Total Rendition 0.2.1.0 beckons

At the time I wrote this, Total Rendition’s revision currently stands at 0.1.9.8, meaning that 0.2.1.0 is not very far away now. At least mechanically. Once 0.2.1.0 is out “oven-ready” (that is, as a binary downloadable from itch.io), it may be very hard for quite a few to discern what’s new. Total Rendition has yet to leave Villa Therese. Nevermind, as you can still be assured that 0.2.1.0 is probably one of the most important milestones of Total Rendition’s development since the first publicly available prototype 0.0.8.6.

One reason for that is that the inventory system should be finalised, or at the very, very least, closer than ever to get finalised. In my capacity as Total Rendition’s lead designer, I had already settled on a very tiny, tile-based inventory system. While Total Rendition is not exactly going to be flight simulator level realistic, I still wanted to convey a sense of situational realism to players; just as in real-life you can only carry that much of items with you without getting noticed, so will this be a thing in Total Rendition as well. In this sense, 0.2.1.0 will be a litmus test: Can this idea of a purposefully cramped inventory work without spoiling the fun or the overall tone?

Tzipora Herzog is going to have 5 horizontal tiles by 2 vertical ones. An assault rifle would occupy like 3 by 2 already, so unless you choose a combat-oriented skillset and loadout, carrying an assault rifles may not be very advisable for the heck of it. What I hope to achieve with this “situational realism” is that every item you decide to carry must be a very deliberate choice on your part, that will force you to think strategically on how you will plan your approach in Total Rendition throughout. This is especially true since weapons are not the only items you carry: You may carry health items such as painkillers (which censors in Australia and New Zealand probably will not like that much!) and utility items such as lockpicks and screwdrivers. Apart from the classic arsenal of firearms, you can also carry some very unexpected weapons…

Obvious mechanics aside, 0.2.1.0 will indeed have most of the UI features that can be expected from a gold status game, such as options,z even though we are still far way from that notwithstanding. The machinery underneath the facade is also undergoing an overhaul: To save resources, more of the UI stuff is going to be done by the C++ code and less by the Blueprints. The gist is that functions in blueprints will not be more complicated than FedEx stuff and for the better part is instead used for giving an easy way to adjust the looks of UI. That more complicated inside stuff is done by the C++ is quite pertinent when dealing with inventory interfaces, which can become quite hungry for resources (relatively to other UI’s at least) while C++ is a thousand times faster than blueprints – yes, I’m serious. However, implementing UI in C++ is a tad difficult, since you use an intermediate language that cannot be live tested, yet isn’t as straightforward as HTML5 either. Hence, to determine the UI looks, I have used Blueprints, although only within certain design parameters, as we have noted earlier.

A road not taken…

Originally, the plan was to launch Total Rendition on Steam with 0.7.1.8. However, unfortunately, I will have to make to a slight compromise with the economic realities imposed on us: The silver-lining is however that players on Linux may be very happy with this news. I have decided that Total Rendition’s Steam debut will occur earlier than originally planned, with version 0.4.1.8, which will be Linux exclusive.

Nevertheless, the upcoming Windows version (to coincide with Gold Status, i.e. version 1.0.0.0 and up) and the Mac versions (the debut of which to coincide with 0.7.1.8, thus earlier than the first upcoming Windows version) can still be pre-ordered from Steam as well. 0.4.1.8 would see the Queen Astrid boulevard and Tzipora’s hideout making their debut as in-game environments (because you have to start with the “second level” or so a saying goes). It wouldn’t have much in the way of quests or even a coherent main plotline, notwithstanding I have already created one, although the idea is that it gives you a taste of what’s to come.

-Mordechai Gabai