August 2022 Producer’s Letter
The development team here at Visionary Realms is heads-down and all-hands-on-deck preparing for the next pre-alpha session.
As the culmination of many substantial development initiatives over the past year including our conversion to Unity’s High-Definition Rendering Pipeline, the integration of our in-house networking solution ViNL, and enhancements to our combat framework, we know many of our Pre-Alpha testers are eager to know when the date of this session will be. We appreciate your patience thus far, but must ask you to be patient a little while longer.
In July, we reported that the long-awaited integration of ViNL was complete, with only minor bugs following integration to be resolved. In the course of addressing these bugs however, we became aware of a conflict between ViNL and the volume of string-based text sent over our network resulting in memory corruption and server instability.
Programming has identified the root cause and is hard at work to resolve the issue, which we must address before we are able to conduct pre-alpha sessions. While we are still aiming for the target dates communicated on last week’s stream, we are acknowledging that there is a risk that we may need to delay the upcoming session.
We understand the apprehension that news of a potential delay can bring. Rest assured, the entire team is eager to bring our Pre-Alpha testers back into Terminus as quickly as possible. We are evaluating every avenue to avoid this potential delay, but at this time cannot make any guarantees.
That being said, we would like to share some information about our target date, and our commitment to communication as we navigate the coming weeks:
• Our current, tentative target for pre-alpha is the weekend of September 17th, 2022.
• This date is not guaranteed due to the issue mentioned above.
• We have set an internal deadline to make a final decision about delaying past this date; that decision will be made no sooner than August 30th, and no later than September 3rd, ensuring that if we are able to meet the September 17th date, testers will be given a full two weeks of advance notice.
• As soon as this decision is made, an announcement will be provided in our official discord, in the #pa-announcements channel.
We would also like to share that this pre-alpha session will take place on a single server; we will not be dividing players into different server groups or time slots, and there is no need to request being moved to a specific grouping through customer service for this test.
With that out of the way, let’s dive into some of the highlights of what to expect in the coming session!
What to Expect in Pre-Alpha
Due to the amount of new systems being introduced and tested by a large volume of players at the same time, we are treating the next pre-alpha session as another ‘shake-out’: a limited experience intended to help us isolate potential problems by focusing players in specific areas and content.
Below are some of the highlights testers can expect to experience in this upcoming shake-out:
• Experience Thronefast in glorious HD(RP), including new explorable regions, enemy distributions, camps, rare spawns, and loot.
• Play as the Dire Lord, Rogue, Monk, Wizard, Enchanter, Shaman, or newly-added Cleric. Each class has received substantial updates to align with how our combat systems have evolved.
• Choose among the Human, Dwarf, Elf, Gnome, Halfling, or Ogre, and explore how newly-defined base attributes and growth rates alter the feel of class play between them.
• Grab a mining pick and hunt down rare ores, or learn to smelt and refine them into metals.
• Hone your Skills, enhancing your combat proficiency through continued practice and unlocking new Techniques along the way.
• Join your friends and fellow VIPs on a single server; it’s time to put networking to the test!
Of course, as the march to our next pre-alpha session continues, so too does our march towards alpha itself, so if you’re eagerly awaiting that next phase, take a look below for the latest updates to our roadmap.
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.
Classes & Combat: In Progress UPDATED
What it is: Implementation of remaining core class components such as unique resources, mechanics, and UI.
• Implemented the Cleric class, with abilities through level 10.
• Implemented passive Traits for classes acquired at appropriate milestones.
• Implemented additional abilities for Dire Lord, Shaman, Enchanter, Rogue, Monk, and Wizard level 10-20 kits.
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.
• We are continuing to identify and address minor bugs resulting from ViNL integration.
• A conflict between network strings and Unity’s Burst compiler resulting in instability has been identified and is in the process of being resolved.
• Completed implementation of cross-tile NPC pathfinding.
• Key post-ViNL functionality still pending includes:
• NPC pathfinding across zones
• Cross-Zone Communication & Group Persistence
• Custom Zone Border Shapes
• Local Weather Profiles
• Dynamic Entity Spawning Systems (Pets, Adds, Event-driven Spawns)
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
What it is: Development of supporting tools, UI, and infrastructure for the implementation of Gathering and Crafting content, gameplay, and progression.
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.
What it is: Develop mechanisms for the storage and retrieval of items and currency via NPC interactions.
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.
• Completed concept work on custom terrain and flora textures for Thronefast and Avendyr’s Pass, and moving into modeling.
• Created additional environmental props for the ‘Mad Moors’ and ‘Wellpond’ regions of Wild’s End
• Created new modular cave kits to allow for quick creation of caves throughout the world
Player Models: In Progress UPDATED
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
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 UPDATED
What it is: Develop 3D assets for equippable weapons, armor, and various non-environment world props.
• Completed additional mining node models.
• Initiated discovery phase for building floorplans and furnishing sizes to account for player scale and density.
Animations: In Progress UPDATED
What it is: Develop player and NPC animations to support locomotion, combat, emotes, and other gameplay.
• Nearing completion of work on updating climbing animations for revised player rig.
• Initiated discovery phase for necessary rig elements to support character customization.
Audio: In Progress
What it is: Develop environmental soundscapes, create unique sound effects for players and NPCs, and introduce ambient and signature music.
|Producer’s Letter||Monthly Recap||Showcasing Pantheon:Rise of the Fallen||Community Feature|