Dev Diary #03

Greetings Agents!

We have been making leaps and bounds over the last few months. With the studio all set up, we dived straight into making the game! The first step is pre-production. In pre-production, we develop tools and pipelines to make the game (you have all seen a little slice of this with Mitch’s last update). We have always believed in having a long pre-production cycle, which means we get plenty of time to figure out exactly how we are doing things, which is essential when you have such a small team like ours.

Having said that, pre-production does NOT mean no progress:

Chris and Dean have been working together on a character system that will let us produce an entire city worth of varied civilians with a  small amount of base assets . Dean has full control over what types of citizens get what outfits, which outfits go with which hairstyles and what colors work with what combinations. (Dean will go through his pipeline at some point in the future, so stay tuned for that!)

Here is an early taste of what Dean has been able to create with only a small number of different models, a couple of textures, and some color palette swaps.

    Modular Character Test

On the environment side, we have had our amazing concept artist Jeremy Love work on a few quick sketches of buildings and environment pieces, and Brent has working on building up a library of modular pieces to build an entire city out of.

Downtown concepts

Env prototype

As for design and code… Mike and Chris have been getting lots of systems up and running in the game: We now have different weapons with ammo upgrades up and running, and an ability system to give the agents abilities like Health regeneration and damage boosts. We also have corporate soldiers patrolling in groups who react to you pulling out your weapon in front of them or hearing guns being fired nearby. Lots of the pieces we need have been built now and the next step is get those pieces all together in a level and let the mayhem begin!

[MikeD, Just to add a bit more detail on the code side. Enemies now use cover, as does the player. Cover can be a left or right-hand edge of a wall, or a low piece of scenery to duck behind, Enemies now have the concept of squads and can provide covering fire as other members of the squad move from cover to cover. There’s a combination of behaviour system and stack based State Machine running the AI, and the agents also run through this AI system, but following orders issued by the player. Character locomotion and steering is driven by the animation system, code takes direction information from the nav system and feeds it to a couple of parameters for a big Mecanim state tree that can blend in a lean for small direction changes while moving, or can cause the animation system to do a 180/90 or other big changes of direction.]


Mitch has been working on the weapon anims, this is made more complicated by having 3 different weapon types one handed, two handed and heavy. Mitch and Mike have been fighting with Unity’s lack of independent root motion animation, making it tricky to move AIs in and out of cover fluidly, but after several dead ends, we have a semi-workaround until Unity allows Root Motion to be manually animated. We’ve had not only direct email correspondence with the Unity team, but they even came to our studio for a visit recently, eager to listen to all of our comments and questions to help improve Unity to fit our needs.

We can also announce that as of now, we have add ons available through PayPal on our web site (just log on and head to the pledge page!) We also have backer only wallpapers available for download on our site! (Again, simply head to the media page and log on)


In other news: Jeremy has launched his own Kickstarter campaign with a few friends we used to work with, Teen High Zombie Squad! Not only is it going to be an awesome comic with some amazing art, you will also get to see our very own Chris as one of the shambling undead and Dean as a survivor. Start placing your bets as to whether Dean kills Chris or Chris kills Dean!

Teen High Zombie Squad


On top of that, friends and local Brisbane devs over at Defiant have launched their own Kickstarter for Hands of Fate, an action RPG mixed with a tabletop card game that allow you to customize your gameplay experience via the cards you choose and earn cards to build your deck.

Hand of Fate

Hand of Fate

Lastly, we are only a few hundred dollars off our next stretch goal!!!! o_O wha????

This goal brings Russell Zimmerman on board to write the game’s story, and also introduces 2 new organizations into the battle; the Red Star and the Eternals.
It also allows us to build 2 new areas in the game; the Industrial district and the “The Grid” district! … amazeballs! Lets make it happen!


– 5 Lives Team