Upsetting the Internet Gods....

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Upsetting the Internet Gods....

Seconds after the match started,  I quickly created a  wall defense to defend against Jason's anticipated critter rush attack.  But victory would not come that easily for him .  Within moments of the turrets warping in,  Jason began  bullying my defenses with hordes of critters.  They fell like drops of water.

I gambled that he would quickly follow up with a  troop of Thrashers, so I finished fortifying my base with many more turrets and walls. Then, as if on cue, here came a horde of Thrashers running wildly to within  reach  of my long range turrets.  After obliterating his warriors, I set out to assess my own attack force.  Mixed within my legion of Thrashers, were a few Manalocks.  I rallied my troops and sent them toward Jason... BOOM!  

My computer screen started to load up the main menu.  I had lost connection to Steam and was no longer in the game.  I felt robbed, and just as I was beginning to bring the hammer down on my enemy.  I tried to rejoin the match, but unfortunately had to build a fresh new base from scratch.  I knelt down to the Internet Gods and asked..... why... oh why....?

The Internet Gods may have not been listening, but the team was.  New this week. You can now reconnect to games that you disconnected, for whatever reason. Plus, you keep the base and units you already acquired.  It's something that has been on the backlog  for some time, but just hadn't made the priority list.  This week it did!

Path Widening...

A major change is taking place on our map design.  We are now making the major routes through the maps much wider.  Thanks to continued play testing, we found that choking the path is too much of a penalty for offensive attacks.  In the beginning, we thought the best strategy would be to create environmental choke points.  However, with the dynamic wall building, players can easily create their own artificial choke points.

Justin is doing a great job going back and making these changes.  The initial work has already made a big difference in the ability to break down heavy defenses. It also creates the  possibility for as many as  five rocketbellies to walk side-by-side toward an enemy base. Such a spectacle is visually awesome and certainly alarming.

Demo Recording...

A few months ago I started  building Abatron's version of the demo recording tool.  Recently, I had the opportunity to apply a few more days of work to the project. Now, I'm happy to say, its really working well. We are able to record play sessions and watch them afterwards.  Its actually much more addicting than you realize, to watch the battle you took part in.

Later, we plan to integrate more items into the tool for players use. But even now its great to see your strategies in action and to have the ability to identify any areas that need to be changed or  corrected.  Eventually, it will be possible to stream the recorded game to a server so that spectators can watch semi-live games.  Very excting.... but more on that later.

That's it for this week.  Thanks for reading and Happy Gaming!



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How is your Ai....

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How is your Ai....

Does your Ai chase you mindlessly and Pew, Pew, Pew?  I sure hope not.  One of our goals for Abatron is to have some built in auto strategy for the Ai.  Sure, I'm talking about the ability to choose and switch targets intelligently. But what about the things you don't think about?

Lets say you send your melee unit to attack a ranged unit,  but the range unit is running away from the melee  while it is still shooting at him.  A problem we had, but solved, was the melee  not timing its swings correctly to actually land a punch.  He would run into the unit causing him to stop, then it would swing.  

By the time the swing was completed, the ranged unit was out of melee range.  By applying a bit of code magic,  each melee  now takes into account its approaching speed in order to begin the swing at just the right time to successfully land a punch.

New Battle Arena!

This week we put in some more visual updates.  First up, we replaced the old battle arena with the new version.  The battle arena builds our behemoths, the bonecrusher and the rocketbelly.  Rod did a great job of texturing,  making it far above the quality of the old model. No comparison.

The idea concept was to take a factory and apply some organic characteristics.  What better way than adding raw intestines to the recipe?  The next phase will be to add particle effects and some minor animation.  I can already see the intestines jiggling grotesquely as flames shoot out of the red hot inferno =)

Moar Explosions...

Last week, I literally killed my pc.  It could not handle the massive Maya simulation without crashing.  Kevin kindly swapped computers with me so that I could finish my explosion work.  However, even his beast of a pc crashed a few times.  After rebuilding my pc by swapping out parts, I successfully  rehabilitated  the malignant old girl. So now the simulations continue.

As the simulations are running, i'm quickly assembling the effects ingame.  Above, you see the first pass on the rocketbelly missile explosion.  It's no longer just a green blur.  It's amazing how changing a particle effect can give new and greater life to the game  play.

We have a huge new build to play test tomorrow with a lot of core changes.  I can't wait to get the feedback from the team.  I'll talk more about that next week.  Thanks for reading!

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Getting Rid of Frustration...

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Getting Rid of Frustration...

This week has been an eye opening experience.  We decided to do focused play testing by  requiring the team to play RTS mode exclusively.  I know that I and a few others slipped back to old habits a few times, but we quickly jumped back into RTS. =) In spite of the fact that Tamara and Justin dominated the matches, we were able to identify several key areas that needed improvement.  

I call this new set of improvements the frustration factor.  For example, trying to find  and click buttons on menus during a fast RTS battle is just too frustrating, especially for newer players.  One of the changes will be providing a hotbox that will give  commands in RTS.  The hotbox approach will always have the commands pop up at the cursor and is "smart" depending on what is currently being selected.

Although several of these changes are relatively minor to game play, it does allow the player a  more continuous experience when in battle.  Before we begin building the number of people that play the game, we need to rid the game of any issues that are likely to cause frustration.

Blowing things up

I feel like a kid in a candy shop when I do VFX simulations.  I now have a real excuse to research explosion videos and watch them in slow motion, instead of just doing it  for fun. When time allowed, and I could get away from my coding responsibilities, I spent several days making new explosions.  

I have nailed a great workflow between Maya2016 and UE4 and can't wait to get everything put into the game.  I just hope my overworked and aging pc can hold out long enough to finish its necessary assignments... lol

That's it for this week's blog. The team has been working hard behind the scenes on less glamorous things and won't, therefore, be to written into this blog.  Thanks for reading!



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Breaking the turtle!

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Breaking the turtle!

No, i'm not hungry for a tasty turtle treat.  I'm talking about the dreaded RTS turtle player.  A turtle player is one who relies solely on heavy defenses and rarely risks offensive attacks outside his base, hence retracting into his turtle shell. =)

This is very typical of beginning players who use this as an effective way of warding off rush attacks.  However, it's a very difficult developmental problem to solve and can lead to match stalemates.  We've had some issues with  heavy defenses.  

Thus we've been adding various  strategies to crack them.  One way is to play FPS. This gives units penetrating abilities.  Another recent strategy was to use map critters which can be baited to attack other player bases. Going forward we will continue to find multiple ways to combat this issue.

Balancing the Scales.

"Its getting addictive!", is  a quote we hear from some of the team members  as we continue to do play testing.  However, we have found that we need more and more balancing while at the same time adding more content to the game.  What this means is more and more play testing.  Over the past weeks, we have gone from playing every Friday to playing 3-4 times a week.  Each iteration gets closer and closer to a well balanced game.

Alpha Testing Signups!

What!  Yes, we are very interested in getting some players in the game early to provide feedback.  Look out for signups coming soon.  If you have subscribed to our newsletter, you are all set.  Other wise, what are you waiting for?  More details on that later!

Thanks for reading and Game On! =)

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Time flew by....

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Time flew by....

The goal for this week's play test was to try new strategies.  I knew that some of our team members had settled into their own style of playing, and I wanted to disrupt them.  Since the Dracken was the newest playable unit, I went straight tech. It almost cost me the game, but in the end I was victorious.  

You should have seen Justin's Wallagedoon. A massive number of walls surrounded his base.  Kevin had to sacrifice many units to break through.  A pure FPS player, Justin, didn't realize he would become addicted to building RTS walls... lol..

The play test went smoothly.  We started playing and the next thing we knew it was already 2 hours later.  We were amazed at how much fun we had. The balancing is getting closer with each build and the strategies are taking shape.  We can't wait to start doing some twitch streams as we play the game in the coming days. =)

Flying football no longer....

This week we got to remove our old ship design with the new "locust".  We've made jokes about the old one looking like a football that made babies with a pineapple.  No more, I tell you.  Jarlan did a great job modeling and Rod's texturing looks awesome.  

The locust is actually a cross of metal and organic elements.  It uses its leg-like appendages to propel itself forward.  It is a little slow to start, but it quickly picks up speed. The Locust is used mainly to build structures, but it also upgrades to a devastating super weapon.  

Voxelize....

lately I've been splitting my time between programming and making visual effects.  In an effort to get video ready, I created a new effect to warp in buildings.  Our original idea turned out to be just too expensive, so will killed it and went with this new voxelization effect.  As the model grows, the inner layers are drawn with wireframe.  Then a secondary layer sweeps across, subdividing the surface.  Finally, an infusion of voxels transition up the model to reveal the final texture. 

That's it for this week. Thanks for reading!

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Death by bug....

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Death by bug....

Early in the battle I ignored my defenses.  I built up my resource gathering and went on the offensive.  My plan was simple: build up some money for tech and rush the closest player to slow him down.

My plan backfired horribly. As I was running to the enemies base, I saw a critter that just needed to be killed.  So I obliged and brought him death.  However, he had friends and his friends had friends.  From all sides, I was swarmed and torn apart.  But their taste for meat hadn't been fully satisfied until they continued towards my base and completely destroyed me.

Shortly afterwards, Rod sent a small force to my base just to find critters.  He too died when he brought upon the wrath of the scourge. He was overrun at his base.  Kevin stood victorius even though the credit went to the bugs..... =)

Creepy Crawlers...

We've made many updates to Sting since the last time we talked about him.  From our earlier blog, we pointed out that he is one of the critters that roams and scavenges the map. Now he has a melee attack using his razor sharp teeth and he has a medium ranged tail shot as well.

Up close, he can easily tear through flesh and metal.  However, he is deadly accurate with his tailshot from a distance.  Also new on the list and one of the coolest features, is his ability to flee from the enemy while still being engaged with the enemy.  His behavior enables him to switch between both attacks during battle in order to gain the upper edge.

Release the Swarm!

If sting wasn't already deadly enough, we've introduced the new hive manager.  The hive now controls the critters with a common swarm mind.  In a threatened state, the hive can release swarms of critters onto attackers.

Now the level designers can easily add more strategy into the environment by strategically placing these hives throughout the map.  It serves as a dual purpose: it gives the opportunity for fps players to gain experience, or be used as a weapon if executed correctly.  For example, if you see an enemy army run by a hive, shoot the hive, or critters near them, and watch all hell be released.  We've already had a ton of fun play testing with this new feature. =)

Time to compile the next steam build!  Thanks for reading!

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Obliterated.....

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Obliterated.....

Tick tock, the match starts.  I quickly put up a simple wall and turret to hold off any rushes from other players.  Then I proceeded to build a sizeable manalock and thrasher army.  With confidence, I marched them to take down Kevin.  As the army approached his base, I jumped into the leading unit to charge into battle.

I leaped past the first of his defenses just seconds before my demise: a dead-on missile  launch.  As I frantically searched for my next unit to play, I discovered that my lifeless and broken army lay scattered across the battlefield.  My forces were completely wiped out!  Kevin's rocketbelly defense was no match.

Hi, everyone!  Last week's playtest was awesome.  We have solved some of our remaining  game play bugs, taking the game to new and improved levels of play. Oh, and we got to play several new fun test maps.

New Flow Maps!

Kevin has been working several new flow maps.  Before committing environment models to a map, we like to play them in the most basic form possible.  We grind out all the gameplay scenarios to make sure that problems aren't created by the design itself.  We have narrowed down the choices to 3 flow maps from over 10 different ones.  I know which one is my favorite already from the last few tests =)

Game Balancing...

We actually did several steam builds over the weekend to balance out the rocketbelly.  We came to the conclusion that rocketbellys with surrounding walls and turrets were too overpowering.  

Adjusting balance can be a fickle bitch.  Changing just one variable can cause a butterfly effect, dynamically effecting gameplay choices.  After a full weekend of testing, we believe we have come out with a much better and more fairly balanced setup.

We also adjusted the existing economy by changing the build tree to more quickly defend early rushes. Players now start with a drone and a little bit of matter, making building a defense turret a  much faster process.

Thanks for reading and until next time.  GameOn!   

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Development Full Steam ahead in 2016!

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Development Full Steam ahead in 2016!

Welcome back from the holidays.  Now it's time to get up and get back on the horse.  The holidays were great, but I'm glad they're over so we can get back to full steam on Abatron.  I'm excited about our huge playtest scheduled for tonight and tomorrow.  Everyone's been anxious to try out new maps and a bunch of other additional features.

Flap, Flap, Flap...

Fly above your enemies and unleash a barrage of machine gun fire upon them.  Or perhaps you would rather spend your time incinerating flesh instead. Now you  can with the Dracken!  This week we started unlocking the Dracken unit for gameplay testing.  Over the next few playtests we will be turning on features of his abilities for balance.  More on him coming soon!

Slashed in half.

We keep an active changelist but after each playtest the list seems to get longer and longer.  Rama and I spent a majority of the week cutting the list in half.  Fixing different game situations is an ever evolving task as we keep adding more units to the gameplay.

Menu and HUD Updates coming soon!

Rod has been furiously concepting out a new look for the abatron Menus and HUD.  Unlike our previous creation we are now making a more simple and sleek design.  Check out a sneak peek.

That's it for this week.  Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

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Happy New Year! #Abatron2016

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Happy New Year! #Abatron2016

The past few weeks have been crazy with all the holiday travels and celebrations. But we've managed to put in a lot of updates and fixes to Abatron.  Thus our last playtest was amazing! The changes that let us  to stay in battle really made a big difference.  We also played a couple of new maps that added a lot to the game play experience .

Our plans for the new year are simple: get Abatron into your hands.  We are getting a fun and stable build ready for video and live twitch streams.  Once we've accomplish that, a demo won't be far away.  Until then, keep warm as you absorb the heat from  this screenshot radiation =)

Listen to me!

We've spent a large amount of time revamping our Ai system to be more interactive during battles. It required a huge refactor, but in the end the units are moving while attacking and at the same time can give orders to approach enemies dynamically.  Previously, once the enemy was engaged, the ai did its own attack plan. Now plans can  be given during the attacking phase.

Attack profiles and so much more...

As we keep adding units to the game play, we keep finding better ways to move data around.  One of our biggest changes lately is the way we attack other units.  Now units, aren't categorized as melee or ranged, but all can do both and switch between attack types in real time.

Plus, improvements have been made to base building and a bunch of fixes  have been implemented as a result of  recent play test experiences.  More to come, thanks for reading. =)

 The Abatron Team wishes you a safe and Happy New Year!

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Buildfest anyone?

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Buildfest anyone?

Last week we turned on infinite resources just so we could slam the game with a ton of units quickly and repeatedly.  Justin drew first blood attacking Kevin's base right out of the gate.  With great loss, Kevin defended himself.  However, I quickly siezed the moment to aid Justin's campaign and sent my forces in to help finish him off.  For the rest of the match, Justin and I battled it out sending legions of units at each other.

In the end, Justin wanted it more than I. He took home the win.  The intensity might have been a bit much without the economy constraints, but it was a hell of a lot of fun.  I think we definitely need to expose that as an option for players who want custom game modes.

Get Eaten by Alien bugs!

Sting has made it back into the game.  He was one of the last critters we had worked on before porting our game.  These scavengers thrive in Abatron's war games.  They have taken up residence on the inside of Nekros and await for the long battles to end to enjoy their dead meat buffet.  Be careful! Do not to disturb these bugs or you might find yourself in a bad situation.

Whoops, I splattered myself!

We implemented our new splatter damage system for explosions.  Depending on how close you are to an explosion or how high your resistance is, you can have several different reactions.  Basically, if you die you ragdoll. Depending on the damage you take, you either get knocked down or knocked back a little. The exception is for player controlled units.  We are saving gibs for direct missle hits.

What's next?

Our next playtest is tomorrow.  We are super excited.  A couple of our playtesters weren't able to play last time due to a software conflict with Advast, so they are anxious to get back in with all the recent changes.  We will be focusing on new changes intended on not just getting into the battle but also STAYING in the battle.

We wish everyone a safe and happy holiday.  Looking for more gifts for the holidays? Sign up for our newsletter for your chance to win Abatron Goodies at the end of the year!  Thanks for reading  =)

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To Spectate or NOT to Spectate...

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To Spectate or NOT to Spectate...

Hi, everyone. Our last play test was freaking awesome!  It came down to three: Justin, Kevin, and me.  I set up a remote command center in the middle of the map using hordes of Rocketbellies. Then in the midst of breaking down my enemy's defenses, I forgot one simple rule... protect your base!  I got caught with my pants down and with my forces out, when Kevin performed a successful sneak attack on my home base.  The defeat message came across my screen. My reign of destruction was over. :(

However, it is interesting to note that for the next half hour I spectated the rest of the game.  I underestimated the value of being a spectator in the game.  I was able to learn in more detail how the game was played by different people.  In fact, I was rather blown away by how much fun it was to see Kevin and Justin duke it out to the end.  So the next time you lose, stay in and spectate. You never know what you might see!

Get out of my way!

As you amass an ever growing army, the space around the units diminishes in size.  It makes it much harder to move units around without alot of micro-management.  Our new crowd steering works really well for units in motion, but not for standing units.  We made the units now so they will move out of the way when something wants to go through.  Moving those giant cyborg bullfrogs has gotten alot easier!

Its a bird, no its a plane, no its a Locust!

We are super stoked to watch our new main ship as it comes down the pipeline from Jarlan.  Out with the flying football with spikes and in with a much more sleek design.  Originally, the football shape was to house all the structures for building armies.  After moving the game to UE4, we allowed the player to build anywhere which means we can slim down the requirements of the main ship.  More updates on the "Locust" will be coming soon!

Reaching out to the community!

We've been spending more time getting in touch with our supporters and our social media sites.  Check out our recent update to IndieDB. It was overdue for an update.  Interested in talking about Abatron? Join our new Facebook Group and get in the conversation.

Thanks for reading! and Sign up!

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Gearing Up...

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Gearing Up...

Hi, everyone. It's Jason. I'm super excited about this week's upcoming playtest.  Certainly a lot of us are still recovering from food comas, but that hasn't stop the team.  We've held a turkey leg in one hand and smashed keys with the other, pushing the game to new and improved levels.  Its getting harder and harder to stop playtesting the game now and move on to other important things. I believe that's a good thing.  =) 

The team is driving hard to get a demo version of the game ready for public viewing. Yes, that's right. We think a demo is the perfect way to give you a taste of what Abatron is really all about. *SPOILER ALERT* Its about bringing different players together for an engaging experience. The demo release date is still TBD, but we are getting closer every week.

What's New...

CROWD SIMULATION!  We recently added crowd simulation to help with Ai congestion.  Now when you send out attack squadrons, they will sidestep each other to avoid unit pileups. We also added the feature for the FPS player. When in FPS mode, the Ai units will get out of your way.

NAVIGATION HIGHWAYS!  When you have big boned units like the Rocketbelly, sometimes they can cause congestion when smaller units try to pass them.  To solve this issue, we created a highway system, so that large units, medium units, and small units will each have their own lane to use when running across the level.

 A TON OF FIXES AND BALANCING!

Thank You...

What an exciting time to be an indie developer.  We have the Unreal Engine 4.0 at our disposal and Virtual Reality is just around the corner.  However, even more impressive is the number of community supporters who give life to this industry.  Thank you fellow Gamers and Devs for everything.... and thanks for reading.

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Slaughtering time....

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Slaughtering time....

Oh my! The last two playtests have been crazy. You can play FPS in anyone of your favorite units and have the ability to kill 15 or more of the enemy fighters. Yes, with only one unit. It is priceless, however a well designed strategy is a necessary part of the process. One match when I was playing against Jason, we each used the same ability in FPS mode at the same time. We literally headbutted each other and knocked each down..pure joy. 

All the units have their own particular abilities and there is an amazing synergy.  If you come up with a good strategy and you're not afraid to venture to the front line, there is a good chance that you can come out victorious.

Concept Artist here at Abatron...

It has been a long journey. I was able to be part of the team from the very  beginning, I am the one who has produced all the concept artwork for the game. If a line was to be drawn, I drew it, My name is ROD (Rodolpho Langhi) I am from Brazil. I started as a concept artist but I learned much more as time went on., Now I even do the texture art for the 3D models. It is amazing how much a person can grow when he is backed by a  great team, providing support and encouragement .

GreenTea, Thirsty?

Talking about new stuff, one of the things I learned was how to create, render, color, detail and even texture, several of the weapons we created for the units in the Abatron game. We believe in giving the player choices. With that in mind we are working to create several weapons that can be customized for each unit. One weapon that i really enjoy is the "Green Tea" (yeah we put names on the guns). We spent a lot of time doing the research and gathering references for this  PLASMA gun to get to the final render you see. 

UI...What?

But drawing creatures and weapons are not the only components in game building. One of the most challenging things is to build a good UI (User Interface) / UX (User Experience) so the player doesn't get lost in game play. On the one hand you want a cool and stylish design. On the other hand you want to keep it clean and direct so that  information can be passed without missing anything. It is tricky. This can add a lot of flavor to the game and make it work well.

This is it for my week's blogpost. It will be fun to talk about creature design on the next blog. Thanks for taking the time to read this and don't forget to subscribe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My weapons are louder than yours!

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My weapons are louder than yours!

Although there are rumours that Rod won the last playtest, with some tiny help from a crashing server, I can assure you he did not. I did. I always win (muhahaha) because my weapon is the sound of the game.  My sounds offer a kind of hypnotic playground that lets others believe they could win,  But they are turned into my minions and are worshipping me! Whoever they think they are attacking, it is really me doing the attacking!

This is how my place looks like.

Okay, let's get a little bit serious here. Now, that I was able to change the history of our ongoing playtest wars to my favor, it is time to introduce myself. My name is Nils (@NeonInsect), I am 28 years young and located in Germany, My job at Abatron is to make everything sound great. At first, I was hired as the composer for this wonderful game but after a time the original audio engineer left the team and I was asked to take over his position.

And this is going to be a part of the plasmagun soundeffect.  It's magic ;)

 

Although I have worked with sounds and music my entire life, I have to admit, I had no clue about how to  design sounds for video games. Nor did I know how to work inside the engine, since I was previously a pure content creator of music. But to be thrown into ice cold water is sometimes the best way to learn; and I love to challenge myself. So I said "yes", and my real journey began...

I remember the first day when I opened the engine, it felt so different. No faders, no knobs, just blueprints. A different way of handling volumes, new terms. I had to learn a different way of thinking. Had to go out of my comfort zone and spend hours and days learning. And I am still learning. But you know what? I love it. Now I have no fears doing what has to be done. 

The wheel is a part of the Reaver's rolling soundeffect.

But what I love the most about Abatron and the unique team, is the amount of appreciation I get for my work, so much trust in my skills. It's a bit scary sometimes. I want to use this opportunity to say thanks for everything. For the chance to realize my ideas. For the resources provided to me to realize them. Thanks for letting me breath life into all those creatures and worlds. It is a feel-good job that I'm very passionate about. I feel priveleged to work with so many talented people. I also want to thank a guy that I never met in any way. Thank you, Melvin Gibson(Not the Actor =)! And last but not least, THANK YOU for your interest in our game.

With all that being said, I want to conclude this week's blogpost. The next time I write I will pull out some sounds for you and explain how I made them. And if you have any questions or suggestions for the next blog, feel free to leave a comment here. But this time I have an old/new comparsion of our current menu theme for you.

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Do I Charge or Do I Defend....?

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Do I Charge or Do I Defend....?

Everyone was down, except for Justin and me.  I flanked my forces to the north as Justin sent his to the south.  We hit each other's base at the same time and knew it was all or nothing.  We sacrificed our defenses and charged towards each other's manasphere, counting every second that passed.  As I got him down to 5%, I heard the bitter sound of defeat.  Justin demolished my base mere seconds ahead of me...  

Yes, we had an amazing play test last Friday.  The intensity of the matches has greatly improved.  The new balancing and abilities made the battles happen faster and more in FPS than in previous tests.  My new favorite attack is the charge.  It is so addicting, ramming down enemies as a hero among men.  Even the thrasher FPS got an upgrade.  Justin was deadly using the leap attack.  I think Justin won only because I was distracted by the beauty of his environmental works.

Rockin' it out!

Justin spent his time this week working on the texture blends.  I don't know how he does it, but damn those rocks look great.  One of the constraints we have is that we need a lot of flat areas for our game, performance speaking.  Justin is able to do a great job of balancing between actual models and fake ones.  The team is fortunate to have his experience and expertise in making Abatron.  He splits his time working on Black Ops 3 environments and on Abatron. 

Blubbering Guts....

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to control a monster bullfrog retro-fitted with a rocket cannon?  Your dream can be come true in the game of Abatron, We've got one of those... its called Rocketbelly. =)

We unlocked the Rocketbelly for this week's  play test.  He is heavy artillery for those long range attacks.  His belly contains a powerful rocket gun that becomes exposed when he goes into siege mode.  We are anxious to try him out tomorrow.

You won this week, Justin,  Can't wait for the rematch tomorrow! Thanks for reading!  


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Get In or Get Crushed!

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Get In or Get Crushed!

That's the decision that will decide your fate when an invading army charges your base.  In this week's playtest, we focused our sights on bringing down Kevin.  With the new FPS improvements, we were able to hold back Kevin's hordes.  Tamara, in particular did a great job.  She was the last man .... err woman standing.  Her quick reaction to the attack was to jump into a Manalock and become the Heroine of her race, by dealing death to all in her sights.

Crackin' Skulls & Poundin' your Base

This week we've unlocked the Manalock Ramming ability.  Charge head first into the enemy and knock down whoever and whatever is in your way.  Limited to FPS only, the Manalock Ram is a way to break up RTS strategies.  This ability also does heavy damage to structures and walls.

I  can't wait to try it out in the next playtest.  The Manalock itself is unique as my current favorite character.  When I was a kid, the Ninja Turtles were very popular, but for me, it was all about Rocksteady.   Having been heavily inspired by Rocksteady, the concept of the Manalock lets me play as him but upgraded with bad ass Laser Guns  =)

Demo Recording is LIVE!

Also out this week, the new Demo Recording Tool is online and working great.  Now you can record your games and play them back later.  Get that great screenshot, move around to watch the game from different angles, or add others to watch.  This new tool will let you pause, rewind, and take that slow motion screenshot.

Thanks for reading.  Until next time we'll continue to knock out some great game features.   If you hang out on twitter or any of our social channels, tell Tamara great job on her skillz!  She is our Awesome Community Manager.

Haven't joined our Mailing List?  Here's your chance!

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A day without #Gamedev is like a day without sunshine.

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A day without #Gamedev is like a day without sunshine.

Let the Sun Shine!

That's our mantra here at Abatron.  We've made a large number of improvements over the past week and will playtest tomorrow.  For those who don't know, Friday is the day we all get together and do heavy playtesting.  Luckily, we have team members from a number of places around the world who give us valuable online data.

Let the bodies hit the floor!

Our last playtest was pretty awesome... especially for Kevin.  He is an ex-Starcraft junkie with thousands of hours under his belt.  When he wasn't busy destroying people and making kids cry online, he created and distributed many popular custom maps.  Lets just say, there were tears shed and some are left in fear for the next round of tests.

After that playtest, we knew we had pushed the RTS side of the game much further than the FPS side.  One of the big advantages of playing in FPS mode is in the use of special character abilities.  However, we had not yet turned on all the features required for balanced gameplay.  This week we worked on enabling knockbacks and knockdowns which drastically changed the pace and feeling of FPS mode.

Root Motion in UE4...

What exactly is it?  Simply put, it is character movement driven by animation instead of the movement component or player input. When you first block out gameplay mechanics, the typical process is to just kill game characters and ragdoll them.  However, at some point, you may want to add more dynamic action and depth to the player interaction.

Root motion has made major improvements over the last few engine releases and has just become feasible for network play. So we had a Maya Party for several days and exported new animations for falling down and getting back up. 

We began working on the Thrasher leap attack.  When the FPS player leaps at an enemy target, he will lift his legs and do a kangaroo kick knocking the unit down.  If you attack from the Front, Back, or Sides the corresponding animation plays.

Several of our character abilities were inspired by some of our favorite games like Left 4 for Dead.  The thrasher leap attack is similar to the hunter attack.  It`s pretty enjoyable to jump around gut kicking enemies.

Kevin killed us last week, but this week, watch out.  The FPS guys are going to own you!...hopefully =)

Thanks for reading and don't forget to join our newsletter!

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Abatron, the journey continues....

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Abatron, the journey continues....

Our vision...

  The Abatron team believes that players shouldn't be labeled by their genres.  By creating Abatron, a game everybody can play, our small indie team aims to unify the Gamer World.  Our goal is to deliver a high quality gaming experience to a diverse player base by ensuring that Abatron is simple to learn, but difficult to master.

The Quest...

  With that vision in mind, we have come a long way in the process of developing Abatron.  In the beginning of 2013, we set out on an ambitious journey using the Source engine to start prototyping our idea.  We quickly made progress and had a working proto-type in a short few months.
    
    We can do it all!  Foolishly, we made the typical mistake that many indies do.  We thought we could make a game that has everything, do everything, and look as realistic as a AAA game.  We found that designing and creating highly detailed characters takes an inordinate amount of time and resources, pushing our development timeline farther and farther down the road.
    
    The learning curve dilemma:  We ran into another production problem that became more and more apparent as time went on. After having made several characters, we found that our eventual quality of work blew away our earlier efforts. This reality forced us to do the dreaded REWORK.. We started over. This process continued until we hit the graphics constraints created by the use of an older engine.

GreenLight!

  Mid 2014, Abatron is Greenlit.  We busted our humps to get the game to a point we could show it off.  We then focused our efforts on launching the greenlight campaign.  It was successful, but we became aware that our game needed more work to fulfill our visionary goals.  The graphics were still not good enough and other unacceptable components confronted us as well.  Around the same time the Unreal Engine 4 was released and it was remarkable.

Epic is Awesome.

  Out with the old, in with the EPIC.  Once we got our hands on UE4 we quickly realized that we could do everything we wanted to and more, but not with our existing engine.  We abruptly stopped production and began... AGAIN....  This time, we would take all the feedback, playtesting results and many of the ideas we had applied to the game thus far and do them better.  We decided we weren't just going to merely port over the existing old game, but IMPROVE it.  We plunged in head first and started the UE4 transition.
    
    Fast forward... a year later... now.  We have made significant progress and have made a game that is getting close for public consumption. Yay!  We have embraced the indie community and have enjoyed the new friendships built with other UE4 devs.

Ahead...

    Abatron has grown into more than just a game.  It's a great team that works hard and well with each other.  It's the joy we get from our frequent playtest sessions.  It's a shared vision to deliver an unforgettable player experience.  Ultimately, it's the community of gamers we want to be with and play with.  
    
    Share our vision and join the Abatron Community today!

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