Tanks VR devlog #10 - bots, tracks physics, native oculus support & more

First of all, we want to wish everyone a happy 2019! The last months we have silently, but steadily been working on a major update that we just released. In this devlog we will discuss that update, which has introduced bots, realistic tank tracks, improved VR interactions and native Oculus support. We're very happy with how it turned out and we're looking forward to more improvements.
Bots In a previous devlog, we showed off an implementation of a "utility based" AI system. The months following that devlog we continued our work on that system, but as it progressed it became clear to us that is was too ambitious. We noticed that our development time was fully being taken up by the bots and around the beginning of November, there was still no clear end in sight. We decided to drop our utility based AI system and go for a more conventional state machine AI system. After two months of development we managed to get the bots in practice mode.

The bots behaviour is simp…

Tanks VR devlog #9 - bots progress & better (tracks) physics

In a previous devlog, we discussed the decision making system of the bots. In this devlog, we'll talk about the navigation system, which resulted in a new improved physics system with realistic tracks. Tanks will be able to move over rough terrain and obstacles, which is a massive improvement over the current system. Bots will also avoid hitting eachother, using an avoidance system.
Track physics
While creating the navigation system, we noticed that the current physics system would not suffice for future maps and the bots. The tracks were static and not controlled by physics, this resulted in the tank not being able to navigate on slopes and drive over obstacles. Visually, the current system is not pleasing, tracks are clipping through sidewalks and appear rigid. So we started looking into using track physics. We did a lot of research on track physics, as it can be very performance demanding. There are paid assets available, however these did not fit our requirements. Thus, we sta…

Tanks VR devlog #8 - physical lobbies, improved UI, roadmap & more

In this devlog we'll discuss the new update, which introduces physical lobbies and an improved UI in the garage and lobby to the game. We'll also discuss the more comprehensive roadmap that we have made to give you more insight in the development of Tanks VR. We have finally received our Oculus devkit and we have included a changelog of the update.

Physical lobbies
We wanted to improve the VR experience, so the lobby screen in the garage has been removed. Instead of the lobby screen, a lobby now consists of physical rooms. When you join a lobby now, each team will have their own room in a bunker, where players are placed around a large round table. In the middle of the table is a large tactical map that can be used to organize the upcoming battle. See the screenshot below.

Each player has a microphone in front of them, which activates when speaking into it. This will transmit the player's voice to loudspeakers in the room of the enemy team. This way, you'll still be ab…

Tanks VR devlog #7 - rewrite, maps, lobby VOIP & more

The past month has been very work-intensive for us, which is why we haven't had the time to write a devlog until now. We got delayed by a rewrite of the backend of the game, which now makes it possible to have multiple maps, VOIP in the lobby and to add bots in the future. These changes have also made it easier for us to add new features as well as fix bugs. In this devlog, we're going to discuss the backend rewrite, show the new maps, the little office we setup recently and the WMR dev kit we got.
Tanks VR uses the Steamworks SDK, which allows developers to integrate their game with Steam. However, this SDK is written in another programming language (C++) than we are using for Tanks VR (C#). This is not a problem as there are wrappers available that allow developers to use the SDK while programming in C#. When we started, we had to choose between two wrappers, Steamworks.NET and Facepunch.Steamworks. The Steamworks.NET wrapper is the most complete, but Facepunch.Steam…

Tanks VR devlog #6 - bots progress

A problem many VR multiplayer games experience is a lack of active playerbase. Many players have commented on the lack of active players in Tanks VR. In order to get more concurrent players, we want to introduce bots to the game. This allows players to play singleplayer, co-op or multiplayer with bots. In turn we hope that this will cause players to have longer play sessions, increasing the chances of encountering other players. While adding bots can grow the active playerbase, it will also make the matches more interesting. Currently we have mostly seen small 1v1, 2v2 matches. With bots, every match can become a 5v5 match, despite the amount of players in the match. In this devlog, we will show the AI system we've been working on the past weeks as well as what we still want to achieve in the coming weeks.
Utility based AI
Most AI systems are simple state machines. This means that these bots make decisions based on "if .. then". For example, if an enemy is close to the b…

Tanks VR devlog #5 - new map progress, old map rework, desert map & Windows Mixed Reality

Tanks VR currently offers only a relatively simple city map. Most players will rush to the middle of the map and trade shots with the enemies. Or take the long route, just to discover that their friends who have rushed to the middle have already died in combat. It is clear that the current map does not offer the diverse strategies that are possible. Therefore, Tanks VR needs more and better maps. We are currently working on three maps. A new city map and an improved version of the current city map should arrive within a week, while a desert map is planned for a release in the weeks that follow.
New city map
The new city map is centered around a church where the cap-circle is located. Fierce battles are expected here. The map will offer four main paths to take towards the church, each with their own vulnerabilities and advantages. It is built in such a way that teamplay is encouraged. Certain areas of the map should be held by teammates, in order not to be flanked. For example: if o…

Tanks VR devlog #4 - practice mode, 3D in-game voice chat, HMD support & more

In the previous devlog we talked about implementing 3D in-game voice chat in a large content update. Due to various requests to implement it sooner, we decided to do just that. We also felt that we needed some kind of singleplayer feature in the game, in order to provide new players and reviewers a way to try out the game, even if there is no one online. We'll also discuss Windows Mixed Reality (WMR) support. So let's get to it!
Practice mode So singleplayer practice mode places you in the "city" map, where you're surrounded by a lot of explosive barrels. Shooting the barrels will make them blow up. We think it's a good way for new players to get a hang of the in-game controls. It's also a way for more experienced players to kill some time when waiting for other players to come online!

We would like to give practice mode a bit more depth in the future, by possibly introducing a timer. Practice mode would turn it into a mini-game where you have to destroy …