We are close!
Hello and welcome to our Devblog #14. As you might know, we expanded our testing to include the First100 Discord group, so let's talk about the impressions the players had and what we have changed as a result of your feedback. Furthermore, we can introduce some new weapons, a new map, some gameplay changes, and a new voice chat. So let's dig in.
The First100 Playtest
When we invited "thefirst100" to be testers, we also created a Feedback channel in our Discord, this channel is still open and anyone can read the feedback there. If you are part of the First100 and have not given feedback please think about giving the game another try and giving us your honest review, we really wanted to make the reviews public so the community could discuss what changes might be best for TO4.
So what have we learned from the feedback?
Let's go into some detail, one of the main concerns was the audio, for example, weapons are too loud, it's too hard to track footsteps, etc. The good part of this is that we are totally aware of this issue and it was already on our todo list. Why was it like that? The simple answer is, right before we increased the test group we added Fmod Studio (an audio plugin for the unreal engine) to our game and it still needs a lot of work. For now, we have re-balanced the audio and changed mixing levels so the game should sound a lot better, Feedback from those changes have been very positive.
Player damage feedback was also mentioned, an example of this is, if you get damaged it could be difficult to pinpoint where the shot had come from, are they behind me or left? Our game is all about being able to react quickly when someone is shooting you, but this is difficult when you don´t know where they are shooting you from. However, with the better audio balance and changes to TO4's damage indicator you see now clearly from which direction you got shot. With these changes, we have also added hit sounds that indicate you have hit your target and also visual confirmation of a hit via a hit marker on your target. Both are optional but this will give those that want it even more feedback about what´s happening around them in the game. So the way TO4 gives players feedback has improved a lot but we know the audio is something that will need more work in the future to be at a standard we will all be happy with.
The buy menu, options menu, and the UI design was another issue, they are not exactly what we envisioned either and don't look as good as they should. But we wanted to focus on the functionality of the menus first. We are planning a complete UI overhaul sometime in the future, also, we found out our buy menu is not as self-explanatory as it should be, so maybe that will change sooner, rather than later.
Damage and armor balancing was another topic you raised, we will be working on this continuously during development until every weapon feels correct for its use. We appreciate all the feedback about it, we have already made some adjustments.
Some people disliked the speed of the game, others disliked the visuals, to those people we thank you for your candor. The majority of players enjoyed the game. If you did dislike the game hang around, the game is not finished yet and hopefully, you will like it in the future when it is in a more finished state. Thank you to everyone who has tested the game and left feedback, we really appreciate it.
So what's next?
Big closed Alpha with Discord Members
We announced in Discord and in our recent live stream, that we will be inviting everyone in our Discord group to play the game and join in testing TO4. We haven't announced a solid date yet but if everything goes to plan we want to do this before July 2019, currently we are still on track to achieve this. As always we will communicate in Discord if we encounter any issues that could change our ETA. We do have one hurdle on the horizon, it is an upcoming Unreal Engine update that is especially important for our project. The reason why this update is important is we had to implement a limit to the client side FPS due to a problem when the client FPS got over 144 FPS there are some strange glitches and stuttery gameplay, the next update should solve this issue, so cross your fingers for us, we hope that the update will work flawlessly but you never know. If everything works as intended we will have potentially about 1000 Players from our Discord group with access to the next round of TO4 testing but, that could be a lot more if some of the 5000~ Steam users that have our game on their Steam Wishlist also join our Discord before the next round of testing starts. You can still join our Discord group to secure a place in the next round of testing. Discord is working really well for us on this project, it gives us that direct and instant communication to the community, enabling us to give you feedback and information about our current progress. This should be the last round of testing before we release TO4 on Steam's Early Access platform fully.
Ssswing has been working on a new map called Fueled, Inspired by community requests, this map will be bigger than other maps and will be a Bomb Scenario map. It is still only a work in progress but has been added to the game to test layout and gameplay. Check out the recent Screenshots he has supplied us.
FOV Slider, Voice Chat, Sniper Overlay and Character Speeches
DarkSoe & TH120
We have implemented an ingame Voice chat currently limited to your own Team, with this feature we also added some dropdown menus to the scoreboard screen to mute players, you can also mute the text chat. Furthermore, you can check their Steam profile. Our first sniper reticle had a crosshair with a red dot in the center, players disliked it so we removed the dot and now you just have the crosshair. We have also started to add voices to the characters, both male and female characters will have their own unique voices.
Slayer5530 has prepared new animation sets for some of the new weapons in TO4. We have added a FAMAS, MAC10 and a Vector to the arsenal, audio still needs some work but the animations are done and implemented to our game. Whether these weapons will be in the main loadout or if they will be optional for our TO4ST weapons has not been decided yet, but for now, they are included in the main game for testing purposes. You can see them in action in our latest Livestream. Furthermore, he is close to finishing the M40, you will love it!
Our grenades are deadly and can instantly kill you, so we decided to limit each player to one grenade for now. We want to add more explosives types, so you maybe can have a grenade and another explosive Item in the future, this is not a final decision. Furthermore, the grenades should now be flying smoother in the air and look less jittery.
Macfrog has once again changed our game file building process, this change allows us to publish updates faster and helps to speed up the bug fixing process, instead of building the Windows client, Windows server, Linux client, and Linux server all at once, we can now exclude components from the build process. For example, we can exclude both the Linux server and client builds, this means we are now just building the Windows versions of the game cutting the build time in half, as most of the work on TO4 is done in windows we can then test the windows versions in-house before pushing the update or fixes to all the branches, then releasing the new files to the test group for further testing, if the build fails for whatever reason we've not wasted too much time. This lowers our iteration time by a good 50% or more, this will be vital once we are live on Steam for fixing bugs and getting Hotfix patches out as soon as we can.
Here is a link to our last Livestream on Twitch, which features most of the thing we have written about here in this Blog, including the new weapons and their animations and more. So why not click the link and take a look?
So that's it for now, we will keep you updated. If you wish you can join our Discord by clicking this link.