13 October

The Countdown to VoxElyria Begins

By Kaizen

Things have been moving at a canis rabbit's pace (that's fast for those not familiar with canis rabbits), and it's time to catch you up on what's been going on at the studio. Behind the scenes, we've been plotting out our production milestones and weekly sprints for Q4, specifically with the goal of getting the Alpha I backers into VoxElyria as quickly as possible.

The countdown to VoxElyria has begun.

The team has been implementing features into the VoxElyria client for the purpose of validating mechanics, server stability, design, and so forth. And because we're utilizing the Soulborn Engine, the changes we make in VoxElyria will be visible in Chronicles of Elyria's Unreal client as well!

How will you be able to track our progress? We'll be framing the next set of blogs and updates as adventures, and each adventure will have a set of quests our parties need to complete to achieve our goals. There are a handful of adventures we'll need to take on before Alpha I backers will be able to hop into the world of VoxElyria from the comfort of their homes.

In the immediate, the focus of this adventure is making the necessary changes so that our locally built, dev-only servers can be securely logged into from a publicly accessible remote server, and full streaming of content from the server to the client. By the end of the current adventure, us, our friends, and our family will be able to create an account, enter the world, and move around a bit.

At last, we've got a framework that's been proven capable of handling the complex set of features we're aiming to build and the time has come for us to turn our attention toward adding those gameplay mechanics.

March with us as we build VoxElyria, and let's dive into the various quests underway.

TripNull working on VoxElyria

The Quest for Character Creation

To build the core of what a player character will be in Chronicles of Elyria, we need to not only define what those characteristics are, but we need to bind those attributes to the Soulborn Engine. To do this, we've assembled an adventuring party that consists of: Programmer Michael, Engineer Sekmu, Character Artist Vanimus Prime, Technical Art Lead wiz, Technical Animator Strider, World Builder Souzou, Character Artist Irreverent, and Lead Programmer Cynax. This party is responsible for identifying and building the attributes which define the tribes of Elyria. This includes the genetic traits for skin color, hair color, eye color, facial features, proportionality, and genetic predispositions towards muscularity.

Most importantly, once this quest is complete, the character creator will be able to intelligently and cleanly blend between parents for the sake of believable offspring. From an experience perspective, the party also needs to ensure that the player can select a character through a character selection screen. Characters will be generated programmatically for this quest, with the customization coming later down the road. It may seem trivial, but we also need to make sure the character can enter the world with all the server-side data representing it being downloaded in real-time by other nearby characters.

Lastly, this party is responsible for connecting a character's attributes to meaningful game-play mechanics on the back-end. Such as tying a character's movement speed to their Strength, or their vitality to their Stamina. Meaning, we need to create the system for handling the character's attributes (strength, will, persuasion, agility, reason, intuition, stamina, focus, leadership).

The Quest for Account Creation

While of all the above is essential to establishing characters in Elyria, we need to link our back-end servers to the player accounts created on the website. Once we do this, we will be able to log into the client and see a character sheet (which will display their attributes). Like a lone rogue looking for a chance to strike, Lead Programmer Cynax will be tackling this quest alone, but he's been well provisioned from the mountain of back-end architecture that he led the engineering team in creating over the last several months.

The Quest for Online Terrain and Physics

Creating a character is all good and well, but that character needs a place to explore and roam around in VoxElyria. In most MMOs, the client comes pre-installed with the terrain data for the world, with patching being used to update the terrain data. But as Chronicles of Elyria is so large, there are multiple unique servers, and there aren't starting zones, it's impossible to ship the client with any terrain data. So we need to change from the client knowing in advance about the terrain, to having it downloaded entirely from the server.

We've assembled Engineer TripNull, Environment Artist Raevantiel, and Technical Art Lead wiz to send programmatically generated map data from the server to the client. These adventurers will build more elaborate terrain and object geometry in VoxElyria, which will download to the client and perform gravity and physics between the client and server. And this is the next step to ensure we can programmatically generate unique maps for every server at launch.

On the other side of the quest, Engineer Sekmu, Technical Animator Strider, Lead Animator Mudokon, and Lead Designer Snipehunter will focus their efforts on server-authoritative jumping and animation handling, since we didn't specifically need to implement this for our jousting demo.

The Quest for Survival Mechanics

Elyria is a dangerous world with many survival challenges. In this adventure, we're introducing the first of many survival mechanics, while paving the way to easily add additional survival mechanics in future milestones. World Builder Souzou, Lead Programmer Cynax, and Programmer Michael are up to the task and are working on building this feature, starting with building a system for energy. As a player sprints, they will lose energy, and as they idle, they will recover energy. Later on, other actions will affect your character's energy, such as combat, climbing, or other activities where your character will exert themselves.

What's Next?

We want to hear from you! On Thursday, October 19 at 1:30 PM PT / 4:30 PM ET / 8:30 PM GMT, we'll be broadcasting a live Q&A on Twitch regarding the quests mentioned above. As the team makes progress on these quests, be sure to check back in for a production update in a couple weeks.

As always, be sure to follow our Discord, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube channels to stay up to date with the latest news and announcements from the studio.

Until next time...