September Producer’s Letter
September 2022 Producer’s Letter
The time is finally here! Our pre-alpha sessions resume this weekend on October 1st, and we can’t wait to welcome our testers back into Terminus. We’re so excited in fact, that this month we’re sharing the high-level highlights, a breakdown of our combat enhancements, and patch notes covering the additions and changes to the game since our last pre-alpha, with our entire community. For those unable to join our pre-alpha sessions, we hope this additional glimpse behind the curtain will help shed further light on the ongoing development of the game, and we plan to continue offering these updates in future newsletters as our pre-alpha sessions resume.
Of course, development continues apace beyond the scope of these highlights. In this month’s livestream, we revealed that character artists and animators Duarte, Tara, and Phillip are hard at work on bringing our player character and armor models up to final art standards with improved support for rigging, armor fitting, and character customization. The Human Male and Female Models have already completed this process, and we are now fully entrenched in the Dark Myr, with more to follow.
Speaking of final art, we’re expanding our art team once again with the search for a Technical Artist (VFX) to assist us in building out environment and character shaders, weather effects, spell and ability VFX, and more. If this sounds like you, we encourage you to apply with your portfolio! If you’re more inclined to put out fires than create fireballs however, we’ve recently posted our search for a Community Manager as well.
Meanwhile the design and programming teams are heads-down continuing to prepare additional systems and content as we look to what lies beyond this weekend’s pre-alpha. While not an exhaustive list, our current focal points across both teams include:
• Outstanding post-ViNL functions including cross-zone persistence of groups and chat, as well as seamless loading between zones.
• Mapping weather and time-of-day to spawn events and climates.
• Adding support for swimming.
• Introducing additional tasks and storyline content.
• Further expanding player and NPC ability loadouts, and preparing the Warrior for implementation.
• Completing layout and population revisions in the Avendyr’s Pass PoIs Hanggore and Madrun ahead of art team passes, then moving on to our next zone!
Expect to hear more about these additions and more in the near future. For now however, it’s time to grease the hamster wheels ahead of the coming test. Onward and upward!
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.
• Implemented improved tooling to enhance loot table definition and allow NPCs to dynamically roll and equip a weapon out of their potential loot table.
• Implemented improved tooling to define NPC faction relationships at a global level.
• Adjusted class kits and difficulty tuning ahead of October pre-alpha.
• Refined Near-Death mechanics.
• Added Floating Combat Text support for Buff and Debuff events.
• Added Durability assignments to items, pending full implementation.
• Updated NPC loot tables to reflect refined armor/weapon drop rules.
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.
• Resolved network instability issues reported in the August newsletter.
• Improved entity position tracking and movement smoothing.
• 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: 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.
• Visual polish is ongoing for POIs in Thronefast.
• Completed concept work on custom terrain and flora textures for Thronefast and Avendyr’s Pass, and initiated modeling.
• Completed concept art refinement phase for Sevil Manor
• Completed 7 new human dwellings
• Completed Wild’s End ‘Wellpond’ POI geological kit.
• Currently modeling additional cliff / overhang styles for Wild’s End inlets.
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 new Human Female model.
• Completed high resolution sculpt of new Dark Myr Female model
• Initiated work on low-poly Dark Myr Female model and Dark Myr male hi-res sculpt.
• Remaining Race Models (in order of implementation):
NPC Models: In Progress UPDATED
What it is: Develop new NPC and creature models for use in world population and content development.
• Completed new Spider model..
General 3D Assets: In Progress
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 remediation of old animations for new player rigs.
• Completed new climbing animation suite.
• Completed face and body rigging for Human Male and Female rigs to support character customization features.
• Initiated work on rigging for Human Female armor and Dark Myr female.
Audio: In Progress
What it is: Develop environmental soundscapes, create unique sound effects for players and NPCs, and introduce ambient and signature music.