Finally, after waiting for many years, I got my physical copy of Shroud of the Avatar. So, I decided to record a short video of unboxing it, while comparing it with a classic Ultima game.
It’s been about three weeks since the last update so let’s go!
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Cartography – Automap
We had made progress on this some months ago, but with all the changes in the design and now that we have procedural terrain, we practically had to remake it from scratch.
We are now generating the base map from the generated (or loaded) terrain, taking into account the heightmap to draw the shoreline as well as icons for the mountains and forests, and then displaying it as the player explores, including the position of the player and adding the discoveries he has made (see below).
I must say that it looks pretty cool.
Discoveries and Findings
This facet of the game is meant to provide the players with a motivation to explore the map. As you walk around you will find things such as animal or plant species, ruins or new cultures. When you find a new one you will have a chance to name it and will earn “stars” based on its rarity. You can always check your discoveries in your journal.
This facet is still very early in progress, it will be heavily based on procedural generation for the description and (2D) appearance of the findings you are making.
We invested a serious amount of dev on terrain generation, we are now generating islands using midpoint displacement fractal with preseeded key points and a lot of tweaking to make them look nice, be more controllable, and play well with the base procedural generation we had in place which was 100% Perlin noise.
We are also affecting the base heightmap so that plains look plainer and mountains look more dramatic, by scaling specific portions of the heightmap.
Combat now takes place on a separate “scene”, so when for any reason the player engages in combat (right now there are just random ambushes) he transitions to a separate area with a higher level of detail
Small tweaks on how things are portrayed in the overworld, to give a better sense of scale now that the combat has been moved to a separate scene.
Also, further additions to mouse movement so you can now move in the ocean and enter towns.
Working in the flows for both the Campaign mode and the New Expedition mode, you can now select the campaign (but there’s a single one, the Pacanchique one), or select the “civ” you are going to use for the procedural mode.
- Make individual features of towns “land” into irregular terrain when placing them.
- Allow setting the tiling sizes of the terrain layer’s textures.
- Paint terrain with rock texture based on its slopeness.
- Place towns in grass band.
- Prevent trees from being placed in steep slopes.
- Select between premade or procedural terrain based on the selected game mode.
- Paint “dirt” below trees and towns placed in the map with a semitransparent texture mask.
- Release camera lock on the main unit when entering combat mode.
- Add visible arrows as projectiles for archers.
- Transition to Game Over scene when the main unit dies
- Mouse movement in Exploration mode
Mirrored from OpenArthurianX6 devlog
:: Finally managed to make saving and loading work, which involved doing a big refactor on the data that was being kept on each entity. I’m using my own circular-functions library and even had to push a small bugfix after about 4 years. See it working in the video below.
This will require some more testing, some bugs likely managed to slip in since it’s a big change.
Also, since the last update, the changes done by Jucarave for door handling were merged in, as well as the popups with item descriptions.
Next up to finish milestone is:
- Line of Sight, still thinking of how to do it, considering the following options:
- True LOS using raycasting or shadowcasting like a traditional roguelike, might be a bit heavy in the processing and might look a bit weird with the scrolling, but would be more accurate and apply to a lot of different situations without special casing. Just need to define whether a particular cell type is opaque or not.
- Ultima 7-like, using different “zones of sight”, so if you are inside a building you can only see inside the building (but you can also see other nearby building through the walls!), and if you are outside the buildings you can only see the wilderness (but you can see through buildings!).
- Ultima 6-like, with more elaborate areas of sight, so once you open a door you “unveil” the room, but then would have to keep track of these areas, and model them as part of the maps. Also you can see other unveiled rooms thru the walls.
- Reading Books, which should be simple enough.
- Created heightmap using Perlin noise, and apply to Unity Terrain object
- Add the first layer of textures to the terrain based on height boundaries (ocean floor, grassland, and mountain).
- Make the boundaries between terrain types fuzzier by fading, dithering and adding noise to the height thresholds.
- Add forests by seeding with trees on the grassland band, and then growing them.
- Add support to load towns into the terrain
Music / SFX
- Added battle overlay so when you go to Combat mode it transitions smoothly into a more active track.
- Added ambiance background noise for land exploration.
- Better textures for the Muisca towns, more responsive to changes on lighting
- Changed sleeping hours prompt to use a slider
- Check time for the “sunny” modifier (only add during the day)
- Add notifications when finished resting.
- Added a “resting” label to the HUD shown while the expedition is resting.
- Use scrollwheel or +- to change the zoom level
- Remove automatic battle zoom
Here comes a big batch of work, prompted mainly by us participating in Crea Digital, a Colombia government grant/contest/thing, since some friends told us its guidelines are pretty in line with Expedition.
So we went into it… and after a lot of paper-work, we submitted on Thursday. Hope we can get these funds to pay for the much-needed artwork!
Besides the planning work, most of the dev was aimed to create an Alpha version showing a historical Muisca campaign. Muiscas is the culture that lived in Colombia before the Spanish came, I designed a scenario around the tragic legend of Pacanchique.
Here’s a video of the current alpha release!
There is another thing that changed now. So far I’ve been focusing on creating a “Demo” of the game to show it to potential publishers. That hasn’t worked so far and I’ve almost run out of resources to continue, so we are now looking forward to creating a fully playable version of the game, and publish it ourselves in case we cannot find a good deal, let’s see how far we can go with our own funds.
We are going to focus on a gameplay mode where you land at a procedurally generated island and you explore it to find discoveries (native cultures, artifacts, plants, and animals) while surviving dangers such as animals or savages. You need to build some outposts in order to recover your health and be able to push inland more every time.
Some other project news is the team is growing! we were joined by
David Flórez for art and 3D modeling and Juan Carlos García (QuietGecko) for SFX and Music. Along with the efforts of Paul Pereda and Camilo Ramirez, they were key in order to be able to complete the demo for Crea Digital, welcome guys!
- New Campaign “Sons of Bachué”, starting in Hunza with a party of Muisca spearmen.
- Sample terrain based on the Muisca Confederation territory.
- Add cities and temples to visit using their own test models.
- Add quest to visit Sugamuxi on a time limit
- Add Muisca map
Unit Selection and targetting
- Allow selecting units with a single click
- Show cursor in target location when moving units.
- Separated Camping and town building, you can now build outposts independently.
SFX and Music
- Add new SFX for combat
- Add new rain ambiance
- Add music for exploration with the Muisca civ.
- You can now camp/rest anywhere inland, not just in camps.
- Add a bonus to fatigue recovery if resting in a camp.
- Don’t increase fatigue while resting
- Display death notification of crew member including death cause
- Make player units move normally during combat regardless of fatigue
- Removed town name labels (testing to see what’s better)
- Added back temporary icons to the buildings in towns, temporarily.
- Keep faces of people in towns
- Added option to receive artifact in a conversation
- Change camera position on the title screen
- Added support for localization and Spanish bundle.
- Fix Pause system to use a state machine
- Remove the Pause button, redundant with settings.
- Lighter color for water during the night.
- Access settings by pressing the escape key
- Added cancel button to prompt popup
StygianGen map renderer updated so you can now see fancy tiles. Check it out https://slashie.net/stygianGen/