Page 1 of 2

A Fresh Start

Posted: Thu May 11, 2017 1:28 pm
by loboLoco
Some of WolfQuest’s game code is over ten years old now — that’s older than most of the wolves living in Yellowstone today, and older than some of our players! Over the years, that codebase has grown enormously, and while we’ve revised, refactored, and rewritten large chunks of it, it’s certainly feeling its age.

That’s why we’re starting over with Episode 3. Every line of gameplay code in Tower Fall will be fresh and new. Tommi, our lead Unity developer, has been working on this new codebase for over six months now, merging his knowledge of WolfQuest gameplay with some fresh perspectives on code design.

What do we gain from this effort?
  • We can design the entire episode as a coherent body of code, rather than incrementally, adding features one by one, as we did with the original game. That’ll give us a clean, modern codebase for ongoing development and expansion.
  • We can implement a new type for AI. Instead of behavior trees (essentially branching if/then logic), we’re using Utility AI, which creates more naturalistic behaviors based on the animal’s current priorities and available options to satisfy their needs and wants.
  • We have a blank slate to redesign some features — like a new, more naturalistic spawning and scent system for prey animals.
  • We can make core elements more robust and modular — for example, setting up new animals is very bow now but will be much easier in the new codebase. We’re also making it easy to let players switch from one animal to another at will. (Not saying this will be included in Tower Fall’s initial release, but you never know…)
  • We can build a new wolf and camera controller, with better camera controls (including a mouse-driven camera orbit), vastly improved Jump function, and other improvements.
  • We can make the game fully compatible with Xbox and Steam controllers.
  • We’re writing code in a special way that will allow automated testing, which should help us identify and fix bugs far more quickly and efficiently than in the past.
Of course, because we’re starting from scratch, it may take longer to produce Episode 3 than if we’d stuck with the old codebase (though given the state of that codebase, we had expected quite long development and bugfixing periods for it too). And it will create some inconsistencies with the old episodes — though we do want to rebuild those episodes eventually with the new codebase, as long as sales continue at a decent level. But we think those are tolerable tradeoffs given all the benefits of a new codebase — and the robust platform it will give us for future development. (Episode 4, anyone?)

Re: A Fresh Start

Posted: Thu May 11, 2017 1:33 pm
by Nor-easter Forecast
Great to hear this, thanks for sharing Dave! I'm so excited for new AI and improved scent systems.

Re: A Fresh Start

Posted: Thu May 11, 2017 2:05 pm
by Koa
I am sure a new codebase will prove very beneficial. Thanks for sharing this, Dave.

Re: A Fresh Start

Posted: Thu May 11, 2017 4:33 pm
by Phasoli
Oh my!

I would be A-Okay with any inconsistencies that happen to turn up. Thanks so much for the update!

Re: A Fresh Start

Posted: Thu May 11, 2017 4:53 pm
by JordyWild
What does this mean for Episode 3? When will it be released now?

But i do highly think that this 'start over' aspect of things will do great for the game! Curious to see how it all turns out

Re: A Fresh Start

Posted: Thu May 11, 2017 4:57 pm
by wackywolfet
I am looking forward to seeing what y'all come up with. This is very exciting!
Edit: I am also drooling in eager anticipation of some new music! I am still in love with the WolfQuest soundtracks from each episode. I find that the style of the music that has been used in the episodes is beautiful; I am really looking forward to similar stuff.

Re: A Fresh Start

Posted: Thu May 11, 2017 5:00 pm
by Koa
JordyWild wrote:What does this mean for Episode 3? When will it be released now?

But i do highly think that this 'start over' aspect of things will do great for the game! Curious to see how it all turns out
The team does not plan on providing any public estimates on the game's release, other than that they hope to release the game before the end of 2017. Whether or not that will happen now is anyone's guess.

Re: A Fresh Start

Posted: Thu May 11, 2017 5:59 pm
by Kaioh
Oh, this is great! Definitely can't wait to see some new code in the game. And AI.

Re: A Fresh Start

Posted: Thu May 11, 2017 9:55 pm
by Kipcha28
Wow! I know from experience how messy projects can get when you keep adding and adding code to get new pieces just right - and you've got ten years' worth of it! It's a big task to take on, but sometimes it's best to restructure things from scratch; it'll save more time in the long run and allow you more flexibility than trying to keep fitting in more and more pieces and hoping it doesn't cause something to fall apart.

I'm excited to see the impact this will have on the game and its development!

Re: A Fresh Start

Posted: Thu May 11, 2017 10:15 pm
by roguemoon
I literally cannot wait for Episode 3, the new codebase will be incredible!!

Re: A Fresh Start

Posted: Fri May 12, 2017 2:39 pm
by Swifty
I'm really pleased to see that WQ is doing well enough to get a new episode! :mrgreen: Out of curiosity, what kinds of inconsistencies do you think will pop up?

Re: A Fresh Start

Posted: Fri May 12, 2017 6:25 pm
by Wolvencall
This is amazing!!:D I'm so excited to see the fun educational route this game takes!

Re: A Fresh Start

Posted: Sat May 13, 2017 3:20 am
by CapriciousCeilican
I'm really excited to see this. Are you planning to redo the previous episodes as well?

Re: A Fresh Start

Posted: Sat May 13, 2017 5:03 am
by Akaiuu
omg i cant wait for episode 3 :D :D :wolf: :fox: :D

Re: A Fresh Start

Posted: Sat May 13, 2017 1:17 pm
by SolitaryHowl
HollowedWyld wrote:I'm really excited to see this. Are you planning to redo the previous episodes as well?
Yes, they would like to redo previous episodes too...as long as sales do decently well.