Hey Gearheads, its that time again. We invite you into the mech bay to see what we have under development. As always these are not implemented into the current steam build. But you will get to play with them soon.
Quality of life Update
Welcome to the Workshop Wednesday update, Gearheads!
While a lot of development focus goes into refining gameplay and adding new features, we also spend a lot of time squashing old bugs and improving existing mechanics.
Here are just a few of the recent changes and improvements we’ve made:
Weapon Pickup Mechanic
Weapon pickup code has been simplified. It is now more reliable and makes picking up weapons much easier.
Jump Bug fixes
Jumping while running uphill has been vastly improved. Hitches and hiccups while ascending have been removed completely. Gears also now jump higher and fall faster.
Damage when fallen down
Fallen Gears now take damage as they should. Previous code had a bug that made fallen Gears much harder to kill. Now you’ll be dead even sooner!
Camera squash prevention
One of our personal pet peeves was the camera behavior in close quarters while in third person. Backing up against a wall used to push the camera up into the Gear’s rear plates. That’s not the case anymore, since we are switching to FPS camera dynamically if there’s an obstacle blocking the view. Moving away from a rear-obstruction restores the camera to third person automatically.
Respawn Button and Counter
You can now respawn by going into the ESC menu and pressing the respawn button. A simple respawn counter was added to show players the time remaining before you are allowed back into the action.
First person camera and Third person camera now have variable Fields of View. They are both based on the FOV that you specify in the settings. The FPS camera gives you a 10 degree wider angle, while TPS camera is more focused in front of you.
We did initial polish pass on the Death Event. Now, once you’ve been demolished in combat, there’s a small explosion and special effects that are left behind. Future iterations here are planned in an effort to make deaths even more fun and cinematic. Losing should be fun too!
Broken Limbs stay visible
Destroyed plates stay visible and fall onto the ground after they’ve been disabled. This is a great feedback indicator that “bad stuff is happening to you.”
We did a camera shake pass on a lot of in-game mechanics that needed to feel more impactful. Landing after a high jump, falling off a tall ledge, or receiving significant damage will shake your camera making things feel a lot more dynamic.
New Single Wield / Dual Wield Aim Poses
All aim poses have been redone from scratch. Dual wielding now features stretched out limbs that showcase weapons better and provides a greater range of aim, while two-handed weapons now properly matching the shape and angle of the big guns.
Armor Destroyed Event
Voice overs have been added when you lose your limbs and armor plates. The added notification makes it much more obvious that part of your Gear is gone.
Additional Selfie Cams
As a part of our new aiming mechanic testing, we’ve added a few extra debugging cameras. These are now available to you in game as additional “selfie cams”. Press ALT+C to switch selfie cams.
Scoreboard now displays Kills, Deaths as well as Captures in annexation mode.
In anticipation of our next Steam patch we will be undergoing service maintenance over the next 24-48 hours. During this time our services may be degraded or offline. This patch will be available for preview on our beta branch for testing by our Community after maintenance is complete.
Hey Gearheads! Another week, another update! As always these are a first look, they have not made it to live servers as of yet. So that aside, let's pull open the bay doors, and see what's going on in the workshop!
HUD, UI, Minimap updates
The User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) both remain as important, long term commitments to us. As we continue with that endeavor, here are some of the recent made to the UI and HUD. These changes are a work-in-progress and will be rolled out in order of completion.
Updated HUD layout
The hud layout has been updated so that central elements are more spaced out around the central reticle, giving the player additional visibility around the aim target. The reticle itself is a lot more obvious now with an additional highlight added to it allowing the reticle to stand out regardless of the background. Elements, like the health indicator, have been scaled down while the Minimap, as well as resources bars, have been scaled up. You’ll notice that the score indicator moved from the top center of the screen to the lower left corner above the minimap. This places all of the tactical match info in one corner and enables you to see the overall score and objective status icons in a quick glance.
One of the more noticable changes is the updated minimap. The new setup is a hybrid between in-game capture and artist generated masks. We use captured backdrops with artist generated masks to highlight or dim down portions of the map based on importance. The new minimap uses simpler graphics making map features easier to distinguish on a small scale.
While the minimap has been updated, there are still two additional modes that are a work-in-progress:
Big Map Mode
Currently a rough implementation that gives player a more detailed view of the map. Accessible through Escape key menu, eventually it will display locations of all teammates as well as the status of all capture points. This mode can be used to provide player with a global tactical overview of the match
A mode that provides the player with an up-close view around their gear. While active radius of the radar is limited by gear capabilities, it can be more useful for close quarters skirmishes showing enemies that are not directly in the line of sight
We’ve reworked how the in-match scoreboard display works. By pressing `Tab` a new Scoreboard has been added with a more lightweight design that does not block player input while visible. This makes it easier to check the score without interrupting your movement.
Gear resources are going to be more important in the next set of updates. Hence we made it much more clear when resources are low or depleted.
In addition to on-screen animations, resources, and many other in-game mechanics, received voice-overs to indicate critical status information.
We’ve added a directional damage indicator to the HUD. It shows the direction of enemy fire when taking damage. While a simple addition, it adds a ton of situational awareness and allows you to decisively respond to incoming fire.
Although not crucial to the gameplay, we are continuing to update the game menus to use unified UI elements. It is a long term commitment and we expect a few more iterations until the new design is fully implemented.
Updated Weapon Storage and Equipping UI
While we are still experimenting with new weapon equipment mechanics, we have updated the current UI to make things a little more streamlined in the meantime. Previously, all of your weapons and storage locations were displayed at once. With so many weapons and slots, there was a certain degree of sensory overload, especially to new players. Now, only elements that are in-use are displayed. Elements that aren’t currently being used, such as empty slots or slots that have jump jets equipped, are hidden. Once you equip a weapon into the slot, it becomes visible either on the left or right side of the gear depending on which hand you equipped it into. We also fixed a little bug that could result in you getting stuck in “equipping mode” when trying to equip weapons from an empty weapon slot.
More updates are coming up next Wednesday! Stay tuned for more and join the conversation on discord https://discord.gg/KfQG2qb Until next time, Gearheads!
Hey Gearheads! Another week, another update! welcome back to Workshop Wednesday. So this week we have a great update about my personal favorite game mode. Annexation!
As always this is a first look at things in development. These are not currently live on the steam build. But they are headed there soon!
So how about we pull back those bay doors and see what we have in the workshop today.
Gameplay and in-match mechanics are a main focus for development moving forward. In that endeavor, we will be updating the various game modes to promote more dynamic gameplay. The first game mode to get a major overhaul is Annexation.
A core mechanic of any flag/point capture mode is the Capture. It was important for us to make this process as smooth and accessible as possible, while keeping it fun.
Generator capture in Annexation is now proximity based. Meaning that, instead of pressing and holding a shortcut, all you need to do to capture is to stand close to it for a set amount of time. Not only does this increase your situational awareness it also frees your hands, maintains your character’s mobility, and allows you to defend your capture point from opponents.
Annexation is a team based match type and to that end we want to emphasize the importance of teamwork. Capturing a generator with your teammates will boost the capture rate significantly. Each additional teammates reduces the capture time by a percentage. While you’re in the process of capturing a point, however, keep an eye out for any enemies. Capturing can be slowed down and even stopped if one or a few enemies enter the capture zone at the same time. The team with the most players within the zone will gain control of the capture. Basically, a big game of tug-o-war but with Gears and guns!
Visually, the generator art has been updated to match the art style more closely and serve specific gameplay needs. A huge beam of light emits from the top of the generators into the sky, its color indicating the generator’s status.
A circle around the generator delineates the outer edge of the capture zone. The circle spins and changes color as you capture the generator.
The HUD indicators have also been streamlined a bit to better depict the most important information at a glance. As a part of our HUD/UX update we are removing unnecessary clutter without sacrificing the functionality. A lot of UI elements are now context sensitive and only show up when it’s relevant.
More about HUD updates and exciting UI changes, in the next week’s Workshop Wednesday.
This is the first look at some of the things we're currently working on. I must say these are not currently implemented into the playable build, but they are on their way.
So let's pull back the bay doors and take a look at what we're working on in this weeks Workshop Wednesday!
New Aiming Mechanic
One of the major developments in the works is an update to the Gear aiming mechanics.
The new system introduces variable turn rates for a Gear’s head, torso, and arms. A Gear’s head, or view, will now move nearly on par with the mouse while the arms and torso chase to catch up with the reticle. While this increases the amount of time it takes to aim your weapons, this delay will help us differentiate Gears from each other and further make leveling and upgrades matter.
Eventually, as we define the rules of Gear weight, you will be able to overload the weight capacity for each specific part installed. For example: if you equip two Heavy Autocannons on a Cheetah you will feel the arms strain under the weight and not respond as quickly as compared to two Very Light Autocannons. In addition to different turn rates, each part will have its own range of motion. This means that larger Gears with more bulky armor may have less mobility than their less armored counterparts.
Further, the new system will allow us to consolidate and unify the Standard and Advanced control methods into a single system. Currently the two methods are being maintained as two separate systems, which is cumbersome and challenging when it comes to controls configuration. By unifying the systems, not only is it easier for the developers to maintain but will also make customizing your controls a simpler process.
Check back next week for another look into the workshop!
As many of you may already know. Last night our dev team was finally able to recover HGA from the grips of that evil b*tch Irma. Through a series of near tragic events we almost lost everything. When hurricane Irma hit landfall in Florida our server hosting company was breached by flooding bringing down the facility hosting several critical pieces of our core infrastructure to its knees. Our backups that were stored at this facility were all damaged. At first we weren't that concerned because all of our backups were hosted at a server in Montreal as well which we assumed were in good working condition and would just need to be restored. Sadly that couldn't of been further from the truth. Our Montreal backups were all nixed due to a Linux bug and all of our backups were just a bunch of a empty archives and they've been arriving like that for months.
At first our ambitions turned to possibly recreating the HGA backend functionality using Steam's Workshop/Inventory API. However, this task quickly turned into much more work than we had bargained for and unfortunately we lost some of our developers due to lack of revenue being generated by the game during this time making this task extremely difficult to achieve. We have every intentions of integrating more of the Steam API into HGA but due to the time required we couldn't get this rebuild done in a reasonable time frame.
We then turned our energy back to those badly damaged servers. Perhaps there was a way for us to recover the data. That's when some old friends stepped up to help. I have some old friends in the Black Hat community to thank for their efforts and help.
It is nothing short of a miracle and thanks to some serious determination by our dev team, and some actual luck, we were able to bring HGA online in its previous form - as Betty says 'all systems nominal'.
We are now looking forward to a very bright future for HGA.
Currently we have our infrastructure hosted in Saint John where our local dev studio is located. We also have 1 East Coast game server hosted here and 1 hosted in Ireland. So far we've not experienced any hiccups with hosting.
As of today we are currently testing a new build of HGA that addresses issues relating to our server outages last month. Unfortunately some of our server infrastructure including our backups for that infrastructure were lost after the hurricane that ravaged Florida earlier last month. We were in the process of migrating to our local servers in Canada when a critical motherboard failure knocked those servers offline which are hosting our company website, email, and other services. Unfortunately this server was an older model server and no motherboard was available for the server for days. Overall its been a hellish month of failing critical infrastructure and hurricane BS which we've had no control over.
After many discussions and brainstorming sessions we've decided the best course of action is to migrate entirely towards Steam's Session based hosting environment where players can more easily host Listen servers using Steam sessions. This move will ensure this disaster never happens again. We've also decided to migrate our player inventories towards Steam's Inventory Manager as well. And we are planning to embrace the Steam Workshop as well.
At the moment we have the integration 80% complete and we will be releasing this new build to the Steam community very soon. Once this new build is active you will no longer be required to have a third-party login account and we will be able to better integrate Steam's features into HGA.
While this has been a massive setback for our development milestones we are think there is a silver lining in this cloud in that this fundamental change to HGA will make the game run more smoothly with Steam and allow us to better interact with our players through player inventories and exchanges using Steam.
With these changes we are currently discussing some other big updates that this new development enables but I will discuss this in more detail when have our immediate concerns resolved which is to get players playing again!
This is a public service announcement regarding our server issues since Hurricane Irma. Unfortunately some of our server infrastructure was in the direct path of Hurricane Irma and we are now in the process of hurrying to resolve the issues that we've been experiencing since the Hurricane struck. Some of our game server and master server infrastructure was impacted by the Hurricane and it needs to be migrated away from the compromised data facilities on the east coast in North America. This situation impacts all of our web services and we are in the process of migrating to a local facility where our dev studio is located here in Canada. We'd like to take this time to thank everyone for their patience and while we take our issues seriously we want to remind everyone that this situation is nothing compared to the situation that the Hurricane victims in Florida, Texas, and the Caribbean are facing today. If you have a few spare dollars please donate to any of the Hurricane response funds to help people in need.
We do not currently have an ETA on when all of our services will be restored. As the lights keep flickering while we try to obtain backups from the onsite backup facilities our infrastructure was being backed up to. We will work hard to keep you informed and when service has been fully restored we will update this post with the updated information.
-New HUD The first iteration of the updated HUD has been implemented and is ready to test. The goal with this new hud is to create a clean and coherent interface that is easy to use and simple to maintain. Main gameplay elements have been pushed closer to the center of the screen where they can be easily seen at all times. Secondary indicators are now closer to screen edges. Animated reload indicators show the reload status for handheld and mounted weapons. Recharge indication for jump jets are still a work in progress. Additional tweaks and polish will be added to this new hud in the upcoming weeks. If you spot an issue or have feedback, please make sure to share it with us in Discord.
-UI Color picker HUD colors can be changed under the color tab in the Options menu. We will continue refining the default color palette and the binding of the colors to corresponding elements, but in the time being feel free to customize it yourself. A simple HUD preview has been added to the Options window. We will continue to add elements to the preview but it already makes changing colors a lot easier.
-Scoreboard Pressing Tab will now display a scoreboard with a list of bots and players
-Audible Hit Indicator We’ve added an audible hit indicator Team Fortress style. Its aim is to provide an additional layer of feedback for confirmed hits against enemy targets. This feature is disabled by default and can be turned on or off under the gameplay settings.
-F1 Help Polish Onscreen Help will now automatically hide after 5 seconds on every spawn, but you can still toggle its visibility by pressing F1.
-UI polish We’ve done countless tweaks and adjustments to Menus and UI. We are currently going through every menu screen and unifying elements like buttons, updating fonts and making sure that font sizes are consistent throughout the project.
-Collisions Multiple collision issues have been fixed.
-Gear Heads We fixed the bug where gear head geometry would be missing when spawning in first person mode.
-Bug fixes Lastly, we squashed a lot of small under the hood bugs that were giving us bad headaches.
A lot more exciting features and bug fixes are planned for the next patch. Thank you a lot for your support, stay tuned and we’ll see you in the arena!
Influencer ColeusRattus has published a new review of Heavy Gear Assault today. This new review looks at the current version of HGA since its latest patch on the weekend as compared to when we launched on Steam in December when he was quite critical of the first release here on Steam. While still not entirely happy Coleus notes the game has much improved in our 9 consecutive patches since hitting Steam.
Most of the quirks that ColeusRattus would like to see fixed are all issues our development team is currently working on right now!
The Steam Community has provided great feedback on the game so please keep it coming!