Hail and well met, Elyrians!
We are barreling toward PAX East and the creation of the playable demo we'll be showing. The team has been working like crazy (but not too crazy) to get the features and content in that we'll show...at the show (and eventually be a part of the offline Prologue for those who don't attend). Just when I think the team can't take any more, they surprise me and get a ton more done. These last two weeks have become our most defining and I am confident you'll like what you see as a result!
We updated to Unreal Engine version 4.14! Engine upgrading is always a bit of a chore but comes with bug fixes, optimizations, and new features. The build is now more performant since the upgrade comes with automatic LOD generation. Improvements to Sequencer, Unreal's cinematic tool, will help us shoot some new gameplay videos. The team has been pushing hard and I've got other goodies to share as well:
We put the female rig in and were happy to find that all the things that were supposed to work automatically did work automatically.
Does combat work with the female rig? Check!
Do all the various locomotion types work with the female rig? Check!
Do body dynamics work with the female rig? Check!
Our design, animation, and engineering guilds have been working hardest on readying the systems for our PAX East demo: namely parkour and new combat styles. You probably noticed the longsword and shield in the female jumping image above. That's just one part. There's also things like this going on:
Character customization is a big part of any RPG, from one's physique to the equipment one wears. Here at Soulbound Studios, we also want your in-game activities to be a part of your appearance. So if you eat a lot and exercise little, you'll get fat. If you do a lot of physical labor, you'll build muscle. If you fall in a lake, you'll wind up wet. If you don't clean your clothes, you'll get dirty. It's just like real life!
As always, we've played our own game at the end of the sprint and came away with some cool shots to share.
From time to time (read: always) a bug will appear during development. Sometimes these bugs are entertaining! Prepare to be entertained!
I'm not sure how many of you are fellow game developers, but Caspian and I will be at the Game Developer's Conference this year to support our mates at Improbable. They've got a massive booth planned and we'll be there with them. Improbable CEO and Cofounder, Herman Narula, is giving two talks, Building Worlds with SpatialOS and Ready Player Everyone: Worlds, World-Building and the Future of Online Games on Thursday, March 2nd. Caspian will be talking about Chronicles of Elyria during the former, so come see us if you're at the conference and learn about how cool SpatialOS is for the industry!
For the PAX East demo, I can reveal that it will take place in the Silver Run mines. We are developing the area. When wandering around the high-altitude town, you might come across a mine entrance.
Not all the passages are safe anymore. There's been some odd disturbances in the area lately and one could swear one heard an deep, anguished moan just before the cave-in occurred.
There may be a way out deeper in...
Perhaps if you follow the underground river, you and the trapped miners will be able to escape!
Here's how that is turning out so far...
And now the announcement of our next Q&A! The topic is Alpha Experiences, which includes the offline Prologue, ElyriaMUD, Kingdoms of Elyria. It will be held on Thursday, February 23rd at 3PM PST / 6PM EST / 11PM GMT. Questions will be taken primarily from this reddit thread so head on over and post or vote for your favorite questions.
But just what are these Alpha Experiences?
This is an offline, single-player experience that is designed to act as a hands-on test of some of our most important feature areas. It ties in closely with our 'Rope Bridge' philosophy of development as it's a first opportunity to get feedback from players, even before the Alpha 1 release of our game client and server. The types of features to expect include:
The story is set several Elyrian years (probably about 20) prior to the present. So events you experience in the Prologue will have had an impact in the world you begin at Launch.
While the Prologue is the first opportunity players will have to experience the world of Elyria, it may not be the first opportunity players have to impact it. one of the biggest challenges MMOs face is creating a connection between the players and the history of the world. Oftentimes, games solve this by scattering books and lore throughout the world for players to read. While that's great at communicating to players the history of the world, it still doesn't connect them to it.
While it shouldn't come as a surprise, with Chronicles of Elyria we wanted to do something a bit different. So we'll be releasing a simple, online client (like a webpage or mobile app) that will allow players to play the Dance of Dynasties. This will enable players to form and change alliances, declare wars, fight for shared resources, and even invest in research.
Kingdoms of Elyria will begin approximately 90 Elyrian years before Exposition. The actions that take place during Kingdoms of Elyria will quite literally be writing the recent history of the servers. As you can imagine, Kingdoms of Elyria will come after selection of Kingdoms, Duchies, Counties, and settlements, as well as selection of custom family names. The aristocracy and nobility that participate in the Kingdoms of Elyria game will be playing as their noble houses, 2-3 generations before the birth of their first character in Chronicles of Elyria.
While the Prologue will take place in-engine, with no online capabilities, we still want to put our servers through their paces. Luckily, we can take advantage of SpatialOS to direct our server logic into another front-end other than Unreal. The idea is that by granting players an opportunity to get into the game in a graphically-limited format, we can exercise and stress some of the server-side game mechanics even before pre-alpha. Aside from the MUD interface, all the mechanics are things we’re developing and testing anyways so it's relatively inexpensive to build for the bonus it would offer to us and our backers.
What does this mean for the players? It means that upon launch of ElyriaMUD, players will be able to create characters and explore the world, role-playing and interacting with their fellow players while helping us test the game mechanics. And to keep life super exciting, events that happen in Kingdoms of Elyria will be mirrored in ElyriaMUD and vice-versa! If a Kingdom in KoE declares war on your kingdom, you can be sure the NPCs in ElyriaMUD will be talking about it. And if you happen to kill a noble while in ElyriaMUD, it’ll be reflected in the Dance of Dynasties!
Those players wanting to begin building their guilds, forming in-game relationships, and staying connected to the world throughout the development process need look no further than Kingdoms of Elyria and ElyriaMUD.
So ready your questions and bring your eyes and ears to our Twitch.tv channel to feast upon delicious knowledge about these experiences!
For those who miss it, the recording will be watchable on Twitch.tv for a limited time afterward and on our YouTube channel forever. So even if you can’t make the live session, your question from reddit may still be answered.
Please follow these rules when posting questions for the Q&A.
Don't forget, many of the most common questions about CoE can be answered by reading over our design journals. If you're new to CoE, there is a wealth of information to begin with there.
We hope to see you Thursday, February 23rd at 3PM PST / 6PM EST / 11PM GMT!
Pledged to Your Continued Adventures in Life, Both Actual and Fantasy,