v0.6 incoming: May ALL of the forces be with you!

February 19, 2014

This weekend we’ll (finally) be releasing a new version of Particulars: Version 0.6 (we went up a whole version number!). Sorry it’s taken so long – we had to upgrade our UI engine, which broke… well… a lot of things.

Version 0.6 will bring in the following changes:

  • Shorter chapters (usually 12 levels each) – we’re cutting a lot of the fat out
  • Chapter 5! (now with Black Holes)
  • Chapter 6! (wait, there’s 6 chapters now?)
  • Hopefully Chapter 7! (if I can get there)
  • Upgraded particle graphics
  • Particlepedia – an encyclopedia about particle physics, right in the game

Ok, so… I have a bit of explaining to do. Just before the christmas break, the SeeThrough team had a meeting that started with things that actually made sense, detoured through some concerns about the possible racism of avoiding the black antiparticles (conclusion: if people call us out on that, then it’s probably more a reflection of them, not us) and ended with “why don’t we double the length of the game?”.


Why indeed?

The reasons why would include a story that felt like it was missing something at the end, and the other 2 extra fundamental forces of physics (Chapters 1-4 are only about the EM force, and Chapter 5 was about Gravity). Surprisingly, doubling the game actually solved a lot of our narrative problems, and I’d already worked out how i wanted the other two forces to work. The bonus news was that we’d worked out a way to double the game without actually doubling all of the work. The question now was whether the new forces would work.

After a lot of testing and ‘holy crap can we still get all of it done in time?’-ing (answer: hopefully yes. It will be tight), we decided that yes – we needed to do this. The simple fact is that once we worked out how the narrative and mechanics would work, the game wouldn’t feel finished without the extra chapters.

So this weekend, you’ll be getting your first taste of the Weak Force. The weak force is about change – it allows particles to change types, and adds 4 new quarks to the mix! Also, you can change your particle to be any of the 6 quarks!

Which brings me to a fun fact that I’d like to close with: the 6 quarks are Up and Down, Charmed and Strange, and Top and Bottom. Back when they were first theorised, Top and Bottom used to be called Truth and Beauty. But physicists couldn’t find them for ages, and so, worrying that they’d be stuck in a world without Truth or Beauty, they renamed them.

Some notes on today:

  • Areas of the game worked on:
    • got the weak force particle transitions looking nice
    • went over some storyboards that Vincent made for the Chapter 3 comic
    • had a story meeting where we discussed characters and voice acting
    • worked on an outline for the chapter 4/9 in-game story
  • Coffees: 0 (!)
  • Read/Played: The Silent History – Highly recommended
  • Best thing: The UI pretty much works now! And I just jinxed it! But we can probably fix it again before we push out v0.6!
  • Most ironically annoying thing: we had a bunch of shaders that used ‘Colour’ instead of ‘Color’.

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