Important Business

Seeing a man about a horse. Dropping the kids off at the school. Whatever you call it, this is the grandeur of my work today.

It started off a bit more dignified, as I setup a sitting animation for using the ship's nav station. There's going to be a shot in the teaser where I need crew sitting at a console, so that was next on my list. After a bit of testing, though, I realized it could iterate faster if I just used the toilet, since it only required one button press to load a compatible scene, and it has a lot of similarities. (In terms of animation, anyway.)

It required a new animation or two, since standing, dead, walking, and using didn't fit. Plus some data changes to use them. I rewired the animation code to be called from the crew's update cycle instead of per-heartbeat. Since the heartbeat can often happen slower than the crew changes state, the old heartbeat method led to weird animations pairing with movement/actions.

The footprint/pathfinding overlay icon was making things hard, as it stuck there blocking the crew once the crew reached the destination. So I finally fixed that to disappear when the crew reaches the target. I also had to make each crew have one of their own, since before it shared a single one across all crew (which could be confusing).

Today's image shows the crew in the defecation pose, teleported to the toilet's seat coordinates, and waiting to finish. There are still some issues to sort out, such as un-teleporting when done, and a brief moment where the crew stands up and sits down again (switching from "try" to "succeed" states).

There's also a bug that causes the crew to enter the sitting pose when they start walking to the toilet. This seems to only happen if the AI decides to, and not if I tell it to. So this could be an edge case I missed in the animation/pathfinding code.

And once I get the toilet working, the nav station has an added complexity: the GUI that appears when using it. I need to make sure the crew animations are working without interfering with the GUI that the player was calling-up. This might require that my crew have a variable idle state, based on what they were doing before. This way, when the nav station is taking its turn and the crew is waiting, instead of returning to a default standing idle animation, they can continue their current animation instead.

We'll see. But it's actually nice to see the crew starting to do things besides the 3 animations I had before. If I get a few more, it could be much more interesting to watch!


Rovlad's picture

Again with the defecation. For gods sake.
There is a reason why 99% of games avoid emulating bodily functions. It's not fun. And you're going to try and market your game on that. Not amazing stories or interstellar travel or wonders of discovery. Please, dear viewers, feast your eyes upon the shitting.
I know it hardly matters but I'm totally against this.

Respawn's picture

I mean, I'm not, personally. The game is intended to simulate space travel in a much more mundane and hard sci-fi manner, and installing/maintaining on-board utilities (Whether that be Life Support, HVAC, Power, or Plumbing) sounds interesting enough to me that it could warrant being a game loop into itself, and it actually provides some clues to the trailer-viewing audience about the level of granularity being aimed for. (In this case being "Quite a bit")

It's Dan's personal vision and I wouldn't really hold it in comparison to most other experiences.

Part-Time moderator of the Blue Bottle Games Discord

dcfedor's picture

As I tried to clarify in the news, this is mainly about getting a shot of the crew sitting at a nav station for the teaser. The toilet, in this case, is just easier for me to test, and has a lot of overlap in functionality.

I.e. there's one right next to where you spawn in a new game, so I only click "New" on the title screen and I'm testing. The nav station requires me to jump through some hoops to get to my first ship, or else modify the starting station. That, and nav station has an extra component, the UI, which makes testing harder.

Taking a step back, Respawn's right, though. Blackwater management is going to be an integral part of ship design and maintenance. You're in a damned can, floating through space, for months at a time. Not simulating waste management would be a gross oversight.

Don't worry, though. It's not "ha ha, poop is funny" in the final game. It's just one system of many, probably integrated, systems.

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games