It's been a while again since the last article. I didn't write about the previous update but I'll skip that and focus on the new one. If you've been following you'll know what's happened, and if you play the game it contains all the previous stuff too so there's nothing to miss. Here's the new sandbox:
The new update focuses on performance improvements. It's been going through some rounds of testing already and in terms of performance it looks like a good improvement over the last release. Many have voiced problems with performance in the previous versions and I think it will be a bit better now.
What did I change to improve performance then? I have rebuilt many parts of the resource management so that I have better control over how many objects of certain kinds can exist at the same time. On top of that I've redesigned some parts of the menus and user interface, to make the performance settings more understandable. I think that will help as well.
New sliders for performance settings.
Entirely new is the benchmark feature. The benchmark is a small level that puts three characters through a hail of bullets several times over, with steadily increasing settings. The frame rates are recorded and in the end the game suggests settings that should result in good performance.
The new performance benchmark running sped-up.
There is a new in-game feature too. I've made it so that blood leaving wounds under high pressure form streams. The streams turn into particles as they fly.
The new blood streams in slow motion, breaking up into particles.
When the streams hit the floor they bounce off and break down into particles. It creates a kind of splashing effect.
Blood stream hitting the floor and breaking into particles.
I've also implemented a very simple dismemberment that is triggered by the fragmentation grenades. It's very basic so I expect to improve it more later.
Thank you testers
I want to thank everyone who helped me test the release. Throughout the testing I changed things with the blood several times as you may have noticed. There are many parameters that make up how the blood looks and functions, and the final result is a compromise between a number of different things. I still don't feel I've found the perfect blend of those factors so I will keep tweaking. You can expect it to change again in the future.
Thanks for reading. Try the new sandbox and please share it around!
Since the demo release
I have been working on a lot of things in the months since the demo release. It has been a lot of overall polishing and improvements but the biggest single feature is the marksman, which I will cover in this article.
I made a dev log where I talk about the top level stuff of the marksman, touching on many of the things in this article. Give it a view if you haven't already:
Controlling the marksman
You control the marksman and rifle largely with the mouse (only changing the magazine is off the mouse). The rifle is a bolt action rifle and you reload it using mouse gestures. You'll understand this best by checking out the video above (at 0:45). You control the bolt entirely by moving the mouse: you move the mouse to rotate it open, then to pull it back which ejects the casing from the chamber. Then you slide it back forward to feed a new round from the magazine and into the chamber.
The marksman projectiles use the same ballistics as all the other projectiles. They drop due to gravity, they deflect, deform and shatter. I've not added any wind but I might do that. For now the firing distances are so short that wind will not have any noticeable effect. Currently the scope is always zeroed in for the correct distance between the marksman and the building but if I decide to make things more complicated later I will add it as an option for the player to adjust elevation manually.
I'm quite happy with how the marksman audio is shaping up. There are 8 different samples just for manipulating the bolt. There are also three different sets of audio for the marksman firing. There is one set of audio heard from the marksman view, one for the entry team when it is indoors, and one for the entry team being outside the building. The firing sounds heard by the entry team are delayed by the distance the sound has to travel from the marksman's position. This creates the nice effect that you hear the bullet strike before the detonation from the rifle when the marksman is at a sufficient distance.
Watch the video below for a demonstration of the audio and a whole bunch of marksman hits:
AI controls and commands
I have written a simple AI to control the marksman. So when the player is controlling the entry team and viewing the inside of the building the marksman can still track targets and respond to commands from the player.
You can use both hotkeys and the interaction menu to tell the marksman to:
- Track a specific target
- Continuously target whoever is nearest the player
- Fire on the current target
You can also give the marksman a go ahead to engage freely. The marksman will then engage any and all targets that are available. When not engaging in the free mode the marksman will otherwise return to standing by after having fired a shot.
In addition I've added an option that allows the marksman to fire at suspects that threaten the operators (and later hostages) regardless which other orders it had. That way when a suspect is raising a weapon toward you the marksman can go ahead without an order.
To be able to see what the marksman is up to I've added some small interface to indicate the current target and its status. This icon hovers above the head of the marksman's target. When the icon is gray and crossed over it means the marksman's view of the target is blocked. When it is just gray but not crossed out the marksman has a clear view but is not ready to fire. And when the marksman is ready to fire it turns green with a dot in the middle.
Cross-hairs over your head? That means the marksman is ready.
I have some things left to take care of before the marksman demo is ready for release but it is quite close. As I've mentioned before the next demo version is also going to be free, so stay tuned.
That's it for this time. Thanks for reading!
Crisis Response on Twitter: @bloodandbullet
(Follow me on Twitter to take part of all the small things I never post here.)
I've made my first dev log. Hopefully I will make more of these now that I've started. In it I show and talk about the marksman that's one of the things I've been working on since the demo release.
I was invited to a discussion with Valentin the Mad of the Youtube channel Random Madness. We mostly talked about the blood and gore aspects of the game, but also about where it is headed. It was awesome to get the opportunity to reach his viewers an talk a bit about the detail I've put into the physiology in Crisis Response. Check it out below: