March Producer’s Letter
You’ve come to the right place for your Pantheon updates. Just a quick reminder that starting next month, while the Producer’s Letter will be sent out around the same time, the other types of articles that comprise the newsletter as a whole will be distributed as individual articles, peppered throughout the month. Same amount of Pantheon content, just spread out over the month.
Before we get into the updates with production, we’d like to take a quick moment to let you know that we have updated the Pantheon Streamer & Content Creator program. We are happy to announce that Pre-Alpha streaming or recording for content creators is here and you can now sign up to be considered for a time slot. The new program will schedule time slots for interested streamers to stream Pantheon during the monthly Pre-Alpha sessions. For non-stream content, recorded footage will also be limited to certain guidelines, which will be outlined with the content creator. Blocks of time are limited, so signing up does not guarantee a slot. Also, last year we migrated our back-end infrastructure, so even if you signed up through the previous program, you will need to sign up again using the new form. We will send out an email to all previous sign-ups informing them of this change. You can read all the details of the Pre-Alpha streamer & content creator program and sign up for consideration at https://pantheonmmo.com/streamers.
Now onto production!
We continue to see solid progress on our Crafting and Gathering systems, with a brand-new Gathering profession coming online (Woodcutting) and another one already in the works (Skinning). Woodcutting will be available for testing in our upcoming Pre-Alpha Test, which is scheduled for from 10am PDT, April 15 through 10am PDT, April 16. Full notes on what to expect in the next session will be posted on the Pre-Alpha forums before the session begins.
Following the launch of our dedicated Persistence server last month, we have completed several optimizations of that system in March. Additionally, we have completed several performance optimizations as well, netting a 15-20 FPS improvement across our internal testers and a variety of system specs. We’re excited to test out these network and performance optimizations in our upcoming Pre-Alpha Test as well.
There is still time to join us in this upcoming Test session by visiting the Pledge Page and selecting a pledge that offers Pre-Alpha testing as a reward. If PA Testing isn’t for you, we are also very appreciative of any pledge at any tier. 100% of your pledge goes directly into bringing Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen to launch.
There are a host of game and art related updates this month which we’ve detailed in the Alpha Roadmap below, so let’s get to it – onward and upward, to the roadmap!
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 and combat components such as unique resources, mechanics, and UI.
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.
• Further optimizations on our dedicated Persistence server have been rolled out to Dev and Test environments in preparation for the upcoming Pre-Alpha Test.
• Key post-ViNL functionality still pending includes:
• 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: In Progress
What it is: Development of a tool to allow players to save and load pre-defined hotbar configurations.
• 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.
• Gathering abilities now correctly apply critical damage.
• A new Gathering type has been enabled: Woodcutting.
• Work has begun on a new Gathering type: Skinning.
• Work has begun on the Item Enhancement system. This will allow for schematics to be used in Crafting to manipulate the stat outcome of the item being created.
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.
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.
• 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 UPDATED
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:
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.
• Nestladen Jungles
• Pristine Jungle Waterways
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. Ultimately, finalize playable character models.
NPC Models: In Progress UPDATED
What it is: Develop new NPC and creature models for use in world population and content development.
General 3D Assets: In Progress UPDATED
What it is: Develop 3D assets for equippable weapons, armor, and various non-environment world props.
• Greybox models have been completed for the following Environment Art assets:
• Perpetua Lily (Wild’s End)
• Jungle Fly-Buster (Wild’s End)
• Jungle Fran (Wild’s End)
• A Thousand Eyes (Wild’s End)
• Luminous Heaving Aloeblister (Wild’s End)
• Carnivorous Bulb Pad (Wild’s End)
• Craggen Weed (Wild’s End)
• Sorhiryth War Bonnet (Wild’s End)
• Needle Nettle (Wild’s End)
• Gargantus Lavender Gourd (Wild’s End)
• Sky Tower Lily (Wild’s End)
• Finished Environment Art assets:
• Nestladen Tree (Variant 1, Wild’s End)
• Nestladen Tree Stump
• Finished Character Art assets:
• Pridemane’s Longsword
• 2 Additional Terrain Textures developed for Wild’s End biomes.