[THD] You’ve abandoned [game], [expletive]!

A quick introduction
Hi guys, I’m Maciej and I’m responsible for letting you know what’s going on at Transhuman Design (via Twitter, Facebook, the website etc.) and designing Transmigration: Into Darkness Peering.

For quite some time we’ve been receiving some… subtle voices of discontent from the community, regarding Michal’s/THD’s involvement with different projects:

kag_soldat1.png

kag_soldat2.png

Many of you assume that King Arthur’s Gold and other games (look up) suffer because Michal and Geti are supposedly spread thin, working on a million things at once these days. I’ve decided to clear some things up in this short post.

Transhuman Design in 2014
Thanks to the awesome community that enjoys our games, THD has grown considerably in the last decade. We’re now divided into project teams that work on different games simultaneously.

MM acts as the all-seeing eye overlooking all the projects. He also helps with the existing titles and experiments with new ideas for more awesome games (Trench Run for example).

Trench Run work in progress

King Arthur’s Gold
Meanwhile, Geti and Furai cooperate on King Arthur’s Gold, constantly improving it and making it more fun. Just look at the number of updates (and dev love) this game receives.

KAG gif

Soldat and Storm2D
While MM no longer develops Soldat in person, other people have stepped in to fill his shoes and the project is now led by Shoozza. There’s also Storm2D (led by Roland), which could be described as its spiritual successor. It basically aims to be Soldat on steroids, with destructible terrain and a lot of other cool features.

Of course Soldat wasn’t made in a day, and it will take some time before Storm2D reaches that state of coolness. But hey, it’s just how game development works.

storm2d.png

Summing up
What I love about this studio is that everyone here has unique ideas and isn’t afraid to try out new things. That is why we’re currently working on projects ranging from the build’n’kill multiplayer mayhem you probably know and play (KAG), to a unique, story-driven adventure game that oozes atmosphere (Transmigration). More info about these individual projects can be found on our website (check out the menu on the left).

transmigration.jpg

Also, each of these teams does their own thing without hindering the work of others.

So… I hope I’ve cleared up a couple of things a bit. I didn’t want to make this post too long, so detailed team descriptions and project updates will come later. Check out our website, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter if you’d like to stay in touch!

See you around,
trainchaser

[General] Repository/Build Server Migrations

These last few weeks we’ve worked on a couple of things, but the main ones for the KAG side of THD has been Repository and Build Server changes.

For those not well versed in software development, a repository is a place that stores all the latest versions of the files (code, images, sounds) that makes up that piece of software, as well as all the known history of all those files - this means that we can code fearlessly without being worried about making changes that break something, as we’ve got the ability to get previous versions of each file.

For a long time, the engine that powers KAG and the game itself have lived in a single repository. This has been fine as we’ve only had one game at a time being worked on with the same engine.

With the addition of Trench Run (which uses the same engine), this becomes problematic - if we want to run the game from the same place, we need to specify which game to run, we have to have separate folders for each game, and so on; it also makes building auto-update files on the build server really annoying.

As such, we’ve split the repository into separate Engine and Game repositories, with KAG and Trench Run living in separate Game repositories.

While this will make building auto-update files, testing, running, and developing the 2 separate games at the same time easier, it has introduced a couple of issues, mainly with merging some of the bigger trench run engine changes into the KAG version of the engine, breaking things like menus and the HUD overlays which were previously hard-coded.

As such, the next KAG patch will be delayed as we have to reconcile these changes, wait on sysadmins to get the build/autoupdate system working properly again, and re-implement some of the functionality that is no longer handled automatically by the engine. We understand that this is reasonably boring news, but this kind of back-end stuff will let us move forward more comfortably on all the fun stuff one it’s done.

We’ll keep you up to date as this progresses and hopefully be sharing more Trench Run gifs in the mean time.

Cheers,

Max/Geti

Build 1239 - Crash Hotfix

This build only contains a hotfix for a crash bug in 1236 related to the unicode changes - servers should be more stable and people should be able to enjoy more uninterrupted play.

Have Fun!

Max/Geti

Build 1236 - Fixes and Archer Tweaks

A quick one, so only a few changes this time around.

First up:

We’re hearing you on the archer shotgun changes

This has been a strongly dividing issue - some like it, some hate it, there are certainly more archers and more arrows flying.

To counteract this we’ve made the outer arrows of overcharged shots disintegrate after a moderate distance; you can still use them for support and CQC, but cant rain them in big arcs.

If this isn’t enough to stabilise the opinions around it and result in a good archer meta we’ll take a vote on where to go next. So far we’re seeing more archers, which we take as an indication that the class is currently more fun for the average joe - we’ve just got to find a balance that appeases the higher tier players and those maining other classes.

Fix and Tweak Summary

  • Potential Fix for invisible mines
    This one has been clamoured about for a while - we thought this was fixed a few builds ago but
  • Fixed Builders getting half materials
    This was a hard to catch typo bug that slipped in halfway through the last round of changes; was good that it was caught early after the release though and has been fixed now.
  • Fixed some spike network sync issues
    at the cost of a little latency in the spikes reaction
  • Removed archer ignoring fixed camera setting
    We decided to just let players choose properly; some people have been complaining about this both ways so we removed the conflicting setting.
  • Clantag re-added to character name in scoreboard
    Adding a new column would take too long, so the clantag was just added to the name column again.
  • Clantag colour is same as name colour on mouse hover
  • Removed “invalid utf8 spam” for people with invalid names
    should just cleanly replace bad characters now.
  • Siege Engine Conversion Tweaks
    Siege engines can’t be converted in 0 seconds flat any more, and in fact cannot be sat into before conversion; This should make defending a forward ballista a little simpler and mean a little less “hot potato” seat swapping.

We’ll see how it goes over the weekend, thanks for bearing with us with some of these more experimental changes!

Have Fun!

Max/Geti

[KAG] Build 1233 - Builders and Archers

Another balance and fix build, this time addressing builders and archers much more than knights.

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Be wary of falling spikes!

Builders

  • Repairing
    Builders can now repair damaged blocks for the cost of a full block, which helps avoid structures collapsing and makes maintenance much more convenient. Doesn’t work on doors/platforms/traps/spikes etc yet - just solid wood/stone blocks.
  • Spikes
    Spikes now pass cleanly through 1 wide holes, and shouldn’t get “stuck” on background walls any more.
  • Buggy Hitting
    A few more bugs have been fixed in builder hitting - there are a few more that will be getting attention in the next build, but most notably you should be able to attack enemy structures through team-mates again (no more asking knights “please move i cant hit the door”)
  • One Hit Kill Mines
    Builders can now more easily defuse mines without mishap to allow offensive mines to be sensibly countered without interfering with their utility elsewhere.

Archers

  • Triple Shot Changed
    The triple shot is no longer an inaccurate streaming 3 shots, instead it’s a 3 shot “shotgun”. Charge times are the same.
    This serves 2 purposes:
    • a little easier to use in support and CQC, as there’s more tolerance missing with a cone of shots than 3 relatively straight shots.
    • Reducing tower spam, as the enforced cone of fire means that firing mindlessly from a tower is hopelessly inefficient - firing at groups still works but you need to focus your single shots if you want to snipe, not just mindlessly overcharge.
  • No “pierced” sprites
    We felt that this was just unneeded clutter and took the opportunity to remove the “stuck in arrows” - they were hurting FPS and sometimes obscured the team of various units (not to mention had crazy results with siege engines and boats)
  • Can climb arrows in all structures
    Arrows should stick into all structures in such a way that you can use them as arrow ladders, this includes platforms, traps and doors.

Knight

  • Only real knight relevant change is very slightly slower jabs - they may be able to be slowed more but they’re almost back to the previous build rates currently, going to move slowly on this one.

Fixes and Tweaks

  • Clantags displayed differently
    They’ll show up in chat and on mouse hover, but not in the scoreboard; this is an experiment to see if it helps player identification, we might need a separate column in the scoreboard for clantag, feedback here is welcome, leave it in the forum thread. Clantags are also accessible by script for modders now.
  • Arrows hit mines again (this was a bug).
  • Flag blocks building in slightly smaller space.
  • Fixed water stunning teamies on direct hit.
  • A lot of stuff doesn’t decay or decays much more slowly.
  • "Recent Damage" is tracked a little longer - no more missing kills for fire arrows.
  • Pickup priority tweaks - still not perfect by any stretch but should be more predictable now at least, as it’s based on your position instead of a weird combination of cursor and player.

Have Fun!

Max/Geti

[KAG] BUILD 1215 - Rebalance and Fix Central

New build for KAG - potentially a little rough around the edges but what’s there needs to be tested with the public before we can move much further.

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Now with extra flammable platforms!

New build is going out at the moment, should be a long build but out in 30 minutes or so from this post. There will be the usual lull as servers patch over between maps and the client builds aren’t done, and again as the steam build propagates out - don’t panic if you see lower than average numbers in the next few hours.

Here’s a summary of the more serious changes, split by section:

Balance Changes:

  • Knight Rebalance
    There have been some long-standing complaints about the knight; this should help to address a lot of them and help reign in some of the more obscure parts of current knight play.
    • Shield Glide is no longer infinite
      Your shield glide will gradually lose its effectiveness as you fall through the air - you can put more wind into your sails with multiple bomb jumps, but this alone makes knights a lot more prone to gravity (like every other class). You can also no longer infinitely climb up walls with wall jumping.
    • Jab does minor stun
      Players from classic era will remember “slash cancelling” with jabs - while this is very ping dependent, we’ve decided to try it out again. It lets you get a quick, reactive cancel to someone charging a slash or double slash in front of you with jabs.
    • Slash doesn’t break shield for as long
      Slashes will not break a knight’s shield stance for as long, giving them a chance to attack back with jabs if you’re “slash surfing” them.
    • Circle of Power
      All of this together helps enforce a circle of power in knight combat options: slash > double slash > shield > jab > slash - there’s still the wildcard of shield bashing and bombs in the mix to keep things fresh of course, but this should make knight combat a little less slash-heavy.
  • Archer Tweaks
    • Reduced stun range
      The range at which arrows stun players has been reduced a little.
    • Special Arrow spam discouraged
      When firing special arrows with legolas, you will automatically switch to normal arrows for the 2nd and 3rd shots. This is to further encourage actually aiming with special arrows instead of just spamming 3 bomb arrows at a tower with triple shot.
  • Drills builder only
    At the request of the community by poll, drills have been made builder only for now. We’ll see how this change affects their use and the builder’s place in the game.
  • Map Borders
    The map borders are active on all edges, including the top of the map - this prevents simply “jumping over” tall structures.
  • Weaker Wall-run
    Wall running has been reduced from 3 tiles to 2, making smaller structures more significant.

Fixes and Smaller Changes:

  • Platform Fixes
    Lots of issues with platforms have been cleaned up, most notably grappling them, wallrunning on them, and fire spreading through them. They also got a small sprite facelift.
  • Mine Fixes and balances
    Mines explode with much smaller radius, collide with platforms, don’t explode with materials on them, and shouldn’t go invisible any more.
  • Spawning timer no longer resets on click
    This only really applies to CTF - TTH still has wave respawning and some limitations there, though it should fare a little better than it did.
  • Server Fixes
    A memory leak in the server was identified (finally) and fixed.
  • Storage Changes
    The storage is a little more attractive, has damage frames and responds to lantern containment - thanks to community member Skinney for these changes.
  • Saw changes
    The saw spews out a slightly more reasonable amount of wood.
  • Spectator Fixes
    Several fixes to the spectator mode have been made, most notably including it getting “stuck”.
    Thanks to community member norill for these fixes.
  • Interface Fixes
    Some discrepancies with the TDM and CTF spawn time interfaces have been cleaned up.
  • Stun Fixes
    Stun is now respected for picking up/throwing items, and for using drills.
  • Builder Hitting Fixes
    Builders should have a slightly easier time hitting what they want to hit - theres still a few finicky edge cases but overall it should behave more sensibly, especially when trying to mine tiles near objects.
  • Tips on Death
    Some helpful, community sourced tips are displayed while you’re waiting to respawn - you can turn these off (along with other ingame help) with f1.
  • Fixed Builder digging in no-build zone.
    No more undermined tents or halls.
  • Fixed CTF HUD not showing for 1 flag maps.
    Speaks for itself, annoying little bug.
  • Emoticon bindings in Entities\Common\Emotes\EmoteBindings.cfg.
    If you need faster access to some of the emoticons you can now rebind them clientside, though it is a little fiddly.
  • "No Chat Bubble" option and some options fixes
    For those sick of seeing chat hovering over someone obscuring the action, you can now turn these off in the options menu.
    Some other options that were having issues being saved should be fixed now too; let us know if any options still fail to be saved after quitting the game normally.
  • Fixed lots of Larger Resolution Issues
    Larger resolutions now have fixed size cursors and can aim accurately, and work for vertical aspect ratios too if you’re that way inclined.
  • Lots of other fixes and tweaks - changelog too big for tumblr! I’ll put together a changelog to include in the forum post, though it may take a little more time.

General Concerns:

  • Archer may be too strong
    We’re well aware of the potential for balance changes like this to swing power too far “the other way”. We’ll be watching very closely in the coming week and adjusting things as need be in a follow-up build.
  • A focus has been put on Gravity
    A lot of the changes here have put a focus back onto gravity - we want structures to have more of a purpose, people to need builders a little more, and vertical play to be a little more dicey; we also want to see less of people building giant turtle towers behind their base and flying all the way across the map :^) Keep this intent in mind when you’re cursing at not being able to jump up “measly” 8 high tile walls - players are going to have to adjust to more “grounded” play, and that may take some time (at least a few games).

Looking forward to seeing you guys in game to put these changes through their paces! I’ll be around tomorrow to make hotfixes if necessary but hopefully they can wait until next week - after the game re-stabilises.

Have Fun!

Geti/Max

[Trench Run] Introducing Trench Run

This game started in May, I have just coded the M16 example mod for KAG and asked Geti to draw the M16. I think when drawing it he started itching for painting more pixel rifles. He said something along the lines of “let’s do a Soldat remastered in the KAG engine”. I said “F*** that, I’m not a 60 year old rock musician to do remastered versions”. But then a thought came to me “why not do Soldat:Trench Wars”?

'Trench Wars' was a Soldat mod I used to play years ago. It had realistic damage, no jet packs and a wide horizontal maps where you could play “tug of war” between 2 teams. It was enjoyable and it was something that would be easy to do (but even better) with KAG's modding functionality.

We’re craving for some good multiplayer run & gun game. Simple cooperative/team mechanics, lots of explosions and pixel gore mixed with some tongue-in-cheek features. That’s ‘Trench Run’ in a nut shell.

Expected features:

  • two opposing teams
  • multiplayer tug of war
  • singleplayer / cooperative mode against bots
  • 5 classes + civilian
  • truce phase + mario secret level/bonus phase
  • 8 colors!
  • no bs controls (arrows + A + B - gamepad supported)
  • fog of war (emphasis on hiding and listening)
  • poker
  • booze

More details will be posted soon with some class introductions, screens, gifs and movies. Stay tuned.

We consider this a short project. It should be done in 2-3 months. After we’re done with a beta testing phase it should be available, as a stand-alone, on our website and Steam.

Visit this blog and subscribe to our Youtube for the latest updates.

MM