Dev Diary: January 13th

Dev Diary: January 13th
Even though last week was a constrained work week, the team made use of the time.  In short order we jumped into planning and started working on new or additional elements of the game straight (animation and UI) away.

We also had a new hire team member jump aboard to help build out more amazing environments: Deane McGahan, Senior Environment Artist.  You can see her Q/A here.

This week we’re on a multi-pronged attack to tackle a few new important areas carried over from last week’s planning: UI and Animations.  For user interface (UI) efforts, we’re currently focused on creating wireframes to make sure our user experience (UX) is as smooth and as elegant as possible.  We’re looking for minimal transitions from main menu to, well, doing whatever it is the game can let you do.  This is an important step that is often overlooked in game development.  It is important as it allows us to hit any issues on “paper” so that we don’t have to rework designs or code later in the game.  In any functional discipline, late stage reworks run the risk of a poor implementation or, by extension, run the risk of a much buggier feature.

For animations, Andy has begun importing all of the new and current data that we have from 3DStudio Max into the engine.  Over the course of the project, this will be a time consuming process considering there are some estimated 1100 animations (at the minimum) expected to be implemented in the game.  Importing from 3DSM into the engine only represents the work on the pipeline portion, this does not take into account the time and skill to actually create the animation or iterate on it to make sure the animation looks correct AND fits within the game’s look and feel.  We won’t do this importing process all at once, of course, but that should give folks an idea of the amount of effort that is often involved in one aspect of game development.

We’ve also focused on additional “under the hood” work related to streaming levels.  On the surface, this is an underappreciated area to spend time on.  However it is critical for ensuring that the player’s experience in moving from one section of the level to another is as smooth as possible.  The complexity involved here can’t really be overstated because it touches every part of the level – including but not limited to lighting, audio, effects, textures, core structures, gameplay, etc.  Most map-modders are intimately aware of the challenges faced at this level.  At any rate, we’ve taken a big organization step here and it should make level development much more robust moving forward.

On the Engineering front, we’ve been getting our damage system online.  We’ve been working with a rudimentary one until now to facilitate quick iteration on game play, but now it’s time to hulk it up a notch.  This will help us further refine our play-balancing and will certainly get things to “feel” much more realistic (even though we don’t think there is anyone on the team who has been shot by gas powered projectiles).

Also we’ve constructed our development machine for TAKEDOWN. Here are the specifications along with some pictures!

CPU: CORE i7 3820 3.6GHz LGA 2011
BOARD: ASUS P9X79 LGA 2011 Intel X79
MEMORY: FX-12800CL 10Q-32GB 4x
CASE: Corsair CC-9011012-WW Carbide Series 5
POWER SUPPLY: Antec Earthwatt EA750Green 750
SSD: 240GB INT 520 SATA 6GB/s 2.5
HDD: ST500NM0011 500GB SEA ES 7200 x2 RAID 1
MONITORS: ViewSonic VG2436wm-:LED

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That’s it for our Dev Diary update on TAKEDOWN. Be sure to follow us on twitter @Takedownthegame and our Facebook page for more updates!

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