Some cool stuff in the recent updates so figure it's time for another Advancing Telos post!
Race ghosts have been a long requested feature and they're finally here! Instead of rendering a ghost mech, I render the ghost trail for the entire route and have energy travel along it to show position. The advantage here is that you can observe the ghost's route independent of time -- you can go to a particular part of the map to study the path and deduce how they took a specific corner etc.
Right now it displays up to 3 ghosts at the same time:
- blue is your current best time from that session
- green is your personal best on the leaderboards
- red is the next best time on the leaderboards -- the time you need to beat to move up in rank
Heal Gem detects enemies
Heal Gems also got a new feature -- they now paint enemy targets within a certain range. You'll see their healthbar and nametag through walls and this is broadcast to all your teammates.
Polish and player feedback
Mechs now cast shadows in gravity areas -- they not only look nice, but they also give a better sense of positioning (partly why I went with a blob shadow approach so the shadow is always directly under the mech regardless of lighting -- prioritizing function over realism).
In the openness of zero gravity, the player lacks much of the feedback for movement that the nearby groundplane provides in most games. One way I've tried to address that is to give on-screen feedback for your thrusts. It's a subtle effect that the gif compression makes look kind of messy, but I think works well.
These also help when you're cloaked so you know when others can see your visual thrusters.
Zero gravity drifting is another area that I felt lacked sufficient feedback. With the latest update, I've added both audio and visual feedback (notice the HUD shaking) to help communicate the intensity of the drift. The HUD effect is subtle but I wanted something visual to compliment the audio feedback.
Also used that shake effect for when you collide into walls or take damage.
Full list from the changelog:
Current State of Balance
The biggest thing is probably the Heal Gem upgrade that now makes them detect enemies around them. This means Heal Gem placement is extra important and can be a key tool for the defense.
There's been some refinements in these updates -- in particular I think the Rocket Launcher feels better. Probably won't have much to say on balance until we get playing more
Still working toward polish. Next focus will probably be on environments and overall visual effects. There's still a lot I want to do with various areas of the map.
I also need to start implementing the Steam API so we can move over to Steam. When that happens, the Launcher will be made obsolete and Steam will handle updates.
As always, let me know what you think!