NovaMundi is now available on Steam Early Access! get it now or wishlist it if you like what you see.
Week 111 a.k.a. the last week before Early Access, ended with the (internal) release of v0.22.7. Of course, I had to prioritize what would provide the highest impact for the release.
To provide more variety, I finished the integration of the “Páramo” biome (Andean Tundra, which is very important to our game’s setting) including its terrain and vegetation (frailejones), and removing towns from there (it’s cold out there!).
A little bit downhill from them, I added more mountain peaks to the highlands band, placing them in clumps to improve their variety. The rendering of grass terrains was also improved, tweaking the metallicness of its textures which was making them look dull, adding more variations, smaller patches, and tweaking its tiling values. I also fixed some bugs in the heightmap generation which were causing ugly spikes of terrain.
Persistence – Save/Load
Of course, I wanted this to work great in our E.A. release, judging from recent experiences some friends had. It was already working great but I had to add the following stuff to the persistence list:
- Missions status
- Active items effects
- Minimap stamps (i.e. the locations of towns)
- Mountain objects
Of course, all of these things required refactoring of some sort, but they were a must to allow the players to split their runs into sessions since a run can currently take about 2 hours.
A much-needed “intro sequence” was added. I designed the script based on the overall backstory we had in mind, and we recreated it as a sequence of “stonewall paintings”. It was quite a bit of work but I think it was worth it for people to get an idea of the theme of the game (a text window is just not enough) especially since the theme may not be familiar to some.
I also integrated the portrait of Nompanim, the Iraca, and fixed some dialogs.
I added a lot more random chatter from the party members to make the walking sections a bit more interesting. This also included adding (and serializing) a control so they don’t repeat phrases, which may be super dull. This still needs a lot of work to work properly within a context, follow some character or story development, and provide some variety in the text, but I wanted to have an initial version in to see how it feels and if it makes sense to continue developing it.
To prevent a game-breaking bug I noticed in an Early Access Preview run, I had to disable the possibility to Transfer men and equipment to the camps. I’m still deciding if it makes sense to put it back, gameplay-wise.
Visual tweaks in Expedition Status (health bars, remove unneeded stuff, highlight important) and Unit detail panel (in combat), adding HP value and stats.
Based on some reports of low performance, I added two experimental Quality Levels with “no trees” and “no shadows”. We are still investigating what parts we should focus on to improve performance, but the game should already run well in gaming machines which is our main target.
Week 112 – Before Early Access Release
Our release was scheduled for April 13 (Tuesday) at 11 AM EST, so naturally, there were some last-minute, much-needed things, the top-most top priority. E.A. release was v0.23.0 (first public release!)
The journal entry UI was still leftover from the previous appearance of the game and was long overdue to be changed. I updated it to the latest design, improved its readability, fixed some word-wrapping issues, and added an initial entry so it doesn’t look completely empty when you start.
Based on both my playthroughs and some others made by testers, I did some tweaks in the unit stats, nerfing the range of all ranged attack units (especially the Muisca Archers, which were extremely overpowered), and balancing the rate of appearance of the Panche Raider when compared to the blowgunner. I also added the “Panche” Archer (that is, the possibility of Muisca Archers to appear in Panche parties since they belong to the same technology group).
I also removed the random variation of stats per unit (so for example all Guardians will have the same stats, so you don’t have to go cherry-picking), and changed the damage function to be much less random (so high Attack units like the arquebusier are much more dangerous now!)
Forest size was also reduced (but not enough, as we’ll see later on!)
Week 112 – After E.A.
Besides bug fixing (many thanks to the people reporting bugs!), we produced four subsequent builds, ending up in 0.24.0
Drastically reduced forest coverage, based on player’s feedback this was a top priority due to the terrain being almost completely covered by forest previously, leaving little room for strategy when exploring (deep forests/jungles are dangerous places where you get lost easily, the player should think twice before delving into them)
Add lakes both big lakes and at the tips of the rivers.
Also increased the size of the “Páramo” areas, although they are still too small and will require some changes in the future to spread beyond their “height bands”.
Add language selection to settings, and did all the changes required for localizable texts to be dynamic. Tested this with the incomplete Spanish localization bundle, and then decided to push a bit to see how much it would be required to complete it. I managed to advance a lot but then found out some additional work would be needed especially for the procedurally generated dialog (not that it’s super complex procgen but still…).
For the moment, I disabled it but since we are having a lot of people interested in my home country (Colombia…bia…bia!) this will come in pretty soon!
Added controls to set the volume for Music, Ambient, and Sound Effects, both from the title screen and also in-game.
We incorporated a new title screen, in the future we want it to be rendered in real-time with animations and reacting to the time of the day; but for now, I decided to just put a pre-rendered scene due to performance concerns.
We also did a lot of tweaks in the lighting of the intro scene, added some flickering, fixed some gaps in the texture of the walls, and added the images of some unit types to the loading screen
The appearance of the automap was revamped to fit the theme of the Muisca, it now resembles a stone wall painting, with improved, more readable labels for the town names.
I also removed the “encampment plans” flow when camping, so you no longer have to pick a spot and what tents to use, it’s much quicker now.
You can now check the info about your opponents.