Dev Log #18 – Build 0.29.0 Highlights, Patch Notes, and Team Change

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Welcome to Dev Log #18! Due to the delay in our last build release, we’re lumping together lots of features into one big release, now LIVE on Steam. This means we have a lot of new things to talk about and plenty of changes in the patch notes. We’re going to repost some of our content from Dev Log #17 just to keep a single record of all of the changes in this build. If you already read Dev Log #17, it’s still worth reading it all as we’ve added new information about additional changes.

Team Change

Before we jump into the patch, we wanted to announce that Asher (lencorp) from the Oceanic community has joined the team and will be doing project management and QA work with us. We’re excited to have him and look forward to working with him.

Think you have a skillset we could use? Want to offer help where you can? Email us at [email protected]!

Build Highlights

It’s time to dive into some of the great features now available in Midair!

“Spawn in Loadout” in Testing

When looking at community feedback we see a recurring theme around loadouts and spawning in CTF. In Midair, we want base play to be an important element of the game. One way we wanted to do that was to require every player to visit an inventory before equipping their selected loadout. This does shift importance to the base, but sacrifices some very common user experience benefits the industry has shifted to over time. Due to this feedback we are testing the balance of spawning in loadouts in some official servers. These servers have slightly increased spawn times but will enable players to spawn unrestricted in the currently selected loadout. When the generator is down, the entire team’s spawn time is increased. These values are easily changed through server configuration, so these settings may change over the course of this build’s life as we continue testing this feature. This particular setting is also not the extent of the tests we will be performing in this area to ensure players have a great experience playing CTF.

Servers where we are testing this feature:

  • [Branzone.com] Official – NY – Spawn CTF
  • [Branzone.com] Official – EU – Spawn CTF
  • Bittah.com Official – AUS – Spawn CTF

Slow to a Stop

Another common point of feedback we heard from players touched on how a player goes from skiing to walking. Previously, when a player was moving fast and wanted to transition from skiing to walking, they would almost immediately stop and gain traction. This gave the player stopping immediate control over their walking but made “finesse” movement where they might want to slow down slightly much more difficult to pull off. In addition, hitting players that were moving less predictably due to this control was just harder. In this build we’re introducing a work-in-progress implementation of slowing to a stop that attempts to solve these issues without reducing the feeling of control at low speeds. There are a couple issues with this implementation that we intend to fix but we wanted to get this out in the wild to get your feedback early on how it feels.

Deployable Range Visuals

For deployables like sensors and turrets that have an effective range, we’ve added a visual while deploying that communicates this range so you can make better informed decisions about where to place deployables.

Turret Clustering

We’ve implemented a turret clustering feature that allows more control over where turrets are placed while keeping the total number of turrets in an area manageable for the enemy offense. When placing turrets, you can now place turrets closer than before, but when two or more turrets are near each other they create interference, so subsequent turrets must be placed outside of the larger interference range. This is more inline with our final deploayble system design, but will be tweaked as we hear your feedback.

Tenebris Returns!

Tenebris is returning with a massive art update. The map has undergone some gameplay changes as well, particularly with the flag stands and bases.

The flag stand has been replaced with a refueling cargo ship with plenty of space to stash inventory stations or hide from the enemy defense.

The base interior has been brought to life and now features more paths and tubes to make gameplay more interesting when assaulting and defending the base.

There’s plenty more to see and explore on Tenebris. Jump in and take a look!

Vehicle Shields, Missile Launcher, and Flares

Vehicles have been in a weird place for a while now. The Air Fighter was really dominant in the right players’ hands while being very difficult to take down due to no weapons built to counter it. On the other side, the Tank has a lot of health but with enough focus from the enemy team it can be hard to stay alive. In this build we’re adding three key elements that will change up the balance for how vehicles are played and countered. We’ll describe these new features in detail here and pictures will follow on social media.

Vehicle Shields

The first thing we’ve done is make vehicles feel less brittle by adding shields that pull from the vehicle’s energy pool. This should help defend against stray ground fire slowly eating away at vehicle health and make it more resilient overall. However, pilots will need to plan carefully when moving in for an engagement, since taking too much fire or using too much boost will drain your energy pool and make you more immobile or more susceptible to enemy fire.

Missile Launcher

The Missile Launcher has long been on the roadmap and is now making its way into Midair. The missile works by locking on and homing to a target with a high heat signature. Players generate and lose heat through jetpack usage, but vehicles and base assets always have a full heat signature. If a target drops below the heat threshold, the missile will lose its target unless its heat signature increases back beyond the threshold or the missile time-detonates. If you’re locked on to by a missile, an alarm in your armor will go off alerting you to the incoming missile at which point you can choose to reduce your heat signature or use flares to distract the incoming missile.

Flares

Both players and vehicles can have flares that will divert incoming missiles when the missiles are in range of the flare. A single flare will divert one missile. For players, flares are equipped by selecting them as a throwable item like grenades or mines. Vehicles can fire off several flares in series but have a cooldown between uses. This means pilots will need to tactically use their flares then lay low while their cooldown resets. In addition, both handheld and vehicle-dropped flares will confuse future target locking from shoulder mounted missiles within the area while the flares are still active.

 

Stats, Match History, and Leaderboards

We’ve spent some time reworking our stats backend which enables us to retrieve and display player match history and create leaderboards – both of which are now in this build along with a menu UI functional revamp to make accessing these more straightforward. Here’s a quick look:

Match History

Your match history displays your most recent matches along with quick details about the match. Eventually this will also include a personal highlight, a way to view more advanced match statistics, and a demo playback button to relive your greatest moments. Let us know what you’d like to see here on the forums!

Leaderboards

Leaderboards stack you against other Midair players and your friends for each gametype in Midair. The three leaderboard views are: Global, Around Me, and Friends. The Global leaderboard shows the ranking of everyone in Midair starting at the top. Around Me shows you and players near you so that you can see what you need to do to overtake the players next in line. Friends shows your rankings compared to a filter of only your Steam friends. This is just the start of our leaderboards feature, so expect changes to happen based on your feedback!

New Map: Crashsite

Crashsite is now available for LCTF and Arena. This map features two dropships crash-landed in a desert with low visibility. Hop on to test out the new map and please post any feedback you may have in the forums!

Engine Upgrade

Midair has been upgraded from Unreal Engine 4.14 to 4.17. This upgrade provided several bug fixes, workflow enhancements, rendering features, and various engine optimizations. From a gameplay perspective, nothing should have changed. We still have a lot of work to do when it comes to optimization and changes in engine versions beyond 4.17 may be integrated in a piecemeal fashion. More about what’s in the engine upgrade can be found here.

0.29.0 Patch Notes

General

  • NEW: Missile Launcher weapon now available in CTF for medium and heavy armors
  • NEW: Flare Grenades now available for all classes
  • NEW: Vehicles now have flares
  • NEW: Vehicle Shields
  • Unreal Engine upgraded from 4.14 to 4.17
  • Hitting the ground relatively fast while not skiing will not immediately stop the player and will instead ‘skid’ while coming to a stop
  • NEW: A “spawn in loadout” mode for CTF is now in testing on some official servers
  • NEW: A “star” rating system for kills has been added and is displayed in the event feed
  • Turret clustering interference system has been introduced
  • Added player heat mechanic for heatseeking missile launcher
  • Jetpack and ski sounds are now different for each weight class
  • Buying vehicles now use the Activate/Use binding instead of having a unique key
  • A visual indicator for effective range is now shown when deploying turrets and sensors
  • The Missile Lancher has been added to some default loadouts in CTF

UI

  • Improved look of main menu to make it more consistent with the rest of the game’s UI
  • Added player Match History and Leaderboards
  • Moved player stats from Players tab to new profile menu
  • Removed Players tab and made it a button available only in matches
  • Added filters to server browser for passworded and official servers
  • Added escape key functionality to options menu, loadout submenus, and several other prompts in the game
  • Improved UX of exiting the game, a match, or returning to a match
  • Improved binding icons (rounded corners)
  • Improved vehicle HUD
  • Updated grenade icons to be reflective of the grenade type they are instead of using a generic icon
  • Official servers are now denoted by a star icon in the server list and can be filtered accordingly

Animations

  • Improved flag grab animations
  • Loadout Screen player models now have idle animations
  • Updated third person Mortar reload animation

Maps

  • Tenebris – Gameplay and art overhaul
  • NEW: Crashsite is now available for LCTF and Arena
  • Outpost 99  – Terrain changes
  • Brynhildr – Base changes
  • Sunset Cove – Terrain changes
  • Research – Gameplay overhaul
  • Frozen Lines – Terrain overhaul

Bug Fixes

  • Players can no longer stand on the flight ceiling
  • CTF-Hoki – Flag holders are no longer floating off the stand
  • CTF-Dam – Base windows no longer have broken collision
  • LCTF-Minora – Fixed translucency sorting issues with clouds
  • Ammo Pickup no longer block damage/impulses
  • Wall repair packs IFF can now be seen through walls
  • Fixed a bug causing players to be on different teams in Rabbit
  • Switching packs from repair or engineer now results in switching back to your previous weapon
  • Your deployed mines will no longer be red while on blue team
  • Fixed translucency sorting of OOB grid
  • Fixed cloak perspective being wrong on first person arms
  • Fixed Vehicle Pad not showing it was unpowered
  • Fixed flag base color not matching team color