Snowstorm 2.5D

December 2021, Week 1

- Adjusted camera constraints / behavior to only shift up and down. This way you can see equally far up/down as you can left/right to make up for the 16:9 aspect ratio of modern screens.
- Player is now a NavMeshAgent like the enemies. No more falling in the water, no more jumping.
- Quadrupled the block resolution (one block's area is now 4*4 instead of 8*8).

November 2021, Week 2

UI design
Many iterations of rectangular and other layouts, more realistic and more stylized symbols, separate and combined gizmos and weighing numbers against bars and such, ultimately lead to this design I am happy with.
The gizmo will float behind the player in world space and show health (horizontal bar, black full, white red empty), stealth energy (S meter that fills vertically, light blue) and a row of grenade icons (binary, white on, red off).
The implementation in Unity is not presentable yet so here is a blurry photo of the concept on paper.

November 2021, Week 1

Demo Day is a question mark. The AI is making progress, lots of little issues are getting fixed. But I have yet to start on meaningful level design. The player cannot die yet. There is no win state. Oh well, good enough for Early Access and a big marketing campaign.

Based on recommendations supplied by teams supervising the development of Snowstorm 2.5D, we have decided to postpone the release of the demo. The ongoing impact of the pandemic creates added pressure and impedes the coordination between our international teams of passionate developers.
Everyone at Snake Mountain Delivery Inc. and at our partner studios is heart-broken that it had to come to this. We will spend the extra time fine tuning the game, while ensuring the health and safety of our staff. Now more than ever we are focused on delivering the best possible play experience at launch in early 2022 or late 2031 depending on internal testing and the continued success of our crowd-funding scam. Thank you for your understanding.

October 2021, Week 4

I've been messing with ways to get decent reflections on the water.
- Unity SSR (v2 stack in standard pipeline): Complete joke, don't bother unless you're making a side-scroller.
- Simple planar reflections asset (free): Only razor sharp reflections and only with a forward or "legacy deferred (light prepass)" camera which both mess up the lighting and degrade performance.
Oh well, at least now I know. Time to cut my losses and go back to AI and general gameplay.

October 2021, Week 1

Not getting much done lately but I'm still working on this. I've had some hard gameplay decisions to crack which I find exhausting. Inbetween wracking my brain about those I tweak the visuals so here's an update on that.

Fake "motion blur" on the snow flakes via stretching
Better snow flake shadows
No performance impact from either improvement.
Working on a better crosshair and camera controls.

- Refined the mouse aim, laser length, and settled on a light source as a "cursor" so you can tell where you're aiming exactly when the laser is occluded or when you're aiming closer than laser length.
- Undecided: Will controller input emulate this behavior or will it be direction-based without a cursor?
- Tweaked movement to be more snappy/responsive.
- Experimented with values (sun, AO, skybox, fog) for foggy weather.

September 2021, Week 3

This is a quick summary of changes made at random times since the first post and before the more structured progress posts that are to follow.

Added gun placeholder, laser pointer and rapid fire of projectiles
Added crosshair
Added crouching
Added spawnpoints for enemies and related logic
Expanded the AI related classes a lot
Added basic visibility checks (enemy vision)
Idea guy bonus:
Spent lots of time contemplating control layouts, weapons, snow rendering, the linear structure of how one level follows another, how boss fights could work and countless other things.

Snow - Check.
Storm - Pending...

Different wind speeds require different turbulence (noise) settings, placement, emitters etc. so I am creating prefabs for them. Much easier to handle. Using triggers to kill particles allows massive increases in the rate and is a very manual process as well so that's another reason.
Screenshot: Snow flakes are now lit. There is a performance impact but it's worth it.

The flat plane is gone, replaced by a grid of ice blocks instantiated with an editor script. So far the functionality is only "fill the whole grid with blocks" (82 blocks, big time saver) and "delete all the blocks" (quality of life feature).
Also added light probes, made the snow flakes brighter, worked out better lighting settings and better skyboxes for night and day.

July 2021, Week 1

I started on this last week because I realized my long-term project needs fairly complicated AI and I know I will learn faster in a simpler sandbox. so far I've got basic player movement, a simple enemy that can reach the last player position (or closest point on navmesh), placeholder shapes and materials, camera smoothly follows player. no shooting or UI yet.