Dev Blog #13: Vertex Painted Water

Monday, January 09, 2017

A quick development blog video showing vertex painted water in Unreal Engine 4.

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Dev Blog #12: Smooth Crouching

Sunday, December 11, 2016

A client-side smooth crouching implementation for Unreal Engine 4. The code: https://gist.github.com/alanedwardes/aba1ad897b94d02a0fe3033fb48c8d42

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Dev Blog #11: Simple Water

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Showcases a very simple work in progress water shader, for Estranged: Act II.

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Dev Blog #10: Cheap Light Shafts

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Showcases a very cheap light shaft effect using two planes and some scrolling soft smoke textures.

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Dev Blog #9: Alpha 1 Feedback Roundup

Saturday, September 17, 2016

A roundup of the amazing feedback we've had for Alpha 1 so far. Slides available here: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/15Hpa6Jfky9cxGRSg7lhFlNdV6uMUxYv2SFqcSSAEU6I/edit?usp=sharing

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Estranged: Act II Alpha 1 Now Available

Friday, September 09, 2016

We're excited to announce that the first alpha of Estranged Act II is now available for Windows and Mac!

This release includes the first section of the game and allows you to play what we have been working on so far. Most importantly it gives the team a chance to get important feedback for future development.

To download Alpha 1, visit the downloads page.

Alpha 1 is also available from itch.io (and can be downloaded with the desktop app): https://alanedwardes.itch.io/estranged-act-2

Thanks for being a part of the Estranged project!

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First Alpha of Estranged: Act II in September

Friday, August 19, 2016

We will be releasing the first alpha of Estranged: Act II in September!

If you’d like to get a notification when it’s available, enter your email address here: https://iamestranged.com/mirror/?item=release_notifications.

We will also announce instructions showing how to play on Twitter, Facebook, ModDB and here on the Steam news pages.

The first alpha will include the first few unfinished levels of Act II, so we can get feedback on what’s in there so far, and inform the development of the rest of the game.

We hope you will enjoy playing and testing!

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Dev Blog #8: HUD Health and Damage Indicators

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Quick look at the HUD so far in Estranged: Act I, showcasing the health and damage indicators.

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Dev Blog #7: Sequencer Game Intro

Friday, June 10, 2016

A quick video showing a temporary sequence marking the player's introduction to the game.

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Dev Blog #6: WIP Modular Level Assets

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

A video showing some very raw modular level assets, used for an office level in Estranged: Act II. One of the Bethesda presentations I reference: http://www.gdcvault.com/play/1022930/-Fallout-4-s-Modular

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Dev Blog #5: UMG Graphics Options Menu

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A quick update showing the menu system for settings in Act II.

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Dev Blog #4: Using UMG for In-Game Newspapers and Screens

Saturday, March 05, 2016

A quick update showing Unreal Engine 4's UMG editor for in-game newspapers and screens.

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Dev Blog #3: Blueprint Flickering Lights

Sunday, February 28, 2016

This video dives into flickering lights, and how we're using a simple Blueprint to control them in Unreal Engine 4.

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Dev Blog #2: Physics Impact Sounds

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The second video in the development blog series covering features of Estranged: Act II, this video dives into impact sounds.

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Dev Blog #1: Footstep Sounds

Saturday, February 06, 2016

As part of the development blog series covering features of Estranged: Act II, this video dives into footsteps, and how we're using simple Blueprints to control them in Unreal Engine 4.

This is the first in our development blog series. Save the Dev Blogs playlist on YouTube to keep up with all future Estranged development videos.

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Act II Progress

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

We haven't talked about Act II with the community for a long time, and our last news post was a postmortem of Act I's release. We feel that now is the right time to talk a bit more about the project's sequel, and about our development process.

Content Progress

Content is the single biggest task that we will undertake for Act II, and the team has been slowly building Act II out from where Act I left off. Our story begins after the fisherman falls through the rotten floor of an old wood shack, and picks up again where he lands in the rocks below the Arque West facility.

As a team, we have many commitments - some of us have jobs, some of us are studying towards final qualifications. Act I garnered no income, so Act II has always been and will always be a hobby project. A few people have asked us what is happening with Act II, and when it will be finished. In the future we hope to do a better job of communicating those ideas with the community, and we are still working hard on continuing where Act I left off.

Technical Progress

For Act II, we have decided to switch away from the Source Engine, towards Unreal Engine 4. Unreal Engine 4 provides a very flexible platform to author content for a range of platforms, and allows us to realise our plans for Act II. It is updated frequently, and has an active community monitored by its developers which provides technical assistance amongst other great things.

Content authoring for Source Engine wasn't easy, and it was difficult to author more advanced features for Act I without access to the engine code from Valve - which unfortunately for us is not something we can get access to as a free game.

Join the Team

We are always looking for people to join us - if you would like to make content with us and be part of the Estranged team, get in touch at volunteer@iamestranged.com.

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The Next Instalment

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

We're excited to announce that to date, Estranged: Act I has had over 167,000 unique players worldwide since its release in January. We are immensely proud of how Estranged has been received by fans all over the world, with masses of playthrough videos and feedback given to us on the forums and ModDB.

Today we'd like to officially confirm that Estranged: Act II is under development, and will be the next instalment in the Estranged series, continuing on from where Act I left off. As we promised in a forum post back in January, we can also confirm that Act II will be a paid-for title.

Join the Team

The Estranged development team is continually looking for volunteers to contribute to the next instalment in the Estranged series, Estranged: Act II. Do you have experience designing levels, creating 3D set pieces or designing characters? We're looking for volunteers to join the project at this exciting stage of development - we would love to see your existing portfolio work with any game engine on any platform.

If you are interested in joining the team, please email volunteer@iamestranged.com. Be sure to include existing examples of your work, and any projects you have worked on previously.

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Act I Full Source Code Now Available

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The source code for Estranged: Act I is now available in its entirety on GitHub!

The code includes the custom menu system, the implementation of HBAO and depth of field, all fixes for dynamic lights, the custom vgui::HTML HUD control, and other miscellaneous features.

We release the code in the hope that it will help other mod teams using the Source SDK 2013 implement features in the future, now that Estranged: Act I has been released.

Download Estranged-Act-1-master.zip

Git: https://github.com/alanedwardes/Estranged-Act-1.git

SVN: https://github.com/alanedwardes/Estranged-Act-1/trunk

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Estranged: Act I on ModDB

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Estranged: Act I is now available from ModDB, in addition to Steam!

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Act I Release: A Postmortem

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Estranged: Act I launch was an unprecedented success, and the response across the Internet vastly exceeded any expectations we had.

Over 90,000 people have played the game since the public release on the 16th, and the response from the community has been overwhelmingly positive.

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In this post, I aim to share my thoughts about the release - what went right, what went wrong, and how we're reading and learning from the feedback going forward.

Translations

In the released version translations were unfinished, and at the time of writing I have yet to patch some into the Steam build. This was due a number of factors, namely a series of late script changes, leaving just over two weeks for translators to translate the content of Estranged: Act I.

This wasn't enough time to allow translators to playtest and translate the game, so on the day of release, only three languages were fully translated - Italian, Portuguese and French - in part because I was in direct contact with the translators on Steam.

Going forward, we will make sure adequate time is allocated for this purpose for the next release. Estranged: Act I was different to other games in that it was very publicly iterated, so story content and script content was under constant evolution.

Translations for Estranged: Act I are being handled by the Steam Translation Server, and they are doing a fantastic job.

Anonymous Statistics

Since Estranged: Alpha 3's release, anonymous statistics have been collected about certain in-game events, so we can use that data to improve maps and gameplay in the future. This feature was left in for the Steam release and has been a very good indicator to us about the number of people playing, above all.

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Over 1,300,000 anonymous events have been logged at the time of writing, and are still being collected. We're not sure exactly how we're going to parse all of the data yet, but since we are recording co-ordinates, health, weapons and platform information, we're sure it's all useful information that we can use in the development of future releases.

Mac

The Mac build has been especially troublesome and difficult to test, and as a result, unless we can get a Mac for testing Act II, we won't be able to publish a Mac version. My decision to create a Mac version of Estranged wasn't a good one, as I had to use volunteers from the Steam community to test.

Finding the causes of problems was extremely difficult, and in fact some serious bugs went unnoticed when the game was released, and had to be patched afterwards.

HTML Screens

We use HTML for our in-game media such as newspapers and computer screens. The HTML made them incredibly easy to make, but horrible to maintain and bugfix. Valve's WebKit implementation is designed to load pages, it's not designed to be a gameplay mechanic - and as a result, a lot of issues caused by platforms, controllers, memory leaks and unreliable message handling made the short development time just not worth it.

The final nail in the coffin for our HTML screens was the localisation work - I had to write a converter between JavaScript and Valve's normal localisation format. It made the process very difficult, and if we'd used regular C++ GUI elements, it could've been avoided.

Players have been having a lot of fun with the screens though, and we've been amused by the customisations: http://steamcommunity.com/app/261820/images/

Reviews

We have received over 1,000 reviews for Estranged: Act I so far on Steam, with an estimated 80% of them being positive. The negative reviews offer an insight into how we need to improve to appeal to a wider audience, and among the points mentioned, the below were the main points of feedback:

  • Story could be improved
  • Very linear gameplay
  • Very few collectables
  • Graphical effects not performant
  • Infected humans look suspiciously like Star Trek characters

As with all other data we have collected, we intend to use this to make Act II a much better experience. While Act I appealed to a lot of people, most reviews (even positive) touched on one or many of those elements — and we can use that feedback to improve.

Bugs

There have been a few bugs reported on the forums, but aside from a few odd issues (one I patched on the 22nd was caused by a ragdoll being electrocuted), the release has been fairly smooth. The most critical issues were with the Mac build, as some users were reportedly not able to play because the game was too dark (we have since issued a fix).

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All in all, the release was a success. As I said in the opening of the post, it exceeded all of our expectations, and we're all proud to say we worked on this Act.

Thanks for reading. Stay tuned, we have much more in store for Estranged.

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