Blog day already?!

This week has flown by! Knowing that people can actually see the stuff I’m working on now is amazingly motivating though, and I’ve made some good progress since I introduced Riftlight, last Friday.

Video

I’ll jump straight in with a video that shows off a lot of the stuff I’ve worked on this week.

Space travel

In an effort to make it feel more like a real game, I started working on the travel systems this week, so that you can get around all the various levels that don’t exist yet :)

You now start of in the “town” area and from there you can use the Rift portal to travel to any other areas you’ve discovered or unlocked:

For now there will be several areas already discovered at the start of the game. You can play through these to level up enough to unlock the later levels. I also plan on having areas that need to be discovered or can only enter after looting rare items/key parts.

To allow for all this, I had to rework the way I loaded the various game levels. Previously, when you wanted to go to a new area it would just load the new Unity scene and destroy the one you were in previously. As I want players to be able to travel back and forth between the town hub and other areas, this wasn’t cutting it. You’d lose your progress and it would have been a nightmare to restore it if you wanted to go back to a level in the same session. Add in the co-op with multiple players all potentially wanting to be in different areas at once, and the old system was totally screwed.

Now each new area is loaded and added to the starting scene. You can’t see it from town, but it’s there, somewhere. This means everything happens in the same scene, players can be in multiple places at once and it also makes the multiplayer coding a lot easier.

There’s still a bit more work to do on this – I need to properly deactivate areas that aren’t in use to be a bit more efficient.

Of course, once you’ve travelled to a new area, it’s nice to be able to get home again! I added a recall ability that returns you to town after a small delay. Getting hit or moving will cancel the timer bar though, so no bailing when you’re about to die! ;)

Missions

The mission and objective system got some love this week. Objectives can now be added dynamically when the player enters certain areas and they can have completion criteria. They’re automatically tracked in the objectives list below the minimap and you get a brief summary pop up at the top of the screen when a new objective is added.

I want to eventually tie this in with the level randomisation so that each area can have different main and side mission objectives each time you play through it.

Gameplay tweaking

Getting the feel of the game right is always an ongoing process and it’s already changed many times. I made some more changes this week.

I increased the movement speed of the player ships about 40%. I then had to increase the speed of all the projectiles so they didn’t move slower than your ship!

Sometimes it’s hard to tell if something needs changing to be more exciting or you’re just too used to how it feels after playing it all day everyday and just changing things for the sake of it. I tried playing again with the original settings and it just seemed really dull then, so I think it worked out for the best in this case.

I also realised I’d never gotten around to adding player to enemy collision, so I added that. It’s surprising how little changes can have a big impact to the rest of the gameplay – getting blocked into a corner and not just flying away through the enemies just makes sense.

Missiles!

Projectiles have been in the game for ages. They get fired and travel in a straight line until they hit something. Effective, but not that exciting on their own. There’s now a new system that allows for customisable missiles that track the player. Stuff like speed, acceleration curve and turning speed can be tweaked to produce different missiles that require different strategies to avoid.


With missiles in, I added per-weapon impact effects. This allows projectiles and missiles to have unique explosion and impact effects. As usual, all the effects are placeholder at the moment, but going forwards it’ll allow for some cool looking battles!

Can you help make Riftlight better?

You’ve seen some of the cool concept art last week, and you can also see how rubbish the game actually looks at the moment.

If you’re a 3D artist and want to make the game look totally awesome, or you’re awesome at doing something else that will benefit Riftlight, head over here and apply, mentioning Riftlight.

Working at Facepunch is a bit different, but totally awesome. You can work in the office and get fed every day or you can work remotely if that’s easier for you.

Hiring is generally done as a group and everyone has the authority to hire. If your work impresses, you’ll usually get a test to do. Maybe just impress us straight away by using your application as the test? Make an environment or ship from the concepts, or show us your own take on things.

Loving arcade shooters and Action RPGs is definitely a big plus, but just wanting to make an awesome game is what matters :)

Next Week

  • More player class abilities
  • Experiment with player upgrade and ability progression systems.
  • More varied and interesting enemy movement
  • Placeholder audio?