Undead Blackout v1.1. – The Mega List Of Updates

It has been two weeks since Undead Blackout launched and in that time I have not put my feet up and relaxed, instead I have been manically working on a whole load of updates and improvements for the game. This is the first of many further improvements, the next batch will likely include some additional levels so keep an eye out for that! Anyway, here is everything that has changed in version 1.1

 

  • Survival Mode has been completely redesigned. The player is now stuck within an enclosed arena type environment e.g. the main hall of the Manor and must survive for as long as possible. This increases the amount of action as the zombies spawn within meters of the player. To further increase the action and (hopefully) the fun, more ammo and health spawns nearby and weapons will spawn every minute or so. This means Survival Mode is very much its own beast now as before it was too similar to the main style of play.
  • The location of the keys has been tweaked in all levels to make it so that there are three distinct areas within each level, essentially the bronze, silver and gold areas, meaning the player no longer has to wander the entire level looking for keys but they cannot access certain parts of the level until they have the required key. This stops players getting lost and improves the flow of each level.
  • Jarvis Prison has been completely redesigned to accommodate for the new key positioning and the requirement for a Survival Mode “Arena” area.
  • The Sewer layout has been changed for the same reasons as above.
  • All levels now have big bright orange arrows in the general vicinity of the Level End so as to avoid any confusion of how to actually finish a level.
  • There are now three ammo crates in the level as opposed to two and there are four additional spawn points.
  • There are now two health packs at any time as opposed to one, there have been four more spawn points added.
  • Mouse Aim has been improved and there is now an setting in the Options Menu to let the game know if you will be playing using mouse/keyboard.
  • The Down Button on the D-Pad now goes to the previous weapon.
  • The Camera has been pulled out to allow for a wider view of the area and allow the player more time to react to threats
  • The max speed of the zombies has been increased slightly to compensate for the factors giving the player more of an advantage.
  • Zombies now also deal out a bit more damage. Again, if the player gets more ammo then it needs to be balanced with more threatening zombies.
  • The zombie AI now has a wider radius to pick a location from within when randomly wandering around the map. This should lead to more varied positioning.
  • Zombies now recoil from attacks and will pause their movement momentarily. This gives the player a chance to escape or to continue attacking safe in the knowledge they cannot be harmed during the recoil animation.
  • The zombies spawn in specific areas and if the player happens to be standing right in that area, the game will no longer spawn a zombie there.
  • The blood decals which popped in when a zombie died now fade in for a more realistic look and there are five designs which will randomly appear.
  • The HUD has been redesigned to make the information less overbearing and more minimalist.
  • The current weapon is now displayed with a small picture in the corner, making it easier for the player to know what is equipped.
  • A targeting aid/crosshair has been added to the HUD. This will change to Red when the player is aiming.
  • Weapons now make a brighter and larger flash to briefly illuminate the surrounding area, thus providing the player with a brief look at their entire surroundings.
  • Weapons now carry over from one level to the next in Arcade mode. If you die, then you start with nothing.
  • Loading Screen now fades in and out of view. Just because it looks nice. As does the Level Complete screen.
  • The Loading Screen now requires players to hit Start to being the level.
  • Level Restart now unloads the level and reloads (loading screen and all). This is to iron out a few bugs with resetting positions of actors within the level, everything goes back to where it should be if you start from the beginning again!

The Big Gamble: Going Full-Time

Since August of 2014, I have been working on learning game development in my evenings, weekends and the occasional sick days from my full-time, permanent career in Content Marketing. During that time I realised that I want more than anything to be able to work on my games full-time, but of course that requires one of the following two things to happen – either I save loads of money or my games actually make enough money for me to live off.

Now it is October 2016 and neither of those things have happened (but I do have a glorious new 65-inch 4K TV!) and I find myself becoming increasingly frustrated at the lack of time I have to put into the project. Since Undead Blackout was Greenlit I have been working hard to make it as good as possible, but the small amount of time I am dedicating to it means it probably won’t be any good until about 2021 and we will probably all have starved to death because of Brexit by then.

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At this point a sensible person would rededicate themselves to the project, set aside plenty of time each evening and weekend and ensure that the pace is brought back up on the delivery of the project. But I am not a sensible person, I have decided that the best course of action is to quit my job and work on the game full-time. This has been made possible by some financial jiggery-pokery (hello more debt!) but does mean that I have a very finite amount of money to live on. Beans on toast is going to be the only thing on the menu. Or ravioli on toast. The points is that toast features heavily in my culinary plans moving forward.

What the plan then? I should probably have some kind of business type plan seeing as I now run an actual business that will be fairly central to whether or not I can pay my rent in a few months time. Well I do! The first thing that I have done was to update Urban Jogging and get it working on more devices, that game needs fully rebuilding to be honest but now is not the time. It will do for a few months and then I can re-do some segements once Undead Blackout is released.

Right now, I am working on something new that I intend to ship in the next week or two, a nice little mobile game which might make me a few quid while I work on UB. That new thing is tentaitvely titled Galactic Defence Squadron and is an R-Type/Space Invaders/Galaga style game which sees you defending a Solar Harvester from wave upon wave of attackers. Once the artwork is a little more advanced then I will properly show it off, hopefully early next week sometime but you may be able to get a sneak preview in the image below…

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Once that is all sorted and the money is rolling in (LOL) I will turn my attention to the big project, finishing Undead Blackout. The core gameplay is largely done, it needs tweaking all over the place but you and I, it is two-player after all, can play it today and it pretty much works. There is currently only one level so one of my first tasks will be to build out the remaining five levels which is something I anticipate to get through relatively quickly, my level design skills are much improved these days!

Once the game is “done” then comes the heavy testing, I will be playtesting all through the build so I hope to catch most bugs before getting to this stage, however this will be the point I get my friend Mike to play the game. Mike knows nothing about games and does some of the weirdest stuff when playing, but this makes him the perfect QA tester. No normal gamer would do what he does.

I am hoping to launch Undead Blackout on Steam the week of 2nd January 2017 with the Xbox One release coming soon after that. This is if everything goes really smoothly over the next eight weeks and I don’t encounter any game destroying bugs and have to rebuild the whole damn thing again.

Something else that has definitely caught my eye is the Nintendo Switch which is compatible with Unreal Engine 4 – I am going to do my absolute best to have Undead Blackout on Nintendo’s new console as soon as I can. having my game alongside Mario and Zelda would be absolutely insane and something I would love to see. If you are wondering about Playstation 4, I am basically all cleared to release the game on Sony’s console but at the moment I just cannot afford the dev kit so that is something I would love to do but it is just not financially feasible at this time.

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Overall I am flipping between supremely confident and exceptionally worried, on the one hand I know that given enough time I can make Undead Blackout a really, fun game and a bargain at the £6-7 I intend to charge for it. On the other, it is a massive gamble for me financially and I am very lucky to have an incredibly wonderful and understanding girlfriend who is 100% fine with staying in and watching Netflix until 2017. I guess we shall see over the next few months, whatever happens it is going to be exciting, challenging and let’s hope just successful enough to keep doing what I love.

 
Tom