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The Development Blog!

Hello dear Supraball Players!


I actually meant to do this from the beginning, but once we started developing, we somehow never had the time to take care of such things. Anyway, here it is, our development blog! Here we'll be posting updates, news and insights in our progress with the game, as well as early pictures and other media we might have available. To start off, I'll give you a small introduction of the people that are part of the team, and what they do, followed by a little story of how we ended up to  this point:

DavidM


DavidM is the Game Designer of Deathball, the predecessor of Supraball and of course also the game designer of Supraball. Apart from being the project leader, his tasks currently involve:

  • Balancing of the game

  • Creation of maps, effects and art

  • Recording and editing of the sounds (excluding the laughing, that was actually a professional voice actor!)

  • Communication with the community

  • Encouragement of the developers

  • Legal & bureaucratic stuff


While we agreed that he has the last word on most decisions, we practice the concept of  "benevolent dictator", which means while he has the last word, he usually listens to reason and the majority of people. So far we never had a situation that had to be resolved the hard way.

Marenz


Technical Leader. That would be me. I make sure that

  • The development goes in the right direction

  • Manage the tasks for our developers

  • Help them out when things aren't clear

  • Create, monitor and publish updates

  • Game development, as in programming, of course

  • Maintain and deploy our infrastructure both production and development systems (servers, master server, update mechanism, perforce server, git server)


Apart from that, I advise David on the technical aspects of pretty much everything, and also keep him in check when he is about to do something stupid. Regarding this we are a pretty good team, because my ideas are also sometimes .. well, .. drastic is maybe the right term .. when it comes to user friendliness. The team already jokes that I would give the user just a terminal and leave it at that. I would never do that! At least not without mentioning the help page in the welcome message, that is. Yes, I am a big Linux enthusiast which is also why I absolutely want to have Supraball work on Linux as well eventually.

Winni


Winni is a former study colleague of mine. At college we did some projects together and it was always a joy to work together. He was the first person I thought of when we needed developers. Right now, he is inactive due to some health problems but I am confident he'll be back. Winni and I wrote the core of the UDK Supraball.

Silw


Silw is our concept art designer. He drafted that fancy gun you use to kick your players, and every now and then, the ball around. He also drew a bit of other concept art but due to lack of a 3D artist you can't really see the results ... yet!

Swarley


Swarley joined us around mid-2012, after we did a closed-alpha test of the prototype at the time. He jumped right into the code and familiarised himself with the codebase. He did the first version of the menu. After that, he worked tightly with David to tackle most of the balancing issues, and also implemented the actual changes in the code. Right now he is doing the menu for the UE4 port.

Timo


Timo is a recent member of the team, who joined us in March 2014. We were struggling with the menu at the time, which is Flash based in UDK. Pretty much all of us hate Flash with a passion, and as the new guy, Timo got the job to take a look at it. Needless to say, he did a pretty good job, given the really bad documentation and complexity around it in UDK. Currently, he is getting familiar with UE4 as well, and works on some basic game logic parts.

Shammah


The team was growing! Shammah joined us in May. At that time we already knew that the port to UE4 is inevitable but we were too busy fixing bugs in the UDK version and adding important features (kickvote *cough*) to it. So we set Shammah out to start with the porting work. Bit by bit, we worked more and more on the porting and now everyone is on it. Shammah has created a good working basis for us to build upon, making it easy for the rest of the team to quickly get going with the new version.

Skylar


Or Jimmy, how Shammah nicknamed him for reasons unknown to me, is our most recent addition. Right now he is getting familiar with the code and has implemented a bit of the new scoring mechanics already.

How we ended up here


I don't remember when I started playing Deathball, but the user numbers were already declining, we had less and less players, and it was clear that something had to change if we wanted to save our favorite game. Around 2012 I finally got around and started to look for ways of how to prevent the the game from dying. Luckily, I had the "I develop a game engine!" phase already behind me, and knew that I was actually looking for a good basis to work on as I wanted to see fast progress. I had a look at various open source games that felt similar enough to add a "Deathball" game mod. Eventually, I settled with Red Eclipse and started developing. But it wasn't meant to be, because pretty much where the updates stop in the post just linked, David announced that he is looking for people to do a proper standalone version and so I jumped at the opportunity and we built a team together to work on a proper standalone version.

We had a sponsor at the time and got out a pretty decent prototype version. Then, things somehow got a little rough and a two year period of development hibernation happened, until we finally decided to just do it all by ourself. We worked on it a bit in our free time, but progress was slow. Therefore, in 2014 we decided to make it a public alpha. This was mostly done so that we wouldn't lose motivation to work on the game (almost all of us are still working only in our free time on this). I think it worked out pretty well; the feedback from you guys was what kept us going so far!

This is it for now. Stay tuned for more updates!

--Marenz

PS: And don't forget to head over to the crowdfunding page and donate for the game!