Hello space explorers! Let's talk.
Hey there, folks. We've been pretty quiet for a short while now and we just want to touch on a few things that have been going on in the world of Centration recently; as well as clear a few things up.
First of all, I'd like to extend congratulations to Oliver "Freeserenity" Bolt for becoming the Programming Lead for Centration, with the ability to work full time on the project until October! That's 40-man hours a week.
The programming team also now has a dedicated UI-Developer, Buddytex.
Secondly, we've had to say goodbye to a few members of our team. We wish ColonelCarston, Nug700 and Archive all the best in whatever endeavours they pursue down the line.
Our web team has had a small shuffle, with Cepheus taking up primary web operations and Whinis taking a back seat to focus more on programming.
Finally we'd like to welcome Jessy, the newest member of our community support team. May he answer your support tickets swiftly and justly.
Our April 2015 crunch week taught us a few important things about what we were doing, how we can do it better, and what not to do. Without going into too much detail, we basically came to the conclusion that we need to switch things up a bit. So here is a summarized version of our plan for the next year:
The Foundation phase is the core of Centration. It's our first major milestone to be completed before we start padding the game out with so much content it bulges at the seams. It contains all of the core features required to make Centration tick, from combat and health to how the game handles shifts.
Along with Foundation, we've decided that the best way to showcase the features and provide a playable platform prior to modules being implemented is to provide a fun "Death Match" game mode. It'll be the basis on which we build on until we have enough content to justify putting in other events and gameplay mechanics.
Focus on Four Key Concepts
After a lot of internal discussion, we've decided that the focus of our game will be Medical, Security, Engineering and Research. We believe each of these fields encompasses every part of the game, and almost every role in the game will fall under one of these fields.
After we've completed Foundation, we'll start prioritizing and implementing Modules. When we say Modules, we mean smaller, more focused features or extensions of features. Each module will either contain something new for at least one of our four Fields or a brand new feature. Modules will also often implement improvements to existing features and new items for you to play with.
This is why you're all here, right? We'll briefly talk about everything that we've been working on, and what we're going to be working on over the next few months.
We're not Dead
Contrary to a few threads we've seen, we're far from dead. If you need actual proof of this, turn up on the Teamspeak on a Sunday evening at about 20:00 GMT.
We've been quiet for the last two months for two main reasons:
- We work on Centration part time; work and real life issues come first.
- A lot of the team members have been graduating University or doing finals, which has taken up their time.
Crunch week was a great experience for everyone. We worked all day and sometimes all night. A LOT of coffee was drunk, and a LOT of code was written.
At the end of the week, we came out with less than we originally intended but still made major strides towards our milestone. We came out with a working Firearm Combat prototype, a Conditions (medical) system, and various art assets. We tried to push this out for testing but a few issues we didn't anticipate plagued the build.
We hope to take what we learned during this week and put a better, more realistic plan into place for Crunchweek 2.0, which will take place in October this year.
We recently became aware that we needed an internal rewrite of some really important systems so that they work more efficiently. The GameModeRefactor (GMR) is the internal name given to the project, aimed at completely redesigning our GameStateMachine to increase productivity down the line when modules are implemented. It requires a great deal of careful shuffling of prewritten systems and replacement of other sections, and has eaten quite a bit of the programming team's time; resulting in the lack of "pretty" things to show off.
The Deathmatch project is, as mentioned above, the way we have decided to present the core Foundation features of Centration in a way that is fun to play and provides the room we need to expand in the future. Most importantly, this will mean you guys will have something readily playable while we work on building the rest of Foundation.
We've been working pretty hard on expanding this Deathmatch. Scroll up to see our first dedicated deathmatch map, and scroll down for some more pics of our new environment set.
An extended discussion with the art team has raised some interesting performance concerns with the design for the construction and destructive environments we had planned. As a result of this, after a further extended discussion, we have decided that we'll be making the following changes to our environment assets:
We'll no longer be working towards a frame-panel system. Due to the simulated and anticipated performance hit this gave to even a small station, it was deemed unacceptable. Instead, we've got a new design in mind for how we'll handle construction of stations both in-game and using map-making tools down the line.
The UniTech™ Constructor© App
An exclusive app available in-game on your uPal, an in-game PDA-style tool available to every player. This app will allow you to easily plan large construction projects and send remote construction drones to build sections of the station for you. We hope to have a proof of concept prototype later this year to show you just what we mean.
Suffice to say that we're increasing the scope of the construction system by focusing a little less on the smaller details (which you can still adjust, just a little differently) and more on the whole sections of stations.
Thanks for sticking with us!
Again, we'd like to thank you guys for supporting us through development, and please remember to give us any feedback on our forums! Links and such are below!
We'll try to keep you guys more up to date in the future with more regular devblogs.
P.S. The community team would also like to issue a formal apology for the lack of activity seen lately throughout our various social media outlets, and our own forums. We shall be rectifying that soon with more frequent devblogs, and other updates. So stay tuned! For now, here's some concept art of (possible) Unitech's Standard Issue Residential Modules (SIRM) from the Art team.