This week we’ve been working on finishing up our internal Tech Demo 2.0. Since we’re planning to switch to 3D very soon, we wanted to have a final 2D demo to give our closed test group and to test out the main gameplay elements.


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The Tech Demo

Our main efforts this week were spent on finalizing the internal tech demo. Just to be clear, it will not be publicly available anytime soon. It’s just too many bugs, unfinished things, missing features, and still 2D! But, for us, it will be another milestone in the development process.

A screenshot from the current version of the tech demo.

So, now that we said what isn’t in the demo, what is actually in the demo? Basically, the core concepts of the game are represented. It was also a great test of our systems. While most of them worked, it showed us some limitations that so far hid from us. Some examples include cross-script calls and a better-defined action system.

For the first time ever we actually have an enemy in the game. We implemented a basic version of an AI (read: a lot of hard-coded ifs). It slowly builds it’s predefined base and then randomly attacks the player cells. Later on, we want to make AIs way more intelligent and also scriptable, but for now, it works to provide some challenge.

Our enemy building its base.

To make the game look at least a bit more pretty (and to reveal more useful data), we added a few additional visualizations with Shaders. Thanks to Unity’s Shader Graph, we managed to implement them quickly. Blueprints look like holograms and Areas are now displayed. It also helped to debug some unexpected behaviors in the Area System.

A few Blueprints inside the Life Support Area of the Mother Cell.

We also implemented some Quality-of-Life features. Building a cell in the game consists of 2 stages. The player needs to send resources into the blueprint and then use Worker Microbes to construct it. This can get tedious after some time, so we’re planning to make this automatable later. For now, we implemented a Lua script that automatically sends out the required microbes from Container Cells into nearby Blueprints.

An Attack Mutator is build automatically by a Container.

3D vs 2D

When we started to implement our render layer in Unity, we quickly realized that our initial vision of a 2D game might be a bit wonky. Our personal experience with 3D is very limited. We always enjoyed staying in the “simplicity of ignoring the 3rd axis”.

However, it didn’t work out. While the designed look fine on paper, they turned into monsters when implemented. So we made the decision to take our game and add the Z axis. This will require us to rewrite some parts of the game, but it also gave us a lot of great new ideas. Some that the RTS genre hasn’t seen a lot of so far.

We’ll get into more details about all of that later, for now, we will need to teach our game about the definition of height.