Undead Overlord

Undead Overlord

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JumpCore  [developer] Apr 30, 2016 @ 2:49pm
Status 4/30/16
Hi all,

We’ve finally made the move to Unity 5 - they’re up to rev three now, so things have stabilized somewhat, and all the plug-ins we use have gone through a few fix cycles, as well. Coupled with the fact that we’ve also decided to go with a whole new environment for Mission 06, which is a fairly large art and design effort, it seemed like the time is right to dig in and do the port to Unity 5.

So far, the port has gone well - the Unity upgrade tools worked as advertised, and it wasn’t too bad to manually make the remaining code changes to bring the code base up to . . . well, code.

(Legend tells of a legendary coder, whose code was the stuff of legend. - Kung Fu Coder)

There are sure to be a bunch more project specific things that have changed - the first is that the way audio handling works has changed. “Audio Sources” . . . We were apparently somewhat fast and loose with our use of Audio Sources in service to the Undead Overlord, and now must be penitent and endeavor to achieve austerity in our audio sourcing ways.

A bigger issue is going to be the addition of new systems for Global Illumination (GI) and Physically Based Rendering (PBR - no, not Pabst Blue Ribbon, this is different). So far it hasn’t been too tough to get Unity 5 to do some basic legacy lightmap-style lighting, but it does not look as nice as the Unity 4 version that we had spent a lot of time tweaking and tuning - at least, not out of the box. The fact that it works at all out of the box, though, is pretty cool - kudos to the folks at Unity for that. Once we figure out (and implement the data to take advantage of) the new hotness on the lighting front, however, there should be some visible improvements to the look of the game. Mainly, we should benefit from some radiosity type effects that the previous incarnation of lighting in Unity had no notion of performing.

There have been some significant changes to the navmesh and pathfinding systems in Unity 5, as well, and who knows how that will shake out. So far, the initial re-bake of all the mission navmeshes has gone fine, so that’s awesome, and again kudos to the folks at Unity. The question is more about where our kludged up interface between the Unity navigation systems and our AI systems will cause issues. That said, the improvements to the navmesh and pathfinding systems in Unity 5 should hopefully afford us some opportunities to improve our existing systems, as well.

Lastly, the Mecanim character animation system has also seen some great improvements in Unity 5, and we’re excited to take advantage of those. We had to build a number of fairly elaborate tools to support our character animation system, which makes fairly extensive use of LODs to enable us to draw a lot of zombies with minimal graphics horsepower. And we made that work, but it was never easy to work with, was difficult to expand on, and it required a lot of data that wound up taking up a lot of disk space and requiring even more time and effort. The new Mecanim human character tools (which were introduced in Unity 4, but have really only become, in our not-so-humble opinion, fully useable in Unity 5) will make a lot of those tools redundant. That makes me both happy and sad - happy, because life will (hopefully) be easier on that front going forward, but sad because those tools were one of my first personal forays into building tools for Unity. It’s kind of like selling an old car that you know doesn’t work very well anymore, but still has a lot of sentimental value due to memories associated with it . . .

Anyway, that’s a lot of rambling about dev, and there’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes at the moment, but let me wrap up with some news that’s a bit more exciting from a player’s perspective - work on Mission 06 is under way, and it’s going to feature a new environment set. Right now, Jef is cleaning up and making some polish improvements to Mission 05 landscape art, while Jameson has been adding some new accessories to the existing character set, while I’m working on roughing out the layouts and game design for Mission 06. But, hopefully soon, I’ll be passing off the pieces to them for the beginning of beautification while testing and tuning also begins (we tend to have a more parallel dev process than a larger, full time studio would have, because, well . . . we have no choice).

Meanwhile, Martin and Chris are working on the new features that will go along with the next release. Some of which we’ve talked about (towers), but others we’re keeping mum about until we have something working that we can show off. I will say, however, that they’re features that were not on the original feature list for the game.

One nice thing about this project being a labor of love is that we can do things like adding features that would work well for a particular mission and just make the game that much cooler - just decide that something would be cool, and take the time to make it so, without worrying about running out of funding, or trying a publisher’s patience. The giant floating mutated brains that can take control of live humans were one of those ideas that I’m particularly fond of myself. The trade off, of course, since pretty much everything in this world has a trade off, is that each time we do, it extends the game’s schedule once more. I suppose that’s one benefit of the Steam Early Access program - if you’re patient (and can afford approximately the cost of lunch for two at Taco Bell) then you can watch the game slowly evolve towards it’s v1.0 form, as we keep chipping away at it, and having fun with it.


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Showing 1-7 of 7 comments
RabidUrko Apr 30, 2016 @ 4:40pm 
I havent got another 2 years waiting for a level to be added.
You wait months to even post a message on here.
Angryyyyy May 1, 2016 @ 12:11am 
Yeah, key word at the bottom. "Slowly". You got that God damn right.
Zarnovski May 1, 2016 @ 8:38am 
Well i'm pleased you have so much palnned for the future, however long it takes. You really should be a bit more communicative during the long spells betwen updates though!

phantoka-rock May 1, 2016 @ 10:28am 
As a founder. Id rather have a dead dog slowly come back to life. Rather than look at another tomb stone. eden eternal, fantasy earth zero and age of armor.
Dont let yourself get disencouraged guys, keep on the work.
RabidUrko Jun 20, 2016 @ 5:09pm 
Originally posted by ☠✠☩ Nekator ☩✠☠:
Dont let yourself get disencouraged guys, keep on the work.

Benelor Jul 3 @ 7:11am 
This game will never be finished. I will die of old age before you ppl release this game.
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Showing 1-7 of 7 comments
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