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.
Hey everyone, welcome to our devblog #13. Before we delve into the blog we want to say that despite the lack of DevBlogs we are still developing the game, we are investing a lot of our time and effort into this project and we are getting ever closer to an Early Access release date.
If you would like more information then you should consider joining our Discord server, there we will answer your questions and give other updates about our development. Currently, we have 750+ Members, so come and chat with us.
Let's start with some good news. In our Discord, we have the "TheFirst100" group (The first 100 Members to join our Discord server) and this group will get access to the game in December 2018. This means we can open the game to a larger testing group and they can finally play the game, we know it took such a long time. If this test goes well and our systems are robust enough we will expand the testing group sometime in the new year. We are sorry that we can´t grant access to everyone right now, Please remember this game is not finished or nearly finished yet, we've invested a lot of time getting TO4 to this point and now its time to allow more players to try/test our game with us, We are looking forward to having more people giving us their views and or criticisms of the game. Primarily opening our game up to a bigger group will enable us to test the performance of our servers/clients under a heavy workload. This test should also show assist us to balance our maps and help us to make adjustments where needed. More details will come when we are close to the test.
TacByte team changes
Jack M & Skyline
Our Discord members have already noticed that we have two new members "Skyline" and "Jack M" in our Tacbyte Crew. Some people maybe recognize "Skyline" due to the fact he was part of the project in its early stages, "So welcome Back Skyline". Now we have 3 coders, that's awesome news for us at TacByte, furthermore, he is familiar with the project and he has already started working on the game. Jack M is our Sound designer, he prepares and edits the projects Sound files so they can be implemented into the game, up to yet we didn´t have a Sound designer and we are glad that "Jack M" has joined our crew "Welcome Jack M". The full potential of his sound design will come out when we have added FMod to the game. We are still working on that.
The unraveling of a planetary sized constricted ball of hair aka our Code
That's how Skyline described our code, of course, it isn´t as bad as it sounds, but it is kinda funny and worth repeating in the blog. This is just a part of our development when we started this project our knowledge of Unreal Engine 4 wasn´t as good as it is now. We grew with every problem we solved. So some parts of the code that are working need to be rewritten, in the end, it's better for all of us, a clean code will help us when problems arise, then we can find and fix them easier and quicker. There was also a tremendously work at the code that was put in by TH120 & DarkSoe, it's not possible to show that, but you will feel it when the game will run buttersmooth in the end. The Viewers of the last Livestream saw that we suffered a lot of server crashes, that has now been fixed, small error big impact, however, there are plenty of bugs left to fix/find, so let's leave that to our Dev team and Alpha-Testers, On a side note we would like to thank the active Alpha Testers for their work on TO4, Thank You. Now let's move on to some new Features that have been added to the game.
Main Menu, Crosshair Editor, Shell-Out, Gameplay
Main Menu, Crosshair Editor, Shell-Out, Gameplay
DarkSoe & TH120
The Visual of the Main Menu remains the same but the plugin that we used has been replaced with our own code, now it's our own Menu, we wanted to hold off replacing it but we had a lot of complications working with the old menu plugin so we thought no time like the present. We have also added a Basic Crosshair Editor, nothing super fancy but it does the job for now. We have also added an alternative Weapon Hud, some of our Alpha Testers liked it some didn't. Take a look at the picture. We added a Shell-Out animation to all our Weapons, so when you're firing a gun you see the empty shell ejected from the chamber and the shell falls to the ground and remains, it also makes a sound when it collides with the terrain. Fine tuning is still needed but it works and gives the weapons a better feeling. We made some gameplay changes to the hacking and bomb scenarios. Now you can defuse or hack (same panel) with a maximum of 2 players at the same time to speed up the hacking or defusal. This is only something we are testing and we are not sure if it's a good idea or not. What do you think?
The maps Scope and Blister suffered from some scaling issues and didn't match the performance we needed for the game. Our new versions have Tacbyte's own style, they are a lot bigger and the performance of the maps has been greatly improved. All of our Alpha testers are really happy with these changes, since the gameplay on it improved drasticly. It is difficult to do comparison screenshots because both the maps are really different now, but take a look at the pictures from November 2017 and November 2018.
Check out our Media Section (High Resolution), we have recently updated it with new Screenshots, or just check it here below (Low Resolution).
Blister November 2017 (OLD)
Blister November 2018 (NEW)
Scope November 2017 (OLD)
Scope November 2018 (NEW)
The Map-Prelude had some minor visual changes. It's now a more damp forest, with reflective pools, muddy tracks and a more tense feeling to it.
Prelude November 2017 (OLD)
Prelude November 2018 (NEW)
We are also happy to mention a new map (WIP name: FollowTheMoney), its a smaller map focused on 2vs2 and 3vs3 gameplay. The mapshots are from a very early moment. In the mean time we are working on RapidWaters and Converge to increase performance and gameplay on these maps.
FollowTheMoney (NEW MAP)
New Weapon Animations
Slayer made you some new Eyecandy to look at and the Special Force finally gains its correct MP5, our Silenced MP5A2 is out and the original MP5SD is in, we know you wanted it, obviously the Terrorist still have the MP5A2.
DarkSoe & TH120
TO4ST is our "Tactical Operations 4 Server Tool" this addon to the admin panel will enable the server owner to configure the server in many ways, for now, DarkSoe has been working on TO4ST Weapons. So you can create Servers that allow or disallow certain weapons on the server, as an example, you could set up a server which ONLY allows Sniper rifles and Pistols, TO4ST will also Auto Buy set items at the beginning of each Round. Currently, you can only make these changes in the Servers Config file, but this will change in the future and this function and any future admin functions/options will be added to the Admin Tab. We can´t wait to see Desert Eagle only servers again.
We hope you enjoyed our Devblog and we hope we took away some of your concerns or doubts about out develoment, we are steady working at the game. Some more news about this very soon. Again we mention: feel free to join our Discord channel and join our growing community!
I'd really like to say our Stream went without a hitch, but, we had a rocky start, our lead PR guy CHR and Ssswing (project leader) had a few practice streams without a problem and all was going well up to the last minute, when, CHR's "new" custom loop rig decided to throw a hissy fit and stop working, CHR managed to sort the problem out but we started the stream about 30 minutes later than expected. thank you to everyone that stuck around and waited for the stream to start, We know it must have been frustrating for you. We will endeavor to make sure this does not happen again.
Once we got started, it went quite well, we managed to show you what we wanted to show you and answer most of the questions you asked, at one point we had close to 100 viewers watching the stream, we did get a bit of streamer lag (bandwidth problem) near the end of the stream which was a bit distracting, but, as you will see from the video of the stream below it was not in-game lag, I have to say that Sswing and CHR for a first attempt at streaming LIVE did a really good job of hosting the Twitch, True, it was not polished or without problems but it's sort of like our game right now, we can work on it and make it better over time with the community's help.
If you missed the stream or want to join our community and give us your input on the game, why not join us in our Discord Group [LINK], Oh, and please add TO4 to your Steam wishlist [LINK] ,it will help us gauge our player base for when we release on steam.
Lastly, A massive THANKS to our Alpha testers and the people that watched the stream, We really appreciate Your help and continued support.
As we are a relative small team, we takes small steps. But sometimes, we takes huge steps. Yesterday we did! And we want to share that with you. We gained access to the new Steam Direct, which brings the game at least a quarter mile closer to a first release.
A first release?! WAIT WHAT?!?! Yep! We have been very clear since the beginning; we don't want to bring you the next AAA title, but deliver a great a fun game - name it an arcade online shooter. We named it Tactical Operations. With longer gunfights, easy control on the ground a in the air - both on the arcade side. With real weapons, in realistic settings - both on the known realistic online shooter. Back to the game. Yes we have been testing (read playing and enjoying ourselves) every Tuesday with a few dedicated guys. Bugs reported get fixed within a week, and the next tuesday we have a new build of the game. Small team you say? Yes, but very effective and dedicated.
Since the month is August already and this is the first news since June... you might have guessed that we have had a small vacation dip in our activity. In case you want to check on that activity; throw out a call on our Slack channel or / and join the forums!
For now we go back to testing and developing the game. Release of a first version is close by! Keep visiting us!'
Here are 3 shots of the overhaul on the lighting on maps, you might recognize MAP-Scope and MAP-Blister. The forest-alike map is called MAP-Prelude and is an escape scenario. More to follow soon!
Quick update on our previous news item (Opportunity to join the team). Days after posting this call-to-arms, one from our community joined in the new role: Satansboss. He is taking (excellent) care of the bug-tracker updates, a better workflow between alpha-testers and the development team.
Thanks to Satansboss we also got in contact with Raz, who made a music score for the game (and more to follow). He will also be working on general sounds for the game and voice acting! Do note that we are still looking for someone to do PR and Media for the game! In case you are in doubt or want to talk about the role, please feel free to contact us! Through Slack, Forums, Email – your choice!
Our coders have been eagerly waiting on the release of the new Unreal Engine (4.16.0) and we have moved on to this new version. Biggest improvement here is the complete new audio system (alpha stage still – but already impressive). The engine update further came with some nice small fixes. For a full update on the engine: Link to EPIC website
So, it’s a long time since a news post. Not to worry, things are still moving ahead for Tactical Operations (or just TO4 for the geeks). We still aim to make that beast of a tactical shooter that will keep you up all night to play with friends!
Sadly we had some issues with mostly the performance of the game. Since we target not only the full-blown gamers with their high-price PC’s (I confess I am one of those…), we need to balance the performance on as many hardware as possible. For that we also have our alpha-testing team, so thanks to them we quickly found out that our game was to hardware hungry. We needed to tone down a bit, it’s only 2017!
So far we have had around 10 internal builds with the alpha team, sometimes we need a little more time to give new content or fix bugs, sometimes we have a brilliant solution and want that out directly after testing. And sometimes we simply scale something wrong that needs fixing… (yes that happens.. WIP people!)
Slowly on the better weather is also coming in on our team, so we had the first sunburns, hangovers and heathen up pc’s. Th120 pc’s gave him the finger and it took some time getting the new CPU and most important thermal grease (last time he ordered something from amazon I think). But now he’s back on, hooray! Macfrog has been working hard on further fleshing out the build procedure for our game. In theory this means that even I could start a new build for the testers. In theory yes, because I tend to break things. Speaking of breaking things; I broke the performance on some maps, badly. After several evenings work we are back in the game. As I type this news post, a new build with better performance is cooking, getting ready to be tested. Not really a problem, we have a lot of fun during our testing sessions. Gameplay feels good! Stuff is coming together!
Furthermore we have a more vibrant forums every day. A lot of familiar faces are registered and leaving a message. The constant question, when can I play this game, is still not annoying – it’s a good sign, people like to play the game!
On Slack we also see more people appear, great! We leak screenshots from time to time on that medium. Takes longer for the screenshots to appear on the website or forums. Just a hint… just a hint! And how to get to Slack, follow this: to-public.slack.com And how to get to the forums? Really? You made it to the website, the forums is there also!
For now that’s it. A good sign of progress hereby; a snippet from the update report 2 builds ago
So hello there,
It has been a few weeks since the last update. Not to worry, we are still going strong! We have our alpha team testing (with the developpers) and then quick fixes on the game and gameplay. Since our start of the alpha tests, we have had 4 new builds of the game with some serious changes / additions to the game. All for the best! Log on to the forums and check the changelogs if you like.
So currently we did have a serious hickup on our development side. Since we use Git to send content forwards and back to each other (development team), we stumbled upon this problem with files simply being too large. And you know, some textures in the game are considered seriously large. A simple (yea really simple!) 4096x4096px file can take up to 150 mb. This is of course raw material, the cooked game is only 8 gb large. And those 8 gb contain all the good stuff! Either way, since tonight our coders found a working setup for the sharing of content between the development team (thank god, since I have been downloading the total project 3 times now ... it's only 30 gb per turn...). Just so you know, we are of tonight fully back onto working on the game! Hooray!
Hope to speak with you on the Forums or our Slack channel! Or just respond under this newspost, we just like to hear from you guys (as you like to hear from us about progression)
Let's alpha game, from and with the TO4 Team!
So, busy weeks for the TO4 team! And so exciting! We have released our game project to a group of 16 enthusiastic guys (no girls sadly). The very first evening we played with 10 different people for 3 hours. So many impressions… and so many bugs found or things that need work. The beauty of this process is that we included a very good working issue tracker onto this website. With this we keep track of the things we need to fix. And the good thing is, we knew and anticipated on finding a lot of bugs the first weeks.
So after one week of further development work (and occasional playtime with testers, yes we do that) we now have just released a second alpha version. You can find the changelog on the forums!. Good to know is that besides fixing a whole lot of (game breaking) bugs, we also included new stuff.
To name a few: we included a new map, MAP-Prelude. MAP-Scope gained a new overhaul (still WIP). We also included two new character models, for now the char is chosen randomly by the game. In the future we will include a team selection menu. We have also included the first steps to the anti-cheat we are going to use.
So that’s it for now, we need to do more work and test the new closed alpha version we released. For now, we let the pictures speak for themselves. Enjoy!
Don’t forget to join us on Slack and the forums!