Category Archives: Uncategorized

New Demo Build 0.05 Released

We have just released a brand new build, head over to the file section on our IndieDB page and get hold of it!

http://www.indiedb.com/games/empires-of-the-undergrowth/downloads

This build is for Windows, Mac and Linux!

Although the full game still won’t be available until next year there have been a number of significant changes to the graphics and control system, along with a new level to test out. If you want the full breakdown, we have uploaded a “what’s new” video here:

What are you waiting for? Go get it!

Indiedb.com

Note to Mac Users:

The Mac build is missing some performance enhancements which will be added in a future update. If you spot any problems, please let us know.

Note to Linux Users:

Empires of the Undergrowth requires OpenGL 4 to be installed on Linux systems to render. Unfortunately, due to a problem with Unreal Engine 4.12 (on which Empires of the Undergrowth is built), some of the more complex materials will not compile properly – in particular, the water on the main menu and some of the more complex wall materials. Instead these will show as grey materials. This problem should be fixed in a future update and we will notify the community when a new version of the Linux binaries is available to download. (Note that by reducing the graphical quality using the Visual Effect option slider, the complex wall materials will be replaced with low quality materials which don’t suffer from this problem).

‘Hands-On’ Entomology Afternoon at Harper Adams University

On Thursday we will be at a ‘hands-on’ entomology afternoon at Harper Adams University, Shropshire, UK. You will be able to play the demo build of the game and talk to us in person. John Connor (lead designer and AI) and Matthew Kent (lead programmer and artist) will be there answering questions, showing people the game and talking about the ant species we have in store.

Click here to find out more

Slug Disco at Harper Adams entomology event

Plenty of other things are happening – there will be showings of live bugs and collections by Harper Adams students and “live-handling” with Exotic Zoo from Telford, so if you are in the area come along. If you are lucky we may do a facebook live broadcast as well!

Where?
Harper Adams University,
Newport,
Shropshire,
UK,
TF10 8NB

When?
Thursday 8th September at 2pm

Hopefully see you there!

Level of Control

We have recently had meetings about the level of control the player (and computer players) should have in light of the very positive response we have received from the demo. Not directly controlling units is one of the main differences between our game and a traditional RTS, however we do still want a level of control where the player feels they are directly impacting the game.

As much as players liked the single point control provided in the demo, many spoke about their desire to send the colony in different directions to cover more areas and defend attacks from behind. Another issue was that soldiers just hanging around a single point is not really very ant like and essentially causes one single big fight then it is over.

Single Point Problem

These issues become ever more evident with the introduction of the surface. No longer is the player dealing with small corridors, instead they are faced with wide open spaces.

In the next post we will discuss what we have introduced to combat these issues.

Join in the discussion about this on Reddit:
https://www.reddit.com/r/eotu/comments/509ws8/dev_update_level_of_control/

More flexibility, more efficiency, more ants!

It’s been three weeks since our last major post so it’s probably about time for an update. The dust feels like it has finally settled after our intense crowdfunding campaign and it’s back to business as usual.

During the run up to the kickstarter, and over the course of our campaign we focused our efforts in the direction of game aesthetics, music, and level design for the demo: all very marketable developments, with lots to show off. But now it’s time to revisit the workings under the hood: upgrading skeleton systems that worked well for the demo, but that now need to deliver more: More flexibility, more efficiency, more ants!

The team is currently working in parallel on three separate areas of the game. Matt has conducted the first complete analysis of code efficiency for Empires, otherwise known as “profiling”. His task is to find out where the bottlenecks are in our game when it comes to CPU and GPU effort. Not only is this necessary to ensure that we don’t demand out-of-this-world PC specs to run the game, but by doing this sort of analysis now, we can be alerted to issues and avoid over-using processor-heavy methods when building new systems. He has also got our mini-map working properly!

Minimap is functional

After an intense 5-hour Saturday skype meeting about the nature of the surface world, including resource collection mechanics, territory and level of player control, John got to work implementing new AI routines for the ants. We want there to be similarities between the control systems above and below ground so that the two environments merge together as seamlessly as possible. However, there are a number of key differences and rules that the ants must obey in the over-world and this means big updates to their little brains.

I have once again been updating the ant job management systems. Trying to find the balance between an autonomous colony-like look and feel, but with enough player control to call our game a “real-time strategy” and not a full-on simulation. The kickstarter demo saw big improvements in this system, but there are still some important changes to implement that will make the workers more predictable and reliable. With the move to the surface there is also a whole host of custom swarm mechanics that need to be moved from the old build and re-created in Unreal Engine.

I hope this explains why there have been no new creature gifs recently. Don’t worry, we will have some new models and flashy mechanics to show off as we start properly testing out the over ground. In the meantime, if you fancy watching John fight with the ant AI, check out his dev stream at https://www.twitch.tv/slugdisco tomorrow at midday (01/07/2016 12:00 BST)

Post-Kickstarter Updates!

It’s been almost two weeks since the end of the Kickstarter already and we thought it was about time for an update.

Firstly, the winners of the final stretch goal! Welcome to the game Coptotermes formosanus – Formosan termite!

Coptotermes formosanus - Formosan termite
In the end their victory was marginal!

Over the past few days we have been sorting through all of your Stomt feedback, implementing bug fixes and upgrading to Unreal Engine 4.12. We are also re-working the ant job allocation system so that ants can now ‘steal’ jobs from others, which should increase efficiency and prevent ants from wandering away from tunnel-digging jobs that they have already begun. Additionally we have been tackling issues that have caused long compile times in the code. The next big things on the list are code profiling (finding out which parts are slowing things down and need to be optimized), streamlining path-finding for ants in crowds and making demo builds for both Mac and Linux.

We can confirm that of the £18,087 pledged, £17,385 has been successfully billed, which is fantastic news. For those of you not familiar with Kickstarter, backers are not billed until the project is successful so some payments inevitably fail. We have heard this can be up to 10% of the final amount so we have been very fortunate. Kickstarter will take their fee of £1,590.40, leaving us with £15,794.60 to fuel Empires of the Undergrowth. This will see our lead programmer through 9 months of development and contribute to sending us to Develop Brighton, leaving just enough leftover to buy the cheapest Mac we can find, so we can finally bring the ants to our Apple players.

If you wanted to pledge to Empires of the Undergrowth but were unable to because of issues with Kickstarter’s online payment options, or you were just late to the party, you can still help us out and pick up some of the original backer rewards via paypal. Just head to our Late Backers page: http://www.eotugame.com/paypal/

In other news, we have now set up a subreddit for Empires at https://www.reddit.com/r/eotu/.  We are not sure exactly how this will be used yet, and the posting rules are likely to evolve over time.  If you want to discuss demo tactics, ants, or even other ant/simulation games, this seems like a good place for people to gather. Note that if you have feedback on the game, especially related to the demo, we would still like you to post it on our Stomt page: https://www.stomt.com/empires-of-the-undergrowth.  

Finally we would just like to thank again all of our backers, demo testers, youtubers and other patient fans.  You are all antastic.

Kickstarter ends at 180% Funded!

Our Kickstarter ended with a 24 hour live stream, packed full of loads of games, competitions, insect eating and more! We ended at 180% which is an incredible result! We want to thank everybody for really helping out, spreading the word and of course making pledges!

If you missed the live stream you can watch it on our twitch channel:

https://player.twitch.tv/?video=v68557411

And if you want to see us attempt to eat giant water bugs, skip to 23h 54m. Spoiler: John does not handle it well.

It has been an incredible experience. So many have offered support and have been spreading the word about the game. We are very grateful to everyone, it means a lot to us.

Now we have a game to make! We will keep you posted about developments of the game as we move on and will soon be sending out surveys for backers to fill out so we can get rewards out when the time comes.

Onwards with development!

Great Kickstarter… so far!

We have had a great Kickstarter campaign so far, but it is not over yet! Things are about to explode!

We have a great line up planned for our final week on Kickstarter. This will include development streams, a release of a band new demo filled with updated features (and an extra level for backers), increased information coming from our social media and much more!

This will culminate in a 24 hour live stream to finish the Kickstarter. We will be playing games that have influenced us, doing time trials on the demo and inviting other developers to chat on stream. All of this whilst we are sleep deprived, what could be better?

If you want to catch up with the developers live streams we have been doing, they have all be uploaded to YouTube:

Don’t forget to find us on Facebook, Twitter and Stomt.

The goal is reached! And nearly the stretch goal!

We reached out Kickstarter goal in just under a week! Amazing!

This update expresses our joy at the time:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/eotu/empires-of-the-undergrowth-rise-of-the-colony/posts/1565460

And we are really close to reaching our first stretch goal! It is a battle between the Dracula Ant and the Bullet Ant for social media interaction, which will win?
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/eotu/empires-of-the-undergrowth-rise-of-the-colony/posts/1566108

Thanks to everyone who has supported our campaign and made it a success, let see if we can get further!

Kickstarter Ramp Up

We are currently in the process of ramping up to the release of our Kickstarter on April 26th. Along with releasing the demo we have created new screenshots, updated the press kit, taken the game to shows and much more. When the Kickstarter launches we will have a brand new video showcasing many aspects of the game!

Empires of the Undergrowth

In the count down we have produced some banners for our social media pages here are a few:

day7

day6

day5

Look out for us on Kickstarter on the 26th April and in the meantime, see if you can beat the demo:

Empires of the Undergrowth - Underground Test

Demo has arrived!

On our IndieDB page we have made the Underground test demo available. It is only a short snapshot of the game and is missing many of the planned features, but you should get an idea of how the underground will play.

Go get it here:

Empires of the Undergrowth - Underground Test

Underground Demo