As Salt the Earth heads into closed beta, Its time to look back and review all the progress we made in 2019.
Previous to this date, we had resource bars for the Undead and Demon races. The undead had a resource called Necro Power, managing how often they could resurrect their units, and the demons had another power bar controlling how often they could summon demons.
We moved away from these ideas as they make the game too complex, and as there were better ways to limit resurrected units and summons.
The demon overhaul had us adding the new hero unit Gorgamon (the largest unit so far), as well as updating the Overlord, Imp, Hellcaster, and Pitfiend abilities.
Smooth scene loading refers to making the game transition smoothly when it starts up. We now have a nice loading scene, a splash for the company (Omnis Rector LLC), and a nice transition to the login page.
This was when we first started working with the steamworks API. We need to authenticate that a player owns the game, and reaching this point was another marker on the path to completing this game.
When a player starts the game for the first time (with steam running), the game recognizes that there is no account for their steam ID, and so it takes them to the account creation interface.
This was when we added our progression system, allowing players to unlock races, units, and abilities as they play games.
Its important to be able to share updates and news with players, and we do that through the news section on the login page. In the future this will contain information about upcoming balance changes, new content, and other news items.
Adding builds to the game was a major challenge, involving many, many hours of work. However, now that builds are part of the game, the amount of diversity in army compositions is infinite and encouraged. Looking back, we're really happy we added this feature.
If you noticed the huge gap in milestones thats because it took forever to find a good game server scaling solution. In the end, we ended up creating our own API to handle game server communication. This might not seem like much, or seem overly technical, but this was a huge step forwards.
During the process of making the game servers respond to API requests, we broke a ton of code. A lot of it was old, and messy, and needed to be re-written anyway. This milestone represents us fixing a lot of the match flow that was previously working, but needed to be fixed after the update.
The game server cycle is one in which a game server is requested to start, players join the game server, the match plays out, the match results are uploaded, and the game serer instance shuts itself down. This process is vital and any errors in this process are unacceptable. Fixing this was another big step forwards.
At this point we made transitions into matches smoother. Previously there was no loading screen, or any information about your opponent. Now, you get a nice interface showing you which map you'll be playing on, as well as lots of details about who you're playing against.
In addition to the match transition, we added match acceptance checks. So, when you queue, you'll get a match invite first, and you'll see who else accepted the match invite. This system is very similar to how other games do match join requests.
All in all, its been a good year, with hundreds of hours of hard work put towards the project. Now, in 2020, we'll push this project across the finish line.