Well, it’s been very tricky and difficult to work on this one, but it’s finally here. There are two main things I had to deal with that caused a few issues. First, I switched to a more recent version of the engine, and that meant I also needed to update to newer versions of some APIs I’ve been using. I usually like to “lock the code” so I don’t have to deal with version updates that may introduce bugs, but, in this specific case, I found the new version would allow me to do stuff the previous version didn’t, so I really took the time to make the switch and deal with all the needed fixes (for the three versions: PC, PS4 and Vita). And second, I switched to a different rendering path (from deferred to forward, for those familiar with the terms), because I wanted to test a different anti-aliasing method. Long story short, forward supports hardware AA and MSAA, while deferred uses a different one. They both have their advantages and disadvantages, so it’s not like one is “better” than the other for every case.
And on top of that…
This is what’s new/changed in this version:
- Made a lot of changes to the jump physics. Someone in the Steam forums said jumps were too long/fast and they felt unrealistic and ruined the experience. I changed them so now the jumps are shorter, and slower. Actually after reviewing the old Tomb Raider and Prince of Persia games, this new jump emulates the feel of those games’ jumps more closely.
- Obviously that meant I had to re-design some parts of the existing levels since she’s no longer able to jump that far.
- Added DOF and Motion Blur.
- Played a little bit with the camera tint effects. Some levels felt very “gray” so I changed that. I still have more work to do in that area, specifically in the “open canyon” area but it’s getting there.
- Removed the options menu, unfortunately. I noticed it was causing a lot of problems and bugs with the quality settings, so I had to remove it. It will also default to your native resolution. Right now, if you want to change the game quality, you need to press and hold the Alt key after launching the game (from either the Steam client, or the executable) to open the “splash” screen. I will add the new options menu (including more options and control remapping) in the next update.
- Made a few minor and major changes to the first parts of the game. During the entire development, I tried a lot of things to get the “look and feel” of this land right (some results were good, and some sucked big time), but this time I figured I’d just go full alien-weird-environment. Personally I like it more than the previous version and I plan to continue exploring this route some more.
- There are also a couple of new areas. One of them includes interactions with an NPC (as seen in the previous dev blog), and I plan to refine and improve this, specially since there will be a few more NPCs in the game (including Sanja’s sister). This area also includes a very small and simple “stealth” sequence where I am doing some gameplay stuff with verticality, so rather than simply hiding behind things, you can also hang from things and hide behind them, or use shadows of hanging things to avoid being seen.
- The game now detects whether you are using a gamepad or only keyboard/mouse, and adjust accordingly showing mouse cursors in menus, etc). So far it only works for new games, and doesn’t detect “hot-plugging” so if the gamepad wasn’t present on start, it will still work (like it does now), but in the menus you’ll get a cursor.
- Added names to the subtitles, so you know who’s talking. The names in the subtitles will be kept after I add voices.
- And lastly, made some changes to the skin material to make it look better.