Weekly Update - July 5th, 2019

Hello friends! Kite here again.

Welcome to the latest MGH Weekly Update!

4 minutes to Midnight!  I wonder why the Hunters don’t show up at like 9PM instead?  They’d certainly have more time to destroy all the Ghosts!

4 minutes to Midnight! I wonder why the Hunters don’t show up at like 9PM instead? They’d certainly have more time to destroy all the Ghosts!

Progress is picking up on the next alpha test. I spent some time at home to visit with family after E3 to decompress after the crazy run-up to E3 (I didn’t sleep much!).

But now my batteries are recharged, I’m back at my desk and we’re starting to really make some solid steps!

One thing in particular I wanted to confirm that was a massively requested feature last alpha - we’ve added a number of new options to configure the game to your liking.

  • Field of View slider

  • Motion blur slider

    • Motion blur might have been a tad high on our previous alpha!

  • Mouse sensitivity slider

  • Mouse invert settings

  • Key rebind system that is categorized sensibly

    • Previously it was hard-coded in UE4 to be alphabetical.

    • Now we’ve got all Ghost keybinds under the Ghost category, etc.

  • Keybinding reset to default button

    • We had one before but it required a restart which was not ideal. Turns out this is a somewhat tricky thing to implement!

  • Volume control

The old, ugly, old options menu. You can see the lack of options in our options.

The old, ugly, old options menu. You can see the lack of options in our options.

We were always planning on doing this kind of stuff closer to release once the gameplay itself was closer to final, but we bumped it up in priority so we don’t alienate any players who rely on these settings to play and therefore receive relevant feedback!

Let us know on our game suggestions channel on Discord if you think of anything else that we should consider for the alpha test in terms of control/video customization.

As we mentioned before, too, there will be a new option for ultra low graphics that will improve performance significantly on older hardware or integrated graphics. It won’t look very pretty, but we want to make sure that everyone can try it out.

I can also confirm that there’s a ton of new juicy sounds coming in from our dear friend Dennis.

Ambiance, foley, UI sounds, the whole thing will have quite the makeover from the previous test! And if you didn’t play the previous test, well you’ll be taken aback by how good everything sounds! :)

We’re trying to record a lot of unique sounds for various objects so that each prop you can possess really feels meaningfully different audio-visually as well as in a gameplay sense.

Although Kite is clearly a refrigerator main, he is known for his guitar antics as well.  Anyway, here’s Wonderwall.

Although Kite is clearly a refrigerator main, he is known for his guitar antics as well. Anyway, here’s Wonderwall.

For example, if you hurl a Guitar at a Hunter, you’ll hear the sound of a guitar kwa-wanging and explode! Phones have a unique sound as well, and many more. Having nice punchy and believable sounds will certainly help the game feel more physical and impactful when a lamp hits you in the face.

And at the end of the day, that’s all that really matters.

That’s it for this week - in the coming weeks we’ll continue to share what we are working on!

Cheers!
-Kite

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Weekly Update - June 27th, 2019

Hey all! Kite here.

This week I thought we’d do a little background on the new weapon that we premiered with our E3 teaser trailer.

vd551Yz.gif

We’re calling it the Spiral Cannon for now. As the name suggests, it fires these spiral energy shells that damage Ghost-possessed objects.

Part lawn mower, part motorcycle, part vacuum cleaner, part deadly laser cannon - 100% dangerous!

Part lawn mower, part motorcycle, part vacuum cleaner, part deadly laser cannon - 100% dangerous!

Check out more detailed renders of the design over at Felix’s Artstation!

In a future weekly update, we will break down the visual design behind the weapon and other gadgets currently in development — stay tuned for that!

This week, though, let’s talk about how the weapon works in-game.

The Spiral Cannon is designed to be somewhat aim/timing dependent, although not extremely so. Near misses will incur some splash damage, and a direct hit will do a decent chunk of damage. This encourages smaller and more fragile Ghost-possessed objects to try to zig-zag around and move erratically in order to minimize damage. It’s a bit more dynamic and interesting than the previous default weapon.

Larger, slow props will have much more health and can tank some direct hits, but fragile and small, fast objects can only take 2-3 hits or so. It’s helpful to take this into consideration when picking which objects to hide inside.

As a prop accumulates damage, they will start to show visible glowing cracks. When HP is reduced to 0, the Ghost hiding inside the object will shatter into a pile of ghost crystals.

A fellow Ghost can still resurrect their fallen comrade while they are in their crystal form - although it is risky to attempt, as you will be exposing yourself.

LiQM6PV.gif

However, a Hunter can “confirm the kill” and deny resurrections by vacuuming up the crystals. It’s the alternate fire function of the weapon, as seen above!

Vacuuming up Ghost crystals can be risky, because it locks the Hunter into place and takes some time to complete, make sure you have someone watching your back! There may just be a Ghost in that room that left the crystals intact to lure you inside…

This mechanic is similar to how Hunter resurrections work - knocked out Hunters can be revived by fellow Hunters (before Midnight, at least) - but the resurrection can be denied if a Ghost consumes the soul of the knocked out Hunter. Again, this is a risky play for the Ghosts because they become exposed, but it can be effective if the Hunters fail to work as a team and roam around the map as a group.

These mechanics, among others, are designed to encourage movement and some stealthy gameplay for the Ghosts, as opposed to just hiding in one spot the entire match — which isn’t much fun!

We are planning on having several additional primary weapons introduced into the game with varying ranges, strengths and weaknesses, although this next alpha test will likely only include this weapon alongside the gadgets. Let us know in our suggestions channel on our Discord what other cool concepts you would like to see explored!

Let us know what you think of the new weapon, and stay tuned for news regarding the next alpha test!

Until next time friends,

Kite out.

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Weekly Update - June 21st, 2019

Hey there, Ghost Hunters! 👻

This weeks update is update is flyin’ towards ya, so grab your Cannon… and watch out for the chairs.

Set em up… and knock em down.

Set em up… and knock em down.

Yesterday, we won the Unreal Engine E3 Award in the Underdog category! Thank you so much to the team at Epic for the recognition. It’s an honor to have been chosen when the category was filled with some lovely games. We’re proud to be a part of the UE4 community.

We’re all about “small team, big dreams” - we think that a compelling gaming experience can be achieved with a tiny team working together efficiently.

Although Kite worked alone on MGH for the first year of production, last July we acquired funding. Kite started slowly putting a team together to finish the game, while still keeping it very small and nimble.

I wanted to take some time to shoutout each member of the MGH development team!

Samuel Malone (aka Kite) - Twitter
Lead Developer / Programmer / 3D Artist
Started developing MGH in mid-2017 in his spare time after working in TV visual effects in Hollywood. Acquired funding mid last year in order to expand the team slightly to give the project a better chance at success.

Samuel Burton (aka Birdm’n) - Twitter
Programmer
Also known as Birdm’n, Samuel Burton joined last July to help refactor some of Kite’s spaghetti Blueprint code into efficient C++. He’s helped implement some key features like the killcam instant replay system and the Ghost ram/arc system.
You may also remember him as the one that gave out keys one-by-one on Discord during the DreamHack Winter alpha test in December 2018. A true warrior, I must say.

Felix Waubert de Puiseau - Artstation, Twitter
3D Artist
We brought on Felix a few months ago to start improving our 3D art assets. He designed, modeled, textured, rigged, and animated the new Hunter weapon seen in the E3 teaser. A man of many talents!
He also did the same for our new backpack and radar designs.
Expect to see all of the Hunter gear/gadgets redesigned to look amazing in the coming months!

Dennis Filatov - Instagram, Soundcloud
Sound Designer / Composer
Dennis came on board earlier this year to help make the game sound amazing. All those juicy ghost explosions, cannon fire, radar crackles, all that stuff sounds as good as it looks.
In addition, Dennis worked with music partner Inez Kontio (together they are Ghostwood Empire) to compose the lovely song we used in our E3 trailer. (Where Are You? - Ghostwood Empire)
They did such a great job, so expect some more music from them in the game going forward.

Lastly but certainly not least, a huge shoutout to everyone at Coffee Stain who has helped us make this project a reality with all their support.

Before we sign off this week, I wanted to just throw this out there:

In the coming weeks, we may be looking for an Unreal Engine multiplayer / network programming expert to help us implement a dedicated server backend such as Gamelift, as well as optimize our network traffic. General UE4 optimization knowledge (Blueprint -> C++ refactoring, GPU optimizations, etc) is a big bonus.

We will post a proper job description soon, but if this strikes your fancy, please reach out to any of the devs on Discord, or on our contact form at Vaulted Sky Game’s website.

That’s it for this week, Ghost Hunters.

Tune in next week, where we will go over some gameplay changes some of you may have spotted in the E3 teaser if you played during either of our 2 previous alpha tests.

Until next time, Ghost Hunters. 👻

Your friend,

Poggers.

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Weekly Update - June 14th, 2019

HEY THERE GHOST HUNTERS!

Welcome to the Weekly Update!

Kite here - Lead Developer on Midnight Ghost Hunt! I wanted to take a moment to welcome everyone who joined our growing community this week. Thanks so much for checking it out, and I can’t wait to play the game with you all!

So, this week, let’s give a little recap of the super eventful week we had for anyone who missed it.

We premiered our new teaser trailer at the E3 PC Gaming Show on Monday!

It was such a great feeling to finally show everyone what we’ve been working on since the last alpha test.

I even made a guest appearance on the E3 stage, interviewed by the magnificent Day9 himself!

At the same time, we also announced our publishing partnership with Coffee Stain!

Coffee Stain is an awesome indie publishing label that has a specialty in these quirky and viral games - they are a perfect fit for this project and I’m thrilled to be working with them.

Some Coffee Stain folks will likely start arriving in our Discord in the coming weeks, make sure you give them all your love!

We’ve been so lucky to have a lot of positive buzz about the game since our announcement - there’s a bunch of great articles and interviews out on the net, feel free to check them out.

Here’s a great article written by Christopher Livingston over at PC Gamer!

Most recently, we’ve also been nominated for an Unreal E3 Award under the ‘Unreal Underdog’ category!

This category recognizes really small teams that do their best to make a big splash at the big show.
We’re so honored to be considered for the award along with these other lovely games!

Well, that’s it for this week - next week we’ll break down the new trailer! If you played any of the previous alpha tests, you may have noticed a number of new fancy equipment or mechanics.

We’ll dig into it next week, and maybe show some cool concept art!

Stay cool, Ghost Hunters!

-Kite

Weekly Update - June 7th, 2019

Hey there, Ghost Hunters!

Welcome to the Weekly Update!

We’ve had one heck of a busy week behind the scenes - and a lot of stuff to go over!

First order of business: the team developing Midnight Ghost Hunt has a new name!

We think Vaulted Sky Games is a lovely new name for the team - very grand and poetic.
Let us know what you think!

Secondly, you may have noticed that we have added a number of new Moderators to our Discord team!

If you haven’t met them already, we have added Ailleron, Biscuit, Calinyth, CmdData, Rory and Zatara to our team! Please be sure to give these folks a warm welcome and be respectful to our newest Ghost Hunters.

Some will also be helping out on our subreddit - if you haven’t subscribed yet, come over and say hello!
Assign yourself a flair, browse our archive of older weekly updates, maybe even submit a meme? (Please?!)

We are striving to improve our subreddit every day, if you have any suggestions, please feel free to message the MGH ModMail bot in our Discord!

And finally… we come to our last point!

This upcoming Monday, June 10th, 2019 there MIGHT be a VERY special announcement!

You MIGHT want to tune in to the PC Gaming Show at approximately 10:15AM PST…

Things. Are. About. To. Get. Serious.

Things. Are. About. To. Get. Serious.

That’s it for this week, Ghost Hunters!

Until next week!

Your friend,

Poggers


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Weekly Update - May 31st, 2019

Hey there, Ghost Hunters!

Welcome to our Weekly Update!

This week, lead developer Kite is going to talk a bit about recent progress on game framerate and overall performance!

Don’t leave your electronics out in the rain.

Don’t leave your electronics out in the rain.

Hello all! Your friendly neighborhood Kite here.

We’re brewing up something really fantastic, and we’ll actually be able to tease it a little bit next week. Make sure you don’t miss it!

This week might be slightly more boring. I’m going to talk a little bit about some of the performance optimizations that we’re doing for the next alpha!

If you all remember, the previous alpha event was not optimized in any way, shape, or form. People with even pretty solid GPUs were reporting some pretty poor performance under certain circumstances.

While I’ve been working on new content for the game, my main man Birdm’n has been tasked with making sure the game runs better on lower end hardware.

More than that, we’ve also optimized the bandwidth usage of the game pretty significantly. The first weekend of Alpha 2 at the end of March was plagued by some pretty serious disconnect bugs, which we tracked down to be a result of sending too much data over the network.

Stuff that didn’t need to be synced got synced, and if there was any packet loss on this massive chunk of unnecessary data, the host would declare that this newly joined player has an outdated version of the game and got booted.

We were talking to some Unreal Engine folks and we determined that the problem wasn’t necessarily our code, but just the sheer amount of replicated data that could fix it. So Birdm’n and I found a way to reduce the amount of data sent to each new player joining a server by 80% or more.

On top of just the initial join sync, we’ve also improved the amount of networked data being sent by our physics objects by 50% or more, with no noticeable loss in quality.

This, in combination with our new dedicated server setup I outlined a few weeks ago, means for a more stable multiplayer game for next alpha.

SWEET!

Who pays the electric bills in the Warehouse?

Who pays the electric bills in the Warehouse?

As for actual framerate, we’ve made some pretty big gains there too. I’ll avoid getting too technical here if possible.

The short of it is, we’ve upgraded our Unreal Engine 4 version from 4.19 to 4.22, which comes with a pretty big renderer update that does a lot of mesh instancing for us, thus reducing draw calls.

This basically means just free performance gain just for upgrading the engine version.

Nice, right?

Birdm’n has also been working on a super-low-graphics option for players with very old graphics cards, or even integrated graphics. This will obviously not as good as our High/Epic settings, but it allows me to run the game on my old integrated GPU laptop at lowest settings at 30 frames per second average.

Definitely an improvement, but we still got a ways to go there!

We’re also doing a lot of level of detail tweaks - you may find objects have jagged edges, and that the lighting is a bit more flat, or that textures look a little more muddy. But this is all just for the minimum settings so that players that previously could not even play at all at least have a chance to try it out. The high/epic graphics settings will still look very nice and atmospheric!

We’ll share some screenshots of this at a later date when we’ve fleshed it out a bit more.

That’s it for my status report this week - but make sure you stay tuned for next week! Something I’ve been working very hard on will be debuting fairly soon.

Cheers!

-Kite



Thanks for the write-up, Kite!

One last order of business - here is a quick reminder that we are running an emote contest!

EmoteContest-May2019.png

If you read our Weekly Update last week, you’ll know we announced an emote contest! We are looking to add some much needed swag to our Discord, and you’re invited to help!

We are seeking at least 3 original emotes that reference MGH in some fashion, whether it be about Ghosts or Hunters or something else. These emotes should be your own original artwork, not an image that you have modified! Any style is accepted, cute or realistic or whatever you come up with!

Should you participate, keep the following in mind:

  1. You will direct message your emote design to ModMail. (Midnight Ghost Hunt ModMail#3502)

  2. The emote will be no larger than 112x112px, and no smaller than 64x64px.

  3. Bonus points for animated emotes!

  4. By submitting your emote, you grant MIDNIGHT GHOST HUNT full permissions and usage rights to use the emote on the server.

If we decide to use your emote, you will be guaranteed 4 extra alpha keys at the start of the next alpha test! Won’t need to spam the key bot, they will be set aside just for you.

All emote winners will also get a special vanity Emote Artist role, and will get their social media linked when we announce the new emotes!

Squad up with your buddies, or give them out on the Discord - anything goes!

These alpha keys will persist all the way until the end of beta, as currently planned.

(Alpha 3 is still unscheduled, but do note that Kite says progress is going very smoothly and can’t wait for everyone to try out the new stuff! He appreciates everyone’s patience - and it will be worth the wait!)+

Weekly Update - May 24th, 2019

Hey there, Ghost Hunters!

Welcome to our Weekly Update!

This week, we’re taking a look at our social channels, and what we can do to improve them and make them even better for our community. We are hoping to achieve this by adding new moderators to our team, as well as aiming to deliver content you want to see.

Although things are quiet for now, big things are on the horizon!

The Mansion sits quiet, awaiting the next group of Hunters to come searching…

The Mansion sits quiet, awaiting the next group of Hunters to come searching…

We are closing closing our Moderator applications today - after 2 weeks we have gotten a huge pile of applications, and have already begun reviewing and interviewing potential candidates! Thank you everyone for your interest!

For those of you who applied, make sure to keep an eye out for a DM from the moderation team!

Did you know we have a Twitter account? Probably not - considering it’s a ghost town, get it? Ha!

Come engage with us! We love questions, comments, feedback, and memes.

If you haven’t noticed, our Discord emotes are a bit sparse! We only have 5 emotes, sadly.

While we love our Hyper Hunter, and the Hyper Ghosts, we’d like a little more flavor to our emotes, and so - we are happy to announce the MGH Discord Emote Contest!

If your emote is one of our selected winners, you will win 4 beta keys!

If your emote is one of our selected winners, you will win 4 beta keys!

That’s right, Ghost Hunters! We are looking to add some new emotes to our Discord Server, and we need your help!

We are seeking at least 3 original emotes that reference MGH in some fashion, whether it be about Ghosts or Hunters or something else.

Make sure it is your own original artwork, not an image that you have modified! Any style is accepted, cute or realistic or whatever you come up with!

Should you participate, keep the following in mind:

  1. You will direct message your emote design to ModMail. (Midnight Ghost Hunt ModMail#3502)

  2. The emote will be no larger than 112x112px, and no smaller than 64x64px.

  3. Bonus points for animated emotes!

  4. By submitting your emote, you grant MIDNIGHT GHOST HUNT full permissions and usage rights to use the emote on the server.

If we decide to use your emote, you will be guaranteed 4 extra alpha keys at the start of the next alpha test! Won’t need to spam the key bot, they will be set aside just for you.

All emote winners will also get a special vanity Emote Artist role, and will get their social media linked when we announce the new emotes!

Squad up with your buddies, or give them to randoms - anything goes!

These alpha keys will persist all the way until the end of beta, as currently planned.

(Alpha 3 is still unscheduled, but do note that Kite says progress is going very smoothly and can’t wait for everyone to try out the new stuff! He appreciates everyone’s patience - and it will be worth the wait!)

That’s is for this week, Ghost Hunters!


That wraps up this week’s update! We have some exciting things coming in June, stay tuned for new information!

Make sure to check back next week, and as always. Stay cool, Ghost Hunters.

Your friend,

Poggers

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Weekly Update - May 17th, 2019

Hey there Ghost Hunters!

Welcome to our Weekly Update!

This week, we are gonna take a behind the scenes look at the problems we have faced with our multiplayer server system from our recent alpha event, as well as lay out our plans for how we hope to solve/avoid these issues as we look forward to Alpha 3! (coming soon TM)

Despite all the time as energy the development team is putting forward into working on the next Alpha, I managed to have Kite come on board with us once again to break down not only how multiplayer support for a game like MIDNIGHT GHOST HUNT works, but how we plan to address our server issues moving forward!

Probably a haunted lamp.

Probably a haunted lamp.

Hello everyone! Your friendly neighborhood Kite here.

We have a lot of big things happening behind the scenes right now - and can’t wait to show it to everyone! This week I wanted to discuss the topic of multiplayer networking! A very fun and technical topic but I’ll try to break it down.

During our last alpha test in March/April, we were using Steamworks multiplayer support with player hosted matches. (These are often called “Listen Servers”).

This, in theory, is a really nice option for us indie developers because it essentially means it incurs no costs. One person in a match is acting as host and doing all the heavy lifting so to speak.

However, it’s a double edged sword. During the last alpha, there were a lot of issues that were directly related to players with older hardware and/or poor network connections hosting a match for 7 other players.

If you’re the host, your computer has to handle a lot of calculations and keeping all players in-sync. Some multiplayer games could totally handle this with low system requirements, since 4v4 is not a lot of people and our maps are pretty small. However, you may have noticed there’s a lot of physics going on in MGH! All possessable objects can get knocked around by any and all forces.

Most games do these physics calculations locally on the client - which is to say it may not match up exactly for all players. A chair getting knocked over might fall the other direction, for example, when comparing the results from two different players.

But in our game, the physics objects need to be in sync with all players. If a chair gets knocked over, it’s got to be knocked over very similarly for all players in the match, otherwise you’ll see chairs come to life and start moving that might be, on your screen, several feet away. Not so good.

So in MIDNIGHT GHOST HUNT, the server (host) calculates all the physics and sends “transform instructions” to all the other players in the match a few times a second. These instructions are then used to move the physics object in roughly the same way as it occurred on the server.

Bam, networked physics!

As you might expect, this can cause some serious slowdowns if the machine hosting can’t handle sending all that data, especially if someone is “haunting” in a room with a lot of props.

Also known as the Alpha 2 Lag Switch.

During our next alpha test, we’re planning on testing a new solution. We’re going to be setting up a fleet of dedicated servers that spin up and spin down depending on how many people matchmake.

Tea, anyone?

Tea, anyone?

When you start matchmaking, it will find a dedicated server region that is in the center of all 8 players so everyone has similarly low ping. Everyone should be on an even playing field, and nobody’s experience suffers because the host player happens to have a lag spike or hits 100% CPU usage and chokes out the game.

These dedicated servers will incur some cost on our side, but we love our community, and want to make sure everyone is able to have the best experience possible!

We plan to make player hosting still available as an option so you can play private matches with your friends. Other players won't be able to matchmake into those. We’re also looking into the possibility of player rented dedicated servers - nothing definitive here yet but we know a lot of other games offer something similar.

That’s it for now - stay tuned for more information and thank you all for being so patient while Team MGH works tirelessly to make this game awesome!

-Kite


As always before I sign off, I’d like to thank each and every one of you for following our progress as we work hard to deliver you a great game! We are so glad you are along this journey with us.


We are looking for Moderators! Do you have experience moderating Discord servers or Reddit communities? If so - please apply HERE!

That’s It for this week, Ghost hunters!

We hope you enjoyed this awesome and confusing look into how we are networking our game, and let’s all make sure to give Kite a pat on the back for his awesome write up!

Make sure to check out our post next week! Stay cool, Ghost Hunters.

Your friend,
Poggers

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