Life in the Craft Lane – Friday, May 5th, 2023

Hi Folks,

As we move deeper into the spring, it is also the season for crafting updates. So, change up some items, polish your Vox, and check out the new tent we’ve pitched, where you can find ways to collect crafting materials, ammo and the like – and with a new, searchable menu to boot! We’ve also got a number of other crafting updates, bug fixes, new interactions, and best of all, Mike D landed his long-awaited NPC Targeting fixes. Don’t let me keep you waiting – check out the list below for more 🙂

Top Tenish for April 2023

  1. Done – Engineering – Vox Job Updates: Engineering has completed its pass on updating a wide variety of Vox jobs. The full list of enhanced Vox jobs is below – make sure you try these out in the latest CU build and let us know what you think.
    1. Purify – Substances: Turn raw Substances into purified ones and increase their quality.
    2. Shape – Alloys: Combine large numbers of purified Substances into small numbers of Alloys.
    3. Make – Ammo: Create Ammo using Substances and Alloys.
    4. Make – Blocks: Create Blocks using Substances and Alloys.
    5. Make – Equipment: Create Armor and Weapons using Substances and Alloys.
    6. Make – Other: Create various other items using Substances and Alloys.
    7. Repair – Items: Repair Item Durability at the cost of Repair Points.
    8. Salvage – Resources: Break down items into the Substances they were made from.
    9. Transmute – Potions: Create Alchemy potions from Containers, Solvents, and Reagents.
  2. Done – Engineering – Item Changes
    1. As part of our crafting update – which will continue over the next couple of releases – we’ve made some changes to how items work in CU.
    2. Substances have been simplified, and are now found only in quality values that are multiples of 10% (ie 10%, 20%, 30%… 100%). They also no longer have a Type field, instead utilizing Tags.
    3. Alloys are a lot heavier than they used to be, while also using less of them to craft items and require more Substances to create them. They also no longer have Type and SubType fields, instead utilizing Tags. Several unused stats have been removed (DensityBonus, MalleabilityBonus, MeltingPointBonus, MitigateBonus, and WeightBonus), and the tooltip display for Alloy bonus stats has been updated to improve readability.
    4. The current Health item resource has been broken apart into Health and Durability.
      1. When an item has Health, it takes damage when attacked and will be destroyed when it hits 0 Health.
      2. An item loses Durability when it is used – currently this is only in a few places like the Vox crafting process and using harvest tools. When an item loses all of its Durability but has Repair points left, it is broken and cannot be used. Item Durability can be restored with the Repair Vox job at the cost of Repair points. If an item has lost all of its Durability and Repair points, it is destroyed.
  3. Done – Engineering – Test Item Access: Previously, there were multiple tents placed in zones to allow players to collect test items with the “Take” ability. We’ve replaced these with a single tent each that provides a searchable menu for choosing which items to take, sorted by relevant categories. These categories include Siege Engines, Crafting Materials, Ammo, Substances, and more. In addition, we’ve removed the “Take” ability as it is no longer needed with these updates.
  4. Done – Engineering – NPC Targeting Fixes: Mike D. completed his big pass at fixing NPC targeting issues, which have been the source of numerous bugs with target selection and management. The result of this work is a substantial improvement to NPCs identifying targets they can attack (or defend) and retaining those targets for the duration of their effort to interact with them. Similarly, this reduces the incidence of NPCs unintentionally forgetting their targets and having to spend CPU cycles regathering candidate entities.
  5. WIP – Engineering – Vox Updates
    1. Updated Recipe Book
    2. When a Vox is packed up, the Vox item is now contained within the Vox Token – allowing information about your Vox (such as current Health and Durability) to be maintained.
    3. The Vox now has a stat on it which controls the max number of jobs which can be queued up at a time.
    4. The Vox Token can help locate your Vox through a new action on the Token in your inventory, which will describe the location of your Vox.
  6. WIP – Engineering – Crafting DevUI: We’re introducing a brand new DevUI that controls all aspects of the crafting process. By default, this UI will open to the “Craft” tab, where crafting jobs can be created, modified, and collected. It contains a variety of important information about the crafting process, including the state of current jobs in the Vox, recipe selection, crafting time, expected outputs, Vox durability costs, and byproduct details. Current stats and resource values for your Vox are viewable on the “Info” tab. The UI will attempt to refresh itself while a job is running or when a modification occurs, but also has a “Refresh” button should the auto refresh fail. All of the current crafting types are compatible with the new UI, and it completely replaces the old crafting UI. In the future we will be moving away from the DevUI, but building out the new system with it allowed us to get it up and running very quickly.
  7. WIP – Engineering – General Crafting Updates
    1. All vox jobs which use a recipe are controlled with a unified, data-driven recipe system.
    2. Behind the scenes, we’ve created static definitions to help control our Vox Jobs. With this we can easily create new categories of items that are craftable and fine tune the various properties of the job.
    3. The slots used to define the recipes are now data driven. In the future, this should allow us to be more flexible with recipes that want to be built from sub items (Ex: a sword that is created from a Hilt and Blade item).
    4. Quick balance pass on the crafting times for the various jobs.
    5. Byproduct specification can now point to a specific item or a table of items.
    6. Removed all the code related to the legacy “Grind” vox job. There’s a chance this may reappear in the future (to grind up Substances into powders), but for now, it’s not being used. With the new VoxJobDef system, it will be trivial to introduce something like this in the future if desired.
    7. With the updates to the Random Crafting System, the new VoxJobDefs specify the chance of creating random events while crafting, as well as how many are possible
    8. Alchemy DevUI has been updated to allow reagents to be removed in any order.
  8. Done – Design – Movement Updates
    1. The base movement speed of characters has been raised across the board.
    2. Characters are now slowed down based on the value of their Encumbrance stat, which is comprised of:
      1. Equipment Encumbrance
      2. Encumbrance Reduction
      3. Total Item Mass
      4. Carry Capacity
    3. The lower limit on character speed has been removed – if your character is extremely over-encumbered, they won’t be able to move until they drop some items.
    4. In addition, the max move speed has been increased, meaning that a character without any encumbrance will be extra fast.
  9. WIP – Art/Design: New Armor Icons New icons have been added for almost all of the new armor pieces that are wearable by the St’rm, Hamadryad, and Valkyrie.
  10. WIP – Engineering: Overmind Updates Several small updates were made to the overmind – including adding tagging support for phases, and allowing a phase to know which script started it.
  11. Done – Design: Updated Target Dummies
    1. Created new types of NPC dummies for players to try out their abilities on.
    2. One will auto-heal on a delay after last-damage-done
    3. Another will add a wound and sets health to 1 after last-healing-done
    4. Finally, a disruption practice dummy that casts a simple, practically harmless spell on loop and resists nearly all damage.
    5. These new dummies can be found on the home islands and the RvR 2 zone.
  12. WIP – Design/Engineering – Bug Fixes:
    1. Due to some reagent data not getting validated, there were some reagents which could not be used in an alchemy recipe because their Max and Min amount values were flipped. These items have been fixed, and validation will catch errors like this going forward.
    2. Added a missing permission check which allowed you to remove something from a container when you did not have permission to do so
    3. Added an official “queued” state to a crafting job. This fixes a long time issue where if a vox had multiple jobs in it, when a job completed it could start the job that was in the middle of being configured.
    4. Fixed a job in which the output items were cleared out when the job was canceled, these items should be retained in case the player restarts the job.
    5. Improved some cases where modifying your vox would create multiple item save events for a single command, it is expected that only one should occur.
    6. Fixed a bug that crashed the UI when viewing Block item tooltips.
    7. Fixed a bug that caused the “Abandon Vox” action to sometimes fail.
    8. You may no longer craft while dead.
    9. Fixed a bug with changing the input items in a salvage crafting job too quickly.
    10. Fixing recipes for creating some BPO items, they can be crafted by any realm but required realm specific materials.
    11. A scripting error was fixed that caused weapon bleed values not to work.
    12. The Echoes of Anguish Bane now reduces Mind damage instead of increasing it.
    13. Reward items dropped from the extraction event no longer have collisions.
    14. Item actions are now consistently sorted in the item menu.
    15. Minstrel Immobilizing Terror ability component now has an icon.
  13. WIP – Engineering – Camera Debugger: James continues his effort on our latest development tool, the Camera Debugger. The first batch of features that will allow Design to tune camera settings in various modes is nearly complete, with attention soon shifting to improving camera interactions with siege engine control.
  14. WIP – Engineering – NPC Skeleton Bugfixing: Rob is engaged in an effort to improve how NPCs spawn projectiles during attacks, particularly in relation to the skeleton bones intended to serve as projectile origin locations. This effort focuses on bug fixing the pipeline from Art to Game involving the processing of skeletons and the final results composed on the characters in the simulation update. Ultimately this will allow us to better position projectiles to match the hand or other firing mechanism on the NPC.
  15. WIP – Engineering – Client Rendering Performance: Wylie continues chasing down and identifying client performance bottlenecks and improving render times. This effort represents a commitment to focusing on making every player’s experience as good as possible. Specific recent gains in this area include use of imposter culling to reduce draw count, replacing imposter batching in favor of draw call level batching, and reworking the mesh instancing system to remove the cap on the number of vertices per buffer.
  16. Done – Engineering – Audio Heat Map Improvements: Rob completed an enhancement to our audio heat map that supports muting of entities in specific parts of the map. This system generally identifies groups of entities that are emitting sounds and bundles them together to reduce the total load on the audio system. With this work, it further enables groups of entities to shut off sound emission when they are not within the player’s audio detection range.
  17. WIP – Engineering – Tools and Content Pipeline Improvements: The Tools group has been rapidly knocking out crashes and stability bugs in our suite of tools used internally by our Design and Art teams. With most of the major stability issues handled, they are shifting increasingly towards quality-of-life features that make content creation easier and faster. While this effort continues with more items on the to-do list, it has already led to substantial improvements to the workflow of those involved in creating assets for CU.
  18. Done – Engineering – More Interactions!: Rob completed an effort to support even more in-world interactions with usable items and entities. This batch of work focused on enabling interaction points to be decorated with visual FX, to better provide feedback to the player regarding when the player is within range to interact, is interacting, or has completed interacting. The end result is a cleaner and less confusing user experience with siege engines, containers, and numerous other items.
  19. Done – Sound – Burrow Dweller Death Sounds: The Burrow Dwellers have gotten another sound update – this time for their death sounds! These should be much more fitting for their spidery nature than the previous death sounds they were using.

Let’s move on down to crafting town!

One of the first changes you’ll notice in the crafting process is the information displayed on your Vox Token – Health, Durability, and some crafting stats.

And the Vox, in all its glory! When using the Vox, you’ll see a new DevUI that controls all of the crafting functions and information needed for making your favorite equipment, ammunition, and other useful items.

This was a big update for crafting and movement, and we’ll continue to add more crafting elements in particular, over the next few releases. In the meantime, we’re still working on improving performance as well. The next few builds will include more audio updates from Ken – be sure to listen to the new Burrow Dweller death sounds in this release, if you haven’t already.

I wanted to also mention that MJ has been hard at work designing away, and he’ll have more to say about that in the coming weeks and months. (Yes, that’s a tease. And I’m not spoiling the surprise.)

So, be sure to check out the crafting and other goodness in the latest build, and let us know what you think. As ever, thanks to all of you for your continued support for CU and CSE – it means a lot to the team.

Until next time, may all your crafting be of the quality you desire.