Giving Will Some Spine!

Well hello there everybody!

Things have been busy and going well with the game since the last update. I’ve cleaned up the last few bits of code ready for Dan as well as doing spots of project organisation and planning but for the most part I’ve been getting to grips with a new tool called Spine.

Spine is a wonderful 2D skeletal animation tool and I’ve been wanting to play with it for a while as it will really help do some more advanced things with both the player and alien artwork especially in terms of the new combat mechanic which we will be starting soon. I’ve uploaded a short development diary for you to check out.

The artwork isn’t by any means final but it’s already looking much smoother and higher quality than before. It also uses far less texture memory and is far easier for me to create, meaning I can spend more time polishing and adding more content.

Meanwhile Dan has been getting to grips with the code and has currently been putting in some rather swish path finding then he’s going to be vastly improving the collision detection so that Will no longer gets caught up on corners and walls so easily. Hopefully we can upload a video of that next week.

Where To Next

The next stage of development will be to look at getting the new combat mechanic working, I’ve already got a battle plan written and will be starting on the artwork this weekend. Once we are ploughing through that I dare say there will be much more videos and updates for you to see… it’s quite exciting!

Steam Greenlight

We are currently doing really well on Steam, we’re number 26 but were recently at position 24. If Valve continue to Greenlight projects at the rate that they are presently going that means we stand a very strong chance of getting green lit in the next batch. That’s only going to happen if we stay pretty high up in the ranks however so any help you can give by sharing the Greenlight page with friends, family and colleagues would be greatly appreciated… LETS DO THIS! ūüėÄ

Steam Greenlight Page
http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=164859338

That’s all for now, thanks for reading and supporting!

Alex

Quick Update & New Team Member

Hello ladies & gentlemen, apologies for the lack of updates over the past two weeks; Everything has been rather busy and chaotic plus there wasn’t really much in the way of news worthy things to write.

Game Progress

I’m now done with cleaning up the code for the game and it’s many libraries so it’s nice and organised ready for some help on that front, I’m much happier with it now and have even added the ability to change resolution and toggle full screen display with some keyboard short-cuts which I had been meaning to get around to for a while.

I’ve also overhauled and fixed the weird issues I was having with collision. In the process I’ve made some handy debug display stuff to aid me diagnosing problems on that front in the future too. Hopefully fixing those issues will mean sorting out the draw order of tiles and objects will be easily fixed now as well.

And lastly I’ve started getting the new interaction controls to work, it’s still early days on this but it’ll mean that interacting with the world is much more intuitive. Hopefully I’ll be able to put a video up soon to show the new method in action.

New Team Member

I would like to give a warm welcome to Dan Ward (a.k.a. ButtonsZ) who is kindly offering his help on the code side of things. Dan is an old friend of mine who has recently graduated university with a first (clever sod) and is a programming ninja. Dan will be helping out on the game in his spare time when he’s not working which will really help speed things up. Welcome on board Dan!

Where To Next

So the plan for October is to mainly work on the exploration controls, improving collision and adding path finding which should make the game much more fun when you are wandering about the world. We’ll also be looking into further developing the map system, giving the ability to exit and enter buildings, move between building floors and also adding in a sewer system which will be an important way to get around safely. One thing we also want to look into getting working is the ability to use skeletal based artwork created using a tool called Spine. This will vastly improve the animation quality of the player and enemies but not only that it will also mean we can do some rather cool new things. Definitely go and check out the program here: http://esotericsoftware.com/

Ok, back to work I go!

Alex

From The Ashes

The last month was pretty hectic, running a Kickstarter campaign definitely eats up all of your time so it’s been lovely to get back to working on the game. The aim at the moment is to shift from working on a prototype and moving towards developing a more polished beta candidate.¬†I don’t have anything visual to show for this weeks progress as I have mainly been doing programming work but I thought it was good to keep you all in the loop.

The Code Bit

The first thing has been to start cleaning up and improving some of the code libraries that I’m using. The code now works more efficiently and will save me from some headaches later down the line. Cleaning up all the code also allows me to finally look at drafting in a bit of support that has been offered to me from friends which should speed things up.

The second thing has been to strip the game logic back and start rebuilding it, essentially starting from scratch but pasting in the code from before that worked well and re-writing the stuff that didn’t work so well. This should give me a good foundation and allows me to bring in the new combat scheme and defence placement mechanics with a clean slate rather than hacking it around the old code.

Game Pad & Keyboard Support!

Stripping back the code has meant I can overhaul the input controls. I’ve now enabled the game to use a game pad and you can now walk around using the WASD or arrow keys. Coupled with the options to use a mouse or touch screen this gives you a few options to choose your preferred control scheme or mix them. Which is how I think it should be.

Where To Next

This next week will be a bit more of the same really, I’ve still got more code to clean up and re-build so it may be a few weeks before I have anything new to show really.¬†I’ve also been in talks about some freelance work which is great as that’s what is funding me at the moment due to the Kickstarter campaign not reaching it’s goal; It does mean I’ll have less time to work on the game but I need to eat and pay the rent ūüėČ

Keeping Updated

There are lots of way to keep updated with the project now with tumblr being the latest addition. Whenever I post an update I’ll make sure it gets put up across them all so that you can choose which one works best for you.

Watch on IndieDB
Follow on Tumblr
Follow on Steam
Follow on Twitter
Like on Facebook
Subscribe to the Blog¬†(To subscribe¬†post a comment and tick the “Notify me of new posts via email” box)

Steam Greenlight

Also remember that the Steam Greenlight campaign is ongoing, we are at 96%¬†of the way to the top 100 so link it to your friends and get them to click the yes button, let’s see if we can get it into the top 100!

Vote For Will to Survive on Steam Greenlight

Until Next Time!

Alex

Hello Tumblr!

I’ve finally signed up for a tumblr account, so if you use tumblr be sure to go and follow¬†http://firingpingames.tumblr.com

I’ve also spent a little bit of time today installing and setting up a new plugin on the blog called Jetpack. This gives some new sharing, liking and subscribing options and also means that you can now post comments by logging in via Facebook, Twitter and WordPress.

I just need a way to directly link the blog to IndieDB, SlideDB and Steam now to make life easier. I wonder if there is a way?

Update coming regarding actual development on friday!

Alex

Kickstarter Unsuccessful : Where There’s a Will There’s a Way!

The time has finally arrived and it’s the end of the campaign. I’ve got in touch with the press, chatted to backers and together we’ve pushed the campaign as much as we possibly could but sadly the project has been unsuccessful in obtaining it’s funding this time around.

Although it is a great shame this is an outcome that I was fully prepared for, crowd funding can go one of two ways after all. The campaign has been a success in many other ways and a lot of that is down to you lovely lot. I would like to say a massive thanks to you all for your continued support and generosity.

Is This The End?

One of the reasons for doing the Kickstarter was to see if there was actually a market for the game, I was sold on the idea myself but I wasn’t too sure how others would perceive it. The general response from people has been excellent however showing that there is clearly a place in the world for Will and that makes me even more excited about the project than ever before.

I can definitely say that this isn’t the last you’ll see of Will! The project will live on so don’t despair. I will also be posting regular updates via the blog, Kickstarter, IndieDB and Steam so that you know how things are progressing. I will attempt to update things each week but failing that I will certainly make make time to update you guys every other week.

What’s Next?

There are a few different directions that I can look into heading with the project now, I could spend some time developing the game and attempt another funding campaign in a few months time. I could look into other funding options such as private investors or I could contemplate going the alpha funding route. Whatever I decide I will do my best to keep you updated and let you know what the plan is.

Right now I have actually started work overhauling the prototype, I’ve stripped it down to it’s bare bones and begun putting it back together in a far more clean and improved state. The aim is to create a really solid foundation to start building the final game from, address some of the issues from user testing and also smarten up some of the code so that I can begin to accept help that has been offered from some of my programmer buddies.

Steam Greenlight

One of the areas the campaign has done well is on Steam. With over 10 thousand yes votes, 600+ followers and 300+ comments so far the Steam Greenlight page is currently sitting at 94% on the way to the top 100 which is something to be very proud of. Thanks to you all for voting and sharing! The Greenlight page will continue now the campaign is over so be sure to share it some more and let’s see if we can get the project into the top 100!

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=164859338

Final Words

To wrap up I would like to say a massive thanks to you all again. You are all awesome and it means a lot to have people out there who believe in the project. I certainly hope I can continue on with the game and ultimately create something that you really enjoy playing.

Cheers All!

Alex & Will

Kickstarter Update : Combat Change

Today I wanted to talk a little about the new direction that I am looking into heading with regards to combat.

So far the combat in the prototype has not been met with much praise, in fact often people have been confused as to how it works as no other game features a combat mechanic like it and I’ve personally not been 100% happy with how it plays. I now feel like I know the correct direction to go in which will improve the game a lot and help cut down development time leading to a higher degree of polish and quality.

Out With The Old

Originally when I first developed the prototype the aim with the combat was to develop a system which would work well on mobile formats as well as desktops so I had the idea of using something along the lines of Pokémon style fight screens. It seemed like a sound concept and the player was taken to a different screen with the intention to help cut down art time and be a little more straight forward to develop in terms of AI logic.

The combat system was never truly locked down, it was still an early test of an idea but I needed to take that path in order to see if it was correct or not. I always had thoughts about changing it to a turn based system but wasn’t sure how it would work, if it would work and how much extra time would be involved with that process.

As usually happens with the development process eventually you have an epiphany and everything becomes clear on what direction you should take.

In With The New

The idea behind the new combat system is to scrap the idea of a separate combat screen and to tackle the combat in the world itself. This makes it work along the same lines as games such as Shadowrun Returns and X-Com.

The game will be real-time as before while moving around then should you alert a nearby enemy or choose to attack an enemy the game will go into a turn based combat scenario.

My thinking so far is that during each turn the player and the enemy (or enemies) choose an action to perform. There will be a time limit to remain in-keeping with the real-time nature of the game but it will be sufficient enough so that you can decide what to do and act upon that. Once decided the outcome will be played out and then it’s back to deciding what to do again. Rinse and repeat until either party is dead or the player manages to escape the combat area safely.

This image shows a brief glimpse at how a combat encounter may play out:

The Benefits

Scrapping a portion of the game and starting a fresh isn’t a decision that I’ve taken lightly. I’ve made sure that if this is to happen it’s certainly going to benefit the game-play but also that it will benefit the development process too. Thinking about it at great length I have come to the conclusion that it’s the best direction to go for many reasons.

  • Reduced Art Time¬†– There is no loner a requirement to create art for two different screens meaning the world artwork benefits from better polish.
  • Reduced Memory Foot Print¬†– The previous fight screens required quite a significant amount of texture memory due to their size and supporting high definition resolutions would increase that even more. Now there will be no need for such costly art assets.
  • Reduced Code Time¬†– As this will all happen in¬†the¬†world area now I can re-use portions of AI code for moving¬†enemies¬†etc.
  • Chance To Fight More Than One Enemy¬†– This was always something that I wanted to do but was unsure of how to achieve in the previous combat version. Having the chance for aliens to gang up on you leads to far more deadly combat scenarios.
  • Stealth¬†– I wanted to include the ability to go stealthy before but was unsure again how to achieve this. With the new system this will be even easier to implement and will be far easier for the player to understand.
  • Possible Clothing Changes¬†– Changing clothes has been on the wish list for a while especially if I am to factor climate into the survival aspects of the game. By focusing on the world environment and not having the expensive combat screen art to worry about it’s far easier to contemplate the feature of choosing clothes for Will later down the line.
  • Taking Other Survivors With You¬†– This is another aspect that has been on the wish list for a while. With this new system it is easy to envision the ability to travel and fight alongside other NPC survivors.

Onwards And Upwards!

Hopefully that makes sense and sounds good to you all. I’m certainly quite excited to get started on the new system.

Alex

See Original Update Here

Kickstarter Update : Ammo & Survivors

The Kickstarter campaign is now approaching the half way point, it’s crazy to think it’s been going for a couple of weeks already. Time has flown! Don’t forget to check out the reward tiers and think about pledging, it will all go towards making this a great experience.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/alexdawson/will-to-survive-a-real-time-survival-rpg-with-alie

Now, onto some more info…

Ammo

Ammo is a bit different in Will to Survive, you’ll be able to find different types of each round and will even be able to craft your own once you have learnt how. You could be adding phosphorus to some shotgun shells to create incendiary ammo or applying unknown alien liquids to the tips of bullets to test the effects. Everything that you can collect in the game will have a purpose, that purpose could just be to harvest chemicals or other supplies… ever wondered how much gunpowder is in a firework?

Survivors

Not many survivors live in the world now and the ones who are left tend to lead solitary lives hiding away as best as possible. They don’t want to get caught by the aliens who threaten their very existence.

Female Survivor

Male Survivor

When you do come across a new survivor you may need to gain their trust before they help you out. Once you are acquainted you may find that they have items to trade, tips or info to share and may even have quests for you complete. It’s important to try and look after your fellow humans, failing to aid them when they are in urgent need of help could mean they no longer exist. If the aliens have less humans to search for they stand a higher chance of finding you!

Until Next Time!Alex

Kickstarter Update #3 : Weapon Customisation

In today’s update I wanted to talk a little about the role weapon customisation will have in the game.

Here in the UK we don’t have access to a lot of weaponry. We don’t have AK47’s and M1911’s lying around the place so the ones you do find will be quite precious. Adapting them and improving them will be quite important. Adding scopes for example will increase your accuracy at various distances as well as the speed you can acquire a target. You’ll be able to attach flash lights and laser targeting either by standard means or just by using some tape you once scavenged. Some of the attachments will be able to be transferred too as long as it wasn’t a permanent fixture.

Will's Gun Notes

Will’s Gun Notes

Possibly the most important feature will be the ability to adapt some of the alien tech. You may find the ability to do this yourself or failing that find a helpful survivor willing to trade you something in return for his expertise in the matter. As enemies get bigger, you’ll need something more powerful than that .22 rifle of yours!

At the end of the day Will needs as much help as possible, as time goes on the threat grows stronger and ammunition will be harder to find. Gather what you can and adapt to the ever changing world around you.

Kickstarter

The kickstarter still has 25 days to go, if you can pledge that would be great but sharing is also important. let’s get the word out there! Also if we can get this green lit then anybody receiving the game as part of a reward tier will automatically receive a free steam key.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/alexdawson/will-to-survive-a-real-time-survival-rpg-with-alie

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=164859338

In The Press

The game and campaign has been featured on a few more sites too, why not check them out.

GameZebo Kickstarter Picks
PCGamesN
EGamer
KaboomShark

Thank You For Your Support!

Again I would just like to end with a thank you for your continued support. Be sure to share, tweet and spread the word to help us reach the funding goal and get green lit.

Cheers,
Alex

Guns… lots of guns.

Guns!

Guns!

Kickstarter Update #2 : The Gargantuan!

The Kickstarter is going well so far. We’ve now reached the ¬£1K mark! There’s still a way to go but the response has been great so far. Thanks to all those who have pledged and shared the project.

The Gargantuan

I’ve managed to sneak in a bit of alien concept art time in amongst the busy schedule of running a Kickstarter. This is one that I’ve been wanting to design for a while now. It’s a rather big brute who has a rather devastating secondary attack capable of destroying both sets of cover during a fight. Scary!

Will's Gargantuan Notes

Will’s Gargantuan Notes

As the threat level of the world increases, the scale, amount and sheer power of the aliens will increase with it. As that happens Will needs bigger weapons or a way to reduce the threat… maybe he needs to sabotage their way of calling backup?

In The Press

The project has had some more press recently which is fantastic. I’ve been mailing as many sites as possible trying to get coverage. Here are the articles that went up recently.

IndieStatik
IndieGameMag
BeefJack
IndieRetroNews

This line made me smile :)
“Oh my, this is the Milo game that Molyneux wanted to make! Well, almost. At least it has aliens.” – Chris Priestman (IndieStatik)

The last one is in Dutch, so a translation may be required for some :)
GameStalker.NL

If you know of any other sites that would be interested be sure to comment or send me a message.

Update #2 Kickstarter Link

The Gargantuan

The Gargantuan

Alien Nickname

The aliens don’t have a name, they’ve never spoke to a human before so we don’t know what to call them. They just turned up and kick-started the apocalypse. What would you nickname them?

Will To Survive Kickstarter Launched!

The Will to Survive Kickstarter campaign is officially launched.

You can check out the campaign and pledge by going to the Kickstarter page here:
Will To Survive Kickstarter Campaign

Will to Survive is also now on Steam Greenlight, help give it the thumbs up here:
Will To Survive Steam Greenlight Page

Please help share the campaign to friends, loved ones and co-workers. The more word that we can spread the greater the chance that the project gets fully funded. Thanks in advance to those who pledge, you have my humble gratitude and you are totally awesome!

Hold on to your butts!