Dark Horizons: Mechanized Corps - maxgamingtech
As promised we have released the BETA 1 build into the beta channel for PC, MAC and Linux. They are available only thru the BETA opt in screen. Instructions can be found:

http://steamcommunity.com/app/266470/discussions/4/135513901709201653/

The goal of this first BETA 1 release is to look at resolving any issues with three platforms in as efficient manner as possible. This first release has limited functionality and you can find detailed information in the BETA forum.

http://steamcommunity.com/app/266470/discussions/4/135513901709191397/

NOTE: You must own the game in order to download the Beta.

We are excited to finally be able to start sharing with you the work we have been doing, and over the next weeks and months look forward to bringing the game to its potential.

For more news follow us on twitter @mgtgames http://twitter.com/mgtgames

To join the conversation hit the forums:
http://steamcommunity.com/app/266470/discussions

To keep up to date join the official game group:
http://steamcommunity.com/games/dhmc
Dark Horizons: Mechanized Corps - maxgamingtech
As promised in our PAX wrap up post, I bring news of our up coming BETA release!

Two weeks from today, April 10th, we will be pushing up PC/Mac/Linux builds to the Steam beta channel making it available through the BETAS opt in screen. We will provide more instructions the day of release.



Please understand in our efforts to manage the BETA process and make sure we can resolve issues across the three platforms in as efficient manner as possible, this first BETA will have some limited functionality compared to the live Early Access version.

So what can you expect from BETA 1?

We are focusing on ensuring that the new tech works properly across the three platforms. We want to ensure that the game downloads and installs correctly and that the game launches and plays without crashes.



Since this build is a developmental build, it does include some additional debugging, so we expect the frame rate to be a bit slower than it would be otherwise, but we do recognize that we will still need to do some additional optimizations based on the data we collect.

From a gameplay perspective, we are limiting functionality to only a few single player missions. We will not be enabling multi-player for this pass. We also have the first batch of Pilot Training missions to help new players learn about the game and how to control their Mech.



We will also have a new hangar and mech build process for you to play with. Our hope is that the process of building and customizing mechs will be more intuitive and allow us to expand it as we go a long. When the beta is released we hope to have some tutorial videos in place to help understand the new process until we can add ingame help and tutorials.



Again, the primary goal for this BETA is to resolve any platform issues that we run into. Once we get passed any major hurdles, we will roll out additional functionality, such as multi-player.

Stay tuned for more information as we get closer to April 10th!

For more news follow us on twitter @mgtgames (twitter.com/mgtgames)

To join the conversation hit the forums:
http://steamcommunity.com/app/266470/discussions

To keep up to date join the official game group:
http://steamcommunity.com/games/dhmc
Dark Horizons: Mechanized Corps - maxgamingtech
WOW! What a great time we had showing off DHMC at PAX East in Boston. It was great to meet so many Mech fans out there and even a few of you that either own our current game or have played one of our previous Mech games.

At PAX East, we showed off out latest demo that runs on the new game engine and updates we have been working on for the last year and a half. Our main goal was to show off our accomplishments to date with the new build, and garner more feedback on the direction of the game. We also wanted to get a better idea of where we were with the demo build so we could start gearing up for our first BETA release!



Based on feedback and play testing, our next goal is to spend the next 3 to 4 weeks polishing up some items and doing some additional optimizations. This should put us in a good place to launch a build on the BETA channel around the end of this month or first week of April.



We will make another announcement in a couple weeks of what all the BETA will entail, but you can expect it to be a limited play set with a first pass on the new Mech hangar, a single player mission or two, a basic first past tutorial and be available for PC, Mac and Linux.

Again we really want to thank everyone who came out to PAX East and tried out the game. We met a lot of awesome Mech fans that gave us some great feedback!



For more news follow us on twitter @mgtgames (twitter.com/mgtgames)

To join the conversation hit the forums:
http://steamcommunity.com/app/266470/discussions

To keep up to date join the official game group:
http://steamcommunity.com/games/dhmc
Community Announcements - maxgamingtech
Hey Everyone,

We know things have been a bit quiet around here as of late, but rest assured that we are working hard on the new version of the game that is a total rebuild from the ground up.

These past few weeks we have been working on several aspects on the new version with the goal of bringing it to open Beta by March to coincide with us packing things up and showing the game off at PAX East in Boston the weekend of March 11th 2017.

Things we want in place before then that we are working on:

- UI overhaul to make things more user friendly and visually updated. At minimum for Beta we want to implement our new design for the Hangar to make things easier to customize mechs.

- First time user experience improvements including a new pilot training program (tutorial)

- Optimizations! Right now our FPS for the internal version is not where it needs to be for players to host multiplayer games, but we are working on this.

- AI improvements, having bots to play with and against are an important part of what we do! AI won't be perfect in the initial Beta release, but we want them to work as well as possible in the time frame.

- For Beta we want to have a hand full of single player missions available plus a front line skirmish mode multiplayer mission.

If you have not been following us over the past several months then you might not know what we have been up to. We have taken the past year or so and have worked on rebuilding the game form the ground up in an update game engine (The live game uses the old Torque 3D engine...). We have all of the ground work in place to start polishing things off and adding fun game play elements. With the new version you can expect vastly improved visuals including revamped weapon models, new Mech shaders, effects, environments and much more. We also hope to build out a much deeper game play experience as this year goes on.

As always, thank you for your support!
Community Announcements - maxgamingtech
The weekend of October 29th we had a great opportunity to partake in the local game development exposition TheGDEX at COSI in Columbus, Ohio. For us, it was an chance to get a lot more people in front of our new version of Dark Horizons : Mechanized Corps (DHMC) for some play testing. Shows like this really gives us a great insight into where we are with the product and how well it plays for players experienced with the geand newcomers a like.



Many of the attendees that we spoke to had remembered playing a lot of the old school Mech games of the past, and were excited to see a new entry in the genre. Even speaking to the younger crowd that have not had a chance to play a Mech game before, the impression that we have come back with is that they are pretty excited about our game and what we were trying to do. Feeling their enthusiasm is refreshing to hear and really gives a sense that, yes there is still a market for mech combat simulators.

It should be noted that the version of the game we demo’d at TheGDEX was an early Alpha build that contains several new features and enhancements and is not the same version that is currently live on Steam Early Access. As many of you know from our past posts, we have been revamping the entire game (art and code) to bring the visual quality up to where we expect today’s games to be, and to add in some cool gameplay ideas and features. Our hope with demoing at TheGDEX was to get a feel for where we are with the new version, start laying the groundwork for planning on a BETA release on Steam to let those of you who already own the live game a chance to help us play test and be more involved with the process.




Overall we thought the feedback that we received was phenomenal. The biggest compliments that we received were with the new art and environments that we had available to play (we had 3 new levels in this build for TheGDEX). People also loved many of the features that we already have in the live version that is currently up on Steam right now, such as Mech customization and opportunities for strategic gameplay. Overall though to our team, the biggest and most telling set of feedback that we got was that people had fun playing the game, despite many features not being fully implemented yet.



So where do we go from here? Now that we have a solid pool of feedback, we are back in the office and getting back to work so that we can get a BETA release on Steam in the near future. We have a long list of bugs we compiled during the show and have already fixed the major ones we ran into. The goal for BETA 1 is to ensure that the game is at a similar state from a functionality standpoint as the current live version on Steam. Then we can begin optimizing, fixing issues found in BETA, and begin implementing many new features that we want to put in the game, including implementing a tutorial system to help players that are new to the Mech genre get into the game and succeeding faster.

Internally we are aiming to release a BETA version of this new overhaul to the game onto Steam in January 2017! So keep an eye out for some additional information as we get closer to the end of the year.

As always our team would like to thank each of you for continuing to support us and being patient while we go through this long process of updating and enhancing DHMC (much of which requires some core system and engine upgrades) . We hope that o you will be proud and excited for the work we have put into it and will understand the amount of work and effort that we have done over the past number of months. It is always a challenge for a small team to put together a game of this magnitude and we couldn’t do so without your help.

Thanks from the Max Gaming crew!

For more news follow us on twitter @mgtgames (twitter.com/mgtgames)

To join the conversation hit the forums:
http://steamcommunity.com/app/266470/discussions

To keep up to date join the official game group:
http://steamcommunity.com/games/dhmc
Community Announcements - maxgamingtech
Over the last couple months we have been showing the Alpha version of the next major release at small shows and festivals to get feedback and some play testing.

We also have shared screen shots and various notes from those shows and now we wanted to share with you some in-game video of our latest internal build.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZJLPQGa80I&feature=youtu.be

This video shows new environments, gameplay against improved AI for the persistent campaign system and some new visuals.

Whats next?

At the end of October we will be attending a larger conference in Columbus, Ohio call The GDEX (www.thegdex.com). At the conference we will be making some announcement, including projected date for this new version of the game to hit Steam as a beta.

For more news follow us on twitter @mgtgames (https://twitter.com/mgtgames)

To join the conversation hit the forums:
http://steamcommunity.com/app/266470/discussions

To keep up to date join the official game group:
http://steamcommunity.com/games/dhmc
Community Announcements - maxgamingtech
Max gaming has been steadily improving its weapons over time, because we know how much you love customization. A big part of any mech game are the weapons and we want to make it right.



Scott is the one responsible for creating unique and functional weapon designs. In 2007, he downloaded 3DS Max and taught himself how to create models, he started modeling stuff for Max Gaming soon after. While modeling Scott became frustrated with the limits of Photoshop and decided to learn Substance Designer and Painter.

"I use Substance Painter and Substance designer exclusively for all the DHMC weapons models. Substance Designer lets me create completely custom PBR materials that I can then import into Substance Painter and with its ondestructive workflow and its ability topaint full materials in real time greatly reduces the time that the texturing process takes. I begin by importing the model a setting the project size to 4k. Then I will paint in details just in the height channel with the symmetry mode on. Once I have the height information painted on I will export the data with a custom configuration that exports as Normal DirectX (RGB). I’ll then bring the exported texture into painter, use it as my normal map, and disable the height map.

Next I’ll bake the ambient occlusion, curvature, world space normal, position and thickness textures using the normal texture. I’ll then begin painting across the color, metal and roughness channels at the same time using full materials I created in Substance Designer and imported into Painter as part of a custom DHMC smart material. Finally, I add in and paint the emissions, increase the level of the ambient occlusion slightly, paint in small details like burns or added wear with a particle brush, and export the textures using the Unity PBR metal configuration at 1k.-Scott"



Scott has always liked weapons, ever since he was a kid, he really cares about the function of the weapons. Scott doesn't want to be influenced by other games, like mech warrior online, and tries not to look at google images for various weapons. He wants to be innovative with his weapon design, trying to create an original look and feel for each one.

Types of questions he asks himself as he works on a piece:
- Would you face it in battle?
- How would it mechanically work?
- How would it animate?
- What parts does it have? Nuts, bolts, access plates, switches etc.

Dark Horizons takes place in a dystopian future, where nuclear war has ravaged the land and greatly disturbed our way of life. This means that Scott is not designing weaponry of an alien species, and instead of designing over-detailed glamorous animations or weaponry with lots of particle effects and moving parts. Dark horizons is more focused on a western vision of what mechs would be like with most of our inspiration coming from modern day real military hardware.

Scott's process for designing weaponry:

Scott brainstorms and comes up with a concept that he wants to pursue, he begins work and settles on a basic design. Scott will then take it to the rest of the team to get design feedback, he works closely with the artists trying to give the weapons and other art continuity. 

Scott will discuss the concept and function of the weapon with the lead artist. Scott will use the feedback from his colleagues to refine the design and eventually create a final product.

The process may seem simple but it can be quite complex and require many iterations before the everyone is happy with the final product. For example, The lead artist and Scott had to design versions of the port turret, requiring a great deal of interaction before they came to a decision on the look and animation.





"As far back as I can remember I have always being obsessed with weapons. How the function and what their role on the battle field is. As I got older my passion for weapons turned to the future of weapons and mechs and let’s face it, that’s the way the we are heading. Being in and around military families and playing games like MW2 and Chrome Hounds just to name a few fueled the fire. Add in my experience of drafting, mechanical design, and being a former architectural model maker and it is a perfect fit for DHMC. Being on the DHMC design team lets me fulfill a passion of creating futuristic weapons as well as using them to wreak havoc on the battlefield."

Check out some more of the side-by-side comparisons!



To join the conversation hit the forums:
http://steamcommunity.com/app/266470/discussions

To keep up to date join the official game group:
http://steamcommunity.com/games/dhmc
Aug 5, 2016
Community Announcements - maxgamingtech
This year we have had the opportunity to show DHMC off at local game development conferences (such as COSI – Game Masters Series, and GDX Edmonton), as well as trade shows and games events such as K Days and ReplayFX. The benefit of demoing DHMC at these events are immense. Not only does it allow us to show DHMC to new sets of eyes who might not be aware of it (after all Indie teams such as ourselves do not have much in the way of marketing budgets to promote our games), but we are also able to show off "in development" content that we haven't put live, and most importantly we can gather feedback first hand as we witness and interact with totally new players trying it out the game for the first time.



While we totally appreciate all of the great feedback that our community does for us here on Steam, there is something uniquely special about being able to watch people play a game that you have made and see the immense smile on their faces from the enjoyment that they get from playing DHMC. Some of the best examples of this that we witness are when parents and their children sit down and play DHMC together at these shows and get to experience the game together (sometimes at the same screen if the child is very young, but often they would play at different stations at a networked setup we have had at these shows).



Obviously having hundreds of people a day check out DHMC and potentially creating new fans is a huge boon for us, however what is most valuable towards the future development of DHMC comes through our observations and interactions with these players (either online through forums like Steam, or in person at these shows). This, combined with analytics data, allows us to get a clearer idea of where our "pain points" are and what we need to do more of to craft DHMC to be a better experience right out of the box.



Some of you might be curious what type of information a casual player shares with us. Here are some snippets of the data that we collected from the last event we were at.



As you can guess people really want customization in DHMC with the majority wanting at bare minimum what we have now in the game, and many asking for even more levels of customization beyond that. This is something that we have talked about at internal meetings, but we feel is certainly worth more discussion from the community as a whole.



We were a bit surprised by this level of feedback, as we would have expected players to want more unique controllers. But it looks to be that keyboard and mouse are still the dominant input controls that people want.



Not a lot of hatred here for the 3<sup>rd</sup> person controls, although interestingly enough we didn’t get any feedback on whether the cameras were too close to the mechs (something that we have sometimes internally discussed at our meetings).



In this question sample, we were somewhat surprised to find out that people at these shows didn’t even bother to look to see if there was a 1<sup>st</sup> person camera option, but that is likely the difference between a “casual” player who just picked up the game, and a hard core stompy bot mech fan.

So what does this all mean? Well it means these live events are important for us to attend (obviously) but it also tells us that we have been going the right direction with DHMC, and that we also have to go further in that direction to deliver more of the experience that players want to see in DHMC.

If you have an opportunity to see DHMC at an event near you (or really any other independently created game), please stop by and let us know what you think. If you don't get the chance to see us live that is okay too. What is important to us is that we interact with players and learn your thoughts and feelings (both positive and negative) about the game so that we can craft better experiences. We are also appreciative of your input and thank you for being fans of DHMC.

Stay tuned for more upcoming insight into the next release….

To join the conversation hit the forums:
http://steamcommunity.com/app/266470/discussions

To keep up to date join the official game group:
http://steamcommunity.com/games/dhmc

Logan “Lfoz”

Art director

Max Gaming Studios
Community Announcements - maxgamingtech
On June 18 Max Gaming came to COSI (center of science and Industry) to show off Dark Horizons: Mechanized Corps! COSI is having a exhibition called Game Masters that shows games throughout the years including bios of famous game developers including concept art and game design documents. If you're in central Ohio go check it out! COSI was looking for local game developers to join the exhibition and to get some hands on feedback on the unreleased version of DHMC, we happily agreed.



On site where Jillian (Community manager) and Steve (Designer and programmer), and before they could finish setting up- there was a crowd of people gathering excited to see the game especially after seeing it was a Mech game. Once everything was open it was a consistent stream of people sitting down to try out the latest build. This was a very exciting day for us, as it was the first time anyone outside of the development team that had played and reacted to the game in its new engine.

The players mostly consisted of parents with their children. Lots of the dads nostalgic and commenting on how they havn't played a mech game for a decade. Even though the build is still in alpha, everyone who played it had a great time fighting against our new AI opponents.



There was a lot of people who signed up for a chance to win copies of the game and are ready to jump into action again. Overall it was a fun show and we're glad to get new fans and to people loving the game as much as us.

Stay tuned for more upcoming insight into the next release….

To join the conversation hit the forums:
http://steamcommunity.com/app/266470/discussions

To keep up to date join the official game group:
http://steamcommunity.com/games/dhmc
Community Announcements - maxgamingtech
The original AI in DHMC was structured in a way that made things difficult to make it smarter and harder to predict. We decided a full rewrite of the AI was in order to address these issues.



We have chosen to use a couple of approaches to fix these issues. The first issue causing difficulty in the live implementation is the overall structure of the coding, which was very difficult and time consuming to implement new features. This has been replaced by something called a behavior tree. Behavior trees allow you to break up the AI into tasks, for instance a task to go from where the AI is standing to a position on the map somewhere. Then from there you can build a tree structure based on logic nodes and these tasks to create the AI. Not only does this allow for easy addition of new tasks the AI can perform, but it also simplifies making multiple types of AI (patrol, sentry, etc.) The other benefit this provides is we can create simplified trees that do certain things to test the parts before testing the whole tree.

The other issue of predictability we are working on is to create a maneuver system. You could think of this like plays in football. Basically the AI chooses a strategy when engaging in combat like a circle maneuver where it circles the target while firing at them. By creating a lot of these maneuvers for the AI to choose from, it can make the AI less predictable vs the current AI in live which always uses the same tactics.

These things form the basis for a simple AI like we had before, but gives the ability to add on more complex things like squad based AI. We will have more footage and information in a later update on the AI system, but I will leave you with a screenshot of the AI firing at other AI.

To join the conversation hit the forums:
http://steamcommunity.com/app/266470/discussions

To keep up to date join the official game group:
http://steamcommunity.com/games/dhmc
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