DarkSwarm DEVLOG

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DarkSwarm DEVLOG

Unread post by jonaz.dk » 05 Apr 2023, 21:27

Hi guys!

So we have been building a company and now a game! :)
We hope it will be awesome!

And why not drop our very casual and informal Dev Micro Log here as well! There will be some 'back posting'.

Before DarkSwarm there was Project XB. Legacy thread here:
https://spiludvikling.dk/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=4998


DarkSwarm annoucement trailer.. got quite a bit of views and reactions! Absolutely amazing! <3


DarkSwarm Discord: https://discord.com/invite/YDrrCwA (we have a party!) :)

DarkSwarm Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoinDarkSwarm

DarkSwarm Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/DarkSwarm/

Bitfire Games LinkedIN: https://www.linkedin.com/company/bitfiregames/

Bitfire Games Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bitfiregames

Bitfire Games Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/@bitfiregames

DarkSwarm Steam Discussion DEV MICRO LOG: https://steamcommunity.com/app/2303200/ ... 459317748/


WISHLIST ON STEAM... NOW! ;)


And now! On to the DEV MICRO LOG:

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Re: DarkSwarm DEV MICRO LOG

Unread post by jonaz.dk » 05 Apr 2023, 21:28

Jonaz.dk — 03/17/2023 10:53 AM
So me! I have been mostly focusing on HR and building the team! There is lots of things to do in the area. We have already been conducting a bunch of talks and PLENTY more in next week. All are promising candidates! So it will be a horrible job to select the few! 😬 We would like to hire WAAAY more people that we can afford right now. There are just so many good ones to our surprise! Artists are a little underrepresented for some reason.

Also we have also put a hold on the Junior developer position.. we have plenty to choose from for now.

I have also been working on HUD mockups.. which also happens to incur a lot of immediate design decisions so Sir @_keystone can get working on some HUD/UI visual mockups in his internship here. (So it's a bit more complex than I thought)

He is currently working on a training exercise in hard surface 3D modeling to learn about the more traditional low and high poly baking process. He did a little Scanner prop for the purpose. (Looking good by the way!) 🤩 While waiting for slow old Jonas to deliver the mockups he can work from. 😅 😉

@Oxmond Is knee deep in HR and a more tricky administration task at the moment.

Now back to mocking up!
Online call with a potential candidate in a few hours!

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Re: DarkSwarm DEV MICRO LOG

Unread post by jonaz.dk » 05 Apr 2023, 21:28

Jonaz.dk — 03/17/2023 11:11 AM
OH yeah! One more thing!
We are getting an audio designer intern on a short term basis! Danish guy I have been talking to way earlier in the project. We just need a bit of paperwork done be the governmental institution. We have done our part.
Short term interns will probably for the most part not be working directly in the project at this current moment in time. As it would be a bit too costly for us in time to oversee. We try to go for 'low maintenance' so we can get more focus on all the other things needed to build the company and game right now.

New audio intern will do an audio pass on how the current trailer sounds. He is a highly experienced audio designer with a strong movie/tv portfolio. 💪 😎

We are looking forward to his take on the audio design! 😄 🔊 👍

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Re: DarkSwarm DEV MICRO LOG

Unread post by jonaz.dk » 05 Apr 2023, 21:28

Jonaz.dk — 03/17/2023 3:11 PM
My actual company development PC has been ordered! Should arrive next Wednesday!... now there is monitor and Wacom to find.
Wanted a 12 GIG 3060.. but silly shop didn't have it today. They did yesterday when we were looking at it. 🧐

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Re: DarkSwarm DEV MICRO LOG

Unread post by jonaz.dk » 05 Apr 2023, 21:28

Jonaz.dk — 03/20/2023 6:13 PM
Monday Micro log!
3 interviews down! All good candidates! I'm sure we will have an amazing team! (Still more interviews to go for the rest of the week)

I happened to catch a cold before the weekend.. So my head was a bit groggy. Ox also caught it. 😅
We do daily bro-hugs!... So of course! ;) As long as we don't start to mutate and grow alien body parts I guess it will shake off quickly! It's not a big hindrance.
And our collective immune defense systems needs to stay fit anyways.

Hope I am still making somewhat good decisions and interviews. (Interviews are also very new to me in my own company setting.. it's fun and nice to talk to such talented people!)

Our office manager super champ Rune D was elevated to Swarmy Sergeant for helping us out to make the 'new office tetris blocks' fall into place! Looks like things will be good there also so we can finally move out of our broom closet to get a real team going.
He promised to update his LinkedIN profile with # Swarmy Sergeant... so we will be keeping an eye on that. 😉

Cheers mates!
Jonas out!

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Re: DarkSwarm DEV MICRO LOG

Unread post by jonaz.dk » 05 Apr 2023, 21:28

Jonaz.dk — 03/22/2023 9:49 PM
Just a quick micro here!

The sniffles were almost nothing and almost completely gone! Even more today Wednesday.

- I found a monitor which has been ordered!
Big ass LG 42" 4K OLED TV OLED42C26LB it does 120Hz in 4K. It was sorta expensive.. but it was on sale. And also I think it's important that we have a bunch of different hardware setup at the studio so we can catch potential issues earlier. Obviously we can't have all combinations.
(It also just occurred to me...that I'm not actually sure the HDMI 2.1 cable is included with the monitor) 😬 ... that would suck! Guess we'll find out. Or I would have to bike as fast as the wind to the nearest shop.

- More interviews with awesome people were conducted both days! 🙂

- Roadmap - A few days ago we also did a roadmap for the immediate future of the project. It will be published sometime 'soonish', But right now we are hyper focused on interviews and building the team.

- And today Wednesday! TOYS arrived!!
Got my new head phones and my desktop workstation. The monitor is not here yet. And who knows about the cable...

And one more thing!
Not confirming any support or anything on DarkSwarm on the SteamDeck..
But we felt it would be nice to have such a small toy around the office. Atleast for handover play test things.

The first thing that happened after setting it up.. was that somebody from the office. I promised not to mention any names. 😅 Was tapping around on the SteamDeck and pressed 'some kind of button'. And suddenly the language was Chinese with a panicky look in the eye.

Luckily, the Game Director (Not known for his Chinese skills) spent about 10-20 seconds with the device. And the language was back to English and the day was saved.

First game we installed... well.. had to be Alien Swarm: Reactive Drop. 🙂 It runs smoothly and nice to see the form factor actually allows for games of that type to be very playable.

That's it for today!
Catch you later!

Chinese SteamDeck!
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Re: DarkSwarm DEV MICRO LOG

Unread post by jonaz.dk » 05 Apr 2023, 21:29

Jonaz.dk — 03/23/2023 6:36 PM
Thursday Mirco!

This is my first update from my new computer! YAY! 😄

One interview down today!

And we have been mostly busy unpacking hardware boxes and setting up new gear and software!

As suspected.... monitor didn't even come with a cable. 🙄 So had to dash off get grab a couple of cables. HDMI 2.1 and a Displayport 2.0 while on my way to the kiddo so that was just perfect at Brinch Elektronik. They were even cheap! Turned out the monitor was more of a SmartTV so no Displayport input anyways. Oh well.. I'm 100% sure we can use the cable later.

A report on using a 42" 120Hz monitor in 4K IT'S NIIICE! The whole quadview thing is super great! No need for dual monitor setup or anything like that.
Earlier I tried it on my laptop but it only did 30Hz in 4K so that was a bit annoying.
Now we are just missing a bunch of new xbox controllers and my proper Wacom. Should arrive soon!

Also bought and new desktop Millennium Falcon lamp and an Alien coffee mug while I was out and about. I had some bucks to spend on a gift card from my former employer's xmas gift. So that was well suited.

Just wanted to drop an update while download Unreal and the rest!

Cheers
Jonas out!

Adding: Also wrote a quick brain stormy script for a class introduction video. Just had a breath of inspiration to do an ultra short animated video for the medic. Would be fun to do small videos for all the classes. (Might have to be some other people actually doing the work on any future potential videos, as we are busy with the game) Let's see what happens! Maybe it will maybe it won't 🙂

The setup:
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Re: DarkSwarm DEV MICRO LOG

Unread post by jonaz.dk » 05 Apr 2023, 21:29

Jonaz.dk — Yesterday at 2:15 PM
Hi guys!

Just dropping a micro from the trenches today!

As you all know, we have been very busy with the hiring process.
And things have gone VERY WELL there! 😄
It's basically just down to a little paper work now and we are good to go. Devs will be starting as soon as possible when all are clear on the legal side of things.
First dev has been signed! The two others will drop by tomorrow for signing and join us full time a bit staggered over the coming month. ON LOCATION! How amazing is that!

Sadly we also had to disappoint some very good people. Many of them we could certainly see a future with here at Bitfire Games when the stars are right. ❤️
We are working on a limited budget and we just don't have the money to hire as many people right off the bat as we might like.
Also it might even be a bit of a challenge if the team was growing too quickly in this early time. Managing a lot of new people, getting them into the project and feeding them enough quality tasks would probably be quite time consuming.
So we are very happy with the current small team we are hiring right now. To keep it very flexible and nimble with very fast iteration times. So all good!
I hope we can bring more people onboard as we move further into development and the need arises for the production.

Also! We have signed up for a larger office space! So we will actually be able to fit more people in the same room. Still not super big, but it will do for now.
Still in the same university building hosting startup company spaces. Just one floor down.

Oh yeah.. office equipment and more dev stations is also in the works as the team arrives.

Cheers!
Jonas

Office:
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Re: DarkSwarm DEV MICRO LOG

Unread post by jonaz.dk » 05 Apr 2023, 21:29

Jonaz.dk — Today at 10:01 PM
So today was a pretty big day!

The last two of our hires came into the office and signed their contracts!

So that means... WE HAVE A TEAM!!!!! 🥳 💪 (Fully signed now!)

WOOOOP!!! 😎

They will be starting a bit spread out over the coming month.

And it's even a fully Danish team.. AND we will all be able to work on location full time..
Like we never expected that would be even possible!
This will be so good for the game.

Remote work can of course be very good and everything. But just sitting in the same room when developing a co-op game. Instantly testing and discussing every little feature and tweak with the team. It will just be such a killer feature that will really benefit the game development process and the final game to a large degree.

Also..ALL our new employees are actually indie devs with a range of skills and insights into game development on all fronts. Like how cool is that!
You could say it's almost like taking a page out of Valves handbook of making teams with T-Shaped people.

There will also be a longer term intern on a 4 months contract starting next monday. Also an indiedev. More focused on testing, writing and looking into the procedural level generation system.

Today we also moved into our new office! 😄
It's not super big! But we think it will be sufficient for quite the stretch of development.

Our wishlist has been slowing down quite a bit. But we managed to crawl onto a pretty nice semi round number. So that is pretty amazing. Thanks for all the support out there!! You are amazing! ❤️
And this is taken into consideration that people have only watched a trailer made in mostly my spare time in my bedroom. And only a few weeks of work on a more focused trailer at the office.
I really hope the final game will impress even more. 🙂

So cheers for you guys!

And cheers for the new team! 😄

We are truly looking forward to working with all the new awesome guys!
It will be an absolute blast!

Completely unrelated, Thursday evening I took my GF (as part of her birthday gift) to Fantasysymphony II, with a full blown symphony orchestra playing fantasy game and movie/series music. Game of Thrones, Skyrim, The Witcher, League of Legends, Arcane stuff like that. Super nice time to get out a bit away from the trenches.
David Bateson (Voice of Hitman) was also there and doing his thing.
It's recorded on the day here... can't compare with the live performance of course.
https://www.dr.dk/lyd/p2/torsdagskoncer ... ymphony-ii

Cheers
Jonas

Bitfire Games moving in to new office:
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Re: DarkSwarm DEV MICRO LOG

Unread post by jonaz.dk » 05 Apr 2023, 21:29

Jonaz.dk — Today at 1:27 PM
Today's micro!

Monday was the very first day we had the early team on site! The guys had to bring laptops for the first few days. And today just now, new computers just arrived at the door. (No time for unboxing videos) 😉
More people will be joining us soonish as they become available. Mid and end of the month.

We also got started out with a bit of IKEA furniture assembly.. Game Director got a new chair!

And speaking of chairs.. well. 🪑
Our new senior programmer, who has not officially started yet. was VERY keen to show us what the power of the chair really looks like! As he didn't have access to the project assets out of the gate so he had to just go for the nearest chair.

10.000 chairs and 100.000 chairs in the current test. See GIFs. 🪑. 🪑 🪑 🪑
Should be fine to around 200.000+ without framerate dips.

So a new proper high performance swarm system is in the works! We hope It will be amazing!

Also we are currently doing a bit of design on story and world building. Mostly handled by our new (awesome and very storytelling indiedev) intern. Which gives me a lot more time to focus on other tasks. We like to give new brilliant and passionate people a chance to shine here on the team. Especially if they are free for a limited time. 😉
So I can look into the more urgent task of defining the core gameplay for Milestone 1. Which we will jump into shortly.

Milestone 0 is complete with setting up the company and hiring a team!

Bitfire Games says hi!
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10.000 Chairs
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100.000 Chairs
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Re: DarkSwarm DEV MICRO LOG

Unread post by jonaz.dk » 05 Apr 2023, 21:29

Jonaz.dk — Today at 7:04 PM
Micro time!

Last man at the office today!

So we have the end of the first week at the office and now it's Easter vacation here! But work might happen anyways... we will also need to chill a bit I guess.. in theory. But we also like to kick ass on the project just for our own enjoyment. It is not expected at all. But super happy we have such a dedicated and passionate team! 😄

The new chair also happened to give me a bad back yesterday! Like whaaat! 😬
It has now been adjusted accordingly. Ditched the arm rests and things. So I hope it helps.

And it was just a short 3 days week. But what a week!
The team has been super impressive in their output! 😄
We are blown away! Especially in these early days at the studio.

We got DarkSwarm up and running on the SteamDeck pretty quickly on a Windows build. And it was actually running quite fine all things taken into consideration. Maybe around 40 fips without any special optimization in the low intensity areas of the map.
We are using a lot of real time shadows.. Those are always expensive. Also Lumen and a lot of active AI agents are naughty boys on the frame rate in general. Don't think Lumen was running on the Deck.

.
And today we did the first actual 4 player playtest (like ever) and on the SteamDeck. It was pretty fun! 😄
Though the current framerate on the SteamDeck was not impressive with 4 players. But it doesn't matter that much right now. We will rebuild the character controller anyways and it will be much better with waaay more fluid animations compared to what you have seen in the trailer. That was the plan all along. The Current character controller is very stiff in its character motions. That's the current plan at least. Let's see where we land! 🙂

Also further work was done on the swarm system! They are now animated little alien crawlers in their thousands if we so wish. So that was amazing to see! 😄 There is certainly more work to be done on the system. But a really impressive start! Will post as we progress with something nice.

Also very good progress on lore and design for Milestone 1 😄

And we got EVEN MORE cardboard boxes of hardware in the door! Will it ever end? 🤯

Nice holidays if you are at the receiving end of such luxuries everybody!!

Cheers!
Jonas

SteamDeck 4 player local co-op. Framerate not happy! WE WILL FIX!!
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Yesterdays SteamDeck running DarkSwarm Windows build on Proton. Playable!
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Re: DarkSwarm DEV MICRO LOG

Unread post by jonaz.dk » 06 Apr 2023, 16:40

Steam Dev Log. Milestone 0 Completed

https://store.steampowered.com/news/app ... 0458558432

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Re: DarkSwarm DEV MICRO LOG

Unread post by ZeroHero » 09 Apr 2023, 21:54

Wow! Awesome to see a lot of stuff happening!

It must be a super exciting time for you all and hopehully things will work out the way you attend it to.

All the best!

Love the updates!
Keep up the great work!

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Re: DarkSwarm DEV MICRO LOG

Unread post by henrik1972 » 12 Apr 2023, 10:43

Hi

First of all a huge congratz on launching the startup. I wish godspeed on your and the team's endeavor to reach the various milestones and ultimately reaching the finish line.

Reading through this Dev Micro Blog thread I noticed an absolute absence of the boring stuff ! - I'm referring to the financial aspect like budget and how you are funded eg. did you: find an investor, win the lottery, mortgaged the house etc. ?

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Re: DarkSwarm DEV MICRO LOG

Unread post by jonaz.dk » 12 Apr 2023, 11:06

@ZeroHero

Thanks! :D Will try my best!

@henrik1972
Cool thanks! :D

The micro devlog is currently a snapshot of things as is.. but yes the journey to actually getting here would be an interesting story to share when there is time. It requires a rather lengthy write up. :)
The ultra short version is that it took about a year from first thinking about it. With all the ups and downs on the journey to landing the investment. :) I had a blast along the way! We are suuuper lucky (so far) things has been turning out well for us. Of cause you never know what the future brings. Whatever happens I hope to make the best of it regardless of the outcome scenario.
The goal is obviously to make a KICK ASS!! game the majority of players absolutely loves and we have all the fun making.

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Re: DarkSwarm DEV MICRO LOG

Unread post by jonaz.dk » 12 Apr 2023, 16:51

Today's Micro!

After Easter holidays we dropped in on Tuesday to meet the 2 new team members joining the cause!
Creatives on art and audio. Audio is a short internship.
Actually we have 3 people now who out of the blue contacted us wanting to do internships here at Bitfire. Both shorter and medium timeframes. We are super grateful! 😄

Holidays were indeed spent on holidays with their families. But the team has their bitfires burning and looking into implementing early stabs and procedural level generation and the new character system that should both look a lot better and run a lot faster on the CPU.

We also spent some time cleaning up the folders and setting up the project for all the new guys in town. And a lot of the guys have been thrown into GIT for the first time. GIT can be a bit overwhelming at first. But I’m sure we will handle that little learning experience just fine.

More hardware arrived! Chairs, cables.. Nothing super exciting. 😉

As not everybody is on location and full time yet there has been a bit of messing around and planning around executing and agreeing on the plan for the transition to the new animation system. Also weird bugs occurred and we had to manually download a repo to get what was working for one developer working for the rest of us. Super strange.. But so far it’s looking like the intended implementation is working! 😄

We also did a video call and everybody on the floor got a chance to say hi to our offsite Filipino intern.

Audio jumped right into doing some new gunshot sounds. So I'm looking forward to hearing what he comes up with.

Art is looking into new modular level pieces that will fit into the

Also my long awaited Milestone 1 Definition has finally arrived.. Well in the preview version at least so we can talk about what will be included. I overshot over features a bit. So there will be some trimming to do. Senior tech just told me to go nuts so I did.
It is written in a bit of a brief form of a design document outlining some of the basic logic of individual features. We don’t have a large detailed design document as these things tend to age poorly and cost a lot of time in upfront investment. Better to keep it nimble and flexible but still with the larger scope in mind.

Fridays will ‘show and tell’ what you worked on during the week and in some cases showing what you have been working on running the latest build on the Steam Deck.

Cheers!
Jonas


Casual shot from the office with new teamsters!
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Re: DarkSwarm DEVLOG

Unread post by jonaz.dk » 13 Apr 2023, 18:37

Devlog time! (Renamed it from dev micro log, as it was pointed out that it was not really as micro as originally intended) 😉

Super great day of productivity all across the board!
Faster than we have anticipated even. So cool to see!

The new character system is up and running in it's early form! We ended on a bit strange hybrid solution by taking the new system of the underlying base and plugging in the old system on top and doing a round of optimization which is doing wonders for performance of more player characters in the scene.
Still lots of stuff to do on the new character but the base is there. Movement and shooting is running in an early form.

Looking forward to show and tell tomorrow and hopefully seeing better frame rates on the Steam Deck.

I didn't get loads of things done today. My day has a tendency to disappear in team communication and feedback. Which is also super important! 🙂

But got around to playing a bit with the environment shader and some Nanite.
The interior art pipeline will be very much about cleaver use of shaders, trimsheets and decals for maximum fastest art output, while still looking awesome and staying performant. We want it all! Fast, Awesome and more fast.
Hope we will get there.


Code got the new character controller rebuilt and is down with some crazy shooty times. 💥 🔫 💥 🔫 💥 🔫 💥 🔫


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Re: DarkSwarm DEVLOG

Unread post by Code » 14 Apr 2023, 17:58

jonaz.dk wrote: 13 Apr 2023, 18:37 Devlog time! (Renamed it from dev micro log, as it was pointed out that it was not really as micro as originally intended) 😉

Super great day of productivity all across the board!
Faster than we have anticipated even. So cool to see!

The new character system is up and running in it's early form! We ended on a bit strange hybrid solution by taking the new system of the underlying base and plugging in the old system on top and doing a round of optimization which is doing wonders for performance of more player characters in the scene.
Still lots of stuff to do on the new character but the base is there. Movement and shooting is running in an early form.

Looking forward to show and tell tomorrow and hopefully seeing better frame rates on the Steam Deck.

I didn't get loads of things done today. My day has a tendency to disappear in team communication and feedback. Which is also super important! 🙂

But got around to playing a bit with the environment shader and some Nanite.
The interior art pipeline will be very much about cleaver use of shaders, trimsheets and decals for maximum fastest art output, while still looking awesome and staying performant. We want it all! Fast, Awesome and more fast.
Hope we will get there.


Code got the new character controller rebuilt and is down with some crazy shooty times. 💥 🔫 💥 🔫 💥 🔫 💥 🔫


Who is this other Code? 😂

Game looks awesome BTW, really good work
Spiludvikling og undervisning i Unity3D
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Danmarksmesterskabet i spiludvikling.
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Re: DarkSwarm DEVLOG

Unread post by jonaz.dk » 15 Apr 2023, 20:11

@Code
Haha... well! I guess you live with us in name. Getting all the credit across all IT related industries. Not too bad! ;)

Thanks! Glad you like my bedroom prototype visuals and such. :)
The game should look and play much better in a while as we have the time and resources to do some actual focused work on the visuals and gameplay.

Today is shader day!


[>DEVLOG<]
This is an actual micro devlog. 😉

There will be blood 🩸

Doing a bit of shader work. 🤓 👍
This is the early days of the system that will handle more permanent blood, alien goo growth and damage in the levels.

Show and tell last yesterday was awesome. The game is now running much better on the Steam Deck. Around +20 FPS up from the previous build. And super great progress all around. 🙂

Have a nice weekend out there! 😄
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Re: DarkSwarm DEVLOG

Unread post by jonaz.dk » 30 Apr 2023, 21:45

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MILESTONE 1 - Work in progress! (Minigun is Minifun)

DEVLOG HERE:
https://store.steampowered.com/news/app ... 9324403596

DarkSwarm Devlog time!

Things are going great here! Milestone 1 is well under way! We are 3 weeks now into MS1 until the deadline in June.

First of all SOOO much has been happening it has been hard to keep up with the more frequent devlog posts. While Jonas and Ox has also been VERY busy going to and talking to a lot of potential new candidate interns from The Games Assembly in Malmö. These guys will bring so much coolness to the project. It will be absolutely amazing!

The goal of Milestone 1 is to create a good definition of the core gameplay in local co-op. Stuff like a first pass on weapons, classes, abilities, camera, controls, character controller, a smaller selection of enemies and a single mission type (extraction) playable in a procedurally generated level.

So we can play and feel how all the intended mechanics interact in a fully playable and tweakable setting.
The game will also scale visually so it will look sweet in 4K on high-end PC hardware depending on graphical settings.
Also we are usually Friday testing on Steam Deck on ‘medium’ settings. Runs around 60fps depending. It even runs fine at around 50-60 fps on an older integrated chipset laptop on low settings. Looking pretty good even for what it is.

A lot of time has been spent on janking out and refurbishing my old prototype and optimizing what was there. Creating structure ‘real’ programmers like, fixing bugs and developing all the unseen systems of the game so we can play and iterate as fast as possible on the project. All going super great!

We also did a bit of work on trying out split screen as dynamic switching and a single camera zooming out and framing the action. It was clear that for dynamic split screen switching we need to implement a more custom solution if we want to go down that route. Split screen and camera things is on the radar.
Split screen does indeed cost a bit of performance. But it’s not that bad really . We might make various options regarding. Let’s see where it lands! No promises as always. ;)

The latest development has seen all 4 classes in the game. With various class weapons and skills. Still >super early< but it lends a lot to the game already.

There was also some VERY early work on a minigun.. It just feels very dear to our hearts! We are in absolute love with the power of the minigun. <3
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Video with audio
https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/ ... _Short.mp4

I did some work on the environment shader. There will be blood!.. like everywhere if we want that. Also includes alien goo and other things.
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Also great work on visuals and audio and procedural levels. We will try to make the levels look as hand crafted as possible.
Lore wise it has been pretty still as we are very busy with actual gameplay and lore is actually not part of the Milestone. But at least we now have a rough and broad idea about the universe and how it operates and its relation to the players.

And as mentioned last week we (Jonas & Ox) also went to Malmö in Sweden to talk to a lot of SUPER talented students from The Game Assembly. It was INTENSE! We managed to talk to 40 students during the day. So hope we will land some more great talent at the studio to work on the game. We were certainly impressed by the level of quality they have produced. We are REALLY looking forward to working with some of those guys. <3

Yay! We have matching Bitfire Games hoodies going to Sweden and other biz events.
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Epic Games representatives will dropped by our studio last week! How awesome is that! As part of this local Copenhagen MatchUp event. They mostly talked about us getting on the Unreal Developer Network. And always nice to have a chat.
We had a few biz talks planned at the Matchup venue and online. But it is not a large focus right now, as we already have our base covered with Ghost Ship Games. It’s just for meeting new people and hanging out. Great fun!

All in all.. It has been some suuuper great and productive weeks! Much awesome things in the pipe. So far it looks like we are in good shape to reach MS1 in June! And hopefully with flying colors! Guess we will see! :)

Cheers from
Jonas and Bitfire Games

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Re: DarkSwarm DEVLOG

Unread post by jonaz.dk » 06 May 2023, 13:34

Catching up!

Jonaz.dk — 05/03/2023 4:52 PM
Holy shit it’s moving fast! 😎

Today we had our senior developer joining the team officially and finally on location. Much awesome! 🦅

Also what will have 3 TGA students joining our team in late August! IT WILL BE SO FREKKING AWESOME! ❤️
The guys will drop by our studio for playtest, show and tell and beers tomorrow! 🍻

We finally have a real mission system running thanks to our intern Milas who also have been looking into lore and procedural level generation. Also he does amazing pixel art and the hardest high fives. Almost too multitalented for his own good. 😉
So now we have the basic flow running (still early and unpolished).
Select player classes > Select Mission > Start Mission > Complete mission objectives > Trigger escape with the DarkSwarm on your heels > Escape.
All wrapped in a really smart and extendable mission system.

Work on Class skills is ongoing!
There is now an energy system connected to the skills.
Also the team wanted to do a gun turret for the engineer so that will be a thing soon. Like tomorrow or something in an early form.

Downing and reviving is now a thing also! 🧑‍⚕️

Though before you think the whole game is ready to ship. You should be informed that the whole game is VERY much open heart surgery with a lot of bugs and missing features. But we can really feel the game already. And knowing we will take it soooo much further in quality and content. Maaaaan I think it will be good!

I am personally living the best of times! Like EVER professionally!! I love every second of it working with the team. ❤️
And all is done without any kind of company induced crunch with time to spare for polish and bugfixing in the current Milestone 1 while designing the game as we go along. 🤹‍♂️ 🤹‍♂️ 🤹‍♂️ 🤹‍♂️
Though people and myself included do work long and off hours when they feel like it. But only at their own choosing if they are passionate about a certain thing they are working on. We feel the team Bitfires are burning with passion on a daily basis. 💪
Sorry for my humble bragging. 😅 I guess my new role as (effective) producer is going pretty well! It’s not an official thing. But I do all the day to day game producer planning work on the project besides game directing, game design, support and technical art. So a lot of hats! But it’s sooo much fun! I have an absolute blast right now!

We are having a fancy restaurant dinner with our good Ghost Ship Games friends this evening in Copenhagen. And also meeting the small indie team behind SpellRouge, Guidelight Games.
VERY MUCH looking forward to that in an hour or so. It will be super fun and cosy! 🥰

Cheers!
That’s it for today!
Jonas

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Re: DarkSwarm DEVLOG

Unread post by jonaz.dk » 06 May 2023, 13:35

Jonaz.dk — 05/03/2023 5:15 PM
Regarding Split Screen and camera. ALL OF THIS IS EXPERIMENTAL.. NO PROMISES! ALSO this i LOCAL co-op. Online might be different.
I forgot to mention we have put in a 'debug' 2-4 player split screen toggle button on the controller in the current game. Works fine! Buuut actually the shared screen with a very wide zoom out is even better in a lot of way. Performance and situational awareness is MUCH better.
That approach does sacrifice something on the feeling near and close to the action. But it does indeed work.

While the split screen didn't cost as much as we had feared. It is still certainly costly on frame rate.

My feeling is that we could leave it in as an option (NO PROMISES). A little more work would have to be done to make it easier to identify who and where the game is going on.
Some features and UI elements would have to be added to make it work better.

So it's still on the surgery table. But other solutions might actually be better that still allows for the team to split up and explore in different directions.

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Re: DarkSwarm DEVLOG

Unread post by jonaz.dk » 06 May 2023, 13:35

Jonaz.dk — 05/04/2023 8:19 PM
Excellent and sad day today!

Stuff that happened!
- The Engineer’s gun turret got implemented and is functional! (Still early and prototype). Found out that it was super fun to have it as a physics object you can bounce around the level. We might explore this a bit more with Turret Curling. Might become a national sport at some point. 😉

- Rebalanced the enemies and weapon damage. Lots of work/rework on level art modules, design and many other things.

- We had our first visit from the new TGA Swedes who will be joining us in August. Roles of animator and level designer. The Tech Artist couldn’t make it today. But he will drop by Wednesday next week. So 3 in all. But only 2 was here today.
We are super excited! It will be amazing with these guys on the team!

- The sad part was that our audio intern Joachim (1 month internship) had his last day with us for the time being. We might suspect he enjoyed himself during his short internship. 🙂
It was super great to have him around the office! And hope we will have the means to bring him back in some capacity later.

We enjoyed some drinks afterward and hanging out playing my personal variant of UNO I call JUNO. I cannibalized the best cards from ‘UNO All wild’ which is a TERRIBLE game. So I took the best cards from that and implemented in normal UNO with some added rules.
I added a dice roll punishment to one of the cards on the spot (Select color and roll D6 for how many cards the next in turn should draw). Worked great! Inspired by our SpellRouge companions.
We also played a round of JUNO with GSG Mikkel and Søren yesterday during our dinner date. It was A BLAST! ❤️ Also meeting Tim and Thorbjørn from Glowlight games. Food and drinks was amazing as well! Such a great night out.

We have a holiday tomorrow but will return in full force on Monday.

Again thanks to Joachim for the contributions! MUCH appreciated!
You can find and hire Joachim here: https://joachimnyholm.dk/

Cheers
Jonas out!

Joachim recording... something.. not sure what.. 🤔
https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/ ... nAudio.mp4

Playtest time! (Players didn't know I was filming. Just wanted to capture the mood unaffected by my presence) 🙂
https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/ ... ytest2.mp4

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Re: DarkSwarm DEVLOG

Unread post by jonaz.dk » 28 May 2023, 21:50

Steam post link:
https://store.steampowered.com/news/app ... 5651792175


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(Hehe also doing a bit of an experiment with the you-tuber like thumbnail. Let's see if it does something!)

Long time no update!

Simply put, we have been busy getting down and dirty with the development of all the nitty-gritty details. The stream of new things has almost been too overwhelming to write about on a regular basis, and not all of them have been super exciting to show off to the world. Since the last update, there have been 358 commits to the project repository, so stuff has certainly been happening.

A lot of time has been spent on 'the hauler,' which is a rather tricky feature to get working really well due to its complex physics and player interaction. (Early work in progress)
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There has been a BIG push towards reworking a lot of the core functionality prototype systems and preparing them for when we will start focusing on online multiplayer functionality in Milestone 2. It has basically involved rewriting most parts of the old prototype to make it performant and 'future-proof' in C++, with proper code structure in general, so we won't run into too many issues when we open the next 'can of online multiplayer worms'.

So this whole big, wonderful world of game development has felt like doing open-heart surgery with a muddy spoon and a power drill. Okay... maybe not 'that' bad. ;)
Still not done, but getting there one step at the time!

Also, the team has been doing a lot of work on the mission system and difficulties, procedural level generation, classes, abilities, how we communicate the dark levels to the players, new art assets, camera, VFX optimization, and a bit of sound effects without a dedicated audio guy. We have been designing and mocking up control schemes and UI, but they still need to be implemented.

Big things have happened on the visual side! We finally turned the camera 45 degrees and got a lot of brand new modular level assets in. We can really feel that it's beginning to look pretty dope! However, it's still far from where we want to take it in terms of visual quality. Many improvements will come as we progress.

As we approach the Milestone 1 deadline in late June, we have 'sort of' locked down new features while focusing on bug fixing and polishing what we already have.

On a personal note... we are still having a blast every day at the office! I love every day and feel the love and passion of the team on a daily basis. Ox somehow managed to severely pull a leg muscle while out running and has been our office cripple for a while now. However, he is getting better now and has been a real trooper! :)

All in all, we are still on track! And there is still a lot of things to get just sweet and right!

Cheers!
Jonas / Game Director @ Bitfire Games

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Re: DarkSwarm DEVLOG

Unread post by jonaz.dk » 03 Jul 2023, 18:14

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MILESTONE 1 - [COMPLETED]
BOOM! It's official we have officially completed Milestone 1!!! WOOHOO!!


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I'm super proud of what the team has accomplished in a mere 10 weeks of effective team time. From hiring a completely new team to getting everybody on the same page and delivering something that actually feels, looks, and sounds really good already. We essentially rebuilt the original prototype you saw in the trailer into something much more suitable for development.

Milestone 1 was focused on getting class-based gameplay up and running in local co-op. And that's exactly what it does. Although there are still a lot of rough edges, feedback from local 4-player testing has been very positive so far. The game seems very easy and intuitive to pick up and play.

There are A TON of design challenges ahead, from all the little things to big things like online multiplayer. That is the next big hurdle to overcome in Milestone 2.

While in the delivery phase of MS1, we actually got a head start on MS2. Today, we had the first playtest of online multiplayer at the office in a VERY early stage. We were basically running around in the player hub where many things were not being replicated over the network for the other players. But it was actually functional and a great leap forward nonetheless to see the game running online.

Yes, the playhub is also something new and will be expanded upon in the future.

The four classes we will initially focus on are Assault, Engineer, Medic, and Hacker.

More good things are in the works!

And now, back to making the rest of the game!

Cheers from the Bitfire crew!
Jonas / Game Director @ Bitfire Games

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