April 2022 Producer’s Letter
Spring is here, and though the towering Ulon Trees of Sorhiryth may not yet be in bloom, the team is hard at work as always to bring the world of Terminus to life.
Over the last month, our programming team has been making substantial progress on the implementation of our proprietary networking solution, ViNL. A local version of the game has already been converted to support ViNL, and work is currently underway on the most critical component of the integration: updating the various character controller elements which govern how player characters interface with the game world to ViNL.
The programming team has also been in close coordination with design to implement the building blocks of our crafting system. Back-end support has been added for materials and recipes, and we expect the initial front-end crafting interface to be introduced very shortly, which will allow for in-game testing! As crafting and gathering finally make their way into Terminus, expect to hear more details about our plans for these systems in the near future.
In addition to crafting, design is heads-down reviewing the data and findings from our QA team as they continue to playtest changes to combat. We are in an intense period of balancing at the moment as we work to ensure the play experience lines up with our expectations, and we anticipate this effort to continue into future pre-alpha sessions and beyond. It’s not all number tweaking though, as we continue to further develop our class designs to capitalize on these changes. For more information on some of the enhancements coming to classes, check out this month’s article diving into the addition of Techniques.
Sorhiryth itself continues to see ongoing development by our art team as additional structures begin to take shape, and we are preparing for further expansion and development throughout Wild’s End as we look to the myriad creatures and critters that inhabit the dense jungles. If you missed this month’s Dev Stream, you can see the latest on Sorhiryth’s development – and more – there.
Last and certainly not least, as mentioned last month Visionary Realms began hiring for a number of positions to expand our art team. We’ve had a tremendous show of interest for these roles, and are very excited by the talent that we hope to add to Pantheon’s development. We can’t wait to show you what our expanded art team creates.
That’s all for this month. Check out the relevant roadmap updates below, and until next month: onwards and upwards!
Roadmap to Alpha Progress
Programming & Design
NPC Combat Awareness: Complete
What it is: Support for advanced NPC decision-making and tactics based on their knowledge of the surrounding environment.
Asset & Terrain Streaming: Complete
What it is: Development of technology to support performant streaming (both client and network) of game assets, visuals, and server data.
HDRP Conversion: Complete
What it is: Conversion of our existing project to a new rendering pipeline to allow for higher definition graphics, more powerful rendering tools, and improved client performance.
Class Development: In Progress
What it is: Implementation of remaining core class components such as unique resources, mechanics, and UI.
• Reminder: due to outstanding dependencies, deployment of the Ranger, Summoner and Druid classes remain on hold until the integration of our new Networking stack is complete.
Network Overhaul: In Progress UPDATED
What it is: Development of a custom network solution to enable performant player concurrency and server-side calculations on the required scale of an MMORPG.
Pets: To Do
What it is: Development of the systems and user-interface required to support permanent and temporary player-controlled minions.
Ability Loadouts: To Do
What it is: Development of a tool to allow players to save and load pre-defined hotbar configurations.
Gathering and Crafting: In Progress UPDATED
What it is: Development of supporting tools, UI, and infrastructure for the implementation of Gathering and Crafting content, gameplay, and progression.
• Implementation currently underway for front-end UI to enable crafting playtesting.
Perception System: To Do
What it is: While we are able to support preliminary implementations of Perception content, additional development is needed for supporting tools and UI required to implement Perception and its related features and progression on a larger scale with the quality intended for Alpha and beyond.
Faction: To Do
What it is: While the Faction system is fully integrated and working, additional development is needed to support leveraging Faction for other aspects of gameplay, such as gaining access to specific Tasks, Storylines, Merchants, etc.
Climbing Improvements: To Do
What it is: Refinements to the existing Climbing system to introduce a climbing-specific resource and related UI, associate Climbing with an improvable skill, implement new surface types with different climbability challenges, and improve climbing animations.
Swimming: To Do
What it is: Implementation of a swimming locomotion system including support for Z-axis movement, the creation of a new suite of swimming animations, and implementation of a water system.
Acclimation: To Do
What it is: Implement improvements to the Acclimation user experience by improving the audiovisual components, improving the UI and Glyph acquisition/equipment systems, and implementing additional climates.
Dispositions and Traits: In Progress
What it is: Develop systems required to improve the support for Disposition and Trait spawning rules, as well as dedicated UI components to display Dispositions and Traits to players.
LFG Tool: To Do
What it is: Develop a UI and supporting infrastructure to allow players to list themselves as looking for a group, or looking for additional members, using specified criteria in order to find other players to pursue shared gameplay goals.
Basic Guild System: To Do
What it is: Develop a UI and supporting infrastructure to allow players to form guilds with a private chat channel, basic hierarchies, and membership management commands.
Banks: To Do
What it is: Develop a UI and supporting infrastructure to support the storage and retrieval of items.
Improve Starting Experience for New Players: In Progress
What it is: Develop tutorialization to introduce players to gameplay basics. Add and refine content in starting areas to provide a robust and engaging early-game experience.
Zones: In Progress UPDATED
What it is: Develop game zones to support planned content and gameplay. Convert greyboxed zones to sculpted terrain and develop with unique props and environment art passes to realize aesthetic goals.
• Began process of applying HDRP Biomes for Avendyr’s Pass.
Player Models: To Do
What it is: Rig remaining player race models (Skar, Dark Myr, Archai) so they can be animated and conform all non-Human races and genders to our entity outfitting system so they can equip/unequip armor dynamically.
NPC Models: In Progress UPDATED
What it is: Develop new NPC and creature models for use in world population and content development.
• Began concepting for additional wildlife / enemy creatures in Wilds End.
General 3D Assets: In Progress
What it is: Develop 3D assets for equippable weapons, armor, and various non-environment world props.
Animations: In Progress UPDATED
What it is: Develop player and NPC animations to support locomotion, combat, emotes, and other gameplay.
• Developed new unique Monk staff idle animation.
• Finalized keyframe concepts for casting animations.
Audio: In Progress UPDATED
What it is: Develop environmental soundscapes, create unique sound effects for players and NPCs, and introduce ambient and signature music.
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