Just some screenshots of the swamp biome (work in progress) to get you ready for the a0.85 build. We’re hoping to get it out this weekend or early next week.
Hope you still remember the World Editor we post a couple weeks ago. Today, we’ll show you more details about it with a video. To remind you, World Editor is one of the major things we’re working on for a0.9. It is a program that enables you to launch and edit a world map in the editor, or import maps from other editors such as World Machine. The main tools we’re going to introduce today are different brushes, auxiliary tools and the artifact, a kind of voxel brush that players can generate and share. One thing that we haven’t finished is that editor UI, so there are lots of empty icons, that will be fixed later. We’re still incorporating the Story and Mission editors into the world editor, so we’ll show those later.
One of our long time members on our community boards, Marauder, has recently gotten some serious health issues that has severely impacted his life and family. He wrote his situation here: http://www.gobeyondtherim.com/the-pleas-of-the-fallen/. If you can, please buy his son’s book at the bottom of that page and help him and his family out of a pinch. Thank you! In the meantime, we wish him a full recovery.
Another progress update on a0.85 and a0.9. Some (probably most, heh) of you are wondering why the current update is taking so long, let me clear that up first. Currently, we have most of our programmers reworking/working on several key system, including the UI, AI behavior, World Editor, and Player Skill/Animation systems. All of these are major systems and won’t be done until a0.9, but they do impede on our current progress on a0.85. For example, we have the character deformation system done, but since the UI system is still being worked on, the deformation system doesn’t have a working UI, so it’s inclusion in a0.85 was uncertain until a week ago. Now we’re pretty sure it’ll be in since that part of the UI’s done. A0.85 is also a major art asset update, so we’re waiting on some new scene assets to be done.
We have been doing some efficiency work as well, trying to get the frame rate of the game higher. One of the largest improvements so far is with AI collision detection. It used to be that we would update the collision detection of every ragdoll collider within an AI body at every frame, now we’re only updating the collision of the capsule collider surrounding the AI every few frames. What this means for you is an uptick of about 10+ fps depending on your setup.
Finally, here are some screenshots of the Adventure map procedural improvements, the current canyons look a lot better and we’ve added stone bridges over the waterways. We’re also working on multiple layers of water next as well as better sloping river banks and better town setups (no more flat towns). All of that we’re trying to get into a0.85 in the next couple of weeks.
We’ve been working on a lot of assets for the coming a0.85 build, including lots of new animals and bosses. Most of them are from the swamp and mountain biomes. For a0.85, we’re trying to get the basic animations for these creatures into the game, as well as most of their attacks. We’re trying to get several hundred enemy hit animations done as well, but they might take a while. Here are a few concept arts:
Currently, our team is actually split into two working groups. One’s working on a0.85 while the other’s working on a0.9. Due to all the changes to a0.9, there isn’t too much crossover between the two builds, we’re literally working in two separate branches of the project. Due to this, there are some bugs that we’re ignoring completely in a0.85, since by a0.9, they’ll disappear. Today, we’ll show you two things we’re working on for a0.9.
The first is the World Editor. It’s a program that you can launch and edit a world map with. The world map can be generated in the editor or through other editors such as World Machine. Once you have a map, you can convert it to full voxel format and edit the world to whatever you want, be it cave cities, race tracks, or floating islands. Currently, the largest map we’re aiming for is 6X6km. We’ll also have voxel brushes that players can make and share. If someone made a very cool looking mountain, he can export it and make it a brush, then just paint it into the world. Beyond the general editor itself will be the Story Editor, which we’ll show at a later date. Once the world is done, the player can export it and compress it to share with everyone else. We’re thinking of doing a world bounce system where you can go from one world to another in multiplayer as long as they’re on different servers.
Next, we’re also adding in a tutorial level onboard the Epiphany called the Training Room, it’s like a holographic deck. It’ll actually be the first scene for new players (before the opening cutscene). We’ll have a fairly comprehensive set of tutorials for this feature, but don’t expect many of them to be in when a0.9 rolls around, we’ll add to it as we go. You’ll also be able to directly access this room through the Main Menu. Since the asset itself is done, we might just push this out in a0.85, or at least just the room part of it.
Originally, we were going straight for a0.85, but some of the assets needed for that build are taking too long, so we’re releasing a0.84 as an inbetween build. The changelist:
Colony in multiplayer (no NPCs or farm yet)
Monorail in multiplayer (Coop and Build only)
New objects in the Creation Editor (bed, lights, door)
Time of day is tweaked for Adventure Mode
Ramps added to towns
In multiplayer, NPC followers will no longer be auto released once they die, can be revived
Added currency to Adventure mode, meat is no longer the currency there
Added simple cutscenes for several story parts in Story mode
A0.85 is looking to be late October. It’ll mainly be a Story Mode build.
If you remember, we had facial and body shapes working all the way back in a0.3. Then we took it out. The reason for that was the old system was using bones to change the skin shapes, while it worked great, it also took a lot of memory. So, after a year and half, we have a new system in place for this to work, through morph targets:
This might end up going in around a0.86 instead of a0.85 though, as we’re going through all the player wearable assets and changing their morph targets, and there are quite a bit.
We’ve been working on a bunch of new assets for A0.85, here are some concept art for the swamp biome for you to enjoy. The swamp biome is to the east of the southern grasslands, across the bay. It’s a flat area extending from the ocean to the south until it hits the high cliffs of the crater rim to the north. It’s a mix of wetlands and sink pits, populated by animals large and small, many of which poisonous and hunt by surprise.