November 17th – The food that makes you buff!

November 18, 2014 in Dev Blog

Evening folks! I imagine most of you have seen Supernorn’s post from last week about the sweeping additions to our crops and food recipes. Working off the robust documentation that was put together by Rosiedeux, I spent a couple of days last week mapping out precisely what buffs each cooked item would bestow. A daunting task, considering there is about 200 of them at present. I’ve ultimately settled on a system largely governed by the ingredients that make up each item.

In our new structure, our ingredients have a “weight” assigned to them, based on their value. Crops that take a considerable length of time to grow are almost guaranteed to have strong buffs associated with them, while fast-growing crops and ingredients you purchase will typically have weak ones.

As an example, potatoes are one of the first slow-growing crops the players will get their hands on. When used as an ingredient in a recipe, the resulting food item is almost guaranteed to provide a 20 point buff to maximum health. Typically the highest end ingredients will provide either a single strong buff, or a pair of moderate buffs.

In recipes that have you combine multiple ingredients together with the same buffs, their effects in turn will combine, either increasing their immediate effectiveness (rate of healing, energy regeneration, etc), or extending the buff duration. This means that the more high-end ingredients that are involved in a given recipe, the more substantial the buffs will be. Attentive players who get to know the effects of certain ingredients may even be able to assess the precise buffs a recipe will have, before they’ve even made it.

It’s worth mentioning also that most food buffs are able to stack with buffs provided by stims or capsules found in the environment. For instance, a bon bon will imbue the player with a 25% running speed buff that lasts 30 seconds, during which time the player could use a green stim to have their overall running speed boosted as high as 75% until the respective buff durations end. If you need to get out of trouble quickly, this could prove a valuable escape option.

Cooking Categories

These changes to our cooking system also necessitate a change to our cooking table interface, albeit a relatively small one. The categories of main, side, desserts, and drinks were not especially helpful to begin with, and in a new system where players want to know at the very least what type of buffs they can expect, it made more sense to provide categories that reflected that. We’re still leaving the discovery of precise effects to the players, but the categories now cover health restoration, maximum health boosters, energy regeneration, maximum energy boosters, mobility buffs, and the mysterious “other” category. Please excuse the placeholder graphics that I haphazardly put in there. We’ll hopefully get one of our artists onto creating nicer icons soon.

So with that whole structure all planned out, I’ve spent most of my time today making all the food items actually functional, providing their intended buffs, and available to prepare at the cooking table. I’m about halfway through all the recipes at this point and hope to get the rest finished tomorrow. The next step after that will be going through and structuring the progression of recipes. The intent is that players will start with only a couple of basic recipes, but as they discover new ingredients and cook, more recipes will be unlocked. The most potent recipes will likely be off limits until you’ve either worked your way up through cooking experience, or until you’ve earned them by completing specific quests.

I’m going to leave you tonight with a glimpse of some of the cool stuff Tiyuri’s been working on. These bad boys are going to tie into one of our quests. How, exactly? Who can say? ;)

November 14th – Now we’re cooking!

November 14, 2014 in Dev Blog, News

Hello everyone!

What a week this has been! lots of progress has been made, but I’m only going to focus on a few things for this update. As mentioned by Armagon in his earlier post, the food system is currently undergoing a huge rework. Everyone should say hello to Rosiedeuxwho’s been working diligently on reworking Crops, Recipes, Craftable foods and more!

Now you’ll encounter more crops on the starting planet, meaning you’ll be able to collect ingredients and create food much earlier in the game. This greatly expands into the later tiers, allowing you to craft more complex foods by combining multiple ingredients.cropsheet4cropsheet3A big change to the game is that alongside bandages, you can heal by eating food! Certain foods will heal you more than others, and higher tier foods will give multiple status effects, such as jump and run boosts!

To prevent buff spamming, the “well-fed” status effect will appear when you eat a food item, temporarily restricting you from eating more until it wears off. As an example, Fish & Chips will increase your max health by 20 points (until the ‘Well-Fed’ status wears off), while restoring 3.5 health points for a period of 60 seconds. Keep in mind that these will continue to be tweaked as they are added to the game, and will vary massively depending on the complexity of the food item.cropsheet2Rosiedeux has mapped out which biomes and tiers you’ll find specific crops and ingredients in, including their buffs and durations. I won’t spoil anything by revealing all the details, but we now have around 200 recipes and 35 crops. Armagon is now going through the process of adding these to the game, while myself and Rosiedeux work on spriting the new ingredients. We’re also planning for you to be able to purchase more complex and rarer ingredients from the Infinity Express store at the Outpost. Crop Seeds will also potentially be available at the Terramart.cropsheet1In Other News:

There’s been a lot of work going into the quests and missions system. The team has been working very hard on it, and you’ll hear about that shortly, but I will share this little thing:

I spent some time today tweaking and prettying up the parallax layers for the desert biomes. I’ve felt that some of the backdrop art could look much better, and I spent some time replacing a particularly ugly one with a new backdrop piece. I’ll be doing several variations of these to spice things up a bit!desertparallax1Until next week, Have a great weekend everyone!

 

November 12th – Mission in Action

November 12, 2014 in Dev Blog

Hey there! Have we met before? Today I’ve been working on adding detail to the first mission you’ll find in the game. Kyren has added a mission tab to the AI window so you can access them from your ship. If you’re in a party when you are deployed, your friends will go with you so you can play through together! After all, spacefaring is an experience best shared with good company.

mission_post_1

This will be in the Nightly soon enough, if you’d like to take a sneak peek! What could be lurking down there in the dark anyway?

mission_post_2

 

Have fun!

November 11, Dev Blog: Jeff

November 11, 2014 in Dev Blog

This is Jeff.
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Jeff is Jeff.
jeff2

Jeff?
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JEEFFFF!!!
jeff4

November 10th – Swamp Things

November 10, 2014 in Dev Blog, News

Hey everyone!

Today I’ve been working on a new sub-biome that you’ll encounter: A swamp environment.

I’m currently working on some biome specific plant life and fauna, including some huge swamp trees! There’s still a lot of assets to create for the biome, but I’m pleased with how it’s looking. I’ve added the pine tree from the garden biome for size comparison:

The rest of the team has been working on finishing up Tier 1, balance testing, fixing bugs etc.

In addition to this, a lot of work has been going into crops and cooking recipes!  No doubt you’ll be hearing some more about these soon.

Until next time, have a good evening!

November 7th – All the things!

November 7, 2014 in Dev Blog

What a week it’s been. There’s been such a wealth of small changes and fixes across the board it’s hard to keep track with everything I’ve been doing!

My overarching goal of updating the dungeons with shield generators hasn’t changed, but for some this necessitates a measure of restructuring. For example, the one I’m currently in the process of updating is the Avian temple. This dungeon was typically dark, save for a few chambers, and the player was expected to place torches to light their way. With a shield generator in play, that option ceases to exist.

One pleasant side effect of this change is that it gives players more incentive to use their flashlight, flares and glow stims, however it does necessitate some changes to make it a little more accommodating for the not-so-well-equipped. To that end, I’ve been revisiting the many chambers and peppering them with more lights. The catch is that the player is the one who has to light them. The blasters used by the temple guardians have also been updated to shoot energy projectiles so at the very least you should be able to see where you’re being attacked from, even if you’re completely in the dark.

As our food system is currently undergoing a rework, I’ve been regularly pulled away from dungeons to assist with configuration. At this point it looks like we’ll be doing away with the hunger bar altogether, and rather than punishing the player for failing to eat every now and again, we’re pushing to make food more inherently rewarding by making them provide extended duration buffs. Upon eating however, you gain the “well-fed” status effect, which restricts you from eating any other food until it wears off. As an example, eating a piece of cooked alien meat will now give you a subtle healing buff that restores 50 health over 30 seconds (that’s about 1.6 health per second).

On the flip side, healing items are being buffed to restore the player’s health over a much shorter duration. The starting bandages for instance apply the full 30 health heal over the course of a single second, instead of five, so you’ll be able to heal more rapidly in an emergency, but not to a point where you can simply instant heal your way out of trouble. It bears mentioning that just like food, you will not be able to use more than one type of bandage at a time, and their durations get a little bit longer the more potent their healing effects are.

There are a multitude of other changes, but here’s some of the ones I can actually remember!

Recipe requirements on tier 1 gear have been significantly reduced.
For most of these items the cost has been reduced by over 50%! This means you shouldn’t have to mine for so long to get that starting set of armor and weapons.

Randomly generated weapons found during the early stages won’t be quite so powerful.
This change is for a couple of reasons. First, players finding crappy broadswords that set monsters on fire during the very first stage often made it laughably easy to get through unscathed. It also tended to eliminate any incentive the player had to craft their racial weapons. That said, they’ll still be better than your initial starting weapons and monster health values for the first tier have been dialed down too to make it a little easier on new characters.

Experimental: Nerf DPS on one-handed guns.
As guns are something we intend to make a bit easier for players to get their hands on, it’s important we pay more attention to their balance. Allow me to explain.

Right now, given a choice between two identically levelled guns, a one-handed machine pistol and a two-handed assault rifle, their average damage output was typically the same. With this being the case, why would anyone ever use the assault rifle? This is rather glaring when you consider that players can wield shields, flashlights, healing items and the like while using the single-handed gun. Furthermore, they don’t even suffer the range limitations of their melee counterparts, the dagger and shortsword.

I’m currently experimenting with the balance on the novakid revolvers. Right now I’ve got their overall damage down to about 75% of their two-handed counterparts. This might seem like a large reduction, but when you consider the tactical options this leaves open, most critically the fact that players can dual-wield such weapons, that 75% damage potential becomes 150% of what the two-handers can typically do. Whether or not this becomes the new standard will require further testing.

I hope you guys found that interesting. Night everybody!

November 6th – Tending the Garden

November 6, 2014 in Dev Blog, News

Hello everyone!

Today I spent time working on the starting planet’s garden biome. Those of you playing around on the nightlies might have noticed it needed a little bit of love.

The first issue was the lack of variation in foliage, so I spent some time drawing some additional pine trees. Metadept tweaked the biome settings to generate more flowers and bushes.

The second thing was the parallax background. The rolling hills were beautiful, but it looked a bit flat with the trees only available in the foreground. I fixed this by adding a few parallax layers with pine trees of various scales amongst the hills.

Lastly, the mountain skybox. I spent some time making it look unique, with tiny pines, grasslands and flowing rivers.

Here’s the culmination of these tweaks below:

biome

The rest of the team has been busy working on bug fixing, starter quests (including quests that generate when you pick up certain items) and the game’s first mission. I expect you’ll be hearing about these in the near future!

Until next time, have a good evening!

 

November 5th – Just Progress

November 5, 2014 in Dev Blog

It’s been a busy week already, and it’s only Wednesday!

We’ve completed most of the content and basic configuration for the first few tiers of the new biome and crafting progression, so we’re now working through the game one tier at a time to fix bugs, balance numbers, and generally tie everything together. There are a few more biomes to add (particularly at high tiers) and some exciting things like missions that we’ll be working on as we go along, but this mostly involves intensive playtesting and cleaning up all of the new (and old) issues we discover.

GeorgeV and the other artists continue to add more content, including a few more items to liven up the Garden biome. Armagon is configuring weapons and adding shield generators to dungeons. I’ve been fixing bugs and improving biome configurations. We’ve also gotten a good start on numerically balancing the combat and crafting for tier 1 (and discussed how this will relate to the overall progression). Too many small improvements to list!

Kyren also just finished a revamp of the liquid system. The main visible difference is that liquid is no longer compressible, so the total amounts of liquid in large pools will make much more sense, but the rendering methods are still the same. The more important benefit of this is that large quantities of liquid will now settle much more quickly and won’t lag out servers, so we can now start real work on ocean planets.

We’ll be posting more about Oceans and other biomes soon, once we get into the relevant content tiers, but I did just a bit of preliminary testing with Oceans in the new water system and I’m very excited about the prospect of filling them with life!

November 3rd – Dungeon Shield Generator Implementation

November 3, 2014 in Dev Blog

So I started work on adding shield generators to the existing dungeons at the end of last week. I’ve gotten a few done so far. Some have been relatively easy to handle, chiefly the dungeons that already had places naturally suited to the addition of a shield generator, with appropriate obstacles in place.

Others have involved a bit more work. With our dungeons now having wire functionality, I was able to do a lot of the stuff I’d wanted to do with the Apex test chamber dungeon since I first started it.

To give a better idea of what you’re looking at in the video, the player entering the facility will need to power things back up before they can progress any further. There is now a shield generator, but you aren’t going to be able to get to it at first. Two sets of doors restrict your access and you’re going to have to find the two switches that open them. Each switch opens one layer of doors. Only when you’ve activated both will the shield generator be exposed to you.

Presently in our nightly the shield generator just gets turned on and off by player interaction, but the intent is that you will have to smash them yourself. Once the generator is disabled you gain access to one last reward room where you might find something quite nice inside! Disabling the generator also restores the player’s ability to take the dungeon’s objects and blocks, as well as their ability to place blocks inside it.

This all is fairly simple when you describe it, but making it actually work has been a bit of a nightmare, since I have wires that appear in different rooms in random locations so I had to wrap my head around how best to use the logic gates, which I’m still relatively new to using. I had to make sure the brushes worked dungeon-wide and the pieces that were needed always appeared. I mean, take a look at this!

There’s still some functionality I’ll need before I can truly finish the dungeon as I originally envisioned, chiefly the ability to have traps and hazards controlled by wires. I ideally wanted the teslaspikes to only turn on when the player walks into the room (so you don’t know what the room is like until you get there), and to turn off when the switch at the end of each path is thrown (so you can travel back to the entrance in relative safety). I’ve already worked out precisely how I’m going to do this when the trap wiring functionality is added, but as this is more of a polish thing, its going to have to wait for now.

It’s been fascinating to see how something as simple as having a light turn on and off under specific circumstances can be incredibly involved. Still, it’s great to have this kind of control over the wiring system now. I don’t expect every dungeon will receive this treatment but I thought you might find it interesting to see how I’m using it so far. For now I’ll continue to update the other dungeons with our shield generators.

See you later folks!

October 30th – Biomes

October 30, 2014 in Dev Blog

After working on terrain and cave generation last week, I’m now configuring biomes and treasure pools to include all the new assets that GeorgeV, Armagon and the rest have been building. It’s actually been a lot of fun to test, and I’ve enjoyed discovering many interesting little spots:

…yep, just another day in the universe!

spiele