DEVELOPMENT UPDATES

TEAM PROGRESS UPDATE....
posted by Howard Day (Artist/Designer)
on 9/1/2014
Hello, everyone! I thought I'd give a bit of an update on where we stand, progress-wise.

The main thing we've been working on getting done is the actual game-play loop of: launch -> go through a series of mission navpoints -> land. To do this we needed two systems made - the first is the landing sequence/method, which we've already shown some of. The Second is a method/system for transitioning from one navpoint to another. This is what we've come up with:

The basic system is that you turn towards a navpoint, and when you turn to face it the name of the destination is printed next to it.

Once you settle over the navpoint, your navigation computer begins to lock on and generate a fastest-pace method of getting you there. After you've locked on, engaging your afterburners will transport you to that destination!

This system allows deliberate transits to different areas, but it also discourages the player from simply jumping from navpoint to navpoint in the middle of combat. You have to fly in a straight line, for at least a couple of seconds, to lock on, and that will make you chumpmeat in any sort of combat, unless you are very very lucky.

In the meantime both Jan and I are taking a break. I'm going on a two week roadtrip, and Jan has a project he's crunching on. When I get back, I hope to have this complete, and have some demo missions in the build!

Enjoy!

ALPHA UPDATE!
posted by Howard Day (Artist/Designer)
on 8/4/2014
And the new Alpha is LIVE!

This update lets you fly 3 of the 5 human fighters. Available are the Boomslang, Copperhead, and Cobra.

Things to note are the adjustment of the the double-tap barrel roll into a tap-and-hold strafe roll, improved dynamic music, the removal of the old testing explosion spheres, Better collisions for the alien fighters, removal of player invulnerability, better enemy wave timing, better text and font rendering, and tuned weapon sound FX.

For fun, try the Gamma Burster weapons on the Cobra. Think of them as dual-mini-deathstar lasers. They will wipe out your gun capacitors, but they will kill most light-to-medium fighters in a singe sustained shot. You have to maintain beam contact, however.

There are many more minor changes, so keep an eye out!

Enjoy!

LANDING CINEMATICS PT. 3
posted by Howard Day (Artist/Designer)
on 8/3/14
Hello, again! Tonight I've got a bit more of the Landing cinematic to show - still not done, but good enough to show. It's a big animated.gif, so click on the image to see it!

Still on the To-Do list:

Add the shadow under the fighter.

Add a shield effect when the fighter passes through the atmospheric boundary.

Add cooldown and landing jet effects to the fighter.

Hopefully the rest will be done tomorrow or Tuesday.

In the meantime - more news on the alpha! We're getting very close - as far as I know, only 2 issues remain to fix before everything is made public.

Thanks for taking a look!

LANDING CINEMATICS PT. 2
posted by Howard Day (Artist/Designer)
on 8/1/14
Howdy - Thought you might like to see the current progress on the second part of the hangar landing. It starts with the original version that shows in the distant background of the ship selection screen - it's obviously undetailed, and I slowly fill it in over a couple of evening of time.

As of last night:

While I was working on that, I also worked on getting the landing sprites for a fighter - starting with the Boomslang.

A simple loop:

I still need to finish detailing the background, adding parallaxing foreground elements, and work on combining the ship and the background.

I should have 3-4 more nights of work on this, before I can pop it into the engine, and hook it up with the first scene.

Then it's just a matter of doing the other 4 ships.

Thanks for taking a look!

LANDING CINEMATICS
posted by Howard Day (Artist/Designer)
on 7/29/2014

Hello! While I wait for some lingering updates to go into the Alpha that's coming out next, (so soon!) I thought I'd work on one of the parts of the Next Alpha release - the ability to land your fighter.

We're actually trying to put together the complete game loop on the next release... Choose your ship, launch, fly through several NAV points, and return to your carrier and land.

Since this is something I can work on by myself, and requires a fair bit of new artwork, I thought I'd tackle it right now.

Here's where I got last night.

It already knows which ship you're flying and shows the correct sprite, and it's very small in memory, so it's very fast to load.

The next part of this is adding the shot from inside the St Nazaire's hangar that shows your ship floating in and touching down. It's a bit more complex than this part, since there's so much more art I need to make. The front of the hangar near the landing strips hasn't been touched much, and really doesn't hold up from close range. I have all the ships with landing gear already, I just need to animate them in the correct positions.

Thanks for taking a look!

IT'S COMING!
posted by Jan Simon (Programmer)
on 2014-07-27
The BIG alpha update is very, very near. To tide you over, here's one last teaser: Enjoy, and keep your eyes peeled!
UPDATE DELAY!
posted by Howard Day (Artist/Designer)
on 7/26/2014
Hello, Everyone. Unfortunately we're going to have to delay the Alpha update till tomorrow - Jan is incredibly busy and Daniel's still working on the updated music. I meanwhile am running around like a madman, tweaking weapon effects, adding new sound effects, tuning weapon values and generally touching everything I can to make sure this will look as awesome as possible when the time comes to send it out into the wild. Thank you for your patience, and I hope the delay will be minimal.
HANGAR POLISH...
posted by Howard Day (Artist/Designer)
on 7/24/14

Hey everyone! After a ton of polishing we've got the Ship Selection interface just about exactly where we want it to be.

Now, the only thing remaining is to clear up some minor gameplay bugs and integrate Daniel's new "Choose your ship, pilot!" hangar music.

If all goes well, we'll have a new update on Saturday!

HUMAN SHIP SELECTION ACTIVE!
posted by Howard Day (Artist/Designer)
on 7/15/2014

Hello! Got something cool to show tonight - The human ship selection screen in action! We got the logic all figured out, and now it's just a matter of polishing this all up, and putting it out for you guys to play!

Once it's released, the updated Alpha will let you fly 3 of these 5 ships - but all 5 will be able to be looked at in this screen. I can't wait to show this off!

HUMAN SHIP SELECTION SCREENS
posted by Howard Day (Artist/Designer)
on 7/11/2014

Greetings, It's Howie again. Tonight I worked on the human ship selection screens - more accurately tonight and last night - there as a lot to be done here, and some of the renders took quite a while.

Each of these is filled with parallax, with around 12 different layers that shift as your viewpoint changes.

Boomslang:
Copperhead:
Diamondback:
Cobra:

That leaves only one remaining to do, the Hognose Bomber, then I can focus in on the functionality and we can make this live!

That would allow all of you to fly another ship for the first time! We can't wait to hear your feedback on all the different flight/weapon/loadout styles.

TEXT RENDERING AND SHIP COLLISION
posted by Howard Day (Artist/Designer)
on 7/9/2014

Hello, again! Tonight I worked on fixing our text rendering and general jaggy-ness of our cockpit displays. I did this by turning off our old Unity Post Process AA effect, which at the 640x400 resolution we run is fairly ineffective.

Instead, we turned on 4x MSAA, which is slightly faster, has lower system requirements, and looks much, much better. Here's an example:

Old Text/UI rendering (click for 2x res)

New Text/UI rendering (click for 2x res)

I think you'll agree that the end result is much improved.

The other thing I tackled tonight was the ship collisions. When we transitioned over to OnTriggerStay() for our weapon collisions, that meant we lost the automatic physics collider reactions. After a brief period of worry, the solution was very simple - just add a second, non-trigger collision shape. It's a minor thing, but in the next build, the ships won't be flying through each other anymore, and the player can once more take damage from the aliens.

Now that this minor bit of housecleaning is done, I'm back on the Hognose cockpit. It's definitely going to be an interesting one, and not something that's been seen before. I can't wait to show progress!

DIAMONDBACK COCKPIT COMPLETED
posted by Howard Day (Artist/Designer)
on 7/5/2014

Hey, everyone! It's Howie, here, and I've recently put the finishing touches on our Diamondback cockpit. It's the human advanced stealth fighter, and one of only two human fighters with beam weapons - these are fusion lasers, and have a decent range, but are really terrible against shields.

The way to fly this bad boy is to use a missile to take down the targets shields, then chew the hull up using the lasers.

Because it's an ambush fighter, it doesn't have much staying power. Once you're out of missiles, it's best to cloak and run away.

Our next task is either the Hognose human bomber, or one of the alien fighters. Watch this space for more!

CLOAKING EFFECTS AND ALIEN COCKPITS
posted by Howard Day (Artist/Designer)
on 2014-06-05

Hi, everyone! Last night I did some work on creating the shader for the Diamondback cloaking effect - as one of the two cloaking fighters in the game, it's the one with by far the most traditional cloaking effect. I made the shader to have variable distortion with chromatic aberration.

This also means that the explosions now have distorting shockwaves. It looks very, very cool, and I can't wait to show some footage of that soon.

I also rendered out a preview/previs of the Dfhertas (Alien Medium Fighter) cockpit interior - I can't wait to finish up the human cockpits and get these in game!

Click for full size!
COCKPIT AND NETCODE PROGRESS
posted by Jan Simon (Programmer)
on 2014-05-07

We've all been really, really busy with real life stuff (moving houses, university coursework and such) these past months but today we can finally share a little bit of progress again: I worked a bit more on our netcode, that is, the code that makes sure Wings runs properly over the internet. More specifically, I improved the way late joining works - this means players can drop in and out of ongoing battles freely, a feature we always intended to be there in the game.

Howie, our artist, has almost finished the artwork for the Diamondback, a playable Human experimental/prototype fighter in the game, and it's looking fantastic - really captures the work-in-progress state of this ship:

Click the image for a larger version! That's the fourth out of five cockpits for the playable ships on the Human side of things almost done which is incredibly exciting because those take a LOT of work. Enjoy! And don't forget to add us on twitter if you haven't already! This way you'll stay even more up-to-date with our development news and progress.

NEW SCREENSHOTS AND A WALLPAPER
posted by Jan Simon (Programmer)
on 2014-01-20

I just uploaded a ton of new screenshots to our Media section, check them out! There's also a really cool new wallpaper in there, available in two resolutions (2048x1024 and 1920x1080) and two variations (one with a big Wings Logo and one with a smaller, less obtrusive one). I think they came out really, really awesome:

Also, we entered another Reddit Screenshot Saturday which got us some nice attention, feedback and a bunch new Twitter followers.

HOPE YOU HAD A GOOD... LAUNCH... INTO THE NEW YEAR
posted by Jan Simon (Programmer)
on 2014-01-10

We just released an update to our public alpha. We finally fixed the flickering launch tube issue (see what I did there, in the title?) and Howie played a bit with color vibrance on the explosion effects, should be even cooler now (not the colors - the EFFECTS)! We're super busy working on Wings: I'm rewriting large parts of our - sometimes hacked together - codebase and at the same time laying a ground foundation for the future multiplayer mode and Howard has just finished another Human cockpit, the Cobra. Check this out:

We've also started putting together a Press Mail List and, at the same time, got a bit more attention! For one, we've been put into PC Gamer's LIST OF BEST PC GAMES 2014. Excuse the all-caps but how cool is that? We, three regular dudes that make an indie game, are up there with the big guns! We're really excited to see what the future holds for Wings of Saint Nazaire.

HAPPY NEW YEAR
posted by Jan Simon (Programmer)
on 2013-12-31

We wish all our fans a Happy New Year! To keep you updated: we're currently working on our netcode - making sure that playing Wings with other people over the internet is a fun and competitive experience. Keep your eyes peeled for updates here, on the forums and on our twitter (@WingsOfNazaire), it's possible we'll be able to put multiplayer functionality in the open alpha at some point in the future! It's an exciting time.

WE'RE ON TWITTER NOW
posted by Jan Simon (Programmer)
on 2013-10-25

Just a quick heads-up: we're on Twitter now. Please follow us on @WingsOfNazaire if you're interested in keeping up with whatever we're up to on the Wings development front. Of course, we will continue to post about big updates (such as new alpha releases) right here as well.

A LIFE SIGN
posted by Jan Simon (Programmer)
on 2013-10-18

It got a little quiet around here recently! Now it's time to change that. If you're wondering: the team has been on a much needed vacation. We're working day and night on Wings, whenever there's a bit of time, so every now and then we deserve some time off, otherwise we run the risk of burning out.

As a special treat, we have updated the alpha again. Now you get three Copperhead wingmen that will fight alongside you! Please check it out and, as always, report any issues or feedback to us through our forum.

In case you're wondering, this and this is what Howie, our Artist, has been working on in the meantime. Take a look!

MISSILES AND STUFF
posted by Jan Simon (Programmer)
on 2013-07-10

We got missiles in the game now. 'Nuff said. Play our alpha, blow up sh*t, register on our forums and tell us how glorious it was! :)

There's also a couple more updates - 4:3 resolutions are now supported and, internally, we've started playing around with environments not in deep space but on planet surfaces. Looking real good, keep your eyes peeled!

A PROPER WEBSITE AT LAST
posted by Jan Simon (Programmer)
on 2013-07-10

Finally I got around to expanding our official website. We now have five sections that you can access through a navigation bar towards the top of the page. There's definitely a lot more to come! For starters, we need to fill the media page! The idea is to start turning this website into an official information hub for people interested in our game.

Speaking about the game, we also made massive progress in the last couple of weeks. The promised radar map and targeting functionality is implemented, we have a working options menu that allows you to rebind your keys, change the game resolution and window mode, tweak the background music volume and so on. Note, however, that some options are not hooked up in-game quite yet (mostly gameplay options). Another new feature is the orbit camera - whenever you need to get a good look around, see what's behind, under or above you, you can go into orbit camera mode. It also allows you to get a good look at the ship you're flying if you're not familiar with it yet. Try all this out in the new version of the alpha!

Last but not least, we took part in another reddit/gamedev Screenshot Saturday and, as usual, finished in the top spot again - despite a plethora of other amazing games being posted. Thank you for your support, it motivates us so much!

RADAR MAP AND TARGETING
posted by Jan Simon (Programmer)
on 2013-05-11

Some updates! Two major elements that our old custom engine had and our new Unity project did not yet was the radar map and the fact that you could actually target your nearest enemy. The latter would highlight the enemy on your radar and reticule, show you important info on the target interface in your cockpit (what are you targeting, how far away is it from you, what is the shield and hull integraty status on it?) and allow your guided missile to track it down, too. So adapting these two features to our Unity project is what I've worked on in the past couple of days. One interesting tidbit: when we were working on our old engine we actually came up - completely by error, naturally - with a really interesting radar map style somewhere between Wing Commander™ and X-Wing™ that shares the positives of both and cuts down on the negatives. It's hard to explain exactly how it words but you'll see it in action soon.

NEW ENGINE
posted by Jan Simon (Programmer)
on 2013-04-27

No updates in a long time, apologies! Want news? Well, we're now powered by Unity! In late 2012 we decided to stop developing our custom Direct 3D™-based engine and transfer over to the wonderful Unity 3D. Why reinvent the wheel? This means that we are able to target a multitude of platforms including Linux, Mac and various consoles. No promises, but the upcoming Ouya is a strong candidate. We've recently reached the point where our Unity project is now on-par with what the deprecated custom engine could do. The new engine also makes our life a lot easier in regards to supporting as many input devices as possible (gamepads and joysticks) and multiplayer support.

Howie and me have been interviewed by GameMuse last November. Please keep in mind that the interview was conducted before we decided to switch engines and is a bit on the outdated side. Should hopefully be an interesting read nonetheless! Additionally, we were very pleased to find Wings of Saint Nazaire mentioned on various awesome websites such as Rock Paper Shotgun, NeoGAF, SpikedNation and we managed to rock a couple of Reddit Screenshot Saturdays again as well. Looks like the hype is building!

HELLO WORLD
posted by Jan Simon (Programmer)
on 2012-07-30

We've finally gotten around to getting wingsofstnazaire.com registered - so now I actually need to work more on this work-in-progress website as well because... people can actually find and see it. Exciting stuff! Currently, only this front page is working correctly, it's really just meant to give you a taste of what Wings of Saint Nazaire is, with the embedded gameplay video in there. It will also keep everybody up to date with how the development is going with this Development Update section - think of it like Twitter with more characters! Important stuff that happened this week? We entered our game in reddit/gamedev's Screenshot Saturday, got upvoted to the top and stayed there. Amazing feedback all around (and, really, who's surprised with Howie's stunning artwork?), so motivation is at an all time high! Keep your eyes peeled for more updates on the website, new video footage and, of course, more entries in this section of the site.