Futures so bright…
I’m just going to stop apologizing for the delays between dev updates… Trying to find Balance between family life, an incredibly demanding work environment and some development cycles often means we don’t have time to publish constant updates every time we add in an item to the game however, it also means when we do updates they are usually pretty spectacular. And I think this one is no exception to that concept.
For the better part of 6 months the Forgotten Lands world was populated by nudists. This led to some both disturbing and mildly humorous encounters. The council got together prescribed that clothes were now mandatory. The subsequent boost to the tailoring and armor crafting economies was immediate. Joking aside though it was quite a journey as we begin the full itemization of UMA armor sets. Trying to get all of the test assets to “fit” was a challenge and one we have not completed yet. However, there are now nearly 100 different base clothing meshes we can apply. From there we will begin customizing the textures for various sub-types of a given armor mesh. A great step forward.
Crafting, Skills, Harvesting and Professions:
Ya that was a mouthful. Over the last few months we got the foundational resource gathering systems in place for lumbering, mining and leatherworking. The first five tiers of resources and resource refining are now functioning. Based on the resource gathering work we dug into crafting and refining recipes. Now players can mine ore, refine ore and learn and craft actual items from the refined raw products. Currently the recipe learning system is simplistic and just has a skill training you purchase the recipes from but we have plans to make this more dynamic in the future.
MOB integration – phase 2:
The world was a little bland with only skeletons and bandits. With a little help from the necromancer’s guild and the council of Khazad we saw the integration of over 20 new base MOB creatures. Spiders, Rats, Snakes, Deer, Bears, Skeletal knights, Goblins, Ghouls, Zombies and more! This was a big step for us as we had to work a lot with animations, animation states and combat skills. The base monster classes and attacks needed to be reworked but the end result was we were able to take all of the 20+ different monster assets and start modifying them to create sub-classes.
It is also worth noting that one of the last items we delivered during the MOB integration work stream was UMA MOB and NPC implementation. This means we can actually have UMA based MOBs wearing different items to actually create very diverse visualizations for sub classes of mobs and or mob arch-types. UMA is a powerful tool and we are hoping to dig more into this during the private alpha phase coming up.
We had some very good network optimizations implemented over the last 4 months. This has increased our projected concurrent user support per zone/server well beyond our targeted numbers. Based on initial testing we can support well over 500 concurrent players in a single game area with minimal server impact (lag/latency).
Our next major optimization this phase was to reduce texture size to get the client install down significantly. We modified 8 gigs of production level textures down to just under 1 gig. Of course there is some detail impact to this but we were very satisfied the results still gave us a viable quality that did not take away from the player experience. But hey, you check out the screenshots and let us know what you think.
Multi-Tree dialog and advanced questing:
We have integrated our multi-tree dialogue system which has made the player world immersion awesome. It gives content creators the ability to really go to town when it comes to weaving intricate world lore and quest storylines. I’ll just be honest here, it is powerful and amazing but has forced us to go back and look at server side authority for the processes. You can’t stop all cheating but the more features we implement for “rewarding” the client requires a balance between client side code for simplicity and server side code for cheat reduction.
It is highly likely we will need to refocus on some foundational upgrades to the multi-tree dialogue system but in the end the resulting depth of storyline and world lore will be worth it. We hope you agree.
Wrap up and Next Steps!
Guys if you are reading this I hope you like what you see. Feel free to drop us a line about what is exciting or missing from our development so far. We have always taken the “slow and steady” approach to development and try to get things working reasonably stable before putting them into service and that takes time. The good news is that we are really checking off a lot of boxes before we start our Alpha testing and that phase is coming… “soon”™.
Right now there are a few sub-systems in the game that need some revisiting before we can kick off Alpha testing. Multi-tree dialogues, advanced questing and rewards, patching and recipe itemization all need some level of improvement and itemization. Our hope was to be ready for an initial phase of private Alpha testing for Christmas break but that’s a stretch target at this point not a promise.
Thank you all for your following and words of encouragement. I wish you all grand adventures and safe travels and don’t forget our goal…