Arcen Games

Games => A Valley Without Wind 1 & 2 => Topic started by: x4000 on April 14, 2011, 10:12:45 AM

Title: AVWW Pre-Alpha #9 Video -- Bats, Espers, Burowers, New HUD, and Weather
Post by: x4000 on April 14, 2011, 10:12:45 AM
Original: http://christophermpark.blogspot.com/2011/04/avww-pre-alpha-9-video-bats-espers.html

It was just three days ago that I wrote the #9 preview for A Valley Without Wind, and mostly that's still the best source for the goods on what all is new this  time around.  However, the big thing we were missing last time was a video, because of a few technical difficulties with the first version of the video.

This video has been worth the wait, however, as our PR guy Erik is now doing them, and so the artistry in the video itself has jumped way upwards.  Without further ado:



What's New?
For the most part the video shows off exactly what I was telling you about in that #9 preview (linking again to it for those who skipped down), but there are a few things that have actually changed in the last three days.  So we've not only put up yet more new screenshots, but I have a few new things to add to our prior list:

Revamped HUD
Perhaps the most immediately noticeable new thing is the new visual look for the game's HUD and GUI in general.  Gone are the AI War-like dark buttons and such, and in are a new, higher-quality fantasy-looking style based on the Necromancer GUI for Unity.

It makes a huge difference in the feeling of polish for the game, from the loading screens to the main menu on down to the actual in-game HUD itself.  Note that the character select screen hasn't been fully updated yet, so it looks a bit off still.  I'm particularly fond of how much nicer the minimap looks, along with the ability bar slots at the bottom of the screen.

Lots More Sound Work
As always, Pablo is hard at work on the sound and music for the game, but the last week or so he's been working on sound effects in particular.  Mostly we don't include those in videos of this sort, but towards the end of the video you can here one of the wind sound effects, which is pretty cool.

New Ground Graphics
One thing that is shown in some parts of the video, but not others, is the new ground graphics that are now in use.  I had only managed to update some of them before Erik was taking the video, but you can see the difference in the outdoor grasslands areas, in the small town areas, and in the lava area.

We previously had maybe 5 ground layers, but now we have a whopping 29 of them.  There are five different kinds of lava alone, five different kinds of full snow, two different kinds of thawing snow, new pine needles and rocky grounds, and so on.

Between this and the HUD, the difference in the latest versions is pretty dramatic when you're actually playing.  You'll be seeing more of these in future videos of course, but this week's has a first taste.  The big change is that these grounds are higher quality and more interesting, which really brings the scenes together better.

Revamped Damage And Melee Models
Now when players or monsters take damage from enemies, they flash red for a brief second or so, and are invincible during this brief window.  This prevents a lot of things, such as enemies swarming players and insta-killing them, or players overkilling enemies with area damage that was "cooking" the enemies over time rather than just hitting them with one damaging blast.

In the video the only real evidence of this is the flashing red on occasion as the bats hit the characters or the character hits the enemies, but in actual gameplay this feels much better for close combat.  In general Keith actually redid the entire melee model, as the other one felt a bit clunky and that was part of the reason I haven't wanted to show it yet.  Now swords are actually a worthwhile thing and a viable way to take out espers or whatever else.  I still have work to do on the visual effect for the sword before we show it, but gameplay-wise it's now ready to go, which is a big step.

New Weapon: Gatling Gun
For our first gun, I wanted to pick a particularly challenging case to inflict on Keith, so the gatling gun was it.  This required a ton of new gameplay subsystems that we'll be able to use for various other weapons in the future, so it was a nice test case (despite some things that are unique to the gatling gun, of course).

The gatling gun has a spinup time while you hold down its fire button, then starts spraying bullets in a line, going faster and faster the longer you hold it down, until it overheats and has to go through a lengthy cooldown.  Or you can let go before it overheats, and the cooldown is correspondingly less.

The gatling gun also makes it so that you can't turn, but you can still move around -- so you wind up spraying bullets in the direction you were facing when you started using it, which can be phenomenally useful against, say, swarms of bats.  Even better than the energy lance.  You can see the ability icon for this next to the sword icon throughout the video, but I still have some visual work to do on this before we show the gun proper.

Until Next Time!
There were actually other internal things we also did in the last three days like the addition of tilesets for outdoor areas, and some first work on some very cool crafting stuff, but I'll wait to share those things with you when they're a bit further along.  Suffice it to say, we're very pleased with how things are coming along!
Title: Re: AVWW Pre-Alpha #9 Video -- Bats, Espers, Burowers, New HUD, and Weather
Post by: Invelios on April 14, 2011, 12:09:46 PM
Wow, the character animations are much smoother now! And I love the look of the HUD now, it fits the game better IMO. The game just keeps looking better each update! Can't wait till beta comes out!
Title: Re: AVWW Pre-Alpha #9 Video -- Bats, Espers, Burowers, New HUD, and Weather
Post by: BobTheJanitor on April 14, 2011, 01:31:53 PM
The animation smoothing makes it look ten times better. The characters fit into the world so much better now that all the jerkiness is gone. Kudos!
Title: Re: AVWW Pre-Alpha #9 Video -- Bats, Espers, Burowers, New HUD, and Weather
Post by: Zhaine on April 14, 2011, 01:46:52 PM
Lots of improvements, looking good  :)
Title: Re: AVWW Pre-Alpha #9 Video -- Bats, Espers, Burowers, New HUD, and Weather
Post by: Teal_Blue on April 15, 2011, 12:11:11 AM
nice new hud, i like the new look and the new weapons/spells icons, the new animations are much smoother and wonderfully beautiful!  I LOVE the rain and weather, Very, Very Nice!   :)

It is really, really coming together, looks beautiful!  :)

Crafting is Coming!!  Yes!!   :)

-Teal

 
Title: Re: AVWW Pre-Alpha #9 Video -- Bats, Espers, Burowers, New HUD, and Weather
Post by: zebramatt on April 15, 2011, 02:53:37 AM
Now all you need is eight-directional character sprites rather than four- and you'll be all set!
 ;) ;) ;)
Title: Re: AVWW Pre-Alpha #9 Video -- Bats, Espers, Burowers, New HUD, and Weather
Post by: superking on April 15, 2011, 04:41:20 AM
Now all you need is eight-directional character sprites rather than four- and you'll be all set!
 ;) ;) ;)



^ this, age of empires 2 shows us that 8 direction looks 100% good enough
Title: Re: AVWW Pre-Alpha #9 Video -- Bats, Espers, Burowers, New HUD, and Weather
Post by: x4000 on April 15, 2011, 08:29:52 AM
Now all you need is eight-directional character sprites rather than four- and you'll be all set!
 ;) ;) ;)



^ this, age of empires 2 shows us that 8 direction looks 100% good enough

Almost no chance of this; it would be hard to set up in photoshop, it would be an enormous extra amount of RAM and disk space used when taken in aggregate, and there were plenty of games that demonstrated that four directions was fine, too. ;)
Title: Re: AVWW Pre-Alpha #9 Video -- Bats, Espers, Burowers, New HUD, and Weather
Post by: BobTheJanitor on April 15, 2011, 05:12:45 PM
Almost no chance of this

Running this through the x4000 translator we get "This will never ever happen." So don't get your hopes up.

However, when he actually says something will never happen the translation is "This will be in the next build." (cf. shadows and blurry edges on lighting)

(Please don't hit me, Chris!)  :P
Title: Re: AVWW Pre-Alpha #9 Video -- Bats, Espers, Burowers, New HUD, and Weather
Post by: Hunam on April 15, 2011, 06:01:17 PM
I rarely post on forums, but I had to get on to say that this is looking very interesting. I picked up AI War a few months ago and it's one of the few games I play due to lack of time; although, matches take many weeks for me to finish hehe. One of my favorite things about AI War is the diversity of ships and unexpected behavior that comes from the great AI, and I look forward to seeing how this translates into AVWW. Sadly, interesting AI with unique and interesting enemies has always been one thing that I find lacking in many mainstream games. It seems like you always have just 2 enemy types...ones that like to get in close and run straight to you or enemies that do the exact opposite (though a great game Oblivion comes to mind). Anyhow, this looks great and I will definitely be making a purchase in the future.
Title: Re: AVWW Pre-Alpha #9 Video -- Bats, Espers, Burowers, New HUD, and Weather
Post by: Magos Mechanicus on April 15, 2011, 06:41:08 PM
Really liking those animation upgrades. As Bob said, it seems to tie them into the world a lot more.

Seeing Dawn, I was struck by one odd thing about the human character designs - clothing items like sneakers and denim pants seem to place them as members of an industrial society. Judging from the opening text crawl though, those haven't really existed for generations. Any thoughts on that?
Title: Re: AVWW Pre-Alpha #9 Video -- Bats, Espers, Burowers, New HUD, and Weather
Post by: x4000 on April 15, 2011, 06:55:19 PM
However, when he actually says something will never happen the translation is "This will be in the next build." (cf. shadows and blurry edges on lighting)

(Please don't hit me, Chris!)  :P

Speaking of, I managed to get the dimness working for the character eyesight today in the new lighting system, after saying it wasn't possible.  When will I learn!? ;)

I rarely post on forums, but I had to get on to say that this is looking very interesting. I picked up AI War a few months ago and it's one of the few games I play due to lack of time; although, matches take many weeks for me to finish hehe. One of my favorite things about AI War is the diversity of ships and unexpected behavior that comes from the great AI, and I look forward to seeing how this translates into AVWW. Sadly, interesting AI with unique and interesting enemies has always been one thing that I find lacking in many mainstream games. It seems like you always have just 2 enemy types...ones that like to get in close and run straight to you or enemies that do the exact opposite (though a great game Oblivion comes to mind). Anyhow, this looks great and I will definitely be making a purchase in the future.

Welcome to the forums!  And, thanks for your kind words on both AI War and AVWW.  Glad you're enjoying the former so well, and that the latter sounds interesting.

Seeing Dawn, I was struck by one odd thing about the human character designs - clothing items like sneakers and denim pants seem to place them as members of an industrial society. Judging from the opening text crawl though, those haven't really existed for generations. Any thoughts on that?

Don't worry, it's not a mistake.  They aren't actually characters you'd start with in the ice age, but they're just the first two I happened to do.  From the opening text scrawl, you might can infer why they're valid characters, but I'll leave it at that to avoid spoilers. :)
Title: Re: AVWW Pre-Alpha #9 Video -- Bats, Espers, Burowers, New HUD, and Weather
Post by: eRe4s3r on April 16, 2011, 07:54:46 AM
At least in the case of the diagonal sprites i won't insist though unlike with the z-buffer thing ;) Even i can see that the characters and the landscape have (intentionally) different perspectives, diagonal movement just wouldn't work. For that to work camera would need to be isometric or "true" top-down
Title: Re: AVWW Pre-Alpha #9 Video -- Bats, Espers, Burowers, New HUD, and Weather
Post by: x4000 on April 16, 2011, 09:26:11 AM
Yep, that's another good reason.
Title: Re: AVWW Pre-Alpha #9 Video -- Bats, Espers, Burowers, New HUD, and Weather
Post by: zebramatt on April 17, 2011, 02:25:04 PM
Do I need to point out I was kidding?
 :)
Title: Re: AVWW Pre-Alpha #9 Video -- Bats, Espers, Burowers, New HUD, and Weather
Post by: x4000 on April 18, 2011, 11:01:56 AM
I'm never sure these days with things like that!  So good to know. :) ;)
Title: Re: AVWW Pre-Alpha #9 Video -- Bats, Espers, Burowers, New HUD, and Weather
Post by: zoutzakje on April 22, 2011, 12:32:22 PM
wow looks so cool ^^ char animation really looks much smoother like previous posters already mentioned ^^
can't wait to run around and (get) kill(ed by) some monsters :D