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June 17, 2013 - Intravenous Software
For those that missed out on that last batch of alpha testing you may be pleased to know that our doors are open again. If you are interested in joining the alpha test then now is your chance.
The current alpha build is very solid across PC/Mac/Linux thanks to all the time our existing alpha testers spent playing the game and reporting issues. The latest build (which has been out for a few weeks) has only had a single minor bug reported.
We are extending the number of alpha testers now for two reasons. Firstly, we would like to get further feedback on the existing 10-15 hours of gameplay. Secondly, we are hard at work on a new build that will add a ton of new content (new weapons, new gadgets, new upgrades, new features) along with extending the game by another 10 tech levels. The first version of this new build is due in a couple of weeks and we would like a larger number of testers ready for this.
If you would like to get involved in the testing, and you have the time to write up your feedback and bug reports on our forums, then hit up the following link for info on how to apply:
May 12, 2013 - Intravenous Software
A week ago, we opened up NeonXSZ to a group of new alpha testers, including Mac and Linux users. The great news is that the current build worked flawlessly on both without any alteration.
This is the first time Linux support has been confirmed, but it's good to finally feel secure that the Mac version runs without a hitch also.
The response to the alpha build has been overwhelmingly positive. Thanks so much to everyone who has been helping out with the testing and the game is only going to get even better. You guys are amazing.
The game is already deep into production and although a few bugs cropped up during the first week these are ironed out now and the game is running super smooth and the balance of all the gameplay is working great. Some of our testers have already enjoyed 25+ hours of gameplay on the current build.
Other great news is just how well the game scales to really low end hardware. It's just been confirmed that it runs at over 30fps on an Intel HD3000. The HD3000 is a low end intergrated graphics chip found in laptops. It's also been confirmed to work on a Geforce 9500 that was released back in 2008 and was only a mid-range card even then. This basically means that if you can play any 3D game on your rig, you will be able to play NeonXSZ on it too. Modern rigs are pulling 200fps at max settings with 8xMSAA and 15 realtime lights.
The next phase of development is to pack the opening 10-20 hours of the game with even more cool features, new gadgets and toys, and to polish everything to a shine. Once that is done we are hoping to allow players to pre-order the game and get access to the alpha when they do so.
Thanks for your support everyone. We couldn't have got this far without you.
April 25, 2013 - Intravenous Software
Seven minutes of one continuous dogfight caught while capturing gameplay footage for a new video.
The battle was so much fun I wanted to upload it in full 1080p.
Here's a direct YouTube link.
Tell people if you like it. we need support to make this game happen.
Seriously, if you like the vid, link it to at least one other person, and tell them to link it if they like it too.
April 20, 2013 - Intravenous Software
All the screenshots have been updated +
30+ Brand New Bonus Images
A History of NeonXSZ in Images
Brand new dedicated NeonXSZ forums
(Click the above links for direct access to the new content)
View the full announcement for complete details on this update:
The New Name - NeonXSZ
NeonXSZ - pronounced Neon Excesses.
A few months ago I was informed by the trademark owner that the Neon name was trademarked in the United states. He did offer to allow me to use the name, but further trademark searches uncovered eight more trademarks for 'Neon' under the category for computer games. There was no choice but to change the name to avoid court battle later down the line.
It is the sixth time the game has changed it's name due to similar events so it was time to find a name that was totally unique to avoid the same thing happening ever again.
www.neonxsz.com - is Neon's new homepage and sits proudly at the top of Google when searching for 'NeonXSZ'. Currently it's little more than a splash page to direct to the Greenlight page and our new forums, but it will be expanded upon and improved as time allows.
The New Forums
The Alpha Test is very close to opening out to a wider audience. It was important to have a place for alpha testers to give feedback, and a forum gives the fans a much better place to chat about the game.
If you are interested in joining the Alpha Test you will stand a much better chance if you join the forum.
I will also be using the forums to post up screenshots and information about what I'm currently working on to get feedback on new ideas or designs. You will already find content on the forum that is not available here.
Neon was finally updated to Unity Pro. This opened up a lot of new opportunities on the rendering side of things and this update was to give you a first look at the results.
Bloom, extra realtime lighting, and other rendering effects have been added, and the default colour scheme was updated with improved palette design, new lighting, and new effects.
All the ship models have also been replaced. The ships retain their original design shape, but were remodelled to fit better with the design of the cyberspace theme. Two new ship models were also added.
The other major graphical update was to the game's User Interface. So much of the text based clutter around the interface has been replaced with nice icons to clean things up and get the game closer to where it needs to be.
Work also began on improving the particle effects in the game. More will be done on this front as time allows.
Finally, a new video will be worked on over the coming week. I can't wait to show you the game in action with all the new effects.
I want to make the best game I can for you guys and your comments are not only encouraging but they have been the driving force behind many of the changes to Neon already.
Thanks for your continued interest in the project. :)
March 20, 2013 - Intravenous Software
As planned the first Neon alpha build was ready on schedule for the end of February.
The intention was to have all of the existing game systems bug free and balanced to allow for lengthy play sessions and to get a real feel for how the game was shaping up. This was achieved and the idea of this update is to let those that are following Neon know the results.
Current state of the game
The core procedurally generated game world, with approximately one thousand persistent enemy ships flying around doing their own thing is all working as intended (It's possible to have two thousand ships but the game feels cluttered with that many).
The player can kill and loot those enemies collecting the upgrades, ships and weapons that they are using and use them himself.
All of that tech is nicely balanced all the way up to tech level 80 with nearly one thousand upgrades and ship types varying in usability across those levels.
Upgrade shops, hull dealerships, garages, and armories are also working nicely with their pricing scaling to create a steady progression for the player.
In a nutshell, all of the existing gameplay and technology is now balanced and working with no major bugs, and the combat and enemy AI scaling feels great.
So can we play the game already?!
Hehe, not just yet.
The biggest issue that playing the alpha build highlighted was that there simply wasn't enough really exciting new fun stuff constantly unlocking to keep the player motivated. Unlocking better shields, faster engines, new weapons, and new hulls is fun for a while but that was always intended to be just the backbone of the game. The plan was always for Neon to be much more than that...
Since the start of development, the plan was always to add loads of cool toys and gadgets, with new ones unlocking constantly to keep the gameplay fresh and ever changing. The alpha build didn't have these although they are in development now.
The plan was always to get the core fundamentals of the game tech finalized for the alpha so that there was a solid and balanced foundation to build the rest of the game around. To that extent the alpha was a complete success.
It's now time for the really fun stuff
Now that all the hard work of getting the game systems fully functional is done, development energy can be spent making all the cool gadgets.
Work on this has already begun and they are already having a dramatic effect on the fun factor.
Just this week the Drone tech was finalized. Drones are little autonomous ships that any ship in the game can release if they have a drone upgrade installed. The player can loot these off enemies or buy them at upgrade shops just like any other upgrade. A ship can have multiple drone upgrades installed. If the player installs three drone upgrades he can release three drones at once, but of course installing drone upgrades will be taking the place of other potential system or weapon booster upgrades that they could have installed instead.
Another really cool gadget is also finished but I'm keeping the details of that one under wraps because the idea is too cool and would be stolen by other developers.
The idea is to have dozens of gadgets and cool toys that the player can install along with the hundreds of already finished weapon and system booster upgrades. Yet, each ship only has a maximum of eight miscellaneous upgrade slots, that these fit into, so the player will need to experiment and find which upgrade loadouts work best in all of the various hulls.
I'm sure you can imagine the possibilities.
Upgrading to Unity Pro
Currently Neon has been built in Unity Basic!
Unity Pro offers so many extra rendering options that are not available in Unity Basic. Realtime lighting and shadows, deferred rendering, and bloom/glow effects are some of the options that I'm most excited to experiment with. The good news is that I'm confident enough with the result of the Neon alpha that I expect to upgrade to Unity Pro this week.
There will obviously be teething problems with the transition. I'm not just moving from Basic to Pro but from version 3.5 to 4.0 which does many things differently. I expect that next week will be spent doing nothing more than getting the existing game transferred over and ironing out all the bugs that will arise from that.
Then I will be experimenting with all the cool new rendering options available and I expect they will make Neon look a whole lot better than it does right now. Hopefully in a couple of weeks I'll be able to do some screenshots to show the initial results.
The next 3 months
I plan Neon's development in 3 month chunks so here is what is planned over the next 3 months.
~ Upgrade to Unity Pro and improve the games rendering and graphic fidelity.
~ Build at least a dozen (hopefully more) completely new gadgets that will convert into about 100 new upgrades.
~ Experiment with a completely different ship design concept. More on this later but the idea is to experiment with a more modular design where I can plug ship parts together and have miscellaneous upgrades attaching to the outside of the ships so that the game could have literally thousands of different ship designs. I've never been really happy with the current ships.
~ Polish up the User Interface and convert much of the text into icons.
~ Improve explosions and particle effects to give combat a more dramatic look and feel.
~ Possibly add challenge arenas and more environement designs if there is time.
~ No doubt much more than this but these are the main goals.
That will bring us up to the end of May. The plan is to have another alpha build done by then that should have enough content to pack the first 15 tech levels full of content.
At that point I will review the state of the game again. If I'm happy with those first 15 tech levels I will consider making the game available for purchase with future development adding the content to fill out the remaining tech levels in similarly sized chunks.
Each station in the game spans 15 tech levels, so it makes sense to ensure the first station is full of content and motivation, to keep upgrading, before moving on to the next.
Neon is still on schedule, I've managed to meet every deadline I've set for myself so far, and the next 3 months are going to be the most exciting of all. It's finally time to start working on the really cool and fun stuff.
Please feel free to chime in again with your ideas for cool gadgets. I already have some great ones planned but the more people who throw their ideas into the hat, the better Neon will be.
Thanks for your continued support and interest and don't forget to let similarly minded gamers know about Neon.
Paul - Intravenous Software.