Sunday February 28th, 2021
Wow. Just wow. This month was amazing. We received amounts of support we haven't even dreamed of. Thank you, everyone, for fueling up our passion project!
We're going to touch a few topics today. The upcoming tech demo, races, living world mechanics and chasing own art style.
A month passed quickly. And while there was a lot of code wise restructuring. The main task this month was steadily preparing a playable tech demo. We have also moved from SVN to GitLab, which in the end will help us out manage the different versions and WIP things more smoothly.
What will be the tech demo?
The tech demo is going to be a VERY barebones straightforward test. The players will be able to download the client that will help us test things out. All players will be able to register, create a human character and will be put onto a single open map with all other players. People will be able to chat and hang out there, while their FPS and PING get registered for analytics. We will do some stress testing, for example spawning hundreds of 3D NPCs.
This tech demo will be first large scale online experience, which is necessary as the game stability is currently a great unknown, sure, the game runs nice for us, stress testing on my old notebook gave positive results, but such a large scale test is necessary to ensure everything is going the right way. Different models, textures used by players. A lot of shaders generating different colors on the screen might affect performance. Question is how much it does, and with that, you'll be able to check out the character creation and the game yourself!
It will be announced at least a week before, and the client will be shared through patreon.
Onto next topic now!
Chasing the artstyle
One of the main goals is to create a completely new with quality of life improvements interface that fits and is original. Too many changes came to all of the interface panels to stick to old concepts. And since we would have to develop them from scratch anyway. We needed to nail down the style first.
Our goal was to make something that looks modern, although preserves the post-apo style and is not looking like another interface copy. We knew that near all interfaces use A lot of Brown and green and the classic buttons. We did our best to stay away from it after seeing that we really can't make this color scheme appealing to us.
Here are some failed attempts:
But after experiments, tests. We have managed to strike something that we enjoyed a lot! A very original and fitting interface art style that we began to expand upon!
For inspiration, we have looked at cold war era terminals. Their keyboards, screens. Our research object was not the Fallout interface, but the era that inspired the world of Fallout itself.
An old keyboard and our initial button reconstruction slotted into it.
Our first concept of everything, the vintage screen with an interesting pattern, weathered buttons, both screwed into a brushed steel pane that was fit onto a strong portable base that hides all electronics.
This was it! We found what we were looking for! Since then it was a quick slide to other interface concepts!
A barter screen, where we fit all things together and designed how input slots will look like.
A concept of friends menu, showing first tries on weathering and destruction of the brushed steel elements.
And our barter screen once again! This time-weathered down and damaged by passing time and careless use all over the wasteland. It made us scream "We nailed it!"
All of those concepts are downscaled and watermarked, they do not represent either the current or final result. We are still experimenting with and polishing the art style. But we can admit, the worst is already behind us.
One of my biggest desires was always to make the world of Fonline feel alive. The current S3 towns are filled with Idle NPCs that stand still until shot, guards following a simple move to a pattern or being completely stationary.
In Season 4 we want to make all towns feel alive with possibilities a player could use to their advantage, protected location filled with guards moving and patrolling, sometimes taking a stop to talk with other NPC or going for a drink to the bar, citizens that group up for small discussions, visit stores, doctor, transition between maps of the location, wandering traders coming into the town, looking to sell things, Trappers visiting the town, offering to sell you maps leading to interesting areas they spotted while traveling. Common folks randomly getting quests that you can pick up and do with your party.
The unprotected towns will also change depending who holds the power in town and for how long it wasn't raided. Players will notice a bigger impact over communities, and significant changes caused by Power Struggle between factions forced to share the locations, for Example Metzger and Lara in Den.
Players will be able to choose from 3 races.
Human - All around balanced character, yet weak for the environment. We haven't been made for the world of wasteland, and it shows.
Ghoul - A feeble remnant from the old world, though a human from pre-war times, he is far better prepared for the current world situation. Radiation isn't that much of an issue, yet his body is frail.
Mutant - An art of the Master, they are strong and resistant. A walking war machines, their biggest issue is that other feats came by the sacrifice of speed.
The races will be fully customizable just like the Human's are. All of them will provide different perks and have different statistics at the beginning.
A lot of people often wanted to play as a ghoul. The requests are flooding my DM box up to this day, while others tried a mutant and though it was fun to play one, the inability to run was their bane.
In S4 we fix those both things. We make all the races playable. Ghouls and Mutants get the ability to run. While on ghoul it's a quality of life change, the mutant is a one big balance issue. A running beast with a strength of monster truck will bring fear to its enemies. Now, how do we balance giving mutant an ability to run?
Well, the main concept we have now is to make mutant Burn action points while running. This means that in combat running will cost AP, forcing the player to stop after running long distance to recover some, putting him in disadvantage. This way they have a tactical movement ability that cannot be used to rush to hug their enemy without putting yourself on AP disadvantage. This also means that they stop being an issue outside of combat.
Whoever played mutant, knows how annoying is to walk through the hub or around your base. They were too slow. Now because having 0 action points won't be an issue in a safe environment, the mutants can run freely, making an out of combat experience heavens better.
That's all for now!
And once again we've reached the end of our Monthly article. I hope it shined a light on some interesting things in the works and you have enjoyed the read!
Oh before I forget. Our dev team grew a little. We have four new guys that joined our ranks since the beginning of the year:
Waffen - A good friend of mine. Some might recognize his name from car paints in the game, Waffen is doing the interface for us. And the concept visualizations above are all his work.
Krizalis - Krizalis is our new game design writer that is a friend of Skycast and joined team after finding out that our S4 concept and many ideas had smoothly aligned with his.
Yoummuu - Our contributor and my longtime friend, his decent knowledge of 3D and a fair skill in programming made him decide to jump the boat and join us. Work related to 3D models and its back ends will be steadily transitioned to him.
Brightside - Hosting. From few months he handles hosting of all websites and the current S3 server. He is also the one that developed Roza 2.0.
And Since the people asked me who is currently active from our Dev team. I'll list the core dev team below.
Skycast - The big brains behind the engine and the majority of the advanced code. Without him, none of that would be possible, he serves the role of a final decision maker and pioneer that explains the new engine to the rest and tells what is possible and what is not.
Balthasar - A long-time developer and fanatic of math related programming. Bunch of the code that he is tasked with and delivers is based on algorithms and calculations. Of course, we both are also writers and quest/dungeon coders.
Rascal - Although inactive. He often drops in to see how things are going and provides helpful feedback.
Wesan - And me, well talking about myself always made me felt awkward so I'll just say what I do, not who I am and quote Skycast:
We have Wesan as great community support/game design/coding/actually anything.
And well, that sums it much. If something needs to be done. I'll do it.
Currently, my main tasks are running Patreon, Season 3, supervising contributors and new developers and Season 4 3D, Coding and Art.
And that's all of us. Bunch of folks that preferred to get on and do something than ponder about "What if..."
All that's left for me to say is to see you next month! Cheers!