On Sunday I did some proper LAN play testing. The basic game mechanics are all working and synchronising nicely over the network. I’ve now got a whole lot of notes on minor bugs and issues, and game mechanics that need to be tweaked, but none of it is serious stuff. No crashes, no major synchronisation issues, no terrible problems with the game mechanics, and my playtesters didn’t want to stop playing which has to be a good sign.
The game’s still a ways from being publicly testable because I’ve got to set everything up in just the right way – player’s can’t join after a game starts yet, and they can’t quit either. Cleaning up properly after people quit should be easy enough but correctly synchronising everything when people join mid-way through a game will be more difficult, mainly due to how players can transition between different states in the game as they’re playing (in-game, evac in progress, build screen after evac, waiting for respawn…). That’s not necessarily needed in time for demoing at events like PAX though.
I did a quick 1v1 playtest on Saturday and as I suspected, the DustBowl map was way too big for games with few players, so I threw together a sort of mini version in literally about an hour:
“SmallMap.” It’s sort of a figure 8 with a plain untextured bridge in the middle. This is not a map that’ll be in the game – I’ll make something better that’s not a blatant copy of the DustBowl map, but might have a similar layout.
On Sunday I had a couple of people over to play a three-player game. The map actually played well apart from some awkward terrain around the bridge area. And here’s some video of it!
Yes, I’m still using a 4:3 monitor. And a trackball mouse.
Just a quick note: If you have an issue with the previous builder demo release where some of your vehicle parts are solid black, I’ve fixed it in the current download.
I’ll be bringing an early multiplayer build of Scraps to PAX Australia in Melbourne, and it’ll be the only place to play multiplayer for a while. I’ve made a thread on the forum, and if you’re coming to PAX and you post your vehicle file in this thread before October 24th, I’ll take it along with me. So if you’re building stuff now, I can have it there for you to battle with on the day. More details over in the thread.
To facilitate that, and since the game’s in a fairly stable place right now, I’ve also updated the Builder Demo. Obviously it’s been a while since last time. Changes include damage with damage effects, wreckage, and some new block parts.
It’s going to be interesting when everything comes together and I can start seeing how full games of Scraps actually play out. The current intended structure of the melee mode is like this:
This update goes into a bit more technical detail than usual. I like that sort of thing in game blogs, but feel free to skip that stuff.
Since I’ll be taking scraps across the Tasman to PAX Australia at the end of October, I’ve worked out a roadmap of what exactly I need to have done by then. Without going down to task-level detail, it’s basically have LAN multiplayer working nicely, plus some testing and balancing of the game, plus some marketing and other preparation work like refreshing the website a little and getting the booth ready. There’s a little under three months to go.
Scraps will require Steam
After some deliberation, I want to give early notice that once the full version of Scraps is ready for release it’s going to require Steam. This will allow me to provide a better experience overall and reduce total development time as well. In case anyone has somehow avoided interaction with Steam so far, it’s the largest games distribution platform for PC, and it’s basically a game launcher which is also a store, plus it handles various additional game components like achievements and so on.