Dev Update #74: Let’s Get Movin’

By February 21, 2018Dev Updates

This week, we’re going to keep things brief in our dev update, and do a little more show than tell! Currently, one of the primary goals in our current sprint is to set up the animations of the new rover model. While the new rover has been partially implemented in the game for a while now, importing the animations means importing an updated version of the 3D rover model into the game. Things are going well! But, as with anything else in game development, progress comes with some expected quirks! Now, we could delve into them here and just explain them to death… or we could show you them! They say a picture is worth a thousand words, right… but what about three clips??

This first clip is a video of the new solar panels in action. It looks great, smooth, technical, quick, and functions practically like something that might actually exist. It’s exactly what we want… in terms of animation. Some other things, however, are a little bit off. Lets take a closer look.

Do you see it yet? Well the biggest thing here is that drill. This is one of those weird little bugs that comes up in implementation: that drill really wants to fold inward, almost as if it’s scooping instead of drilling, which is actually not part of our planned animations. We’ll need to cut that out. But I bet that doesn’t distract you from those wheels, right? The wheels work a little different in-engine than the rest of the rover, and so we keep having issues where the textures are missing. Oops. We’ll get them to stick though, don’t you worry. Right now, the focus is on getting the animations in place. Not making it all look pretty.

Another issue is all that clean white. It’s not a subtle Tide ad. That’s another result of a missing texture! Easy to fix! I really like this clip though because the antenna just looks nuts. Not only is it shrunken down, but it’s spinning so fast you might not even be able to tell what’s happening! Of all the animation glitches we’re running into, this is my favorite. (Especially considering how easy a fix it’ll be!) The good news here is the animation is working, and we now just need to refine the playback speed and the size.

You can also see some subtle head animations in the clip, which we’re really excited about. For now, we’re going to have a wide range of head animations that are played at random intervals. Later, we’ll refine this system to have the rover react to certain events or spawn for things like idle animations.

We’ll have these animations ironed out within a day, but we thought we’d share some of the ugly in-between steps in this dev update. It’s very rare to implement something new into a game engine and have it work flawlessly and perfectly right away. Game development is a constant integration between implementation and testing, and choices constantly have to be made on how far refinement needs to go before moving on and tackling bigger features.

We’re really excited to get these animations in place, because we are planning on a special “between alphas” build for our supporters that has been held up by this step. We’ll have more information on that once we finish our next round of testing, which you’ll be able to watch on our Twitch channel! In the meantime, if you’re interested in supporting Gears of Eden, be sure to check our website or Patreon.

See? Pretty short! Thank you so much for reading! We’ll be back next week with a more involved discussion, but this Dev Update is coming to a close. If you want to see the animations in a more completed state, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Twitch. We’re putting out tons of behind-the-scenes content, and that is the best place to discover it the moment it’s available. Until then, thank you again for sticking with us and have a great rest of your week.

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