It has been a while since I’ve talked about Gunstyle so I figured a post was due on the status of the game…

Right now development is rather slow just due to our busy college schedules. It’s also the last 90% so it’s always tough ;). Right now Gunstyle is a PC only title due to it being a multiplayer centric game (XNA 1.0 lacking networking functionality on the 360). Personally, I’d love to see Gunstyle on the Xbox 360 and take it in that direction, but I guess it’s more of a ‘wait and see’ right now until XNA 2.0 hits. As a result, I’m holding off on writing a dedicated server, and also trying to decouple TorqueX from it’s graphics pipeline and game logic (too allow for a light-weight server app) has been rather painful, and I’d rather not re-write a graphics-less version Gunstyle. These days it’s mostly polishing and fixing bugs with little new content. Looking at the latest development screenshot above you may notice some of the effects are familar :). The distortion is a post-process effect I first developed as a component and Ziggyware article. The trail you see behind the flag and player is a seamless ribbon trail. This again is another component I developed separately and was featured on Ziggy’s site with source and tutorial, so go check it out if you want to use it in your games! I also added in a post-process bloom to the engine, which adds a really nice subtle touch to the level graphics. Each level has it’s own custom bloom ‘strength’ to give that level a certain look and feel. The image above is a picture of the ‘Hive’ map which has a bright techno/industrial look to it.

In terms of gameplay, the mechanics haven’t changed much but the rules of engagement have. After spending a little over a month optimizing game code we found TorqueX bottlenecking on some of scenegraph functionality. After doing some minor tweaks in our code to minimize calls into TX we decided to bite the bullet and scale the game back. Originally we targeted the game to be played by a maximum of 16 players in one server. We halved that number down to 8 to give us stable frame rates across the board. I was hesitant to do it, but I’d rather get the game out sometime soon than toil with optimizing algorithms and doing complete re-writes of engine code for the next 6 months.

We hope to have a full public beta released for the PC sometime later this year :). That’s all I have for now, more updates hopefully in the next couple of weeks!