After 1 year in development the Hoverbike with multiplayer support is finally ready, hopefully it would have been worth the wait.
Stage 3: Azaria - Alpha Preview is being released today!
After working some months, we're ready to release Stage 3: Azaria - Alpha preview!
it is the very first step in our development goals.
The game is far from done, but we will continue working on newer builds that the community can try and give feedback on!
What is the alpha preview version?
The Preview Version is a very early build of the game. This version is currently in development and is constantly being updated. For now it only includes our tutorial map but as the game progresses we will give you more maps to play.
Why release an alpha preview version?
Having the game released to the public when is not finished is something that many developers are skeptical about. For Stage 3: Azaria, we want to share the current state of the game with the public and let them play the game before the final release. We are also sharing levels that are currently in a very early stage of development for you to test.
How can I get in touch with the team?
You can always reach to us in our social media channels but we are also gamers at heart so we have a Discord channel where you can directly talk to us and share your experiences playing our games. You can join our Discord channel here!
The game works on Windows (64 bit) and supports HTC Vive only. Optimizations are still being made but you can have a great experience with the requirements listed below:
- OS: Windows 7/8.1/10 (64-bit versions)
- Processor: CPU: Intel Core i5-4590 or AMD FX 8350 or better
- Memory: 8 GB RAM
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce™ GTX 1060 or AMD Radeon™ RX 480 or better
- Storage: 8 GB available space
- OS: Windows 7/8.1/10 (64-bit versions)
- Processor: CPU: Intel Core i7-6700K or AMD Ryzen 5 1600X
- Memory: 16 GB RAM
- Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 / AMD RX Vega 64
- Storage: 8 GB available space
You can also check if your computer is VR Ready here.
With your help, we can bring Azaria to a new level. Make sure to join our discord channel so you can share feedback with the devs!
Becoming a great planer is as good as becoming a great game developer. At least, that's what we believe in Unforgiven, plan like an adult but dream like child. In this article we wanted to share with you our approach on planing and how we go about on setting goals for the future of the company.
Below dear readers, our tips to become a great planer and achieve your goals!
Establish your vision
Nothing is more important than having a clear vision of where you want to go. Before you make any plans, you need a goal to go for. Let's learn how to find it by asking yourself these questions:
What do I really want?
This is your vision and dreams, this is what will keep you on track when things go sideways (and they will). This will be the foundation of your long term goals. Don't be afraid to dream, it doesn't cost you anything!
What is important about it?
Here you must define the reasons you find this vision so important to you. This may change along the way and evolve but they must be crystal clear.
How will I get it?
Start to figure out which methods you are going to use and what are the action steps required in order to accomplish your main goal. If your goal is to make a game that has a beautiful 3D environment, begin by figuring out what you need to do in order to accomplish that goal. Start small and go for bigger and more difficult tasks when you get more experience.
What is preventing me from having it?
This is where you start to analyze all your obstacles. You will notice that many of the obstacles you have are found within you. Being disciplined and developing good habits are great tools to overcome these obstacles.
How will I know I am successful?
Make a list of tangible goals that are measurable. Perhaps you want to reach a goal regarding a certain amount of people has played your game or you may want to get featured in a popular site showing your game or your artwork. Also, a good idea is to make a list of all the projects you have accomplished and see in retrospective how better you have become because of the practice obtained (and don't worry, you will get better).
Your list of goals
After you answered all these questions, you will be amazed at how much information you have. It is always better to put your thoughts into words and by the time you answered all these questions you should have a better understanding of where you want to go. Reviewing those answers from time to time is something we do at Unforgiven and it's highly recommended. It keeps us on track and reminds us what our mission is and purpose as a company. If I can tell you a little secret is that the vision defined will also help you make better decisions.
As a small game studio or any small business it is frequent to lose track and stray from your goals, opportunities may rise that involve work that is not aligned with what you want to do. Just stay focused on your goals and stick to them. Make the choice according to what your vision is and remember there isn't a safe choice in life, so why not take a risk to make your dreams a reality? Better live 5 years of adventure than 50 years of boredom.
It's amazing how we spend many years in our education without receiving a single class in how to become a great planer. As game developers, we are focused on learning one or many disciplines: 3D, concept art, programming, music, animation, technical art, production, business, and the list can go on. We want to become the best in what we do but to achieve it you need to become a great planer if you want to get to the top.
Long term vs short term goals
Now that you have a clear vision of where you want to go, it will be easy to make a list of long term goals. For instance, you may want to have 2 games selling on the market that really make you proud by the end of 2020, build a great relationship between the community, your company and the games you make, or you can even be working in your dream company by that time.
After you have your list of goals, start to make the goals smaller. If your long term goals are 2 years from now, start making the list for the first year and then make the list for the next six months, 3 months and so on. How many lists should you have? Eventually you will have a daily list of tasks you need to do now. And with this method you can be certain that every small task you complete is taking you a step closer to your bigger goals.
The daily list
This is the most powerful list you can have. This list is also filled with your vision, values and mission. This is not a list filled with random tasks. Not only does it has all the things you need in order to achieve your end goal, it is also aligned with your "1 month list", "3 month list" "6 month list" and "1 year list"! It means that if you start doing what that list says today and continue to do so over the course of 1, 2 or 3 years. Guess what? You will be living your dream!
This is the difference between success and failure. Failure is the result of making small bad decisions every single day for a long period of time. Success is only an small adjustment from the failure formula: the result of making small good decisions every single day for an extended period of time.
I'm not going to lie here, working on the list is hard work. The list is filled with hard decisions where you will often chose to do the easier ones. That's why I'll share how we go about finishing the list.
How to finish the list
It's better to do the list the day before. Think about the tasks you need to do the next day and order them by priority. How do you know which tasks are the most important ones? Try to answer this question: If I were to leave for a trip tomorrow and won't get back to work in a long time, what would be the most important task I can complete to save my team from headaches while I'm absent? This will usually solve the problem of your most important tasks.
Change the list if you think it's needed. It is normal for the list to change, your monthly goals will change and adapt to your circumstances. Changing the list is part of the process, it means you are working on it, at first you can have a plan but after working on it everyday you will notice that there are a lot of factors you didn't considered the first time. Don't be discouraged by the changes, as time passes you will become a better planner.
Celebrate when you achieve a goal when you think is worth celebrating. It will keep you motivated to pursue your goals. Congratulating yourself is a sign of maturity! Never underestimate yourself.
My last tip on the list: check the list everyday. Part of the fun making the list is checking it out! Otherwise it doesn't work. You will notice that the list has a positive effect on who you are becoming as a human being and a professional. If the future gets clear, the price is easy!
This is a topic that deserves it's own article but discipline is what will make you finish your list. To be disciplined in difficult tasks, you need to start being disciplined with the easier tasks. Think about it, to start changing the world you may first start by making your bed first, it's easier.
The good thing about discipline is that you can improve in that area. We are filled with decisions every single day to do the right (also hard) thing and the wrong thing (also easier). Choosing the easiest option will level up your level of laziness and you may start to become a procrastinator without even noticing it. On the other hand, if you start choosing the difficult task, you start to becoming better at it and as you become better you will be able to do harder tasks. That game or project that you waited for so long to start it, now you are prepared to go for it and finish it easily.
That's it for this article, I hope you find it useful and apply it to your work. As game developers, we often forget to learn about this areas. This is what will make you achieve your goals and set a clear vision for your company or what you want in life!
Week 2: New Hoverbike movement behavior and replicating the mount icon visibility
Hello again! Ram here with another development log of the Hoverbike.
Before fixing the movement of the hoverbike while replicating, first I decided to revamp the hoverbike blueprint. One of the few things that bothered me the most was that the hoverbike was using a character blueprint as base instead of a pawn blueprint. This limited the movement behavior that the hoverbike could achieve. Although this approach meant that the gravity would have to be simulated it gave better results than the previous one.
Now you can ride the walls! I need to tweak some values to achieve the movement I'm looking for but at the moment it is very pleasant to use the hoverbike.
This revamp took most of the time I dedicate to this project but I wanted to do some networking stuff before posting this article so I fixed the mount icon visibility. This icon shows up every time you are near the bike to notify you that you are able to ride bike. In single player this worked flawlessly but with multiplayer I discovered that the icon was popping up for everybody. In the video below you can see the bug.
It took some trial and error to run something only in the desired client but I manage to do it by changing these nodes.
In the images above you can see the function that sets the icon visibility (in the previous version I used visibility and in the new one I used Hidden in Game but it shouldn't make any difference during replication). This function is executed when an character overlaps the hoverbike ride collision and tells the bike that someone is near to ride it.
To make it work, I just needed the character reference that triggered this function and compare it with the player pawn. The get player pawn node will return the local pawn and will only be equal to the character reference if the hoverbike version is the local one.
And now this is the status of the hoverbike
In the next development log I will show how I fixed the replicated movement of the hoverbike. See you soon!
This week we'll be sharing some behind the scenes' info related to the artificial intelligence used in Stage 3: Azaria. It can be somewhat technical but I'll try my best to explain in general terms so it can be understood by someone that doesn't have a programming background. Let's keep in mind that it's a work in progress and that a lot of things are going to change. Without further delay, lets begin.
First, we have one type of warriors who joined Eolica's army to fight together. In Stage 3, these warriors are called Heroic Keepers and are trained by the Heiron Alliance. These are the kind of unit you will find as a security guard of a castle. That is because they need to work their way out until they get into higher ranks. However, they are characterized for being alert, loyal and young. This is because they are fresh out of training which means they know how to defend themselves but lack experience in battle. These units take pride in their teamwork and have a strong willpower making them take head on all kind of hardships.
While making the AI of the each enemy we have to take in consideration their characteristics so they behave in a believable manner. So taking in account the previous description, we made a troop that when assigned an objective it will push forward in that direction. When it encounters an enemy it will try to surround it with their teammates and when close enough it will attack you and strafe around to avoid getting hit.
All the work done in the AI area uses the Behavior Tree that Unreal provides. A behavior tree is a graph that depending on the state of the enemy, map, units and environment it will choose a branch and make the unit execute the actions wanted.
Our troop behavior tree looks something like this:
Blue nodes are decorators that decide if the branch proceeds or not. Purple nodes are the tasks that the unit will execute and green nodes are services that executes certain task while the branch is being run. If you want to know more about behavior trees, a good place to start is the Unreal Engine documentation.
It's amazing what you can do with this tool. To be able to watch on real time all the nodes and have a visual representation of all the possible behaviors allow us to focus on what is most important, which is the game, and not get too caught into low level technical details. Let's take a closer look to see how these branches work together.
In general terms, the first branch checks if the troop has a weapon equipped, if they doesn't it will look around for one and if there is no weapon around they will flee. The second branch checks if there is an enemy near, if there is then it will attack depending if it is in melee or ranged mode. In the ranged mode we may want to implement a cool spell the knight can cast or make them throw their weapon at you!
The third branch is to make them attack an objective but there is more work to be done in that regard. Finally, the fourth branch are just fallback actions.
In game it looks like this:
In the video you can see that the troops try to surround you and make their move once the find it appropriate. Also you can have a closer look into the debugging systems tools inside Unreal! These are amazing to check in real time what is going on with your code and save you a lot of time in the debugging process.
We can also add the Unwavering Keeper, also known as the "tank knight", into the mix. The Unwavering Keeper is a high armored soldier who is experienced, strong but also slow. They also have good reflexes, patience and an almost unbreakable guard. Their weapons of choice are the spear and shield.
Let's have a look at some artificial intelligence created for them:
It is still in progress but we hope we are able to add more interaction between units, like an Unwavering Keeper protecting fellow troops! Also, did you noticed that the model is the same? As programmers, we can use all the assets at your disposal and just with the click of a button we can have new art entirely. The most important thing is to focus on the gameplay first and everything will follow it up. Be it art, music, or animations, everything follows gameplay.
The wisps are magical creatures that inhabit the areas near the Heorogan Castle. They are created by the strong magic aura this place emits. They are usually harmless unless their territory is threatened. These creatures are known for their ability to fly, high mobility and ranged attacks that follow their target. When on low health, wisps magical energy becomes volatile and will follow their target, self destructing and doing high explosive damage!
Let's take a look at the current Wisp's behavior:
As you can see, Wisp's try to attack you using the element they correspond to and when they are about to die they decide to go right after you, real fast, and explode really fast.
Advice and final words
Artificial Intelligence is a wide topic, like everything in game development it's a never ending process and you will always find better ways to work your way around to create new and interesting behaviors. There is so much to talk about this topic, but the main thing we want you to address is that with having the right tools and the documentation at your disposal, you can create really amazing behaviors for your game. The team at Epic gives away everything for free, not only you have the Unreal Engine (which by itself is super awesome), but all the projects like Robo Recall, Unreal Tournament and many more to see how these veteran developers create artificial intelligence for their game. It is a place where you can learn the best and from the best and the same applies to all areas of game development.
That's it for this week, we hope you enjoyed reading the article and learned more about the development of our games! Don't forget you can always leave feedback in the comments below. See you next week!
It's been 2 years since Unforgiven was created and we haven't dedicated a post about what it is like for us to have been together this long.
It all started 2 years ago after we took the decision to create games for a living. As things have progressed, the company's vision started to take shape and we set on the path we are now.
To put it simply, we are just a group of friends who want to create games that makes us proud. Everyone has good memories about how games have affected their lives in many ways, and we want to take the opportunity of creating an indie studio to give back to the world what it gave to us, be the experiences, the good feelings and thousands of hours of fun.
Since we value the time invested by the players who try our games, we are making sure that they can fully enjoy themselves with our work. One of our goals is that the player is happy to spend their precious time playing the games we make. This goal gives us a lot of pressure and pushes our desire to learn more about how to make games in all the areas like art, programming, production or design. Learning is a never ending process and we are grateful to be on a journey where we are all learning and at the same time sharing what we love to the entire world.
Many people don't know it, but we are only 6 people here at Unforgiven, and that forces us to wear many roles in the company. The team is formed by Mauriccio Torres (3D Artist), Ramanand Purizaga (Programmer), Guillermo Rossell (3D Artist), Andres Revolledo (Programmer), Antonny Vega (3D Animator) and Vania Torres (Concept Artist). However, we still want to specialize in what we enjoy most, be it art, animation, programming, you name it. It's a great feeling to go work to a place where you can tone up your skills, it feels very refreshing and that's something we really enjoy!
We all have common interests here, we love fantasy and RPG games and the kind of games we make reflect our taste in those genres. That led us to decide that we needed to create our own IP such as the Final Fantasy games, Zelda and many more great games.
It took around 5 years to hone our skills in order to turn Stage 3 into what it is now. Since the very beginning, we determined that it was essential to study the basics of game development and all the techniques involved in the process. Polycount became our favorite place to learn and we highly recommend it to anyone who wishes to enter the industry to go into that forum, it is full of invaluable information!
It's amazing to see what we have accomplished so far and the best is yet to come!
At the very beginning of Unforgiven's existence, we started working on assets for Unreal Engine Marketplace. This decision proved to be very useful to us because it made us learn new techniques and the entire asset production pipeline. Looking back, we are amazed on what we did during that time since we can do better now. But our real vision was to create games that everyone can enjoy around the world. Without Epic, we wouldn't be able to do what we do today, they helped us by creating a great platform to monetize our skills and gave us a tool set that comes with everything we need to create the games we want.
Stage 3 is evolving a lot, the first time we showed it in Colombia, where we worked non-stop for 2 months to create an Action RPG game. It wasn't even called "Stage 3", it was called "Le Blank". Most of the reactions were related to the "Cool" factor and people seemed to enjoy it a lot. It was the first game we created and it served as a proof that we could make something bigger, given enough time and developing consistent discipline. And right after it, we showed it into a local convention called Mas Gamers Tech Festival where we had a blast!
Because 2 months wasn't enough, we developed a more polished version of the game and we went to the GDC to show it to the public and other companies. The reaction was the same as the previous version, it seemed to give the effect of "cool as hell" factor, that gave the attention of many developers and some publishers. We even got our development kit to develop Stage 3 for PlayStation!
After that trip, we focused entirely on the IP and reworked the game almost entirely. We reworked the characters, story and the entire world. By that time, we saw the potential of VR and we wanted to translate what we created for the Stage 3's universe into a game that is completely different from what we have tried before. This game would focus on an important character called Azaria and will introduce new characters and enemies that you will find in Stage 3.
The first time we showed Stage 3: Azaria was in a local convention called PGX. Despite being a super early version which didn't show our entire vision for the game, the people enjoyed it a lot. They even waited for 3 hours to play the game!
From young to old people both males and females enjoyed the experience. That is something very rewarding for us since it's the reason we are doing this and commit to work everyday! Hell we've even been on national TV 3 times and it encourages us a lot when the work being done is appreciated.
We are closer than ever to release the first Demo of Stage 3: Azaria and we are working very hard to deliver a great experience to you guys. It has been an amazing journey so far! We can't wait to see what other amazing things come to our life as we pursue our mission and purpose.
To contact us leave a comment below or you can send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. See you guys in the next blog post!
In this new development diary, we'll share some information about the fire & ice spells, as well as the lore behind them and the casters, the Blazing Warlock and the Glazier Warlock!
Blazing Warlock: The Ebullient Scream
They are mages chosen for their pure and unstable emotions, which made them able to transform their fiery emotion into a burst of offensive magic, as one moment of big emotion can make them become the most powerful wizards for that short duration.
They can be calm as the wind, and at the next instant they can burst into an uncontrollable anger, making them unreliable teammates in the battlefield, as when they are flooded by emotions, they become emotion itself. Although they control Fire as another extension of their body, they depend on their emotions to unleash their power, and can be easily manipulated.
Here's a showcase of some of the fire spells we've been working on - They're not perfected, but there's a good example of what we want to accomplish with them.
One of the upgrades of our fire spell, is that the Fireball can be charged by rapidly putting together your hands. This makes the area of effect larger, the range increases and the damage multiplies.
Glazier Warlock: The Piercing Needle
These mages are chosen for their cautious, logical minds and emotions, which makes them able to strike on the very precise moment it is needed.
Their will never wavers, no matter the situation they always try to come up on the top. Ice magic allows them to slowly take the fight on their favor, using tactical moves like chess. Aside from magic, these Warlocks excel at manipulating allies and enemies. Their acts and emotions always try to go along to whatever situation favors them - taking things slow, and assuring their victory that way, although often overconfidence blinds them sometimes, not finishing a fight when they have the chance to.
Here's a showcase of some of the ice spells we've been working on - Like the fire spells, they're not perfected, but there's a good example of what we want to accomplish with them.
The Ice shard is an spell that when it collides with an enemy it adds a slow effect. If it collides with the floor it leaves a trace of snow which can be used to spawn an icicle by doing an upwards motion towards the desired direction.
The mages inside Unreal
Take a look at some in game screenshots of the Blazing and Glacier Warlocks inside Unreal Engine!
That's it for this week, hope you enjoyed the article!