Summer Development Recap #1

Posted by [email protected] on July 12, 2016 at 11:15 AM

Oh my word, where do I even start? The past two months of development have frankly been insane, and most of it is a blur at this point. But out of it, we’ve gotten ourselves something we’ve been churning away to get to for years now; a new functional demo build! 

We showcased it just recently at a local museum called The Leonardo to much success. Even though it pushed us back a whole 2 years now, I’m happy to say that switching engines was all in all the right move, as this recent build is vastly more stable than our old version, not to mention way prettier and runs way smoother. Whereas the last time we went to a public convention to showcase Deeper, we were literally scrambling to fix and patch things all the way up to and DURING the convention, this time the game just worked the way it was supposed to, and that’s something I find quite comforting in the midst of all our delays.

So, what’s new? Well, lots of things, most of which relate to simply ensuring all of the basic mechanics we’ve had in the past are now back in and networked properly, which was no small task, and for which Jordan in particular worked his butt off to achieve in time. But the most notable of which being a new area we’ve been fleshing out for The Leonardo build, and one I’ve been personally the most excited for us to implement for some time; The Infected Waters!

We’ve got it all - strange floating Barnacle Mines outside, which when hit have a chance of spawning an even more deadly Barnacle Infested shark, Barnacles that grow slowly inside the ship wherever the Infected Water happens to be touching, and eventually hatching into a variety of frightening Barnacle Crabs that terrorize players on the inside, and a giant mine-spewing Barnacle Hive boss to end out the area with!

Being able to finally implement and test this new area has been quite a blast, and watching players react to these terrifying new creatures even more-so, with folks at The Leonardo scrambling to shoot pesky barnacle crabs off the ceiling while keeping the water leaks at bay.

Another benefit of this new area is a new marvelously fun musical track we got from our composer David in collaboration with Jordan for the Barnacle Hive boss fight – which y’all should check out here:

Among the many new additions, of course, are many, many tweaks and improvements, and a whole lot of juicing. I’ll list off a bunch of notable stuff that I can think of:

- Sound effects! Not only are sounds back in, but now we have a system that low passes sounds (takes out their high end and makes them sound muffled) based on whether you’re looking at the exterior or interior world. So if an explosion happens outside and you’re looking inside, you’ll hear it the same way you might if there WERE actually a thick metal sub between you and the outside world.

- Camera shake! In further interest of making you feel like you’re really inside this big hunk of metal, we now shake the camera anytime the sub has an impact of hull breach to keep players on the inside feeling the action happening outside. The one in this Gif is the result of a major impact caused by a swordfish piercing through the sub's hull:

- Sub health UI! In past play sessions, we noticed that despite putting the sub’s health on a console inside the submarine, no one ever paid attention to it and the sub would often blow up seemingly without warning as a result – now in the interest of clarity, all players will be able to see the sub’s health through a new UI component. It’s up all the time for now, but eventually I hope to only make it pop up when it becomes relevant.

- Boss health UI! With the introduction of our new boss, we decided it was high time we have a way of showing players how far along they are in boss battles, so they can better tell how close they are to success. We whipped up this new fella to serve that purpose.

- Trench tops! While not the most important thing in the world, we realized that for the longest time we’ve never had an in-game context for how this trench looked at the top. So, I decided to make some assets to showcase where the players are before they dive. That is to say, between TWO mysterious islands! Because Jules Verne.

- Underwater overlays! This one’s a bit more subtle, but we wanted for a while for our underwater stuff to feel, well, more underwater. While things like refraction shaders are costly, we decided to implement a hazy textured and colored vignette over our exterior underwater cameras to give our world a more distinctly underwater feel. I was skeptical about this at first since I feared it would mess with my carefully chosen color palettes, but it did a lot to tie the sub in with its surrounding environment, as well as being good for general atmosphere and with the painterly texture applied, gives a nice subtle extra effect to the hand-crafted feel of our art direction.


Before and after the overlay:

And finally, one last major announcement is that our Steam Store page is now officially live!

Getting the assets together for this has been no easy task, and we wanted to make sure we made a nice first impression once our game hit the storefront. With this you’ll notice we have now posted our official plans for Early Access, and how we plan to go about involving the community, along with a tentative winter release date. Time will tell how these things evolve but it feels good to be out there and showing off our game again! Be sure to go wishlist/follow our game page if you so desire, and now I’m gonna get back into the trenches, since there’s plenty more work to be done!

Categories: We Need to go Deeper, Game Development

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