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HBS_HighCommand

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Hey everyone!

It’s been awhile, so I thought I’d check in and give you a window into what’s going on around the studio. Even before we shipped Update 1.3 and the Flashpoint Expansion in November, the team has been pushing hard on a number of different fronts simultaneously. I call it “spinning plates” because it reminds me of an old circus act I saw as a kid:


As you may have read in Jo's Dev Diary, localizing BATTLETECH for Update 1.4 was a challenging and complicated undertaking that required a lot of intense focus from many team members across multiple disciplines for many months. While that work was going on, and while we were still working on Flashpoint, our Design and Technical Art teams held a series of lunch meetings to collaborate on the technical direction for our Urban Warfare expansion later this summer.

Nearly two full weeks of lunch meetings were required to give our artists the head start they needed to create new tools for the creation of city maps, a brand new pipeline for building destruction (which was required to support the scale of our new urban environments), and address a number of issues regarding the way that buildings affect unit movement. That was a huge change to our workflow but the process is now complete and in the iteration phase. The early results are very promising.

Beyond all that, the moment we shipped Flashpoint, we jumped into a large series of short retrospective meetings to evaluate our performance and look for ways to do better. From there, we entered full pre-production for Update 1.6 and Urban Warfare. The pre-production process involves a lot of pushing and pulling, during which, I chart an overall direction and list of desired features and content while our producers prioritize the bugs we want to fix. Then they work with the team to figure out which features, content, and bugs will fit the time we’ve allowed ourselves. Although there’s a lot of negotiation and balancing involved in the process, it’s always a positive interaction - everyone just wants what’s best for the game and for the audience. As of a few weeks ago, we have a clear plan for the update and the expansion and we are currently on track even though #seattlesnowmageddon19 heavily impacted our productivity for a week.



In addition to all that simultaneous development, last Fall we began a serious hiring effort to fill a number of positions in the studio. Because game development is such a collaborative experience, Harebrained Schemes takes hiring very seriously and we put a lot of effort into the process of adding the right people to the studio. Interviewing a bunch of people was a heavy plate to spin but the effort was worth it. We’ve added some amazing talent to the studio including several producers and a loooong-needed full-time IT Manager to keep the plates connected to the sticks (or keep the sticks from breaking. Or something. You get the idea.)



Which brings me to Update 1.5. The plan is to ship 1.5 before our office move in mid-March, so that any technical issues we might encounter with the move don’t impact our ability to update the game. To that end, Update 1.5 is all about fixing bugs. Focusing on bugs has the added benefit of allowing the team more mental space for 1.6 & Urban Warfare pipeline, tools, and features. It also allows more time to execute, review, and iterate on our work. Now, those features... are a topic for a different day!

Thanks for reading! I can’t wait to hop on a live-stream with you, take some questions, and talk about what we’re releasing this summer. I’m guessing that live-stream will be some time in April - and from our new office!

Mitch
 

Havamal

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Bigger family, bigger house.

Congrats!
 

Justin Kase

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Congrats on the new digs!!!

Very excited to see your continued success - it is well deserved:)

Looking forward to 1.5 making the cFixes mod mostly obsolete ;) and really cant wait to see what the team has come up with for the Urban environments!
 

Pezmotion

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Congrats on the new office. Think we could get a video tour of it, or maybe do an Open House for peeps in the region?
 

Jonathan8883

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If you need a referral for a good office mover in Seattle, PM me. I'm Dallas-based but have a company I work with up there that does good work.
 

Rabbitfoe

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Bug fixes, eh? Does this mean that we're going to finally see some progress on, or at least acknowledgement of, aksoundengine.dll issues? At the moment, the last expansion turned my install into quite the immersive crash simulator, so I'm more than a little leery of news about the urban warfare xpac.
 

Edmon

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In terms of bugs, are you looking at things like the simple fixes list and the community fixes mod?

I'd not updated my simple fixes list for a while.... I just had a lot of other things I was doing...
 

Timaeus

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Bug fixes, eh? Does this mean that we're going to finally see some progress on, or at least acknowledgement of, aksoundengine.dll issues? At the moment, the last expansion turned my install into quite the immersive crash simulator, so I'm more than a little leery of news about the urban warfare xpac.
That has already been acknowledged as being worked on [HERE].
 

scJazz

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DevIO

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I really hope that in line with Urban Warfare, they can take a look at improving the framerate/performance issues that pop up in a lot of maps that have buildings/facilities in them. There's one particular base layout that REALLY kills my framerate - it's that big compound in I think barren/arid map, surrounded by 3 walls with a tall tower on the left side that's such a PITA to defend.
 

Thorqemada

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I remember learning/working in non natural daylight room conditions...one should not underestimate the good influence of natural daylight on morale and health.
 

Rabbitfoe

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That has already been acknowledged as being worked on [HERE].
Okay, I stand corrected. In all fairness, though, "we're working on it" nested into page three of a thread on the subject of the most recent patch which notably itself did not mention the issue whatsoever is a far cry from open communication with your fans. I'm not asking for the moon here, but like others who've posted on the issue I've been unable to play for months since purchasing flashpoint. I'd just like to know if an upcoming patch will solve the problem, or at least hear something about where we're sitting on it. It's a shame that we have to hunt on other patches' threads for word, especially when that word is running on a month old itself.
 

Timaeus

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I'm not asking for the moon here, but like others who've posted on the issue I've been unable to play for months since purchasing flashpoint.
Have you tried the workaround someone worked up in the bug thread [LINK] you've previously posted in, and which also had an HBS lead tester asking for info from people experiencing the issue so they could reproduce it? It at least makes the game playable, albeit without sound.

Otherwise as for why there hasn't been anything beyond acknowledgement, i'll leave the following from another thread as the probably reason why they don't definitively state what up on an issue which goes along with the statement in the OP about prioritizing bugs to fix.
We are indeed in the "in-between period". Someone earlier in the thread was correct regarding our agile process. I led a presentation in December outlining the content and features we were focusing on for Urban Warfare. From there, we write specs and estimate how long it'll take to do stuff. Then we prioritize it and get as much done in the time we have as possible, cutting early when possible (ambiguity is the enemy) and doing "haircuts" regularly ("I know we said we'd make 8 of those but we only have time for 5").
 
Last edited:

Sơn Liêu

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Very glad you tell us what you are doing, hope to see your new content soon. Love your game.
 

MeiSooHaityu

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Sounds like there are some good/exciting things happening at HBS. Congrats, you all deserve it!
 

UncleGamer

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Awesome information, love seeing a dev that keeps the community updated to the development process.
 

CmdrDunsail

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MORE BATTLETECH?! HNNNNNNNG! I dig it. And, I love...Love...LOVE how this game keeps on giving! :D

Thanks for the AWESOME update, HBS_HighCommand! Best wishes to the whole team throughout the move!


(Greetings MechWarriors! And a snappy <o to all!)