September Development Update

It’s been three weeks since we released Backer Build 5, our most feature-packed early access build yet. Since that time, our development team has been collecting and poring through all of the feedback, suggestions, and bug reports everyone has submitted.

We’re now working hard to add more content, fix bugs, and make tweaks and adjustments based on feedback and internal testing.

In this update, we’ll take a look at what the team is currently working on.

Environment

We’re adding new assets to alien maps. These will provide more opportunity for cover and create more visually varied maps for the different alien base types.

Speaking of cover, we’re working on how the game recognizes low and high cover. In Phoenix Point, all physical objects on the tactical map act as cover by providing a physical barrier which can block certain rounds. The difference between high and low cover affects how your soldiers position themselves when standing directly adjacent to it. These improvements should unify the visual indicators of soldiers in cover with the mechanics of how that cover is offering protection.

Level Design

While Phoenix Point makes use of procedurally generated maps, some people felt like they were often seeing the same map or very similar maps. We’re now making some changes to the procedural generation algorithms to give more visual variety to all levels.

We have also updated enemy spawns on the alien maps to give a greater variety of enemies.

Tactical

The tactical team is working on several different items right now:

  • AI Improvement: We’re giving the enemy AI a further overhaul so that they will now use the free aim system to target vital body parts along with using different damage types correctly.

  • UI Tweaks: Health bars on structural targets caused a lot of clutter, so we’re removing them in instances where they are not required.

  • Control of Civilians: We are also adding the functionality for the player to take control of civilians once a soldier “tags” them by moving adjacent to them.

  • Camera: The camera is getting some love - we’re making the movement more dynamic.

  • Balance: Damage predictions for shooting through windows was off, so we’re fixing that.

  • Animations: We’re also generally updating and improving animations across the board.

Game Design

The game design team is working with the writers to finalize the tutorials. We’re also updating the personal traits track for player soldiers.

Geoscape

The Geoscape team is working with the writers to complete the Phoenixpedia. They’re also working on adding in-game achievements.

Based on feedback, they’re also improving the pathfinding of aircraft when flying to locations.

Soldier Customization

We’re excited to be able to share with you some more details on how we’re approaching soldier customization. We know this is something you’ve been asking us to talk about!

Firstly, soldier names: While we haven’t yet started to collect backer names for the soldier roster pre-population, it is already possible to manually rename your soldiers in the equip screen.

For those backers waiting to submit names to the roster, now’s a good time to inform you of the criteria for acceptable names:

  • First Name (10 letters max)

  • Last Name (12 letters max)

  • Nickname/Call sign (10 letters max).

  • Latin characters only (diacritical marks are allowed)

We have to place a limit on the length of names to ensure that longer names can be displayed correctly in the UI. Limiting names to Latin characters also ensures no issues with our fonts. We’ll have more information closer to release when we start to collect names via email.

Visual Customization

Along with selecting a male or female body type for each soldier, you will also have a selection of skin tones, faces, hair and facial hair along with tattoos and voice.

You can also customize the colour and pattern(s) of your armour.

An example of the work-in-progress customisation interface

An example of the work-in-progress customisation interface

Some examples of facial customisation

Some examples of facial customisation

We will be continuing these updates through until launch to keep you informed of what we’re working on. We’re under 3 months from our release and we’re really excited to see the game coming together and taking shape.

We still have a long way to go, but we’re on the home straight and we can see the finish line.

Once again, we wish to thank all of our backers, pre-order customers and fans for your continued support of Phoenix Point over the last couple of years. The wait is almost over.

Kevin Hill23 Comments