PA FEATURE THUMB

Sprinting Along

Announcements:

We’ll be doing our next LiveStream on March 22nd, 2013, where you’ll be able to see at least some of the things discussed in this update in action. Same time as always: 1300 Pacific (UTC – 8)

Development Update:

Last week, we kicked off our new blog and we’ll continue giving more insight into the development process on Planetary Annihilation. As a producer, my own role at Uber is a little unusual, and that’s with 15 years of other companies to compare it against. Everyone here at Uber helps create content that goes into the game and I’m no exception. In addition to community and marketing management, business development, driving our new sprint process, and numerous other things, I’ve been working on the first pass of unit implementation. Producers will often get pulled into creating content, writing code, or whatever their skill sets support, but often only during crunch to fill in for a resource shortfall. Over the years, I’ve done video editing, audio editing, scripting tutorials, and a hundred other things long since forgotten. This is not crunch driven necessity, but something that needs to be done, something I’m excited about doing, so I’m doing it.

As the team has grown, we have been improving our process to aim toward common goals. We currently use a light agile process that helps to keep the team better informed about what everyone else is working on, and makes it much easier to highlight the “next big goal”. Our current focus is toward a first playable build: a build where everyone on the team can launch their client, connect to an in office server, and throw down. All the parts are already there, but having parts does not make a game any more than having a muffler, wheels, engine and car body sitting in your garage makes a car. In the past two sprints, the game has gone from over 10 different test apps plus a client/server shell, to a client server that has first pass user interface that you can click through to start a game, build units, and send them toward your enemies and blow them up.

I’m working on unit blueprints and getting our first pass of units spec’d out, implemented and building/functioning in game. My own background before moving to production was engineering and technical design implementation – script heavy, data heavy implementation of a creative design, so talking with Jon, Mike (Sorian), Elijah, Steve and Andrew we determined the first pass of units we’d need to get to first playable. We have all of the land and air units building. The in game UI for this is up and running thanks to the Coherent Labs UI system implemented by William and David Johnson. Commanders build factories, factory builds fabbers, fabbers and factories then proceed to pump out more units. From there, you can see a functioning metal and energy economy and we start to see how all those systems interact to create awesome scale games. It’s great to see a giant battleship cruising on a planet, with your commander and your recently built base nearby.

We are close to starting daily playtests in the office, and we are very excited for that day to come. Things like the deferred rendering engine have come online, which allows us to do some pretty great things in the rendering pipeline that we hope to show off soon. This is seriously cool stuff, and I could write pages on the amount of work that goes into the technology and gameplay that we’ll be showing off in the months to come. Writing never seems to do it justice so we’ve been trying to show and not tell which we will be able to do more of soon.

We look forward to sharing that with you when we get there, and it’ll happen faster than most of you will believe.

Join in on the conversation here if you have comments, questions, or just want to chat.

Have a great weekend everyone!