Dev Blog #61
September is an amazing month. Summer is fading into the cooler temperatures of Autumn, children have returned to school, pumpkin-spice-everything are hitting the shelves across the country, and shortening days mean more time in front of our computers. The Forged Chaos team is no exception, and we have put in above-average hours for our last sprint.
The updates to the menus and screens continue, with the human skill, raknar ability, and dragon ability screens all getting some of the love. I really like the new updates, as it streamlines the information while still paying homage to old school RPGs in the details. For example, for skill progress we are using short pips in a line instead of a solid bar to show skill and ability progress. The backgrounds are also textured based on the race of the character, giving a different vibe for each race even though the screens are arranged similarly.
Work continues on the construction aspect of the game, with the snap-together feature added to the placement of the palisade walls (and all future walls too). This might seem like a minor thing, but having the walls snap together when placing them is necessary to keep unwanted visitors out from what you are protecting inside. Even the smallest gap could permit a hatchling into your fortress, and larger gaps invite raknar to test the limits of a walls stopping power. It also speeds construction up, since players will not have to worry about finding the closest point of connection without overlapping. Not to mention the visual appeal of having a neatly arranged wall, where one section fits securely with another. All in all, having walls that snap together just makes sense.
It’s been a long time in coming, but we’ve adjusted the camera angle for the humans. Though first person works as expected, the behind-the-character 3rd person wasn’t allowing the player to see what was right in front of the human, which in turn required a great deal of shuffling and many strained necks for humans to see what was on the ground in front of them. To fix this, we’ve moved the camera up over the human’s right shoulder. The new angle has improved the human game play and made interacting with the environment much more intuitive. Dragon and raknar 3rd-person cameras remain in place, as it is much easier from their placement to see.
Skin tone and hair color customization has started for the human male model, as well as color selection for the hatchling dragon. Though they are not yet implemented, they have been prepared by the art team and await the attention of one of our programmers. Several facial hair options are ready as well, including a full beard, thin beard, goatee, and mustache.
Though the rawhide armor was marked finished, it was revisited for some much deserved color tweaking. Thanks to a bit of attention, the colors are more distinct, with a stronger contrast between the lighter tans and darker browns. It was definitely one of those cases where a small change makes a huge difference.
Animations have been coming out one right after the other was well. The team has finished up a series of layers to the animation controller to introduce several new crouching animations. It is just for the humans right now, but you can bet a dragon pot pie that we will be looking at how we can help dragons and raknar reduce their visibility to their own enemies.
Our current challenge for the team has been finding a solution to a issue with our terrain. Breaking the terrain into several sections has done wonders for performance, customization, and has allowed us to create amazing visual features, including our precious caves. The one drawback are the seams between these sections. For the most part the seams are invisible and they behave themselves, however in the more extreme terrain they start to separate. Some of the gaps are so small that only a dragon hatchling can see them and they can be hidden with a little extra work. But even a gap of only a few pixels can allow a model to fall through the terrain if the angle is just right, which is not acceptable for us. So for now we will continue to research solutions and explore our options. I believe that we will find a solid solution to this that will allow us to keep our magnificent terrain while keeping everyone’s feet firmly above the terrain line.
Thank you for following our progress. Please share your thoughts with us in our forums at http://www.trialsofascension.com/forum/threads/dev-blog-61.7865/.