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Friday, January 24, 2014

The Road from Alpha to Full Beta

Wow, another month... Guess with the holidays and travel that was to be expected. In any case, things are back in full swing. Working on getting alpha cleaned up and ready for Steam Early Access (hoping to have that up in a couple weeks), and at the same time moving ahead with beta. I've received a lot of good feedback from testers and press. I've been fixing bugs, of course, but also putting as many little finishing touches into the game as possible without getting bogged down in the details. Wednesday I finally got real-time reflections working on the astronaut's helmet:



Of course, it looks even better in-game. Little things like this add up to a huge improvement in the overall visual feel. Lifeless Planet will never be a AAA game, but I'm doing the best in the short amount of time till release to make the visuals the best they can be.

I also added all-time SSAO to the game. This helps objects appear more grounded and connected by shading all the little nooks and crannies where objects meet. The best way to explain this is by showing it with this animated gif:


As you can see, it helps to make the astronaut connect with the ground a little better as the area around his feet are now shadowed. Without it, the player character and other objects seem to "float" in the world. Wikipedia tells me SSAO was first used in the Crysis games, so quite cool that I can get it working in the Unity engine. I'm constantly impressed by what Unity can do.

Dave

11 comments:

  1. reflexions and ssao looks great, really improve the game !
    can't wait till the early access to see it
    keep up the good work !

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  2. Can barely wait for the release of this game! However, I am a bit leery of early access. Will the game be playable from beginning to end or will it be unfinished, a la Broken Age?

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    1. Early access will be a few early levels, but then you get the full game when it comes out...hopefully in April. So either way you won't have too long to wait!

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  3. Best of luck, can one donate now to get the build?

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    1. Thanks! The beta build should be up on Steam in just a week or two...sign up for the email list and I'll let you know when it hits!

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  4. Really man, I wanna donate, and I am buying this game as soon as it comes out, But please don't rush it to come out! This is the ONLY game I am looking forward to! props man, good luck, Im telling my friends to buy it aswell.

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    1. Thanks, Captain! REALLY appreciate your support! Getting closer every day... Just posted an audio teaser here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lo4RIPFUfVo

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  5. Aha! Saw the write up about your game in this month's Game Informer. Looking great so far. Has it really been more than 2 years? So can't wait to play this.

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    1. Yes, indeed, two years and counting! Whatever the reception, I've learned a lot and poured my heart into it... Thanks for the kind words!

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  6. came here on anger from a feeling created by encountering this game on steam thinking in i was buying a buggy (beta) game not a teasing oh so teasing demo but now i am here i just feel after a play through the demo that this just a great great, story "atmosphere" and sound (BOCish) very nice and a story of loss with a search of what humanity is/could be just a lovely game/story... kind regards Max

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  7. Fantastic!

    Very, very well done.

    I haven't been immersed in an adventure like this in a long time.

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