Here is what is going down with Frozen Endzone at the moment…
Art and Animation
Martin and, confusingly, ANOTHER person called Martin (a coder) are working on getting the in-game UI fully functional. Hopefully this will happen by the end of the week.
This side of development is always tricky – not least because of subjective conflicts over what looks good, sparkly vs. readable and simply the raw effort it takes to get GUI effects working and looking nice. In a turn-based game, the planning UI often looks like butt so we are attempting to avoid this as much as possible. You spend a lot of your time staring at this thing and we want it to be visually stimulating as well as extremely clear.
Rich has concepted some of the in-game info screens and is now working on particle effects. Here’s one of the concepts:
While the in-game UI is going to be quite sparse and clean, we want a lot of this interstitial stuff to evoke a big over-the-top sports broadcast. I think it will be awesome to have all of your actions placed in this over-dramatic context and we’ll do a lot of work on making things feel very hyped-up and exciting.
Also we recently released a screenshot of Rich’s work on the new stadium:
Ian is currently working on a system that will allow the in-game camera to know where to look at any given time. We’ll then be able to get the artists defining camera paths / behaviour and figure out how to shoot the outcomes as nicely as possible.
I (that is, Paul) have now completed the music which will play in-game. I’m just working on final mixes for each track; I’m about 30% of the way through and hope to have that done this week. You can listen to some of my work-in-progress efforts on Soundcloud or you can just click on this handy player to hear one of the tracks:
I’ll be moving on to some sound work shortly as well. Sound for Endzone will be much more complex than anything I’ve done in the past but I’m looking forward to the challenge.
Some Development Thoughts
So far, it’s been hard to talk about how development is going since announcing the game as we haven’t been able to show very much. With the UI and animation in flux, and no real outcome camera, the game currently doesn’t make visual sense. As things start to come together more, we’ll be able to demonstrate the gameplay and final look of the game with a lot more coherence in a way which won’t horrify people.
We are targeting later this year for a beta release. Two game modes are already basically done for multiplayer, and single player AI is in a very good state. Art and animation still need a push, but that’s mostly just tidying things up. I think we’re likely to get the beta out pretty much on schedule so we can concentrate on adding content (and things like the customisation system) from that point until release.
I think there are definitely some concerns that we haven’t been able to show exactly what kind of game Endzone is yet. It’s a very exciting evolution of Frozen Synapse: I personally enjoy playing it much more (for what it’s worth!). Despite the sporting sheen, it’s a very pure strategy game based on timing, positioning and getting inside your opponent’s head; Ian’s gameplay design is tight and produces a lot of exciting knife-edge situations. As soon as I can get you more details I will!
We have such a huge amount to prove with this game and a lot invested in it (literally and metaphorically). Through working on this project, we’ve been able to establish an amazing team: our goal now is to make it viable to continue working with everyone on into the future. This size (up to 9 people from time to time, including occasional freelancers) means that you can do a huge amount of things that a smaller team can’t handle. We’ve always wanted to make games with a big scope and a huge amount of atmosphere: Endzone will certainly turn out that way.