Welcome to another release from the Project Orion Dev Blog! Despite taking a short break for the holidays we’ve got a full list of progress updates for you ahead.
Development on missions continues with a focus on designing and implementing playable levels that allow us to quickly playtest and iterate to improve the gameplay experience. These missions are by no means polished, but by creating with rough strokes first we can quickly figure out what works and what doesn’t without wasting time polishing elements that may be replaced.
We’ve also been working to update our scripts for the new mission format (briefing, mission, debrief) so that we can still tell the story in a way that’s interesting and immersive. We’re hoping to start voice actor recording for our earlier missions soon and we can’t wait to finally hear our characters come to life in-game!
Finally, we’re planning on updating all the media on our site in the near future to give everyone a look at where the game is now, rather than the several month old content that currently exists on the site. This will include both screenshots and an updated gameplay video.
Up to this point, all of the music in Project Orion has been a temporary placeholder. The tracks we’ve used won’t be heard in the final release of the game. Recently we’ve begun the process of replacing those tracks with newly acquired scores. Because we’re not working with entirely original material we don’t have the advantage of being able to request a specifically timed sequence from a composer. This means when putting together any given mission we might have to spend quite awhile engineering loops and transitions out of different pieces of music.
So far work has begun on our first mission (as seen in previous alpha tests) and we’re making good progress. As we add more missions we’ll be repeating the process of searching for licensable music, planning musical transitions between tracks that follow the events of the mission, and cutting together a structure in Wwise that takes advantage of its dynamic music playback systems. The end result is a very functional, smooth system that brings life and energy into every scene.
Menus and Saving
Over the past month we’ve been working on redesigning our entire menu interface, including a complete visual and code overhaul. With the recent changes to how the game will flow between missions and story we’ve had to think about how our menus will facilitate this new functionality. Below you can see a few previews of the new menus in-game.
As far as our current progress is concerned, we’re making good headway on the redesign. The visual style has been nailed down and we have functional prototypes of the redesigned Main and Pause menus. The next step is to start on the Settings menu, a large task in itself as it interacts with a significant amount of the game code. The ship customization interface will be next and will involve quite a few changes to the underlying customization system as well.
How we save and load game progress has also undergone an overhaul to work with the new menu features. We’ve set up a new system for storing mission progress, stats, and any other information we need to preserve the player’s progress. This new system is a big step up from what we had before and will help us a lot going forward.
The art team is hard at work with several large models currently in progress including the updated Orion, several civilian ships, and updated Arckin ships. None of them are currently in a state to show off, but rest assured we’ll make up for it in the next Dev Blog!
Well that’s all for this month’s Dev Blog entry. Thanks for reading, and we hope you enjoyed. Look forward to more updates from the Project Orion Team in the new year!