- Written by Joshua Halls
Another month of development is in the books. The focus this month was on preparing the game for testing. We've introduced a new system where the first stage of the tutorial is instanced, and the second stage takes place in a unique location that is only available to new players from your nation. This area allows us to focus on repeatable training scenarios for new players, before casting them out into the wild. Players do not need to participate in these stages, but they are recommended for new players.
We've had numerous inquiries about when beta testing will begin, and this seems as good a time as any to address them. We don't have any specific date that we can give you at this time. Our target is early 2012, but the actual date will be determined by how quickly we reach the required milestones. The bulk of that work will be related to polishing and preparing early content areas. Right now we have a massive list of implemented features, but most of those features are only demonstrated with a handful of content. Our focus for the remainder of 2011 will primarily center around content development and ensuring we have enough content to keep players busy during the initial months of testing.
We'll cover this in greater detail as we approach that milestone. In the meantime, let's review the changes that took place in October.
- You can no longer receives benefits of cover unless the covering object is shielding you from the attacker using a Plane of Interception technique.
- Cover objects can now set protection values on a per-object basis. This means that some objects will provide better cover than others.
- Momentum can now be affected through buffs or debuffs. For those unfamiliar with our Momentum system, Momentum goes up as you succeed in things, and goes down as you fail. Some of the more powerful abilities are only available when you have sufficient Momentum. In Action Mode the Right Mouse Button activates a Momentum Based action where the Left Mouse Button performs a normal action.
- Added Endurance and Momentum modifiers to weapons and NPC data for abilities.
- Combat modifiers now work properly for NPCs.
- Improve dispel selection strategy.
- Fixed a bug that was allowing NPCs to use bypass the line of sight on some abilities.
- Fixed a bug that caused cover areas to alter your posture in certain situations.
- Numerous cover area fixes to make them work properly for players
- Added new cinematical effects to support haze, camera manipulation, blinking eyes, and blindness.
- Improved the starting tip system. This is now a client-side tracked feature and features numerous new starting tips.
- Client specs can now be cached, resulting in speed improvements.
- Weapon Crafting has been split into two skills: Firearm Crafting and Melee Weapon Crafting.
- Humanoid Sahara model added to the item visualization system so it can visualize any humanoid weapon (gun, sword, etc)
- The way sockets work was changed over this month. Before they were based on the strength of the fitting and this would technically allow you to stack 4 of the same item into that socket. Instead, a system was put in place to allow you to change the socket to a type and those types have a limit (mostly just 1). This allows for a greater array of fittings to choose from since it can be easier balanced.
- Fixed some UI code on the client side that fixed a very CPU heavy issue. Literally sped up the routine by 50x.
- Radial menu to choose what sockets to put on the weapon or armor was expanded from 6 to 10. Right now there are 9 defined types in the design sheet.
- You can drag a fitting to an object and if it can properly apply it the item it will do it automatically without changing the sockets in the item’s display sheet.
- Before a fitting only had 5 values for each grade, we made a few modifications to allow it to progress from tier 0 to 9 and allowed up to 10 sub values based on the final crafting value making it possible for a fitting to have 500 or so different values based on the tier, grade, and sub-quality of the fitting
- Started on adding the base fittings that will be available for Alpha testing.
- We are now tracking additional playing style choices for players ranging from things such as being a Joker, Heroic, Ruthless, Rude, Greedy, or a Relic Hunter. As you choose responses or actions during missions or engagements that fall under those categories the mission system will remember that and use it to tailor missions or mission branches for you later. NPCs will also be able to respond differently to you outside of the mission system, based on your reputation in those areas.
- There is now an option for mission templates to grey out response options if their preconditions are not meant. Previously unmet responses were not displayed. Now the template can specify whether it wants to hide them, or display them with a greyed out bubble. This is useful for certain mission situations.
- Crafting Missions can now take advantage of Item Grade for rewards, responses or pre-requisites.
- Crafting Mission templates can now reward specific recipes if they wish, instead of randomly selecting one. This is purely optional and determined by the template.
- Missions can now automatically be triggered by walking into a certain location, where when you walk there the NPC automatically assigns you the mission and begins speaking. In such missions there will usually be an option to immediately deny the mission as part of the response options.
- Generated Missions can now span random elements over multiple areas using a new and improved area settings and dictionary system.
- Added the ability for Mission Offers to be delayed. This is useful for cinematic sequences where we wish to offer a mission after something has occured.
- Improved Pathing support for missions. We now have greater control over allowing missions to move NPCs along paths, either permanently or temporarily.
- Improved exploration related trigger support for mission goals.
- Improved reputation filtering for missions allows us to have multiple reputation based filters to offer certain responses, branches or missions to a character.
- Items removed for a mission will intelligently remove the least powerful copy of that item you have. So if it is asking for a tier 0 grade C item it won’t take your grade A item if you have a grade C one.
- Added a new CinemaLock setting that will lock a user into cinematic mode, disallowing movement and causing them to watch a cinematic sequence. We do not plan on using this extensively, but we have added support. It is currently being used in the new tutorial areas.
- There is now a Terrain Quality drop down option in the Graphics Options window. Older systems can gain a significant performance boost by using Terrain LOD.
- Action Mode combat will no longer pop up a target window, and instead use the overhead HUD overlays.
- Cover quality can now be represented on the UI.
- Chat bubbles now have a hard cap on the length at which they stay. This means that rather than adding breakpoints if a lot of chat comes in very quickly, the older chat will now disappear quicker to limit the bubble size.
- Improved chat bubble sizing when given multiple response options.
- Fitting tooltips now display additional information.
- Created a new Cloning Facility instance and opening tutorial. This includes a new dream sequence, new cinematic effects, additional tips, and a completley redesigned starting setting. You are now part of a fresh class of clones and these clones will participate in the training alongside you.
- After completing the introductory instance players will exit out into a non-instanced area with additional training objectives. This area is only available to new recruits and includes additional tutorials and tips covering all bases of gameplay. These training assignments are optional, and players can bypass them at any time and be transported to their nation's capitol city.
- Added a new trigger type for use in instanced areas such as the tutorial instance. This type allows a trigger to have a one-time effect, that will only be activated the first time a trigger is reached. The tutorial uses this for tooltips, but other functions in the future could be used for once triggered traps or visual effects.
- The Tikt Tunnels has undergone a number of improvements including better lighting, new unique props and decorations, improved mist, and new types of monsters.