I'm excited to announce that the first external playtest of Kinematic has been published today! Go to itch.io to download a build of The Foundry area of the game. This area is near the end of the first third of the game. In it, Jem discovers a new way to interact with her factories, using the grapple points around the map to modify the trajectories of flying resources, using the Mirror upgrade.
In preparing this build, there were two major areas of improvement I needed to invest in heavily for my custom engine.
The first was input configuration. I have always been testing using an Xbox controller plugged into my PC, and using a weird set of keybindings on my Linux laptop. I want to support all manner of different devices, with easy remapping of keys. Using the GLFW framework that my engine is built upon, it's easy to query the state of gamepads and the keyboard. On the title screen, when you "Press Any Button", that tells the game what device you're using. Then I ask you to press each of the buttons that the game requires, to make sure you get the button mapping you want. I'm not sure if players will like this setup (vs. a default configuration + an options menu), but I wanted to give it a try. It feels elegant to me.
The second was graphics compatibility. This game doesn't demand much of your graphics card. But I have been developing on a fairly beefy GPU anyways. So when I tried to test it on my wife's laptop (with a minimal integrated GPU), the game immediately crashed. It turns out that the Bindless Descriptor method of binding textures for rendering requires capabilities that lots of older GPUs don't have. So I ported my engine to use an older method, akin to Slot-Based Binding. More importantly, some helpful people on Reddit helped me out with resources to be able to fake as if I were running on a barebones GPU from now on. Thus, it will be much easier to make sure Kinematic will run on all sorts of hardware.
Come join the conversation on Discord!