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Dev Diary: The Greatest Feeling is Busting Through the Wall

The proverbial wall that is. Often times in pretty much anything one does, there comes a period of time where there just doesn’t seem like any progress is happening. Then a breakthrough occurs and the wall comes down. This finally happened and the feeling is so good.

The video showcases that game and is totally worth it. This game is pretty awesome.

Progress

We’re working on three fronts these days. The out of game story for Immortal Realm, a poker game and the Zombie shooter. Priority though is the zombies.

Speaking of Zombies, the custom AI has been greatly improved and is ready for the next step in the game. They can see, hear and chase you mercilessly. But they also get hungry and this adds in the possibility of food bait in the future. Not all zombies will break chase, but if you’re low on ammo it can give that chance to escape.

The AI code ended up getting too complex for it’s own good. Each state was trying to do too much and there was often a duplication of duties. I didn’t realize this at first until adding in Line of Sight to the target acquisition portion. Suddenly I realized each state was trying to set targets and juggling with what it already had. Now Pursuit only cares about chasing and if it can attack or not. Idle only cares about hanging out and looking around and so on.

While the AI was certainly the hardest part of the game so far it was also the most important to get right. I tried several solutions including “Behavior Designer” and Emerald AI. While both are pretty cool tools, nothing beat the extensibility of raw custom code. While both could be extended, it would add more time for the learning curve for the tools. With the AI I was able to add on features and really slim it down to simplify.

What now?

With the major roadblock out of the way the world of possibility has opened up for the game itself and Chaos Rift Games. Breaking down the AI wall has given a huge push forward. The first playable build has been released as seen in the above video. This is big, really big. I now have a viable product. I can start working towards a Kickstarter campaign. There is something real to show off to gamers and possible investors. I worked hard and made many sacrifices to get here.

Having changed the Main character from the placeholder Mixamo prop to a Morph3D model instead has really opened new doors as well. Custom outfits and character look can now come into play. Though being a topdown game this may not be a need. Though that might change.

Audio: Right now the game is pretty dull and quiet. Zombies don’t make noises even when they scream and roar. There’s no splatter sounds or footsteps. The game world needs to be brought to life through sound.

Music: As seen in the demo, that placeholder music is the path we’re taking. A happy disjointed sound that doesn’t quite flow with the gore of the game. Our composer is on the mission and excited to be doing this.

Art Direction: We love the steampunk styling and lighting direction the game has evolved to over the course of development. From Sci-Fi distopia that was originally the setting to more of a classical steampunk. Why not both right? Go a touch Cyberpunk to reveal the story a bit more. Thing is, I’m extremely limited for now with what is available on the Unity Asset store. That is a $0 budget. I have to work with what’s available for the time being.

Critical hits is something that’s in the game. It causes the zombies to ragdoll (fall to the ground) and is an important gameplay mechanic. Injured limbs will be in effect as those parameters start to get tuned. Zombies will crawl and limp as they get injured. Faster zombies will be affected by this and give some form of reprieve to the chase.

Finally more zombies can be added. Randomized AI parameters and the works. Now that the roadblock is cleared the game can start getting more interesting. Zombies that start out already limping, or faster than normal.

This May Become our First PC Release

This was really slated to be a mobile game. It may still become one. But as the game has been developed, and especially with the semi-completed AI system, this is really starting to shape up to be a 3rd person shooter. The game is evolving itself through my fingers. In a few weeks we’ll see where the game progress has taken us. There’s still a lot more things to do in the mean time. Quite honestly this may be the best route for the game to take. Time will tell.

Well That Was Quite a Bit

If you got this far: THANK YOU!

This update has been filled with great excitement and relief. A major struggle over the past month or two has finally broken away. What seemed impossible only a few days ago has become a real possibility. There’s only marching forward now.

About Craig

Craig is the founder of The Chaos Rift and developer of the games published here. In his spare time he'll also write about games, play games and dream about games. Being a Game developer has been a dream of Craig's since he was 14 and after some detours has finally started to realize his dreams.

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