Nineteen Stone Ninjas

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Subnet Devlog: Back in the Saddle

Mon 28 September 2015 12:13

I always try to avoid apologising if I've not written a devlog for some time; I'm not about to break the habit of a lifetime in this update, but - considering it's been six months - I think you deserve to know what we've been up to all this time.

Let's start by saying this; Subnet is not dead, it's just resting. I spent about one month working on the game after the last devlog update, then real life decided to kick in big-time; I had to deal with a few personal things, plus I landed a contract that has been eating up the vast majority of my spare time. I've been doing an average of 4 hours extra "real" work every day since February, so fitting in quality game dev time has been particularly difficult. As of last Friday that madness is over, though, so I can now spend a little more time concentrating on work that's important to me.

So what have we achieved over the last 6 months? First and foremost, Ryan has produced a finished version of the Subnet theme music that is pretty damn awesome. I keep listening to it over and over, and it's taking all of my strength to keep it "secret" and not post it all over the internet. He really has done the game justice, and I can't wait to reveal it to you all.

Alex has produced a number of other concept art pieces; we now have orthos and portraits for some enemies, along with a particularly great looking portrait piece for one of the main characters. We've also got concepts for some more detailed props that Eric has been working on, and one or two more scenes for detailing. Unfortunately, much of his brilliant work won't be used for the demo, as we just don't have the skills in-house to texture it all up in the short term.

Eric has spent a while doing lots of small props for the office scene, which I am yet to put into the game. This was expedited by the change in artistic direction; textures are now a lot simpler and easier to produce, so Eric can concentrate on the modelling side of things. These props are going to give the internals of the buildings some life - though at the moment getting them in is a low priority.

Lastly, I spent most of April re-jigging the demo level; removing / hiding many of the background objects, optimising, and reorganising the scene, updating all the materials to use the new PBR workflow in Unity 5, sorting out lighting issues and fixing a few small bugs. I also did a bit more work on the AI, though I am still yet to get something together that I am truly happy with. I didn't achieve much between May and September, other than a few minor tweaks and keeping the game up to date with the latest Unity releases.

This brings me to the present. As of this week, I am going to be concentrating on game development yet again, and I have to say I'm pretty stoked about it. However, instead of jumping straight back into the thousands of lines of code in Subnet, I have decided to ease myself back into it by starting a new project. This new game will be based in the Subnet universe, so I will be reusing many of the assets and lore we've already ploughed so much time into. I may even look into releasing it on mobile platforms. Without further ado, let me introduce Subnet: Contracts.

Subnet: Contracts (working title)

It sounds a little too much like a certain IO Interactive game right now, so I'll be working on the title, but I can reveal that I've started the design work on a 2D strategy game that will fill in some gaps in the existing Subnet story and main game. I'm not going to reveal too much more about it right now, as it's still very much a concept, but I expect to iron out details over the next few days, and start work on a prototype within the week.

I'm hoping that by starting a newer, simpler project, I can ease myself and the team back into game dev, at the same time as using it to raise awareness of Subnet, and help explain what the world is all about. My initial ideas are exciting (to me at least!), and I'm confident I can make it into something fun and challenging - watch this space!

Before I finish, I'd like to thank those of you who have continued to show an interest in Subnet and / or the studio - and a special thanks goes out to the NSN team for being patient during a particularly busy period in my life.

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