/ #Dev Diary 

AA Battery - Week 37

Week 37 was a bit of a mixed bag… I didn’t make much progress on finishing off the seaside level prototype at the start of the week. Then I got a bit sidetracked in the middle of the week and finally ended up having to do a 3 hour push tonight to get the seaside level finished enough to move on.

16 July - 22 July, 2018

We’re planning on calling this new level the Bay Of Boars, which is a not-so-subtle reference to the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba by American-sponsored rebels in April 1961. In terms of the progression between levels, this is probably going to be the medium difficulty level of the 3 first levels that the player could start in.

In it’s current state it’s way too difficult for that, but fixing that will involve building easier ways to configure level progression, as what we have at the moment is completely hard-coded for the one level we started with.

While I did a bit of work to make the boat work and land marines on the beach, the bulk of the work this week was actually fixing up the many bugs that arose from hammering all of our existing stuff into a new level set up. The first part was trying to get marines to stand back up and leave the boat after they fell over from the rapid unrealistic deceleration - I did get the stand-up logic kinda mostly working in the end, but for the marines specifically I ended up settling on fixing their rotations while they were passengers to avoid most problems. That did produce the amusing case of the mildly possessed marine:

Mildly Possessed Marine

Once I finally finished with that I had another frustrating two hours of getting the marines and paratroopers moving up slopes consistently… Got that working by adjusting my concept of left or right to include the normal of the surface the unit was on instead of simply going straight left or straight right.

Here’s a video showing off the level (I cheated a bit by starting on Day 6 with some guards purchased just to make it barely-survivable for one day). In addition to the boat coming in very quickly and offloading marines in an orderly fashion you should also notice that Sas has added some explosion sound effects:

This week I will start on ripping out the current complicated crew system (which was roughly version 3) and replacing it with a simpler one that is designed to get out of the way of the action game play rather than having the player sitting for minutes in menu screens agonising about what type of soldier to add to their bunker.

The soldiers will now add diminishing buffs to bunker gun rotation and loading speed, with the first two soldiers (the commander and gunner in our original system) providing large bonuses, while further soldiers provide much smaller gradually diminishing bonuses. They will act mainly as additional hit points for the bunker against enemy assaults. The player will always need to have at least 1 soldier manning the gun, so in the starting scenario where the player has two soldiers they would be able to set one of them on guard duty (provided they have a pistol handy).


I mentioned in the introduction that I got a bit sidetracked… I wanted to start experimenting with multiplayer a bit again in between working on this game, so I dusted off MegaCorps / Conglomeration from 2016’s GitHub Game Off and started trying to figure out how I would go about adding multiplayer to a turn-based game like that. Obviously this would be a bit different from our FPS card game, so I started by assuming that I won’t necessarily use Unity’s HLAPI.

The contenders ended up being:

  • Build a custom back-end with Spring Boot: Discarded - way too much work.
  • Look at the new Unity-Google collaboration on networking: Still in alpha - I applied, but I haven’t heard anything back yet - I think they’re aiming at FPS first.
  • PlayFab: Came across this while researching alternatives after the last Ludum Dare… Discarded based on the comparison in this video.
  • GameSparks: The winner!

Step 1 will be login and registration, but for that I need to build some new UIs and what I have right now is already a tangled mess… so it might take me a while to get going on this at 1-2 hours a week. Tempting as it may be to throw a couple of weeks into getting this project off the ground, I decided to be an adult and keep focussing the bulk of my time on AA Battery for now - we need to get that done and released by the end of this year or it’s never going to happen.

At least the short 2-3 hour break from AA Battery did help me regain some motivation to come back and finish off a fair bit of the remaining issues on the new level, so I’ll try to keep working in an hour or two here and there just to avoid getting bored with AA Battery which is now starting to get down into the hard work part of the game development life cycle.


Matt Van Der Westhuizen

Back-end service developer at Ubisoft Blue Byte by day - wannabe game designer & developer by night.