Game devblog 007

Game devblog 007, where we go 2.5D

For the James Bond edition of the devblog, first – it’s been a LONG time. There’s a lot of news, but – let’s start with an official marketing pitch:

“Covenant” is a space saga with intergalactic trading, mystery and action elements all weaved into an immersive storyline. We follow the adventures of captain John Covenant of the cargo corvette “Tango”, as he and his ragtag crew of misfits try to make a buck traversing the frontier of the inhabited universe – and get into all kinds of trouble along the way.

A lot has happened since the last devblog. Duh.

Just when I thought this game was going to allow me to branch out from my VFX Supervisor day-job career into full-time indie developer – I got picked up to supervise visual effects for a major Amazon prime TV show – Outer Range, Season 1.

This course of events led to me going on the shoot set in New Mexico and than getting pretty immersed in it, and quite stuck for eight long months in an extraordinary tight COVID-19 bubble with a bunch of A-list actors. The extraordinary cast and crew made the work and being away from my family so much easier, but it’s good that the pandemic feels almost like it’s behind us now. Definitely won’t miss that damn bug.

The days were really long, and there was simply no time for dev work. So, after that amazing experience finally came to an end in August 2021 – the busy-bee I am – the day I came back to mi casa in Amsterdam, The Netherlands – I immediately started a brand new creative studio in town and – before I knew what happened – my shop, DENT Studios, got insanely busy. Doing good work means people want you to do more good work. Gotcha. Note definitely taken.

Covenant got pushed again and again and again – until about a month ago when I realized I am really missing something in my life. So, with the company on a good run, I decided to bring on board more folks to work on it with me, and have a more solid idea where to go next with both the VFX and gaming departments within the studio to facilitate this.

I also realized I wrote a whole company development plan like 2+ years ago, and had it all along. 11000AD was always supposed to be the experimental lab to test things out – but now it’s also an integrated gaming division of the company, perhaps with a sign on the door, soon.

A few major technical decisions had to be made, too. Although super appealing – Godot will remain in our hearts and on our drives but until it has an airtight support for targeting mobile devices – we’ll have to stick with Unity to make it happen. Realized it was really slowing the work down once we finally got back to it.

And – also – Covenant’s gone 3D! Well, actually, 2.5D. Which is still 3D, but our main characters and NPCs are sprites in 3D space. And it looks freaking awesome and cute 🙂 I can still keep the pixel art look and feel, but the coding is so much more streamlined as there’s a whole bunch of amazing 3D tools we can use.

So – this is a visual of shape of things to come:

Tango – Level 2 – corridor

The biggest challenge now shifts to creating prefabs to work with this new approach and still keep the pixel art look/feel. Of course, all while learning Unity and developing game systems to support this new approach.

Tango – Level 1 – Shuttle bay

As the C# knowledge is rising, as the work is getting tighter and tigher, the story line has expanded and we’re now almost completely dialed in into game logic development.

Next milestone to hit will be making a dialogue system that functions for our purposes, and then just going forward with the quest list as we had it.

So pumped, feel that spring energy – it’s gonna be awesome. Feels so good to get back at it as the work continues!

See you out on the space frontier!

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