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Meanwhile back at the Command Rig…..

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Busy weekend… I’m adding some art and detailing the tutorial map this week so we can send a build (pre-alpha) out to a few youtube channels that have requested a copy. I’ve also been working on the new website. I just kind of threw the old one together to get something up and running and was never really happy with it, this one isnt as clunky and will be easier for Devin and I to keep updated.

I’ve also added new forums after obsessing over what platform to use. The old forums used SMF that I have used several times in the past for other clients, but it just looks outdated and it doesnt include all the features that we need. The new forums are up and are ready to be tested so go sign up and drop us a note.

OK back to planting seaweed and pushing rocks around…

HUDs, Oculus and a big hole in the ground.

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Working on a new map, “The pit” (until I can think of a better name). Devin got the UI switched to the new Unity solution and I’ve started the graphics for the final HUD. Theres a new loading screen with a map preview and progress bar and a few new sounds and effects. We are going to start experimenting with the Steam API in the next week or so. I think Devin is pretty close to having the code finalized for a demo… just waiting on the slacker art guy after that. The new Oculus Rift stuff is in and working well also. Like our facebook page for a chance to play the alpha with the devs! Let us know what you think about the game so far and ask us some questions! Till next week!

Blogth of July

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This week on the abyss stares back at Devin: Interviews, paint jobs, and my old friend Oculus.


So I skipped blogging last week because of the Fourth of July and I had huge plans wi…  Basically I just didn’t feel like it. Might as well be honest here. I did get some Fathom stuff done though.

First off I set up an interview with an internet gaming journalist Elijah Beam. We’re going to provide him some game footage, and he’s going to cut it together with our interview. I’ll put a link somewhere on the site when it’s ready. I’ve been trying to use these interviews as practice with talking/promoting Fathom, but I’m starting to realize I’m not so great at it. I think I’ve gotta refine my 1-minute-pitch. On the plus side, it should be pretty hilarious to hear how many time I say “Ya know.” May end up being a really good drinking game if for nothing else.

Joe updated the Blackshark DSV with a higher res model & fancy new paint job, the pics I have scattered “artistically” around this text, thanks to WordPress and my lack of ability to use it well.

Unity 5.1 was released recently, and one of the features listed was fully integrated Virtual Reality support. Now, I spent some time a while back integrating the Oculus Rift into Fathom using Oculus’s “Unity Integration” package. It DID work, albeit it seemed a little awkward. I think the direct mode worked about 50% of the time, and extended mode kinda worked… but was so ass.

So I tried using the new Unity built-in OR support, and while the head tracking seemed to work pretty much right away in the editor, I couldn’t for the life of me understand what it was doing with the UI elements on screen. The GUI overlay would whip around the view super fast like it was on some merry-go-round from hell, and was effectively unusable. So I spent a few days sulking and telling myself how shitty the OR support was, until I decided to read the documents a little more closely. Turns out, the OR support wants to have exclusive control of ALL Camera components’ orientation and position, which is exactly what my camera controlling script tries to do. So basically the OR support and my camera controlling script were fighting each other about what direction should be facing.

Long story short, I had to rewire my camera script and the entire prefab for camera control I created, such that my script controlled the camera’s parent, and the OR support could control the actual camera itself. Luckily it wasn’t that much work. And it all seems to work pretty well now. Stable, consistent, better (Papa Johns).

That’s all I got, or at least that I can remember. Till next week-ish.


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This week on Devin starts with the man in the mirror, and asks him to change his ways:  More eye candy, more testing, and perhaps some music?

Joe finished updating textures for the Command Rig and the Bomber. He added a lot more detail and a bit more color so you can tell whats on your team at distance. Can see the glam shots of both below:

He also posted the repair model on sketchfab which garnered they’re “most viewed model for the week.” Ok so it was 10 views, but hey, this whole gamedev place gets pretty crowded.

We tested revision 1720 earlier this week. Can see the movie of it on the front page. I got my ass kicked again by Joe, again… I don’t know what the world is coming to. The upside is Fathom remains stable, but one take away from playing  a second round was that I got pinned pretty early, and was then badly starved for resources. While it was mostly my fault (again I’m pretty bad in at this game), once he started coming at me with frigates I didn’t have much to reply with, or even defend with. So I decided to make the torpedo buoy available prior to the Advanced Research upgrade. It may help with the turtle/counter-attack play style which is almost impossible to pull off currently.

Finally I also spoke with prominent music composer Aaron Paul Low this week. He was volunteering his work to reddit for free in hopes of gaining some exposure in the game development community. He seemed to dig what were are doing with Fathom, and so I gave him a run down of our plan and musical preferences. I think it piqued his interest enough to start tinkering with some musical pieces this week. Looking forward to hearing what he comes up with. Dude clearly has some chops, check out his page .


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Okay on this week’s episode of Devin talks into the void…

Joe finished up a new turret buoy model! Can see it there below. It really plays nicely in game despite me being worried about the aiming being off seeing as there’s now 4 barrels firing instead of 1. I worked it out by basically having the center-of-aim move from one barrel to the next, as opposed to just aiming from the very center of the turret. Seemed to miss a lot less when I did that anyway. Hell it tracked and shot me down in a DSV… but that’s not saying much, I suck at this game.

We also worked out some new flashy effects, specifically with the repair beam and the minesweeper’s blast.  They’re basically lightning effects with a few parameters to control their randomness. Combined with the free MKGlow plugin (which I recommend) I think they look pretty decent. Below is a gif of it in action (you might have to click it for it to work):

Oh wow, I almost forgot the entire website got a bit of an overhaul, again. We duked it out with Word Press to get it in what’d I’d say is a much better state. Man website work totally blows, people do that shit for a living too, god…

I also saw the Unity 5.1 came out, which includes the beginnings of UNet, Unity’s upgraded networking mechanism.  Currently we’re using uLink, and it’s pretty interwoven into our code, I’m a bit terrified of ripping it out in favor of UNet, but it might be worth it in the long run. I’ll prob blog/bitch about that in the near future.

So yeah, I guess it was a pretty productive week! We’re closing in on getting a trailer together.  We want to touch up some of the DSVs, paint some of the smaller craft with more color, and then make a fancier level, with pretty underwatery type things around hopefully instead of just plain rocks.

After that, we’re gonna record the shit out of us playing the game. We’ll take all the clips and cut them up to some mmtss mmtss music so that it rocks your socks. Well, as much as a trailer can anyway.  Ya know, I was really trying to come up with a clever way to structure the trailer footage, but luckily I found this:

Ok Here We Go…

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o I’m going to try out blogging a few things about the development and eventual launch of Fathom. I’m hoping to do this weekly, or at least semi weekly. I think until I figure out what I’m going to consistently say, I’m just going to stick to the stuff that I’ve worked on, or plan to work on that particular week. And who knows, maybe that’ll magically trigger some stimulating conversation…

This week, I’ll start off with the state union.

Fathom has really taken shape, and I think it’s a viable and interesting game. I think it satisfies that desire I had to make something that’s different enough from the games I’ve seen around in the market. Not to say that I have the “mostest originalest game anyone has ever played”, but I feel it’s got a mix of familiar elements put together in a somewhat unfamiliar way. I like it, it’s the game I wanted to play and I enjoy it, even though, secretly, I really suck at it. But the time is coming where I’d like to share it and see if others will enjoy it too. But I really want to present it in the best light.

Now having said that, I’ve been contemplating how to market it, and I have some concerns. Just breaking this game down into genre, this game is an Action-RTS…

1. Basically we started off with Descent-like game mechanics (because Descent was awesome): You’re in a vehicle that can move in 6 degrees of freedom (pitch yaw and roll), and you’re given weapons to shoot enemies with. But I’m pretty sure not all FPS’ers like Descent, understandably that 3D movement can be difficult to negotiate. So marketing to FPSers is might be a bit of challenge, but I feel there’s at least a good pocket of potential players out there to manage this, and it’s probably the most promising group to market towards in my opinion.

2. Next, I felt the game that was a straight up shooter wasn’t… enough. Homeworld was another favorite game, so after some design chats we said, “why not have some units you build to fight with you?” This snowballed pretty quickly. Talking about building units, usually implies structures to build them from, and resources to build those structures. Hence our whole resources->structure->units->fight! game flow started. This is basically the RTS format. So now we have some real-time strategy elements to our game, but not in the normal sense. There’s no top down battlefield view, you’re in a vehicle in the 1st/3rd person all the time, and you’re getting shot at constantly. This may not appeal to RTSers, so there’s probably some serious challenges to appealing to the RTS front.

3. Now this might be a stretch, but there’s a bit of NPC farming in the game for resources. Toward the beginning of the match there’s something reminiscent of “jungling”, so as to jump start the RTS aspect of the game. You can technically use that mechanic to improve yourself with a new DSV to pilot, almost like leveling… eh kinda. This mechanic usually gets automated with deployable turrets fairly quickly… but it’s something. Again a stretch, but it might strike a chord with MOBA players… probably not.

So with that, I made a quick draft diagram of what I think might be our target audience? Probably in the 18-30 year old demographic range is my guess.

It’s pretty niche just by the look of it, but I suppose that’s the risk you take when you try to blend genres implicitly. This obviously isn’t something that’s never been done before. Those that have played other action strategy mixes, like the Airmech players, BattleZone 2 players, or Sacrifice folks, maybe even Magic Carpet players may dig this… I just hope we can reach them to at least try it.

Final note, I realize this is sort of built on a very flat and ignorant classification of players. There’s probably much more diversity to it then I’m showing, so if you feel I’m not considering something or have some thoughts, please set me straight.