Rethinking the competitive first person shooter -- PC/Mac/Linux

  • View media
  • View media
  • View media
  • View media
  • View media
  • View media
Post article RSS Articles

On the road to Steam Greenlight, I’m continuing to refine the game and add polish. From the last post:

The visuals are too rough in general, but I also want to do a better job “selling” the fantasy of piloting a large spidermech. These efforts should improve the perceived quality of the game and help with marketing. I think it can also be important for new players — so that even if they haven’t yet grasped all the gameplay mechanics, they can still have some fun just experiencing the game and seeing things happen. The fact that you aren’t running around as a human is a big thing that sets Arms of Telos apart from other games and I want to take advantage of that as much as possible.


New Features

Player trails are something I’ve wanted to add for a long time. I had even experimented with a couple approaches months ago, but shelved it at the time because I wasn’t satisfied with how they looked. With the release of Unity 5.5, Unity’s Line Renderer got some major upgrades. Unity 5.5 also added a feature called GPU Instance rendering, which I’ve been experimenting with for future features and effects. These two features, along with some engine bug fixes, convinced me to go ahead and upgrade the game’s engine to Unity 5.5 (from 5.2.2).

These trails only show up when a player is moving faster than a certain speed and they’re color coded for teams. It’s a really cool way to visualize player movement and I can’t wait to see these streak through the skies in a full match. It’s handy for chasing as you can follow the trails, but it also opens up the possibility of being more sneaky by limiting your speed to avoid producing trails.

As mentioned at the start of the post, one thing I wanted to work on was the sense of player scale. You’re piloting a spider-mech that’s about 3 stories tall and I want that to be part of what sets the game apart from other first person shooters. One of the ways to do that is through the environmental art. This can be tricky though, especially with a stylized game like this. A low-poly rock can look like a pebble and a boulder. A tree can look like a shrub. Banana leaves can can look like grass blades. I’m still looking for solutions to this challenge, but in the meantime I’ve implemented a couple ideas that I think work pretty well.

The first is cloud cover. The implementation is pretty simple — scrolling UVs over a mesh with some depth blending to give the sense that the clouds dissipate as they collide with structures and give the sense that there’s some depth as you pass through. Might play around with volumetric clouds in the far future but for now I think these get the job done well and I want to keep performance tight. Feels cool to jump above the clouds and gives the space colonies inside asteroids a better sense of atmosphere.

Next are these flowerbeds. I played with a few ideas to give the ground more detail and this one seemed to work best (though I’m still tinkering with one of the other ideas). One challenge was trying to come up with something that looked good far away and up close, and satisfied that sense of scale challenge mentioned above. What I ended up doing was blending UV scale based on distance. So as you get closer, it actually shows more detail. It’s sort of like dx11 tessellation, but for 2D detail (and much simpler). Hopefully it’s subtle enough where you don’t really notice it, but I think it looks alright and I’ll continue to tweak it. Right now the distribution is using simple perlin clouds but I may try hand-painting it later. Both these flowers and the cloud utilize the gradient vertex color tech I talked about in Advancing Telos #003.

I also added a new race course. I’ve found races to be great at teaching movement — they force you to practice certain routes and it’s really helped me and other players improve our consistency for things like grappling through flag stand 2’s zero gravity donut hole. I had noticed a lot of players barely use magnet surfaces effectively, so this time I built a race course specifically to highlight those — a good way to learn and optimize how to best use magnet surfaces to build and keep speed.

Full list from the changelog.

Current State of Balance

While I do like certain weapons/equipment acting as counters to others, the Shield was a bit too good at shutting down the Teleport Blade. Now, it will no longer break line of sight — instead, it will now severely slow down the rate at which the explosion charges to give you more time to get away. Will keep tweaking this as I get more feedback and data.

I’ve also made some more tweaks to the experimental Pursuit mode. Now while frozen, you can look around and when you unfreeze, you’ll be launched in the direction you’re facing. I felt that dying was a bit anticlimactic, so this should bring a bit of excitement to it. The speed you’re launched at is scaled by the score deficit (players that are behind the score leader will be launched faster). Boost speed now also scales with score deficit.

Eye of Jupiter’s Storm Shot is still something I want to look at. I also want to improve weapon feel across the board. Not sure on timeframe yet.

What’s Next?

I’ll be continuing my efforts to better communicate player scale and game feel. Some of that will be more environment art and effects, but I’ll also be turning focus to the mech itself and adding new effects there. Part of that is adding better feedback. For example, at high speeds on the ground you can turn and maintain your speed, but if you turn too sharply you lose traction and lose speed. A lot of players aren’t aware of this because of the lack of audiovisual feedback. Things like this will help drive home the distinct feel this game has from other games.

I also expect to continue refining Pursuit mode as I get more feedback and data.

As always, let me know what you think!

Projectile Inheritance in Arms of Telos

Projectile Inheritance in Arms of Telos

News

For most people, this might not be something they give much thought — for Tribes and arena FPS players, projectile inheritance can be a big deal. For...

Arms of Telos - Insight from Expos

Arms of Telos - Insight from Expos

News

Over the last couple weeks, I brought Arms of Telos to a couple events. I had already been brainstorming some ways I might be able to show Arms of Telos...

Arms of Telos Development Video Update 006 - New Gameplay Vid and Update

Arms of Telos Development Video Update 006 - New Gameplay Vid and Update

News 1 comment

New gameplay video from some of the private playtests! Also a small status update on the state of development and a call for playtesters.

Telos Development Video Update 005 - Stabbing, Exploding, and Teleporting

Telos Development Video Update 005 - Stabbing, Exploding, and Teleporting

News 2 comments

Video showing off the new stabbing, exploding, teleporting weapon in action.

Comments
AD7
AD7

It looks like this has been in dev for a while! When can we try it?

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
JustinPierce Creator
JustinPierce

It's in private playtesting right now -- you can find info about getting involved here: Discourse.armsoftelos.com

Reply Good karma+1 vote
atum_ramirez
atum_ramirez

Loving this! Found it on Tigsource!

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
R-BG
R-BG

Looks fun! Certainly looking forward to this.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
d2theRizzle
d2theRizzle

This looks SICK!!!

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
masternerdguy
masternerdguy

Indeed.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
Post a comment
Sign in or join with:

Only registered members can share their thoughts. So come on! Join the community today (totally free - or sign in with your social account on the right) and join in the conversation.

Follow Report Profile
Icon
Arms of Telos
Platforms
Windows, Mac, Linux
Developer
Overpowered Games
Engine
Unity
Contact
Send Message
Homepage
Armsoftelos.com
Release date
Game watch
Follow
Share
Style
Theme
Sci-Fi
Players
Multiplayer
Project
Indie
Twitter

Latest tweets from @jtown_

I've changed my username to @meJustinPierce so please follow me there! If you were linked here, let me know where so I can update the link!

May 2 2017

Arguments against esports in the Olympics due to a lack of athleticism fall apart when Olympic shooting is a thing: Youtube.com

Apr 18 2017

RT @boxheadpixelart: Boxheadgames.itch.io THERE IT IS! ReallyGoodBattle Is on @itchio now, please download and have fun. #gamedev #pixelart #GameMaker

Apr 17 2017

Instagram.com T.co

Apr 17 2017

T.co

Apr 16 2017

Hadn't used @Spotify in a while. Ability to use iOS app as remote for Spotify on PC is sweet.

Apr 15 2017

Embed Buttons
Link to Arms of Telos by selecting a button and using the embed code provided more...
Arms of Telos
Statistics
Last Update
Watchers
164 members
Articles
9
You may also like
Wrath Of The Goliaths: Dinosaurs
Wrath Of The Goliaths: Dinosaurs First Person Shooter
Star Wars: Battlecry
Star Wars: Battlecry First Person Shooter
Ascend
Ascend First Person Shooter
Leap of Champions
Leap of Champions First Person Shooter
Serious Sam 3: BFE
Serious Sam 3: BFE First Person Shooter
Just Shoot
Just Shoot First Person Shooter