May 30th Livestream Transcription
– Intrepid shares a development update and plenty of new information from their various development teams + QNA.
A Few Updates:
- The new Dev diaries on weapons is live. Chris is working on the Quarrior pet model next.
- The Economic node blogpost is out. Divine nodes are due next.
- Lore of the hippogryph blogpost delves a bit into our animal husbandry system.
- Summer shop images are fixed. The new cosmetics will be swapping over on June 5th at 11:00am.
- Hiring is going well. 7 new engineers starting between now and July first. Veterans from the industry. The new studio is being built.
Things being shown are a Work in Progress. This is not an end-game look at things, many of these are first passes that will be iterated on in the future. As with Agile development, sprints are done that last about 2 weeks and then at the end of the 2 weeks, we all come together and show it on the big screen and we all get to discuss things.
Design Team Updates: As we move towards the last 10% of the apocalypse, we’ve been prototyping a bunch of abilities for the MMO and the Castle Siege. We have also re-tooled the melee combat system in apocalypse as many players felt it was floaty. So we’re working on making it heavier and feel better. We want combat to feel impactful when you swipe with a melee weapon and not just a pair of floating legs swinging a sword around. Work is being done on the data side as well after reviewing the logs. The team size in design has also been doubled. The design team is also working on objective gameplay that is going to be present in castle sieges and the MMORPG, having those systems work with proximity players, being able to channel on the castle siege relic, etc. Most of it is modular, we’re basically getting our toolbox set up to apply them to various things.
From a technical standpoint, the most challenging thing is the movement of the character with root motions as the server does not appreciate the movement very well. There’s a lot of interesting problems with that to reduce the lag and a lot of tricks were involved to make it feel good. It’s important to note that when we discuss root motion, we do not intend to lock characters down. We want players to be able to get out of situations, however in a tactical way. It’s more about control and positioning so you know what your character can do when hitting and when going to get hit.
Visual FX Team Updates: The new effects artist has been working on tweaking the effects to make them look better and be much less taxing. We’ll ensure that since this is an MMORPG it’s not too much. We’ll allow players to scale down the effects for optimization as well. Updated FX for Miasma, Nightfall, Wand of Light, Apocalypse Portal and more being shown.
Environment Team Updates: Bacon (Lead environment artist) is brought on stream. The environment team is working on 3 fronts – Apocalypse / Sieges / MMO. Lots of refinements being done. Recently we did an erosion pass to add new detail to a lot of things. The newer terrain has additional detail that does not look like it’s from the 90’s. We’ve been testing the new terrain and river passes in the apocalypse as they’ll later be applied to the MMORPG. The castle siege destruction system is still being worked on, we’ll share a video on it later as it’s part of a Dev diaries as well. When you shoot a wall, we need to ensure it falls the same way for everyone. New ocean/beach shaders being shown, wind moving through the grass. Most importantly, since all of this is done in UE4, you will not need a supercomputer to run this. The new grass looks better and performs better than the old one for example. Building an MMORPG from scratch lets us make all these great things, it helps us ensure that things are constantly worked on as we move through each stage. Bacon’s favourite thing so far is the destruction mechanic. With over 9 cultural influences in architecture, there’s a lot of different types of buildings that are created to ensure we can create a visually stunning MMORPG. Ensuring that the transition between village assets and city assets is difficult to maintain. The concept artists also have to ensure that it looks the same.
Character Team Updates: Brad Constantine (Senior Artist on the Character Team) is brought on stream. This is Brad’s 8th MMO project. The character team involves a bunch of various disciplines ranging from creating characters, meshes, rigging, animations, fixing the combat, modelling and designing new mounts, weapons, character customization planning for down the road, etc. Besides the above, one of the big tasks the character team has is to categorize races, npcs into different teams to reduce the amount of work that goes into it. So being able to build and create different things that share the same base mesh. So there’s a lot of technical stuff that goes on under the hood, so when a player moves too far away, the model is swapped out to reduce the load. Also been working on the iterations of the root motion in combat to ensure its fun and replayable. Finding the right movement style and the visual presentation that you get needs to feel good because we spend a lot of time within the MMO. Dawnbreaker (Braver of worlds mount) WIP is being shown, still needs some light bio-luminosity on the wings and the textures need some updating as its on the first pass. Weapon variants now being shown.
Providing visual progression is incredibly important to provide variety to the player. Not everyone likes the same thing, hence providing this range of customization allows the player to define their own style. Ensuring that the weapons have unique aspects that set them apart from each other is essential to providing variety. It’s important to note that there is a crap ton of assets that need to be created to make an MMO make diverse and filling. All of these assets require setting up a pipeline to ensure that not each asset takes as much time as the first one. It helps them cut down on time and get newer assets done in a much shorter timeframe. So as Carson and the team work on this list, the time taken to create them gets shorter. We use 2 different 3D programs – Motion Builder by AutoDesk (Used for motion capture data and has keyframe animation tools suite). We’re able to create things in Maya, drag them into Motion builder, then back into Maya and then into UE4 seamlessly. These 3rd party tools help us move development much further along. From a physics standpoint, during your immersive experience, suspension of disbelief is important. As such oversized weapons/features dont make sense in a way (Personal opinion). Part of the job of the animation team is to create these various sockets to provide players the ability to select what they want to represent in their socket and then the animators animate the jingling and bouncing of the various toolbelt items. We feel companies are sometimes unwilling to take the risk like a game such as ashes of creation. Passion is needed to fuel the devs to complete the project. Much of Apocalypse’s design is asymmetrical in design. The MMORPG however has 9 distinct races and many more minor races. Keith Kovac was the first hire at Intrepid.
Q: Regarding weapon swapping in combat
A: We dont want instant weapon swapping in combat. For the MMORPG we want there to be some time between damage received/done before you can swap. It wont be substantial, just a few seconds. Keep in mind the weapons also work with a combo system which their skills are tied to.
Q: Regarding the last 10% of apocalypse work being done
A: We’re currently focused on stress testing and account creation. Mitch was running some tests with spawning thousands of characters to check the server readings. Focusing on stress testing the new architecting that was done and we’re happy to report that progress is substantial on that front.
Q: Regarding MMORPG lore
A: It’s being worked on but we cant really show that and dont want to reveal much too early. We’ve got a gigantic lore bible and it’s more about figuring out what pieces go where. As the Alpha 1 map is being laid out, the NPC’s for lore have to be placed at certain points as they have to connect with nodes etc. We will probably releasing this close to Beta as at that point it’ll be difficult even for us to keep it under wraps. All of the events and narrative quests are all based around storytelling. We want to make sure there’s context and relevancy. Questing system is very complex and a lot goes into it. Every system that’s created touches story in a way. We cant really show lore/story, but there’s lots of work being done on them.
Q: For the Melee sounds, will there be different audio for metal/cloth hits?
A: Yes. Based on what you’re hitting you’ll hear different sounds.
Q: Is the referral system work done?
A: Part of the work we’re doing on the website, the changes necessary are being incorporated. Some new features such as a code field where you can share the code for players to utilize when registering for an account. Additional tracking tools will also be included so players can check their referrals etc. These ancillery systems will come later during launch. Originally we wanted to do the code redemption later with the tools, but then we decided to do it earlier alongside the kickstarter code redemption etc.
Q: You mentioned private property sale certs. Is this like a landlord thing where you can sell it on the auction house?
A:There’s a few ideas we have. But this will allow players to transfer real property goods (Freeholds/housing/etc) and players can sell these. This will not allow you to go above your 1 allotment in game. If you already have one, you’ll have to get rid of it. Additionally we’ve got some concepts on rental/leasing where player can lease a property for a time to access storage/furniture/etc.
Q: How is the backend development going?
A: We answered this but it is going extremely well. The work mich is doing to get like 3000 characters on screen. We have like 5-6 people working on ensuring things look good on the server. We had 200 live players during the Feb test, but we should be able to push that number up significantly. We have grown leaps and bounds on our server architecture in the past 3 months.
Q: How exactly does the auction house work? Can we buy/sell or is it just a place to list items in the economic nodes?
A: AH will have a listing fee. They can be accessed from the economic node where they exist, you can VIEW items from vassal nodes of an economic node (Cant list there). You will have to travel to the AH that has raw resources or processed materials in order to retrieve them from that node and then use a caravan to move them. In an economic node, there’s an area of space where players may put up a shop. Additionally there will be rentable stalls that can be used by players to list a number of goods for a period of time. The stalls goods will be listed on a bulletin board so players in the region know where to travel to. At the metropolis stage, the economic node sells player shop certificates that let a player purchase and put up a player shop anywhere in the world.
Q: Can you own chunks of land without developing on it?
A: You could put down your freehold and not put anything on it or put farm stuff on it. There’s lots of things that you can put on your freehold that’s not specifically buildings.
Thank you all for tuning in today, hope you enjoyed the stream! Please check out the weekly blogposts and all the new information on our website and various social media channels.