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...First Contact with the Main Hostile Force

Posted by Designopotamus , 08 June 2015 · 4,983 views

Design; Design Underground
...First Contact with the Main Hostile Force Welcome to another exciting week of development on Descent: Underground!

Last week, I gave you a bit of a peek at the development of our first test map. (I will remind you that this map is not intended to be a final game map, but is instead a way for us to set up examples of each primary game system in order to test and balance them.)

My intention was to show the next round of progress on said map this week, but as the snippet of the quote from Helmuth von Moltke the Elder in the title indicates, that plan of operations did not quite survive the week. Instead, much of the week was sliced and diced by getting some more design information out in front of upcoming engineering tasks and complications arising from setting up a new machine with which I can better work on the game. (Phil did the main work of getting the machines built, but it is impossible to plan for hard drive failures, download failures, and other fun things that tend to come up when you're developing any software, so we all pitch in on setup to save on budget.)

Speaking of slicing and dicing, you might have noticed the early concept image of our laser grid countermeasure in the blog's image. Taking a first look at the concept, it may very well end up forming the basis for both the shield that protects each team's entry tunnel into the map and the actual laser grid effect for slicing and dicing tailgating enemies. If you're having trouble picturing how that might work, here's a bit of an animated image to demonstrate the effect. (It will be much more explode-y when it's the countermeasure version, of course.)

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Speaking of surviving first contact, one of the more... shall we say "contentious"... bits about doing design work on a certain other space game that recently employed me was the ship stats. As most software designers know, plans tend to look really great on paper up until they encounter engine limitations, balance issues, schedule problems, and the simple fun test. Publishing any set of numeric statistics early in development is just asking for a whole lot of discussion, and potentially occasional panic every time those numbers are necessarily changed during the course of the project. This can lead to a whole lot of debate and theory crafting by the audience.

So of course that's exactly what we're going to talk about on today's Design Underground!

Check out the episode, and drop in to our forums for speculation, questions, discussions, rants, compliments, or other feedback. With our fantastic community, we guarantee that you won't want to leave!

Meanwhile, we're still planning on the aforementioned test map getting its first contact with the enemy (in this case, us) this week, so stay tuned for some pretty exciting developments.

As always, much more to come this week. For those of you who are already members of the Underground (pledging a little extra to the game to get even more access to development and the game), this Wednesday will be our first private streamed design meeting. Only members will have access, so if you're not in yet, stop by our store and get on board!

More details will follow tomorrow.

See you on Wednesday, and see you Underground,


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Whee, numbers in the screen. Panic! ;) just kidding.
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