First off, I want to thank anyone who checked out our game, gave us feedback, or just stopped by to see what we were working on. This game has been a labor of love and a massive learning process. It's been guilty of scope creep, mechanics changes, system overhauls, you name it. Finally showing it off to the world and getting feedback has been a wonderful experience and I'm glad we did it. But - now that everyone's seen it, we've had a chance to go watch the trailer several times and critique our own work, it was time to decide what we needed to start upgrading to get the game to a more professional state.
Here's what we did.
Combat Overhaul + Camera Changes
The build used to record the trailer had fully working combat. In fact I've been playing the game and testing combos and abilities for at least 4 months now. It had issues though, there were some timing and input buffering issues, some oddities in the animation, sometimes the game was too fluid and in a way that made it feel unprofessional, and unfinished. The very first thing we tackled post-announcement was the combat and combo system. They've been completely rewritten with the game's final vision in mind. Animations are better, combos have become more strict and satisfying to use, and we've reworked parts of the control scheme to give more freedom to the player in how they fight and use attacks. We've also worked in a new targeting camera with an over the shoulder perspective for those fights against enemies you want to keep an eye on, this came with a whole new suite of strafing and movement animations (a fairly major movement controller change!) . I think this was a success but we'll see when we get it in the hands of testers.
When we were filming the trailer we had a lot of environments to show off but only a small cast of enemies. This was the next thing we wanted to change. We wanted more complicated enemies. With more character, more animation, and more rigid behaviors. Much like the combat change, enemies had similar issues, and so the enemy AI system was improved and completely overhauled to match a more professional vision for the game. Stable animations, easily readable attacks for the player, and a more complex decision making process. While the new AI was being worked on, we did a few live streams over on Twitch.tv to show off the 3D modeling, rigging, and animating process, and came up with a brand new enemy that will be featured prominently in the earliest sections of the game.
Link to our Twitch
We were able to get two enemies out of the new model so far: A shotgunner, and an enemy with dual wielded Tonfa blades. The team loves them and we've had great feedback on their first iterations in gameplay. They both have completely unique behaviours made possible by the overhauls we've made to the basic enemy AI.
Dual Wielding Variant
What to Expect
End's Reach is a big game, it's a monumental task for a two-person team, and we're glad to have you all along for the journey for game development. It will be full of dungeons, puzzles, items, and secrets. We'll be posting more dev diaries like this (most likely once per month) when we have something major to show. We've been working on new environments but they're not quite ready to show off and are still in the prototyping stages, so we'll save it for another post.
Take care, stay safe, and keep pursuing your dreams.