Andrew: Hello! It’s been a while. Honestly this month, I’ve been working much more on our other game, currently in the works. Nevertheless, here’s our “massive” May development update-
Widening Building Walls: 1st Up Smithy
I’ve been working on polishing the Blacksmith/Smithy building, while also widening its walls, adding more depth. This should help with weapons, character heads (when leaning over), and horses from peaking through walls. It also seems to make it easier to jump up into windows, since the colliders have more depth, therefore you don’t get caught in them or bumped out. Once this is complete, I plan to move on and do the same with the other previously made buildings.
Jon has continued working on things mentioned in the last post (mostly XML data stuff) and code-cleaning.
One notable fix, the torso lean when attacking up/down will persist throughout an entire attack (no matter the weapon). Previously it was a set duration, so with larger weapons the torso lean would end before the swing would even begin. This allows you to properly attack things above or below you, eg. power-attacking a chest with a battle axe should be a lot less frustrating. Also, the torso lean now uses interpolation, thus should no longer pop into rotation.
Setback in Shaders
Since upgrading to the new Unity (2018…) some of our shaders haven’t worked quite the same. This is possibly because we’re new to shaders and don’t all know what we’re doing as of yet… Suffice to say, the water no longer has that nice beveled edge, and the lava shader just doesn’t work (rendering white right now). But we’re working on it.
There’s been other odd occurrences of collider gaps — that I’ve discovered since upgrading — as if holes go right through the geometry in certain locations… This seems to span across multiple model files, not just tied to any one in particular. The town scene is notably the worse scene experiencing this, if not the only, which makes it even more odd. This might be related to the issues some players have reported, where you’d fall through the ground.
Until next time!
Jon: Hi, everyone! Time for March’s update.
This past month I’ve spent most of my TAR time on AI, and have a few things to mention:
- We are now using a different AI system than GOAP. GOAP planning was taking up too much CPU, and was getting too difficult to debug… I have been reading Mat Buckland’s book, Programming Game AI by Example, & have found his Goal-Driven system to be quite insightful. I have the new system up and running and it’s using a lot less CPU than the previous system!
- Continuing in the book, I decided to work on a weapon selection system for NPCs utilizing the chapter on fuzzy numbers. The basic idea is that they’ll choose the most desired weapon they have based upon various inputs, such as distance (Swapping from a bow to sword, for example). It’s coming along.
I have started the possibility of hitting multiple targets with one swing. We have wanted to have Strength, along with larger weapons, to allow for sweeping through multiple opponents, or at least smaller ones like bats, with one swing for a while. This is a step towards that. In the process, I may have fixed the bug where weapons could remain active if an attack animation was interrupted as well.
I’ve also dabbled in potions, continuing work to make them more modular. Previously, I would have to make 3 new prefabs for each potion type we would want to add. This was taking too long… Now, I only need to make one prefab per type. I have added some new potion types including a Sleep Potion. 😀
I have also been experimenting with coloring the potions programmatically based on their elemental compositions.
Now, Andrew has been working on things that might be a bit more exciting, putting aside the Castle temporarily to work on the old Water Cave…
April Fools! 🤡 It’s a Lava cave! There’s a method to the madness I assure you. Here’s a peek:
“Can’t get enough!”
This is a new area, and will not be replacing the Water Cave.
A couple more things before farewell. I wanted to share some useful Unity discoveries we’ve made this past month that have helped out quite a bit, for other devs out there:
Jon: Hello! Today marks our 3rd year anniversary of developing The Arcane Relics™! Wow, already 3 years… We certainly underestimated the amount of time needed to get this game to where it is, but we’ve learned a lot and continue to surprise ourselves by what we’re able to accomplish. This past year we’ve managed to release the 1st public demo and are getting closer to the next update.
We’ve made a lot of improvements since last November. Some notables:
(Some of these images may look familiar.)
- Dalwood has grown in size
- New Zombie-infested Catacombs
- Day/night cycle improvements: moon, stars, sky colors, clouds
- Hefting unconscious characters
- AI Improvements: simple Town Guards, pathing for Villagers, & NPCs capable of opening doors
- Crossroads (yet to be revealed)
- Increased movement speeds
- Control changes: Attack buttons & sprint button change
- Revised Party setup: characters can be created right in there
- Crossroads Directional Signs: helps locating areas
- Loading screen changes: radial loading bar, target scene/location name, spinny sword icon, & more message variations
- Updated most object cursor common name displays (bottom-right)
- Sprint FOV zoom
- Texture improvements/changes (environment, items, UVs)
- Look sensitivities dropped
- NPC dialog improvements
- Scene transitions besides warp portals
- Additional skill group: Trades
- More items: Helms/Hats, Weapons, Gems, Magic Catalysts
- Few more spells & additional spell effects
- Hit lean animations & hit block animations
- Left-hand attack improvements: uses directional attacks, offhand does less damage
- More settings
- Butt-load of bug fixes 🐖💨👾
In public demo, but not present a year ago:
- Upper Town
- Additional plants: Blueberries, Strawberries, Rosemary, Sage, Parsley, Thyme
- Town buildings:
- Chicken Keeper’s house
- Botanical Shop
- No NPCs in Town (just an angry mob & bats)
- No sleep jingle
- Cursor highlighter system: used to swap materials…
This is not a complete list, either.
Another main focus of mine has been rebuilding and cleaning up old code. Since you can learn a lot in 3 years, I’ve found the need to rewrite or, at least, clean up some systems that I started near the beginning. The tricky bugs seem to crop up in the stuff you haven’t looked at in a while.
Past Week’s Progress
This last week I’ve primarily returned to the party setup, trying to improve the usability of the menus and fixing bugs with creating characters. I also improved the device query (“Waiting for input…”). Joining on a controller should be much more responsive now.
Andrew worked on making the newest buildings into prefabs & made lily pad hats and cattail props.
Unity Tip: I also discovered builtin API in Unity for capturing a screenshot!
Maybe we won’t have lots of crazy cropped screenshot resolutions in the future…
We’re still working away and are still aiming to release the next version before the end of the year. Hang in there! 😀