Wow, it has been awhile. If anyone knew about this project and this site before now, we would probably be in trouble! Things have been very busy around here. The team has been focusing hardcore on development to get Insula to a playable state and we are getting closer every day!
Things are looking good to be able to open it up for some early pre-alpha testing phases soon. (Make sure you sign up for that on the front page!) So what have we been up to? EVERYTHING... There is not enough room to go over everything that Insula has undergone in the last three months, but I will try to highlight some of the more impactful work that has been done.
We have grown!
That's right, it is no longer just the two of us. We have welcomed three new members to the team, and it has helped tremendously in bringing the framework Ethan and I have been building for the last year together into an alllllmost there, playable game. So please welcome with us:
Anthony Shrader Jr.
Anthony is a writer and jack of all trades. He has taken all of the hodge podge bits and pieces of the Insula universe that we have been shoving into the ever-full box and turned it into a spectacular illustrative and cohesive story that really ties together all of the events in Insulas' history. He also helps out with 3D modeling, texturing, design input, and telling us straight up when something is "just not gonna cut it".
Ethan McKinnon Jr. aka - LilEthan:
LilEthan is following his fathers footsteps in art, creative design, and content creation. He has become quite skilled in many areas and he has joined the team creating custom model assets and skins for all of the glorious character customization that awaits you when you begin to design and build your combat bots!
As Insula gets nearer to being a playable game, and it is almost time to start the pre-alpha testing process and really start finding those issues... There needs to be an interface connecting the developers with the public. That is Jake. Jake will be donning the mantle of our community manager, a mantle he is very experienced in wearing, and will also be running the social media side of things as we progress into these exciting phases of development.
The World of Insula:
The entire landscape of Insula has undergone some massive restructuring in the last few months. We just did not feel that it was providing the level of play that we wanted it to, so we went back to the white board with it. Over the last few months, Ethan has modified nearly every area to some extent, and modified it again, and again, until he finally had the design, layout, and features that we all feel plays really well and will be a blast for you to engage in.
Oceans have been drained, forests leveled, and mountains moved... towns have been erected, canyons enforced, and the infamous Battle Dome of Insula has been constructed. The lighting also underwent a large overhaul, and hopefully, by the screenshots and video (yay, we have a gameplay video!), you will agree that the results came out pretty good. The floating island of Insula is now at a state that we are happy with, and can be proud to present to you as your new battleground of choice! Be sure to check out the gallery on the front page for some sweet shots to wet your appetites.
Systems, Features, and Functionality:
We chained our code monkeys to their desks (meaning me) and held their (my) food hostage to really push things into a playable state on the back end. We upgraded to the newest version of the Unreal Engine to take advantage of its new landscape LoD system and proxy mesh generation capabilities. Many systems have either been added, or enhanced/progressed in their implementation. Character customization, the core melee combat, player tracking, bounty collection, character stats, character improvements (animation, sounds, etc), per surface detection and effects for player and weapon interaction, better overall weapon handling, and some really dope particle effects(!) have all made the list of things that were accomplished over the last three months.
We did thus speak with the all knowing profiler oracle, and she hath blessed our ears with her mighty words of wisdom. The first (of many) optimization pass has been completed. There will be many more in the upcoming future, but the first pass of texture and shader optimization, LoDs, culling, and network performance improvements is now behind us and has had a noticeable positive effect!
All in all it has been a very productive three months and I would like to take the time to personally thank every member of the team for putting in such a dedicated effort. We still have a ways to go, but the road is getting smoother by the day and miles are disappearing behind us! All of which brings us to *drumroll* the point of announcement! By the time you read this, Insula will have been publicly announced for the first time! (Of course you know this, because that is how you got here.) So on behalf of the team, I would like to welcome you all to Insula. We hope that you enjoy seeing it come together, as much as we have/are enjoying bringing it together!