What have we been up to? - Newsletter #7

What have we been up to? - Newsletter #7

What have we been up to?

A LOT. We’ve been adding some new control mechanics, new minions, and boss work. We spent a good deal firming up much of the code base. With a focus on iterating and adding to the tools to support our world-building and building out the AI for our new minions and bosses. We’ve also taken big leaps in our character control mechanics. We also took another pass at our sky. We did a fairly large pass on our lighting and sky right after we announced the open world. It’s much more dramatic and fits the mood of the game well. We like where it’s headed now and we intend to continue to tweak it when we’re polishing.

Ok. Can you elaborate?

Sure! With our character controls, we’ve spent time tuning and making the character feel as solid as possible. A big part of what we went back and forth with was allowing her to jump. Platforming is something we’ve been interested in, and with our initial climb and pre-alpha, we found the world to be pretty fun to get around, but deep down, we felt something was missing. I know, I know, you are probably thinking. WTF IT’S A NO-BRAINER! However, integrating jump with our climb tech on moving enemies is no easy task. The great news is that it’s working and it feels great. We also added substantial work/rework to the character's pendulum system, where she will swing and shake depending on her climbing angle and the boss's momentum.

Another thing we added was swimming. Initially, we planned for water to be pretty simple where the player couldn’t go into water above her waist. However, deep down, it felt pretty lame that the player could climb an epic beast but touching deep water killed them?! Plus, with some boss designs, it became apparent that we needed the ability to swim. However, it’s not something you’ll want to do for very long as splashing around in frigid water can quickly cause you harm, but it no longer will instantly kill you.

You've been really quiet!

Yes. We put a pause on streaming on Twitch in December. Sorry!! At some point, we knew we’d have to tackle some spoiler-type work, and for the last couple of months, it’s been just that. Working on the new minions and some key things dealing with bosses. It’s a bummer, and we hope to get back to a regular streaming cycle soon. At the very least, we’ll continue the team stand-ups, where we’ll answer questions and discuss the state of the game.
Also, much effort has gone into the crow/bird boss and our third boss. This beast has been an entirely new system of AI. However, we also did a full pass on the “Yeti boss,” which is our bipedal system for bosses. This latest pass on the Yeti feels great. We went back and expanded his combat and how the player interacted with him. This was important as the systems we build out for each boss are something we will use repeatedly. This means making another bipedal boss, or a flying type boss will be much easier/faster, etc.
This is a big deal.

What does all this mean for development?

So development as a whole has been solid. We took a hard look at our core mechanic's and opted to take some additional time to refine the areas we felt needed work. We had been pretty frugal with our character movement leading up to the Kickstarter. While this worked great for the pre-alpha, once we fleshed out the open world, we wanted the player to have more freedom with exploration.
With the jump in and swim, the player's movement and exploration feel vastly improved. It feels pretty awesome leaping off a cliff and then grabbing onto a pillar that seems too far to reach. Or climbing around a massive column, then dropping into the water below and swimming into a cave. The amount of freedom is worth the work we put in, and then having this work on bosses creates a much larger range of gameplay than what we had prior. That said, we are still tuning jump/swim before we’d call them complete and polished. What’s exciting is even in this early stage, it feels solid and plays well.

What else!?

On the Twitch stream a while back, we mentioned that we were demoing a new fur shader. While we had our internal fur shader, we always looked to improve it. However, we discovered this other shader delivered everything we were looking for. It’s called NeoFur and was in beta at the time. We had to wait until it was released before showing off the progress. The fur is pretty sweet as it reacts to our wind/weather. It also reacts to the player moving around on it and some other cool stuff. We’re rolling this out to the bosses as well, and the results are pretty amazing.

What's next?

We’re working towards our Kickstarter Closed Alpha. It will be a big milestone and useful step for us to receive an intimate level of feedback based on the core features we’re looking to build upon. For now, we'll be pretty heads down again as we work to pull this together. During this time, we will do our best to answer questions and do the occasional stream, but please understand if we get quiet again:)

Thanks again for your patience and support.

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