Progress Report June 2017

We've been making a lot of progress both visually and with systems & features since our last update. We just finished up the basics of the last major systems that we were planning to implement before closed Beta (the Knowledge system and the Surgery system), so all the core features are now in the game, which is very exciting. Now we can really focus on making sure we have a polished, relatively bug free game for our Beta testers that has a lot of fun content.

We were planning on a closed Beta release this spring but we want to make sure there is enough content and minimal known bugs before we invite folks so we can all get the most value from their time. We're currently targeting later summer for the closed Beta, but we want to make sure we're happy with the state of the game first so it may get pushed out.

New Player & Clothing

We've implemented a new player with skin tone and face shape variations. We've also added a ton of clothing variations, a few of which can be seen below.

Some player variations. They can be cross-blended in any amount for more variety and customization.

Our new player also has hair and beard variations. One step closer to real-time beard growth!

A few of the many clothing variations. There are about 80 different clothing items at the moment.

We've finished the production version of the Frameshift exoskeleton and implemented it in-game. When you have an exoskeleton installed, you can hit harder and run faster (depending on the limbs that are augmented). We're excited to add even more benefits related to the exoskeleton and its various parts. For example, we'd like the camera augmentations to provide various overlays to help navigate (distance or gps, infrared vision, etc.) If you have ideas for cool enhancements, post them in the comments!

Also, our concept artist Andrea Chiampo was featured in 3D Artist magazine for his work on the Frameshift exoskeleton concept. Check it out!

An enhanced player.

We've added a cool player dirtiness shader that will dynamically apply dirt to player clothing as you run/crawl around:

Our new player model also has better variations for starving and gorging. Essentially you slowly get skinnier and skinnier as you starve to death and you can also overeat and get fat :)

We've upgraded our gore and decals to a new system, so battles look a lot cooler now with blood splatters and wounds.

Improved Stalker

We've been working a lot on enemy interactions in general, and a big part of that is improving the AI for the Stalker enemy. It can now leap at you and take you down, as well as attack with its claws. It also has a hunting behavior (STALKING if you will) where it will follow you and try to get close as long as it thinks you haven't spotted it.

Trying to fight a Stalker bare-handed isn't a good idea.

Retreat!

He didn't make it.

While the player is disabled, the Stalker sometimes will pick him up and drag him away:

The Stalker has a custom shader with dynamic blood:

Vehicles

We've added vehicles to the game, with a damage and repair system, a fuel system, and specific attributes per vehicle. Currently we only have one placeholder vehicle but a taxi is in progress. More vehicle variations to come.

 

And More!

  • Backpacks! You can now increase your inventory capacity by wearing a backpack. It is also its own container so you can store stuff separately if you want.
  • Interaction delay system. Some actions now take time to finish.
  • More Frameshift tech, including a outpost-type building called a Substation. Low level Frameshift technology can be found here.
  • Bodies of water. There are now lakes that you can swim in and drink water from, though the water is dirty so you have a chance of getting sick.
  • New custom terrain shader that blends well at far distances and dynamically gets wet when it rains.
  • Combat Improvements
    • We've been working on polishing the combat system, just generally improving animation transitions and attacks so the melee attacks feel responsive and satisfying.
    • There are now reaction animations when a Lurker leaps onto you and attached to a limb.
    • You can perform a curb stomp attack if you're looking all the way down at something on the ground.
    • We've implemented shields that you can hold in your off-hand to block damage. Upgraded shields can be crafted.

The player now reacts when a Lurker attaches to him.

Curb stomping a Lurker.

A Lurker mid-leap.

Struggling with a Lurker attached to the arm.

A player with a shield examining himself. He's also kinda chubby and horribly eviscerated!

  • Lurker improvements
    • Networking now uses interpolation so their movement appears smoother.
    • They try to predict where you will be and leap in that direction when they attempt to attach to a limb.
    • Now has an emissive texture and light source that changes if the Lurker is dead or aggroed.
  • Knowledge System
    • You can now can knowledge points from reading books that you find in the world.
    • You can spend your points in a knowledge "tech tree" to improve your abilities and unlock crafting recipes.
    • There are different knowledge categories, but the system is completely open: you can allocate knowledge points however you want and there are no set "classes".
  • Salvaging. You can now salvage old electronics to find ingredients for crafting. Also, since the enemy mutants are a cybernetic blend of technology and biology, you can salvage their bodies for more advanced technology items.
  • Added a bunch of cooking recipes that use wild plants as ingredients.
  • Added survivalist items: bow drill, snare, and dew collector. These all respond realistically to their environment when performing their function. The bow drill doesn't work as well when it is raining, the snare must be left alone for a certain amount of time to catch something, and the dew collector must have low temperatures (and it collects faster when overcast or raining).
  • Added some makeshift crafted weapons like glass knuckles and scrap machete.
  • Added Smelling Salts item that you can use to temporarily clear your vision and boost energy, so you can run around for a short time even when badly injured.
  • Lots of new props and buildings: Barn, fences, new residential houses, new roads, a convenience store, and a motel.
  • Settings menu. You can adjust your key bindings, screen resolution, visual detail, and audio settings.
  • Account creation, login, and character persistence. Characters are now saved to your account so your progress is saved across sessions.
  • Region and Landmark discovery. Areas of the game can now be classified as regions or landmarks (i.e. points of interest) and your area discovery progress is tracked and saved.
  • You can now give another player food or drinks to help starvation and dehydration. Previously you could only cure yourself of these effects.
  • Created a custom octree-based level of detail system. The existing ones out there and the Unity LOD weren't efficient enough to deal with the high number of LOD objects that we have.
  • Improved road system intersections. Added dynamic street sign system that populates street names on signs and calculates distances to landmarks for mile marker signs.
  • Clothing now has a thermal insulation rating that helps from getting too cold. Excess body fat also provides some thermal insulation!
    • Being wet will negate all clothing thermal insulation, and make you even colder.
    • Body parts exposed to less than 32° now get frostbite and progress to gangrene. Gangrene can only be survived if the limb is amputated.
  • Players can now contract the common cold which can turn into pneumonia. Being near another player when sick can pass along the virus.

A New Team Member

Last but not least, we'd like to welcome Paul to the team! He's helping out with the programming side and has already fixed a ton of bugs and implemented some new features. He's doing great and we're super happy to have him. Welcome! Some words from Paul himself about why he decided to join the project:

As an avid gamer with roots in games like Ultima Online and Meridian 59, I was immediately hooked by the concepts behind Frameshift. The hardcore MMO feels like it doesn’t exist the way it used to; like my hand is being held more and more with each new generation of game. When Nick approached me about the project, I was hooked immediately. This is the kind of game I’ve been wanting to play for years, and to have the privilege of helping bring it to life is more exciting with every week of development. An open-world where survival is unlikely, death has a meaningful impact, and the environment is just as harsh as the players who inhabit it? I can’t wait to play this thing and feel the ‘PK Shakes’ again.