November Producer’s Letter
November has been an intensely productive month for us as we have been working hard to get everything ready for the next Pre-Alpha session. When is that going to be, you may ask? Here’s the good news: the next Pre-Alpha session has been scheduled for December 3rd starting at 10AM PST. This will be a 24-hour test, so make sure to get plenty of rest beforehand and take ample breaks!
For the upcoming PA test, our goals are centered on observing server and client performance. As we mentioned in the last newsletter, one of our primary efforts this month has been optimizing the game’s performance both on a client and network level. We’ve made great strides on these fronts and are ready to get our testers back in so we can verify these improvements under a full load of players.
Beyond performance and stability, here are a few areas our testers will be digging into that have been updated since the last PA test:
• New vendors
• New and unique quest type
• Art updates
• A new dungeon area that players can begin exploring around level 5
• A healthy dose of additional things to discover
The other big news is that we are planning to have Cohh Carnage stream live, unguided gameplay of Pantheon during the following Pre Alpha session, tentatively scheduled for Saturday, December 10th, along with the Cohh Carnage stream. However, this date is still tentative and depends on the performance results of the December 3rd session.
There you have it folks! Big development efforts in November leading to some great news in December – we can’t wait! Check out the calendar of upcoming events:
Roadmap to Alpha Progress
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.
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.
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
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.
• Improved entity culling parameters to support faster rendering of entities at further distances.
• 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: 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 UPDATED
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.
• Overhaul of Thronefast City layout, including gates, bridges, walls, towers and other structural elements, has been implemented to more closely match concept art, intended scope and aesthetic standards.
• New custom grass, terrain texture and flora created and implemented into Thronefast biome
• Dynamic cave and subterranean lighting has been implemented
• Implemented the first pass of a lower level dungeon environment in Thronefast
• Significant performance gains have been achieved by completing our texture streaming process and converting existing textures (for objects and terrain) to be streamable.
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.
• Work has begun on initial hairstyles for new 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
What it is: Develop 3D assets for equippable weapons, armor, and various non-environment world props.
• Initiated work on robe armor set utilizing revised armor fitting guidelines
Animations: In Progress UPDATED
What it is: Develop player and NPC animations to support locomotion, combat, emotes, and other gameplay.
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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