All the New Stuff
Happy Valentine’s Day! We’re expressing our love for you loyal supporters of Project Nexus 2 today with a much-needed UPDATE.
It’s been hectic around the Team Madness office, folks. HECTIC. It feels like playing catch-up while we wrap up our Unity 5 conversion and our Character System upgrade.
So, what does any of that mean? What will these changes bring to the table? Let’s figure that out now!
It was about time we took a crack at moving up to Unity 5, the more recent release of the Unity 3D Engine upon which Project Nexus 2 has been built. Advancing from Unity 4 to 5 has brought with it a ton of benefits. Here are some of the easier-to-explain ones.
– Mecanim, Unity’s animation state machine, gives us MUCH more control over what animated state your character is in. Previously we had all kinds of now-unnecessary checks to see if you were transitioning between animations. In Unity 4, those transitions could not be cancelled if it meant going back to the state you were just leaving. Unity 5 boasts more control over this. One situation where this came up all the time was if you swung once in Melee/Unarmed, but didn’t continue the combo. As your character transitions back to his Idle state, you were unable to swing again to go BACK into Melee/Unarmed. This means you have a small window where your attacks WILL NOT work, and there was nothing we could do about it. We’re hopeful that this issue, among many others (like using an Interactive and cancelling and trying to use it again immediately) can now be handled.
-Some of you may remember the horrifying issues we were having with FMOD, the audio system our game uses for all sounds. Long story short, I spent two weeks wading through poorly integrated code to get a version of FMOD that was CLEARLY meant for Unity 5 to work with Unity 4. Oh, all the release notes SAID it worked on Unity 4. It didn’t. After jumping to Unity 5, however, the most recent FMOD release appears to work just fine. Bullet dodged (…Tac-Dodged?).
-Bugtesting all of the tiny problems with my custom shaders is now possible. Unity 4 didn’t catch all the issues. Moving up to Unity 5, we’ve even improved on existing shader features. Remember the Mohawk “hat”? Now the alpha cutout respects Projectors and Point Lights. No more glowing edges outside the actual area the mohawk should fill. Only the hair gets lit up. We also have more control over fog effects, and we’ve played with the cartoon outlines around objects not fading away in the fog, so you always see cartoony hill and building outline shapes in the foggy background.
-Cloth physics work a bit better than before. Go play Abandoned Outpost now while the crappy existing flags are still in, because when you’re playing the upgraded game after the next update, they’ll finally be working the way we wanted.
Character System Upgrades
When Krinkels and I planned and started working on this game 3 years ago (end of 2013, beginning of 2014), we had no idea how big we would be trying to make it. After the Kickstarter ended, we noticed that we really had a chance to make a REAL game, not just a quick Madness experience.
But nearly all the code that the game’s characters use was meant for a much smaller game. It didn’t presume a world filled with turrets and boss fights. Now that we’re settled on going down that path, we’ve had to rethink what a “character” is, and how it needs to be defined in the code. So I’ve spent the last three weeks converting ALL character code into a more modern and efficient format. Not only should character code (and thus the game itself) run faster, it finally opens the door to better AI, swapping characters with squadmates, and maybe even eventual multiplayer functionality.
It’d be far too much work to commit to just to get turrets working, but with the possibility of real multiplayer? C’mon. That’s too good to pass up.
So don’t give up hope on us YET, oh lovely Friends of Madness. Krinkels is tackling Story Mode as we speak, and I’ll have these code changes sooner than you know it. Until then, enjoy the Alpha while it lasts, because we’re getting closer to Beta EVERY DAY.