June 2022 Producer’s Letter
Our in-house networking solution, ViNL, is due to complete integration over the next week. This will mark the fulfillment of our second major engineering milestone following our conversion to Unity’s high-definition rendering pipeline, and we’re thrilled to share the news with our community.
Once this integration is complete, as mentioned last month we will be turning our attention to the features and functionality that were reliant on this implementation. Nearest on the horizon are the elements needed to make exploring Pantheon a truly seamless experience, including seamless loading between zones, adjustments to NPC pathfinding behavior, and localized weather.
Last month we indicated that our expanded art team had begun exploring the visual development of Thronefast. Now that we’ve been able to conceptually refine the aesthetic for the home of Terminus’s humans, we’ll be saying farewell to Wild’s End and Sorhiryth for a period of time while we refocus our art resources – including an additional 3D Environment Artist joining us later this month – on bringing Thronefast and its surrounding territories up to the level of visual polish we’re striving for with Pantheon. One such improvement is the introduction of our human village architecture, which had its modular kit completed this month and will quickly produce a wide variety of structures wherever human settlements can be found.
Speaking of humans, we also completed an update to our human male model this past month. Not only does this include improvements to the human’s proportions, textures, and topography, but also finalizes our workflow for bringing our remaining player races up to par with our humans to support armor-fitting, rigging, and other long-standing needs.
Design continues its dual-focus on expanding and fleshing out the content pockets of Avendyr’s Pass and the narrative offerings in Thronefast. Improvements to our mountain construction workflow have allowed us to further refine zone layouts, and as the layouts for these two zones become finalized ahead of our art-polishing pass we’ll be shifting the layout effort to caves and other delves needed to further flesh out these and other zones.
With so much underway, we know our VIPs are eager to get back into Terminus and get their hands on all the changes and updates. While we still have a few more details to lock in, we are currently targeting bringing players in to test system and network updates this summer. We will email all VIPs over the coming weeks with more information.
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 ProgressUPDATED
What it is: Implementation of remaining core class components such as unique resources, mechanics, and UI.
• Implementation has begun on our refined death penalty and recovery systems.
• We are continuing to tune and refine adjustments to our core combat systems as internal playtesting takes place.
• 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.
• ViNL is due to complete integration in mid-June.
• Our next stage is to introduce core functionality and features dependent on ViNL, including:
• NPC Pathfinding Across Tiles & 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 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: 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: In Progress UPDATED
Work is currently underway and nearing completion for the Banking system.
• Banking is considered ‘Alpha Ready’, but will continue to see ongoing development and refinement.
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 the development of our shape language for mountains.
• A new tool has been developed to expedite the creation of gameplay spaces within mountainous regions.
• Terrain and biome painting tools are being refined to better express aesthetic goals.
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.
• These improvements will be used to expedite the process of rigging and supporting armor fitting for our remaining races.
• We have initiated work on three additional armor sets to prove out our entity outfitting system goals.
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 ProgressUPDATED
What it is: Develop 3D assets for equippable weapons, armor, and various non-environment world props.
• Completed the first major variant for our in-house mining nodes.
• Completed multiple structures in Sorhiryth including the bank, tavern, and basic dwellings.
• Introduced additional rock shapes and sizes, primarily to support updated mountain workflow.
Animations: In Progress UPDATED
What it is: Develop player and NPC animations to support locomotion, combat, emotes, and other gameplay.
• Completed animations to support updates to the death system.
• Work is currently underway on developing additional casting animations.
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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