Hoping and Hopping to it – Friday June 22 2018

Hi Folks,

Busy, busy, busy. Going to keep things brief this week so that we can focus on getting beta out the door! While we remain on track for our July 4th Beta 1 date, it’s very close. We need to do some rigorous testing, and make sure we’re ready.

This week, I had the pleasure of hosting our End of Week Wrap-Up and Q&A from the Seattle area studio with George. Unfortunately, we had to keep it short as we all have a lot to get done, and every minute counts. The pressure is on, but in the best of ways. The energy in the studio is incredible, we are all excited about how close we are. Although we are working harder than ever, everyone is laughing and joking, no death march here! We’ll be working through the weekend, and really hammering on the last pieces of the beta 1 list and beta bugs.

Let’s recap our Top Tenish!

Top Tenish:

  1. Beta in T Minus 12: Twelve Days. Its a number that is frightening, exciting, and super important to everyone here. We are just under two weeks out from our planned date for Beta 1 launch. Because of the unfortunate cost of implementing GDPR we lost time from some of our most valuable developers, and that hurt a lot. It is down to the razor’s edge, we have a lot of work and testing ahead of us.

    • And Mark wanted us to tell you that as of right now there are 19 mission critical bugs we feel need to be fixed for Beta 1. We still believe we can make this date, and a number of us are coming in this weekend/staying late to make this happen.

  2. Testing: As we quickly approach Beta, everyone in the studio has been helping to test the builds this week. Features and fixes are coming in hot so we have to make sure we don’t miss anything!

  3. Tech – Buildings: Almost every engineer in the studio has pitched in on buildings at this point. We’ve had small bug fixes and testing by Rob, improvements to plots by Matt, Caleb, and Christina, and even rendering updates by George. This has been an all hands on Deck feature! Updates include changes to how blueprints are formed and loaded, building persistence, how these are loaded in game, and the ability to spawn a building via an ECT!

  4. Tech – Plots: One part of updating buildings has been rethinking our building plots. In Beta 1 you will be able to explore and claim an arbitrary plot of land with an item from your inventory. This took work from Matt, Wylie, Caleb, even Christina and Andrew!

  5. Art – Islands: Tyler and Dionne have been busy adding set dressing and terrain tweaks to the template home island. This requires a lot of by hand work on the terrain and lots of propping of new and existing assets. They are now starting the process of cloning the island and making changes to props and terrain for realm variation. Ben has also been busy adding resource nodes to our terrain mods so you will be able to harvest resources for crafting and building.

  6. Art – NPCs: Joe and Scott teamed up this week to almost finish the outfits for our greeter NPCs you will see scattered around the home islands. We’re currently testing and polishing the tech and will soon add these guys in.

  7. Tech – Crafting: Christina and Mark have been busy adding additional touches to the Beta 1, Day 1 crafting system. This involves configuring raw materials and alloys, and hooking them into the system. Expect a lot of changes/additions to the system once we are in Beta 1!

  8. UI – Warbands: JB, along with Anthony and AJ, have been putting the last pieces of the warbands systems back together and updating the UI. Specifically, features like promoting another player to leader, and granting permissions.

  9. Art – Animations: The last pieces of the planned character animations for the start of Beta 1 are coming together with Scott and Sandra’s last character class ability specific animations in review. We plan to use our remaining time wisely, improving current animations and getting in some new class specific fidgets to give the classes more character.

  10. Tech – Server Transitioning and Stability: We have made a number of significant improvements to how we handle server transitions, load balancing, zones, and overall start-up performance. Tim, Colin, and Marc have been working to get our overall architecture and net code in a great place for beta!

  11. Tech – Patcher Patching: Dave has fixed a number of issues with the patcher to get us ready for a busy beta 1 so that we can support a lot of people all downloading/patching the client at the same time.

  12. Tech – UI: AJ has been sheperding in some wonderful work by our Mod Squad to our UI which helps fix some of the bugs that Backers have reported. This is great because it helps us make the experience better for all our supporters.

  13. Tech – Tools: Sadly, our support tools don’t get enough love, but it’s been a busy week for Bull who has been implementing a series of tools changes that will greatly ease our asset pipeline. While this won’t mean much for beta 1 day 1, it means everything for the first 30 days.

  14. Progression: The last pieces of B1D1 progression were hooked up and tested this week. This includes progression systems, the way skills grow and how players are rewarded for practice.

  15. Art – Concept: Michelle has handed off several different pieces of concept art at a rapid pace to support the art team. She’s now working on finishing up some new art for the patcher splash screens

Now let’s talk art. The team has been working hard to not only deliver on their original goals, but also to get more done, time allowing.

We’re foregoing animation renders right now as they take up several hours in the day to put together; time better spent actually animating! You’ll have to join us in game to check out this WIP Physician special ability from Sandra. A big ability requires a big jug, and a frog! In this clip our Physician takes out a large jug containing his various concoctions, adds a frog to it, then gives it a gleeful lob into the air. The resultant explosion, which Mike is working on right now, is a visual cacophony of color giving allies a bunch of positive effects!

Next up, we have renders of the new statue Jon made to adorn the Arthurian home island dock. First, just geometry, then with materials added.

Jon has a Viking themed statue in the works too! Next up, we have some images of the new market stalls Dionne has been working on.

She also found some time to assemble a new stone and metal resource node tent, from which players can gather resources. These will be used during Beta in lieu of additional tech. Here’s a test shot from inside the metal one.

While Tyler continues to work on the home island template, Michelle continues to work in the background on new props to add later, time allowing. Today she did a quick pass on some unique TDD lamps. Believe it or not she whipped these ideas out in only a couple hours!

We end art this week with some more out of game renders of our class shots which will be used in the character creation screens. As mentioned previously, these are in lieu of some tech updates that will later allow us to render the 3D characters in the patcher. First is the Viking Mjolnir, then the Viking Stonehealer, and last the Tuatha Luchorpan Forest Stalker. Pretty sweet. These also use our improved UV layouts which increase the overall character texture resolutions. We’ll be looking to add these updates later during Beta.

It’s all coming together! We’ve got more work ahead of us, and look forward to seeing you guys online to help us test. That’s all for this week folks. Thanks again for your support and patience. I look forward to seeing each and everyone of you in the game!