October Producer’s Letter
October 2022 Producer’s Letter
October was an exciting month for the team here at Visionary Realms, as we saw our pre-alpha servers brought back online for the first time since our HDRP and ViNL conversions. We were thrilled to have so many of our VIPs join us in Terminus, with peak concurrency reaching over 500 players, all active in a single zone!
Following the test, the team has been hard at work addressing some of the most pressing observations with regards to client and server performance to help make the play experience smoother in future tests.
Speaking of future tests, the relative performance and stability of our October session has given us the assurances needed that we can begin to conduct more frequent testing with less overhead. We hope to run the first of these ad-hoc sessions in November with an emphasis on combat balance and pacing, and will share more details about this – and communication plans for ad-hoc sessions going forward – with our VIP community soon.
Outside of our immediate goals for testing, October saw exciting developments on a number of key fronts: the completion of our revised Dark Myr models, the beginnings of our swimming implementation and enhanced aggro systems, the completion of our first in-house flora assets for Thronefast and its surrounding regions, the completion of improvements to our terrain rendering and biome generation systems, and improvements to how our assets are packaged and managed by the client.
As always, check out the roadmap below for a breakdown of progress this past month!
Before you check out the Roadmap to Alpha Progress, take a look at our calendar of Upcoming Events for November, VIPs get exclusive access to our Bring out Your Developer on November 3rd. Not a VIP yet? You can pledge or upgrade here and get access to exclusives like this as well as a spot in all of our future Pre-Alpha, Alpha and Beta testing sessions!
Please note that December’s calendar will differ from our usual cadence due to holidays. More on this in the next newsletter.
Roadmap to Alpha Progress
– Denotes items that have a complete and ratified design document and are awaiting an implementation plan.
– 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.
– Denotes items that are currently being worked on but are not yet ready for Alpha release.
– 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.
• Ongoing Combat Awareness content will be added to the game as more NPCs and encounters are developed on the road to Alpha.
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.
• Initial implementation of diversified aggro types (Sight, Sound, Scent, etc.)
• Completed rebalancing pass of armor and weapon values
• Completed rebalancing pass of NPC attributes and health values
• Completed rebalancing pass of damage calculations
• Completed rebalancing pass of Readiness generation
• Initiated rebalancing pass of Techniques and adjustments to rules associated with costs, cooldowns, and effects
• Completed balancing pass on spell precision
• Adjusted the effects of Constitution and Wisdom attributes
• Constitution no longer provides a bonus to base resistances
• Wisdom now provides a bonus to spell precision
• Adjusted the starting attributes, growth rates, and health/mana pools for various races and classes
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.
• Improved entity culling parameters to support faster rendering of entities at further distances.
• Key post-ViNL functionality still pending includes:
• Seamless loading between zones
• 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.
• Scheduled for implementation once the new networking is in place.
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.
• Placement of mining nodes in Avendyr’s Pass is in-progress.
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 ProgressUPDATED
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 UPDATED
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.
• Visual polish is ongoing for POIs in Thronefast.
• Incorporated new Thronefast dwellings into the village of Availia, including 6 residential variants, Tavern, Barn, Stables and mine entrance.
• Completed birch tree models
• Initiated work on additional Thronefast flora
• Completed second pass on Giant Ruin materials, props, and layout in Wild’s End
• Performed an additional quality pass on lighting and post-processing
• Implemented enhanced lightning and storm effects
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.
• Completed Dark Myr male and female models (pending materials/textures)
NPC Models: In Progress UPDATED
What it is: Develop new NPC and creature models for use in world population and content development.
• Completed concepts for 4 additional NPC types & variants
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 model
• 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.
• Completed skinning and rig for Dark Myr female
• Initiated skinning and rig for Dark Myr male
• Completed first pass of human swimming locomotions
Audio: In Progress
What it is: Develop environmental soundscapes, create unique sound effects for players and NPCs, and introduce ambient and signature music.