Time Rivals Weekly Dev-Log #1

Welcome to the Time Rivals Weekly Devlog! Every week from now on, Studio 316 will be making an effort to bring you all the news and updates to do with our upcoming game, Time Rivals. With that in mind, we have a lot to catch up on. Time Rivals has been in development for quite some time now, and we have been through a lot of iteration and progression as a team. 

We’ll be catching you up with past versions of Time Rivals and letting you know all about the present state of the game, while outlining our plans for the future too. Let’s start with what’s going on right now, though.

The Rivals

Goo-d to Go
Obviously the focal point of Time Rivals for us is our roster of characters. While we’ve been through a few ideas in all our different versions of the game, we’ve settled on our characters now and the work on their models, animations and gameplay has begun in earnest. Some are further along the pipeline than others, but all our artists are making great progress on our roster.

With that in mind, meet Goobert: the mighty mecha scientist who’s gameplay focuses on area denial with his corrosive goo weapons. This Rival was plucked from the past and given a new body by the Showrunner to bring chaos to the Arena, and his model was completed this week! Check out these screenshots of Gooberts development and final in-game look courtesy of our 3D artist and programmer Jamie, as well as the original concept made by Sam.

We look forward to sharing some Goobert gameplay too. His huge stature is sure to make him a big target in games, but we’re working to give him the tools he needs to take out his opponents. His ability, a tracking goo drone, will allow Goobert to get the drop on enemies around corners and open a firefight with his unique damage over time goo effects. 

And while he’s not quite ready yet, enjoy these glimpses at another Rival on our roster. Shutter is currently being worked on by Khris, another one of our 3D artists. While Goobert’s weapon isn’t ready yet, Shutter’s trusty SMG has already been modeled and prepared for animation! We’ve also got a preview of Shutter’s model for you!

We’ll have more to share on Goobert, Shutter and the other Rivals in due time!

Temporal Relocation

Time Rivals, as the name implies, will take our Rivals through time. Pretty simple, right? While the idea was exciting, we had some difficulty in figuring out how we should go about giving the actual feel of time travel in the game. We could have maps based on different time periods, sure, but it doesn’t give you the same excitement of actually moving between those time periods yourself. We played with ideas of portals in the sky, camera drones following you around and a giant floating arena, but all of these seemed outside the scope of what we could do in our Tranzfuser development period. 

We recently settled on an idea we all liked. Rivals won’t start battles in the Arena, but rather a prep room where they prepare for the battles ahead. A portal opens up and whisks you away to the Arena that’s been chosen for your game. Our VFX designer Joe created the portal’s first iteration this week, and is here to share the process.

Joe: The portal system is a simple single blueprint class in-engine. It’s as simple as one object acting as the portal, and another smaller hidden in-game object to reference a ‘spawn’ point. Once the player overlaps with the portal object, their location is updated to the position of the ‘spawn’ reference object. All the movement is replicated on the server for multiplayer so other players will see you teleport. There is also a simple post-process material which fades in along a gradient with a linear noise base texture, using a timeline in the blueprint to control the material fade. This post process material will likely be updated in the near future to be more fluid. 

The visual effect is a simple Niagara system which uses 4 emitters and a material shader. There is a simple black particle projecting onto a plane rotated to be vertical in the centre, along with another plane mesh emitter which has the material shader projecting onto it. The last 2 emitters are both simple GPU rendered particles, spawned in a torus location with some forces and noise applied to get the desired swirl. 

Here’s how the effects look in action!

On Location

Joe and Tom have been working hard on level design lately. Now that we’re implementing clone pods into gameplay more regularly, and making them throwable, we’re having to think a lot more about our map design. We’re plotting out strategic places to throw your respawns, choke point locations that you’ll have to fight your way through to get to your objectives, and hazards you can use to kill yourself and immediately respawn at a clone pod of your choosing. 

All this is a lot to think about, so we’re focusing on making blockouts for our level rather than going directly to building our modular kit. We have a theme in mind for the level art and for where exactly we’ll be sending Rivals in our first map, but we want to be sure it plays well first.

We’re not entirely settled on our level yet, but we can promise we’ll have something to reveal next week regarding where the Rivals will be travelling to in our first season.

So what’s next for Time Rivals?

On the Next Episode…

Next time we publish a weekly devlog, we should be able to share another new Rival in progress, along with gameplay of our new systems like the clone pod throw in our new map blockout. We’ll also be adjusting the way our new characters play, and explaining some of their unique mechanics and abilities to you over the weeks to come. We look forward to sharing the process of developing every Rival and all our interconnected systems, and going through the iterations and improvements together. 

See you next week!

-Time Rivals Dev Team

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