Alloy There! – Monday, June 12th, 2023

Hi Folks,

We’re starting to move from spring to summer as we hammer out a whole bunch of new craft! We’ve got a revamp for how Alloys work, new Recipes, and a lot more in store – including some new webs that MJ has been threading. And speaking of spring, we’ve had some intriguing new blooms as well! Check out our list below for more juicy details.

Top Tenish for May 2023

  1. WIP – Design – Dungeon Builder – MJ has been busy on a number of fronts lately – but one of the more interesting (and fun) projects for him recently is the tool he’s been busy developing, to assist in building layouts for a dungeon. Although still in the early stages, this tool is going to be very helpful in the future design of The Depths, as well as other dungeon-based content for Camelot Unchained in the future. See the May CU Newsletter for an article from MJ, which features a very cool, in-depth look at mines and dungeons moving forward!
  2. WIP – Design – Traps – What’s a dungeon/mine/crypt without traps? Boring! MJ has been working on devious and delightful ways to determine that dungeon diving is devilishly dangerous.
  3. WIP – Design – Progression – It’s been a busy couple of months for MJ as he also turned his attention to progression in CU. Specifically, how players will advance in their skills, regardless of whether they are crafters or combatants. After lots of conversations with engineering and design, he has laid out a system which stays true to CU’s Foundational Principles, specifically the notion that advancement happens by doing whatever it is you are focusing on in the game. Right now, he’s deep into using this system for crafting and after that, the core system will be adapted for our combatants.
  4. WIP – Design/Engineering – Alloy Stats
    1. Completed a data pass on the current Alloys in the game. Previously, many of them had all (or most) of their stats set to 0 before.
    2. Busy adding a ton of additional types of stats to Alloys. We now have stats to control Dragon’s Web items, Harvest tools, and more.
    3. Removed unused Alloy stats FractureBonus and HardnessBonus.
    4. Hooked up the Alloy Durability and Health bonus stats, so that they affect the final product.
  5. WIP – Design – New Item Recipes and Updated Recipes
    1. The upgrade recipe sheet can be found here.
    2. Recipes have been added for many items, including: siege engines, weapons, traps, barricades, and Dragon’s Web items.
    3. Many of the existing recipes have been updated to loosen the ingredient requirements. For example, a weapon that used to require Steel, might now accept any metal Alloy. This, coupled together with the Alloy stat updates, means that crafted items can now have more variance in the stats of the final product.
  6. Done – Engineering – Crafting UI Updates
    1. Item stats are now sorted in the item tooltip alphabetically within a stat group
    2. Alloy stats are now displaying correctly. They were showing up as 1/100th of their intended value (IE: 0.12% instead of 12%)
    3. The Crafting DevUI ingredient selection is now tracked per ingredient, making it possible to have multiple selected (but not set) ingredients at once.
    4. The Crafting DevUI will show an error when your Vox is broken.
  7. WIP – Engineering – More Crafting Changes on the Horizon
    1. The health, durability, and remaining repair points of a salvaged item now affects the amount of materials returned.
    2. We’ve started work on Modules for the player’s Vox. A Vox will support a number of slotted Module items which can manipulate the costs and output of the crafting job.
    3. We completed an investigation pass on our current use of Block Item stats and how they are used in the building system. We’ll use this in the future to update our building system.
  8. WIP – Engineering/Design – Progression Planning
    In the coming months, we’ll start rolling out elements of the Progression system for CU. Here are the basics of how progression will work in the game:

    1. We will have multiple grids of upgrade nodes.
    2. Each node can include: costs, requirements, and unlocks.
    3. Which specific progression grids a player has access to will be defined by their Class.
    4. There are multiple types of experience that a player will gain. The types of experience that they earn will match up with the types of things that they do in game.
    5. Each progression grid has one or more starting points, and players can unlock nodes that connect to these starting points or nodes that they have unlocked.
    6. Design and Engineering have met up to discuss this plan, and we’re all on board!
    7. The next step is for Engineering to come up with a data format that not only covers all of Design’s needs, but that can also be consumed by the game.
  9. WIP – Engineering – Item Improvements
    1. Completed the next phase of work on fixing up item stats – this time with a focus on how item stats integrate with the WorldEvent system and as an entity. We were able to remove a lot of ‘one-off’ scripting hooks and replace them with generic ones that could manipulate any item stat. We’ve got some similar work to do with item resources as the next pass.
    2. Item placement events in the overmind have been improved and simplified. Previously we had 2 different ones (one for loot and one for everything else), now there is just 1 event. Additionally, there were some cases where no event went off at all, which has been fixed.
    3. Item entities now apply their tags from their static item definition to the entity on the ground.
  10. Done – Engineering – Improved How Offline Character Loadouts are Specified
    1. Some of this information was hardcoded on the client, which isn’t where it belongs.
    2. Now it is stored in a gameplay def sheet, which makes it significantly easier to maintain.
    3. Along with this, some character loadouts were improved to not point to unused data.
  11. Done – Engineering – Interactions Improvements – Rob has completed another batch of interactions improvements, including adding support for defining interaction shapes separately from interaction range. This allows more intuitive contact between players and the items they’re operating. Rob also added support to enable and disable interactions dynamically, which broadens the palette of types of interactable items Designers can include in our world.
  12. WIP – Engineering – NPC Line-of-Sight Fixes – Mike D has fixed a major cause of NPC line-of-sight (LOS) queries failing in a large number of cases. This particular issue had to do with LOS results cached on the NPC server not getting refreshed when they were supposed to. Mike also tracked down two additional cases of LOS failure that are less urgent and will be fixed in later updates. The end result is NPCs will more accurately know when they have sights on a target, for purposes of using ranged attacks and approaching targets within navigationally tight spaces.
  13. WIP – Engineering – NPC Behavior Enhancements – Mike D is prototyping some significant enhancements to NPC behaviors. These include improved enemy detection, the addition of Alert levels dictating how aggressively NPCs engage with potential enemies, variable movement rates, and explicit state-driven phases within behaviors that more realistically control how NPCs execute a given behavior under the influence of factors such as: recent damage taken, or gain/loss of LOS on an enemy.
  14. Done – Engineering – Entity Muting – Rob completed a task to allow specific entities to be “muted” – or excluded from sound generation. This serves not only to improve audio performance, but also provides a mechanism to effectively hide NPCs from players when they should not be able to hear them through walls or due to other sound-blocking circumstances.
  15. WIP – Engineering – Improved NPC Debugger – James is working on a new-and-improved NPC Debugger Dev UI that will make team efforts to investigate issues with NPCs faster and easier.
  16. WIP – Engineering – Ragdoll Improvements – The gameplay systems team is working to improve our ragdoll simulation. This includes fixes to some of the glitches currently observed with ragdoll under specific LOD changes, as well as improved realism with how a ragdolled entity poses upon their death.
  17. WIP – UI Overhaul – The work on overhauling the UI continues. Here’s a list of what we’ve been working on since our last update:
    1. The ability builder has been implemented in the overhauled UI.
    2. The compass has been implemented in the overhauled UI.
    3. Building mode has been implemented in the overhauled UI.
    4. The respawn menu has been implemented in the overhauled UI.
    5. Combat events and damage numbers have been implemented in the overhauled UI.
    6. We’re currently working on animated transitions for use throughout the UI.
    7. We’re currently working on implementing the inventory UI.
    8. See the Newsletter for more details on what goals we have with the UI Overhaul and what to look out for in future updates!
  18. WIP – Investigate Gameserver Startup Times – Sean has been busy investigating the startup times of the GameServer. The aim is to ultimately reduce the world loading time to improve player experience when getting into the game. He’s completed the investigation, and is now crafting a plan to ‘prebake’ loaded data, and how to properly manage all that in the asset pipeline. We’ll have more details for you in the weeks to come, as we proceed – the good news is that the early signs are promising.
  19. WIP – Engineering – Bug Fixes
    1. Fixed some of the Support class Song Dynamic components which were throwing exceptions on removal
    2. Blackwood can be purified up to 100% now
    3. The Nature’s Cloth Alloy can now be crafted
    4. The VFXs which are applied to a Vox while it has running/completed crafting jobs now consider that there might be multiple jobs queued up in the Vox.
  20. WIP – Engineering – Improved Bloom – Last but certainly not least – the graphics team is undergoing an effort to provide higher quality bloom effects in CU. Current testing is showing solid results that we look forward to sharing with our players in the near future – check out the images below in the “Everything’s Blooming At Once!” section for a look at some of these updates.

Things get refined below!

This month we’ve continued on with our updates to crafting. A major focus this time around has been on stats and data for Alloys to get them closer to their final state. Take a look!

In addition, you’re able to make weapons and items using these Alloys. In the future, items will derive their stats from the materials they are made with rather than being limited to one specific type of material in their recipe. This means you can make more interesting weapons like a Cold Iron or Bronze sword!

Everything’s Blooming At Once!

Our new rendering engineer has been hard at work on a new bloom shader. Their updates have greatly improved visual fidelity and realism with lighting – take a look at some of our comparisons below!

Another big crafting update! We’ll have more crafting updates to show off in the near future, as well as a set of lighting improvements from our new graphics engineer. They’re already off to a roaring start, and we’re excited to see what they help us realize for CU down the line!

As always, we appreciate and thank you for your continued support of CU and CSE.

May all your Alloys be of the highest quality.

– Jane