July has been a productive month for evil death nightmare. Myself and our newly assigned project manager Taylor have been in the process of completely changing our production workflow in order to increase efficiency and productivity, as well as writing additional project documentation. We’re analyzing different key development aspects such as the risks involved, the competition, our pitch and our management workflow and then developing a plan to mitigate all of the problems and eventually release EDN. These plans will change over time and adapt as our project and industry changes. This leads to clarity and direction in the project as there are foreseeable goals and plans in place for the finished product.
Now that we have milestones and a clear path to achieve our goals we have gone back into production of assets such as 3d models, sound and animation. We’ve also launched a new website which is much nicer, less complicated and more clearly shows what EDN actually is. Make sure to check out our production blog for monthly updates on the game, subscribe to our youtube channel and like us on facebook for regular screenshots and updates.
We’ve been a bit quiet over the spring, so I guess we should probably remind you guys that we’re not dead yet and let you know what we’re up to.
Development has been moving at a much more steady pace this year; Since our last update we’ve modeled all of the weapons and we’re beginning texture work on them, we have a 3d greybox of the prologue level completed, AI code is undergoing some final tweaks and the majority of engine programming is complete.
It’s been decided that the Operator and Innawoods modes would be better suited to a more serious environment and we subsequently separated the two from EDN. We’re currently exclusively focusing on EDN right now but we’re eager to work on Operator and Innawoods when EDN is complete.
A singleplayer demo is in the works and we’re starting to get quite close to launching that, the only real bottleneck in our way right now is finding an experienced character modeler who’s stupid enthusiastic enough to work for admittedly little pay (suitable goyim should email examples of their work to [email protected]). So look forward to that and we’ll try to update this thing more frequently.
Recently, we have ported EDN over to unity 5 which has allowed us to do some really cool and exciting things with the graphics. Here I will go through and explain the new features recently implemented in EDN.
Real time global illumination
EDN now has real time global illumination powered by enlighten. Global illumination is the process that simulates indirect lighting like light bouncing off a wall or colour bleeding.
For example, if you look at the image above closely you’ll notice that the green color of the wall is being cast onto the sphere on the right side of the image. That effect is referred to as indirect lighting because the green light isn’t being cast directly from a light but rather is the result of a white light being cast in onto the green wall which is then bleeding onto the nearby sphere.
Here is that concept put into practice, this entire scene has only 1 light source which is the sun. The light from the sun comes in through the sky light and bounces around the room, lighting the entire scene. Traditionally you would have to either put lights all over the roof(who leaves their lights on during the day, imagine the electricity bill) or change the ambient light to be really bright. This method of lighting is far more realistic than traditional methods and looks beautiful.
New standard shader
Unity 5 introduces a new type of built-in shader called the Standard Shader. This shader is designed to replace a large number of the old shaders used in previous versions of Unity – most significantly it replaces all the shaders that were used to render “real-world” objects such as stone, wood, glass, plastic, metal, etc.
The Standard Shader also incorporates a much more advanced lighting model called Physically Based Shading.
Physically Based Shading (PBS for short) simulates the interactions between materials and light in a way that mimics reality. PBS has only recently become possible in real-time graphics. It works at its best situations where lighting and materials need to play together intuitively and realistically.
Unity uses PBS to achieve a consistent, plausible look under all lighting conditions. In order to do so it models how light behaves in reality and follows principles of physics.
With the standard shader, all of these different requirements are combined into a single shader which is intended to be used across all material types. The benefit is that the same lighting calculations are used in all areas of our scenes, which gives a realistic, consistent and believable distribution of light and shade across all models which use the shader.
Unity now has a new integrated audio mixer. This allows is to edit sounds much more effectively and create really cool ambiance in any scene. Watch the video below to learn more.
New physics engine
PhysX 3.3 brings massive performance improvements EDN. This will allow us to create more interactive objects in the game and create more physics based gameplay. For example you can move an object into an enemy’s line of fire and take cover behind it or kill an enemy below you by pushing a heavy object off the edge onto them. I’d imagine a glocknade going off in a room full of physics objects would look awesome too.
Unity now has added a new native decal system allows us to properly use decals.
I’m Steve, Level designer and for a lack of a term that doesn’t sound stupid, gameplay engineer at Infinity Knives. With the development cycle currently focused on refining the engine and other boring code stuff I’ve got the time to write an entry in our new dev blog to touch on some things we’ve yet to address in regards to EDN and the direction we’re taking the project as well as ramble about stuff you don’t care about. If there’s interest, I’ll probably write a few more of these blogs in the coming weeks. At some point we realized that the majority of our fans don’t even know what EDN is beyond a first person shooter made by some idiots from 4chan and I’d like to elaborate on what makes us more than Katawa Shoujo with guns (Buki Shoujo already does that quite well, check it out!) and how we plan on delivering a unique experience. From the original school notebook we’ve used as a design document written roughly two decades ago (you can read it here) it’s quite clear that the kid who wrote it simply wanted to make his very own doom clone, just like you, me and every other twenty-something guy on the planet had done when they were 13 years old. Creating a project of this scope that holds its own and avoids solely capitalizing on the nostalgia of manchildren like ourselves is quite a challenge in itself that our team have been lazily diligently chipping away at for over two years now on a whopping $200 budget. Staying true to the book entitled Evil Death Nightmare we are retaining aspects of the first person shooters of yesteryear that have since been lost in the now mostly stagnant genre of first person shooters. These vintage features range from the relentlessly cruel +1 armor shard monster traps that drew the player to them like a mosquito to a bug zapper, knowing all too well of the negative risk-reward payout of triggering the trap to the even more subtle features, such as how every game released around 2004 was eager to make use of the Havok physics engine and gave the player the ability to navigate the environment by stacking crates in half-life 2 or feel like a bull in a china shop in FEAR and lay ruin to every inch of a research facility stapling enemy corpses to the wall while modern games have all but completely abandoned this very easy to implement effect for the negligible performance boost and network synchronization issues it could create on poorly optimized game engines.
As the level designer, I’d also like to talk on how we use level design make EDN stand out from the norm. It’s really hard to find a recent game with the traps, arenas and interconnecting paths that defined the projects of studios like id Software. There’s a lot to be learned today from the level design and philosophy in Doom and Quake. In fact there’s a lot that should have been learned from Doom and Quake yet for one reason or another were simply ignored in the titles that mimicked them when the FPS was still in an infantile state. The reason Doom is a cult classic over two decades later and the majority of its fans don’t do more than blink when an equally innovative title like Marathon is mentioned is because John Romero and Sandy Peterson’s innovations weren’t analyzed and observed closely enough by the same games trying to copy and expand the formula beyond “you run at the speed of a Ferrari in first person and there’s lots of gore and bad guys”. The way elements like branching paths functioned in doom lead to the player needing to take note of his surroundings and use them to his advantage, they often forced the player to make quick decisions and skillfully retreat around the level fighting enemies from all sides, cleverly fooling them into fighting amongst themselves and making sure not to corner himself or mismanage the scattered and potentially booby trapped power ups. Less linear level design also serves to help the player suspend his disbelief and identify with the world rather than seeing it as a set piece to a linear story and is a valuable immersion tool even in games that don’t demand that the player be immersed. Interestingly enough, I feel that the doom modding community today shows how the industry should have went about the “doom clones” that spanned from 1993 to 1997. The intricacy of the architectural brilliance found in some custom doom content results in some of the most thought out unique video game scenarios imaginable. A great example that I had a lot of fun with recently is Monster Hunter LTD part 1 and part 2 made by a guy who calls himself Didy.
This overhead map of Monster Hunter really demonstrates the architectural chaos that a good Level Designer can create and shows how basic core concepts like branching yet still closely connected paths in “horseshoe” shaped levels that John Romero’s maps are so well known for can be taken to the extreme to create very memorable experiences. There’s a great series of interviews with Romero where he explains thousands of incredibly subtle game changing tweaks he made that even the most observant players wouldn’t have noticed and yet these severely shaped what Doom is. We hope to distinguish EDN by carefully studying what made these classic first person shooters so damn good so that we can expand upon these features and philosophies and innovate new features without infringing upon what made these games so great in the way that many games produced after the mid 90’s have failed to achieve.
While it is incredibly reassuring to us to see that similar projects like Serious Sam 3, Wrack, STRAFE, TOXIKK, Shadow Warrior, Hard Reset and RetroBlazer met with widespread praise and commercial success, unfortunately while half of these titles turn out great, it seems like other the half of these projects lose sight of what elements made the FPS genre before Half-Life good. Instead ending up as the FPS equivalent of an indie shovelware platformer made in flash with “retro” art styles that look worse than games did 25 years ago. There are countless of examples of incredibly good design choices going in to decade plus aged shooters in the past but never really catching on as mainstream features in the 20 years following their release, even in games that market themselves with buzzwords like throwback or classic. We’re experimenting with a lot of these all but abandoned gameplay elements to make EDNs single player really stand out, such as the Q3CPMA-style movement physics we’ve implemented, which in layman’s terms means taking Quakes ability to go fast by strafe jumping and combining it with Counter-Strikes ability to go fast by bunny hopping and combining them to go really really fucking fast. The levels are designed to reflect these features as well, while they will appear fairly normal to the casual observer, someone versed in how the movement mechanics function will see it as more of a race course to exploit to their advantage at breakneck speeds, Think Mirrors Edge with rocket jumping and demons. Now we certainly can’t isolate a massive portion of our playerbase with complex mechanics in an otherwise simple by design game, which is why many of these types of mechanics won’t be mandatory to understand to progress, instead they will give the player a significant advantage in the singleplayer and allow him to play at a higher difficulty level with the highest difficulty outright demanding the player have an understanding of these skillsets to complete them. I believe this is the kind of function the difficulty setting should serve in video games. It’s quite disheartening to see modern games take the opposite approach and focus on appealing to the average to terrible skilled player and isolating the adept player with a bland and unrewarding experience solely so poor players can feel good about completing the game on the hardest difficulty. Video games like EDN just aren’t meant for people who don’t know how to play video games, we’re not sorry for that.
Im sure some of you noticed that EvilDeathNightmare.com was down for quite a while earlier this month/late last month. This was because due to budget restrictions EvilDeathNightmare.com was hosted on a server that hosted a certain videogame griefing website. Someone was upset enough to DDoS the other website and consequently EvilDeathNightmare.com went down and the host was so upset that they decided to terminate the entire server. After struggling with the host to get a backup EvilDeathNightmare.com was finally pushed up onto its own dedicated server located on its own server in the wonderful country of Iceland. What does this mean for you? Well iceland means that this site cant be shut down because “muh feels” and since its on its own dedicated server EDN will get to you faster than ever before also EDN now has the same country code as the Islamic State so enjoy being on a list.
The second change is that EvilDeathNightmare.com is now entirely behind SSL via the CloudFlare flexible SSL system. This means your connection to CloudFlare is encrypted and the connection from CloudFlare to the EvilDeathNightmare server is also secure. Now it is very hard for someone to intercept the traffic between you and EvilDeathNightmare.com, dont worry your secret is safe with us*.
TL;DR – We Iceland now and we SSL now
*Warning: All secrets property of infinity knives studios