Devblog 3

New UI, paints, decals and queues.

29 June 2018

The biggest change this month is the new UI. The entire in-game interface has been updated, refreshed and redesigned to help you play. Simplified prop stats, clearer tutorials and improved prop browsing are just some of the areas we’ve improved this month.

If you’re new to the game hopefully this new UI will help you find your feet faster; and if you’re a zeppelin pro you should still feel right at home.

One thing to note: a couple of features have been disabled this month until the new UI can be updated to support them, primarily multiple ships and weather.

We’ve implemented a first pass on a tool to let you customize the exterior of your ships. You can use a variety of decals with full colour, rotation, scale, layering and mirroring support to design the ship of your dreams.

This is using a new decal middleware that’s also being used in Before. Each decal is just a simple texture that we’re projecting onto the side of the zeppelin. Internally, decals are just standard props (like a chair, pot plant, etc.) but it triggers a new placement mode that locks the prop to the surface of the balloon. Since these are just props, they automatically work with things like the eyedropper, deleting, saving and loading, etc.

We’ve started making some new paint materials to let you customise the interior of your ship. Paul created concepts of the ship interiors, guiding us in the direction of style and tone.

So far we’ve created wood, tile, carpet, and wallpaper, but there’s lots more to come. The materials use a custom shader that lets us control the colours used, the specular and metalness of each pattern element, and the amount of tiling, as well as a few other things. This way we can get loads of variation.

We’ll be doing an art pass on the look and feel of the materials in the coming week to match the concepts now that the tech is finished and implemented.

Passengers queuing has been something I’ve wanted to look at for a while. They’re a natural, universally understandable indicator that you need more of a given thing: if you saw a vending machine with 20 people lined up to use it, it should be obvious that you need more vending machines.

It seems simple, but a lot had to go into this to make it work. The first issue I had to deal with was spacing. What if a player places a prop in a small room where there isn’t much room to line up? To solve this I use a navmesh raycast to determine how many clear places I can place in front of a prop before it hits an edge.

The next issue was timing. At what point does a unit join the line? If somebody adds themselves to the line when they begin to walk towards the prop, units that are closer could join the line before the first unit reaches it. This means that you get gaps in the queue because units are waiting for others to get to their place. The easiest fix for this was not registering a unit as being in the line until they are close to the prop, this made the lines look much more natural.

This month’s update will be going out to testers today. If you’ve already received a key be sure to restart your client to get the update! If you've already signed up to test be sure to check your inbox, as we'll send out some new keys as well. Haven’t signed up yet? Sign up here to get yourself in the tester list. We send out keys each month with the monthly update.