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Posted by Data in Crush2D, Planetoid Pioneers - February 12th, 2014

Just a quick status update on Planetoid Pioneers.. we are having a problem:
It’s too much fun messing around in it that some of us on the team (read: me) are getting distracted from actually getting work done:
Planetoid Pioneers New Test Scene
(the game is actually running at a much higher framerate than the 15FPS captured in this gif)

However, our tools are reaching a quite sophisticated level of polish, so they’re pretty fun to work in too:
Robot joint editor

Another quick update: our Twitter stream has now been fixed so it will yet again announce all our code checkins
for both Cortex Command and Planetoid Pioneers.. stay tuned to it for the latest tidbits:

Posted by Data in Cortex Command - February 11th, 2014

Hi! My name is Jake ‘The Heartsman’ Harold, I’ve recently joined the Data Realms dev team, and I’m here to tell you about the first job I did: Steam Trading Cards!


6 cards to collect, 6 badges, 10 emoticons and a bunch of Steam profile backgrounds, meaning you can now show off just how much you love Cortex Command to all your friends (and probably enemies). This is the start of a lot more Steam integration for our games; there’s a lot of exciting stuff ahead of us!

Posted by Data in Cortex Command - February 10th, 2014

I have some good news for veteran players of Cortex Command: the infamous Scene Gib Bug has finally been thoroughly eradicated! For those not in the know, it was a very hard-to-reproduce critical issue where your actors (including your brain!) would sometimes inexplicably explode in a shower of blood as they walked across the wrapping ‘seam’ of scene. A poor game experience, to say the least.

So, I am glad to report that my long suspicion was finally confirmed that the bug originated in the decade-old locomotion physics algorithms. Long story short, they were not fully taking into account the wrapping of some spatial delta calculation between absolute coordinates in the scene. This would only be relevant when the character headed across that otherwise seamless-looking wrap line, with his limbs on the ‘other side’, pulling his body forward on the first side, causing huge impulse forces due to the misinterpreted mathematical distance.

After having unsuccessfully tried to track it down for a very long time now (it was tough to even reproduce reliably – often the nature of physics simulations), I can with relief and pride say that it has been verified to be a resolved matter. It took the renewed efforts and fresh eyes of two very dedicated and talented members of the official Cortex Command team here at Data Realms, Weegee and Abdul, to both produce the special tools necessary to find, and then to fix, the issue once its general whereabouts were nailed down.

So, a BIG HUZZAH to them! Here’s a test scene/script that has been running for many hours, sending actors crawling across that former line of random death:


Posted by CaveCricket48 in Cortex Command - February 7th, 2014

CaveCricket48 here. Progress on Cortex Command is still rolling despite the unintentional lack of information, and with a new build around the corner, just hold on a little longer!

On my end of things, I’ve been working towards getting CC’s content balanced, in terms of gold cost, actor durability, and weapon damage. Keep in mind that this is the first pass-over, and by no means close to the final phase.

In the current and older builds, there were some serious issues with the cost of units, weapons, and crafts, where a cannon could cost more than a dropship. When a mob of enemies were coming your way, it was more economical and time efficient to throw a craft at them than to buy a soldier and a gun, and the soldier had a much lower chance of actually getting the job done. Now, however, pricing of items for the most part follows the pattern below:


Weapons 0 150
Actors 100 250
Crafts 200 200+

Weapons              0 150

Actors                 100 250

Crafts                  200 200+


Pretty self-explanatory. The majority of weapons are cheaper than the majority of actors, and the majority of actors are cheaper than the majority of craft.

The pricing of actors is now more dependent on their durability and less arbitrary, taking into account GibWoundLimit and bleeding to come up with their gold cost, and then tweaking the value based on mobility and armor.

Damage for weapons has also been looked at to differentiate SMGs from assault rifles, balancing shotguns appropriately, and making sure everything has a sharplength that makes sense.

Previously, “SMG” and “assault rifle” weapons were essentially the same – one particle of damage per shot at a rapid rate of fire. Now, however, assault rifles fire two damage particles on their tracer round, allowing them to hit harder per shots fired compared to SMGs. The inconsistency also keeps them from stepping on the sniper weapon types too much, since sniper rifles still maintain a consistent number of particles per shot.

Shotgun fall-off has been changed to be less like snowflakes when they reach a certain distance, but still keep them powerful at close ranges. Now instead of pellets slowing down, they have a script where roughly 50% or 70% (depending on the faction) of the particles will randomly have their sharpness values set to 0 after a minimum period of time. This allows them to still injure enemies at long range without hitting with their full power, while still keeping them strong up close.

The sharplength of weapons now looks like:


Handgun                100 200

Shotgun/SMG         150 250

AR                        200 300

Rifle                      250 350

Sniper                   300 400+


With “Rifle” being a rifle similar to a DMR, being useful for distances in between an assault rifle and a sniper rifle.

The next series of balancing passes will be to tweak things based on your feedback once the build is released, and then working to adjust actors’ GibImpulseLimit and ImpulseDamageThreshold to allow kinetic projectiles to deal health damage, instead of either exploding the actor or just shoving them. And, of course, modifying and adding new weapons to take advantage of the new damage method.

Posted by Data in Cortex Command - December 8th, 2013

Happy Holidays folks! Data here ~

After a year+ hiatus from the games industry, I am back in the saddle at Data Realms HQ and busy cranking away with the rest of the team on our next technology and new game that we’re building with it: Planetoid Pioneers. Some of you might remember those few recordings of programming Cortex Command I did a couple of years ago… to my surprise, hours-long videos of me mumbling at code were pretty popular! So, I’ve decided to take it to the next level and do livestreams on Twitch.tv, the first of which went down last night:

Follow our Twitch channel here for future live shows of me poking around with the very powerful editors and getting new stuff into the game!

Comments Off on Data livestreaming development of Planetoid Pioneers
Posted by Data in Crush2D, Planetoid Pioneers - September 12th, 2013

This pretty much sums up our experience at PAX this year, and hints at what we’ve got in store:

Posted by Data in Cortex Command - March 13th, 2013

While designing Graphical User Interfaces is often not so fun, it is a necessary chore. We are in the midst of hooking this one up:


Speaking of tools; we are about to release a couple of powerful ones that will be nice for you CC sprite jockeys out there.. will be very timely for the Workshop update.

Posted by Data in Cave Vehicle Engine, Cortex Command - February 24th, 2013

Before I get to the goods, a newsflash on Cortex Command: We are indeed still working on a a nice update with Workshop integration that will allow you to publish your mods to everyone on Steam directly from within the game. There’s a lot of menu stuff that needs to come together still, but rest assured it’s well underway. Also.. some long awaited bug fixes are in the pipeline (seam gib bug, i’m looking at you!). Keep eyes peeled on our twitter feed for the latest on when that drops.

Anyway, I’m here to present yet another meaty update to our next project, the Cave Vehicle Engine; this time Miro takes us though our engine’s powerful particle systems and their new editors:

The particles will definitely be put to good use very soon as we get into the collision and particle penetration effects (e.g. bullets zinging off and through objects, with sparks flying and holes being made!). We strongly believe that realistic, detailed, and physics-driven effects add a massive amount of fun and feel to gameplay, so we care a lot about fully fleshing out these things which might otherwise seem like trivial graphical details. We are excited to show what we truly mean in time for GDC this year.

But wait, there’s more! Miro has been hard at work on a ton of other stuff like powerful in-game Lua debugging tools, Color Picker palette, Scenario Editing updates, and refined controls for getting all these editors OUT of the main game window and onto secondary monitors! It’s really a great way to work, with the main CVE screen filling your main monitor, and all the clutter of the editor panels completely off to the side, yet still controlling stuff in the game:

Posted by Data in Cave Vehicle Engine, Cortex Command - November 29th, 2012

A new test build of the Cave Vehicle Engine appears! So much great stuff: external editor windows for separate monitors, huge improvements to the robot editor, a new FlipBot concept that is a potential solution to the ugly 2D sprite flipping animation problem. Miro demonstrates how it all goes down in these two new videos:

a complete walkthrough on how to build your own robot in the game:

Posted by Data in Cortex Command - November 24th, 2012

Cortex Command is 50% off on Steam during their short Autumn Sale! Coinciding with it, there’s a new version out, with these improvements below. Some of the most significant fixes and enhancements are in the area of A.I., which is thanks to the hard work of Stefan “Abdul Alhazred” Winberg:

  • The AA-Drone now shoot SAMs at enemy craft at point blank range, unless the target is close to a friendly brain.
  • Fixed a bug that would cause craft to self destruct when sitting still for a long time and being under player control.
  • Fixed missing turret/mech loadouts for some techs, upped goldcost and slightly nerfed armor of silver man and whitebot.
  • Went over and touched up every single techion gun sprite, looked a bit tame compared to the actors.
  • Changed Imperatus actor standpaths for added badassery.
  • The meta fight skirmish AI now pick safer brain LZs.
  • Fixed a bug that made the human AI ignore enemies in some circumstances.
  • Fixed a few loadout errors. Fixed a Ronin script that sometimes caused error messages to be printed to the console.
  • Added a disarmer to every engineer loadout preset.
  • Gave the giga pulsar the same particles per tracer as the pulse rifle, making the giga pulsar the superior choice for sustained fire, as well as an increased magazine size from 50 to 80.
  • Improved the human AI gold dig behavior.
  • Added the Yskely and Grasslands Mining Outpost for the Bunker Breach scenario.
  • Fixed a bug that stopped the AI from spawning units in the Harvester, Massacre and Survival scenarios.
  • Added a strong border layer to the bottom of most scenes. Helps prevent actors from digging too deep and falling off the bottom of the scene.
  • Adjusted Human AI aim time. Actors shoot sooner but should miss more often.
  • Fixed several bugs in the gold dig AI. Tweaked the human AI targeting and aiming.
  • Made the human AI look for weapons when entering sentry mode unarmed.
  • Updated the new rocket launcher’s targeting system so the missiles can be locked on to the ground.
  • The new rocket launcher is now known as the Browncoat “ML-03 Flash”.
  • Fixed an issue withe the AI where some behaviors could cause actors to ignore alarm events.
  • The Skirmish Defense activities now remember what tech you fought the last round and picks another tech for the next round.
  • Made the gold-dig behavior move in a straight line to the gold rather than along the path with the leas obstacles.
  • Added the Dummy to both the Light and Heavy Infantry groups so the skirmish AI only spawn dummy AHumans.
  • Removed the “Brain Versus Brain” activity to avoid confusion among new players (and reviewers). The same functionality is supported by Skirmish Defense.
  • Changed the Browncoat “ML-03” to “ML-02” and made the missiles slightly stronger. Browncoat incendiary cannon (CA-01 Firestorm) and shotgun (IN-02) made stronger.
  • Fixed a bug in the Bunker Breach scenario that would cause AI counter attacking units to go idle.
  • Fixed a path-finding bug that occurred when mining for gold, and an issue that made the AI think some close range weapons had a blast radius
  • Impulse Cannon no longer useless, new Browncoat Missile Launcher made slightly stronger.
  • Browncoat weapon grip strengths increased slightly, Browncoat units no longer made of cheese.
  • Added the “Wave Defense” activity. Increasingly longer waves of enemies, with time in edit mode in between waves.
  • Encapsulated the AI to make modding easier. It can now be initialized with a single function call.
  • Wave Defense: Made edit mode between waves optional.
  • Actors on AI-teams now ignore the fog when shooting and searching for targets.
  • The AA-drone no longer replenish its missiles between battles.
  • Fixed bug on Ronin Heavy’s randomized armor when placing the unit from the build menu.
  • Improved gold dig AI and situational awareness of brain actors.
  • Lots of tweaks/improvements to the Nailer-based weapons
  • The human AI now reloads any held weapon before digging for gold.
  • Made the AA-Drone look for targets slightly faster and gave the SAM a small acceleration boost.
  • Campaign end game triggering logic fixed and improved. Now, If the team in the lead is the only team left with any undeployed brains, the game ends and they win. This avoids the unwinnable game state.