Hello! I just wanted to drop you all a line and tell you things are still on track. It has been a hectic few months since the last update and I did a little bit of travelling and am now just settling into a new job! I do not have the time to post a big update at the moment but I wanted to tell you some of the new things going on under the hood of the Infernal Dead machine!
About a week after the last update I began toying around with the idea of procedural generation. I wasn’t quite sure it was feasible and it was just a ‘What if…’ sort of thing BUT 8 days later I actually managed to build a basic system and got it working. There were a lot of hurdles and limitations but you know me, I kept at it and after some more coding and a few workarounds I finally had a system I was proud of!
So now, I have a procedural map generation system (random maps) which means that you will literally never play the same level twice! (I guess it’s mathematically possible but the odds are astronomical) The AI has methods to navigate the maps and it all melds seamlessly into my dynamic lighting system. It also supports proper collision (which was a big problem in the beginning), proper world dynamic lighting (also another big problem at first) and a few more features I haven’t mentioned. Best of all, it runs really smooth despite what is actually going on and is much faster than the prevous maps I built with the Editor. 98% of it is code (no Kismet bullshit) and it isn’t hacky code either as I’ve learned a lot about programming during this time and can do a few things better than I used to!
I also coded most of the game ‘skeleton’ such as the world map screen, level progression, stamina and supply system, etc. I got a lot of work done during my online absence so I’m quite happy about that.
So I’ll go into the details with the full proper update but these are just some of the really exciting things that I’ve been up to! I’ll drop another update as soon as I can, see you soon guys!
So here are 4 screens to show what I’m talking about. If you’d like to drop a comment on which you prefer, that would help me a great deal! Please note that the ‘Sharpen Filter’ is what was used for these latest batch of screens.
UPDATE: I’ve discovered the problem. All screenshots of environments up until this date have been taken from the Editor itself in Real-Time mode. The reason for this is because in-game, I cannot change the time cycle so the sun will pass overhead on its own. By taking screens directly from the Editor, I can dictate the time of day and have more control over the screenshots.
And so to test, I took some in-game screens and it would appear as though the problems are no longer existent and the visuals are much more smooth and clean. The ‘Muddyness and Noise’ are gone and so from here on, all future screen captures will from in-game only.
I’ve been back from my trip for around two and a half weeks and I must say it was a nice little diversion. It gave me time to breathe, to think and most important of all, reorganize. I now have a much more clear direction of where I want to take this and how to get it done. Sometimes a little break makes all the difference in the world and now I’m back and hammering away at it with new fervor.
Below you’ll find 12 more screens of Laughlin Lake. In the next update, I’ll expand and show the other side of the lake which includes rest areas and camp/picnic grounds.
Of course, I’m extremely proud of the Lighting System that I’ve implemented and it gets closer and closer to what I wanted in terms of lifelike visuals. This was no easy task and I feel as though I’m really squeezing as much juice as I can from the UDK but you know me; I’ll keep pushing it to its bounds, right until the very end.
One thing that I’m not too happy with is the ‘jaggies’. I have a filter that does some depth-based sharpening because I like crisp visuals but even without it, the ‘jaggies’ are still there. Now, I know that UDK has some AA filters to help smooth out the visuals but for some reason, in my case, the visuals get really ‘muddy’ when the filter is applied. I’ll have to find a solution for that later on.
On another note, I mentioned a couple of posts back that I had been having some trouble with a coder I hired. I’m happy to say the situation was resolved when I got back and so there is no reason to delve into it any further. What matters is that I can start digging into the code once again and the project can finally move forward in that aspect.
Thanks for visiting and come back next month for another update!
Just a heads up to everyone that I will be largely unavailable for most of July. I will however, be back in August with an update and more Infernal Dead beauty! See you soon!
I’ve got some news…good or bad, it really depends on your perspective I suppose. To be completely upfront about it, Infernal Dead will not continue in its current form. What do I mean by this? There are several factors involved.
I’m just out of juice. I’m out of motivation. I’m frustrated and I no longer believe in the lasting potential of the game in its current form. It’s been no secret that I’ve been fighting with this engine (UDK) for a long, LONG time and it has taken its toll. Several problems arose when I set out building Infernal Dead (then Daemonicon) in the way that I had envisioned it. As the days go by, I’m still fighting with this thing and new problems are uncovered the more I progress with this engine.
I had envisioned Infernal Dead to be somewhat non-linear and vast with room for exploration and several mechanics that would enhance the immersion. This includes having a day to night cycle with dynamic lighting which UDK is capable of…but just barely.
It gets technical so I’ll avoid ranting too much about what the UDK can and can’t do well but you really have to spend a lot of time working with these features, with your hands in its guts to really understand what I mean when I say that the UDK was simply not built to handle large, open playable environments. It is very, very difficult to have large environments with really good-looking dynamic lighting and shadows within an acceptable framerate. I don’t give a damn what anyone says, it was built with one type of game in mind and we all know what that is.
What I have so far is acceptable but only because of a ton of visual hackery and tricks. I’ve struggled for a long time, have little to show for it and I still can’t get the ‘look‘ that I want out of it. There is just no shaking that ‘Unreal‘ look. Fellow developers and gamers with a keen eye will know exactly what I’m talking about.
My next concern is time. How little of it we have but how much of it passes. Other responsibilities cut into development time but during development time, I spend most of it fighting with the engine! FUN! Since it seems that most of the effort is going into building UE4, the updates and improvements to the UE3/UDK engine have become sparse at best. I don’t think these issues will be resolved anytime soon.
I break down what I need to do and how much of it is left and I still have a long way to go. At this rate, it will be several years before I finish and that to me, is not acceptable this time around. I am not interested in recruiting a team with promises of royalties because I just don’t like how that system works. People need to eat, people need to pay bills and if they are to devote a large chunk of time to working on a project like this, they need to be compensated. The project is too wide in scope, too ambitious and without proper funding, it can’t be done in a timely manner.
Altering the way this game is played and presented will shave a ridiculous amount of time and work off. Maybe, just maybe, instead of waiting 3 or 4 years for this game, it might come down to much less.
This came as a result of many different events in my life and this decision was not made lightly. I spent a great deal of time soul-searching, prioritizing my goals in regards to this project and in regards to life and I think this is my only choice.
Infernal Dead is not abandoned, but will undergo a transformation. It will continue on but in another form as another type of game with the same art direction, the same assets and the same storyline. It will be a more entertaining game, will stick around longer and offer more replayabilty than its current form. Most important to me at this point, it is something which I can believe in.
Hello everyone, I’m very sorry that there haven’t been any new postings on progress. The truth of the matter is that I have hit a slight snag in that the Programmer I contracted to do some work seems to have left me in the dust. At the moment, the only thing I will say is that I paid in advance for the work (I had some reasons for doing so, though it seems naive in hindsight) I will give this matter a little more time to resolve itself and if it doesn’t, I will make a full post about the entire situation in the near future.
Again, I wish I had some in-game things to show you right now but can’t because of this setback. I will keep you posted as the situation progresses.
I’d like to start off this post by introducing ‘Sullivan‘, one of many characters that you’ll meet on your journey through the world of Infernal Dead. I won’t spoil too much about him right now but he will be there to offer some advice and insights in regards to the circumstances surrounding the Demonic presence in Acre. Now, whether or not you listen to him is up to you and will affect the outcome of the story.
Just to let you know, I am now moving onto the next phase of development. The visual style has been established, the framework for lighting is done, master materials for all the different types of objects and surfaces in the game are complete and I now have a small portion of a level that I can run around in and use for playtesting. It is now time to start coding and implementing some of the base gameplay.
For the next little while, I will be working on:
- Importing Player, Monster and Weapon Models as well as some Animations
- Melee and Projectile Weapon function
- Inventory System
- Custom Character Building and Stats System
- AI and Navigation
Once I have those in place, I will begin fleshing out some other gameplay features until I have a basic, playable game that includes all the main mechanics functioning properly. I am hoping that this won’t take too long as I have a little more experience with implementing code now and have also found and will be bringing an experienced coder onboard to help me. I have looked forward to this phase for some time because I actually really enjoy coding (what little I know of it) and I find it quite satisfying and fun to do!
After that is done, I will be heading back into mapping and finishing off the rest of the levels that have been planned. I will keep everyone up-to-date as the features get implemented. Thanks for stopping by!