Story Time Wednesdays, Unit 108 Edition, Vol. 10 – Can We Get a Tank, Please?

Members of the Community,

CMRobbie here! This week for Story Time Wednesdays, let’s take a look at one of the many enemies Deacon will encounter, the Arc Nova Enforcer.

A massive armored tank piloted remotely or via basic on-board AI, the Enforcer attacks with a massive laser beam after locking onto its enemy.

To defeat the Enforcer, jump up and fire a few well-placed, well-timed shots into the weak-point in its “eye.”

Building this enemy was challenging but also very fun for us as a team, as involved us experimenting with a lot of new concepts like sweet spots and screen-filling attacks. A lot of collaboration went on between the team members handling concept art, sprite art, particle effects and coding! This was the earliest placeholder animation for its laser, completed using, of all things, a Shop menu text box:

Before we leave, a quick update on the pace of development; the Waterfront District is nearing completion, but it still took us a bit longer than we expected. Considering the amount of levels we want the game to feature at the end (we hope to be revealing a new one within the next 2-3 Wednesdays!) Unit 108 might release in 2020 instead of 2019.

Games from Long Story Studios are labors of love we all work on between various day jobs, summer classes and internships, and unfortunately there’s only so much we can do at one time for free – without even getting into the fact we’re still a rather small team. We’re not at all complaining, but we request that you please remain patient with development – we are still making consistent progress every week, even if it isn’t very fast.

Stay Tuned,

Community Manager Robbie

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Story Time Wednesdays, Unit 108 Edition, Vol. 9 – Abilities and Upgrades

Members of the Community,

CMRobbie here! This week, let’s take a look at a few of the upgrades and abilities Deacon will be able to equip and experiment with during Unit 108.

First up is the Rush Stab, a fast forward-moving stab ability that can be activated during a standard Dash to turn it into an attack, on the ground or in the air!

Next is the Cyclone Attack, a grounded spinning slash ability that can be used to deal damage in an area of effect around Deacon.

Lastly, we have for you the Homing Missile, a upgrade for the gun that turns every fifth shot into, well, a homing missile that seeks the closest enemy. If you’ve been invested in LS Studios so far, you might recognize the sprite…

We have many more Abilities and many more Upgrades planned for the final game. Brand new moves with brand new inputs are grouped under Abilities, while modifiers that add new properties to existing moves are grouped under Upgrades.

Both can be purchased using Combat Cores, computer chips filled with data collected from destroyed Arc Nova units. Simply visit Violet in the Eden Base between levels to manage your load-out!

Stay Vigilant,

Community Manager Robbie

Story Time Wednesdays, Unit 108 Edition, Vol. 8 – Enter Arc Nova

Members of the Community,

CMRobbie here! Last week on Story Time Wednesdays, we introduced the final member of Eden, Blackhat, and showed off more of Eden’s base. This week, we’re doing the opposite – we’re here today to talk more about the story of Unit 108 as well as the game’s antagonist team, Arc Nova.

We mentioned on our Twitter last week that Eden is “an organization dedicated to fighting androids.” We’ve also hinted in blog posts that both Deacon and the Commander have backstories involving being caught in the crossfire of android attacks. But what exactly has been going on with these androids?

In the year 2094, the world’s first fully sentient android was created, and named Adam. The scientific world, and later society itself, was placed into an uproar as the moral, economic and political implications of sentient androids were debated.

In 2103, Adam was assassinated. His killer was never found, and no motive was ever pieced together. Overwhelmed with grief and rage, his “younger brother” Antonius, a newer android built using the same framework, declared war on humanity itself, forming an military group called Arc Nova filled with combat robots and elite android operatives.

At the start of the game, Arc Nova has been carrying out raids across the globe for five years, and have taken control of several pockets of territory in every corner of the world.

In response, Commander founded Eden, a non-government organization dedicated to fighting back against Arc Nova raids when local governments can’t or won’t. Deacon’s near-death, rescue by Eden and cyborg implants all occur in 2108, the year the game will be taking place.

At the start of the game, Arc Nova have just launched a massive attack on Eden’s headquarters in Alabaster City, and with long-range teleportation and communication systems faulty, it’s up to Deacon and the rest of the team to fight back against the attack and take back Alabaster City.

One of the many enemies Deacon will encounter on this mission is the Arc Automaton, a very basic robotic soldier mass-produced by Arc Nova.

To clarify something: in the world of Unit 108, Robots are basic machines coded for a specific task, Androids are fully sentient and intelligent machine lifeforms with independent thought, and Cyborgs are ordinary humans given mechanical implants.

The version pictured above is the default appearance of the Automaton, however it sports a different appearance in each level, as the various lieutenants of Arc Nova often choose to customize their underlings. For example, in the Waterfront District (what we earlier referred to as the “beach level”) the Automatons sport pirate hats and imitation flintlock pistols.

That’s all for now, but stay tuned to Story Time Wednesdays and the Long Story Studios Twitter for more information on the enemies and bosses of Arc Nova in the weeks to come!

Until Then,

Community Manager Robbie

Story Time Wednesdays, Unit 108 Edition, Vol. 7 – Blackhat the Informant and Full Base Reveal

Members of the Community,

CMRobbie here, and we’ve got a lot to show off this week!

First, the elusive final member of Eden, the mysterious information specialist Blackhat.

Informant. I’m going into battle and I need your strongest information.

Blackhat’s ability to scout out areas, analyze enemies and gather vital information for missions is unrivaled within Eden. However, even those within Eden know very little about Blackhat as person – Blackhat’s past is even more shrouded than the Commander’s, and no one has ever even gotten a good luck under his(?) hat.

Blackhat essentially acts as a living lore database in-game. Talking to them will allow the player to learn more about levels, bosses and story details at any time.

With Blackhat, the final member of Eden, revealed, we can now show off more of the Eden Base itself, which has gotten some significant work done since the demo.

Hidden deep underground behind layers and layers of concrete, metal and cloaking devices, Eden Base is always buzzing with activity and freezing with cold.

Eden has similar bases all over the world to house its 107 other units, but the base pictured here is the main headquarters, located in a place known as Alabaster City (where the main game will be taking place.)

In previous entries (and earlier on in this one) we’ve mentioned what each NPC will do when spoken to. Now, you see what we meant – Deacon starts the game within Eden Base and will teleport back to it between missions, where he can talk to his compatriots to access the various functions of the game.

One final update that is more of a meta update than one for the game; we’ve recently implemented fixed work sessions for ourselves, and this week alone we’ve seen an uptick in productivity because of it. Thus, future updates should be much more substantial. For example, tune in next week for details on a brand new enemy type!

And, now that we have shown each of them off in full, be sure to follow us on Twitter @LongStoryStudio to see more information on the cast and regular non-blog updates on game development!

Stick Around,

Community Manager Robbie

Story Time Wednesdays, Unit 108 Edition, Vol. 6 – Finals Week, Animation Work

Members of the Community,

CMRobbie here!

Our SoCal division is currently in the midst of university finals, so work has slowed down somewhat recently. However, we’ve prepared a quick Streamable link that shows off all of our new progress since the last Story Time update:

As demonstrated here, we’ve been continuing work on both Deacon and the beach level, with even better animations for Deacon, sound effects for the turret cannon enemy and a brand-new Ferris wheel structure that will be used for platforming in the future.

Here are some high-quality gifs of a few of Deacon’s new animations on the right, compared to their original versions on the left:

Previously, the Dash was a single held frame. This new animation shows Deacon curling into it from a running start.

The previous jump was rather awkward and choppy, with Deacon jumping with one arm outstretched and the other held back… I suppose like a certain plumber. This new animation has him crouching down first, and then jumping up with both hands in front of him, which transitions much more smoothly into a held “falling” sprite.

We’re missing a few middle pieces here, but this is Deacon’s most recent (and likely final) run animation compared to the version of the animation seen in the trailers and demos. You can see that it’s much more fluid and natural looking… oh, and he actually uses his arms properly now. My high school Track coach would be proud.

All of Deacon’s animations are being looked at one by one, and most (but not all) are being tweaked or redone entirely. We’re also drafting some new ones for a potential combat overhaul, so stay tuned!

Also, some of you might remember that all the way back in Volume 4, we teased the final member of Eden. We’ve been having some issues with their somewhat non-standard design, but rest assured they are still coming. With finals out of the way this week, productivity levels will likely rise a lot over very soon; No Promises, but we’re currently aiming for an August or September release, and we’ll have plenty to show off between now and then!

Regards,

Community Manager Robbie

Story Time Wednesdays, Unit 108 Edition, Vol. 5 – Turret Enemy & Animation Rework

Members of the Community,

CMRobbie here! Development has changed course slightly this week and I’d like to show off a bunch of new animation work.

First, let’s take a look at a brand new enemy we just put a wraps on, this cannon turret that will be lining an upcoming beach-themed level.

Not just fodder.

The turret marks the first non-target enemy implemented into the game, and it currently tracks Deacon’s movement before launching a deadly straight shot.

Don’t worry, it won’t be a one-hit kill in the final game. Probably.

One major development on the coding side of this enemy was adding a set range to it, so that it didn’t snipe the player from across the map at the start of the level. Just how much range it will have, as well as how telegraphed it’s shot will be, is something that will be fine-tuned between now and release, but here’s how it looks at the moment in developer mode:

Math class flashbacks.

In addition to polishing up the cannon enemy, we also reworked Deacon’s animations a bit. Down below is a gif of his new jump animation, as well a link to a Streamable that shows off his new run animation and our current progress on the beach level. More reworks like these are likely to follow, as we’ve been experimenting with the ratio of “smooth and fluid” versus “snappy and impactful” in some of our animations.

Streamable link

For one final, showcase, here’s the turret’s death animation:

With that, we’ll see you next week for more developmental updates!

Yours,

Community Manager Robbie

Story Time Wednesdays, Unit 108 Edition, Vol. 4 – Commanding Your Attention

Members of the Community,

CMRobbie here! It’s that time of the week yet againzos. If you saw our new podcast earlier this week, you probably already know who this volume is about – Commander Chance, founder and leader of the Eden militia force.

Sorry podcast viewers, we didn’t actually end up giving him timbs. Game cancelled.

Not even those working under him know that much about his history, but locker room rumors suggest he lost a great deal to an android uprising in his home country – wherever it is – and founded Eden to save others around the world from similar fates.

Talking to the Commander in the Eden base hub level will bring up the level select menu, as the Commander is the one who carries the access data for Eden’s short-range teleportation systems. Unit 108 is currently planned to feature 6 main levels, which can be tackled in an order of the player’s choosing. We created the idea of a hub world in order to add a little personality to the game compared to just having a basic mission select screen.

Instead of leaving you with concept art, here’s a timestamp for when he shows up in our podcast, so you can watch Aiden design him in real-time! (10:40 if it doesn’t load properly.)

We’ve still got one member of the hero team left to show off. They aren’t as central to the plot as the Commander, but we still had a lot of fun designing them, so please stay tuned and get excited!

See You in Seven Solar Cycles,

Community Manager Robbie