Development Update #6
Sun, 14 Jan 2018 03:46:59 +0000 by Necidious
First off I hope everyone has had their fair share of happiness and good fortune in 2017. Looking back at last year, it is truly astonishing what we were able to accomplish with Mankind Reborn in such a short time-span. While we have yet to reach our Alpha stage, it is safe to say we've come very far in terms of implementing some of our core mechanics and establishing a firm presence — in other words, eagerly shouting that we are here and here to stay. The fact that it is so, is entirely thanks to the support our community, you, has given us and our talented, motivated staff team.
But enough of the chitchat, let's jump into the nitty-gritty of it all.
For the past two weeks, @Khimarra has been doing an excellent job sculpting and texturing our new character models, male and female, both of which are completely done as we speak. While the plan is to have various faces, hair styles and extras, such as tattoo, cybernetics and what have you, to choose from — what we have right now is a very solid foundation from which we can expand upon.
@BioXide and @capseaslug joined forces and redid the entire main menu, both the background and user interface. We think we managed to get the scene and feel just about right. Background music by @Ripley.
The new menu resembles Lower Union City, and thus we needed to actually create and design the city. Below is a small preview of what to expect when venturing through these alleyways. Lower Union City will be fully available in the game.
We strongly felt that it was important to maintain consistency among our faction logos. This is why we asked Capseaslug to revise the old North Star Mining logo to a more fitting version.
While our testing sessions went relatively smooth, a few bugs snuck through the cracks — let’s say they aren’t an issue anymore. We still have a lot of work to do in terms of fixing a bunch of additional bugs, but we're getting there!
We have also massively improved performance on a bunch of core systems by revising the code.
- Re-worked the options menu, now all settings work as intended and they get saved to an .ini file.
- The game will automatically scale your graphics when first started
- Added an anti-cheat system to the game, this should hopefully prevent all known memory injections
- Added customizable keybinding support
- Production yields now shows the correct yield
- Production tasks will not disappear when logging off
- Fixed the loading screen issue where the character appeared unloaded
- Item Information display revised to work better with multiple slots
- Massively improved performance while in storage with over 200+ items
- Clone counter (Clones Online) now shows the correct number
- Fixed the Hummingbird Sapphire name bug
- Fixed an issue where crouching would make other players crash
- Fixed an issue where the mining tool would get stuck whilst shooting
- Fixed an issue where the Delete button didn't work on inventory/storage
- PMODS now show their appropriate icons
- Revised the main menu
- Added UI art to the main menu
- Revised production terminal
- Revised market terminal
- Removed item tiers from the game (and inventory slots)
- Improved overall performance
- And much more!
As one of our most recent additions, Ripley has proven to be quite the asset to us. Not only has he created countless of quality music tracks for us, he also wrote down what his process was and his take on the subject.
About two months ago I was really excited about Blade Runner 2049, and decided to make some music like the music in the movie. So I made a quick track I called “Sad Robot”
I also wanted to take on some new projects. So I posted the music to some forums, and Necidious heard it, and contacted me. Then I quickly joined the team, and started making more “Blade Runner” music.
It’s worth noting that this is not my “usual” style. I mainly make very distorted, industrial, electronic, rock type stuff…
However, I love Blade Runner, and I love cyberpunk, and I really liked what I saw from the game so far, and thought it would be a real challenge to take on my (sort of) first video game soundtrack on such a massive scale.
I knew there would need to be a lot of ambient music, since it’s an open world game, but there was no world built yet. This is good, and bad. It’s good because it lets me create a huge variety of sounds and styles, but it’s bad because I might create a ton of stuff that doesn’t work at all for the world of the game. So I decided to start relatively simple, and created more (lots) of different ambient music.
Ambient music is hard to get “right” because if it’s too boring, nobody wants it, and if you start to notice it repeating or looping within the song, it’s distracting. So, I figured the best way to make it sound “fresh” and not annoying to listen to would be to do subtle changes on simple sounds, over long periods of time. This way it’s easy to listen to, and if you do notice it, it just sounds a little different, nothing major changed.
Here is a demo song called “Going To Go On” (all of this is a work in progress, and may never even be in the game, just demonstration purposes), one of the more simple (maybe boring) tracks.
The project file for this looks like this (I’m working in PreSonus Studio One):
It’s not a very complicated arrangement, but here’s all the subtle automation that is going on, on the main tracks:
It’s a little difficult to see, but even just one synth has five different automation lanes:
All to make subtle changes to the sound, so it isn’t just playing two boring chords. Some of this is edited with mouse clicks, but a lot of it is done by hand, sliding a fader or turning a knob, so it has some human imperfection. There’s even “automation” on the audio recorded from hardware
instruments (like synthesizers, drum machines, or effects units) which is simply “performed” live as the recording is being done, which isn’t represented as a colored/editable line.
And that is one of the tricks to making not so boring ambience. There’re lots of others, like complex effects chains, or experimental recording techniques (I spent a few days playing cymbals with a violin bow), but I’ll talk about that later.