Monthly Joyful Update – April 2017


Between wrapping-up GDC and this whole making-a-game thing, it’s been a little bit since we sent out a newsletter. So, gear up for a heap of exciting updates.

Trent, Scott, and Melissa mingle at the MIX GDC Event. Trent loves to mingle.

Conference Wrap-Ups

GDC 2017

Thank you for everyone who showed up to the MIX Event and tried out Steel Hunters. We received a ton of excellent feedback and reactions. People especially loved blowing things up. (And let’s be honest, who doesn’t?)

Our GDC schedule was jam-packed with exciting meetings. These included chatting with various publishers about the future of Steel Hunters and some good meetings with our partners at Simul (trueSKY), PopcornFX, NVIDIA, and Epic.

PAX East

Trent and Jason spent a day in Boston to meet with some more folks about Steel Hunters. Highlights from the trip included Jason, who is originally from Boston, getting the two of them completely lost in a quest for Trent’s Red Bull.

The first-ever screenshot from Steel Hunters development as featured in Trent’s Cartrdge article.

New Articles

No new design articles lately, as we’ve been neck-deep in our production and workflow processes, so Trent has been writing about that kind of stuff. Well, until he tried to employ the scientific method to a color-grading and post-processing stack tuning pass. That went… Well.

Todoist for Project Management

How we use the simplicity, flexibility, and power of Todoist ( to handle our team tasking.

Joy Machine’s Production Tenets

A piece Trent wrote for our lovely friends at Cartrdge.

Steel Hunters – Post-Stack Tuning

Trent will no longer be allowed near any science experiment after his attempt to employ a scientific method to color tuning went… Awry.

A snazzy, new way to watch the rest of the team laugh at Trent.

Ongoing Development Work

Engine and Tech Page

As always, you can check out the Joy Engine page if you want to see what we’re violently hacking into Unreal Engine 4.

  • Full upgrade to Unreal Engine 4.15.
  • Re-worked integrations of various middleware.
    • trueSKY — Put some additional work into how it integrates with UE to help smooth some rough edges and make some performance enhancements.
  • NVIDIA GameWorks integrations
    • Flow — New integration for more types of visual effects.
    • Volumetric Lighting — With 4.15, we made updates to Volumetric Lighting to better-integrate it with our other technology changes.
    • WaveWorks — Resurrected with some assistance from a NVIDIA integration into UE 4.15. Now it’s pretty and shiny and fast again.
    • HBAO+ — Minor version and integration upgrade to our integration of HBAO+ (Horizon-Based Ambient Occlusion) which provides a much nicer AO solution than the UE default.
    • BLAST — Laying the framework for our integration of the BLAST tech. Nothing near finalized yet, but it’s something!
  • Full VoxelFarm 3.0 integration — we’re unsure if we’re going to use this tech for Steel Hunters or not yet, but we’re running some R&D experiments now.
  • PopcornFX — Fully integrated and starting to redo a lot of our stand-in visual effects with.
  • Graphine Software‘s Granite SDK — This is the biggest new tech change that we did over the last few weeks! Full integration which will allow us to have more fine-grained control over texture resolution and streaming throughout all of our environments, mechs, and assets.

Upcoming “Announce” Trailer

The team is hard at work on a slew of gameplay, system, and UI work to ensure that all of the game footage seen in our upcoming teaser trailer is 100% in-game and representative of the current functionality level of our working prototype. A new devlog post going into this work a little more. And keep you eyes peeled for the first Steel Hunters trailer within the next month!

And, earlier today, Trent somehow was able to convince one of his favorite bands to lend a track to be used in the trailer. So, even though no one other than Trent had heard of The Felix Culpa, he was still pretty psyched about it.

Site Updates

We’ve made a whole suite of tweaks to the site to make it more readable, snappier, and generally better. These include:

Looking Forward

Be on the lookout for more exciting changes over the next month as we continue to steam forward on development. You can look forward to the Steel Hunters teaser trailer, new devlog posts and plenty more of Trent’s development insights and gripes.

Joy Machine

NOTE: Trent will just post the newsletter manually until more people sign up for it.

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