Been a while since there was a blog post by me, apologies for that. It has been incredibly busy and hectic lately but things are coming through. This post as well will be semi-rushed to get all the items on my list done today, but plenty of information available for your review.
I’m going to over Unity as usual but I also want to bring up a topic that isn’t exactly detailed well by my communication to the community…
Why can’t you …<x>?
So I get a lot of this, and a lot of folks discuss amongst themselves how dumb it is that I don’t just increase caps or add <x> right away…
It might come as a shock to you (sarc) but increasing a variable that allows a higher number is not that difficult!
What is difficult is the repercussions of that action…similarly to not having appropriate caps on the ship arena and balance breaking preventative measures allows for long-term, or in many cases, permanent damage to the ability to fit the design of the game in an intended way.
For starters, and a topic many of you will relate to in frustrations…the Orbs (You’ll probably like my ‘meeting half way’ mentioned below); even if they cost a lot, having major new scales to these will affect the balance forever, and with only the existing systems it limits the ability to get the content being planned for to fit any proper mechanic of the game.
Orbs: I’ll be looking at a few orbs we can include in tomorrow’s patch, however have to avoid the inclusion of things like the XP orb for now.
A perfect example of the kinds of issues we can face by just increasing numbers, and how that affects development, is Auto Damage. We are looking at Avatars, Gear, Ability expansion, etc….so now, say we try to resolve that with a simple Guild Building. That building is now the grounds work for having high auto damage to compare with Pet Damage. The only way to ensure power there is being in a top guild, and it now scales so heavily that any additional mechanic intended to affect auto damage now must be weak enough to keep some form of balance, or game breaking all over again.
Pet cap increases, pet arena increases, orb cap increases, mining depth increases, etc all have huge consequences and I’m trying my best to hold off on jumping the gun too heavily and make this game too much of a pain in the ass to be able to fit in fun new mechanics and content.
I have been annoyed by a lot of development for a long time, and I’m sure most of you have been annoyed by reworkings of the same things over and over. When this Unity client is live and flash is tossed, I want to be able to sincerely enjoy all the development and have the team really bring you guys updates that you anticipate heavily and follow closely. Not where your biggest excitement in the last month is a QoL feature that resolves brain aches after years.
I am hoping a bit of explanation and a bit of glimpse into the systems I am considering will give a better answer to some of the concerns about delays on cap increases. Here are some of the hoped items that affect caps
- Mining Map Expansion (Guild based mine, and Global based mine featuring new currencies [new tradeskills] for permanently unlocking minor features & bonuses)
- Ability Rework & Expansion (Ability to build unique strategic abilities with choice-based upgrading and tiering, including passives)
- Existing Auto damage upgrades to be passively credited, with a new auto damage upgrade system that has a much more powerful effect, but a more intense costing structure
- Smithy guild building (already discussed)
- Avatars that display the items on your character, mentioned due to Gear & Crafting. A strong aspect for damage and vitality.
- Vitality – Health points, but moreso in challenges, beasts, etc. Time is currently your health, and with an appropriate balanced expansion on health for active aspects can go a long way for potential mechanics and features.
- Challenge milestone restructure.
- The runecrafting system that was tested way back, as another addition to pets, requires further commitment to auto damage before it can be released
- Beasts (No existing mechanics are worth this system until intended crafting/other features are in place, hence delays).
- Ascension system reworked, and how that’ll affect damage/upgrades
- Trophy system cleanup & additions
- Event points balancing/expansion
- Artifacts & tier system (on repeat events with artifacts, ability to level up artifact to increase base & per-level bonuses)
This is to point out the considerations that have to be met when increases are done for the future. If all I had to consider was current to 1 year ahead on where folks would progress with existing systems, it wouldn’t be a big deal, but there is just so much that has to be considered and with the crazy Unity development ongoing it is incredibly difficult to try to focus on that until it’s done and we are actually working on those systems. We’ll be there soon enough.
We’ll open discussions up on each and every feature with proposals and use the upcoming feedback board to determine where exactly we take things, and how we integrate caps and features into each other.
Oh boy….it has been stressful lately. There is something to be said about nearing the completion of something once you hit the 90% mark. The first 10% is fun, the next 20-90% is status quo, but the final 10% is hell. This is my experience in development and I think the team is being affected by this heavily as well.
By next Sunday we should have pretty much every single feature fully working in Unity from Flash (and then some, like the Mail system and queued offline gains and so forth), however so many things were rushed that the testers have given us a huge list, and so have I to the team, on everything that needs to be cleaned up in very short time.
Instead of discussing what needs to be done still, because the Langoliers will catch you in between the movement of time and consume you, i’ll go over what probably won’t be ready on initial launch, though some might be done by then:
Platforms that will not have unity ready on initial transitional launch
- Kongregate ‘Might’ be available with live unity client on a separate test, but unlikely in first week.
- Facebook, unless I figure out a testing canvas
- ArmorGames, unless I can reach out to Tass about having a private canvas
- Monster Shadows & Vignettes. Huge undertaking, requires going through offsets and prepping every monster over again, and separating shadows from challenges.
- Event (Match 3 will be ready for end of april or beginning of May. Don’t worry, other features are the primary focus)
- Patch Note window
- Version control
- Stand-alone (Will be available for testing but we have to divert attention to get webgl going as it was setting us back a lot)
- Export. When this becomes available it will be most likely restructured….sorry 🙁
Unclean Features (Mostly visual)
- Bingo (needs further testing for stability trust. Thinking cards aren’t unlocking mid-game, among other things)
- Expeditions (functional, but needs cleanup)
- Orb section is terribly rushed, needs major cleanup
- Card section is functional but so ugly it feels broken sometimes
- IMPORTANT. Alien Skin-Shop Jokester missing from Pet Skin window
- Guild peices (A few finnicky interactions)
What, besides above-mentioned do you intend to have before completely replacing flash?
- Way more settings (System is there, tie-in not difficult)
- Feedback board, and improved notification system for both feedback & support items
- Low-CPU mode (known as black screen)
And immediately after?
We’ll be working on several new major pieces but we’ll also be working with you directly on what YOU all want as a priority based on a mix of both our items, and yours.
I’m hoping later this week or this next weekend I can schedule a time to have a community discussion, just myself on the team, with you fine folks, and address questions, feedback, etc.
Lynn is on a trip where there might not be internet. If not, there might be a slightly different process/delay on codes until she returns April 1st. Just a heads up!