April 25th, 2017
That’s right, ranged combat is alive and growing in ToA: Exile! I was really excited to see this feature implemented this sprint. Right now it is limited to archery for humans, but it will expand to the dragon’s breath weapon and who-knows-what-else in the future. Using a bow is fairly straight forward; you equip the bow to your hands, fill your quiver with arrows and equip the quiver, and you are ready to start shooting! Holding down the left mouse button draws the bowstring back while zooming into first-person view, allowing for more accurate aiming. However, holding the string back does drain away at your stamina. Arrows are affected by physics, so they lose force and height the farther they fly. I do not know yet if we will be able to make wind speed a factor too, though I think it would be a nice touch. Once fired, arrows will embed themselves into any solid surface they encounter, allowing for retrieval if they can be located. We have two different types of arrows, flight and barbed, and we have plans to add additional types in the future.
Even though it is a major mechanic for combat, archery wasn’t the biggest stride made this sprint. That honor goes to AI pathfinding! We have successfully scripted the behavior for our fauna to avoid collision with stationary objects such as boulders and structures, wander through forested areas without getting stuck, travel along the coast without getting their paws wet, and could theoretically find their way through the cave systems in the new island (we are still testing on the cave-less one while the terrain is being painted on the new)
As we start to add behaviors to the creatures—which is coming up next—they will start to act very life-like in that they will not patrol aimlessly. They will move about with a purpose; seeking food and water. They will not be restricted to a certain area of the island either, meaning you could very well find an evisceraptor on the north side of the island today, then see it on the southern tip tomorrow.
Since all creatures search for and eat food, this will put them in direct conflict with the player races. The carnivores for obvious reasons like hunting humans, but even the herbivores will be looking to eat the plants and bushes, putting them in conflict with humans trying to use them for their own purposes. Images of an old angry farmer comes to mind when he sees his garden has been decimated by those pesky tormilin.
After some consideration, we have added two new stations pertaining to resources to the game; the pallet and the stand. You see, as we begin to stockpile resources in the game for the massive undertaking of crafting a structure, we realized that we needed some way for resource piles to persist in the game, while still allowing items that have been dropped out in the middle of nowhere to despawn. Pallets and stands functions as a wall-less storage container that players can pile resources on to prevent them from disappearing. However, they will not prevent items from expiring or decaying if they happen to have such mechanics tied to them. Stands hold logs, boards, and timbers, while pallets hold stone, ore, and brick. You cannot add different resources to the same stand or pallet, but you can mix the resources within the same type, such as differing logs or stone blocks, and so on.
Speaking of structures, several new bugs involving buildings were squashed and new features added. There is now a cool little animation that plays when you try to open a locked door that rattles the door and displays a message saying that the door is locked, along with one for opening the door and closing it.
The human female model is nearly complete and will soon be joining her male counterpart on the island. Truth be told, she is undergoing the finishing touches on her skin so that she looks as nice as the male. The final bits of the sabretusk were wrapped up, and work has begun on the leather armor models.
Animations are a huge factor this sprint, with focus on hand and facial animations for the humans. The backlog for animation has really highlighted our need for an additional animator. If you are an animator and you are interested in joining the Forged Chaos team, please check out our Help Wanted section.
Thanks for following our progress! Please share your thoughts with us over at http://www.trialsofascension.com/forum/threads/dev-blog-51.6339/.