Black Ice Updates and Work in Progress

Hi everyone! Want to know about what’s coming up in Black Ice? I’m planning on releasing a big new patch pretty soon, but first, I’m going to playtest it at PAX South (come see me!) and then release it shortly thereafter. The patch should be out in early February. Until then, I wanted to tell y'all about all the cool stuff I've been working on. I'm doing a level overhaul, adding crazy mobility to the player, a UI update, and laying the groundwork for even further improvements. Check it out!



Level Overhaul
For a number of reasons (that we have discussed in detail on the forums), I need to switch the level generation from procedural to hand-designed. That means the geometry of the world will look more or less the same each time you log in, instead of randomizing, although things like corporation types (and therefore loot, enemies, and colors) will still be randomized. This means I can spend time on more interesting places to fight in, and, crucially, a lot smarter AI. The updated AI that can handle overhangs, complex climbing paths, and catwalks! Here are a few shots of some new geometry:

Black Ice Updates and Work in Progress
Black Ice Updates and Work in Progress

UI Overhaul
I’ve been talking about this for a while, and it’s finally happening. I have been working with Metkis[metkis.com] (the same artist who did the logo) for a while, but he’s the one actually creating the new UI. This UI will retain the usability of the current UI, while also scaling correctly for up to 4K, and just look way better. Check out some of the work in progress:

Black Ice Updates and Work in Progress
Black Ice Updates and Work in Progress

Mobility
I’ve added the ability for the player to mantle up onto surfaces, and also made all Jump items work as double jumps. The result of this is that the player is *massively* more mobile, and able to navigate the much more complicated and interesting game space. It’s really fun to see how high up you can get, especially as enemies are chasing you. We should talk about the jetpack, though - I am planning on removing it (although you will still be able to cheat to get one). Jetpacks make it too easy to get away from the enemies, which makes them a lot less scary. Plus, if players can’t fly, I can make all sorts of cool walls and barriers that the player might have to fight their way around, and that makes the world a lot more interesting to traverse. Here’s what it looks like running across rooftops *without* a jetpack.

Black Ice Updates and Work in Progress

Further out
I’m also working with my friend Nonadecimal[nonadecimal.com] on a quest system that will not only have hand-written cyberpunk stories, but also procedural quests! For instance, to take down a particular corp, you might need to recruit a physical security expert to work in tandem with you, but first, you’d need to free them from another corporate prison where they’re being held. Exciting stuff!

Black Ice Updates and Work in Progress

After that patch, I’m thinking about doing a weapon overhaul, so that you’ll actually be able to see the weapon you are holding, although because of that, I will need to limit it to only one weapon used at a time. Mayyyybe two. This part is still in the concept phase, but the nice thing about that is that it’ll make it easier for me to balance enemy health, so that you won’t need to use a bunch of weapons at once just to kill things.

Would you like to know more?
That's all for now! It’s been a heck of a year for a lot of reasons, and progress hasn’t been as fast as I’d like, but I’m really excited about the direction that Black Ice is moving. I think y’all are going to love the changes.

By the way, you may notice a lot of red and green servers in Black Ice this week. This is normal. Happy holidays!

As always, I'd love to hear your suggestions, so please post on the forums, email me, or check out the Black Ice Twitter for the latest updates!

Black Ice Updates and Work in Progress