Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Bad News/Good News

Hi again Everyone,

So you've probably noticed the radio silence we've been under for the last few months. There are quite a few reasons for this, most of which are related to the bad news for Clash of Command that I am going to share today. There is some good news that I'll be sharing as well, so make sure to read the entire post.

Over the past 8 months or so, Ranger and myself put together a small team of talented individuals for the purpose of building a prototype for Clash of Command, with the express purpose of shopping that prototype out to strategy/war-gaming publishers. The size and scope of a full fledged version of Clash of Command makes having a publishing partner that would be willing to put up the development seed money (small by game development standards, but large by our own pocketbook standards) a necessity. It took our small team of 5 approximately 8 months to put just the prototype together, and our own estimates of the time needed to fully complete the game clock in at around 12 more months of development time. We did have several discussions with various strategy game publishers, however we were not able to reach a publishing agreement at this time. Which means that Clash of Command development is currently being placed on hold.

Please note that a project on hold does not mean that it is canceled. We are extremely proud of the work that we've completed on the Clash of Command prototype and we do plan to eventually roll it out (even if its just to the current C63 community), however there is quite a bit of work necessary before that can happen. Also please note that C63 will continue to be supported for the foreseeable future. As long as there are C63 subscribers we will continue to operate the game servers.

Now for the good news. We here at Mutant Entertainment Studios are excited to announce we have begun production on a new game. This new title will be officially announced within a month or so (hopefully sooner). It will be of much smaller scope and we plan on self publishing, which means that unless things go horribly wrong, the game will be released within the next 6 months or so. I can't really go into specifics just yet, but I can tell you that our internal playtests on the new game have been very successful, and we are excited to share it with you once we iron out a few minor issues. The new title will have its own development blog which I will share here, once we make the official announcement.

Thank you to all of the Clash of Command and C63 community for your generous support and loyalty.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Alpha version 0.1 Change Log

So we've been busy, which is why there has been a lack of updates here. We think we've got a stable Alpha version 0.1 ready. Which is what we'll be testing internally today. If that goes well we should start recruiting for closed alpha testers soon. Ill post here once we're happy with the 0.1 version. In the meantime here is our last change log for any curious as to what we're up to:

  • ordered/not ordered need to show player
    • Worldspace unit icons with highlight/no highlight
    • Current fix is with the sprite markers above and below units in world space. Right now alternate sprites are being placed behind the normal marker sprites to indicate orders given. This causes some weird issues with sprites in 3d space, so swapping assets instead would be better.  
  • Mouse over units bug - had mouseover initially then lost them. Closed application and reopened but did not fix issue?
  • Confusing data on some combats (Unit destroyed but is Victor) - Draw
  • Combat Summary needs something to indicate who retreated/routed (replace “Status Attacker Defender?)
  • Time Slider bug - Planning unit orders & not finished, slider position is stuck but clock time updates
  • Back arrow (multiple combats) not working
  • Need Tide of War - WIP
  • Offset combat marker to match slider
  • Combat report USA/CSA updates
    • Same at tide of war
  • Submit orders design update
  • Login text blurry
  • CCC update - logo - overlap fix
  • MipMaps? Unit icons & minimap stuff
  • Engineer/Horse Artillery units
  • Camera moves when selecting Objectives/Help/Menu
  • Buttons on bottom prevent starting a game
  • Mutant Logo spacing on Login
  • Unit Status indicators needed
    • Retreated/Routed is super confusing - Shader Swap
  • Clock needs to change color with phase
    • Clock visual update
  • Time doesn’t show all digits
    • Ex 6:6 should be 6:06
    • Time doesn’t fit tag
    • Tag is blue not black
  • Cannot select facing when editing
    • Can undo, redo move, cant pick new facing
  • Decimal in Morale
  • Border texture
  • First pop up is ugly
    • Add buttons
    • Better spacing
  • Engineer Unit is broken (unlimited mvt, time slider not moving)
  • Orders Info box lets ray casts through (can mouse over units and get info)
  • ALL Audio DOWN at start
    • Set to 10%
  • Unit paths are not visible when zoomed out
    • Needs some design decisions
  • Mouse moves map while changing audio settings
    • Anything we don’t want to have move the camera needs an intractable ui element behind it as well, even if it’s invisible
  • Towns need to be below fog
  • Fog not blocking enemy unit hovers (even though enemy units not drawn)
  • Tooltip move off elements
  • Post turn not updating all units correctly (weirdness with Post turn state on when units get updated) - UPDATE - bug with planning phase button
    • Going to need a sanity check
  • Time slider ending at 12:12?
  • Camera not following ghost unit (unit you’re planning orders for)
    • Try a dev hack - has both - get feedback from clarke
  • If all units have orders and player says “no” to submit, the game keeps prompting user to submit every time an order is edited
  • Audio misspelling - Ambient
  • ToolTip size in worldspace
  • Combat audio clips too long
  • Bridges not in
  • Barrage not in
  • Final facing highlight should always be on top of other highlights
  • Impassibles not obvious
  • Hide enemy actual numbers
  • Edit unit button - focus on end of planned path, not units original position
  • Arrow keys move time and map
    • Remove arrow keys from time slider
  • Artillery different rate of movement?
    • Need clarification from Clarke re: Movement
  • Login - not obvious its focused on input box
  • Multiplayer - not obvious game info box is button

As always, Thanks for checking in!


Monday, October 10, 2016

Time Slider

Hey Everyone,

So today I'm going over the Time Slider feature for Clash of Command and the new Review and Planning phases of the game which are directly related.

The function of the Time Slider is two fold. First, (in Review Phase) it allows players to see the results of their previous turn. So when you launch the game now you will get the see what actually happened to your units over the previous turn.

Second (in Planning Phase), it allows you to see all of your units marching orders as you plan them out. Now you will be able to visualize your units as they march. This should greatly help players coordinate and sync their units up, so that you avoid feeding your units to the enemy piecemeal. Instead you will be able to time your attacks and smash your enemy with your forces in grand sweeping attacks.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Fog of War II

Just popping in to show off the Fog of War system that is being finalized right now

This gif shows the new hex based system in a Duel (1v1) game. The blue units are the USA, the red are CSA and this is the view of the USA player. I think current C63 players will appreciate just how much this will change gameplay. Cavalry will become much more valuable in their traditional role of intelligence gathering.

Well, back to the grindstone for me. We're hard at work here grinding towards our closed Alpha Test, which were happy to report that were pretty darn close to reaching.


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

What we're up to

Hey Everyone,

Very busy with development, but I realized we had forgotten to update you all for a while, so this will be a relatively short post. Im just going to give a quick snapshot of what we're all working on.

I've been busy creating and implementing a few different pieces of the User Interface. The first is the new Tool Tip system. It functions pretty much how you would expect. When you hover the mouse over key game elements you receive a short message about what it is and how it works. The second is temporary audio assets. We have a few pieces of music that will loop, several different sound effects for clicking on units that will randomly be selected (that way its not the same sfx played over and over), and a few sfx for combats that are also randomly selected. Ive also implemented a Spline system that will draw unit paths in both the planning and review phases. With those items taken care of I've moved into setting up the web side interface for our Closed Alpha test, and re-engineering the quick turn manager with Ranger. For those that don't know, the quick turn manager will allow games to be run as soon as all players have submitted their orders. So if everyone turns their orders in within, say, 10 minutes then the game will automatically run and everyone can play the next turn.

Ranger recently finished the Fog of War feature for the backend, fixed several minor engine bugs and has moved on to the quick turn manager.

Steven has been a whirlwind of feature programming, and has completed a ton of in game features. We have a new unit selected indicator, Fog of War is now hex based and is displaying in the UI, the UI itself has new assets that all have new functionality, and there is a new "unit selected off screen" arrow indicator that will point you back to the location of the unit you currently have selected.

Nick has gone through about 500 different iterations of the User Interface assets. Most of which are new icons for units, orders, planning and review phase icons, dispatch icons, time slider, mini map, chat window... basically many different versions of all the stuff you'll see in game.

Justin has been busy finishing the map terrain, and modeling and rigging the units. There isn't as much in his list mostly because both of those items take a huge amount of time, since we want everything in game to look really really great.

Anyway thats what we've all been working on. Thanks for checking in!

Jeff and the rest of the Mutant Team

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Fog of War

Hey Everyone,

So todays dev blog is a short intro to the new Fog of War system we're currently working on.

As most of the C63 players know the old fog of war system was based around maps. If you had a single unit end its turn within a map, then you were given detailed information on friendly and enemy unit positions. Not a very realistic situation, and honestly not something we were too happy with. Our original design featured a hex based fog of war system however, due to the nature of our old slow development times (remember, we used to be a 2 man, part-time dev team) certain features were forced to be cut. So this was a compromise solution for us. Something that kind of worked, but would take us much less time to complete. And it did work, from a gameplay standpoint, in that it forced players to think strategically about how to scout. However it failed to match the general spirit of historical accuracy that was one of C63's design pillars. Which is why we decided to spend the extra development time on the new fog of war system for Clash of Command.

The new system that is currently in the pipeline matches our original vision. Each unit will generate its own "field of view" of hexes within the game board. And as crazily as this sounds we looked up the math from a NASA article about the distance a mounted officer is approximately able to see (though we used the simpler trig based algorithm) and then made a few rough approximations to come up with our new fog of war system:

A unit in open terrain (for those that weren't C63 players, we have a few different terrain types: Open, Broken (aka hills), Woods, Town, and City) with nothing blocking their vision would see in a 3 hex radius. Other terrains may block vision (Broken, Woods, City). And certain terrains offer a height advantage that allow units to see even farther. Broken terrain results in a 6 hex radius, City terrain results in a 5 hex radius, and Town results in a 4 hex radius. We think this new element will add some strategic tension to the game and will greatly impact the role of Cavalry in their traditional role of scout.

The fog of war system is still a work in progress at this point. Ranger is currently bug testing it on the Engine side and Steven and I are just now able to start parsing the data, so I don't have anything to display graphically on this one, just yet. In the meantime Ill share some screen captures that Steven made of our last internal playtest.

Camera movement:

Unit selection and highlighting:

Unit movement planning (mouse):

Unit movement planning (keyboard):

That's it for now. Thanks for dropping by and reading up on our progress!


Monday, August 1, 2016

Internal Playtesting

Hey everyone,

So this post is going to be short, but right now that's actually a good thing.

Last Friday we had our first internal playtesting session. There were a few major bugs, but the core gameplay and turn processing system is up and running. The programming team (Ranger, Steven and myself) have been hammering both of those systems out over the last few weeks and will be bug hunting and adding in the last few core features next week, while Justin and Nick have been working on art assets.  Justin is working on the map and should be putting the finishing touches on the roads and railroads this week. Nick has been hard at work on the iterating the 2D user interface design and we think we've finally started to dial in the UI into something that is both highly functional and intuitive.

Anyway, thanks for checking in. Now its back to work for me...