C.W.I.S Devlog #6 | WATER!

Welcome to C.W.I.S, a tactical shooter where you controls the weapons systems of a destroyer that was constantly under missile attack. Previously the devlog for this game have been in a video format on my personal YouTube channel. If you want to see these early devlogs they can be viewed below:

I have since made a blog post for each with a little text and the video that came out with that devlog. I also transferred the Project Tilly devlogs from IndieDB to here as well so there is just a lot more content on the blog to give it some footprint on the site, so feel free to check those out as I do play to go back to that project in the future.

What’s new!

Water shader

By far one of the worst bits of the last few months has been choosing a good water shader. Now I’m no artist so I couldn’t make my own & I have 0 budget so I couldn’t just buy one. So I had to go off the free options on the asset store & GitHub to find something to use for this project. While a lot of the shaders would be great of other games where the player is at the level or more or less the level of the water. However in a top-down view there is the common problem with the tiling texture or effects with the shaders that the user can easily notice.

After trying upwards of 50 shaders and/or effects I finally decided to stick with one of the more customisable, that being the stylized water for URP:

https://assetstore.unity.com/packages/vfx/shaders/stylized-water-for-urp-162025

https://carter.games/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/image-6.png

A screenshot of the arcade scene in C.W.I.S with the new water shader

The shader still isn’t perfect and I would certainly prefer a more random tiling one, but it is better than the old shader I used in the jam version of the game which was much worse than this option in my opinion.

Missile Launchers

I’ve spent a fair bit of time on these launchers and still have more time to spend on them before they are completely working as intended. I did however spend a fair bit of time getting them up to scratch with fixed to the actual prefabs so they can be correctly reset when reaching their target.

Previously the missiles would throw an error on their reset due to a coroutine still running on them when the object is disabled. The routine was the one that managed the missiles pathing lifetime and would not quite reach the end due to the physics collision detecting the hit between both the player missile & the incoming missile.

On top of this I’ve added the actual launch sequence of the missile so when you fire a missile it takes a little longer to get into the air. This is done by having the hatch of the missile tube actually open before the missile fires. Once it has opened an event fires that tells the missile to spawn as it did beforehand so the rest is just as it was before. Though I did fix an issue where only 3-4 tubes were been used to launch missiles due to a little mistake on my part with a boolean value not updating correctly.

Below is a little video of the new launcher in action:

No more five-inch gun?

For the purposes of the arcade build I’ve decided to turn off the five-inch gun as its usage is not needed in the basic missile defence scenario. All the code is still there and all, its just had its script disabled in the scene so the player can’t select it when playing. Instead the player start on the forward C.I.W.S instead which is more practical. Down the line the five inch or the main gun would be used to target surface target at a defined range which will have more use in the campaign, missions or PVP/PVE combat.

Supply Drops

In the arcade build supply drops where just crates that came by every now and then, when they hit the mid point of the ship you would get some ammo and a chance to get some health back. I do plan to add a ship health regen setup to the game, but it won’t be through supply crates. Its more likely the ship will heal over time if its not been hit for x amount of seconds with some UI to help indicate the change of state. The new setup has you calling in a supply drop via the communications array which starts a timer in the top left. When that timer completes a supply drop drops down onto the heli-pad section of the ship and when it reaches the ship the user gets ammo for their weapons systems at random amounts.

The visuals for this still needs a little work as they are currently just primitives and it shows. So more on that soon. I’m also considering possibly adding a few upgrades to the communications array to speed up the time it takes for a drop to arrive & the quantity of the ammo provided. But these are yet to be implemented.

Controls Menu

Another minor change since the last update is a new panel & button in the game menu showing the controls for the game. There is controller support planned as its super easy to add that in the future, but that’ll be after the arcade build. These controls are also shown on the pause menu of the game for convivence.

Closing notes

That wraps up this devlog/update, these written logs will be the main form of updates from here on out instead of videos. Its a lot quicker for me to type stuff out as the videos took almost a day and a half to make so its a much better use of my time. The next written log will be around a month from now or sooner if there is a lot to show off. Feel free to comment below this post if you have an questions or feedback to give and I’ll speak to y’all again soon!

Another Website Update & Future Roadmap

I have yet again updated the website look & feel. It has been a while since I last use the website posts section to make announcements etc. but this will become the norm soon as I want to revive the website as a hub of knowledge for everything going on with Carter Games.

What’s changed?

So, you’re probably wonder what has changed. The main change with this website update is the structure of it all. Before there was a massive header menu with a load of items and it was all a little too cluttered. Now there are just three sections, “Home“, “Posts” & “Contact” to keep it super simple and easy to follow for any visitors.

The home page has been updated to have more content on it. Previously it was very bland and simple as the footer was an actual part of the page. Now the homepage contains a summary of every major active or release project to date as well as separate pages for users to read more about a particular project and a main link to the relevant store for the project if it is released. I’ve also added an about section at the top of the page and plan to add a slideshow in the future showing off some of the better-quality projects when I have some to show.

The news section has been setup for future content, including guides & development logs. Currently there are obvious gaps which I hope to start filling up in the coming months so keep your eyes peeling for more here soon.

Other updates

Outside of the website update I spent the time to revamp the brand graphics. If you follow me on the socials you will have already seen this, but I thought I’d mention it here to in case you missed it. Below is a before and after for the logo & banner graphics.

A before and after of the Carter Games logo & banner graphics

Roadmap

Going forward for the next 6 months or so I have been planning out what I want to release and when. These are obviously not set in stone, but it’s a rough plan going forward with a more certain one coming around the new year.

Autumn 2022

Audio Manager 2.6.x

I spent the last long weekend 50/50 working on C.W.I.S & this. The idea is to clean up the asset a little and provide some minor improves to the inspectors as an end-of-life update. That is end of life for the 2.x.x version line, not the asset. The asset has a new 3.x.x line in the works which I have made decent progress on and teased on socials a while back. The new 3.x.x version is still quite a way from being production ready. So, this update acts as a mediator between the two versions, introducing the project settings window for the asset settings as well as some of the new standards all the assets will follow in updates when they are next released. Below are some screenshots of the new inspector looks:

The Audio Manager script 2.6.x inspector look
The Music Player script 2.6.x inspector look
The Audio Player script 2.6.x inspector look
The Audio manager 2.6.x settings provider window look

C.W.I.S Arcade Build

I’ve been spending a lot of time on this game project since I started a remake and progress is good. I’ve spent the last few weeks trying to get a good enough looking water shader working from a top-down perspective which is harder than it sounds. I have since settled on a look and continued to work on fixing the existing mechanics to work as intended.

A screenshot of the arcade scene in C.W.I.S

I’ve also spent the time to improve the realism of the missile launchers. Previously they would just spawn missiles from the centre regardless of the number of missiles shot. Now they have the tubes that open before the missile in the tube launches. It’s a subtle difference but a feature I really wanted to add. At the same time, I was able to fix up the missile objects, so the trail particle now correctly reset instead of using up all the particle returning to the launcher when a missile is called to fire again. I also fixed another issue where only 3-6 launchers were being used due to the same reset logic.

A screenshot of the Unity editor showing a open missile tube on the ship in C.W.I.S

Multi Scene 0.2.x

Some of you may be wondering what on earth is Multi-Scene. Yea I’ve kept this somewhat quite apart from a few teasers on socials. Multi scene is a experimental asset to help with making games that use Unity’s multi scene setup, this is where you load scenes additively instead of one at a time allowing for elements of your game projects to be split up into manageable chunks. If you’ve had a gander at the Carter Games GitHub, you’ll have seen this as a repository for quite a while.

Dark Mode

Link: https://github.com/CarterGames/MultiScene

The last major release was back in February of this year with update 0.1.3 where I added a ordering feature to the interface referencing setup. This 0.2.x update adds a load of new workflow improvements to make using the asset a lot easier. These include scene selection for the scene groups instead of a string field, a lot more control over how scenes load & how often the listeners run when a group is loaded + an editor window to load scene groups at the press of a button in the editor. On top of all that the asset manager is now static instead of instanced based for ease of use. There will be lots more on this when this update is released to go over how to use the asset and were using a multi scene setup can be handy.

A promotional image for the Multi Scene asset.

Winter 2022

Compared to autumn, winter will be quieter with some room to allow one of the above projects to fall behind if it happens.

Leaderboard Manager 2.1.x

The leaderboard manager had an update somewhat recently to fix one or two issues. Since using it in a personal project I noted a few features that could use improving along with a few suggestions or comments from users that could be handy for usability. These include:

  • Option to show equal scores as =3rd instead of 2nd & 3rd for example.
  • Option to change the save location of the leaderboard data
  • Option to not use the display pooling setup, instead having the leaderboard be pre-defined in the scene with the rows in the parent object.
  • Option to view and edit all leaderboards and entries in a editor window of some kind.
  • + All the new improvements I’ve made to my other assets in recent times.

Detective Notes 2.x.x

A bit of a supprise one, but for a while I’ve wanted to make an update to the detective notes app with some clearer art, animations & performance improvements.

Early 2023

The new year is a bit of a blank space for the time being, but I do have a few ideas of things to be doing that year which I’ll list below:

  • Audio Manager 3.x.x
  • Some other minor asset updates (possibly a new Save Manager if I get the time)
  • Anything that has overrun from the previous year.
  • Some new game project planning.

So that’s all for this update, keep your eyes peeled for more updates coming soon!


Project Tilly Devlog #6

Today marks the end of week 6 of development on Project Tilly. This week’s plan was to fix all the problems currently in the game so I could move forward for more stuff in the coming weeks. This has been achieved mostly, with a lot of little issues fixed and some obsolete code removed.

Here’s a little preview of how the existing content looks now, with a few UI adjustments to make the system feel a little more polished.

Some of the issues fixed include:

  • The pause menu could be opened when the journal was open and vice versa.
  • When interacting with doors, the door would sometimes not open correctly.
  • When interacting with doors, and spamming the interact button, the door would stack the inputs instead of just listening to the first input until the door was available again.
  • Fixed issues where the player would collide with the bed during the intro tutorial.
  • Re-worked the inventory system to be simplistic as the old system was a bit over-engineered for the job at hand.

Next week I’ll be moving on with computer system mechanic, where the player can use devices such as laptops & phones in a similar way to real life. This won’t be done in a week for sure, but it should only take a few weeks to get sorted so I might as well get started.

Project Tilly Devlog #4

Today marks the end of week 4 of development on Project Tilly. This week was a bit of a quiet one for development, mainly due to a lack to free time to work on it as life took priority. I have managed to get a little bit done as well as begun organising the plan for the demo level & what I need to make for it.

Interactables

The main system worked on this week is the interaction system. Its not a finished system yet as I’m still working on how this system will work with others in the game. I do now have an idea of how I want it to work. But it’ll rely on the a few base scripts being made correctly first which will be next weeks goal. Currently I have the selection side of it done with the hit object stored in a object that I can reference to any script easily, I’ve added a little UI to show the name of the selected item, but next week I hope to have it also display options here as well.

Items

Items are a bit part of the game as they can trigger memories, journal entries & bring the environment to life. The flat level will have plenty to interact with, the idea being you can mess around with it if you wish and move most of the object in the scene around should you wish.

wk4   headphones

Inventories

Player inventories are a little extra I wanted to add. Now in a game like this, it isn’t essential but I wanted the player to be able to equip for items like the headphones and gain a bonus from doing so. So for instance, the headphones when equipped and in use reduce the stress and or anxiety level of the main character a little which may help the player progress through a section that they cannot traverse otherwise. There will be more on this in a future week where I work on the player stats and mental health mechanics.

wk4   metadata

Project Planning

The last little bit I’ve done this week is organise what I need to do into tasks on Notion. If you don’t know what Notion is, it is a great note taking software that is very flexible and can be used in a variety of ways. In this case I’m using it to write down my plans for the game and organise the tasks I need to complete on a kotoban board style layout with both status and priority sorting the tasks into a neat order for me to look at. Each tasks is its own page which I can add to with to-do lists to breakdown each task and and references I made need such as articles or media which may help with the task. I’ll be using this throughout development as I create the game.

wk4   notion

That’s about it for this weeks update. I know last week I said a build would be around week 4-5, that is looking a little less likely with next week also having a few life events taking up the little free time I get during the week. Due to this I’m aiming to just get the systems for pickup up items and dropping them sorted, if I get that done early in the week I’ll do more on the inventory system along with any other outstanding tasks.