30th August 2015
We are close to finishing the various modifications and prototype content for the 0.2.6 "unstable" build and expect to publish this work within the next two weeks, we currently expect this to be the last "unstable" build before we can make the Unity 5 port of the game the default version of Gang Beasts on Early Access (the 0.1.5a Unity 4 alpha build will be made available for download through the Steam client "BETAS" tab as a legacy build for making comparisons of gameplay, performance, stability and content with the Unity 5 builds).
YouTube™ Video: Prototype Gang Beasts customisation screen (placeholder UI) Views: 11,050 An example of the prototype customisation screen functionality in Gang Beasts with placeholder UI. For information see http://steamcommunity.com/games/285900/announcements/
In the last two months we have continued to work on optimisations, new game modes, the character customisation system, character customisations, modifications to current stages, and prototypes for a number of new stages.
YouTube™ Video: Prototype Gang Beasts join screen (placeholder UI) Views: 5,625 An example of the basic join screen functionality in Gang Beasts with placeholder UI. For information see http://steamcommunity.com/games/285900/announcements/
Work on the character customisation system is at a stage that supports making functional examples of the UI and customisation process and the work on new characters, games modes, modified stages, and stage prototypes is now sufficient to give information on the specific functionality and content we expect to make available in the builds coming in September and October.
YouTube™ Video: Gang Beasts character customisation test Views: 11,186 A character customisation test for the prototype character customisation system in Gang Beasts. For information see http://steamcommunity.com/games/285900/announcements/
The information in this post will summarise the work that has been done on some of the new character customisations, the character customisation system, modified stages, and the new stage prototypes (“billboard”, “blimp”, and “girders”). Specific information about the current stages, new stage prototypes, and the planned escalations for specific stages will be posted as a series of individual threads in the Early Access forums closer to the release of the next build.
For several months we have been working with SuperGenius Studios to implement the full character customisation system for the game and to make a series of new playable characters to populate and test the character system, the work on the first prototype of the customisation system is close to finished and we currently expect to make a version of this prototype available for testing in an “unstable” build later this month (see the YouTube links above for examples of a recent iteration of the character system).
The character system supports a number of slots for different accessories (hats, capes, hair, shirts, skirts etc.), the prototype version of the system has support for handling overlapping geometry, specifically when the geometry of a model or asset passes through the geometry of a second model asset the system indentifies and removes intersecting and occulded geometry where needed (for reference this functionality is not fully working in the linked video).
The current implementation of the system is functional but needs additional work and testing before it can be published in a build, we currently expect to make this functionality available in September. The full system will support the saving and sharing of preset customisations when finished.
We have worked with SuperGenius on a number of new character sets, some sets have been made specifically to use to populate Beef City with pedestrians and AI enemies (for the Streets of Rage, Final Fight, Double Dragon influenced story mode), others have been made to give more scope for customisation (for testing the customisation system).
The logic for the Gang Beasts variations on “King of the Hill” and “Capture the Flag” game modes has been implemented but the specific map locations (KOTH) and flags (CTF) need to be added for each stage, we plan to make a playable prototypes of these game modes available in a coming build for testing and will make more information about the new game modes soon.
We have finished work on the geometry for the modified versions of the “incinerator”, “subway” , “vents”, we are working to make these modified stages to the next build which barring significant issue should be published to Steam within the next two weeks.
Work on the modified "buoy" and "ring" stages is also close to finished.
More information on the rationale and mechanics of the modified stages will be posted in the Early Access forums when the modified stages are released in the next build.
We have prototyped a number of new stages for the game, three of these stages, “billboard”, “blimp”, “girder”, and "gymnasium" are at a stage where they can be play tested and will be included as prototypes in the next “unstable” build. The “billboard” stage prototype is a neglected roadside billboard with breakable panels and front and rear platforms (a modified version of this stage will have breakable railings, lighting, flooring, and a static ladder), the “blimp” stage is a floating dirigible passing through a series of high buildings, the “girders” stage is an aborted high-rise building development with breakable flooring and suspended girders, the "gymnasium" stage is one of a series of stages that are planned to approximate the mechanics and gameplay of the "sandbox" stage from the pre-alpha builds.
We will make information on the other stage that we are prototyping over the coming weeks. Information on the mechanics of the modified stages will be posted in the Early Access forums when the modified stages are released in the next build.
Since getting access to the Unity 5 beta in mid-September 2014 we have prioritised porting Gang Beasts to Unity 5 to exploit the significantly improved physics performance, and other graphics, lighting, audio, and engine improvements, it has been difficult and protracted process that has forced us to fully remake the procedural character animation system and modify the structures and parameters for the numerous stages that were playable in the previous 0.1.x Unity 4.5 builds.
The first prototype of the Unity 5 port of Gang Beasts was made available through Steam as a second optional “Beta” build in April, this was necessary to give access to iterations of the Unity 5 port without removing access to the older 0.1.5a "stable” alpha build (made with Unity 4.5 and PhysX 2.8.3), when the modified “incinerator”, “subway” , and “vents” stages are released in the next public alpha build (build 0.2.6) the “unstable” Unity 5 build will have content parity with the older “stable” Unity 4 build.
If no significant issues are identified with the public 0.2.6 build it will become the default version of Gang Beasts on Steam Early Accesss (replacing the 0.1.5a Unity 5 build) in September.
There are still a number of key optimisations that can be made to the Unity 5 builds but the 0.2.x Unity 5 builds are demonstrably more performant than the 0.1.x Unity 4 builds in most contexts. For information on the performance of PhysX 3.3 relative to PhysX 2.8.x see the High-performance Physics In Unity 5[blogs.unity3d.com] post on the Unity Technology blog.[blogs.unity3d.com]