A Double Header Update – Friday, September 29, 2017
We’re not only wrapping up the end of the week today, but also the end of the month, which means we’ll have September’s newsletter going out as well! We’ve got more information about what we’ve been up to than you can shake a giant hurlbat at! If you missed this afternoon’s streamed wrap-up, you can catch that HERE (it’s a very entertaining one, with both Max and Andrew)! Let’s get straight to our Top Tenish highlights of the week. If you haven’t noticed, this is our third week in a row with a higher number of items than usual. Making good progress!
- WIP – Tech – Progression: Christina continues to check the boxes on tech for the progression system. This week, she finished setting up commands to globally reset progression. These commands will archive previous player logs, so we don’t ever lose data, but can compare with future data that may have format changes. She also made it possible for progression bonuses to be applied to player stats.
- WIP – Tech – Entity Component Templates: In order to expand our gameplay for epic siege battles, we need a quick way to create different entities with different components. Let’s say we wanted to create a box through the editor. We need a way to quickly add different components and behaviors to it, like “explode into fireworks when destroyed” or, “play a special sound effect when the player does a specific action,” or similar. This provides great iteration speed, as content creators can build game objects quickly, and won’t need XML. This week, Bull started on the editor support for these entity component templates.
- WIP – Tech – NPC Updates: Colin set up NPC definitions, giving us the ability to associate NPCs with specific information provided via a CSV. This allows us to have NPCs display information like text when interacted with. This is a rough first pass, and will need more attention in the future, but it’s a small addition that gets us closer to our requirements for Beta 1.
- WIP – Tech – Battlegroups: After the Grouping and Social Systems section of the Beta 1 document went out last week, we started discussing the implementation details for these systems with the community. Internally, we are focused specifically on how we can utilize this upcoming feature for siege battles. JB passed the torch to Gabe, who has started implementation while AJ supports from the UI side.
- WIP – Tech – Siege UI: Making use of the Dev UI that JB provided for the gameplay team, Matt has been quickly iterating on a siege context menu. Now a menu pops open when you right-click to interact with a siege engine, instead of the player immediately using the engine. This UI has buttons for the primary siege slash commands, so we can better test how fun using a siege engine feels before investing the time to make a polished UI.
- WIP – Tech – Building Ownership Updates: In the current build, you can capture a plot for your Realm, but not necessarily for your character. Rob is making updates to allow the first player to place a block on a plot owned by their Realm be the owner of that plot. Rob is also tying ownership to accounts, so we don’t have copious amounts of abandoned plots throughout the world.
- WIP – Tech – Stability and Performance: George and Dave are wrapping up their long adventure in improving client stability. We think George has tracked down the final, rare lock-up, just yesterday. Tim and Marc have been handling server stability, running different servers with lots of ARCs and comparing numbers. They recently sped up some low-level metrics code, as well as made use of some work from Caleb to skip doing excess work on stat comparisons.
- Tech – Loading Arrows: To wrap up this week, Andrew posted his recent work on projectile loading for review. This is the code to make sure the player spawns arrows in hand as if pulled from a quiver, rather than having them suddenly appear in the bow. You can see his work on this from a stream earlier in the week HERE.
- WIP – Art – VFX: Mike has been busy this week, coming up with VFX for several different things. First off, he’s been working on making the Viking portal marker VFX a bit better, and began making unique VFX to designate the portal’s volume. He’s also been working on explosions and various magical effects for use on Scorpion siege attacks.
- WIP – Art – Mines n’ Boats n’ Grass: Dionne worked with Ben a bit this week to add in a few extra pieces to the mine set, so designers have what they need to connect all the pieces. This included an audit of the naming conventions as well. While working on that update, she began improving our Viking longboat model and helping Tyler with new terrain textures.
- WIP – Art – New shortbow animations: To further test using both “faster” and “static” animation timings, Sandra finished her three shortbow animations, which were roughed out last week. This included some edits to be more realistic in how archers handle shortbows versus longbows, as well as a new combat idle. You can see those attacks below. She’s now working on longbow animations. Speaking of bows…
- WIP – Art – Concept Art / Character Creation: Michelle handed off some great art for James, who has done a couple of iterations on the animated backgrounds already. She has also begun work on the Arthurian background, and did a quick pass on some new bow designs. You can catch that bow concept stream HERE.
- Art – Quivers and Bows: Jon finished up a set of quivers for our archers earlier this week, then sped through six new bows from Michelle’s concepts, giving our archers shortbows and longbows. These will pair up with Sandra’s work. You can see his work HERE.
- WIP – Art – Environment: Tyler added a few more terrain textures, and updated mods to make zone building easier, with more variation. You can catch his stream from this week HERE.
- WIP – Art – Animation: Scott updated the Arthurian male character with our new one-handed weapon animations, threw some polish tweaks onto the static timing greatsword animations from last week, and has started a focused attack on a series of animations to compile for a showcase video. That video will also add in emotes and equips, as the tech comes online. And he still found time to help out others where their work overlapped with his.
- WIP – Art – Weapon Impact SFX and Timing: After suffering a bad stomach bug, dB completed several new weapon impact sounds for staffs, daggers, and axes this week, and also worked with Scott to better sync sounds up with the new one-handed weapon animations we’re testing.
For art this week, we’re starting off with Sandra’s updated shortbow animations. We’re trying out several things in this video here, so let me add some context. First, like with Scott’s greatsword animations last week, we’re trying out static timings that are faster than what we’ve done in the past. The video will show a standard, slow, and fast attack animation of the shortbow, and one WIP longbow animation at the end. This work helps differentiate not only the bow type, but also the intent of the characters’ speed of the attack.
Next up, we have another shot of character heads from Jon, showing some of his investigative work in new head geometry and materials. These are his intended ideas for Vikings. After he and I audited the new topology, he felt it would be good to test it out with an older face, which we’ve included as well!
Some really great art from the team this week, done at a solid pace as well!
If you caught this afternoon’s very entertaining stream with Andrew and Max, you would have seen them open up two amazingly great gifts from two of our Backers. Both east and west coast studios received a huge bag of Death Wish coffee from Thadicus. We also received a really beautiful engraved shield from The Funk. Many thanks from all of us to you both!
Let’s end things with a bonus image from Michelle of one of the WIP character creation backgrounds. Can you guess whose Realm this belongs to? Things are going well here, and we’re moving along nicely on our road to Beta 1. Hope you all have a great weekend!