September 2021 Producers’ Letter
Chris “Joppa” Perkins & Ben “Machail” Dean
Esteemed Pantheon Community,
September 2021’s Newsletter is jam-packed! Just take a look at that list over there… it’s a good representation of what’s been going on here at Visionary Realms lately.
New Team Member
Last month we announced the addition of Tony Guidi to the team. And this month we’re excited to announce the addition of Tim Schuhler to our ranks as a new Environment Artist. Tim brings many years of 3D Art experience to the project and has hit the ground running immediately. Since joining the team he has completed the greybox layout of Wild’s End and several 3D art assets for the Mad Moor, many of which were showcased in last month’s Development stream. You’ll hear more from Tim directly in this month’s Developer Interview and we’re excited to showcase more of his talent as the world of Pantheon expands.
WORLD & GAME DEVELOPMENT
In addition to our focus on developing Wild’s End, world building efforts are ramping up this month as we prepare to convert our greybox terrain mesh into real terrain. This conversion will apply to the entirety of the Kingsreach continent and will happen simultaneously with the terrain streaming tech, bringing with it monumental performance boosts. It’s an exciting month on the world building front!
But world building isn’t only about the art – content is king after all. Our Design team has been working through our zones and adding more content, itemization and encounters. Of interest these past couple of weeks has been a thorough level 1 to 20 itemization pass, a strengthening of the Armor Class stat and the development of new task and storyline content in the Thronefast, Avendyr’s Pass and Blackrose Keep areas.
Adventurers have also reported the sounds of mining picks striking ore veins… that’s right – crafters will rejoice to hear that gathering nodes are now in game! More details listed in the updates below.
ROADMAP TO ALPHA PROGRESS
So without further ado, let’s get into our Roadmap update this month. We have included a key at the top to explain the different status designations for your reference.
To Do – Denotes items that have a finished implementation plan and are scheduled, but work has not yet begun. This can also apply to items that are partially implemented that are awaiting additional work to be fully completed.
Design Complete – Denotes items that have a complete and ratified design document and are awaiting an implementation plan.
In Progress – Denotes items that are currently being worked on but are not yet ready for Alpha release.
Complete – Items that are in-game and ready for Alpha release.
Items marked UPDATED have a new status or information from last month’s Producer’s Letter.
1. UPDATED Class Development: In Progress
The Ranger and Summoner classes remain on hold until the integration of our new Networking stack is complete.
2. Pets: To Do
Scheduled for implementation once the new networking is in place.
3. NPC Combat Awareness: Complete
• The underlying Combat Awareness system is complete and fully demonstrable.
• Ongoing Combat Awareness content will be added to the game as more NPCs and encounters are developed on the road to Alpha.
4. UPDATED Terrain Streaming, HDRP and Network Overhaul: In Progress
• The terrain and asset streaming tech is finished.
• The HDRP project conversion is complete and functional.
• Work is beginning on bringing our current art assets into the new HDRP project, making sure there are no shader conflicts or visual issues with each asset and fixing any that we find.
• Work is also beginning on converting all of our greybox terrain into real terrain, utilizing terrain streaming and HDRP.
• On the networking side, we are focused on hooking up our current networking to the new HDRP project so we can start publishing client test builds asap.
• The integration of the new networking stack is slated to begin at the beginning of October.
5. Basic Guild System: Design Complete
6. UPDATED Perception System: To Do
• The new spawning system (see Gathering/Crafting update below) is being incorporated into the world item spawning used by the Perception system. This will allow us to set up our interactable objects with the spawn variability we intend.
• Implement the Tome of Keeping UI, persistent tracking of Stirrings, history of completed Storylines, breadcrumbs for returning players.
• Implement Perception experience gain and Perception titles
• Ongoing Storyline content development
7. UPDATED Gathering and Crafting: In Progress
• A new world item spawning system has been developed and implemented that allows us to govern the spawning rules of gathering nodes with much greater control.
• Several different types of Ore node are now spawning in Thronefast utilizing this new spawning system. These nodes are able to be gathered by adventurers with the proper tools.
8. Banks: Design Complete
The Banking System design has been approved.
9. Acclimation: To Do
• Implement Scorching Climate
• Improve Acclimation user experience by improving the clarity of the UI window and the process of acquiring and applying Glyphs.
• Improve the visual and audio experience when inside of extreme climates.
10. Climbing improvements: To Do
• Implement the climbing-specific Grip resource.
• Implement the UI component to display Grip when climbing.
• Associate Climbing with an improvable skill rating.
• Implement surface types to vary how easy or difficult a surface is to climb.
• Animation improvements
11. Dispositions and Traits: In Progress
• Underlying systems in place to support the randomized spawning of Dispositions and Traits.
• Several more Disposition and Traits to develop and incorporate into our NPC populations. This will be ongoing on the road to Alpha.
12. Ability Loadouts: To Do
Implement a simple tool for players to save snapshots of specific Action/Utility bar loadouts and switch between them easily.
13. Swimming: To Do
• Implement the swimming locomotion system, specifically Z-axis locomotion support.
• Create our suite of swimming animations.
• Implement the new water system in HDRP.
14. LFG Tool: Design Complete
15. Faction: To Do
The Faction system is fully integrated and working. Our goal here is to add more content involving Factions (having high enough faction to gain access to specific Tasks, Storylines, Merchants, etc.)
16. UPDATED Improve Starting Experience for New Players: In Progress
• Several new tasks added for early level players in Thronefast to discover.
• Two small, overland dungeon areas being developed in Thronefast to allow players to experience the grouping magic of Pantheon earlier in their journey.
17. Player Models: To Do
While all of the Male & Female player races have been modeled, there is still some work to be done with them:
• The Skar, Dark Myr and Archai need to be rigged so they can animate.
• The non-Human race models need to be conformed to our entity outfitting system so they can equip/unequip armor dynamically.
18. NPC Models: In Progress
Several NPC models are in progress currently, including:
• Lycanthropes (Male & Female)
• Wraith (Male & Female)
19. Animations: In Progress
20. Audio: In Progress
21. UPDATED Zones: In Progress
• Black Rose Keep is undergoing optimizations and a full content review, including the addition of Perception content and an overhaul of the NPC and encounter designs to utilize Combat Awareness.
• Wild’s End is now playable and in-game in its greybox form. It is currently in full development with a focus on creating the finished 3D art needed for each section of the zone. Our current 3D Art focus for Wild’s End is The Mad Moor.
RECENT PATCH NOTES
And now for one of our most heavily requested features – a small highlight reel from our latest client builds over the last month:
• Fixed an issue with faction standing persist when factions were first discovered
• Modified the Armor Class formula to make the stat much more impactful
• NPCs can no longer naturally critically hit players
• First pass of Cleric and Warrior classes added to build
• Expansion of Gadai bandit camp into overland dungeon status in Thronefast
• Added node hooks to leverage Entity Kind in abilities (i.e. abilities that only work on animals, Undead, etc.)
• Creation of several new VFX for the Cleric class
• First pass of Ranger’s Withdraw and Engage animations
• Several fixes and improvements to bone masking governing the behavior of weapon bones while animating.
• Added support for spawn groups and spawn rules
• Added support for world item/interactable object spawn groups and spawn rules
• Added support for giving Gathering nodes varying amounts of health (currently only mining support)
And with that we conclude this month’s Producer’s Letter, but as you can see from this month’s featured content, we’re just getting warmed up! As always, a resounding thank you from the entire Pantheon team.
Onward and upward!
|Introducing Tim Schuhler||Creature Feature: Mad Moor||The Bait – Pt. 2||How Game Worlds Foster Creativity|