The State Of Thrunt
01 November 2016
I’m reviving the Mugs Games development blog as part of the site revamp. Things were a bit quiet over the summer, mostly for personal reasons – new house, new job etc. But I never let go of Thrunt, and now it’s time to push it into the next phase. Come with me, deeper underground, and this time in 3D.
As you’ll know already if you’ve been following, I’ve now started work on the Greenlight-friendly version of Thrunt, or the “G” branch as I usually refer to it. I’ll discuss the progress there shortly.
That means the version you can currently buy on Itch.io (the “P” branch for preview, or prototype, or prequel) now probably won’t get any further updates. The most significant recent change to the P branch was porting to Mac. That was relatively painless thanks to Unity’s cross compilation, but testing by a couple of new players threw up some minor issues, specifically related to aspect ratio changes. Macs tend to work on 16:10 aspect ratios, whereas Windows systems seem to more commonly be 16:9. Some of Thrunt’s UI didn’t like the 16:10 resolution, but it’s now been tidied up and works at either ratio.
Another player found a bug where the respawn system would break if you let the clock run to 10 minutes on a specific level. Given that a typical level should take around 30 seconds I can only assume this particular player has a lot more patience than he has ability! But that’s why I’d never tested any given level beyond a few minutes, and hence this bug slipped through the cracks. It’s now fixed, and I’ve heard from the player that he’s now finished every level (but not within the target times). So, well done everyone involved.
No Sleep Til Greenlight
So it’s time put the P branch on hold and concentrate on Greenlight. I’m hoping to launch a campaign early in the new year, but to have any confidence of success within a sensible time frame I’ll need to have enough content to make a good looking trailer video.
The G branch will be functionally very similar to the P branch. I do have some ideas for new features, and I may try some of them out in the G branch, but generally speaking this is a presentation update, not a gameplay update.
The most obvious change so far is to the graphics. The game is now 2.5D, and properly lit, dropping the silhouette style in favour of a brooding underground industrial theme. Here’s a preview of the first level I’m working on, a reworking of the classic “Fanny Hole” level from the P branch.
The level geometry is still untextured, but the mood is starting to get close to how I want it. It’ll continue to improve, not only as more features go in but also as I get better at creating the 3D assets. I’m quite comfortable using Modo for modeling, and I’m getting to grips with Substance Painter for texturing.
Cruising For A Bruising
One of the new gameplay features I’ve been experimenting with is Cruise Mode. This causes the wings of the ship to retract upwards, reducing drag and hence increasing top speed. It also makes it impossible to steer though, so you can only use it sparingly on the straights, and at your own risk.
It’s intended for better players to push for faster times on certain levels, but it also fits in with another gameplay element that I haven’t added yet. In the final game, levels will be unlocked by accumulating “stars” or equivalent. Some levels will have an additional challenge that provides extra stars. For example, in the Fanny Hole level, the challenge might be “Extra Lap,” where you would have to go twice around each turbine and still finish the level.
One possible challenge would be a “Speed Trap” where you get extra stars for passing a checkpoint above a certain speed. Cruise mode would be necessary to gain a boost on the run up.