Sweet Dreams Are Made Of Trees – Monday, July 18th, 2022


Hey everybody! Sorry that this update came in July, not June – best laid plans and all that. I know, you’ve heard that before, but there are a number of reasons for the delay as well as my absence from the livestreams. Hopefully (fingers, toes, and eyes crossed) I can talk about them for the next update or even before that! Other than that, things are going well: job reqs being added, interviews and hiring ongoing, and yours truly is spending way too much time talking to people about things that are not game design. So, I do apologize for my absence, and I will certainly explain it in excruciating detail the next time I do a livestream. But, as you can see from my design item, I’ve actually found the time and the head space to do some fun design work (finally).

June/July 2022 End of Month CU Update (7/18/2022)

  1. WIP – Design/Tech – Resource Node Improvements
    1. As part of our ongoing effort to improve Harvesting in CU, we are adding a new resource track called Arboreal Siphon, which will be part of the Woodcutting path. Here you will be able to collect resources such as amber, sap, resin, insect bits, and other fluid items for crafting that one might expect to obtain from a tree. Corresponding player, item, and resource node stats have been created, along with an additional ability component to specialize in this new harvesting track.
    2. Damage resistances have been added to the recently created resource nodes.
    3. To support this, we’ve made additional tweaks to the harvest abilities. Going forward, players who harvest until they fully expend resources, such as fortitude, will get the correct debuffs and eventually stop harvesting.
    4. If a harvest tool has a zero in harvest track stat, it will no longer be able to produce progress on that track when targeting a Resource Node.
    5. We plan on rolling all these harvesting improvements out in the next few weeks.
  2. WIP – Design – Task & Bounties – Mark poked his head up from deep beneath the earth in business development land and actually found some time to do some design stuff! He’s laying out an initial design/framework for a task & bounties system for both crafters and combatants in CU. Some among you may recognize certain elements as having their roots in other design work he has done over the decades. He hopes to have the initial pass done before the end of the month, and then turn it over to our other designers/design-interested devs for their feedback. The goal is to have a system that stays true to the Kickstarter’s goals of this not being a quest-based game, but still allow crafters to level their skills, make money, etc. without always having to find willing human buyers. Part of the work also involves designing and building a system that makes it easier for tasks/bounties to be created by a small team such as CSE. So far so good.
  3. Done – Design/Tech – Scripting Improvements and Bug Fixes
    1. The Bandage ability now clears wounds and then heals, instead of the other way around.
    2. Hibernation has been fixed: it can’t be disrupted, nor can you get stuck in ‘hibernation mode’.
    3. Fianna trait “Extended Regeneration” now applies to Karmic Healing, even when Siphon is active.
  4. Done – Design/Tech – Heavy Fighter Improvements
    1. Heavy Fighter component costs and cooldowns have been given a balance pass.
    2. Styles now generally have greater than a 4-second cooldown, which means you have to use more styles to keep up an attack…unless you fill your rotation with basic attacks. Most styles fall in a cooldown range of 12-25 seconds.
    3. Fortitude Costs, as well as math about Fortitude and Vigor, have been tuned to give a better expenditure vs regen over time rate when going all out.
    4. Styles might have a higher cost for being faster attacks, or having a lower cooldown for the amount of work they do, as a means of creating variety. This, along with cooldowns, will be closely monitored for feedback.
    5. The optional add-ons (Potentials/Speeds) have not received adjustment at this time, but we’re looking at options to make using them a more interesting decision.
    6. Shouts have had a cooldown reduction on the universal Voice component, and better tuned individual cooldowns, so you can use different shouts more frequently.
  5. Done – Tech – Bug Fixes and Gameplay Code Clean Up
    1. Fixed a bug which caused vox jobs that had a crafting time that was higher than zero, but less than 1 second, to show really long times due to a UI underflow.
    2. The ability bar buttons for modifying cube buildings and leaving siege engines are displaying again.
    3. Damage numbers that popup on players that you attack are displaying again.
    4. Fixed a bug where moving items around in your inventory were playing the wrong sounds.
    5. Fixed a bug where sometimes when respawning, logging in, or changing zones the siege bar would appear instead of the normal ability bar.
    6. Added a bunch of missing icon choices in the Ability Builder’s icon selector UI. In addition, icons from selected ability components are sorted to the front.
    7. Health handling code has been updated to turn wounds into a more generic scripted system, there’s still more work to be done on this but the code is both simpler and more powerful now.
  6. Done – Tech – NPC Scripting Improvements: Mike D completed an effort to allow the Overmind to issue commands directly to the NPC system, vastly increasing the number of capabilities scripted scenarios can have with respect to manipulating NPC behavior and their properties.
  7. WIP – Tech – Building Queue Improvements
    1. Providing blocks to the Building Queue in order to construct a building, is now done through the building itself.
    2. The building queue DevUI will show all the blocks which the building is going to need, not just the one that it’s currently trying to build. This includes how many of each block type it is looking for and which one it’s trying to build first. From here, a player with proper permissions can add/remove blocks to the Building Queue.
    3. This will replace the current system of throwing the blocks on the ground where they can easily be misplaced. It will also make it a lot more clear which blocks are currently needed and which have been provided.
  8. WIP – Tech – Animation System Improvements: Mike D is working on a long-awaited set of improvements to looping animations that fixes the timing of the looping segments, particularly when scaled by ability phases. The result of this effort will be animations that play looped portions as intended by our animators and designers in consideration of ability properties, buffs, and weapon selection.
  9. WIP – Tech – NPC Targeting Fixes: Lee is working on fixing some issues with how NPCs choose their attack targets. This particular effort focuses on edge cases that arise when their target entities leave the world, or move from their original positions after being selected as targets.
  10. WIP – Tech – Interactions Improvements: Rob continues a heroic effort to unify how interactions are implemented across the board in CU. Specifically, this process continues to simplify the code required to bring new intractable entities (e.g. siege engines, items) into the world, and greatly increases the degree to which such things are now data-driven, instead of hard-coded. (Be sure to check out this month’s newsletter for more on what Rob’s been doing with interactions.)
  11. Done – Tech – Animation Debugging Improvements: The gameplay systems team has completed several developer-facing tools for displaying debug information in real-time to engineers seeking to debug and fix animation issues. These tools provide on-screen feedback that removes much of the guesswork when trying to determine timing and logic issues with animations, particularly those influenced by abilities that scale the timing of each animated phase.
  12. Done – Tech – Continuous Deployment (CD) Improvements: During the last update, we talked about some work we were doing on how our code gets turned into programs and deployed to our servers. This is largely a system that we created in the very early development days and haven’t touched since. Over time, we’ve found some pain points with our original design and finally got the opportunity to make this system significantly better. Most of you won’t likely see the direct impact of this, but it will reduce disruptions for our developers, which will improve their productivity, resulting in more and faster features for you folks.
  13. WIP – Art – Harvesting Tools Concepts: 2D has been working on a number of concepts for the tiers of harvesting tools, such as the Hammer, Axe, Knife, and Scythe. A key focus has been pushing the realm aesthetics in these designs, and making sure players can tell which realm’s tool is being used from a distance: a courtly look for Arthurian tools, a more naturalist aesthetic for TDD tools, and a nautical flair for Vikings.
  14. WIP – Art – Harvesting Tools Animations: In conjunction with the work from our concept artists, the animation team has been working on adding new and improved animations for harvesting. This includes Hammers for Stone, Axes for Wood, Knives for Hunter, and Scythes for Harvest.
  15. WIP – Art – Harvesting UI: The art team has been working on expanding the UI art for harvesting, in particular for Arboreal Siphon Harvesting. A main focus has been ensuring common color coding between icons (such as the Arboreal Siphon Harvesting and Wood Harvesting from trees both being yellow) for quick readability and more easy recognition.
  16. WIP – Art – Quality of Life: Jon has been working on a variety of quality of life improvements on the art side, including several visual improvements and needed fixes. In addition, Michelle has been working on various stuck points and zone fixes, especially in the Viking home island of Midgard where a portal was spawning players stuck between rocks and props.
  17. Done – Art – Retargeted St’rm Animations: Meanwhile, the animation team has also been working on retargeting animations for St’rm – since St’rm have a different skeleton with wings and tails, they can’t simply reuse Human animations. Retargeting these animations allows us to use the Human animations as a base and then double back to animate the tails and wings.
  18. WIP – Art – Human Weapon Animation Imports: Finally, the team has been working on importing animations for Humans. This includes right-handed and left-handed animations for Staffs, Poles, Great Axes, and Hammers.

Onward and art-ward!

To start off, we’ve got an update on the Arboreal Siphon Harvesting icon – moving it from the blue normally used for mining to the yellow used for wood harvesting.

Next are some harvesting tool concepts from David, including sickles, butcher knives…

…sledgehammers, pickaxes, and woodaxes. I guess you could say we’re really “tooling up” for harvesting!

A quick look at some of the areas Jon and Michelle have been fixing.

Sturm the St’rm shows off their Heavy Fighter moves!

And an animation for harvesting with a sledgehammer!

Well, I think we put the hammer down didn’t we? <MJ ducks and covers> <quack>
Sorry, couldn’t resist. 🙂

As per above, I do apologize for my absence in the livestreams lately, but fortunately, I’m still here and working on a number of things for both CU and CSE. And even more fortunately, nobody is relying on me to write code, make art, etc. CSE has a great team doing all that and while I’m being pulled in other directions, it’s all CSE-related (no health issues or stuff like that), so it’s all for the good.

Thanks as always to everyone for your continued support of Camelot Unchained and patience with CSE.