over to give some insight on what I’ve been working on recently. So with further ado, the train that was originally design to be whipping around the city, the Loco-Motive.

The Loco-Motive was one of the first batch of large vehicles to be designed along with the Juggernaut, however the idea was shelved for other assets that would affect the user experience more.

Loco-Motive Update 01

In the transition from the concept to the 3D model a few minor aspects to the design were altered on the fly in order to adjust for self-imposed poly limits and adjusting for scale on the skewed perspective.

Loco-Motive Update 02

Whilst the train does have a default colour scheme, the way I texture the vehicles means that changes can easily be made to add more variety. Generally these can be simple palette swaps, or I can design a custom skin particularly aimed at one faction to show allegiances.

Unlike most of the other vehicles, you’re not going to run into this guy flying about out on the “road”. You’ll see these trains running their routes on tracks around the Industrial Zone, most likely carrying supplies for one of the factions operating there.

Loco-Motive Update 03

Whilst it is still a work in progress, these early stages let us show off some of the bare bones of Collateral. Enjoy, and thanks for continuing to tune in. -Mark

Epic Update, Unreal Revelations

Hey everyone!

In case you didn’t see yesterday’s press release, Dancing Dinosaur Games has officially licensed a full version of Unreal Engine 3 for use on Collateral. This is a big deal because of the added flexibility it gives us for development and all the added perks of having support from Epic as well. What does this mean to you, the players? Let me explain.

Some of you may be thinking “But I thought you guys were already using the Unreal Engine,” and technically, yes we were. Until recently we’d been using UDK, which is the Unreal Development Kit. This is a free version of Unreal that Epic allows people to use with a lot of the features of the Unreal Engine and even a great indie-affordable license deal if you want to start selling any games you’ve made with it. While we won’t discuss the fine details about what’s different between UDK and UE3 (Unreal Engine 3), it basically means we now have full control over how we use the engine.

Why did we need to get a full engine license? So that we can make a better game for all of you! I know that sounds like lame pandering, but it’s true. We hit some bottlenecks in performance that we couldn’t work around within the confines of UDK, and we didn’t want you guys suffering with terrible frame rates if there was a way we could make things better. The main issue was the fact that UDK only allows programmers to use Unreal’s own language UnrealScript and DLL binding. That meant that without a full license we would be unable to do anything that required using native C++ code. Now that we have access to the underlying native code we can use that to do a whole lot of useful things, not the least of which is use multithreading.

What is “multithreading”? Basically it’s the ability for a program to execute multiple parts of itself, individually called threads, simultaneously while sharing resources like memory and processing power. This can significantly increase the speed of a program if the threads are trying to achieve goals that don’t interfere or overlap with each other.

So now that you understand the concept of multithreading, why do we need it and what effect will it have on Collateral? Well the simple answer is that it will improve performance. The biggest bottleneck I mentioned earlier is that we have a whole lot of non-player vehicles flying around, and the more of them we have all on a single thread the worse the performance was getting. We hadn’t even added the pedestrians (they’re coming eventually, it’s just taking them a while to get here on foot) and already we were reaching the limit of vehicles that we could put in the game before it started noticeably slowing the game down. Instead of giving you guys a game that seemed like a neon ghost town we wanted to breathe life into the city with more vehicles and people and other interesting things.

When will you guys see the benefits of all this? Well unfortunately it’s taking us a little longer than expected to translate Collateral from UDK to UE3. Sadly it’s not quite as simple as you’d think because of a bunch of recoding that needs doing. This will probably add a bit to our expected completion date but we’re still aiming for a release late this year.

There are a number of other benefits we’ve gained from this license, but I’m starting to feel like this is an imposing enough wall of text already. I’ll talk more about all that in future updates. For now, we’d like to say a massive thanks to Jay Wilbur, VP of Epic, who was awesome enough to personally set things up for us to get a license after a trip he made to Melbourne last year. He’s a totally awesome guy.

We’ll have much more to talk about in the weeks to come. For now, thanks for reading! -David

It’s Pronounced “Ehmp”

Hey everyone!

So we mentioned new weapon effects a while ago, but at the time they were just effects. Now we can show you the latest weapon approaching completion: the EMP.

cab with emp

The EMP is just what it sounds like, an electromagnetic pulse generated from your cab to disable all other vehicles around you. And of course when all the vehicles around you are using their electronic systems to stay in the air, you’ll notice a lot of falling cars around you. Handy, isn’t it? However if internal testing is anything to go by, it definitely needs some balancing so it’s still not quite ready.

Also, tired of green? Well check out our the theme for our new area. We call it ‘Orange’.

ScreenShot00062

ScreenShot00063

Oh, and we’ve got a huge announcement for you all early next week. Keep your eyes out for it! In the meantime, thanks for reading! -David

Barrels, Bags, and Boxes

Hey everyone!

So today I thought I’d talk about the little things. New Bedlam is a large city, and as with any large city it’s easy to get lost in the scale of things. However, if you take the time to look around you’ll find plenty of detail down every street. Without it, a building side could look like this:

Empty street
Not all that exciting, is it? And more importantly it doesn’t look like it belongs in a busy, living city. Our artists have made a whole variety of little things that can be found all over the city. Tiny things that on their own aren’t much to look at on their own, but when they’re used together they can really bring a scene to life.

Stuff
And the best thing is that a few little bits of detail are all we need. With only a modest (though still growing) assortment of items used in different combinations and arrangements, a whole neighbourhood can be brought to life without creating the obvious impression of repetition. From an empty street you can get something like this:

Detailed street
So when you wander down the streets of New Bedlam, don’t forget to stop and smell the… On second thought, maybe you should avoid smelling anything you might find on the side of the road. But perhaps you can appreciate the complexities of all that junk.

Till next time, thanks for reading. -David

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