Fresh Start – Dev Update 1

Fresh Start

For those of you familiar with the old site you might have noticed things have changed. Our old site had some memory leaks and issues with hosting so we’ve migrated and we have a fresh start focusing on building the press platform for our game. This is still the place to find development updates but we’ve also added a press page for media outlets and potential customers to learn more about the game in a concise manner. The press page will also be how we distribute beta access to the game as we move forward.

The press page is still under construction and I’m in the process of importing posts from the legacy website to a separate page on this new site so that they aren’t lost forever. Expect frequent and detailed updates posted here every Thursday.

Development Update

The team is currently pushing towards the next milestone which is our Steam Greenlight debut. With that comes a lot of visual improvements to the game, a new map specifically designed for our game mode, much more visual and audio feedback, voice over work, new animations and models, and a host of networking and performance improvements.

Until now, the game had the working title of “Project Ice.” From this point forward the title is “BCE”.

Better Code

This week we’re working on fixing a lot of old netcode and re-doing the character class. The netcode has been unstable up until this point because when we started building the core systems of the game we didn’t have a very deep understanding of replication in Unreal 4. The same goes for the character and projectile movement classes. The last week has been spent diving back into old code, making it more functional and robust.

fresh start on caveman

Say goodbye to the red and blue UE4 models!

In the past we had a blueprint for two different character classes, one for each team. This was a bad practice because it added complexity, made our code difficult to follow, and made it difficult to move forward with planned features like cosmetics. We re-parented the caveman class with a newly design C++ parent class which contains an ENum that determines what team the caveman is on. The ENum initializes based on the player state when the server auto-assigns the client to a team. This improvement allows us to update the skeletal mesh of the player every time a change is made to the player state. These changes will come in handy down the line, when we implement cosmetic items.

New Map

We’ve also been working on a new map specifically designed with the data we gathered from early playtests. Our first map was completely procedurally generated but lacked any real level geometry. It was essentially a football field with trees in the middle. It was uninteresting to navigate and difficult to mentally map. We experimented with map hazards, procedurally generated landmarks and ice patches, but finally came to the conclusion that we would need to hand-craft a map so that it would have more character.

Another challenge that we identified came with the semi-top-down perspective in BCE. The camera is angled in such a way that players who are “south” of other players have the distinct advantage of being able to see and attack enemies without the threat of being seen. We have chosen to remedy this imbalance through level design. The new Gorge map features three organic lanes which laterally split the battlefield, removing much of the advantage that approaching from the bottom once afforded.

Gorge Level update

Here’s a sneak peek at the new map which is still going through its art-pass stage.

The new map is a little smaller, and has a second higher layer along a cliffside that offers an entry-only choke point into each cave. In the middle there are rivers of ice that will break over the course of the game, shrinking the mid choke point to make flanking opportunities more attractive. Along the bottom of the map there is a plane of slippery ice which, although difficult to traverse, leads straight to the enemy cave. We hope that with a map that helps encourage tactics and team work players will start getting the point of the game a lot quicker. It also looks way better thanks to our artists!

Going forward

We are scheduled to debut on Steam Greenlight by the end of June or early July. That update will include a newer more stable build of the game, a gameplay trailer, and a new song! As mentioned before we’re going to start posting an update every Thursday with possibly some more content in-between, so if you’re interested in the process check our Twitter!

About kig

I play mostly FPS and strategy games on PC, my favorite being Team Fortress 2. I've also worked in the industry at a mobile game studio using Unity. I'm currently playing Total War: Warhammer and Overwatch!
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