Pre-Alpha Push Back and No Dev-vlog

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Firstly, I have to apologize for the silence the past week. Been fairly busy with work-life balance stuff. Mostly getting things in line for moving into a new apartment at the end of September. More news about that will be featured on the Thought Reactor blog when the time comes.

There will be no dev-vlog for the foreseeable future. Namely, I just don't have a breadth of content to build up a good video. I don't just want footage of me talking about the game - I want to show the game off! So with that, I'm going to hold off on the video until after the pre-alpha demo is released.

I had a tentative drop date for that demo set at August 17. It is appearing more and more likely that date is very tentative. Some changes in development have pushed that date back alongside the time that will be lost this weekend due to my participation in Ludum Dare 42 (to keep up with that, check out the Thought Reactor blog and social media channels).

So what has changed since Dev Update #2?

Since the last Dev Update, player mechanics have gone through very significant changes. The entire player controller and movement system has been rolled over to the UFPS package. UFPS is a popular Unity package that allows developers to quickly roll-out high-end first-person controllers and mechanics.

For Parabola, this amounts mostly to the locomotion and jumping mechanics. UFPS features a higher level of control over these mechanics and frankly, look and perform much better than the default Unity controller or anything I could write. There will be more changes to the player controller in the future to better leverage some of UFPS' procedural animation features - but for now it is fully implemented and feels much smoother and natural than before.

Additionally, a bug surfaced upon upgrading to Unity 2018.2 that exposed some bad practices on my part. To make a long story short (perhaps I'll extrapolate in a tutorial blog), I wrote a custom editor/gizmo system for rendering the cables you see tracing power sources to their corresponding obstacle. This system lived within the prefabs for power sources themselves, and basically that has always been a no-no as it can lead to prefab corruption.

However, in typical Unity fashion, this bad practice would not trip any errors or warnings in the console and the editor would simply let you instantiate new Game Objects in prefabs anyways. Now, in 2018.2, this does throw an error and breaks any code that handles instantiation in this manner.

In order to keep moving forward with the pre-alpha demo content I had to address this issue. I was able to do so by decoupling the custom editor script from power sources and instead tying it into a 'Cable Manager' object that creates a holder object for all the cables. Problem solved!

Lastly, as we are bracing for the demo build a simple title screen has started to be roughed out. By the time the demo drops it will feature a basic Settings panel so testers can toggle some generic performance options.

This Week

I don't have a date for the pre-alpha release - but I'd say it is safe to count on late August. We are still on pace to move into the Alpha phase in September.

Before Ludum Dare commences on Friday evening, I will be getting more design work and finishing touches on Buckets done. I also spent some time this weekend getting the stream setup configured, so I might attempt to do some streams this week (and definitely for Ludum Dare this weekend).

Until next time!

Michael DeLally