Dev Diaries #20 - Demo Day
October 3rd, 2022 3:37am — Demo Day – A Devlog by Fred Toms, Programmer - @Tommy2Doors
Development headaches have continued since the last update. The transition from UE4 to UE5 hasn’t been the smoothest experience in the world, but we’re getting on as best as we can. Jordan has made significant progress in learning some of the newer techniques and technologies that UE5 has to offer, and I’ve been doing my best crushing the bugs that I’ve been able to identify and squeeze out.
We’ve arrived at the third of October – a day that, a couple months ago, we decided to set ourselves a “hard deadline” to have something playable out for the community. If I knew then, what I know now, I would’ve afforded us another two or three months of development - but hey – such is life. SPECTRE will be playable today in its current form (albeit scaled down from its proper size) – bugs, crashes and all of the warts that come with a game that is in development and has not had proper time for QA (Quality Assurance).
Speaking of Quality Assurance, we had a couple people from the community try the game out a bit early and try to find bugs. This was the first time we had anyone, ever, properly QA our game. The people we chose were people that we felt contributed positively to the community, would be understanding of SPECTRE’s in-development state (SPECTRE is full of bugs, after all) and who had the time and means available to play the game and provide meaningful feedback.
Here are some testimonials from two of the QA Testers that participated (we will be using their in-game aliases):
"Over a year ago I was riding passenger in my company's work van typing 'Splinter Cell' in the News Search on Google hoping for any morsel, leak, or any official word on the series that, for me, put Tom Clancy on the map.
My eyes opened wide and my heart skipped a beat when I read 'Spectre Aims to Be the Splinter Cell Game That Ubisoft Won't Make.' I immediately clicked the link as I looked at my level of cellular service to ensure the link would load quickly as possible. Laying down in the back seat as it was a long ride from job to job would not suffice. The potential for a new SVM game required my heart to pump against the flow of gravity to ensure my brain was getting enough oxygen to completely absorb every bit of information I was to read. 'A Spiritual Rebirth of Spies vs. Mercs' read in the first couple of paragraphs was all I needed to see to be on board. The next logical step was to join the discord where, over the next few days, I read every single message in every single channel. It was happening. There was no doubt in my optimistic mind.
Over the next year I asked questions, commented on posts, and made some new online friends. I don't remember how it exactly happened but I soon found myself in a direct message with Fred, one half of the Symbiosis Games team, who was confirming I'd be a beta tester.
On September 24, 2022 it came to fruition; I was officially offered a link to download 'Spectre.' I followed the instructions given, click host, select debug, then 'Spawn Spectre' and there I was, standing on the rear wing of a crashed aircraft liner in a dark jungle.
With the stroke of the W key on my RGB keyboard I was off. The movement was smooth and precise - first concern eliminated. 'Splinter Cell: Blacklist' was plagued with an awful animation system that I feared would be adopted here. As I ran around the Jungle map my excitement exploded. 'It's here, it's real, it's fucking kick-ass — and it's a bit buggy.'
'It's time to get to work,' I said to myself. I have a responsibility here. As the first QA person selected it's my duty to find and share bugs and glitches as fast as I can. The Steam Next Fest was 9 days away and there was clearly work to be done after the recent engine switch. Over the next few hours I uploaded 33 unlisted videos to my Youtube channel and shared with Fred who proceeded to review, fix, and update Spectre in real time.
While exploring Spectre I noticed the game felt like what Ubisoft would've inevitably created had the original Chaos Theory Multiplayer team remained intact. The murky darkness cascading over the map created an anxiety inducing atmosphere that no other modern multiplayer can match to date. I had the misfortune of not having internet in the hay-day of 'Chaos Theory Versus' but had recently overcome the technical obstacles and played a handful of hours with veterans, and Spectre was unequivocally giving those CT SvM vibes.
They did it. THEY FUCKING DID IT.
They matched - no, surpassed my expectations in delivering a modern SvM experience.
While the feel of the Spectre was akin to the Spies of Chaos Theory SvM the Reaper experience was most comparable to the Merc gameplay of Splinter Cell Classic. Roaming around the map in first person with the other testers produced a nervousness I haven't felt in what seemed like an eternity. Ramping up the volume listening for the subtle sound cues of Spectre footsteps and gadgets made me feel immersed in the game. It wasn't just the mechanics, the feeling of being hunted by the Spectres was real. I was there for one thing; protecting the data.
I've logged a dozen hours around my busy schedule so far, and will undoubtedly neglect other games as I log many more. If you're worried about whether not they pulled it off, don't. Symbiosis Games has done what Ubisoft has failed to do: deliver the hard-core stealth experience, a spirtual rebirth of Spies vs. Mercs, we've all been dying for. It was worth the wait." — Mr.Jay
"Hey everyone Corgi here — I have been a huge partaker in basically every facet of SvM since Chaos Theory. I love them all for different reasons but me and a lot of people have been chasing the 'holy grail' that is the 'Smoother Chaos Theory' since 2005. The game is still deep in development, but after being able to test it out over the past week you will see that we are in the home stretch of that dream finally coming true. The game is buggy and unfinished as you will see in the demo, but it has improved daily at a rate that is actually kind-of crazy. These guys work their asses off, and seeing the quality and polish going up patch-by-patch has me excited about how good this game can get over the next few months. Cheers to all us SvM maniacs who have been in withdrawal for years finally getting our fix xD" — Corgi
So there you have it.
We feel very privileged to be able to demonstrate where our heads are at with SPECTRE and what you can expect in the future. We would’ve liked the experience to be a little bit less buggy but that’s where this community comes in – following some continued development, we’ll be moving into Beta in the coming months. Things to look forward to include more Gadgets, more Edges, more maps. And we’ll need this community to help us bring SPECTRE to where it eventually needs to be. I hope you guys enjoy your very early look at SPECTRE and look forward to your feedback!
Thanks for sticking in,