Sons of Ra Devlog: January

What’s up Gamers? 2020 is finally over, and 2021 came out the gate swinging. On our end, we’re trying not to dwell on all that, so it’s time for some updates.

We are happy to announce that you’ll be able to play Sons of Ra in the Steam Festival: February 2021! For us, the most exciting news of all is that this demo will feature our brand new Online Multiplayer!

We had another test this past weekend, and we think that things are just about ready for you to try. We have a few larger problems to tackle before then, but one more test oughta do it! …Hopefully.

Psst… you can sign up for that last test here

Look at all those lobbies!

Once again, thank you to all of our Testers! Every one of you has really helped us with your time, your bug reports, and for humoring us by trying out weird situations so we can take notes. Thank you so much for helping us bring Sons of Ra to a larger audience.

Sekhmet has full functionality, and we are getting all the artwork done for her blessings right now. Her Ultimate, the Huntress, looks suuuuper cool. Check it out below:

Ignore the weirdness with the unit. That’ll be fixed soon.
Happy Huntress 🙂
Sad Huntress 😥

CHANGELOG

  • Art
    • Animations for The Huntress
    • New Blessing art for Sekhmet’s Battle Hardened and Isis’ Immunity
    • New Sun Tower finalized
    • New dust particles for collapsing keep, destroyed towers
  • Online
    • Massive performance upgrades
    • Numerous fixes with blessings and units
      • Betrayal was a paaaiiiinnn. But it’s good now.
    • Improved matchmaking and support for “quick join”
  • Music
    • Final Mixes on all level and menu tracks
    • Updated Ra track
    • Final Victory track updates

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Our main online tasks to work on are client/host desyncs and what we’re calling “ghost lobbies.” There’s still smaller bugs that will need our time eventually, but those are the main focus right now.

As for gameplay, Sekhmet is on the home stretch, and we’re excited to show you her full power soon!

The Steam Festival starts up on February 3rd. We cannot wait for you to play our game and tell us what you think!

Peace.

Sons of Ra Devlog: Mid December

Hey again! Last weekend, we held our first ever online test over on our Discord Server. We had a ton of fun and found an enormous amount of bugs, which poor Jeff cried about and then fixed, like the champion he is.

Thank you to all of our Testers who participated! You guys are awesome and gave us some great moments.

Shown above: The Sneakiest Spearman in all of Egypt

As for art, Mark has been hard at work on getting things up to snuff. Our Sun Tower has been looking a little drab recently, so we decided to upgrade.

Designed from the ground up and inspired by the Pyramids of Giza, the new Sun Tower is actually the first time a pyramid has been present in Sons of Ra! What took us so long? I have no idea, but check out the sketches below, and our most recent animation tests!


Sekhmet is coming along nicely, and her God Head is nearly complete. Just needs some colors!

There is no reason at all to use the comparison block here, but I think it’s cool, OK??

Changelog

  • Models
    • Sekhmet has a head now! Her keep is gonna look super cool.
    • The Sun Tower is no longer 2 vague rectangles
      • Enter the pyramid! Taste the sun!
  • Online
    • Packet clustering for improved performance
    • Numerous bugfixes, including proper currency syncing between players
      • That means no more infinite priests, you silly sausages
    • Game Timer fixed between players
  • UI updates
    • Online UI
      • New lobby & Server Browser!
      • No more default Unity skybox!
    • Main Menu updates: Now with fewer clicks™
  • Conquest Bugfixes
    • Neutral nodes functioning properly
    • Player turn order fixed
  • Music
    • Final Victory theme
    • Conquest Special Event theme
    • New map theme?? (TBA)

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We’re going to be taking a short break for the holidays, but you’ll hear from us again in the new year!

2021 brings with it the release of Sons of Ra, and we couldn’t be more excited to bring you the project that we started so many years ago. Thanks for sticking with us through 2020, and I’ll talk to you all again in January.

Peace!

Joseph Brown – PPJ 02

Tasks:

  • Meetings – 1 hr
  • Buttons, highlights, inner circles – 3 hrs
  • HUD layout tweaks – 30 minutes
  • Unit Icons (now with shapes!) – 1.5 hrs

Total Hours: 6

Positive:

Finished a more finalized draft of the user interface. Moved the buttons, spaced them to look more like face buttons on a controller, added circles between them to further reinforce this, and more other stuff that will HOPEFULLY help the player know how to actually control this game.

Negative:

More challenges this week. I mistakenly assumed that the game was almost solely played on Xbox controllers, and in an effort to make the UI more intuitive (and to drive home the fact that control is done through the face buttons) I created a version of the UI with color coding that matched the Xbox face buttons. Jeff was adamant about keeping the game “controller agnostic” and supportive of other controllers like the Playstation or Switch. Color coding would still work fine in these cases, but we don’t currently have a way of detecting what type of controller is plugged in. For now, the inner circles will be colored for the player.

Upcoming: 

Playtesting next week! I’m going to try and help get the new interface in before then. I’m also going to start writing tooltips, and figure out a way to have them appear to the player in a smart way. New icons need to be made and implemented, and I’ll be working with Meagan to accomplish that, as well as getting all the current icons symmetrical. This is so they can be mixed and matched between the button frames in support of our new loadout system, and so that guidelines are established for making new icons in the future.

UIAmination
Showcasing animations, button interactivity, lane highlights

 – Joseph Brown

Joseph Brown – PPJ 01

Tasks:

  • Meetings – 3.5 hrs
  • GDD Review – 1 hr
  • UI Sketches – 2 hrs

Total Hours: 6.5

Positive:

New team appears supportive and competent. We have some good goals that we need to complete before the end of the term, and our project leads have goals for the title even after that, which is encouraging. We also have a strong base to work from, and the game is just asking for polish and expansion.

Negative:

There were no real negatives this week, but numerous challenges have presented themselves. For one, the workflow on the team is different than what I’m used to. The group is also larger, and people who have already established themselves as authorities on certain topics. I hope that my voice is heard going forward, and that I’m able to make worthwhile contributions to the project.

Upcoming: 

I’ve got a lot of work to make sure that new players can understand the controls quicker. I noticed players during the team’s former playtests struggling with using face buttons for navigation/control, so I’m going to try two things:

  • Make a more solidified UI, one that visually allows players to understand their control scheme without a “controls screen”
  • Explore alternate control schemes that work intuitively without excess visual feedback
I also want to consolidate information so that it reads easier, and improve the overall user experience across the board. For example: when testing, I noticed that I didn’t look down to check my gold, and my eyes were locked on the controls in the top corner to make sure I didn’t mess up. Though I want to fix the controls, so that they aren’t the focus and can become an afterthought, I’m going to move the gold and favor indicators up so that they read better.

The hope is that I can get the majority of these UI fixes designed and discussed with the team before our next playtest, and maybe even get them implemented before then.

 – Joseph Brown