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It’s no secret that we’ve been on a break when it comes to posting updates. Just as we entered the holiday season, we discovered that a seemingly innocuous bug was actually caused by a massive, complex issue in the very root of our code structure. The past few weeks have been spent researching this physics bug and looking for solutions. Now that we’re back, I’m happy to announce we have some new progress!

As someone involved with the social media end of the team, I’ve occasionally been tasked with putting together GIFs to show off to all of you. That’s no problem, of course, I’m happy to contribute in any way that I can! Plus I get to practice a little bit of super-basic video editing to keep those files down in size. It’s fun!  What’s not fun is how misbehaved the camera used to be. The best way I can describe it (or at least, what it felt like), is that as the player moved the camera around, it’d slowly get tangled around the geometry of the rover itself. Sometimes, to show it off, I’d sit the rover in place, hold the camera-control button, and then just go nuts with my mouse to see how quickly I could make the camera unusable. This is worth telling you about not to make fun of the project (weird in-development bugs/behaviors are common!) but to express to you what a relief it is that we’ve finally squashed this bug! There’s still some work to be done on our orbital camera mode, but this is still a huge victory.

While part of our team has been working on the camera, another part of the team, comprised of new team members, has been tackling that pesky situation from the beginning of the update. The complex issue. See, we have a collection of weird bugs. Among others, there’s the “Spider-Rover” one that allows the rover to climb walls and another one that’s particularly frustrating for taking pictures: the rover likes to move back a little when it first starts moving forward in some locations. I spent like ten minutes trying to get a specific shot one day because I just could not get the rover in place. Like I said, there are other bugs that are a part of this particular collection and for the longest time, it seemed like they were unrelated. It turns out though, that they’re all caused by a glitch in how gravity/physics works in our current build. We essentially need to refactor the code so that gravity functions more independently rather than having certain parts of it run in non-gravity functions. That means this isn’t only a tricky problem, but also a time consuming one.

Alongside this, we’ve also made some headway with writing, though not as much due to a certain lead writer (*cough cough* it’s me) taking this break as a signal to spend time focusing on his personal writing projects, rather than being useful to the team. He’s very sorry.

That’s it for this week’s Dev Update! More to come soon as we work on squashing this bug and introduce new features. It feels so great to be back to work, and I can’t wait to tell you what else we’ll have accomplished next week!  For the latest and greatest on all things Gears of Eden, be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook!  We also have a newsletter that comes with some special information, so consider signing up for that!  Thank you all for your patience and I hope to see you next week!

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