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Net Gain: PATCH 0.5.1!

Near Future Corporate Espionage!

Post Tue Aug 06, 2013 5:42 pm
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Location: Chicago

UPDATE: New hotfix is up!
This is just to fix the "cell/squad destroyed, missions not starting" bug.

UPDATE: New Build is approved and available now!


I thought I'd keep track of what I'm up to over here at the LZG Offices (i.e. my room). As always you can follow the Twitter for more regular updates.

We've certainly come a long way just since the initial prototype! I spent more time than planned on art side things, but I think it's been worth it.
Image
A touch of color goes a long way! Between the logos and buttons, the look is starting to catch up with the simulation. Definitely an improvement over the old "3 column" internal playable.

The next visual things are the 3D city for the ambient background (to be randomly generated, but probably will start with a preset one), Operatives (a collection of pieces, outfits, hairs, colours, etc), and their scene/camfeed background art. But those are big undertakings that'll probably have to wait for a bit while the rest of the simulation gets fleshed out.

Recent Developments:
Teams have gotten a proper implementation (with changeable names).
Color coding and success chance for planned plots is clearer.
Loyalties are shown in pretty bars and fluctuate (though with only a few results so far), depending on pay, mission results, who they run with, etc.
AI is smarter about how and who it hires for missions, and it's chances on that mission.
Preliminary circles added, replacing the previous market/scouting. Circles will be sort of like this, but with more specialized and custom circles going deeper, and with Favour to gain access and unlock more powerful operatives! The "one long list" menu sucks but it'll work for now.
Missions are now based on "nested objectives", meaning it'll be easier to allow missions to dramatically change in the middle of the action: whether that's to run away and cut your losses, or to restock at safehouses, or attack targets of opportunity, or to chase a moving target across the globe!
Logos are in for corps and comps, made of three colors, with some premade logos and different generated color combinations. No generated logo art yet, but that might be soon, depending on how I can get them to look. Operatives also get assigned a color, mainly used to ID them on loyalty bars and quicker finds in the lists.
New buttons added: company, Assets, intel, etc.
New intel shows a live feed on the target as long as you still have some points on it. this'll be vital for tracking moving targets in the new missions I'm building up this week.
More economy tweaks, and Morgan's currently building the new budget method that should make them more stable, only going up/down a bit depending on the corp's balance... If they're in dire straits financially they may take the axe to your budget, but on the flipside if they're doing well they'll be more liberal with dropping funds into your accounts!
There's been a lot of framework build up still, since we are still early in development so a lot of the things I'm spending my time building are to enable a ton of features... but down the line. For example the nested objectives can allow for all sorts of neat new things, they just need the rest of the supporting systems in place to use them. Still, I'm taking time to include small tweaks and additions for my own sanity and your enjoyment.
I might sneak in some of the most basic operative property stuff now that they're actually collecting their salaries. Just text to start, but based on the same stuff that will be switched out for shiny pixels once I get to that scene/feed chunk.

And of course, the usual plethora of features, tweaks, and fixes that just get swept up in the mighty tsunami of non-stop development!

My initial goal for this next build was operations and live intel, but they both needed some pretty big framework things added in first, so to keep burnout to a minimum (and to add some much needed colour) I took a tangent on logos. My goal is to have the next build up by the 21st at the latest, but preferably at the beginning of that week: I've got a "long weekend" vacation with the family after that, so I'll be sure to get a stable build out before then.

I've got the next list of things I want to implement already in place, but I'm trying to stick to a more sprint-style development, keep it more flexible and able to respond to things that are starting to stick out as needing attention. Given that it's prone to change, here's what I've got on the plate for the next few builds:

    Economy: right now it's all on a flat level, but this sprint develops the fuller economic "tree", with corps acquiring and losing companies, and powerful conglomerates collecting other corporations under their powerful reach. this power scale will keep you fighting in your "weight class", but with room to grow (or shrivel). Also, giving assets some much-needed love, with their generated names, some art, etc.

    Operatives: their art is going to be a whole 'nother beast, though I'm trying to figure out a nice preliminary pass solution so I can get something up there to at least give you an idea what's planned. But mainly this pass involves making their traits have an effect on the world around them, operatives training/idling/doing interesting things, and the special events, also to be used in missions.
    Missions: Conflicts will get upgraded from it's current 'draft' implementation to something more complete, with orders for fighting strategies, and smarter operatives employing all of their wide range of skills in conflict. Also using more of the nested objectives stuff, enabling more of the safehouse/resupply/dynamic mission things. Also events using the same system for operative events.
    War Room: very basic war room features, such as having a number of analysts you can assign to break down your intel into something usable, and some basic "position" stuff for your broker within the corp.
President - Developer
Level Zero Games

Post Tue Aug 06, 2013 7:13 pm

Posts: 12
Location: 19th Floor - Logistics
I loves it all.

The order you listed is basically my preference for what will make the prototype most playable. A stable economy is necessary for long-term play. Interesting Operatives are the hooks that make that long-term play more interesting. Missions too, but in a less personal way. They add the spice that makes your Operatives useful or gets them killed. The War Room...I could wait on tbh. I always assumed it was a late game feature and not central to the basic gameplay loop. I suppose not knowing how funky the new Intel system is yet, I don't know how useful it might be in dealing with it.

In truth I'm looking forward to the art assets most at this point. I know it's rather shallow but the simulation looking like a game is a big part of my immersion. On Operatives, I'd settle for just seeing a static image of an Operative standing there, or with minimal animations, whatever is necessary to test some stuff. Graphics are one of those things I want pretty badly, but I figure take a back seat to all the mechanical things that could be hooked up or fully implemented.

So yeah, keep truckin'! Can't wait for the next build.

Post Tue Aug 06, 2013 8:55 pm
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Posts: 60
Location: Chicago

All the features are integrated, and I'm guessing chunks of those things will be done while the others are worked on just out of necessity. War Room stuff is "part of the game" now, so it's getting iterated up along the same paths.

Those static images for operatives - in order to have enough variety for the plethora of ops and to avoid the whole army of clones thing - is going to be the biggest chunk of time to make.

Also, fiddlin' with tooltips. Mostly they just get in the way though.
Image
President - Developer
Level Zero Games

Post Tue Aug 06, 2013 11:36 pm

Posts: 29
When do you expect this update to come out though desura ?. I still have 4.1 but this update looks great.

Post Wed Aug 07, 2013 12:40 am

Posts: 12
Location: 19th Floor - Logistics
With the right positioning it might work. Or consider what Domions 3 does, and makes all tool tips right click to show.

Cutting back on the amount of letters used where possible might help too. (Min. versus Minimum, ect...)

Post Thu Aug 08, 2013 10:21 am
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Posts: 60
Location: Chicago

lemonrev wrote:
When do you expect this update to come out though desura ?. I still have 4.1 but this update looks great.


I was aiming for 1-2 weeks from now, but missions are getting a pretty massive overhaul right now which might delay it significantly, depending how long it takes to finish that then get the AI to figure out how to use it.
President - Developer
Level Zero Games

Post Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:00 pm

Posts: 29
thanks for the feedback, i can wait and i have been waiting for many other games as well thanks for letting us know please when you have time keep us informed :).

Post Sun Aug 11, 2013 2:56 am

Posts: 5
I'll greatly look forward to it as well.

I hope that with mission planning we'll be able to do something like:

"Hey, why are my operatives trying to use a VTOL in their mission when my pilot is a Helicopter specialist? Let's switch that out for a Helicopter to play to my operative's strengths," sort of thing.

Also, where is a link to the Bug Reporting part of the process? I can't seem to find the link you originally sent out for the life of me. You said to put suggestions for the game into there, right?

Post Sun Aug 11, 2013 8:19 pm

Posts: 12
Location: 19th Floor - Logistics

Post Thu Aug 15, 2013 12:25 pm

Posts: 2
All these updates are making me drool. Maybe I shouldn't be checking in here so often. :lol:

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