Hope everyone’s having a great weekend! I’m really excited to show you some of the biggest changes to Medical Necessity yet!
Ben has begun work on turning our test maps into full-fledged environments! Our levels will be following a campaign, and that campaign will take the player character and his teammates through multiple different biomes, from deserts and cities to even underground caves. Our first levels will take place in the forest, we plan to theme these levels around “many individual obstacles”, with few indoor environments and large structures. Similar to how every campaign in Left 4 Dead 2 has its own thematic playstyle despite never altering the core gameplay, we plan for each of our biomes to have its own identity and unique challenges for the player to overcome.
Also visible in the GIF is our new crosshair and the design for Ben’s revamped HUD for demonstrating the team health. Like I discussed last week, we’re working on replacing the Team Counter with a quartet of health bars, each one displaying for a specific teammate. Some playtesters were fine relying solely on the circular healthbars attached to the actual units, but others wanted a single location where they can keep an eye on everyone’s health at once, and we hope this new HUD will fulfill that need. We plan on extensively testing this new HUD to see whether playtesters find it useful, and if we need to add additional information to aid the player (the specific element we’re looking at next is a form of ‘offscreen teammate indicator’ like the magnifying glass from Super Smash Bros)
Pat and Carry have also been hard at work this week! They spent their early days completing the ‘personal space bubble’ code, which prevents the AI from bunching up. Previously, it was semi-common for AI to make similar decisions as to the best location on the map to stand, and we’d get bots crowding each other for places of cover or optimal sight coverage. Now, they stay more spread out, which helps the player hit his healing targets and keep the front lines larger. We’re all really excited to be done with our last big AI project, because now we can start designing levels with them! The rest of their week was spent on a major overhaul of the solid-state machines that track every element of the game. It’s all under-the-hood stuff, nothing very visible on the front end, but our code is extensively re-organized for clarity and optimization, mostly making room and flexibility for the upcoming gameplay expansions. Another major element of this update is that all characters (player, ally, enemy) are now using the same solid-state machine, just with a variable informing the GameMaster object (described in detail here) which algorithm pathways to follow. (This is why the GIF has that visual bug where the red players are appearing blue, something we’ve already fixed going forward.) This makes it a lot easier for us to adjust weapon and class stats, since they’ll apply equally to every character in the game.
Speaking of sounds, our sound designers have also been working on new exciting things for the game! Their first priority is the gunfire, and they’ve already completed quite a medley. Can you guess which firearm will get which sound?
In addition to the NPC gun sounds, they’re also exploring avenues for the sounds the player’s gun should make. The player will be wielding “healing versions” of the same firearms as the bots (kinda like Ana’s sniper rifle from Overwatch), so we’ve tried a couple of different strategies for giving the healing guns their own identity. For example, they could have a sci-fi electric tone to them, or perhaps a hypodermic dart sound. We haven’t fully decided on what sounds best, but you’ll find out when we do!
If you have any questions about our game or our development, you can always contact me here on The Daily SPUF or on Steam. Thanks for reading, and I look forward to updating you all next week!