First, I hope everyone is doing well in these unusual times that we are in. It’s once again time to update you on what’s going on behind the scenes with Age of Rust. To start with, I’ve added a couple of very talented developers to help pitch in some of the material and level design work for the game to get the beta completed. So I welcome Diego M. Martinez and Andrey Donetsky to the project.
Next-Gen Build will be Beta
Right before the pandemic hit, I was on the phone with our contact at ID@Xbox since we’re working to bring Age of Rust to PC and console. One of things that a lot people liked with the game in the alpha version was the graphics, but it wasn’t quite “there”, it was close to the original vision of the concept art, but not exactly right where we wanted it to be. To get the right audience, we needed to push the game up in the rendering quality area.
When Unity showcased the High Definition Render Pipeline (HDRP), it was clear that the way we were building Age of Rust needed to evolve to meet the vision of what the experience was going to be. So we embarked to migrate Age of Rust from Unity’s standard pipeline to the High Definition pipeline in a separate thread of work. Then, the pandemic hit and the developers that were working on those pieces had to return to other obligations in their lives. However, we’re now back into full swing in the process of pushing the Beta version of Age of Rust forward using the next-generation pipeline from Unity.
By transitioning to the new graphics engine in Unity 2019.3, we’re able to achieve better than expected results in realtime than what the original concept art for the 2D game. We’re now able to achieve what we had originally intended in a 2D game with pre-rendered images into a full 3D game.
New Menus & Player Interface
After we upgraded the rendering quality to a next-generation AAA look & feel, the old square style menus made the game experience feel out of place. So we redesigned the player interface to be more in-step with the overall experience. While some of the screens are still in development, it’s a big departure from the previous experience. Players will be able to see some achievements related to the crypto trophies for puzzles they’ve solved.
We’ve also removed a couple of things from the in-game play, the beating heart that was present in the alpha has moved to a health bar, same with ammo for weapons, these elements now blend into the game matching the tone of the sci-fi elements of the gameplay.
Unity recently made the HDRP production supported, before it was in preview status, which is why there was the delay. As we started to close off on Beta programming activities, the graphics quality felt ‘aged’ in some sense even though we pushed through several barriers on performance. Below you can see the transition of what the game looked like in Alpha and what the game looks like in a transition to using the HDRP in Beta.
It just became clear, that the game deserved to use the high resolution stack, with better light, textures, and volume in the scenes. Going forward with the older built-in renderer for the game engine didn’t feel genuine to the game experience.
Taking the time to do it right by listening to the community.
We know that waiting for the game has been challenging at times, we’re crossing the threshold on the 3D version of the game at close to the 2 year mark. However, building the game the right way and doing it by listening to the community has been the best path. After alpha, there was a huge wishlist of things to change or add to the game. We’ve taken the time to put all those things into the game. I’ll address a few of the really big community requested changes here:
Remove the need to own crypto to play — As you can imagine, building a blockchain game without forcing players to own crypto to play is a bit of a tall order, especially when players own tokens for the 3D version of the game in advance. However, we’ve done that by building reward levels, players with no tokens or crypto will be able to play and solve puzzles with blockchain rewards, but at the lowest level of rewards. Players with blockchain game tokens (Mission Cards), will be able to access the higher levels of rewards. The game will not be free to play though, but will be broken up into seasons with a low cost for each season.
Game Controller Support — Using the keyboard and mouse for everything wasn’t ideal for the game in some circumstances. Also, with planning to release the game on the Xbox console, made the necessity of moving the game to a blended state for using keyboard, mouse, and gamepads. You’ll be able to use an Xbox and PS4 controller with the game.
Interactive Highlights — Players asked for things that you can interact with to glow when you’re near them. We’ve added that and it will be showing up in the beta for Age of Rust.
Full Deck Bonuses — When we moved from a 2D game to a 3D game, some of the blockchain cards still had some of the older stat modifiers on them, which aren’t in the 3D game. Players wanted to see some type of stacking bonus for having all the cards, so we added one. Each level will have a special unlockable bonus puzzle for players who collect all the mission cards, this puzzle has a 10,000 ENJ reward for each level.
Onward and upward
Well, that about wraps things up for Dev Diary 9, I know you’re all looking forward to the Beta for Age of Rust and I am as well. I know that we’ve packed a ton of great things into the game, but the best thing is the awesome Discord and Enjin community members. So thank you for your contributions, helping newcomers, and spreading the word on the game.
Dev Crypto Puzzle
In celebration of the halvening, this particular puzzle is BTC related. So for making your way through the dev diary, there’s a cryptopuzzle here with a $100 worth of bitcoin inside it.