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#1 DoctorBoom

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 06:06 PM

*
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Quite a lot has happened since my last blog. Really too much to quantify. The team has been working steadily and extended hours to bring this thing together and for what seemed like (subjectively) too long a time we were at a pre-alpha stage. As a game developer you never want to reveal your work before you think it’s ready and, in particular, you don’t want to reveal an unfinished playable. Or rather, you don’t want to inflict it on a group of unsuspecting and generally innocent playtesters. But since we’re on a very aggressive schedule, last month I pulled the trigger on playtesting. There’s nothing like knowing people will be playing your work within days to accelerate production.

Pink & Co. corralled two groups of backers that you probably know from their forum posts. These guys volunteered to travel to our studio in Southern Pines to get a first look at the proof of concept. Little did they know that we were going to get far more out of their time than they would. We went into the playtest knowing that quite a few feature sets were not ready for prime time, this from a small team of external testers and our own findings. Grenades were buggy, weapon accuracy was off due to a client/host network bug, sfx and vfx were not balanced, we had some crash bugs, and the collision was all over the place, along with many other issues. We knew all these things and honestly, I was worried that people were just going to hate it. And there were definitely a few skeptics in both groups.

But you know, then a wonderful thing happened. Both groups tore into the game and they had no problem finding all the bugs we knew about. Alpha team in particular was zealous at finding ways to access rooftops they shouldn’t be able to reach and to escape the playable area of the map. Of course we should have expected those guys to find any exploits and have decided to leave some of the rooftops “open,” at least for the demo. It just seems fitting somehow. Alpha team went on to uncover many issues we had not discovered in internal playtests and we were able to fix most of those in time for Bravo Team to test. Bravo in turn found entirely new bugs, but fewer than Alpha. Playtesting definitely did its job and we have a vastly more solid game today thanks to the volunteers who gave their time and valued opinions freely.

Anyway, the wonderful thing I’m referring to is not that we learned what was broken from the playtest. The wonderful thing is that the testers were riveted. And some of them were quite tired, having traveled from as far away as Oregon and across great distances from various locations in the United States.

If you remember from the Kickstarter campaign, the number one and overriding goal for this proof of concept was to recapture the feeling of a gameplay style that we all loved in the original games that inspired H-Hour. Based on the comments and reactions of Alpha and Bravo Teams, we met and exceeded that mission objective well beyond what people expected. Some testers enthusiastically said that they would stop playing other games and just play the H-Hour proof of concept exclusively. Comments like that make us feel good, obviously, so we’ll take them. But one participant followed up with an email saying that the experience was “eerily like” the originals and that he hoped the game would evolve beyond that gameplay style.

This is a good segue into talking about what else H-Hour will be besides a similar style of game when compared to the originals. There were quite a few vocal skeptics out there that didn’t believe we could recreate “the magic.” Now we’ve got testimonials from hardcore shooter players, KS backers, and forum guys that says otherwise. I point this out because we’ve proven we can recreate the essence of a gameplay style. Win. But the final game will offer a lot more.

You might remember me saying in Reddit or the KS site thread, or in various private emails that the “classic core” was the starting point. We were always going to expand the game with Analytics SergeantTM, clan support, and a wide range of game customization options that would allow you to adjust the feeling to be more “contemporary” if that’s what you wanted to do. We still intend to do that. But for all the traditionalists out there who say “don’t mess with the formula” we aren’t. You’ll be able to have your cake and eat it, and the next guy will too. Just remember your cake may be Red Velvet, his might be bundt. You won’t have to eat any cake you don’t like.

Looking back at the breakneck pace of development here, we’ve covered a lot of ground very rapidly. As a basis for comparison, I went into my “old screenshots” folder and pulled a few images dated from around October 22, 2013—just about three months ago. You can probably make out my comments in some of them. Most have been addressed or the level or features evolved beyond the need to address them. Keep in mind that while the visuals were evolving so were the mechanics and features on the code side and just about as quickly. The left side images would loosely be considered block-ins, the right side images were grabbed out of the editor today. We still have some lighting artifacts to clean up and some particle systems to add but in general, the progress has been significant and, well, really fast. It had to be.

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We’ve still got some time to polish the visuals and mechanics before we start to capture video for the promised gameplay video. All the little things that have been so annoying and made it difficult to share content with you are being addressed, at least as many of them as we have time for. It’s always surprising what you begin to notice when the big issues are cleared up. Those are the things we’re working on right now. Just looking at the shots I took today made me realize that I have some more foliage to place in a couple of spots.

In all it’s pretty exciting to be at this stage. I’m excited. Judging from all the posts and Tweets, you guys are excited too. Thanks for all the support that got us this far and we’ll keep pushing forward.

Click here to view the article

#2 Detray

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 06:08 PM

SCREENSHOT OVERLOAD!!!!! *BOOOOM*

 

Oh, and, first!

 

Edit: Alright just finished reading that "delicious" update. I'm glad we were able to help. This game will be awesome. Keep it up!!!


Edited by Detray, 03 February 2014 - 06:26 PM.


#3 A_FLUFFY_BUNNY_

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 06:12 PM

LOOKS GREAT!!!!

 

That looks really cleaned up even from a few weeks ago. Can't wait to get the actual game. 


Edited by A_FLUFFY_BUNNY_, 03 February 2014 - 06:22 PM.


#4 jcOzzy

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 06:13 PM

amazing david, it was a pleasure to playtest and have that SOCOM feeling come back to life after so many years.  keep up the good work everyone at SOF, nothing but excitement here.

 

"still can't get into this delicious church" <<<<hahah


Edited by jcOzzy, 03 February 2014 - 06:19 PM.


#5 Jimmy_Da_Tulip

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 06:15 PM

All I can say is "Wow!" I can only imagine how things will roll once SOFs have received the funding they need and can really dive into this thing! Keep up the great work DS and Devs! 


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#6 Agent_Clutch

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 06:16 PM

Awesome post David! I cant wait to see the evolution of HHour. Its definitely in the right hands I see big things in the future for the studio and HHour. 



#7 mountainduwe

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 06:18 PM

The progress you guys have made is incredible. Keep up the great work. Can't wait to get my hands on this.



#8 BCYEW

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 06:20 PM

Yee!
You know your addicted to SOCOM when https://www.sofstudi...-to-socom-when/
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#9 Z-Machine

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 06:22 PM

I'm more than excited. I've never been this excited to play a video game. Period. 


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#10 Ditch

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 06:22 PM

Quite a lot has happened since my last blog. Really too much to quantify. The team has been working steadily and extended hours to bring this thing together and for what seemed like (subjectively) too long a time we were at a pre-alpha stage. As a game developer you never want to reveal your work before you think it’s ready and, in particular, you don’t want to reveal an unfinished playable. Or rather, you don’t want to inflict it on a group of unsuspecting and generally innocent playtesters. But since we’re on a very aggressive schedule, last month I pulled the trigger on playtesting. There’s nothing like knowing people will be playing your work within days to accelerate production.Pink & Co. corralled two groups of backers that you probably know from their forum posts. These guys volunteered to travel to our studio in Southern Pines to get a first look at the proof of concept. Little did they know that we were going to get far more out of their time than they would. We went into the playtest knowing that quite a few feature sets were not ready for prime time, this from a small team of external testers and our own findings. Grenades were buggy, weapon accuracy was off due to a client/host network bug, sfx and vfx were not balanced, we had some crash bugs, and the collision was all over the place, along with many other issues. We knew all these things and honestly, I was worried that people were just going to hate it. And there were definitely a few skeptics in both groups. But you know, then a wonderful thing happened. Both groups tore into the game and they had no problem finding all the bugs we knew about. Alpha team in particular was zealous at finding ways to access rooftops they shouldn’t be able to reach and to escape the playable area of the map. Of course we should have expected those guys to find any exploits and have decided to leave some of the rooftops “open,” at least for the demo. It just seems fitting somehow. Alpha team went on to uncover many issues we had not discovered in internal playtests and we were able to fix most of those in time for Bravo Team to test. Bravo in turn found entirely new bugs, but fewer than Alpha. Playtesting definitely did its job and we have a vastly more solid game today thanks to the volunteers who gave their time and valued opinions freely.Anyway, the wonderful thing I’m referring to is not that we learned what was broken from the playtest. The wonderful thing is that the testers were riveted. And some of them were quite tired, having traveled from as far away as Oregon and across great distances from various locations in the United States. If you remember from the Kickstarter campaign, the number one and overriding goal for this proof of concept was to recapture the feeling of a gameplay style that we all loved in the original games that inspired H-Hour. Based on the comments and reactions of Alpha and Bravo Teams, we met and exceeded that mission objective well beyond what people expected. Some testers enthusiastically said that they would stop playing other games and just play the H-Hour proof of concept exclusively. Comments like that make us feel good, obviously, so we’ll take them. But one participant followed up with an email saying that the experience was “eerily like” the originals and that he hoped the game would evolve beyond that gameplay style. This is a good segue into talking about what else H-Hour will be besides a similar style of game when compared to the originals. There were quite a few vocal skeptics out there that didn’t believe we could recreate “the magic.” Now we’ve got testimonials from hardcore shooter players, KS backers, and forum guys that says otherwise. I point this out because we’ve proven we can recreate the essence of a gameplay style. Win. But the final game will offer a lot more.You might remember me saying in Reddit or the KS site thread, or in various private emails that the “classic core” was the starting point. We were always going to expand the game with Analytics SergeantTM, clan support, and a wide range of game customization options that would allow you to adjust the feeling to be more “contemporary” if that’s what you wanted to do. We still intend to do that. But for all the traditionalists out there who say “don’t mess with the formula” we aren’t. You’ll be able to have your cake and eat it, and the next guy will too. Just remember your cake may be Red Velvet, his might be bundt. You won’t have to eat any cake you don’t like.Looking back at the breakneck pace of development here, we’ve covered a lot of ground very rapidly. As a basis for comparison, I went into my “old screenshots” folder and pulled a few images dated from around October 22, 2013—just about three months ago. You can probably make out my comments in some of them. Most have been addressed or the level or features evolved beyond the need to address them. Keep in mind that while the visuals were evolving so were the mechanics and features on the code side and just about as quickly. The left side images would loosely be considered block-ins, the right side images were grabbed out of the editor today. We still have some lighting artifacts to clean up and some particle systems to add but in general, the progress has been significant and, well, really fast. It had to be.Blog.jpgBlog1.jpgBlog2.jpgBlog3.jpgBlog4.jpgBlog5.jpgWe’ve still got some time to polish the visuals and mechanics before we start to capture video for the promised gameplay video. All the little things that have been so annoying and made it difficult to share content with you are being addressed, at least as many of them as we have time for. It’s always surprising what you begin to notice when the big issues are cleared up. Those are the things we’re working on right now. Just looking at the shots I took today made me realize that I have some more foliage to place in a couple of spots.In all it’s pretty exciting to be at this stage. I’m excited. Judging from all the posts and Tweets, you guys are excited too. Thanks for all the support that got us this far and we’ll keep pushing forward.Click here to view the article





Awesome job sofs and David!!
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#11 FiRsT-aNd-LaSt

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 06:22 PM

Once again thanks for all the hard work you guys have put forth, progress has been amazing. All I can say is I can't wait for H-Hour to arrive and what the future holds for the franchise.


Edited by FiRsT-aNd-LaSt, 03 February 2014 - 06:23 PM.

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#12 Antidote

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 06:23 PM

This entire experience is just mind boggling-ly beautiful.. so beautiful I had to make up a word for it.  :P

 

In all seriousness though this Dev team rocks. Look at that progress!



#13 AidanMartin

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 06:24 PM

B-E-A-UTIFUL



#14 HillFerrari

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 06:24 PM

Nifty update, cheers for that! 

 

Get on it, need my Hocrack.. ;)



#15 Romulus

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 06:26 PM

I am absolutely blown away with the progress thus far! So excited to see this game release. I missed the kickstarter though, how can I give you my money?!



#16 AidanMartin

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 06:27 PM

This will be me when I get to play H-Hour

 

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#17 Merph

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 06:28 PM

I am very much looking forward to camping in a bush again. Plz bring back pmn mines.
Thanks for bring back socom!!!

#18 postalcollapse

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 06:29 PM

So exciting, cant wait guys. Just keep the classic magic and every element that makes it socom. And just throw that son of a gun into a sick themed storyline. We got H-Hour ladies and gents.  :P


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#19 Ryuushinz

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 06:31 PM

Great work.

Keep it up  ;)


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#20 Partnur

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 06:32 PM

Beautiful & amazing! Your notes are spot on of course. Better than any critique from any of us.   


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