Posts Tagged ‘Rooks Keep’

  • FaceBook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Remainder of 2014: summarized roadmap

Greetings everyone,

We just wanted to put up a brief summary of what we plan to accomplish during the remainder of the year. We will take some time off mid December and resume work early-to-mid January, as it’s been pretty hectic since we started work on VCD. I’ve been plagued by a neck/muscle problem, and as such I haven’t been able to get much of anything done. The J-HAMR would probably have been done by now if not for that. It’s recovering though, so I’ll get done as much as I can!

So, before the end of the year we are aiming to:

    -Release Rooks Keep.
    -Implement Steam Workshop for Rooks Keep and Viscera Cleanup Detail.
    -Implement the J-HARM tool for VCD.
    -Release normal VCD updates (fixes, tweaks, features, achievements, etc)

As you can see, the Workshop support for both Rooks Keep and VCD is high priority and should be complete in a few weeks. It’s a tricky undertaking, requiring a dedicated application that needs to handle the preparation, downloading and uploading of the mods.
Rooks Keep will probably be released from Early Access very soon, and Workshop support will be ported to it as we get it working for VCD. The two should get that quite close together.

So there we go! VCD updates will continue until we break for the year, and those priority implementations and releases should all happen before then as well!

Happy janitoring/slaying!


--------------------------------------------------------------
  • FaceBook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Rooks Keep hits Steam Early Access tomorrow!

Hi everyone!

Long time, no speak; bad devs! Anyway, we’re pleased to report that our game before Viscera Cleanup, Rooks Keep, will hit Steam tomorrow after being Greenlit late last year. We apologize for the time it’s taken to get here, but VCD has kept us very busy, as well as more admin than the God of Officework himself!
rk_largecap
Right, now as you may know, Rooks Keep has been released and available for the past year, so why Early Access? Well, I shall answer in handy bullet points! Lets see:

[1]: We want to test the new multiplayer functionality and such before a full launch. This is the primary reason!
[2]: To test game balance between the characters and modes.
[3]: And finally, time to work on Mac and Workshop support.

We wanted to get RK out now in some form rather than waiting until VCD was finished, as we’re not exactly sure when that will be! Important to note, is that Rooks Keep is as it was after original release; it’s finished, it works, it’s a full game. We’re choosing to go for a “soft launch” on Early Access basically as a Beta test for the Steam build. We want to make sure we have MP running well and game balance nicely done, as well as workshop support before a full launch. Prices won’t vary between the Early Access and full version; it’ll still be $15 (or regional equivalent). It won’t be on Early Access for long, we anticipate, given how no new content (probably..) will be added; it’s feature and content complete.

Also, based on feedback and demand, we’ll be seeing about our own dedicated servers for the game.

Oh, and Steam keys will be sent out to various retailers that sold Rooks Keep, so no none will be left out of the new build. Once we’re done with Early Access as well, we’ll update the builds for the retailers.

There you have it! Leave your thoughts below, and thank you!


--------------------------------------------------------------
  • FaceBook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Our (Evil!) Plans for Early 2014, VCD, RooksKeep, Finger Puppets

Our initial plan for 2014 was to have time end on the 31st of December 2013. As it turns out, there was betrayal, things were said, contracts with certain deities were severed and now we have to roll with the hastily concocted “Plan B”.

Cleaning up the Christmas fallout

First up, we’re working on fixes for the most troublesome problems in Viscera Cleanup Detail and its bonus editions. We’re hoping to be able to release updates weekly even if they only include fixes and the mostly uninteresting changes of the week. An update for the most pressing problems in VCD: Santa’s Rampage is scheduled for the end of this week. VCD: Shadow Warrior and full VCD will also be getting updates of course.

The next major step is getting VCD on Steam Early Access. It will involve a general polishing and sanding off the worst rough edges of what we already have – maybe there’ll be some new content too, we can’t seem to resist feature creep! That’s aimed at mid February.
Alongside VCD, we’re also going to be bringing RooksKeep to Steam now that it has been greenlit. The biggest change will be using Steamworks for the multi-player matchmaking and other online jazz. There’ll also be the usual raft of fixes and improvements.

All that has to happen at the same time as setting up some super serious business funk to vacuum up time and generate disruptions. Oh, and also experimental prototypes.

 

As for the finger puppets, we’re keeping those plans secret until the time is right to unleash the devastating fury on an unsuspecting world…


--------------------------------------------------------------
  • FaceBook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Crunching the crunches: Rooks Keep, Viscera Cleanup Detail and the time demons

The way we have been working is not sustainable, especially the crunches just before release. Several days on my work log peaked over 15 hours and that is not really sane. …And that log doesn’t count lunch or any other breaks as work time (unless lunch is eaten with the other hand on the keyboard)

There has been a lot of this crunching because there have been many releases.
Going back to June, we finally pushed through to get Rooks Keep released which was met with a pretty depressing reception. That was not really surprising. We realised as development dragged on that it was a mistake to make such a big game with no clearly communicable hook, but we wanted it done.

Rooks Keep members enjoying a sunny morning

Very shortly afterwards, born from a thread of otherwise rather cynical contemplation, inspiration struck and we dove into Viscera Cleanup Detail.
After that we had the deal to do VCD:Shadow Warrior and that took longer than expected. Following that a major update for VCD and the insane idea of VCD: Santa’s Rampage came up. We could either cram it in before Christmas with a very tight deadline or wait a year (yeah, that’d work…)

Merry Christmas! Now you're all gonna die!

We crunched to get VCD v0.2 on the date we’d set for the end of November and went straight into VCD:SR for 2 more weeks. Arn started working on Santa after regular VCD work and I gradually started as VCD v0.2 neared its target. It wasn’t all *gruelling, but it was not healthy and the team needs a break.

All in all, it has been a pretty punishing schedule and it was all compounded by my eye surgery and subsequently complicated recovery which devoured lots of time before and around VCD:SW.

Nooooo! Not the face!

However, time management has been steadily improving – we somehow got 5 significant releases out on schedule in the last 6 months – but it’s not nearly good enough.
Getting this right is a major focus of mine for the coming year. Properly spacing out milestones and being disciplined about feature creep is going to be challenging, especially since ‘feature creep’ introduced some of the most interesting elements of VCD. Allowing space for unexpected changes and time to experiment will need to be done. This is challenging because it is planning around the unknown, combined with the perpetual certainty that there is not enough time to do everything already on the list.

This tank is rated ONLY for green monstrosity growing fluid, never use other types of monstrosity growing fluid!

It is also vital to make sure there is time to continue experimenting with new prototypes. Game jams and experimental projects are not just a way for studios to possibly scoop a new hit, for indies, I feel they are essential to long term survival, because the ability to produce crazy, unique and unconventional games is one of our best edges compared to big studios with massive production capacity. Making one new crazy game that stands out is great, but once that becomes old and done, we need to have something new up our sleeve and it better be damn good and it better not be the same as everything else. In order to reach that, many prototypes must be produced and discarded in the process. Somehow, those have to be produced while still developing the main, proven games.

That will be an interesting challenge and it won’t happen at once. It will be a continuation of the process that has (I think) been evolving and improving. I will just put more concious effort into it and try to push myself to better understand where the limits of the game development process are for us.

Yeah, considering the evil inside that machine, this is about as close as you wanna get

TL:DR – Less burnt-out devs, more crazy stuff, time will kill us all – don’t say I didn’t warn you!

 

 

*some of it really was; fucking physics, yeah you!


--------------------------------------------------------------
  • FaceBook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Rooks Keep Source-Code v1.01 unleashed!

Behold, mortal squires! The Source-Code for Rooks Keep v1.01 has finally been released from purgatory! :twisted:

It contains all the class files to use as a reference for making your own mods and maps, also included are several basic text files explaining how to add the various elements to the game.

Download on IndieDB

Note: The files included are to be used for reference ONLY, do not reproduce them, attempt to compile them, or in any way violate their copyrights, doing so will result in a brief and painful stay in the king’s arena, solely for the kingdom’s amusement.

Have at it, rogues! ;)


--------------------------------------------------------------
  • FaceBook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Rooks Keep released!

It’s finally complete and ready to buy!

Head over to get your hands on it RIGHT HERE!
Oh, and please consider buying direct ;)
Rooks Keep

Also, don’t forget to give us a “Yes” on Steam Greenlight.


--------------------------------------------------------------
  • FaceBook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Rooks Keep Roundup 2: Greenlight

It’s been too long since I did the last ’roundup’. I really am rubbish at this :| Anyway, enough despair!

Plenty of things have been happening quietly behind the scenes since the last update, including a new trailer and a Greenlight page!

Rooks Keep on Steam Greenlight

Firstly, please vote for Rooks Keep on the Steam Greenlight page. You can find all the images on there too.

I will now briefly document improvements and similar such otherworldly things. So, head deeper down to view videos, images, links and details!

Read the rest of this entry »


--------------------------------------------------------------
  • FaceBook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Rooks Keep Roundup 1: What’s been happening

In what I hope is the start of a regular series, we’ll summarize in this convenient feature, Rooks Keep updates, improvements, additions, etc. This shall be the first into the fray; a brief overview of the current state of affairs, alongside plenty of pretty pictures and videos.

Also, you won’t see much on Chess in this post, as I’m focusing on the more recent developments.

Well then, read on to see what’s happened over the last few months of development:

Read the rest of this entry »


--------------------------------------------------------------
  • FaceBook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Our UDK project updating procedure

This is a basic look at the procedure we use to update our projects to newer UDK builds. I use the update for Rooks Keep I performed today as an example.

 
First of all, UDKs are installed in a folder named to obviously incidate the project, but also the name must show the UDK version.
The format looks like this: SuperFunGame-20XX-XX.
I install the January 2012 UDK for Rooks Keep to a folder named: RooksKeep-2012-01.
This folder sits next to previous project installs like: RooksKeep-2011-09 and so on.
I NEVER try to overwrite the old install!!!
Rooks Keep UDK installs. Pretty glorious aren't they?

 
Once the fresh install is done, I set up desktop shortcuts for: the x86 game exe, the x64 game exe and the editor. I set the “-log” switch on the game shortcuts so the log output window shows up while the game runs.
I then test out the shortcuts and make sure it all runs.

 
Now on to making it use our own project.
All conent for our projects is always contained in a folder structure seperate from the other UDK and example game content. In this case, the folder where all Rooks Keep’s content goes is ..\UDKGame\Content\RooksKeep.
To put content in the new install is very simple, I just copy the whole RooksKeep content folder. Done.
The localzation files are in a different folder and I have to copy the individual files. There are only three of them in RooksKeep for now. We never edit the stock UDK localization files.
Source code is also quite straight forward. We have three class packages and I just copy those folders across into the …\Development\Src\ folder. I make sure to NEVER edit any of the UDK’s packages and classes, so that whole headache is completely avoided here.
If you noticed that I didn’t copy the compiled .u script files, that was completely deliberate. The old binaries will just crash the new install, so I will have those compiled from source code instead.

Ok, that was all the easy stuff. Next I have to do the config files.
There are a few custom .ini files that are specific to RooksKeep. I just copy those into the new install and there is nothing to overwrite.
The main config files are called DefaultEngine.ini, DefaultGame.ini and DefaultInput.ini. With every new UDK update, something has usually been changed in these and I don’t want to erase those updates so I can’t simply overwrite the .ini files with the ones from teh older RooksKeep install. With these three, I load up both the old and the new of each one and compare them carefully and copy across all the stuff relevant to RooksKeep. I use the ‘Compare’ feature in Notepad++ which makes this whole task bloody quick and simple.
Comparing old and new DefaultEngine.ini files in Notepad++

 
Another thing I do is edit the searchpaths in NP++ to search the sourcecode in the new folder. It sucks to edit code and then realize you were editng the old files…
I also edit a config file of NP++ itself to update the run command I have set up to compile the code. After that is done, I compile the code.
This time I was lucky and there were no compiler errors. Nothing in the UDK’s code had been changed that caused in compatabilties in the code. This could also have something to do with avoiding as many dependancies as possible and basing off the least derived classes I possibly can.
Usually, however, there are a few errors and the only way to deal with them is to manually address each one individually as one would normally handle compile errors.
Finally, testing time. I just run the game. The game always takes a long time to start up when running a newly updated project because it has to build all the shaders for all the materials in the project’s content.
Missing shaders reported in log output

When it had finished, it started with Rooks Keep’s front end map and menu and I tested out a map and it all seemed fine. That was a very simple update!


--------------------------------------------------------------
  • FaceBook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Rooks Keep Skill Icons

Hail all!

So¬†I’ve¬†just ¬†finished up a bunch of skill icons for Rooks Keep. Gaze upon them in wonderment right here:

Skill icons in UnrealEd

A few things I had to remember to do with the icons:

-They had to be descriptive of their skill function
-Each one had to be colored so as to be easily discernible from the others

So at a glance you can easily tell which icon is for what skill. I reckon I got it :)


--------------------------------------------------------------