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Release 17

April 30, 2015[1][edit]

  • Polish & Performance: We will continue the work we started with Release 16 to improve overall polish and performance in the game. We will focus not only on improving frame rate but also lowering load times. We may also spend some time on usability issues.
  • Load Times: Significant work was done on reducing load times. This is especially noticeable for large cities like Ardoris and Owl’s Head.
  • Performance: Several background changes including things like threaded loading of AI data have improved performance, especially in larger scenes.
  • Maps: Perennial Coast and Grunvald will continue to be expanded.
  • 8 Improved Adventure Scenes: We circled back to new scenes we added in R16 to make them more visually distinct from each other. We also polished some other scenes to improve overall visuals. The modified scenes include:
  • Southern Grunvald Barrens
  • Northern Grunvald Barrens
  • Savrenoc Timberland
  • Deep Savrenoc Timberland
  • Savrenoc Stronghold
  • Solace Bridge (visual polish)
  • Necropolis (visuals and gameplay polish)
  • Vertas Pass (visual polish)
  • More Speed Trees: As we create new scenes or polish existing ones, we have been replacing the legacy trees with speed trees. So, you can expect to see more and more of these each release. The new PaxLair player town is a good example of a scene built almost entirely using speed trees.
  • Terrain Vertical Faces Shader: We have begun using a new shader that allows us to make much better vertical faces on terrain (like cliffs). Previously making these parts of the terrain involved stretching the polygons which in turn would stretch the texture, but this new shader gets past that and the results are amazing. To see the results most clearly, you can visit PaxLair.
  • Ardoris Navigation Polish: Ardoris can be a challenging place around which to find your way. So, we have added some navigation aids to help players orient themselves. There is now a clear pathway linking the two castles and the Oracle Confirmatory. There are also banners for each castle (Mountain and Wind) that help you know which one you are headed towards (since they are visually identical).
  • New Adventure Scenes Delayed: Due to the continued Unity 5 materials work and the scale of some of the polish work we had to delay new scenes.
  • Steam Achievements: Players will now be able to earn Steam Achievements.
  • Players can now earn Steam Achievements (originally R16). Please note these are for Steam only, we do not plan for these to be visible inside the game for Episode 1 launch. For now there are at least 15 of them (and a few hidden ones as well).
  • Player Owned Town Test: We hope to have our first example of a Player Owned Town in the game with the PaxLair Metropolis.
  • First Template Complete: We have completed the first phase of our prototyping the production process for Player Owned Towns, using PaxLair as the first template. Our goal is to create at least 12 different templates based on biome, location, and layout. When we begin accepting submissions in R18, we will use the submitted layouts to help us determine the mix of these templates. You can visit PaxLair in the northern Novia past the Grunvald desert.
  • Access Permissions: The first round of basic functionality allows the owner to control lot ownership, and delegate some of that responsibility to others. Additional functionality like blessings will come online in future releases.
  • Crafting: Crafting will now have events that occur during the crafting process that the player can interact with to influence the results.
  • Events: We have the first iteration of the Crafting Events system working in the game. When crafting a finished good (i.e. not a component) there is a chance for an event to occur. For now, this only applies to armor and weapons. It also is not yet influenced by tool quality, item difficulty, nor crafting table quality (but all those will influence this in future releases).
  • Success: Item is created.
  • Critical Success: Player gets an option to add more fuel (ex. coal). If player adds more fuel they are rewarded with an extra modifier to the item. If the player chooses to not add more fuel then the item is created (without the extra modifier). Long term, these modifiers will be unique to critical successes and may also be linked to locations, crafting table quality, time of day/month/year, etc.
  • Recovery: Player gets an option to add more fuel (ex. coal). If player adds more fuel then the item is created. If the player chooses to not add more fuel then the item is not created and the fuel is consumed.
  • Failure: Desired item is not created and fuel is consumed.
  • Recipe Refactor: All recipes have now been migrated to our new architecture that supports material properties (among other benefits at the architectural level). Additionally we have started normalizing the number of steps to make gear.
  • Materials Modifiers on all Gear Recipes: Previously we only had material modifiers on two weapon recipes (two handed sword and two handed hammer). Starting with this release all armor and weapon recipes now use the material modifier system. Additionally all weapons now accept the two of the enchantments we have in the game.
  • Creatures: Our bestiary will expand to include various Human Enemies (mages, archers, etc.), the Phoenix, and Zombies!
  • Phoenix: Players can now use the Summon Phoenix spell in the Sun Magic school to summon a Phoenix to fight for them. When killed, the Phoenix will explode in flames and resurrect at least once.
  • Stag Attacks: Stags no longer just run away from players. They will now fight back with vicious antler attacks.
  • Human Enemy Variants and Zombies Delayed: Refactoring of the armor to be modular and dyeable for next release delayed creation of these NPCs (see Armor Refactor below)
  • NPC Sitting: We now have the framework in place to allow NPCs to sit in chairs. Making it work requires modifying each NPC in each scene so we only have this working in Soltown currently but we will expand this to work in every town in future releases (along with other states like lying down)
  • Player Titles: Players will now be able to display their title in the game.
  • Players now have a list of all the titles they own. They can choose which one of them they want to display at any given time. For now, these do not have any game effects but long term we hope to have some NPCs recognize and respond to the displayed title.
  • Please note that with this system coming online we now no longer allow the use of titles in your player name.
  • Street Signs: We will begin placing street signs in major towns.
  • Street signs can now be found in Owl’s Head, Kingsport, and Solania.
  • Experience Doubler: Unfortunately periodic wipes during development are necessary in order to maintain forward momentum when there are major architectural changes (like the recipe refactor mentioned above). In order to make this slightly less painful, we now have an Experience Doubler which lets players earn experience at double the normal rate until they reach the amount of experience points they achieved before the wipe. For example if you earned one million experience in R16 you will earn at double the normal rate until you reach one million experience.
  • Death Markers: Starting with this release, every time a player dies they will leave behind a ghostly skeleton at the location of their death. We expect to see big piles of these near Ghosts!
  • Lot Access Permissions: Players now have control over who has access to their lot. They can make the lot public or restricted, and they now have the ability to ban specific users (regardless of the public/restricted setting)
  • Town Lot List: Town Criers now provide a list of all the lots in the town and who owns them. Players also can select one of those lots and the will be provided a navigation marker on their compass to help them find that lot.
  • Unity 5 Sound System: We have upgraded to the Unity 5 Sound System for this release which, among other things, includes a fix for sound and music volume being linked. This means you can finally independently adjust the volume of sound and music!
  • 16 Fences & 8 Pavers: Customization options for player property have greatly expanded with the addition of modular fences and pavers. This was originally scheduled for R18 but we were able to pull it into this release. Some of these items can be found in game (and/or in pledges) while others are exclusive to the Add On Store. Each Fence comes as a set that is big enough to cover a Village sized lot and includes long sections, short sections, corner sections, and a gate (yes fences finally have gates).
  • 5 Available In Game:
  • Rough Stone Paver
  • Rough Wood Paver
  • Rough Wooden Fence (included in Citizen Pledges)
  • Rough Stone Fence (included in Knight Marshal Pledges)
  • Tall Rough Stone Fence (included in Baron Pledges)
  • 19 Add On Store Exclusives:
  • Black Marble Paver
  • Cobblestone Paver
  • Polished Granite Paver
  • Parquet Paver
  • White Marble Paver
  • Ceramic Paver
  • Floral Hedge Fence
  • Hedge Fence
  • Ivy Covered Stone Fence
  • Ornate Iron Fence
  • Ornate Stone Fence
  • Ornate Wooden Fence
  • Tall Floral Hedge Fence
  • Tall Hedge Fence
  • Tall Ivy Covered Stone Fence
  • Viking Wooden Fence
  • White Picket Fence
  • Wooden Palisade Fence
  • Wooden Privacy Fence
  • Elven House: The Elven House from the Stretch Goal Store is now available in the game to be placed and decorated.
  • Overworld Camera Changes: We are doing an experiment with the camera in the Overworld that makes it operate more like the camera does in regular scenes. This means you can now move the camera around freely and even look up at the sky. Some Overworld assets were not built for closer viewing and therefore do not appear correctly with these new camera angles but we will address them over time in future releases.
  • Chat Log: Text that appears in the chat window is now saved in a log file that players (and developers) can view.
  • Passive Skill Limits: Players can now only spend half of their skill points on passive skills. Before this limit the only competitive builds were ones in which most points went into passives, with very little spent on active skills.
  • 75 Book Covers: We have created 75 different book covers. These will be used both for books placed in the world with stories in them as well as being available for player made books when those come online in a future release. For now we have made these into “Blank Book” decorations that can be placed in your home. Long term, some of these will be exclusive purchases from the Add On Store.
  • 21 Pledge Rewards:
  • Magic Printing Press: While the functionality of this item does not yet exist, players can place this as a decoration
  • Piano: While the functionality of this item does not yet exist, players can place this as a decoration. NOTE: This actually was added in R16 but because we did not do a wipe many players never got this item
  • Artisans Tools: Since we do not yet have the functionality to let you choose a single pledge reward from a set (like pets) we decided to give everyone all 16 for now. Please note that these are not yet indestructible.
  • Rough Wooden Fence
  • Rough Stone Fence
  • Tall Rough Stone Fence
  • 9 Wearables:
  • Riding and Admiral Outfits Gender Variations: We created gender variations for the two styles so male avatars can now wear the female version and vice versa.
  • Augmented Plate Armor Polish: We polished the texture and mesh on this set of armor. We hope to reach this quality bar with most if not all armor sets by launch
  • Elven Archer Armor
  • Elven Mage Robes
  • Brown Tricorn Hat
  • Brown Top Hat
  • Brown Pilgrim Hat
  • Red Fez Hat
  • Localization Architecture: This release we began some of the refactoring in preparation for Localization.
  • Armor Refactor (Modularization and Dyeability): Dyeing armor will be worked on in R18 and to prepare for that we refactored all the armor. While we were refactoring, we also began the process of breaking the armor pieces into components. This will be used by the crafting system to visually differentiate the many variations of armor that players can create. We hope to show some of this modularity in R18.
  • Character State/Animation Refactor: We completely rebuilt our Character State and Animation system to better handle things like blending between multiple states. This was a very large change and for R17 may result in some visual anomalies with animations. Long term though this should greatly improve how our character animations look.
  • Students of Virtue: There is a new quest line in the game concerning the study of the Virtues. Rumor has it that students can be found in Ardoris.
  • Grand Tour 17: As with each release, we will have a grand tour that will take players through the new scenes and scenes that have changed the most. Completing this quest is the ONLY way to gain a rare reward. The hat for this release is a Fez that we hope you will all enjoy.
  • Player Wipe: We will be wiping all game, property, and player data for this release because of some fundamental changes to item architecture.[2]

Additional Information[edit]

Perspectives[edit]

See Also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. Darkstarr, Q2 2015 Schedule Update
  2. Darkstarr, Release 17 Instructions

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