Last time on the First Impact development blog we were talking about adding art to the world. This week we turn our lenses to the thing that brings everything together and makes it work. Code! Programming really makes the world go around, or at least we’d like to think so. At Red Meat Games, we like to have fun at every stage of the development process.
Meet Dr. R and Mr. D who are two of our programmers and they share some of their thoughts on creating the backbone that allows us to do all the magic in the game.
If you could sum up coding for VR in three words what would they be and why?
Not that simple.
Fun, new territory. It is even more awesome when you get something working in VR because it’s more immersive.
What are some of the systems that you had to develop for First Impact (example: enemy AI, field of view,etc.)?
I’ve had to create lots of ambient city stuff (pedestrians, flying/moving objects, clouds, etc.), UI, hero defenses are the most noteworthy.
For me, it’s been quests, crystal spawning, dialogue systems, saving and loading the game as well as non-playable character stuff.
So basically, you guys make many of the systems that help to add realism to the game and functionality? That’s cool!
What is your favourite platform to develop on and why?
PC (keyboard and mouse). It’s just easier to deal with in almost every respect. I get 104 debug keys and an accessible OS that I can hack into, to make debugging easier.
PC! It’s the easiest one to test and get things working on.
What is one of the biggest challenges you have encountered in developing an open-world game?
VR resource constraints are by far the toughest aspect. On traditional PC, not hitting 90 fps is not usually a big deal. In VR, you might make someone vomit, or fail a certification.
With so much in the game, it’s difficult keeping the frames per second up.
Describe a typical programming day with respect to First Impact.
Usually, some brief planning with the team, checking out when new things are done or working, and looking at why other things become broken. Some pair programming or rubber duck debugging usually fall in there somewhere too.
Get a thing to do. Implement or fix the thing. Test the thing. Push the thing. Get a new thing.
Can players expect any cool features from a programming perspective in First Impact?
Some of the superhero powers are really fun, even with placeholder/debug artwork. If we’re having a fun time with a cube that says “debug ice block”, surely the player will have a good time when we have final artwork and a tuned/balanced game system.
Yes, throwing objects in the game is very satisfying.
Well, that was an exhausting interview aha ha! Programmers are among some of the hardest working people we know. They devote countless hours figuring out what went wrong and how to take an idea and make it into something functional. We honestly don’t say it enough, but we want to publicly say thanks to our programming team. It takes a lot to make a game, let alone one in VR across multiple platforms and with a relatively short development timeline.
Can you imagine how difficult it is to deal with platforms that allow for room scale and others that do not? Or the challenges of trying to replicate locomotion on something like the PlayStation Move controllers? Suffice to say, First Impact: Rise of a Hero with all of its ingenuity would not be possible without the efforts of our coffee converting pals!
Until next time…