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Weekly News – TR Run Progress and Art, KAG Modding

Hey guys, sorry for the delay on the update. Last week was a trying time, but we’ve gotten back on track. So, lets get to it.

Trench Run News:

TR
development has been going along strong. The Run mode testing has shown
that playing in a team on bigger maps gives the game a totally fresh
feel. Run allows for much more depth than the free-for-all skirmish
mode, but requires a bigger commitment.

Some issues that we’re addressing include:

  • runs being hard to deny
  • missing feedback for when a run is being threatened
  • some connection-transfer issues between game servers.

Of the issues from last week:

  • Engineer air-striking is harder but still possible ; you just cant sit right at spawn and rain hell on the map.
  • The
    medic is more useful even in the hands of an idiot. You can pick up a
    wounded medic as a living teammate – which then allows the medic to heal
    the rest of the wounded.

However, the big news is not related to gameplay…

When
we first started making Trench Run, it was meant to be a fast, quite
small, 2-6 month project. More experimental graphics that we could
produce quickly were settled on at the start of the project. However, as
the project exits its first year we are at a point where the game
should probably at least pay for itself. As such, we’ve decided to
rework the graphics to be more appealing to a wider audience. They’ll
still be lo-fi, but less abstract, and with room for team colours to
help readability. Our graphical aim is “a game made from 2015 styled
like the 90s, not a game from the 90s released in 2015”.

image

Current pass over The Forest biome (new on the left, old on the right, full size x2 pixels here). We hope the extra time shows, because getting all this in game is going to take some doing!

This
is quite a frustrating decision for us to make. It pushes game code
work from me on to Michal, and it will take a few weeks of full time
graphics work at least for me to get a full game’s worth of art
reworked. However, its a decision needed the good of the game’s
financial success. The game being more accessible should mean you guys
have a bigger crowd of people to play with instead of another small
clique of die-hard fans.

We’ll be doing more experimentation
and polishing of the current mockup graphics this week, but I think
we’re set on this direction now. We’ll keep you updated as the game and
its art style develops, and we trust you’ll bide your time alongside us
as we work towards a better Trench Run!

KAG News:

Verra has got to work on investigating various modding “annoyances” and smoothing them out:

  • Error
    messages in the console now refer to the right line even for included
    files, and dont miss errors when the error occurs at the end of the
    file.
  • The “infinite mod redownloading” bug.

Progress is looking good and we’re happy to have him aboard!

Until next time,
Max

Weekly Log – Campaign Progress and New Intern!

Hey everyone, progress has been good this week so let’s get into it right away!

Trench Run News:

Trench Run had its first proper successful testing of the campaign mode. We had to shrink down the map size to improve match turnaround when there’s evenly matched teams, but that just means we’ll be able to make more maps, more quickly!


“[Nuclear Launch Detected]” “Head for the tunnels!”

A few unexpected quirks have been found, as well as many a bug. Many have been fixed but there is still quite a lot of work to do. A sort of meta-game has developed with some of the players as well with the engineer staying back with some supplies dropped by the medic and “air striking” the map continuously, with the other team having to stick to cover to avoid the rockets. We’ll definitely be looking into the explosion radius for the engineer rocket (having whole teams blown to bits ten seconds into a game might be a bit much), but it’s very fun to see this kind of strategic play so early in this mode’s testing!

We’re currently considering renaming the mode from “Campaign” to “Run” – the motivation is that campaign doesn’t say much about the objective of the mode, whereas run does, and is short, catchy, and 50% of a title-drop to boot. What do you think?

KAG News:

Verrazano, a programmer from the community will be joining the team of interns here at THD! He’s excited to work on common frustrations for modders so if you’ve noticed something inconsistent or annoying while modding the game, he’s the guy to talk to about looking into it! We’re glad to have him aboard, so congratulate Verra if you see him ingame!

Skinney continues work on the in-game map editor, which he’s dubbed “Cartographer”. This will be an invaluable tool for creative folk and admins alike, and is an important usability improvement over directly editing image files, especially when placing and arranging mechanisms!

Norill continues work on the port of the game menus to scripts which will allow them to be much more easily refined and re-arranged.

Build 1591 seems to have gone quite smoothly after a few initial hitches were dealt with. The new maps in particular have led to much shorter games of CTF when decisive plays are made, which helps prevent teams leaving through attrition and keeps the game flowing. Check out the forums for some ongoing discussion of trap block behaviour and the dreaded bomb nerf.

That’s all for this week, let us know what you think in the comments and of course, follow us on twitter, like us on facebook, and tell your friends!

Have fun!

Max

[KAG] Build 1591 – Maps and Bombs!

Hey Everyone!

Finally getting out this “mostly small fixes with some bigger stuff” build after testing has come back ok! Sorry for the delays!

(Weekly log covering TR progress likely coming on Monday when we can fully asses the situation, today was all about KAG)

image
Spamming bombs with abandon is less likely to bring you success this build.
Sorry Henry!

This build’s headline changes are:

  • Big CTF Map Changes!
    CTF maps have long been a cause of stalemates and frustration – even in capable hands sometimes flags are too well protected or frustrating to capture, or are woefully under-defended, and often it’s easier to get to the enemy tent before capping the flag. All in all it can be a war of attrition; this build’s map changes aim to fix that as much as possible. Flags are less scattered, fewer, and further from the tent. Base areas are prepared to actually have a base dropped down into them. Rush distances are often shorter. A few especially annoying areas have been reworked. We look forward to your feedback on the map changes and revisiting many maps from other modes.
  • News is back!
    The in-launcher news feed is back and will be brought up to date as soon as possible, so you can check for update info on the go!
  • Reverted Trap Blocks
    As frustrating as it is for us to revert changes, we’re happy to do it in this case until a “real” solution is agreed on forum-side. Get your thinking caps on and help us figure out how this should be approached – we’re well aware some of you will be happy to go back to sharking out of pits, but the rest of us would prefer the builder have a well rounded, mostly-idiot-proof set of tools at their disposal.
  • Bomb Explosion Radius Decreased
    We were surprised (and pleased!) at the support for this on the forums. We expected most knight-main players to be angrily oposed to the thought of reduced bomb spam, but the opposite proved to be true. Archers should have an easier time avoiding bomb explosions and the new explosion radius should reward aiming your bombs all the more. Cost and damage have not been touched. Keep in mind that this is an experimental change, but we’re happy to be able to move forward with it.
  • Engine Update
    There’s been quite a big engine update behind all of this that exposes a few more things to scripting and fixes a few more edge case bugs and crashes. Modders will be pleased to know you can now properly remove polygonal bodies from blobs (allowing dynamically reshaped polygon objects, if your heart desires).
  • General bug fixes
    “Weird” corpse collisions, missing match timers, drilling people through closed doors, water decaying blocks in hand, a few vote issues, and a few engine-side bugs have been fixed! Thanks to the community members involved in some of these fixes, and see the full changelog for details.

Changes for hosts Generally changes that wont affect most of you, but important for community server hosts to be aware of:

  • TCP RCON on Windows
    TCP RCON now works for windows dedicated servers (although they remain unsupported, this is very useful for locally testing some mods). The linux implementation has also been reworked completely.
  • “Safer” API Client
    The API Client code used for registering the server is now a little “safer” about how it works and should crash less often (fingers crossed). Hosts: let us know if you see improvements, regressions, or no change with regard to API-related crashes and server registration.

That’s it! Let us know what you think on the forums, facebook, twitter, and in-game!

Have Fun!

Max

Full Changelog:

[modified] LOTS of map changes - flags generally more exposed and further from tent to prevent stalemates and "base-raping"
[modified] arrow always hits burgers and fishies (and anything tagged food) - not hearts this time though (couldn't make it work cheaply)
[fixed] drill hitting through doors
[fixed] dead players taking gold with them to the afterlife (everyone drops everything on death)
[modified] water does not decay doors held in the hand (thanks Obione5256__)
[modified] corpse collisions - should be less snagging!
[added] synced-based rendering of time to end of match
[fixed] tiny chat font (still some tiny fonts to fix still!)
[modified] boulders take 50% damage from swords and arrows
[modified] reverted trap blocks changes - will need more real discussion about a solution or alternative block, hit the forums folks
[modified][experimental] reduced bomb radius by two tiles to reduce bomb spam and reward aiming with them
[updated] engine, polygonal bodies removeshape fix, tcpr re-implementation, API "maybe fix" from MM
[fixed] voting for surrender as spectator
[fixed] news not being read properly (now we use custom solution with json)

Weekly Log – Campaign Progress, the Medic, and KAG Delays

This has been a week of ups and downs; some good progress was made but both Max and Michal were under the weather for the first half of the week. We ended up prioritising TR work over getting a KAG build out, and while we’re sorry for the delay, we don’t want to rush it and cause more work for us and headaches for you down the line. We’ll bump it up to a higher priority for next week.

Most of our time this week was spent getting the team-based campaign mode into a partially working state. Campaign features larger maps, 5v5 action, and an enforced full range of classes (every class is present on both teams). We’re taking some leeway with the maps to provide a clear “main route” that everyone can take without any help, and routes that require destroying debris, planks, or crates to get through, to allow more than one approach from both teams to keep gameplay fresh even with just one set of maps. Maps are mostly symetrical, with some asymetrical elements in the centre.

image
A sniper and commando rush to take control of the middle on a draft of the forest campaign map. Where their allies are, noone can say.

This week has also seen work on the new Medic class. The Medic will only be available in team modes, and has no primary attack. To make up for this, the Medic has three support actions; the large riot shield can be used to protect allies and reflect enemy bullets, ammo box supplies can be dropped often, and the Medic can (as its name suggests) heal any fallen allies as well.

image
A team-mode-exclusive new class, the Medic, leaps into the fray!

We think that this class will have a very important role in helping the team move forward against camping teams (as they can provide moving, rather than stationary cover). However, we’re aware that the “non combat” role will turn some players off, and that this will ruffle feathers with the mandated class balance of campaign – CPU players are available, however for cases where a group of players don’t want to include a certain class, or for low-population times of day.

Some work was also done on the recreational elements of the lobby (in particular, the bar!), but details will have to wait for a future post. Stay tuned to this blog, the forums (here), twitter (@thdtweet and @1bardesign), or facebook (here) for the latest development news!

Have Fun!

Max

Weekly Log – TR Soundtrack Preview, Lobby Progress, API Fixes, KAG Build Inbound

Hey everyone, sorry for the late log, here’s what’s happened this week at THD!

For those who missed it last week, you can listen to a preview of the main theme on youtube:

We’re committed to this gypsy style but we’re keen to hear what people think of it as well; what sort of feelings and images it conjures up for our players.

Lobby progress this week has been good; the old lobbies have been converted to the new truck system and it all feels quite a bit more polished and fun. There are still some issues getting all the servers to talk to each other promptly for things like synchronising coin changes, but the system is mostly working, with trucks coming and taking people off to games, and testers able to gain and lose coins based on the outcome of the games. So far, the coins are just used for entry costs for games (harder lobbies cost more per game), but we have plans to allow spending them to change outfits, buy booze, bet on card games and perhaps high-stakes duelling!


For now, you can spend your coins on the driver’s fuel money,
and ammunition costs! ;^)

Campaign mode (the major team-based TR mode) is not yet properly functional, but will be our main priority for next week now that most of the lobby stuff is working. We’re really excited to start experimenting with the class interactions that become possible in a 5v5.

The API Issues that have been plaguing hosts have been investigated a little more and we may have found a workaround, thanks to Asumagic from the community for giving us a tip-off on a modded partial solution. Thankfully, we avoided touching the API Client code, which would be a very big job to rewrite, and is not friendly to modification. For players, this will mean fewer unstable servers, should the changes work as intended. These changes will affect KAG and TR.

In KAG-specific news, we’ve had some issues with new menu code and still need to test various balance changes that have been applied. Our plan is to disable the new menus until they can be properly tested accross all platforms, and take the balance changes and reversions through their paces. We’ll try for a build next week, but it’s quite a busy time, so at worst we’ll keep you informed and aim for the following week.

Have Fun!

Max

TR Log – Lobby Redesign and Finished Soundtrack!

This week in Trench Run news – some clarification on our current direction with the lobby!

Over the week we’ve had a big discussion about what we really want to get out of the lobbies – and decided that it should be a social as well as functional place for players of a similar level to gather. To that end, we’ve reduced the number and variation in lobbies immensely from what was planned. This has meant scrapping some previous work, but we feel like the new direction is much more focussed and will make more sense for players in the long run.

Before we get into the new one, the previous plan was to have a lobby per-gamemode, as well as some minigame lobbies, and to swap between them with a menu. While this is an achievable and practical goal, it led to quite a large number of lobbies per region, with concerns about being able to reliably fill the lobbies each day, even at peak time. As we all know, a surefire way to ensure a game dies early is to split up the players.

image
Current concept sketch of the lobby plans, complete with VIP Bar!

The current aim is to have Novice, Regular, and Master lobbies in each region, and to do gamemode selection (currently just skirmish/campaign) within that lobby. This makes it so you can see everyone who’s playing at your skill level in your region, and where they are playing their games. To accomplish this, we’ve had to create some new assets and still need to create new code to run and maintain the multi-gamemode lobbies, but we think it will be well worth it in the end.

The physical structure of the lobby is still in flux but the plan is to have a recreational area in the middle, initially featuring a bar, band and basketball hoop, and trucks at the sides that players can get into to join games. This gives quick, physical feedback on which gamemodes have faster queues, and allows easy switching between waiting for each mode – you just go and get in the other truck.

image
An early mock-up of the truck with players inside waiting for skirmish.

Whatever ends up happening, the Novice lobby should feature an expanded help HUD to help new players understand the lobby system quickly. This would be absent in the Regular and Master lobbies as players there will already have an understanding of how the lobby works, meaning new players can learn quickly but old players dont get nagged by tooltips!

Let us know what you think of this lobby direction on the forums! It’s still in flux and your ideas could help shape the game for the better!

In other news, Paul has finished the bulk of the soundtrack, including the main theme and themes for each biome! We’re working on getting the new tracks in game asap and have been looping them in the background while we work. The soundtrack is the kind of music that gets into your head easily, you’ll be humming the tracks on the way to work or school we promise! We’re so happy with how easy the process has been and how nice Paul is to work with. Definitely a highlight of the week!

KAG news will be coming shortly as we’ll try to get a build out next week if all goes well; Norill’s work on menus may be released if everything tests well, but otherwise the impending changes are mainly bugfixes, balance changes and reversions.

Don’t forget you can follow us on twitter (@thdtweet and @1bardesign) or like us on facebook (here and here) to get these updates direct via your social media channel of choice and show your support!

Have Fun!

Max

TR Log – Lobby Band, Soundtrack Development, and Future Plans

Hey guys, we’re going to be ramping up the news and previews of Trench Run as we come up to the next build launch; there’s still a while to go before we can give a full public release of everything but we’ll keep you up to date with anything that’s happened, good or bad. We’ll be trying to do the same for KAG, but progress there is likely to be more sporadic.

The next release of Trench Run will be focussed on online play for supporters – remember you can pre-order the game here to ensure you can play as soon as it’s out!

This week MM was sick, so I worked on animations for a band to play the in-game music in the lobby, requiring quite a few frames of animation and somewhat careful animation speed synchronisation (they don’t play exactly the tune but keeping in time with it is always nice, haha). I’m quite happy with the result, which you can see in gif form below.


The band are playing on a little stage amidst the bushes on the lobby map.

Paul (the composer for TR, @pz_music on twitter) has almost completed the soundtrack, which we’re very excited about. We’ve already got gypsy guitar tracks per-biome, and the main theme has been beefed up with drums and double bass, which will really takes the tracks that need it up on another level! It’s been great having a musician in-house to really nail the feel we want, and Paul continues to amaze! We’ll see if we can give some track previews next time around!

Once MM is back he’ll be working on a few engine-side bugs, and then we’ll be working towards finishing our skirmish lobby milestone in the next week or so – from there we’ll be polishing the major team-based mode, Campaign, which is the last big thing to do before the next release. Campaign is a tug-of-war mode with fixed class balance and a cast of unique characters – it’ll take some time to finish, but once we have a working proof of concept, we’ll look to open it up to all supporters!

We’re looking forward to sharing the last few months’ improvements with you as soon as possible! Watch the blog or the forums, or follow us on twitter (@thdtweet) or like us on facebook (TrenchRun and THD) to stay up to date with the game!

Have Fun!

Max

[KAG] BUILD 1537 – Quality of Life

Hey guys, mostly a “quality-of-life” build this time but also brings some important balance changes and content.


Prepare to get creative!

Before we get started, there are a few minor issues that have bled through from TR development into KAG, the “big” one is that fonts are smaller in various places – including the “Respawn In” dialogue and the loading screens. The old fonts will be back as soon as we find out exactly where they should be changed back properly (rather than a band-aid fix). If you notice any other strangeness please let us know ASAP so we can fix it!

Major Changes:

  • Mechanisms in Sandbox:
    That’s right, mechanisms are finally available for building in sandbox and mods; along with a fancy “paged” building menu. There’ll be a guide coming in future about how the mechanisms system works with examples, but for now they’re there to play with and can be saved into custom image maps with the usual /savemap setup – this works for loading (for example) an unpopulated TDM map and adding in traps to the design. Be sure if you do later editing of the image that you use an image that can handle transparency – no MSPaint for mechanisms maps I’m afraid!
  • Surrender Vote:
    There are some games that end up very one-sided – rather than having 5 players yelling “please cap, please” and the entire enemy team destroying your base for twenty minutes before they finally realise theres a flag to take, you can now “gg” out of the game with a vote. We’ll be monitoring abuse of this currently experimental feature but we earnestly hope it’ll help ease the frustration of a stomp.
  • Vehicle Conversion:
    There’s a new GUI and better mechanics for vehicle conversion, based on live players within a generous radius – this allows capping siege engines from a little further away, but also allows defending them; the time to convert is also a bit longer. We’ll address the issues with spawning on contested engines soon.
  • Trap Block Behaviour:
    Trap blocks now can be opened by same-team players, much like doors, which prevents them from team-trapping people and limits the amount of damage a new builder can do in building their “genius trap”.
    There is also a simple way to disable the new trap block functionality, which it utilised in TDM because some map designs rely on the old functionality.
  • Materials Back from Many Blocks:
    In particular, doors and trap blocks give a fair percentage of the materials used for construction back, which punishes misclicks less and allows counter-tunnellers to get rewarded for their trouble. Plaforms do not give material back at this point due to them already being ubiquitous and not being team-biased.
  • Wood doors decay Under Water:
    A suggested counter-tunneling mechanic that we’re trying, stone doors and U-bends will have to be utilised more to defend against flooding in tunnels, rather than simply spamming cheap wood doors every few blocks.

Minor changes:

  • New Mechanisms:
    A motion sensor source block, directional wires for packing in dense designs, and a new appearance for the light component!
  • Cancel Building Button:
    Oddly this is one of the most-requested functionalities of new players coming to KAG from minecraft and the like; a way to put away any block. While it may not really affect you, a lot of players have a simple mental disagreement with it, so we’ve added a button to allow you to cancel building completely. Old players may or may not wish to use it.
  • Traders aren’t in the way:
    Traders are now no longer able to block arrows, explosions etc at their posts.
  • Nicer TDM Scoreboard:
    More changes will inevitably follow, but we took the feedback recieved about the TDM Scoreboard to heart and made some changes; clan tags and usernames can now be seen, the spectators list renders correctly, and colours are back to indicate various user types.

Have Fun!

Geti/Max

Full Changelog:
[moved] traders into sprite layer rather than separate blob (thanks Verra)
[fixed] a few rules that were still using traders as blobs
[added] clantag/username support to the TDM scoreboard (partial thanks to verra)
[added] "admin colours" to TDM scoreboard (thanks Verra)
[modified] ctf_givespawnitems sets timers reliably at start of game
[added] water decays wooden doors quite quickly in CTF, Sandbox and TTH (not TDM to avoid breaking maps)
[updated] engine - fixed missing map edges, Maths::Clamp/Clamp01
[added] fire spreads on some blocks dying as well as over time
[added] materials back from some constructed blobs when destroyed as builder
[added] can move through trap-blocks like doors if they are like-team (prevents getting trapped in giant pits by "genius" teammates)
[added] old trap block behaviour to TDM (set with tag on rules "old trap blocks")
[added] Elbow and Tee Wires to BasePNGColors.as and BasePNGLoader.as
[added] elbow wire junction
[added] tee wire junction
[fixed] wire background layer
[modified] Wire.as to include functionality for elbow and tee wire junctions
[added] functionality in BlobPlacement.as for held blocks to ignore builder facing
[updated] Lamp component to be directional, and more visually distinct
[added] early opt tag checking for BuilderHittable.as, use "builder always hit"
[modified] CommonBuilderBlocks.as to add blocks based on gamemode
[MOD WARNING][removed] CTF_BuilderMenu.as, CommonBuilderBlocks.as inherited this scripts functionality
[MOD WARNING][removed] WAR_BuilderMenu.as, CommonBuilderBlocks.as inherited this scripts functionality
[added] Mechanisms to Sandbox
[updated] engine with changes for snapping camera to pixels + changes to minimap
[added] GamblersDen map for TDM
[updated] BuilderInventory.as to use CInventory::getInventorySlots()
[added] arbitrary costs to CommonBuilderBlocks.as for Mechanisms
[added] new mechanism component, motion sensor
[added] another constructor to the Component class
[added] Mechanical click sounds for mechanisms, thanks Rayne!
[fixed] connecting to non-LAN hosts while server is running (caused all sorts of weird bugs, thanks makmoud98)
[fixed] unsigned issue with fire_time (could cause lock-ups of vehicles)
[added] new vehicle conversion HUD + fixed vehicle convert sync + made rules more "fair" to both sides (defenders dont hard-reset the timer, but attackers can win by majority - both are displayed)
[added] Stop Building button and functionality to BuilderInventory.as
[added] ClearCarriedBlock(CBlob@) to BuilderCommon.as
[modified] BuilderIcons.png to include the new stop building icon
[MOD INFO][modified] CommonBuilderBlocks.as to include documentation for adding your own pages
[updated] GenerateFromKAGGen.as, fixes tile map hooks not working
[updated] BasePNGLoader.as
[added] LoaderColors.as, replaces BasePNGColors.as
[added] LoaderUtilities.as, holds tile map hooks
[added] vote surrender - experimental

KAG – Build Server Issues + Revert

Hey guys, some might have noticed a new build come out of OSX/Linux but not make it to windows – the windows build machine is unable to push to release at the moment, so we’re totally reverting the build now, and will work on getting the next version re-released ASAP. Sorry for any confusion or hassle in the meantime, we’ll be working to get the issues sorted out come Monday.

Thanks for bearing with us!

Cheers,
Max/Geti

Issues with authentication

Hello,

We are terribly sorry for any problems that you’re facing at the moment. It appears that due to KAG being featured in flash sale and some minor on-going issues with our ISP where the authentication server resides, many of you are having problems with logging in.

We are aware that timing couldn’t be worse but please bear with us. We’re doing our best to fix the issues.

Discussion thread.

Cheers,
Furai

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