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   Happy New Year everyone!

    Now that our first two official game updates last month (00.00.12 and 00.00.13) that included combat overhaul and two area overhauls are out. We now want to let you know what we are working on and what is coming up this year. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but are really looking forward to kicking this year off with a headstart. This update will review the past hotfixes we have made since the 0.00.13 on 20 December, and then go over what we are working on now and what is planned short term.

 

Hotfixes

   Since the update, thanks to you the players, we have had a few hotfixes come in. These have been mostly adjustments to the changes made over the last several months including a few ease of life functions. Remember you can view all updates to the game here: https://therepopulation.com/forums/repopulation/build-notes

If you have not seen the hotfix notes, here is a brief list of them now:

  • Weather Events should now correctly occur at regular intervals.
  • Further changes made to fix some ability activation issues depending on their required targets.
  • The Cu Sith and Arrvor can now be summoned.
  • Players may consume food and drink again, however you will not gain the stats beyond the first 2. This will be fixed in the future.
  • Updated and hotfix applied to some of the GM commands
  • Inventory and containers (personal inventory and Merchants/Vendors) sometimes disappear, partially fixed. Wrote and included debuggers to continue to track this issue.
     - [WIP] Code changes should avoid errors when no inventory is found. Inventory may be blank, but can reset and should not break all other windows as it was previously happening.
  • Opening up a vendor (Merchant) window even with negative faction will no longer trigger the players to auto attack. Vendor specific, the fix he made was to make vendors who are not part of a nation, neutral.
     - This is only vendors of no faction that are interact only.
     - [WIP] Auto attack is still being triggered for other NPC's like quest/mission givers. This is still being worked on.
  • [Reverted- WIP] Ability to heal hostile enemies is now fixed. You should no longer be able to heal any hostile enemies. Self heal now works again when you have yourself or no target selected.
  • If you do have a hostile target, any heal abilities will work with the rules of other target abilities.
     - [WIP] Continuing design for additional Combat and GUI updates based on player feedback. This will include adjustments/changes to self target and friendly abilities.  Will be updated and take effect once we can separate skills from self buffs and self target abilities.
  • Upgrading Development Servers:
        Since we were able to get out the two patch updates, we have begun to build a new development server that will give us a several advantages.
  • Easier cleanup of old redundant revision and file history
  • Increase our file management capabilities, to clean up overhead and old files
  • Faster development cycles overall due to improved performance from the cleanup
  • Ability to do more complete and various types of game update pushes
  • - [WIP] Continuing design for additional Combat and GUI updates based on player feedback. This will include adjustments/changes to self target and friendly abilities.  Will be updated and take effect once we can separate skills from self buffs and self target abilities.

  

Upgrading Development Servers2019 01 01 20 server1

   Since we were able to get out the two patch updates, we have begun to build a new development server that will give us a several advantages.

  • Easier cleanup of old redundant revision and file history
  • Increase our file management capabilities, to clean up overhead and old files
  • Faster development cycles overall due to improved performance from the cleanup
  • Ability to do more complete and various types of game update pushes

 As a team, we look forward to completing this build not only for the development benefits but the overall improvements it will allow us to bring to the game. We'll be sure to keep you updated on the progress of this work so stay tuned to future updates for more news.   We will let you know when we have finished this work and are full speed ahead.

 

What is coming next for RepopOur rough draft Outlines for cities and towns

   In this next development cycle we will be focused on three aspects of development across all teams. This will include UI/UX and data cleanup, new inventory/container system and starter island build.

UI/UX and data Cleanup and mapping:

   While we are cleaning up the UI/UX and data overhead to help reduce any difficulties, we are taking notes of what needs adjustments and new quality of life functionality. There are several aspects inside the UI/UX that are no longer used, but are still running in the background of the game, so we will be removing those, as well as making adjustments to the current UI and help bring down the overall load it causes.

   During this period we will also be making notes of how we will make adjustments when we begin the UI overhaul for both visual and functionality.

Inventory/Container Development:2018 02 08 Repop Inventory 10x10

   One of the largest issues we see in game currently that hit the hardest are the inventory and container systems. Because of this, while the other two teams are working on the UI/UX/data cleanup and the new starter island, the programmers will be working on a new inventory/container system that should help reduce the overhead as well as open up additional features for future updates.

  • Improving and simplifying how the inventory system works so it does not have to reload every time a player crosses an area.
  • Change the expansion bags to be separate containers that players can open/unlock and eventually upgrade. (More character inventory space)
  • Adjust the way the quest overflow items work, so they are not so heavy on the server. (Better performance)
  • Prep work to providing a Harvesting and Crafting bag in the future, to allow players to have further organization. (additional storage options)
  • Prep work for additional storage types for other systems such as Personal housing, Guild/Player Nation housing, etc)

The new starter island:Development and testing of oceans and terrain.

    Before building the new starter island (tutorial area) for the game, we must first establish terrain templates.  These templates will not only be used to build the new areas for the island but will be used later to build up all the areas of the new map.  We create these templates so we can easily import the terrain type we want when creating the new area, be it all land, ocean, or coastal. This also allows us to make sure all areas are the same size and that the offset position of all areas to correctly set at the center, 0-0-0.  This offset position is very important, as it allows the server to calculate locations of the player in a much more accurate manner, helping to provide smoother transitions between areas.

    We have finalized and tested these terrain templates, for both the ocean and land areas.   When we select the template area and import the new terrain or ocean, it will now keep the same size and offset location. Then when we connect the areas into a seamless world; the transition, as well as terrain sculpting, will be cleaner with (hopefully) no holes. If there are any found, it will be much more simple to fix those with the “stitch” tool provided in HeroEngine.   

So, creating a new area is a simple process of:

  1. Create an empty area in the Area Organizer.
  2. Import the correct template into that new area.
  3. Add the seamless links. (connecting areas)

Development of the area usually follows a pattern of steps like this:

  1. Rough Sculpt and paint
  2. Begin Asset placement
  3. Final pass on terrain sculpting and painting
  4. NPC Placement and pathing
  5. Attach any scripts, encounters, missions, etc
  6. Test!

    Whiteboxing, terrain sculpting, and texture painting have already been completed on our prototype server.  Once the upgrades to our development server are complete, we can transfer that work over and begin visible development on the island.  We will, of course, keep you updated on our progress. It is important to note that the initial version of the island that is pushed will contain no new content.  Until other supporting systems are re-done, much of what you see and experience will be familiar.

 

Upcoming site changes

2019 01 01 20 computer1

   In the coming months you will begin to see some changes on the website. Some of the changes will include new fully integrated forums, a game feature section, and the start of in game lore with a unified timeline showing the history.

New forums:

   We expect to take the forums down near the end of next month for new integrated forums to help reduce site overhead. Though we will not be removing the old forums, we will keep them up as ‘read only’ for historical and reference purposes.

   Because of the size and age of the forum database we are not sure whether we will be migrating the most current posts from the last 18 months or not is still to be seen. We will be doing a few tests on a development server to test out if this is feasible or not. However, as stated already, all old posts on the current forum will still be available as a read only forum.

Game Features:

   Additional changes to the updated site will include a Game Feature section that will begin to outline the different areas of the game for quick and easy reference. This will be updated information, and will continually be updated as we adjust, finalize and add more features to the game.

Login:

   One other major change once this web update comes out, will be that users will login with their email address instead of their username. Username, email and password recovery will still be the same. Player will not need to register again to login after the updates.

Future Site updates:

   Future updates will also include the start of a) integrating Steam’s API into the site along with b) a community section for our players to show off their games, show off their screenshots in The Repopulation, as well as share news, updates or even make their own blog. Group functionality will eventually come later after that for guilds and alliances once the core community section is well tested by all of you.

 

Rhyldan map changes2019 01 20 Island01

   During our work prototyping the island and new world areas we took note of areas in need of re-evaluation. Adjustments include the addition of sea areas and new geological features. We feel these additions will improve functionality as well as add a more real world and wild feel to some outlying areas.

    The main areas we wanted to focus on was increasing the spacing between the starter island and the main land. We want to make sure that players that are on the island are not affected adversely by any main land load, and vice versa. The small adjustments we made to the map will help ensure that both the mainland and the starter island has the best performance available and actually be part of the world.

   We are pleased that we'll be able to share these map changes in the near future once we finalize these adjustments. While these are not major changes they help expand our content areas and provide better performance for the areas. You can expect to see these changes in our next update post. We hope you like it as much as we do.

 

Sneak Peek on Design DevelopmentSample of our draft directory for area and region design.

   We have given you all a bit of a peek into our development. We decided we would give you a bigger sneak peek into what we do and how we do it from a design and content perspective.

   When we start out with design, we pick an area that should be the base or core. In this case we begin to map out what the feature or part of the game has currently, compare it to the original lore and then start the process from there. Taking notes, outlining what is currently in the game is very important to us so we can keep the game scope as close to the spirit of the game as possible, while offering updated and new features to the game.

The Design process:

   Once we have all the notes, tons of player feedback and review past requests and changes from over the years, we build outlines of these and find areas that are incompatible or not consistent with the core lore or feature set. From there we begin to write out our outline for this specific feature.

  • Outline template: We take the current documentation we made and begin to adjust the lore or features that are in and what are wanted into a nice outline, which includes text documents, charts, flow charts and excel files. These files all remain in our development documentation.

  • Kiddy drawings and Concept art: We create our “Kiddy drawing” of this feature, whether it is an UI element, a game feature or an area. As a team we review the functionality, ease of access and of course the fun factor and create a concept of this feature. These files all remain in our development documentation.

  • Add to the GDD: Once we are finished with the design we add those features, any naming conventions or development rules to our living document called the GDD (Game Design Document), and then update any of our charts, concepts and spreadsheets.

  • Prototype building: We then take our concept, bring the basics into our prototype world. This can be white boxing, core system and functionality or style. As a team we test these out and bring in our internal testers to review and offer additional feedback. At times we do come to you in game or in discord to ask your thoughts.

  • Dev world building: This is the final stage, though always remains so that we can make adjustments easily based on player feedback. Once this is completed we test again along with internal testers, take the feedback and make adjustments where needed and fix any bugs they may find.

  • Testing and game updates: Once we are ready and have enough for an update, or finish that spring, we then push to the test server, then to staging. When we know everything is good and all was passed through and updated on Staging, we then push out to you on the live server.

Player feedback:

   Throughout the above process and after we release these features, we continue to pay attention to what you, the players, are saying. Bugs, conflicts, or difficulties are important to pay attention to. Any bug fixes or adjustments to the system or feature is noted and done again on either dev for the next push, or as a hotfix for anything that is game breaking.

   After the updates and last hotfixes, we requested feedback from all of you about the skills and abilities systems. We have received a lot of great information from ideas to current irritations and bugs. Even though a lot of these have been reported in the past, it is good to get an up to date list of these. Thank you everyone for all of your ideas, thoughts and experiences, please keep them coming.

   We have begun the first part of our design process, the documentation and outlines. The purpose of this is to keep design a few steps ahead of the development of these systems. This way when our programmers and other developers are ready to start working on these systems, we are prepared for any questions, adjustments or changes that are needed.

   In the next month or two we will be releasing another survey that focuses on skills and abilities. Some of these questions will be related to your past experiences; likes and dislikes, while others will be more informative for our design progress. 

New updated Roadmap

   As stated in our previous update, we will be working on our updated roadmap. Not much will change from what we currently posted up, however there will be some adjustments. Once we finish mapping out this cycles changes and adjustments we plan on writing the new updated version and have it out to you by end of next month. So as of right now, other than the combat systems, most of that is still relative. Stay tuned!

   

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