4 Week Countdown!

The museum environment is looking more and more realistic by the week, with nearly all the exhibits and aesthetic pieces making it into the current build.  Next week they plan on having all the placements finalized so full work on the final lighting and shadows can be completed.  Currently 8 new lights have been added to effect the characters: 1 directional light and 7 point lights to help with shadows.

One of the biggest additions this week is the 3D sound effects within the game build.  3d sound is basically a technique used to create a more realistic sound within a game: as a player gets closer to the item creating the sound, the sound gets louder, as they back away, it gets softer, just as it does in real life.  Aside from the already impressive custom music score, many of the exhibits have been augmented with an audio tour guide voice over that explains the story behind each artifact on display, telling its history and how it was used as an 'instrument of death'.  This is how it works in normal corporeal vision; switch into Drifter Vision and walk past the same display to hear the sounds that occurred when the item was used to kill its unfortunate victim (or victims, as with the heavily used guillotine).

The second biggest addition is the new Drifter forms for Luther and Sid.  They now work correctly in-game (no more double model) and they're reacting properly with players being able to select a specific Drifter over another and have that one show properly in form.  The character select screen shows slots for all 4 Drifters and when a specific Drifter is selected it will also show their bio and unique stats.  Not all Drifters are created equal: they have 3 categories of stealth, drift time, and strength that will effect how they perform in the environment.

The cinematic team is ready to begin production, as their camera and shot layouts are finalized and a basic mockup of the storyboards has been rendered with stand-in models and a basic untextured environment.  They're working on getting the finalized assets into the cinematic builder and then it's full steam ahead.

Testing is starting to be the next big thing with the game, with strike teams created for various sections to consider when looking at gameplay.  One of the biggest focuses is optimizing the game to run as seamlessly as possible.  A few of the ideas they're working with is the reduction of the character texture size (each piece of each NPC is a separate texture) to free up video memory, and also optimizing collision checking by dividing the areas into zones, having the characters only check collision on the zone they're in rather than the entire environment.

A few of the bugs that have been worked out since last week are the same time attack that would cause the game to crash when players attacked each other at the same time.  The Drifter form was fixed and glow shaders work with the alpha on the environment during Drifter Vision.  Load screens have been added between match start and the actual game load, so there's no more confusion if the game build froze or not.

Within the game, taunts are now active and also done in 3D sound, so a player can activate a vocal taunt near a group of NPCs and quickly move away so it resonates from decoys and not their own body: a great tactic for throwing off a pursuer!  The game menu was updated again with animations, transitions and sound effects.  More updates to the NPCs paths have been made, so they now stop at exhibits, examine them, and continue on, which is a behavior pattern a player can easily emulate to blend in while stalking targets.

The next steps for the team are to continue testing and tweaking the game play to get the smoothest, best version possible ready for Alpha stage testing.  The last exhibits will be placed and sound added and the final texture sets for the 3 NPC Voltron rigs will be finalized and put into the randomization cycle.  New animations from the last mocap shoot are almost cleaned and ready to be added for the final animation sets to finish off the pathing.  The 3rd drifter model is being textured, everything is getting a cleanup and quality check, and the final image of the game is definitely coming through!