5 Week Countdown!

Nine down, five to go in the countdown to the end of production. Testing is gearing up, assets are being finalized, vocals are being cleaned up, and beards are growing as the teams ramp-up to industry speed.

The Drifters opened this week with a look into their current organization and task management systems. They're using a modified SCRUM along with planning poker and tasking with "user stories". User Stories are short descriptions of various types of user experiences that could take place within the game (i.e. "I want to kill someone while in drifter vision"). Each Story is assigned a level of importance from 1-3 and the top priority Stories are assigned a Strike Team who break it down into the tasks needed to accomplish it. These tasks are assigned to individual members who work on them until all components are complete and the Story can happen. Tucker, the scheduling and analysis master of the team, has calculated that the team accomplished an extra 23.5 hours of work this week with a total of 154.5 more man hours this sprint.

The Voltron rigs for the Maria and Howard NPC types are active in engine and nearly every geometry variation is working on each rig. The Agnes NPC is also nearly complete and almost ready to be placed within game as well. Currently, 40 NPCs are being placed within the game, each with their own unique path and randomized texture configuration. Shadows in-game are slowly being implemented in, as they had been turned off for testing purposes to keep the frame rate up to snuff.

With the main part of the museum almost finalized, work on the back part of the museum, which is slated to be a bathroom area, is getting underway. The team decided this lesser-seen part of the environment should be something serious like a bathroom area to keep with the realism of the game.  The central focus of the museum floor - an ornate fountain - has been base modeled, positioned in the environment, and is ready to be textured.

On the cinematic side, basic play blasts of some of the camera paths for the various scenes have been created for testing and reference. The paths have been finalized and the voice work is all ready to roll once the scenes are assembled. Some of the camera and animation work for the cinematic is also serving double duty as the menu screens get a wonderful motion upgrade. A preview video was shown of how the new menu will act, hovering outside the museum before the game starts, then rushing into the blinding realm of the Drifters beyond the doors.

During the initial game demo, 2 players were in-game to show playability with the ability to enter drifter vision, make a kill, respawn, and have a game status with kills/deaths and current score. Prior to starting the game, a player can choose to host or join an existing game, give themselves a unique player name, as well as choose their drifter. A player who hosts the game can set game parameters such as the game name, number of players, time limit, and number of kills to win. Improvements on the drifter vision were shown with the glow effect in place with the environment and on the NPCs, as well as a new 10-second waiting period in which the drifter has to stay in drifter vision for that cool-down period before switching out. The tells system is also actively working, with the player's currently controlled body having a coughing action that increases over time as they possess the body.

After the 2-player success, the team was challenged to try out 4 simultaneous players just to see if it would work - and it did! With four players being the target goal for the end game, it was a great success for the team to see their goal already met so far.