I’ve been laying the foundation for a trailer over the last couple weeks, so most of my progress in Auto Fire has come in the form of cleanup, although there are a few gameplay tweaks, mainly to make that early experience a bit better. On the upside, there are less-soldier-y gang members, a cleaned up HUD, some new lighting and vehicle trails, check it out.
Starting next week, I’ll be able to work on Auto Fire full-time for a while, so prepare for some meaty updates. The goals are to significantly improve the player movement, reveal more options when driving, and fleshing out systems that have only been teased, like a more alive overworld.
See you on the road!
Upgraded to Unity 2019.1, which seems to have gained a little performance.
Cleaned up UI
The equipment quotes in the info popup are now aligned correctly
Revised weapon icons
Revised window frames, etc.
Removed the skid meter behind the car, since it didn’t look great.
The player can turn the skid meter on or off in the options screen
Remove random encounter dialogues until they are ready.
Revised the road decals to make for softer edges
“Soldiers” are now desert warriors
Foot gangers now use the proper pose to match the weapon they are wielding.
Added headlights to the player car when in a ruined city
Lowered overall brightness of the city map, so that the light sources could stand out.
Increased the light brightness for streetlights and barrels and fire.
Revised the trails from the taillights of vehicles entirely. They use a new system that makes them very smooth.
Improved the detection of offroad when a vehicle is driving, for visuals and gameplay ramifications
Gangers now use battle cries rather than military radio transmissions when they spot the player
Vehicles now rev their engine instead of honk when the spot the player
Improved the visibility of enemy cars (they were very short)
Increased the range of junkthrowers since they were still kind of frustrating to use.
Adjusted population cap to accommodate new fuel dumps and watchtowers.
Oh man oh man it’s been far too long since I’ve published an update to Auto Fire. That’s a terrible thing I don’t want to happen very often, but I started to put in the quest updates and it made sense to get a number of additional features up to snuff in support of it.
Worse yet, I sat on a hojillion changes in my source control before I checked everything in. I think it was like a month. Work was making me a little crazy, but that’s ridiculously bad form. On the upside, this update brings about a bunch of changes in a big sweep.
My primary goal for this update was to add more exploration and stages to the boss fights and quests. For this I needed to support better quest state reporting, and make new emplacements to fight against to draw the boss out. Then I realized that the whole system fell apart when you left the area, so I had to improve how quests were maintained when you leave an area. Then I realized I wasn’t really saving data the way I should and basically had to improve the saves to be near-ready for cross-session saves (hopefully soon). Then I realized that spawning emplacements in random locations was really ugly and made them hard to find, so I added a content socketing system for bosses, emplacements, loot and hazards so that their placement could be more deliberate and hand-crafted.
Along the way I cleaned up the UI, added dynamic music, fixed some lingering physics problems (which caused invisible soldiers when the ragdolled out of the world, as well as making some tiles near rotated large objects to be un-enterable. I even stripped out some of the anti-aliasing that was making the game look muddy.
Entering a map occupied by a boss now requires the player to progress through the map and take out a number of strategic structures in order to coax the boss to face you.
Outpost maps are defended by armored watchtowers.
Ruined cities require you to take out fuel dumps.
The quest title is shown when entering and area, and updates are shown as the player achieves objectives.
The mini quest display is cleaned up and should update properly.
Quests are properly resumed when the player returns to a location.
Reviewing your quests that are in maps other than the current one is handled better.
Added some post-apocalyptic music and a couple stingers. Adjusted existing stingers.
Added dynamic music tracks for city and outpost tactical maps.
Dynamic music now escalates as the player takes out more emplacements and the enemy spawns get more intense, up until the boss is unleashed and the boss music is played.
Added boss-specific music, and adjust the intensity based on how close the boss is.
Adjusted the anti-aliasing so the game isn’t blurry. Temporal anti-aliasing can cause a smearing effect might work for realistic titles but ain’t great for games with precise information to dole out.
Added sustained fire bonuses that improve player accuracy after multiple attacks.
Painting an enemy with the radar will improve player accuracy against them.
Improved some targeting response elements by indicating which entities are people, cars, emplacements, etc.
Emplacements such as watchtowers have new aggro and play distinct spotted sounds.
Extended the aggro duration of enemies and made sure they don’t lose interest in the player while still in sight.
Junkthrowers do 50% more damage. They were supposed to be scrub-tier weapons but they were just sooooo bad.
The Stallion now has a bolt rifle mounted front and two junkthrowers (one per side). Its combat capability was depressingly terrible.
Mines have a lower cooldown again.
Significantly more cash is dropped from loot crates and enemies. Killing a boss and getting $4 was definitely sub-awesome.
Zones have fewer garages.
Quest emplacements like watchtowers and fuel dumps are placed in sockets that are part of map generation. Thus their placement is more crafted.
Loot crates and barrels also have specific hand-crafted sockets for various map generation tiles, for a less haphazard placement.
Crates are off the beaten path, sometimes in nooks or dead-ends, but generally in a place somewhat thought out.
Barrels are placed in clusters around road hazards, fuel stations and large wrecks.
Loot and barrels now have a tunable target number placed per map. Before it was a much wilder range of possibilities.
Population, quest progression and entity placement is now saved when exiting and returning to a map.
Entities, enemies, sites and pickups now save their state (when marked to do so) when leaving and returning.
This is not quite all the way to full savegames, but we’re very close.
Improved the display of enemy misses somewhat. Shots go wide and misses are pretty clear.
Cleaned up the “chrome” UI window borders. They were originally photoshopped from actual chrome dashboards but that didn’t scale as well as I’d like. Buttons have their own appearance now.
Improved some bugs with weapon targeting and the widgets over target vehicles.
Can now display entities as singular or plural for quest readouts.
Boss and targeting popup displays are now cleaner and, well, less terrible.
Fixed the handling of rotating large objects… This means that there should no longer be any invisible barriers.
Improved some poorly-handled persistent effects such as oil jets and skids… These are now handled with greater safety and more robustness.
Enemies no longer can get in a state of attacking inanimate objects or themselves.
All the things. Pretty much highlighting the stuff I wrote about in the last post are ready for prime time. The best thing is that I finally got a settings screen in there. And, hey, a Quit Button (guh, can’t believe I dragged my feet on that).
Some new Auto Fire coming in! Check out what’s new:
Mines: When anybody (including you!) moves adjacent to one, it arms and then explodes 1 second later. Be careful!
Oil Slick: Lay down a strip of this, and any cars that hit this immediately lose their grip… perfect for tight quarters like the city.
Flaming Oil: Leave behind a trail of flaming death. Sets whatever enters it on fire.
Wide Smokescreen: Create a whole volume of smoke, 3 across
The player can choose one of three cars at start with different weapon and equipment loadouts:
The Stallion has 3 Junkthrowers, a smokescreen and an oil slick. Good starter vehicle if you’re just getting familiar with the firing arcs
The Panther puts 2 Bolt Rifles, one front and back, as well as a minedropper and smokescreen. Its longer range makes for stronger hit, but you’ll need to pay a bit more attention to your facing.
The Cricket is small but has a short-range machinegun on its front. It also can spray flaming oil behind it. Good vehicle if you wish to stay mobile.
Things can now be set on fire, for continuing DOT. Right now just hooked to the Flaming Oil, although other weapons including the flamer will definitely be dealing this out.
There are now two sizes of cities… There’s a medium-sized 64×64 city, and the old huge 100×100 city (which is much rarer). The appearance of the smaller city in the overworld map is different.
The default boss is far less overpowered now. Sorry ’bout that!
Automap icons for exits and garages
Title screen popup allows player to enter name and choose starting vehicle.
Health and armor UI over various enemies only appear when that component is damaged… reduces UI spam overall.
Took a unifying pass on my amateur-hour HUD, so that everything has a more consistent look. Thanks to my developer friends for the feedback!
The vehicle display is now unified with weapons and armor in a single location.
Weapon names now pop up on the vehicle display so you are clear what weapon (and what side) you’re firing.
Updated icons for some equipment
Status icons are larger and more attention-grabbing.
New sounds for rockets, flamers, and cannons.
Stingers and music now doesn’t start until a map is fully loaded.
Ram and explosion sounds are replaced with less terrible ones.
Vehicle acceleration (and visual effects) only play when speed is actually gained, rather than when you press forward (so it adjusts to “coasting” once you hit max speed).
Rockets have new effects and sound
Car body shakes when moving at high speed, camera shakes less.
Overworld cars now visually swerve and arc like the cars in tactical maps.
The borders on terrain maps look a hair better.
Fixed some elements of map generations on height-mapped terrain (although there still is a bug in there).
The Homestead and Walled City (both of which were ugly temp maps with very little functionality) cannot be entered. Will be replacing them soon. They are marked as not being able to be entered in the overworld.
The Boss site in the city (which announced, temporarily and rather cheesily, “Here Comes the Boss”) no longer can be seen. It was intended to be a marker for system use, not player facing.
I’m starting to enhance the equipment now, and am looking forward to new usable items and updating the inventory for its use. The future is bright!
Another update to Auto Fire has come down the pike! A lot has happened in the last couple of months, so it’s great to get a build out…
Thanks to Itch.io for providing the app and the Butler tool so I can more easily post patches in the future. It’s like Steam for the rest of us. 🙂 Checking out Perforce and my Trello, here are some things that went down:
Added an automap so you can see where the hell you’re going. You can bring it up with the [Q] key.
Added a faction system. Each sector has a generated gang that rules it, and a boss that controls each combat zone. Defeating the boss clears the zone.
Boss arc now includes escalations that spur the bosses to taunt their forces and you with procedurally-generated shouts.
The quest system had some work done on it. Now the player is automatically assigned a quest to take out bosses of places they conquer.
You can check out the current quests in the Character menu, by pressing [Tab]
Quest completion now has a dialog box and some information on the results.
The encounter dialog has a new layout, and it shouldn’t justify its text strangely anymore.
The Shotgun soldiers are much less deadly than they were.
Unity 2018.3 update, which should improve terrain performance a bit.
Some of the road decals had dreadful performance, so exterior spaces run a bit better now as a result.
Toying around with a little bit more of an intro on the title screen.
I’m trying an outline shader on all gameplay objects to help them pop from the background.
Pulled up and adjusted the lighting to mellow some of the hard shadows that was creating visual noise. Terrain is a fair amount brighter now.
The garage looks a bit less out of place now. Still work to consolidate the colors.
Difficulty now represented with bullets.
Time slows when you die.
Armor sides weren’t appearing on the vehicle with the proper direction.
Multiple Line of Sight fixes. You should not be able to be hit through obstructions now. Fog uncovering on the map, the fire arc grid, and actual combat should all reliable return the same LOS results.
The player was able to exploit a bug that allowed them to use any side weapon against enemies in any direction. Fixed.
Removed some visual stray VFX sprites on the scouts.
The (correct) car model appears again on the inventory and garage menus.
Exploding barrels had stopped harming things. Fixed now.
Vehicle models now have manufacturer logo in info.
I had a bit of a weird week because I was coming off the RoguelikeCel, but after the feedback I got I knew just what to focus on for this new update.
Enemy cars can shoot again!
Yeah sooooo I recently added some infrastructure so that player vehicles can have unique loadouts that are independent of the model of car itself. …annnnd while I got it all working for player vehicles, I broke the ability of enemy cars to have their own weapon loadouts too. So they didn’t actually have any weapons mounted. 😛 Fixed!
The existing health post attached to vehicles in the world was straight up and down, and hence blocking the view of important info such as the state of the front weapon, or your speed when reversing. The style of the health bar is now adjusted to be a bit less disruptive.
The speed indicator was pretty rough, hard to see, and clunky to look at. A few things were done to improve this:
Smoothed out the speed indicator angle so it rotates more gracefully.
Improved the speed chevrons (both the green and red) to be more visible.
Added grip indicator for the player on top of the speed indicator, for the player car only.
Speed arrows and grip indicator grow in a more visually pleasing way.
So the previous model of vehicle skidding either gave you complete control or zero control. It never felt good since people’s instinct is to push against a skid in various ways to try to influence it.
I wanted skidding to be fun and also kind of do what you expect. So, it got a heavy overhaul:
The speed indicator now has a display of “hazard levels” beyond the speed itself. A broken chevron means that you are skidding more out of control.
The “hazard skid” levels supplement the standard “grip down to zero with a red speed indicator” style of skidding.
If you have a hazard skid, you can turn but can’t influence your movement.
If you are skidding but do not have any hazard skid levels, you can influence your movement by 45 degrees by accelerating to the side. Thus a skidding vehicle can still trace wider arcs.
You can accelerate or decelerate your skid by pushing towards or away from the direction of skid.
Skidding and grip now recharges more reliably based on whether you are facing in the direction of the skid.
So that’s it for now. I’m adding a little more info on the Itch page about the systems that Auto Fire (in its current state) will support for now. Someone asked for a 32-bit version, although I’m not sure I’d recommend older machines until I slim down some of my meshes. In the future I’ll put more work into optimization and alternate OS’es like Linux.