The Finale Update
This update mostly consists of general bugfixes and gameplay improvements, with a few exceptions being an alternate game ending, a small change to the game’s narrative where Refueling has now become more prominent, as the player is now required to refuel just after they complete the “Alien Ruins” narrative event, and the addition of a fully designed astronaut (by Josh) and particle-based thrusters to accompany it. This is the final update for Fortitude before hand-in, and a full game walkthrough can be viewed here:
- Narrative –
- Full Narrative Structure –
- 1. The “In The Beginning…” Event
- 2. The “Ocean Monster” Event
- 3. The “Alien Ruins” Event
- 4. Refueling at Estabahn
- 5. The “Sentient Bacteria” Event
- 6. The “Game Finale” Event
- Refueling –
Just after the player exits the atmosphere of “Elcalowda” for the first time (and so completes the “Alien Ruins” narrative event) an audible prompt from the ship AI will warn the player of low Fuel levels, and the blue map tracker will change from pointing towards “Diadem” to “Estabahn”. Upon successfully traveling to “Estabahn”, refueling the ship and exiting the gas giant’s atmosphere, the ship AI will repeat its emphasis on exploring “Diadem” and the blue map tracker will change again to track that world. This event slots nicely in between the “Alien Ruins” and “Sentient Bacteria” narrative events.
- Alternate Ending –
The player can now leave the game’s Solar System at any time (before becoming Infected with the Sentient Bacteria, anyway) by simply flying away from the Sun and planetary bodies. Upon successfully exiting, a visual “Game Over” prompt will appear, noting that the player’s survey of the System for extraterrestrial life is complete and that they have nothing to report.
As a result of this, the game now has three distinct endings:
- 1. Completing the story and releasing the Bacteria which then destroys the Universe (the “bad” ending)
- 2. The timer running out and the Rogue Planet then destroying the Solar System, killing both the player and the Sentient Bacteria (the “semi-good” ending as the Universe is still intact)
- 3. The player exits the Solar System having been too afraid to explore and find evidence of intelligent alien life, so exploring and discovering nothing but successfully making it out alive (the “good” ending)
- Full Narrative Structure –
- GameObjects –
- Edited “OnFoot” astronaut GameObject (Rigidbody2D, Box Collider 2D, On Trigger Circle Collider 2D, Particle Systems) –
This edit changed the astronaut’s sprite from the placeholder stickman to a fully designed astronaut created by Josh. This edit also switched out the placeholder triangular-shaped suit thrusters for modified versions of Sid’s previously implemented ship thruster particle systems (from Fortitude 1.5). Said particles are white-coloured and much smaller, so that visually they look like the manouevring thrusters of an astronaut’s spacesuit.
- Added multiple “Rock” GameObjects to “ElcalowdaSurface” and “EstabahnMoonSurface” (Polygon Colliders 2D) –
Several of these rocks were added at various points throughout the two surface designs, as some playtesters found that they could not successfully navigate some areas of the cave systems or rock formations on the surface while on foot. These rocks now give the player increased mobility over these tricky areas (by boosting them up or across where possible) as well as blocking off several unfinished/unplayable map areas.
- Added Sound Effects (MP3, WAV) –
- Added multiple ship AI speaking lines (Self-Made from ttsdemo.com)
- Edited “OnFoot” astronaut GameObject (Rigidbody2D, Box Collider 2D, On Trigger Circle Collider 2D, Particle Systems) –
- Scripts –
- Edited “FuelSystem” script –
This edit increased the rate at which Fuel is consumed upon using the “Fortitude” ship thrusters from 0.007f to 0.07f. This was because at its previous rate the “Fortitude” Fuel level stayed largely the same throughout the game, an occurrence that completely negated the point of having a Fuel Gauge or refueling mechanic, so changes were made both here and in the “Sounds” script to slot in a mini event concerning refueling into the game’s narrative.
- Edited “Sounds” script –
This edit took the newly implemented ship AI sound effects (which concern refueling) and weaved them into the new mini-event that now prompts the player to refuel the “Fortitude” ship upon exiting the atmosphere of “Elcalowda” after having completed the “Alien Ruins” narrative event.
- Edited “SpeedGUI” script –
This edit added a new function that now displays the “Rogue Planet” timer (i.e. how long the player has until said planet tears through the Solar System) on the ship’s HUD after they have completed the “Elcalowda”-based segment of the “Game Finale” narrative event, in order to maximise the dramatic/tension effect of the time limit on the player.
- Edited “ShipDeath” script –
This was a small edit that makes an edited version of the “Game Over UI” screen appear if the player exits the game’s Solar System before they become Infected with the Sentient Bacteria. This occurs once the player gets more than 120,000 Unity units away from the game’s Sun. Said edited UI screen simply reads; “Game Over. System survey complete; nothing to report.”
- Edited “FuelSystem” script –
- Made a gameplay improvement by editing the “Refueling Tutorial UI” GameObject and adding another line of text advising the player to enable the “Fortitude” ship’s autopilot function before venturing out into a “Fuel Cloud” to refuel. During playtesting sessions, players had to be prompted to enable autopilot before exiting the ship (despite the gravitational pull of the gas giant pulling the ship down otherwise). I had thought this would be fairly intuitive, but as the developer I was probably just too used to the game to see that it might not be. As a result, the tutorial is now clearer on how to properly execute a refueling mission.
- Made a gameplay improvement by editing the “Landing Tutorial UI” GameObject and adding a more few lines of text that advise the player to “hug” the red trajectory line and keep it pointing as downward as possible during descent onto a planet’s surface. This change was made as some playtesters didn’t fully understand what the line was for while they were descending, and so flew the ship in such a way that the line moved significantly, resulting in them eventually crashing the ship onto the surface below. This tutorial edit was a suggestion made by one of the playtesters, and it should hopefully fix this issue.
- Made a gameplay improvement by removing the rotational and scaling mechanics from the “Fuel Cloud” GameObjects. In previous builds, said GameObjects rotated very slowly in an orbit-like fashion, and also became smaller the longer the player stayed within them during refueling. While a good game mechanic in principle, these functions resulted in frustration during playtesting as the “Fuel Clouds” rotation and scaling forced the player to reposition themselves constantly so that they were still within said “Cloud”. This was likely as irritating to watch as it must have been to play, so it was decided to remove these motion-based functions so that the player can now enter a “Fuel Cloud” and stay in position until refueling is complete. They still will have to keep a constant eye out for incoming “Nasty Clouds” as well as watching the gravitational pull of the gas giant on the “OnFoot” astronaut, so difficulty has not been hugely decreased as a result of this improvement.
- Made a gameplay improvement by increasing the duration of the overall game from sixty to ninety minutes. This change was made because of the numerous narrative events that have been implemented into the game in the past few weeks, as completely them all successfully takes longer than sixty in-game minutes, so in previous builds the player essentially could not win the game as the “Rogue Planet” would blitz in before the narrative could be complete. This was caused by a lack of playtesting during the implementation of the game’s narrative, however a significant amount of playtesting during the last few week’s has shone a light on the problem, which has now been rectified. From general playing as well as recording the full walkthrough, an average playthrough of the game’s full narrative takes approximately fifty real-time minutes, and eighty five in-game minutes (due to TimeScale).
- Made a gameplay improvement by modifying some of the text, timings and sequencing of the game’s “Opening Tutorial UI”, as some playtesters became confused due to the near barrage of information that they are shown within a short space of time. The map segment of the tutorial has been moved up to near the beginning, and all of the basic controls have been bunched up towards the end, with any references to refueling or a fuel gauge having been removed completely (as the “Refueling Tutorial UI” handles a lot of this so it’s not really necessary in the “Opening Tutorial UI”). This change makes the tutorial a lot simpler as well as easier to understand, making the overall game opening a lot smoother for new players.
- Made a gameplay improvement by toggling the “Power Thrusters” on automatically as the game opens, rather than in previous builds where the “Finer Thrusters” were on at start. This change was made as during playtesting some players found movement too slow initially, which decreased overall enjoyability. This change does mean that the “Finer Thrusters” do become somewhat less important than they were (as there aren’t many reasons to use them anymore) but the opening game experience seems improved by this, so overall it’s likely a positive change.
- Made a gameplay improvement by adding the blue objective marker to the player’s standard ship HUD as well as the in-map HUD. This change was made as some players became confused at the lack of objective marking at the start of the game and when they were not in the map. This implementation also incidentally made it slightly easier to navigate towards planetary bodies, as the marker now usually points towards the one that the player is heading towards (if they are following the narrative anyway) which I feel is also a gameplay improvement.
- Made a gameplay improvement by changing the colours of the “Fortitude” ship’s astronaut tracker and the “OnFoot” astronaut’s ship tracker to yellow (from blue) as with the new normal-view-based narrative objective marker, having another identically coloured pointer may confuse playtesters.
- Made a gameplay improvement by adding several prompts (both visual and audio) that guide the player about the swimming mechanic once they first enter the large subsurface ocean of “Estabahn’s Moon”. This change was made as some playtesters became confused during swimming, as the “OnFoot” astronaut controls change from the surface ones to the outer space ones but the game did not previously warn players of this. This new change not only prompts the player once they enter the water, but the controls UI in the “Pause Menu” also now reflects swimming as a movement option, making it much clearer how the movement controls work at various points during gameplay.
- Made a gameplay improvement by slightly decreasing the time between the player entering the subsurface ocean of “Estabahn’s Moon” and the ship audibly warning the player to engage autopilot and rescue the “OnFoot” astronaut. This improvement was made as some players felt the time between events was too long, resulting in them feeling at a loss as to what to do.
- Made a gameplay improvement by making any lost ship parts of the “Fortitude” ship pickup-able by the “OnFoot” astronaut. All the player now has to do is walk up to a lost part and it will automatically attach to them, at which point they can they carry it back to the ship for reattachment. This improvement was made as some players found that they could not retrieve lost ship parts at certain points i.e. if they were stuck under a rock or similar circumstances.
- Fixed a bug where the “Fortitude” ship’s Fuel Gauge would not display for the player while they were undertaking an extra-vehicular refueling mission. The player needs the gauge in order to see when the Fuel level has reached maximum, so this was an important issue to fix. It was caused by the toggling HUD function implemented in Fortitude 1.4 toggling the game HUD off while the “OnFoot” astronaut is outside the ship, a function which accidentally overrode previous functions that enabled said HUD upon entering a “Fuel Cloud” while on foot. This was fixed by adding an exception to the Fortitude 1.4 HUD toggling code which now re-enables the ship Fuel Gauge upon the player entering the proximity of a “Fuel Cloud”.
- Fixed a bug where the “Fortitude” ship AI would not say its previously implemented lines upon the player either toggling the autopilot mechanic on/off or the remote control mechanic. This was caused by the new narrative-based code for Fortitude 1.5 having seperate distorted ship AI lines for said ship functions after a certain game narrative event is completed, however said code did not account for previously written functions, so it completely overrode the original ship AI line code, causing it to therefore break and so the ship AI did not speak its lines. This was fixed by adding a few exceptions to the new Fortitude 1.5 code that made allowances for previously implemented ship AI code, allowing the two sound-based functions to now work together rather than against eachother.
- Fixed a bug where with a few screen resolutions some of the game’s UI would appear stretched or off-screen, resulting in frustration and sometimes near unplayability depending on the severity of the issue. This was caused by some playtesters attempting to play Fortitude on monitors or screens with somewhat…unusual screen resolutions and aspect ratios (1600 by 1024 being a prime example – honestly, what is that, it’s not 1080p, it’s not 4k, it’s the Frankenstein’s Monster of screen resolutions) which in turn distorted how the game was presented on-screen. This was fixed by heading into the project settings of Fortitude 1.6 and making it so that Unity now locks the game in a 16:9 aspect ratio rather than attempting to account for other aspect ratios (as this results in stretching).
- Fixed a bug where upon toggling and then exiting the game map, the orbital “rings” of all of the planetary Moons would still be visible, resulting in the player seeing said “rings” while manouevring around in normal view. This was caused by the “CameraController” script section of code that handles the disabling of planetary rings and lighting systems upon exiting the map accidentally omitting the Moon rings, which resulted in them not being disabled upon map exit. This was fixed by adding a few lines of code to the script that now successfully account for and disable said rings upon map exit.
- Semi-fixed a bug that has been plaguing the game for a while now; glitchy lighting. In previous builds, shining both the “Fortitude” ship’s headlights and its thruster lights (which turn on upon activating the thrusters) would sometimes cause some of Josh’s visual designs for the planetary surfaces to quite literally “light up like a Christmas tree”, resulting in a great deal of immersion-breakage, especially if the player was within the subsurface ocean of Estabahn’s Moon (as they could suddenly see everything around them). This was caused by Unity’s lighting system just not being built properly for two dimensional games, resulting in it trying to light up 2D assets as if they were 3D, which as you might imagine, doesn’t work very well. This was fixed by removing one of the “Fortitude” ship’s headlights and dropping the intensity of the remaining one, resulting in a dimmer light but also much reducing the glitchy effect of Unity’s lighting on the planetary surfaces. The problem is still present, but now in a very much reduced capacity.
- Fixed the “Visual Bug” again. In Fortitude 1.4, we came across a visual and game-breaking bug that would massively distort a number of the game’s assets upon Fortitude exceeding a 4GB texture limit. Unity being Unity, it decided that the best course of action was to massively bug out the game rather than simply popping up an error message to let us know that limits had been reached, but we did manage to diagnose the issue…eventually. This bug was of course caused by Unity bizarrely implementing a 4GB limit on the amount of textures that can be added into a game, and us hitting that limit again with Fortitude 1.6. This was fixed by massively downsizing some of the planetary bodies, changing their maximum size from 8192 to 1024. This didn’t cause a huge issue during gameplay as the planets are mostly seen only in the game map, which is set at a rather high zoom level so the pixelation caused by the downsizing of the assets is barely visible.
Known Issues –
There are a few issues or bugs with Fortitude 1.6 that either cannot be fixed at all or will not be fixed in time for hand-in. The known list is as follows:
- If the game map is toggled repeatedly during a short space of time (a few seconds) the mechanic will break, causing the toggle (SELECT button) to become unusable and the player to become stuck in either the game map or in normal view.
- At very rare intervals, the game’s Pause Menu will not allow the player to visibly scroll down the four options (Resume, Restart, Tutorials and Exit). The menu is still useable during this time, just not visually so – the various options will not turn blue upon highlighting them, but pressing the A button will still activate them. As it occurs so rarely, we currently have no idea what causes this particular problem.
- If the “Fortitude” ship’s radar dish becomes disconnected from the ship while the player is within the game’s map, the player will be stuck within the map until such a time that the dish is reconnected with the ship. A fix for this particular problem is in progress, but as it’s part of some rather complex code it will take time, so likely will not be ready in time for hand-in.
- The game currently does not function at all if played on a Mac (in Editor or otherwise). This is because Apple have mapped controller inputs differently to Windows, resulting in an input doing one thing on Windows and then doing something entirely different on Mac. A good example would be that Right Trigger disengages autopilot on Windows, but it drops the TimeScale on Mac. Due to the complexity of this particular issue and the time it will require to fix, it will not be ready in time for hand-in.
- As the game begins and the “Opening Tutorial UI” starts appearing onscreen, during playtesting some players became confused, and a few pressed the “B” button on the controller which activates the current tutorial prompt, an act which confused them even more. The modifications to the opening tutorial this week massively helped with this confusion, however it has been suggested that the current tutorial prompt mechanic be disabled until after the player exits the opening asteroid field. This would be a complex implementation because of the overall complexity of the “Tutorials” script, so it will remain a known issue for now as there is not enough time to make this change before hand-in.
- Very rarely, the planetary surface of Estabahn’s Moon appears to completely disappear upon a player initiating landing, resulting in the player reaching zero distance on the distance counter and then continuing infinitely downward until they eventually restart the game (as there is no way to escape this issue apart from this). The cause of this bug is completely unknown, and it is rare enough (having only ever happened twice) that it isn’t a massive priority at the moment, hence it being filed under known issues.
- If the player successfully lands on any of the game’s planetary bodies, they can on occasion encounter a bug where if they engage the “Fortitude” ship’s autopilot function just as they exit the craft to go explore, the ship’s AI will not say its guidance lines that tell the player the locations of interest on that particular world. This is a very specific bug and it does not occur often (not to mention it isn’t an easy fix due to code complexity) so it will stay a known issue for now.
- Occasionally during the outer space segment of the Sentient Bacteria narrative event, the spooky sound effects of the Bacteria within the ship do not play. The cause for this issue is unknown, and numerous attempts have been made to fix it. It happens infrequently enough to not be a huge problem, but it is an irritation all the same.