A Victorious Week! – Friday, February 9, 2018
What a week it was for us! A full week of Alpha, Beta 1, and IT testing of 100 x 100 x 100 battles. Other than today, the servers were rock solid! Thanks folks for doing things that broke them (that’s what we wanted!!!) and the client performance was within expectations. With your help we were able to find and fix plenty of issues, with overall great server and client performance in the scenario system of 100 v 100 v 100 NPCs and Backers.
Also today, we said on the livestream with Mark and Andrew, that on Monday, February 12th, we are going to announce the date for the start of Beta 1. As we’ve mentioned in previous updates, we want a date we are confident in that also delivers a great experience for our Backers, who simply deserve as much for their enthusiasm and patience. Earlier today, we came to an agreement on that date after several weeks of hard work but Mark wanted us to take the weekend to think about it just so we can be as confident as possible with that date. Pay attention to your email for further details!
For all the other highlights of the week, let’s hit our Top Tenish!
- Production – Beta 1: As mentioned above, a lot of work went into auditing all the things necessary for the start of Beta 1. Much appreciation to the entire team!
- A Whole Lot of Break The Build Playtesting: Our IT, Alpha, and Beta 1 Backers, who have been very patient since our last round of tests, got major opportunities this week! From Monday morning through Friday evening (during our business hours), we ran “Break the Build” tests throughout the week, as we tried to identify any bugs that might be client and server stability related. This week, you folks helped us fix several issues, including “random” disconnects, a client performance stutter, scenario director improvements which fixed server issues, “zombie” logins that prevented players from logging back in, a VFX-related client crash, and several more. More tests and fixes coming soon. Go team!
- WIP – Tech – Server Messaging System for Game Events: Colin, Caleb, and Andrew have worked out improvements to our current messaging system that will allow the engineers to write gameplay more generically, no matter if it comes from the same server or a remote server. This can simplify gameplay logic, and allow for logic to cross boundaries between different zones–each of which could be running on seperate server hardware–opening up the possibility of cross-server scenarios. Additionally, this can support messages about members of your Warband who are on different physical servers.
- WIP – Tech – Scenario System Improvements: Currently, Caleb has a couple of tasks cooking. First, he’s adding in more admin commands to scenarios, allowing us better control of the testing experience. Second, he’s hooking up the scenario events to support the UI changes from Michelle, James, and AJ.
- Tech – Ability Network Performance Improvement: Christina fixed several issues/bugs that caused large amounts of identical data to be sent to the IDcoder. Fixing this cut down the number of unique client skill parts that were created on the order of thousands over the course of a single scenario. This change will be super important in future tests, particularly when supporting massive battles.
- Art – One-handed weapon Combinations supporting Casting: The updated casting animations, previously completed, are being added to all the one-handed weapon combination anim sets. This update improves old animations, allowing you to walk around with, say, an axe in your left hand and cast with your right, without popping to the old casting pose and associated animations.
- Art – Character Creation Renders: Sandra finished off the character creation poses to display your race and class options. Once Jon has completed the updated character art for all our existing race and class armor and body parts, we’ll begin rendering them out and updating the old art currently used in the patcher.
- WIP – Art – Characters 2.0: Jon completed an updated UV layout for our characters based on feedback from Art and Design, then rendering. Jon is updating the Viking light and medium meshes with these changes, and has begun work on the Viking heavy armor. We’re still identifying the technical needs of these changes, which will determine whether we push these improvements to our character art before the start of B1, or during.
- Art – Scenario UI and New Status Effect Icons: This week, James finished off the scoreboard assets and the Victory and Defeat animations for AJ to integrate. He’s now moved over to creating the icons for the new status effects Ben created.
- Tech – Scenario UI: After the handoff from James, AJ began integrating the code-based animations of the victory and defeat screens. He’s at the tail end of this work, which will give us a more polished UI for our scenarios.
- WIP – Art – New Status Effect VFX: Mike has completed a first pass of over ¾ of the 27 new status effect needs. Once they are all finished they’ll be tested in game and updated.
- WIP – First Pass Race Specific Backgrounds: Michelle completed a first pass of various ideas for the character creation backgrounds. These would be specific to the race selection screen, providing more immersion into the world, and the races of CU.
- Art – Willow Tree Set Improvements: Once we used the willow trees in the deathmatch test map, it became clear they needed some improvements. Dionne completed a clean-up pass and created a new LOD zero mesh, which we’ll test as a balance between visual fidelity and performance improvements.
A very busy week here! And wait, there’s more! We’ve got some art too! 🙂
This pierce animation will later set up to pair with the other one-handed weapon attacks like the axe, torch, or sword.
To wrap up, AJ has been implementing James’ victory and defeat animations. Anyone who stands over AJ while he’s working on this inevitably mutters, “Shing!” for the light shimmer. Maybe dB can pull audio from one of us?! Click the image for a look at the WIP animation.
That’s it for us this week, folks. We’re chugging along here at a good pace, on multiple levels. We had a fruitful week of testing with our Backers. Shout out to one Backer in particular who dropped their armor and 400 siege scorpions all at once, crashing the client for everyone! Now that’s testing!
Have a great weekend,