Uber Weekly Update – August 5, 2014

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Mornings in Seattle are often cool and cloudy. If you’re lucky, can catch a stray strand of sun that somehow manages to fall through the sky, but that isn’t typical. Meetings in the morning often take on the spirit of the weather; they can be just as soggy and cold, as the clouds creep across the sky.

Friday was different.

Last week, we received the first test run of shirts we’ll be offering to supporters of Planetary Annihilation. One of those shirts is a crisp, white number with an “awesome” print of John Comes’ head. On Friday morning, we surprised John with the shirt.

Before our ten AM all-hands meeting, everyone in the studio sneakily put on the shirt under their normal clothes. When the meeting started, we sprung out of our chairs and enjoyed a moment with John, as we suddenly revealed the shirt to him as a unit.

Overcast or not, our office was cloudless. John’s smile lit the whole room, and we all were able to share in his joy.

Polish, Polish, Polish

 

The theme of the last few weeks continues into this one: polish. This week, we tackled some long-standing issues. We also identified and squashed new issues brought about by some of the changes we’ve been making to the game. Development is tricky work: one fix can usher in the need for two or three more introduced by that first fix.

You can see some of this week’s changes in the PTE build of the game. A small sampling: better pathfinding for naval, occasional issues with the AI not responding, neural net updates, selection sound pass, metal planet geometry modifications, and various server browser fixes to make it run more smoothly.

Sometimes, polish is all about the little. In the future (or soon, if you will), we’ll be rolling out new unit and structure descriptions. You know that little band of text that pops up whenever you select something? That’s what we’re referring to. We’ll be going in and swapping out the old text in favor of new text that reads better and, of course, helps new players pick the units they want more easily.

Another thing you’ll probably see in future builds leading up to release? Smarter and better planet map generation, in addition to more Uber-made maps. We’ve been building quite the collection of maps that favor player-types and player numbers, and we’ll be continuing that effort.

Ben, meanwhile, is polishing up the look of gas giants. Brad’s been standing over his shoulder a lot lately, staring at all the pretty colors these planets have.

And Now For Some Questions:

 

Will you make it possible to move back again, in the Galactic War, if you’ve stuck on a level or changed your mind?

Never say never. However, we feel like the ability to restart in Galactic War wouldn’t be in the spirit of the mode. Galactic War is all about annihilating with limited options at your disposal and being creative with the ones you have. Annihilation is final, so the stakes are high.

Would you consider / be open to incorporating certain features from interesting mods into the game?

The plan has always been to make mods a first-class component of the game. So, think the other way around. We want to show them off prominently so sharing is easy. And we want to make the installation process as seamless as possible so everyone can grab them.

Any plans for super space robots that can fly to other planets and smash stuff up?

That’s a great idea! No plans on that yet, but that’s not to say we aren’t working on other annihilation options…