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Dev Update #54: Back to Sprints!

By September 20, 2017Dev Updates

You know what feels good in game development? Sprints. No, not sprinting, I’m way too out of shape for that. Sprints. When making a game, there are about a million things that need to get done (and very easily, more than that). If you look at all of it at once, it can become daunting. Yes, you just made the running animation and that’s great, but you’re making an Open-world RPG that covers the entire globe and now you’re freaking out because that animation is such a small thing in the grand scope of the project. But it all needs to get done, and you know the real secret? They’re all small things. They add up though, so when you’re making a game, you need grab just a handful at a time. For us, this means forming sprints where we can set some goals to finish over the course of a couple weeks. So, without further ado, here’s the sprint we’re wrapping up this week!

The first thing we tackled was to upgrade Unity. For a while, we’ve been on an outdated version of the engine because upgrading means that a lot of programming needs to be “fixed,” so to speak, to work within the new version. It also means everyone on the team has to upgrade. We put this off for the sake of the Alpha, but there’s some very useful functionality that has been added (cinemachine and new particle shaders for starters) and we want to make use of it! So now, the whole team is running on Unity 2017.1 and we’re all very proud of ourselves for no longer being so outdated. Special thanks to Corentin for updating Unity, and tackling so much of this current Sprint (and another shoutout to Reid for some helpful code cleanup).

Updating Unity does a lot for us internally, but we also included some items in the sprint that focus on your experienceFirst off, it was brought to our attention that our error messages were somewhat lacking. Actually no; they were just bad. The job of an error message is to help the user know where a problem lies so that they can fix it (assuming its something on their end). In the next release, you can expect better error messages when you encounter a login failure. We also built a version-check system into the client. This way, if you’re using an old version, we can let you know an update is available (no auto patching at this point). On the flip side, if you’re using a future version, we’ll know you’re a wizard. Watch out. For our last creature comfort in this sprint, we fixed the main menu so that, when the little “hey this game isn’t anywhere close to being finished” disclaimer pops up, it does so before the menu. It’s easier on your eyes, and we don’t get crazy emails about having flashed you. A win-win. (CUT THIS JOKE OUT I’M SORRY) [TOO BAD, ERIC, I’M LEAVING THIS IN]

And last, in this sprint we’re also cleaning house a little! We have a bunch of unused vestigial assets hanging out in our project files that we’ll be clearing out, in addition to code optimization and further commenting and organization. This helps things all around: you don’t need to boot up some big (relatively speaking) application during the alpha tests, and we don’t need to distribute a bunch of extra bits across the internet. Our server will thank us.

Just like I’ll thank you for reading another Gears of Eden Dev Update! Thank you! Our next sprint on the path toward Alpha 2 will include some new base crafting via the SINTER Forge. What’s a SINTER Forge? Obviously you haven’t read our first short story, “Robots Don’t Use Forks”. Remedy that today; read the story here!

If you can’t tell from the language above, we’re just thrilled to be back in the swing of real development. We’ll be back next week with even more news, so be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook to see that update the very moment it’s available! Don’t forget to check out our podcast, Reaching Eden. Until then, I hope you have a great rest of your week.

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