December Producer’s Letter
December has been a milestone month for Pantheon and a fitting way to cap off this year of exciting development. First, we announced that starting in January of 2023 we will be having monthly Pre-Alpha sessions. The amount of content and systems currently present in the game, and the success of VINL’s performance and stability have brought us to the point where we are ready to sustain consistent, monthly testing. Expect the first of these monthly sessions to arrive in late January. We will communicate the exact date near the beginning of the month.
The second milestone this month was the stream with CohhCarnage on December 10th. This was an unprecedented step forward for us because it was the first time a non-developer showed off the game in a completely unscripted, organic manner. This move is emblematic of our goals in the coming year and beyond: to show much more of the game and to let Pantheon speak for itself.
In addition to these major milestones, development on Pantheon has continued in earnest even as the holidays approach. Joining our team this month is Community Manager, Jamie Henry and Social Media Manager, Ruben Pereira. Many of you have already interacted with Jamie on the forums or Discord. You’ll recognize her as Savanja. And if you’ve been following and interacting with us on social media, you’ve likely seen or chatted with Ruben.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at our upcoming Calendar, and then the Alpha roadmap below to see some of the highlights of that ongoing work!
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.
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.
• Work has begun on seamless loading between zones. Completing this item will also include the completion of cross-zone communication, group persistence and custom zone borders.
• Key post-ViNL functionality still pending includes:
• 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 UPDATED
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: In Progress
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.
• Mapping Climbing skill to improved speed and reduced endurance consumption, and added supporting stats.
• Removed Endurance bar from primary player resource window and created a dedicated UI element.
• Added Exhaustion mechanic to prevent Climbing and Sprinting when Endurance is fully drained.
Swimming: In Progress
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.
• Implemented Breath Bar and Suffocation mechanics.
• Implemented water volume detection and z-axis movement.
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.
• Finalization of PoI development in Avendyr’s Pass to support upcoming testing objectives.
• Finished creation of 3 new flora types for eastern Kingsreach biome: the Brigand’s Badge Leaf, the High Maiden’s Shroud and the Sicklebristle Grass cluster.
• First pass of new occlusion culling system that is not bound to scene-based parameters, allowing for occlusion culling to function in a seamless world environment.
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.
• Ongoing work on hair system and hair styles for male/female Human and Dark Myr models.
NPC Models: In Progress
What it is: Develop new NPC and creature models for use in world population and content development.
General 3D Assets: In Progress UPDATED
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.
• Completed additional animations and polish for slashing auto attacks.
• Completed several animations for the swimming/underwater suite, including: swim forward, swim backward, swim idle, swim burst (sprinting while swimming), near-death swim, death float and underwater looting.
Audio: In Progress
What it is: Develop environmental soundscapes, create unique sound effects for players and NPCs, and introduce ambient and signature music.
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