April 2023 Producer’s Letter

April Producer’s Letter

Happy Almost-May everyone,

It has been a real joy seeing your responses lately on Pantheon progress. Many of you have commented that production feels like it has sped up and is moving forward at a pace we haven’t seen yet, and we agree. Internally all the boxes are getting ticked and our spirits are picking up even more with every week’s (sometimes daily) updates to our internal test client. We have tweaked our project plan to optimize our resources and more easily identify areas that need attention.

In light of that, you have seen new job postings on our corporate page’s career section. We are wrapping up the filling of a Character Artist position and are now looking for an Animator and Rigger. More positions will be posted over time. (Spoiler alert: if you or anyone you know is a technical artist, we’d love to hear from you!)

We are also very happy to have opened up the Content Creator program that kicked off this month with streams from Bazgrim, Cohh Carnage, Nathan Napalm and Pantheon Plus. Today we are meeting to select more streamers for May’s 24-hour Pre-Alpha session which starts at 10am PDT Saturday May 13.

We do have a way to go yet before we reach Alpha, and much of the work ahead lies in worldbuilding and art. It’s going to take a good amount of effort to get the planned content into the game. We need to bring on more talent, and we are happy that we have been able to start recruiting more to the Pantheon team. We are grateful to our investors and to all of you who have pledged to make this possible. If you’ve been following the game and like what you’re seeing, please consider pledging to help us get more talent on board faster, and reach our Alpha goals sooner. Scion of the Black Rose pledges and above will get you into our monthly Pre-Alpha sessions to help test, but we recognize those tiers may not be for everyone. All of the proceeds from all pledge tiers go directly into these efforts so we appreciate you all!

Now, let’s get into May’s content lineup and the monthly Roadmap to Alpha.

Roadmap to Alpha Progress

Design Complete – Denotes items that have a complete and ratified design document and are awaiting an implementation plan.
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.

• 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 and combat components such as unique resources, mechanics, and UI.

• Class implementation up to level 20 for Cleric, Rogue, Wizard, Shaman, Dire Lord, Enchanter and Monk
• The Mastery system for abilities has been implemented and is functional for all current classes (**For our testers, not every ability has Mastery upgrades yet.)
• Added positional logic for our NPCs to allow them to move more intelligently if a player is using objects to exploit line of sight. This update also allows a group of NPCs to spread out naturally around their target, instead of stacking in one spot.
• Improved the spell resistance system to make resistance debuffs more impactful when fighting higher level NPCs.
• Rebalanced the Resting mechanic and the rate of Health and Mana regeneration while resting

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.

• Persistence architecture optimizations were a complete success. Had our first crash-less 24 hour test with ~350 players in the same zone.
• Finished first pass of batched render groups, increasing average FPS for nearly all users by 15-20. Final pass of batched render groups is underway, which will bring an even larger performance boost across the board.
• Key post-ViNL functionality still pending includes:

• NPC pathfinding across overland zone borders.
• 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: In Progress
What it is: Development of a tool to allow players to save and load pre-defined hotbar configurations.

• Support for multiple saved ability loadouts / separate ability bars has been implemented.
• Support for managing multiple loadouts is in development.

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.

• Testing has begun on Woodworking. Wood is able to be gathered from trees by chopping them down.
• The first pass of metal and wooden weapon crafting has been implemented.
• Work to implement the first pass of armor crafting is underway.

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.

• Further improvements have been made to the degree in which improved Climbing skill increases your Climbing speed and reduces Endurance drain while climbing.

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.

• Breath meter has been implemented.

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.

• Several new traits have been incorporated into the overland dungeon areas of Thronefast. These include:

• Resilient
• Frenzied
• Acrobatic
• Resistant
• Spellslinger
• Iron-Willed

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: Complete
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.

• Improvements to the starting area layouts for Shaman and Wizard/Enchanter.


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.

• Work continues on Wild’s End.

Player Models: In Progress
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. Ultimately, finalize playable character models.

• Finalizing textures for Human Male and Female.

NPC Models: In Progress UPDATED
What it is: Develop new NPC and creature models for use in world population and content development.

• Oggrym final texturing and engine integration complete.
• Gas Bat final texturing has begun.

General 2D/3D Assets: In Progress UPDATED
What it is: Develop 3D assets for equippable weapons, armor, and various non-environment world props.

• Concept Art completed for:

• Gas Bat variations: normal, jungle, frigid, scorching, badlands, subterranean and corrupt.
• Gas Bat eggs
• Oggrym variations: normal, jungle, frigid, scorching, badlands, subterranean and corrupt.
• Celis Creeper
• Terminus common spider drone and hunter w/ variations: normal, jungle, badlands and subterranean.
• Barbed Melliferion (bee-like creatures native to Terminus)

Animations: In Progress UPDATED
What it is: Develop player and NPC animations to support locomotion, combat, emotes, and other gameplay.

• Gas Bat fully rigged. Non-combat idle, idle breaks, locomotion, transitions and get hurt animations completed.
• Oggrym fully rigged. Combat/non-combat idle, idle breaks, locomotion, transitions, attacks, death and get hurt animations completed.


Audio: In Progress UPDATED
What it is: Develop environmental soundscapes, create unique sound effects for players and NPCs, and introduce ambient and signature music.

• The combat music volume slider in the settings panel should now function properly.
• The level up sound has been made louder. DING!
• Additional support has been added for future audio adjustments.
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