February 2023 Producer’s Letter

February Producer’s Letter

Pantheon Community

It’s been another packed month of development here at Visionary Realms.

We’ve seen incredible progress this month on our Crafting and Gathering system, much of which we will detail in the Alpha tracker below. These system updates will be ready to experience in our upcoming Pre Alpha test this weekend.

Another major milestone for us this month is completing an overhaul of our persistence server and architecture. One issue our Pre Alpha testing has uncovered is the degree of character data rollback that happens periodically with a client crash. We’ve spent time this month digging into our character data persistence architecture and have improved it dramatically. We are working hard to get that implemented ahead of this weekend’s test as well.

As many of you know, we have spent a large amount of time focused on Pantheon’s various backend systems in order to make the network, data and server performance rock solid in preparation for Alpha testing. As we look towards next month, we are excited to start shifting our engineering resources more fully onto game system development. As this shift occurs, we will start to see a much greater rate of development on game mechanics, similar to the progress we’ve seen on Crafting and Gathering this month.

Finally, we will be making the push over the next month to integrate our new player models with all of their newly polished animations. Keep an eye out for updates on that front next month. We are also happy to share that the March PA session is scheduled and will be taking place March 18-19th, from 10AM PST on Saturday to 10AM PST on Sunday. With that said, we’ve got a full newsletter to unpack, so let’s get into it!

As always, onward and upward!

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 components such as unique resources, mechanics, and UI.

• Ongoing balance passes and ability kit adjustments for currently available 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.

• Character data and group persistence architecture revamp completed. Work is ongoing on supporting cross-zone communication and custom zone borders.
• Key post-ViNL functionality still pending includes:

• NPC pathfinding across zones.
• 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 UPDATED
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.

• Spawn rules and locations for mining nodes in Thronefast have been updated.
• The code underlying gathering interactions has been improved.
• The mining hot bar has been enabled.
• The new section of the Codex for profession abilities has been implemented.
• Gathering techniques have been enabled.
• Current techniques include Precision Strike, Solid Grip, Powerful Strikes, Chipping and Strike the Earth
• The smelting interaction has been updated and improved.
• The crafting window has been updated and improved.
• A new Schematic selection interface has been added.
• Additional schematics have been added for smelting and blacksmithing.

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 UPDATED
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.

• Climbing is now associated with an improvable skill. Improving your skill in climbing will reduce your Endurance drain while climbing and increase your Climbing speed.

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.

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 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.

• 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.

• Several updates to the art and layout of the Daedrym Ascent in Wild’s End
• Additional ruined house variants added to Thronefast. Be on the lookout for bandits taking up residence in some of these abandoned homes!
• Improvements to the layout, biomes and architecture of the Pool of Paths (Shaman starting area) and the Arcanum Skytower (Wizard/Enchanter starting area)

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.

• Ongoing work on hair system and hair styles for male/female Human and Dark Myr models.

NPC Models: In Progress
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.

• Continuing work on new armor sets utilizing revised armor fitting guidelines and compatible with new character models.

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

• Completed additional animations and polish for:

• 1H auto attacks and combat idle stance
• Dual wield auto attacks and combat idle stance
• 1H w/ shield auto attacks and combat idle stance
• Death and near death states
• 2H combat idle stance

• Initiated work on 2H blade auto attacks.


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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