So this is kind of last minute, but we’ve been offered some free space to exhibit Collateral at PAX Aus thanks to AIE, the Academy of Interactive Entertainment where the members of our company studied game development. You’ll be able to come and try the latest version of Collateral at the AIE booth all day Friday and the first half of Saturday.
We’re still inching closer to Early Access on Steam. This week we’ve been composing a new trailer to celebrate the release, sorting out as many bugs as we can, and generally trying to make the next version of Collateral as polished as can be. There are still some issues that aren’t going to be fixed just yet so that we don’t have to hold back the release any longer figuring out how to fix them, but we’re aware that they exist and will continue trying to fix them for next time.
Since we’ll be at PAX on Friday, next week’s update will come out on Thursday instead. Till then, thanks for reading. -David
Mark‘s back to bring you the weekly update. This week I bring you a new gun and new potential upgrades.
After making a lot of progress on our build for Steam, our incredibly talented environment artist Riley took it upon himself to make another weapon just for kicks. We’ve got a gun that fires ions and one that rips a hole in the fabric of reality, but we didn’t have a basic shotgun. And we still don’t because why have a shotgun when you can have a plasma shotgun instead?
So what else have we got in the works besides guns? Well we’ve got more ways to customize the cab to your liking. Because I started these pretty late in the week, the concepts are incredibly rough.
Most notable are the hoverpads, as we’ve made some changes in the way they’re implemented that allow for more variety in style.
Previously, we simply had the one mesh duplicated to fill out each “wheel” arch. This constrained what could be design because each mesh had to be symmetrical on two axes so that it could be flipped without issue.
There are also other physical limitations when it comes to designing upgrades for the cab. For example, one booster I’ve drawn will probably be heavily reworked since it would be incinerating the weapon in the mine-layer slot.
That’s all for now. Thanks for dropping by everybody. Be sure to come on back next week for another Collateral update. – Mark
Today I’m going to talk to you about perks. That is to say, the joys and rewards of working for someone else. You see being a taxi driver is nice and all, but while the pay is good and your options at the local stores are numerous there are some things only available to those with the right connections.
As Zack begins to work for the various factions around the city he will be rewarded for his service. Sometimes this will be just an ordinary cash reward, but sometimes Zack will be given access to something exclusive. For example, the chance to be a moving billboard for his would-be employers.
Here you can see some examples of the Octopi and Cthulhu Corp paintjobs (yes, we’ve been making a lot of those lately) that will only be unlocked by doing missions for their respective factions. Exactly when they’ll be unlocked is still undecided, but these along with faction-exclusive weapons and upgrades will be rewards for making friends with the right organizations. Of course, it’s up to you to decide who the right organizations are…
You might also notice the new frames on the cab in those images. Collateral isn’t going to be all guns all the time. You’ll start with a smaller arsenal and have to earn your way up to using the big guns. New frames, and thus new weapon configuration options, will be unlocked throughout the game no matter which factions you side with.
That’s all for this week. Thanks for reading! -David
As promised, here are some screenshots of the things we mentioned last week.
The new damage effects make your taxi look more scraped and dinged up as you take hits, and you’ll leave sparks when you collide with things to give you a better feel of grinding metal.
With more paintjobs and our new paint and glow options, you can have even more variety for your cab’s appearance. The Colour sliders adjust the highlight colour of the taxi’s body and upgrades, while the glow sliders affect the colour of the luminescent panels and the under light.
I also mentioned the new missions last week. Here’s how they work.
In a Big Game Hunt mission, you’ll be tasked with hunting down a particular vehicle much like in an Assassination mission, however your target is a massive Juggernaut. The Juggernaut is also a lot more deadly than it used to be with increased health and newly installed drunk missiles.
The other mission type is the Volatile Package mission. This is a variation of the Smooth Ride mission type, however instead of transporting a passenger with an uneasy stomach you’ll be carrying a rather dangerous item that has violent consequences if you don’t take care in your delivery.
Oh, and for those wondering about our progress with Steam…
…we’re getting closer.
That’s all for this week. Thanks for reading. -David
We’re inching closer to having our Steam Early Access release ready for submission, which is pretty exciting for us. We’ve also got a bunch of new content and improvements for you this week.
We now have even more paint jobs available, plus the colour selector for both the main body colour and the glow colour is now working. The effect is a massive spectrum of taxi appearances for you, and that doesn’t even consider the assortment of weapons and upgrades available.
Want more gameplay? Well the new convoy missions are up and running, and a couple more mission types are just about ready too. We are very mysteriously referring to them as Big Game Hunter and Volatile Package. More about those next week.
Not feeling enough visceral feedback? Well now we have damage and impact effects to show you just how banged up your taxi is. We’ve even been updating other effects like the teleporter flash and Ion Cannon beams.
We’ll try to have a nice gallery of images to show off some of these things with next week’s update. In the meantime, thanks for reading! -David
We’ve been busy this week with some interesting things. First off, Josh was on the recent Work in Beta podcast, the BetaCast. You can check that out here!
We’ve also been working on our first cutscene! In it Zack is being chewed out by his boss, Clark the Shark, for ruining his previous taxi. Luckily for Zack, the chewing out is metaphorical. Check out the storyboard:
This cutscene will be at the beginning of the game and explain to the player what they are supposed to do, as you can probably guess from the WASD keys on the second page. Without the dialog it’s a little bizarre, but for the moment we’ll let your imaginations keep you entertained with the possibilities of what’s being said.
In other news, the whales are finally working mostly as intended. They can be a little improbable at times, but I suppose that’s to be expected when dealing with spontaneous whales. No petunias have been sighted yet. The new mission types are beginning to take shape, though they aren’t quite functional so I won’t go into any more details on them just yet. Thanks for reading! -David
We’ve said from the beginning that vehicle customization was important to us. As such we’re now working on adding more depth to the cosmetic modifications you can make to your cab. We’re adding a few more paintjobs to the selection already available, including these two:
And there will be plenty more where those came from. Not only will you be able to change the pattern on your cab, but you’ll also be able to change the base colour to your liking. Want a black cab with blue flames? There you go!
We’ve also modified the upgrades to take on a hint of the cab’s theme. No more out-of-place yellow hoverpads with your awesome blue body.
The actual mechanics for this level of customization are still in the debugging-but-somewhat-functional stage, so the final implementation of how you’ll make your modifications isn’t set in stone. We’ll show it off when it’s closer to completion. As always, thanks for reading! -David
We’re back from our break feeling refreshed. We’ll get right back into the swing of things with the Fuzz Detainee VTOL, part of a prison convoy for a new type of mission.
The convoy vehicle carries prisoners, because sometimes people survive being “arrested” by the Fuzz, and sometimes people will want you to break out their friends. The convoy consists of the detainee transport vehicle and some other Fuzz vehicles to guard it. You’ll need to avoid being killed by the guards one way or another long enough for your passenger to hack in to the transport and teleport the prisoner to you before making your escape.
We’ll be adding this mission and a few more in our next release, so stay tuned for details of the other missions in weeks to come. Thanks for reading. -David
It’s been a while since we had any time off here, so we’ve decided to take a week to give us time to take care of personal stuff and generally have a bit longer than a weekend (half the time we don’t even get that) to relax. We’ll be back to work again the week after, so there won’t be an update next week.
As for this week, we have been continuing to work through optimization and other less-than-thrilling-to-talk-about stuff to make Collateral run smoother. Riley has, among other things, been creating new LODs for a lot of the environment assets. I’ve been optimizing old, somewhat hacked together code that I now understand better than I did when I wrote it in the first place. Certain physics problems are continuing to pester me, but I have made progress. I’ve definitely found a whole bunch of ways NOT to fix them, and that’s something right?
Rohan has been looking further into potential Linux support. No promises on that, but we’ve had enough people asking for it that we are at least trying it. For the moment, it’s looking promising.
So that’s about it for this week. Again, there won’t be an update next week so we’ll be back again in 2 weeks. Thanks for reading. -David
So as we’re working toward our next update for Collateral we’ve decided that it would be a good time to perform some optimization. Unreal has some nice profiling tools to work with that give us a fair bit of detail for debugging.
A little while ago I took a profile of the game when trying to solve some problems and the graph looked like this (the vertical axis is milliseconds per frame, the horizontal axis is frame number):
Not exactly running too smoothly, as you can see. Ideally we’d like that to look like this:
Note the difference of scale on the vertical axis. At present we have something that looks like this:
So yeah, much better but still a way to go to get it to a reliable and consistently good frame rate. The optimization will also probably result in a few minor changes to functionality here and there. Things like AI behaviour will need to change to make things run smoother, but hopefully in a way that both improves performance and gameplay.
Well, that’s all we have for this week. Thanks for reading. -David