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A quick check-in at the BattleTech Kickstarter campaign reveals that the Harebrained team has recently published two more updates, with Update #22 providing an end-of-year development report and Update #23 hammering home the fact that BackerKit accounts have now been "locked down". Word is:
Chris 00, Chris 01
Meanwhile, our Lead Engineer, Chris 00, has been focused on laying a strong architectural framework for our codebase. This is one of those things that is invisible now but will really pay off later. When designing a piece of software as complex as BATTLETECH, it's critical to lay the right structure to build from, as well as define the components that the rest of the engineering team will build. This is especially important in a game that has to support both single-player and server-based multiplayer!
To capture how all of these efforts move forward, our Producer, Chris 01, has been working on a high-level block schedule for the project and planning our major milestones for next year. Our goal is to have a vertical slice (i.e. a representative demo short on content, but more complete development of high priority systems) of the combat game ready next summer and then bring on a larger production team to build out the environments, missions, and content around the same time. It's a slow, careful burn until code foundations and content pipelines are in place and proven.
We've also been making good progress on our story for the game, the core of which will be set in a small region of the Periphery on the Rimward side of the Inner Sphere. We're not ready to talk about story specifics yet, but I'm excited about where we're heading with various plot points and characters. I've been re-reading Dune and it's been a great source of inspiration here - not for individual plot points necessarily, but for the overall tone of court intrigue, machinations and suspicions that we're trying to achieve with the various factions involved in our narrative.
At the other end of the BATTLETECH team's corner of the HBS offices, our concept art team has switched gears from concept illustrations to actually spec'ing out how a variety of systems in the game will work. We're prototyping the 3D portrait creation system and have found some great ways to get attitude and expression out of our MechWarriors so that we don't end up with the (blank-stare-at-the-camera) style of 3d avatars that some games end up with. We're also cooking up an Emblem Creator for your Mercenary outfit, and a flexible framework for the cosmetic customization of your '˜Mechs - so that you can select individual paint schemes and colors, as well as add details like additional emblems and nose art. We're also starting in on terrain pipeline and development - essentially, how do we achieve this look, but with a full map that satisfies both gameplay and performance constraints.