Development has started again!

- Wed, 21 September 2016

D

ear Fans,

Development has started again!
This week, we generated some lovely asteroids.
They fly around and hit your ship.
Sometimes, they fly upwards and crash into the sky.
That looks really pretty and believable.
Next week, we will generate some more pirates.
Hopefully they will auto-generate some nice AI and start living
on their own, creating some accurate behaviors. We will see,
and hope for the best.
They will look really good anyway. I mean, absolutely stunning!!

We are looking forward to showing you more stuff, starting next week.
We will be able to give a new screenshot by that time.


Greetings,
Turbulent Headquarters






Finale

- Thu, 23 June 2016

T

his is (most likely) the last blog post. What has been mentioned many times over the last couple of weeks is finally here: the ending of our project. Instead of writing some long-winded farewell post, let's just take a look at some screenshots, shall we?

The main menu, the portal to our space delivery experience.

Plan your route, carefully. Is it worth it to go the shorter route when that is the more dangerous path?

Dodge asteroids and larger asteroids. This is harder when your vision is obscured by a nebula.

Pirates are also after your valuable cargo. Fight or flight?
We're happy with the result of our project and how we did. We would like to thank everyone who helped us during our project, the people we worked with.






An ending by any other name

- Sun, 19 June 2016

A

t this point, I am running out of clichés. We've been saying that it's almost the end for weeks on end now, but that is still the feeling that permeates our work atmosphere. Just a couple of weeks more. Hurry, hurry, get everything done. At this point, most of the changes to our code are bug fixes and minor improvements. Aside from that, we've got a trailer and a poster to make, and two more presentations, shortly after each other. We're adding textures, finding new bugs (and fixing them), finetuning the player experience, all in an effort to get as much accomplished as we can in the limited time we have left.






Nearing the end

- Sun, 12 June 2016

S

o, this week was the deadline for a playable version of our game, and it was indeed a tough time for us. We all worked very hard to try and eliminate as many bugs as possible, and we were at least able to eliminate a few of the most game-breaking bugs that had popped up throughout development. The build we were able to deliver was not completely bug-free, and we have, since then, managed to remove more bugs, as well as implemented changes to make the game play better, like changes to the UI.
Still, it was amazing to see, in my opinion. We all worked together in order to deliver a satisfactory product, and we managed to get a lot of work done. Perhaps we work best under pressure, in the end. We'll still work hard until the end, but we can be proud of what we achieved.






Crunch Time

- Fri, 3 June 2016

Y

esterday was another one of our biweekly meetings, at which we discuss what has to be done in the following sprint. Before the meeting, there was a customer weeking, at which we got a deadline for a playable version of our game. In the demo that was shown, there were quite some bugs, especially in the tutorial. This is all going to be fixed before said deadline, and we will also make some final changes and additions. This deadline is coming Wednesday. It's soon, and we will all have to give our very best.
This is all very exciting and will be a true test for all of us. Next week, we will hopefully be able to bring you news of our success.






It's Friday

- Fri, 27 May 2016

I

t is, once again, Friday. Fridays are usually the quietest day here in the Turbulent Games workspace, with everyone preferring to work at home, and today is no exception. As was mentioned last week, this is the final sprint in which we plan to add functionality; after that, we will focus on testing and polishing. We have been working on this project for a long time already, but it is still hard to fathom it will be over soon.
Looking back at the beginning of the projects, it becomes apparent how much our project has changed. Things that we had planned to add have been completely scrapped, while other things that we had never expected to be adding are being or have already been implemented. It has shown us how plans can change along the way, and how important it is to be able to adapt to these changes.
There are still things to be done - working on procedures, the network, events - and bugs to be fixed - primarily iPad-related - and it's going to be exciting to see how the project will turn out. Hopefully, then, we will have more to tell you.






Let there be....stress

- Fri, 20 May 2016

W

e began our last two weeks of adding major features. After this sprint,
we will begin our polishing phase, in which we will perfect what can be perfected,
and fix what can be discovered and fixed. Everyone is putting maximum effort
into the project. We are currently working on packet integration, which involves
the translation of in-game events to packets that will be sent to the NLR servers.
The event procedures are also being defined, the backbone of the packet system is
being finished, and some systems are redesigned for better ease of use (in particular
the shop system, which was a little confusing).






Our final weeks

- Wed, 11 May 2016

T

his might sound repetitive and, at this point, slightly redundant, but the looming presence of the deadline is something we are all feeling. With almost every important discussion we have, someone mentions to keep in mind that our time on this project is limited. No longer is our first response to a new feature request or idea to immediately pounce on it; we now look at the number of things we have yet to implement and carefully examine our priorities. Most likely, we will not take on any new challenges so we can focus on tackling our seemingly immense backlog.
Controls have been altered to make them feel better, a shop has been created, more work on the manual has been done, procedures are being worked on, more events are in the works, other events have been improved, and the clock keeps ticking.
Will we be able to finish in time? That is the question on everyone's mind as we amble ever onwards. Will we be able to do what we set out to do?
Looking back at the beginning of the project, it is apparent how much the team has changed. Where before we were a motley group of students, now we are a unity, if you will pardon the pun. We know each other's strengths and weaknesses. We are a real team, and that will be put to the test in the weeks to come.
What is in the cards for the coming days? Finishing our product, mainly. Creating the remaining, necessary parts. Changing and polishing existing code. We will try our hardest to succeed.






The beginning of the end

- Fri, 6 May 2016

R

equirements. Code. Bugs. Fixes. Everything begins to blend together as the end comes closer and closer. We all have to step up our game, as there are still a lot of systems that need to be finished and fixed. We are confident, but we realize that crunch time is coming ever closer. Prioritizing is more important than ever, as the rough product we have today will have to be transformed into an enjoyable, playable experience. The succes of our product will be determined in the next month or so. We want to deliver a usable, finished product, and this motivation more than anything else motivates us and heats the fire that is development.
We have a lot of systems in place, the level definition system is finally complete, and events are getting complexer and more fun. A few of our team members are working on creating a database and server side system to communicate with from within the unity application, and we received the list of datapoints to be measured from our client, so the measuring systems are coming along nicely, but our main concern right now is gameplay. In order for our client to receive enough data, the game must be enjoyable for an extended peroid. This means we still have to create a lot of meaningful events and procedures the player must follow, and couple these to logical datapoints to send to the NLR servers.
In conclusion, the road ahead is scary and short, but we are confident that we are capable and motivated, and that we will deliver!






Finally some more pictures

- Thu, 28 April 2016

A

nd another week has passed! And I believe it's time for some more pictures instead of just text.

You might be wondering what you're seeing here. It is the beginning of our in-game manual! It is where you will find procedures for what to do, as well as a map and your crew. (Your crew was previously stored under that "Open" button at the top, which will be removed once the manual is fully functional.
By pressing on the buttons at the top, you can go to different sections (with a smooth and pretty turning animation) and pressing outside of the manual closes it. You can open the manual by swiping from the left, where you can see the edges of the manual when it's closed.
You might also be wondering why it's so light and white. Well, it looks that bright on the computer, but when we make an iPad build it's a lot darker. The joys of Apple! It is a hassle when the product you work on looks different when you're testing it, but it's a burden we must bear, and we bear it with only a little complaining. (Well, after we figured out the solution to some of our problems. Before that, we complained a lot.)
Oh, and the reason that the models don't have the same colour as before is because we switched to mobile shaders, and you can't give them a colour. Only textures work with them.

And here, we have our new radar! When you press the small radar at the bottom, the projection on the window appears. With this projection, you can target enemies (or asteroids) that you can then fire at with your weapons! We even have an explosion effect when you do so.
On the left, you can see the closed manual that I mentioned before.
On another note, the day before yesterday we had a long meeting amongst ourselves. We'd been waiting for some specific information regarding events, and now it has been supplied by the client. Since we believe communication is key, we discussed how we could best use the information for our application with all our team members. I won't bore you with the details, though, because it was an hours-long meeting. After all, we had a lot to discuss.
And that was your update for this week! There's still lots of exciting things (and not-so-exciting things) in progress, but let's not make this an excruciatingly long blog post. See you all next week!






Halves

- Sun, 24 April 2016

T

he fifth sprint has ended, which means that half of our project time has already passed! Our project should also be half-finished, though I find that such things are hard to tell.
Still, we are moving along at a nice pace. This sprint, we're planning on adding texture to the models, which will make the game feel more complete. We will also do other things to turn our project into an actual game instead of just the obvious demos we have made before, like having game events start automatically during gameplay instead of having to manually activate them.
One thing that has been an annoyance to us during development is the lighting on the iPad. At the beginning, the lighting was not smooth at all – it was very jumpy – and did not correspond with what we were seeing in Unity. We have already partially resolved this problem, and we will be further tweaking our lighting to improve visibility. However, to do this properly we will probably have to make multiple builds for the iPad, which always takes an extraordinarily long amount of time. Still, it is necessary.
These are just some of the things we are working on and will be working on. More events including enemies and little lights in the cockpit are also being worked on, and a whole load of other stuff. We've sure got our work cut out for us!






How time flies

- Sun, 17 April 2016

A

nother week has passed! Well. What has happened since the previous blog post? There's some work going on on the weapons system, a revamping of the radars, you can now plan your route, the map is being revamped, we're working on an in-game manual... All are little bits that contribute to the final picture. Furthermore, there's also work being put into the servers, and even more has happened. How time flies...
Speaking of time flying, we're pretty much halfway through our project! It seems like hardly any time has passed since the beginning. Realising how far along the timeline we are makes one think of all the things we've yet to do, how much is still missing from our product. It's quite daunting, really. But I am sure we'll be able to pull it all off!
Anyway, with that said, I'll be signing off again for another week. Hopefully, next post we will have more good news to share!






Gaining momentum

- Thurs, 7 April 2016

W

hat was nothing but a silhouette of potential just a few weeks ago is
beginning to take shape, and that is an exciting thing to see.
We started out because we had to, so we made the hours at the office
and obeyed the guidelines the scrum system gave us.
But what started out as making hours at the office, gradually changed
into making hours for the project. We want it to succeed, to be good.
As we move through the uncertain journey that is game development,
we slowly create certainty through motivation.
Next week, we will be presenting our progress with pride,
so expect a lot of media and other cool stuff.
This week, the branches of the scrum system came together
again to form the next iteration of our project. Sprint 5. We are halfway.
There are still lot's of things we want to do, but we can finally say
that we have a playable base game.
You can make profiles. You can select a route to take through space.
You can fly the route in your spaceship, while solving different kinds of events.
You can finish a section a proceed to the next section.
Now that we have all this base functionality in place, we will start to
make the game fun to play, and doing that is fun for us too!
We are learning to work together closely, as a team, and accept and understand each others
code. We first saw the scrum system as a limitation, a formal restraint on creative freedom,
but we have quickly become dependent on it. It steers us in the right direction, it gives
us deadlines without enforcing certain choices.
It sits in the background, only intervening when the situation calls for it. It is a good system.
Anyway, enough self endorsement.
Here are a few pictures for your enjoyment, a cool teaser trailer will follow shortly!








No pranks here

- Fri, 1 April 2016

A

nother week has passed! I can hardly believe it myself; it only feels like a couple of days. Well, that’s what a long weekend like the last one will do to you! Phew, already halfway through this sprint.
Unfortunately, I don’t have too much to show you this week. Most stuff is still in progress. However, I can tell you what we have worked on. Firstly, we have continued working on networking stuff. Unfortunately, we learnt that how we thought the network would work was wrong, making quite a bit of work that had already been done useless. Background work on the events has also been done. Also, as you can see if you’re reading this, some more work has gone into the website!
We’ve also been working on the crew, and that is nearly done. Another thing that’s in progress is the flight path players will have to stick to in sections. One of us is also working in a mini-game.
Anyway, next week will be the end of this sprint, and I’m sure I’ll have more to show you by then!
(Were I any other person, I would have made an April Fools’ joke, but I’m not too fond of that. This blog – or at least when I’m writing – is an April Fools’-free zone.)






All that Git-ters is not gold

- Fri, 25 March 2016

R

emember last week, when it was mentioned that we ran into problems with merging with Git? Well, in retrospect, we didn't really have a problem then. At least, not compared to this week.
On Thursdays, we have our biweekly meetings. Before the entire team comes together, a selected few meet with our client and shows them what we have done so far. Yesterday was one of those meetings, and our intention was to get everything we did during the last sprint together in one, nice build. So, on Wednesday, we started merging. Then, all hell broke loose.
If you are reading this and plan to use Unity for developing and Git for the version control of that development, here's a hint: don't. Find something else. Just, for the love of all that is good, don't put yourself through the torture that is Git and Unity together.
In the end, though, we did manage to get everything together, sort of - although not before our client meeting - so I have more progress to show you!
First of all, we have a very pretty menu. It's animated, and it tilts when you tilt the iPad. Impressive, right? (It looks more impressive when you actually see it in action.)

Next, we have a map view! It has been in progress for a while, but its functionality is far enough that we can show you.

Finally, another look at our cockpit! We now have proper models for the buttons and levers, as well as some nice sprites!

In the background, a lot of work has gone into events and network connectivity, and this will continue in the next sprint. We will also get started on crew functionality.






Journeys and Apple and Git, oh my!

- Fri, 18 March 2016

Y

esterday, we paid a visit to our client, NLR. We met up in Amsterdam and made our way to the NLR compound, relying on one of our team members' sense of direction (and memory) to safely guide us there. Beforehand, we had to send in some information, as they would not let us in without some form of identification, and we each received a visitor pass, which had to remain visible on our persons at all times. While there, we received more information on NLR itself and some of the goings-on, and we (read: our dependable scrum master, Edwin) gave a presentation on our group and project to several people there. All in all, it was both a fun and informative outing, and it was good to once again meet up as a group outside of our usual work atmosphere.

Now, on to what actually got done during this past week. A lot of work has been done - and is currently still being done - on elements of the cockpit. At this point, I would have liked to show you a screenshot that would have shown you some of the progress that has been made, but, unfortunately, Git is giving us some momentary trouble. Hopefully, this will be resolved easily, but it is for that reason that I am unable to share our progress with you visually.

Aside from that, we have also worked on matters pertaining to the server - sending the data where it must go - as well as profiles and the map.

Now, some slightly different news: we finally received all hardware that is required for building our game on the iPad, so we are also getting started on that. It will be very useful to test our game on an actual iPad, since then we will properly be able to feel how our game will play.

Edit: Some of the problems have been resolved, so I have a screenshot for you:






Sprinting through sprints

- Wed, 9 March 2016

O

ur second sprint is almost done, hooray! Last week, we discovered that we had finished almost everything we had planned to do these two weeks, so we moved ahead to starting several matters planned for our next sprint. For example, a small group of us started planning our events.

Now, as this was done largely on paper and not in code, we sadly do not have anything visual to show you. However, we can soon move to actually implementing these events, which is what is planned for our next sprint.

Speaking of, today is the last day of this sprint. Tomorrow, we will have a meeting to plan out our next sprint. Perhaps these last two weeks will have better prepared us for estimating how much we can get done during a sprint.

Another thing that happened during the previous two weeks is that several of our team members worked on compression, encryption, server connection, and the database. However, this is still a work in progress, since we also do not yet have all information and materials available to us yet.

I apologise for the shortness of this blog post; perhaps next time we will have more to share with the world.






Let there be code!

- Thurs, 3 March 2016

S

tarting a large project in a good way is crucial. Since we don't have much experience with large projects, we talked a lot about dividing coding tasks and merging to a single project. We finally decided to give two team members the responsibility (throughout the current sprint) to make sure all the individual components, like creating the player interface, event interface and gamestate logic, get merged to form a single, coherent and working project. As a result of the chosen sprint tasks, we expect to have an interesting prototype ready before the sprint ends, so that we can show something to our client and get feedback. This prototype will be posted on our project site and will be publicly available to everyone!

In a relatively large team like we have, working together and understanding each other is key. During these first weeks, communication seems to be going very well, and we intend to keep it that way. Yesterday, we did some team bonding. Pizza, laserquest, pool and beer were involved. We had a great time. Here is a picture of the menu of the restaurant we went to to prove this:



The pizzas were really good. Go to Mr. Jacks for a powerful yet subtle experience. Lively ambiance, authentic decorations and a positive vibe throughout your stay are guaranteed! But enough about pizza.

We are currently working on getting some basic functionality going. For example, the player interface mentioned earlier this post is coming along nicely. Here is a screenshot of the ship POV players see while playing the game:



The idea is that during the flight, a lot of different events can happen to which the player needs to respond as good and fast as they can possible can. We are exploring different game events, so expect more on this subject in our next post! Until next time!






Development has started!

- Thurs, 25 February 2016

T

his is our first blog post! Things have been heating up nicely here at Turbulent Games during the first two weeks. We started creating a project plan, creating some prototypes, setting up our project space, website and this blog. Apart from some minor irritations everything went rather smoothly. Creating the initial plan, talking with our client, and setting up a framework for development is key, so we take this very seriously. Creating a robust, extendable and usable framework within Unity and C# is next on our agenda.

To start up the hype, here are some images from prototypes we created during this initial phase of development: