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Enlightened Phoenix Group

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Maksim Romanov
Maksim Romanov

Space Beast Terror Fright Update 43 Version Download

  • It's been a year since we first published this game on Steam Early Access.I happened to look through some of the previous Early Access Update Announcements that we post in conjunction with all updates, and realized that we've pushed on average an update slightly faster than once every two weeks, something I'm quite proud of. I also realized that I've been thinking about getting out of Early Access for nearly 4 months. That feels like a long time to me.Having all the update dates and notes right under my nose like this actually helps me look back on the Early Access process for Space Beast Terror Fright much more objectively than was possible when right in the middle of pushing development forwards as fast as possible. I am happy to see that I have since around the beginning of 2016 managed to push hard on adding "big" features to the game.This has been a very conscious effort, because I've often felt when in Early Access that the level of quality that we've managed to retain with this project can actually be a liability. This is simply because it is easy to get scared of breaking things and undermining this sense of quality, and also because change to the product can easily be perceived as regression.I decided a while back to push ahead regardless and have faith in my ability to make the right trade-offs and also consciously act like I'm "in a hurry" to finish the game. I have found that this kind of mindset is really what moves things along and makes completion possible, and I can see that the average rate of updates (not to mention the scope of these updates) has increased significantly since around the new year.I have both posted some of my plans for completion in the forums as well as spoken individually to community members about them, but I'll make a stab at my general thoughts concerning major ideas left to try out (as of today):Multiplayer will be getting some love as per this post.

  • I want to try the whole idea of "space windows" so you can get a sense of the maps actually being on a ship in outer space.

  • I am still considering doing indoor/outdoor areas, even though this implies having missions set on a planet instead of in space. This implies much work on things that are mostly just eye-candy (skies, ground, some kind of alternate escape mechanism like a shuttle), and as such might not be worth the hassle. I also can't seem to motivate the outdoor areas from a gameplay standpoint, because there won't be anything to interact with there. On the other hand Infestation is sort of like that too, and I really like how that turned out.

  • I would like to try some kind of "rescue the civilians" mode. There are some assets already prebuilt for this, and it would be a shame to not at least try to get that kind of game mode working. I anticipate awesome chaos with frightened civilians running around, getting in the way of player fire as well as being torn to bits by angry Space Beasts (which will probably favor eating civilians over Marines).

  • I don't think Leaderboards work for this game, both because there are simply too many permutations of missions that can be viewed as unique challenges as well as the fact that as long as you complete a mission you will get a very similar score to everyone else. As a result they will most likely be removed.

  • Instead of Leaderboards I have ideas for a kind of Campaign of the Week which is a randomly generated series of missions that goes on forever (but is the same for everyone). The idea is that these Campaigns can be played together in local and networked Parties, and the score for each attempt is based on how long players survived and for how many missions. This solves the scoring issue associated with current Leaderboards simply because the best team will be the one that survived the longest, and the procedural Campaigns will never run out of missions. These Campaigns as the name implies will be time limited to a week, and any given Party may attempt the Campaign during that week as many times as possible. This whole idea requires some storage that I still need to figure out.

  • I have mentioned the desire to try to generate more advanced levels with varying ceiling and floor heights, but I will not do this for Space Beast Terror Fright. This is because this "feature" is fractal and implies a very large amount of work. It basically invalidates the way the current level geometry is pieced together, and I have no current equivalent solution that isn't a combinatorial nightmare. Levels like this also imply things like Beast A.I. that can navigate vertical spaces, stairs and / or elevators, solving the problem of players falling into pits, etc. Even with all of these risks, I think the biggest reason not to pursue these kinds of levels is simply the risk that once it were all implemented and all the problems sorted some players might simply feel like something was lost with the replacement of the the simpler flat version of the game.

  • I want to implement some kind of "star" / "favorite" system that allows players to mark missions that they enjoyed. If this information is available to everyone I anticipate this to be a way to rank all the billions of missions in the game by popularity. However there may be issues with storage here, and also this might simply turn in to a mess of information without meaning in a similary manner to Leaderboards.

  • I'm still hesitant about implementing a manual mission editor. This is partly down to things like storage issues, but also questionable; maybe this game should be completely procedural. On the other hand it might be fun to make maps to challenge other players with, and that also leads to ideas like user made campaigns (which however have the same problem as Leaderboards by virtue of being finite).

  • Maybe Steam Achievements.

There are also very many other miscellaneous things to do that are too numerous to list here. Also note that all of the above may change at any time.I want to say in closing that I have been getting very much love from the community lately, and I want to say that I appreciate that very much. It is a honor and a privilege to have so many people care about something that is the product of my overly creative mind.

Space Beast Terror Fright Update 43 Version Download


I have never seen myself as a "graphics programmer", as in my career at big game studios I tended to work on everything EXCEPT graphics. I think I need to revise my self-image.A little while back I hacked together a "poor man's Physically Based Rendering" in order to see what it would entail. We have been getting into using both Quixel's Suite and Allegorithmic's excellent Substance Painter, and the value of "normalizing" how content should work was immediately apparent to me. I did the basic code for a PBR-style material system, but we have yet to integrate it into Space Beast Terror Fright as it would require us touching a lot of content.Now I find myself looking into the very broad field of deferred rendering. It has irked me for a long time that we are limited in how many dynamic lights we can have in the game, namely one. We try our best to hide this fact, which involves juggling both the local player's flashlight as well as all player muzzle flares and sentry muzzle flares. Rarely you can see artifacts when something firing far away from you "steals your light".All of the main world lighting, including interactive cores, is baked into 3d textures that work as a per-grid ambient cube. Happily this is extremely low resolution (33x33x3 for the whole map) and as such it is possible to re-bake all of that every time a core is brought online / offline. The problem is that our use of normal maps in our lighting equation requires that we know where lights are coming from, so we have a combination of one texture for uniform light as well as one for each of the 6 axes (xyz positive and negative). This allows us to approximate where the light is coming from when doing lighting with the normal maps, even though it is not completely correct.All of this combines to LOTS of texture reads per pixel in a forward renderer; 1 uniform light, 6 axis lights, 1 albedo, 1 normal, 1 emit, 1 fake environment map / specular = 11 texture lookups per pixel. Combine that with options for turning off normals and specular, as well as being able to run "low quality lighting" which is just the uniform light pass, and you get shader permutation hell. All the permutations are still written by hand as multiple techniques in a big ubershader. It is pretty painful.Most AAA game developers seem to be doing some form of deferred rendering these days, with the big deal being the ability to have more dynamic lights. I have shied away from this kind of things as I neither prioritize super-high end graphics nor feel like I have the skills for it. However Space Beast Terror fright as a project has sort of been nudging me more and more into graphics land; while not "realistic" per-se it is definitely the most high-end graphics programming I have ever done.So just the other day I started thinking about what deferred lighting might entail, again most specifically to "solve" the issue of needing more dynamic lights. The first priority is to have each player have their own flashlight in co-op multiplayer; we think that would look really special.I read up on the subject and finally found a blog post that was sufficiently "simple" for my taste. It was also several years old. That is something that I tend to look for; the simplest possible solution that gives me the functionality that I want, at the cost of the fewest resources. I certainly take pride in the community saying that Space Beast Terror Fright "runs on a potatoe", and the game is also hard-coded to require the machine to be able to sustain 60 frames per second at all times.With the gracious help of Wolfgang Engel over at Confetti Special Effects as well as Martin Rystrand at Ubisoft Massive I have managed to hammer together the basis of a "light pre-pass" renderer, still staying on my target of DirectX 9.0c on shader model 2 (a suitably archaic target platform). I have some issues to sort out regarding how to best represent light shapes, and I am still worried a bit about performance, but in general it looks like it will be possible to remove ALL baked lights (several thousand per level) from Space Beast Terror Fright and switch them to dynamic lights.If I manage this it will enable pretty significant changes to the game. Of course allowing each player to have their own light is our first priority, but it also means that every single bullet and every single spark can potentially have their own dynamic light source. It will also allow us to modulate world lights based on game events, like pulsing and strobing when the reactor is overloading. We are also thinking of adding game events where the power goes out completely for a limited time, leaving the player with only their own flashlight in a pitch-black spaceship filled with nasty beasts. Finally we are also thinking about having bullets actually damage ship systems, permanently blowing out lights in a shower of sparks...More info and pictures when I have something to show! 350c69d7ab


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