Hello, everyone! It’s been some time since the last update, but we are still very much alive and active on working towards our next release.
The main reason behind the delay is that we didn’t want to produce another version that would be viewed as “yet another” alpha release by the public, since coding infrastructure changes, while extremely important to our work, just aren’t very exciting to the general player. No, we’ve come to the point where we can release something bigger. Much bigger, in fact! While I won’t say just what the next release is going to be, since I’d like to keep the anticipation rolling, I’m very sure that you can guess what it is. I’m sincerely hoping that it’s going to be exactly what you’ve been waiting for, because it’s what we’ve been waiting for, too!
Now, I’ve already mentioned the infrastructure work, but let me take a moment to explain why it’s so important. For gameplay-related code, the simple fact is that we’ve inherited quite a noodly mess that makes it very hard to do the sort of changes we’d like without having to painfully sift through countless lines of code. On that front, we’ve been tackling it with rewriting the gameplay code using component-based software engineering, or CBSE. This not only makes it much easier for us to work on the game code, but also makes things simpler for community modifications as well. It has also allowed us to work through some long-standing gameplay bugs that we’ve picked up over the course of all the rewriting.
Beyond the game code, there’s also the matter of our engine. We’ve separated the game code from the engine code, which would make it possible not only to release engine updates independently of the game, but would also allow for other projects to use our engine and contribute to it without having to work around Unvanquished. There’s also been the continuing work on our renderer, as we’d like to make it more efficient not only by refactoring and dropping unnecessary components of it, but we’d also like to make it faster by working on new optimizations like instancing of models and sRGB blending, with proper HDR coming on the horizon. We’ve also recently worked on our bots, adding in useful features like keeping them from being stuck in bad spots and having bots automatically join and leave a server to keep up a proper count on both teams.
Our assets are basically finished at this point, with the exception of sounds. We can probably release without the new sounds and add them in as we go, or we can make use of the sounds we’ve managed to find ourselves. The models are all finished, and all that’s left is animating a few first-person weapons and fixing some issues in the animation code so that we can get the battlesuit and dragoon in. Our map pack has already been finished, but we’re still going to be getting updates and adding them in over future releases. We have eleven production-ready maps of varying sizes, and Forlorn is about to receive a very large update that will bring the map up to the same level of completion as our others, bringing us to a dozen stock maps. New maps are always welcome, and if everything is properly sourced and licensed, they can be added to the pack. Mappers are always invited to use the variety of tools and improvements we’ve made to the level design pipeline.
Now that you’ve gotten through that wall of text, here’s a wall of images to sate your curiosity. Please drench me in your feedback.
The old lasgun has received a new model and is already in-game on our end. Currently it works as it once did, but we are planning on making it a beam rifle that fires a continuous stream of glowing damage.
We’ve got a new model for the chaingun and it’s being renamed the HMG, or heavy machine-gun, to fit in with the SMG that replaced the rifle. Look at this beast.
This is what the new painsaw is going to look like. No more constant blue glow, no, that’s going to be when you slice into something and see the sparks flying.
Humans are getting a new sidearm in the form of the pistol. Is it going to replace the blaster? Only time can tell! But what I can tell you is that it’s going to hurt like semi-automatic hell.
Long gone is the mass driver, now replaced by a non-energy weapon equivalent. We’ve already got the cool new scope effect in-game to go along with it. Maybe we’ll change the mechanics too.
No longer are you going to magically hurl grenades from your chest. It’s all in first-person now and is going to get proper throwing mechanics.
This beast has been a pain to animate but once it’s in-game you’re going to smash those aliens with style. Much less bulky than the model it’s replacing, and you can crouch with it now too.
Look at those friendly teeth, those happy tusks, and those long, scything claws to rip you to shreds with. It’s time to die, humans.
Forlorn’s already getting an update to finish out the last un-detailed parts of it. I’ve also put in requests to have Antares get a touch-up too. Maybe there’ll be more.