As you may have even noticed from our Moddb post, an early release seems like the way to go.
Vince had a chat with a member of Valve, and he pointed out many things we should be doing. I don’t have the full conversation but Vince could link it or write down some main points if he feels like it.
I can just about officially (in a sort of unofficial way) that an early release is unofficially, officially, on the way.
I’m being a little vague intentionally.
The design thats going for us right now is a decision based storyline that also DRASTICALLY affects game-play.
For example, you may presented with two different paths, you could chase after a known scientist to follow up clues on the infested virus (sneaky and exploring), or continue on your war-path to taking down a legion fortress.
Following the scientist’s trail would lead to a giant ‘free roaming’ map, and will give you the option to find stuff and avoid infested. Fighting the infested head on would make choosing the war-path route look like a cake-walk!
Fighting along the war-path would take out the free roaming and put the players on a linear (mostly) route to leading to the next objective. Note that the players will lose the scientist’s trail, and to finally find it again, they would have to re-start the game and try another style of game-play. I may or may not hide secret levels and alternate routes too.
The real concern here is, again, player models and animations. We’ve nailed it down to using default animations in torque (ugly) and eventually doing something neat… when we can.
For a first release, the branch of level paths will look more or less like this.
Later on though, it will be a lot more interconnected and branchy.
More or less, the ending will usually result in a single final level. The only difference is the knowledge you’ve gained during your progress and weapon upgrades.