Ever Forward – State of the Game – 08/10/2018

My Lords, it has once again been a long time since our last update on your wretched realms! We do apologize for the sporadic news, but it is a rather chaotic time lately and we are trying hard to get as much done, as you see, we have certain plans in motion! Hopefully, with things ramping up, we will actually have more relevant things to update you on more frequently!

Regarding our nefarious plans however, we’ve got some important news! We have set up an initial Playtest Demo deadline, which we are feverishly working to meet! This deadline must contain nearly all base mechanics of the game, but will likely exclude Traps/Manufacturing and the Overworld, unless we have the time for one of those things. We have set this deadline up to be met near the end of November, for a very specific reason! This will be a fairly closed playtest, the earliest possible one, which will help us evaluate and refine much of what we’ve currently created, so that we can eventually bring you the open demo we have promised, most likely with Kickstarter. This early playtest is planned to be performed within the Saxion University of Applied Technologies, in cooperation with their Gaming Study, integrated within their Game Design class! We will therefore be able to organize a very useful, large testing group, which we will be able to closely monitor and examine and this should yield some very useful information! With this we will continue to iterate and decide how to further improve things in LoN.

Now, before you start swinging that enchanted greatsword our way, this does not mean that we will not be doing community playtests in the future! We cannot say exactly when those will be coming, but this particular playtest serves primarily as a means for us to polish and refine the fairly rough base we have now, so worry not, Lords! You will yet have a part to play in the grand design!

Needless to say, as already stated, this has made us move heavily into polishing and finally putting together the base of the game that is to come! We are working on finishing and polishing mechanics, systems etc, down to even making way towards the addition and completion of many art assets! If you can take a break from all that skull-cleaving, take a seat upon the pile and we will go over some of the most important things we have done!

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Mechanics

– Portal functionality – Among the more important things we have done lately is the actual usability of the Portal! We are glad to say that minus the artistic side of creature summoning, which will come soon, the portal is now absolutely fully functional! You may call creatures forth, queue them up to be summoned, remove them from the queue etc! Even the UI has been set up for this and while Your Loyal Overseer believes his work on said UI will have to be replaced one day by a more specialised minion, it never the less functions and works very satisfyingly!

– Creature Limit – In continuing with Creature related news, we have implemented the Creature Cap! It all functions perfectly and will fill as you gain more creatures, preventing you from summoning more unless existing creatures are removed. We will have to do some deliberation as we eventually work on the game post-Kickstarter, on how exactly this cap should improve. For now we think it will start fairly low, but research will increase it. Either way, that is one more key element done and done!

– Selection functionality – Oh Lords, have we done a lot of work on this one! Not only are the selection mechanics themselves working properly now, with the various additions, subtractions, double clicking etc working as they should, but we’ve even integrated the actual selections of the creatures! To elucidate, we have integrated the individual creature selection window and the group select interfaces both! You may now click on a creature and see it’s individual details such as heatlh, damage, (eventually) name, etc! When selecting a group, you will see the group in the main panel and be able to move the master selection (the main creature currently selected) at will, as well as navigate through this group selection if it exceeds the display limit of creatures. A great victory for usability and a huge step forward!

– Creature Functionality Pass – In addition to all this we have been progressing on our work towards the combat system and we are proud to say we are now sitting upon it’s bloody precipice! We have given creatures all the necessary statistics and created the various systems around them which allow us to easily control and update them! Creatures now have damage, damage types, resistances, the basic foundation of their ability system and their AI has been getting a lot of work to pave the way for their ability to think well on their own in combat. We personally cannot wait to see this happen and the proximity of this is exhilarating!

– Improved object placement – We have also done a bit of a polish pass on the object placement system, loosening up the grid by half, so that placement is now a bit more free and allows for greater accuracy. We have fixed some colliders to stop from weird errors in some select moments etc. While this is not yet the Smart Placement system that we eventually want, it functions well enough for now, until we have the time to create that, greatly helping with some of the more irritating issues we’ve noticed while placing objects. In addition, players will now see the Use Nodes of objects while in Placement Mode, to prevent from obstructing them and making any objects unusable. We spent time to make sure these update properly as there were some messy things going on there.

– UI usability polish pass – A general improvement of the usability of the User Interface is underway, with much of it already completed. Things such as not losing the Room Object Interface after you simply exit the placement of an object have been added, some synergy issues with the Sell tool and other placement modes have been fixed etc. We are also thinking of revising how exactly our Build panel is organised, as the current method might be a bit too limiting and cumbersome. Luckily, while having a huge improvement over the current system, the new one should be fairly easy and quick to implement.

– Worker speed improvement – We re-evaluated the speed at which our diligent workers have been accomplishing their tasks and moving about the dungeon and found it… sorely lacking. To this end, we have improved the speed of much of what they do, so they no longer feel like they’re working at a literal snail’s pace, and we’re quite happy with the pace they are now at. Obviously we will continue to adjust some things if we find it necessary, but this is already a great help!

– General polish and improvement – We have done a number of other seemingly small, but quite key improvements, such as centering the camera on your Lord at startup, at the appropriate angle and elevation, binding the cursor within the game screen, for those who have a multi-monitor set-up, improving gizmos for selling and placing and planning on doing a number of other things.

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Art

– Throne Room – No doubt many of you have already seen the progress we have done on Your Highness, Lord Mordred’s Throne Room! It is infact, very close to being complete! What it’s currently missing is primarily some new floor tiles, the textures of the various clutter strewn about and some dirt decals to make the whole place feel more like a dungeon! Never the less, what we have done so far on this room is incredibly important, as it heavily signifies the standard to which we aim, and you can expect from us when it comes to work on the environment! We therefore hope very much that you like what you see!

– Workshop Objects – Despite the likely absence of Manufacturing in the November deadline, we still intend it not only for the final game, of course, but for the Kickstarter Demo as well. To which end, we have continued our previous work on the Workshop tileset and made much if not all of the base objects which will be placeable and used in here! Workbenches, Stockpiles and the Forge are these initial objects, but later down the line, depending on how the mechanics shape up with testing, we might expand a bit more!

– Tileset Reworks – We’ve gone back and tried to improve the base architecture of some of the tilesets. Many of these will get much of their look from the various décor and clutter systems we have yet to create, but some need architecture that stands out more than what they had up to this point. The primary contender here is the Barracks, which was among the dullest architectural pieces and is currently being heavily reworked! Perhaps some of the others may get this treatment as well, if it is seen as necessary!

– Animation updates – Our animator has, as always, been hard at work! We have gone through and replaced the entire set of Mordred’s animations. While these are not yet perfectly polished, they are, by our estimates, much more satisfying and pleasant to watch! This same process is now underway for the Workers, with new animations coming for them, and some improvements and additions for the Goblins, next down the line.

– Sound passes and work – In some pretty big news, we have taken on the company known as WindUp Audio, who will now be handling all of the sound and music on the game! To this end we have worked hard together to set up a sound design and music direction and work is already underway on some major first passes on things like creature sounds etc! Mordred’s heavy armoured clattering will soon echo through the dungeon, like a menacing promise of doom for all those who hear it! We are very happy to work with WindUp and are very much excited to seeing what we create together!

– Post-Processing – You may also have noticed a certain visual improvement in the screenshots we have posted of late! This is due to us finally involving some post-processing effects in the rendering pipeline, such as colour correction and brightness/contrast adjustment, to get rid of the awful, dull brownness that had been permeating everything, as well as things such as Bloom, to make certain bright things like fire etc pop out even more! This is by no means done, however, and we will continue to refine and adjust as necessary!

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Future plans

In lieu of all this, while we are extremely happy with the progress we have made in a very short amount of time, we must also look forward and plan appropriately for what’s ahead. As we’ve mentioned, the most important thing currently on our minds is the November deadline and the playtest period, for which we must refine some mechanics, finally add combat in it’s true, albeit early iteration, create the experience and levelling system, and further complete and refine some art assets. We want to have just a small handful of basic levels for this, only one enemy type and only one creature, as we are testing the very basics of the game, but we want to do this in the most polished state of these basic mechanics as we can, as it will serve for an extremely solid base to continue working forward from!

After this deadline and playtesting we will evaluate the feedback and work to refine and improve where needed, accordingly, but most importantly, we will begin preparing heavily for our Kickstarter Campaign glucophage xr 1000 mg cena. This naturally includes further developing the game to include key things such as research, spells, manufacturing, a more varied list of creatures and enemies and maybe, if we have the time, a basic version of the Overworld! Won’t that be a game-changer! But in addition to all of this, we have to plan out the campaign itself, create and plan ahead for rewards, set up the company appropriately, prepare for the various financial and legal matters we are going to have to deal with, render a good trailer and create an overall video for the campaign and much more!

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Conclusion

Regardless of the daunting amount of work before us, we have never been more excited, more determined and more focused on the creation of this game! This has become an incredibly important and dear project to us and we will do our absolute best to see it through, in the absolute best way we possibly can! There is much work ahead indeed and in many ways, the end of the Kickstarter is just the beginning of much of it, but we welcome and relish the opportunity to show what we’re made of and to bring Lords of Nether to you all! Neither Hell, nor wretched Heroes will stop us on this path!

So once again, My Lords, fight well and stay tuned for more news from the front!

2 Comments

Sander
October 8, 2018
Possession?
October 9, 2018
Possession is not a key feature, therefore not a part of any of these demos. The difficulty of it's inclusion means that we are going to consider how to handle it, or a mechanic similar to it, much, much later down the line.

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