Weekly Dev Update: 2016 May 20th - Mega threads, Mac OS X issues and more


#1

We have released 2 updates to Boundless this week:

Thanks to everyone in the community for giving us feedback on each update. It’s appreciated!

We recently polled the community on switching the development C++ version of Boundless across to the default version for all players. (And in turn switching the current JavaScript version into a legacy version.) In response to the positive response we’re planning to do this switch in the next couple of weeks after we have fixed a few outstanding critical issues.

We plan to add an announcement message that will be displayed to all players when they first start the game, explaining the game’s current status and what they should expect. We think this is important because whilst the C++ version has better performance it has also temporarily lost a few features which we plan to refactor (for example, there are less worlds, no weather and day-night cycles.)

We would also like to fix the 2 outstanding Mac OS X issues that some users are experiencing - but they’re proving quite difficult to replicate locally and resolve. Thanks to the forum members who have been testing special builds containing more debugging code for us.

The majority of the engineers are currently working on larger features so we may not see any significant feature updates for a few weeks. We are aiming to release both Dual Wielding :hammer_pick: :gun: and Storage :file_cabinet: before mid June. We will release any fixes and updated blocks when they are ready for feedback.


Code
This week we’ve been looking into the graphical issues that users are experiencing with the C++ version of the game. This is a key blocker on making the C++ the default on Steam. We have also been polishing up the shader pipeline work.

We are experimenting with analytics solutions (extracting lots of data from what’s going on in the game and then visualizing it) to help us to balance and refine the game. This is super important for monitoring and then balancing the economy and resource regeneration.

We are working on Storage (chests) so you can finally store your gear. Machines have had durability added so you can now hit them with your spanner to fix them.

For the GUI and drops we’ve been adding the 3D meshes so you can see items (for example a hammer) in the GUI and in the game world. The GUI has also been having some styling applied.

The tools and rendering pipeline have been update to allow coloured decals on the creatures and items. This is required to help communicate to player what special ability a creature might have.

Design
This week we’ve been trying to tackle a few outstanding design questions. The main ones being Beacon Persistence and Guild Beacons which have been the subject of huge threads on the forum. We’ve read a lot and thought a lot, and have narrowed down all the options discussed in those threads to a couple of candidates in each case. We’ll publish our next proposal as soon as we can.

In response to feedback from the community we’re working on a new survey to send out to all Boundless supporters. This survey will cover all our latest designs for beacons, guilds, race abilities and a broad spectrum of features for the game. If you have any ideas for suitable questions please contribute them to this appeal thread.

Another small, but interesting piece of design work this week has been how we plan to procedurally name regions on each world. This is to add interest to the worlds, but also a mechanism to encourage exploration because each named region that you discover will give you progression experience. :map:

From today onwards it’s more work on analytics as we now have some representative dummy data so can re-evaluate some data manipulation tools we looked at before. The idea being that we can build real-time dashboards to keep track of the game balance, particularly around economy, progression and crafting.

GUI
This week in GUI has been focused on outlining the library of common elements that will be used across the various different menu screens within Boundless. Modular elements allow us to construct screens for new features more easily, a bit like sticking Lego bricks together, without need for new or bespoke design. This should allow more rapid implementation of interface heavy features like crafting, friends lists, guilds and so on.

Art
We kicked off concept exploration for the Protectors - ancient guardians of Oort Temples and Titans. We’ve also been gathering references in preparation for concepting all the Character Races that will be playable in Boundless. The concept explorations for the evolution of the lance and grapple are almost complete and we’ll share everything soon. We have also explored how pipes (power lines for connecting power cores and machines together) will be presented in the game world.

We’ve created assets for the following blocks: Glacier, Ancient Technology Fragment Seam, Ancient Technology Component Seam and Oort Technology Seam.

Animation
For animation we’ve been supporting the work to add dual wielding to Boundless, this includes the integrations for both the 1st and 3rd person presentation. We’ve also been exploring how we’ll present and visualise a player whilst they’re modifying their wearables.


In response to a few email queries we’ve published an official refunding policy :money_with_wings: in the #general:faq on the Boundless forum. If you have any questions you think should be included in the FAQ please post them here.

:blue_heart: :bird: :punch: :bear: :baseball:


Еженедельник разработчиков
#2

#3

Will this also be the case for rented servers that choose the “infinite” size option or whatever?

Also the GUI library is a pretty awesome idea. Helps with consistency too (something my company struggles with a lot…but then again our team is like 10,000+, not <30 ;))


Another excellent and informative post James, thank you very much :smiley:


#4

You have had some brilliant animations showing what is going on so i would suggest something along the lines of “examine self” emote from FF14

If combining UI and the animation i would suggest a sort of zoom into third person with your character in the middle and then your bag / character info on the side. whenever you equip an item there would be a small poof of smoke (to hide the changing) and then the character looks at the item. Equipped gloves he looks at gloves, equip shoulders he looks at shoulders ETC. To minimize the amount of work it could be done as a “dual” animation even if you only equip one. for example instead of making a left hand, right hand and both animation you just use the both animation even if they only equip one glove. This is a bit of work but would be pretty damn awesome.

If you want something a bit more comical and a bit more clear then i would suggest something like pulling a handheld mirror out and looking into it to signal a sort of "im inspecting myself right now)


#5

this sounds like a somewhat powerful tool and very helpful, yes. I think that the economy will be a crucial factor on the success of boundless on the long view cuz many people will keep an eye on it … and if it’s not balanced there will be a lot of frustration among the long time players. Realized that in Elite, where we have an “legal exploit” which is not “fixed” by the devs and which allows you to make money 2-5 Times faster as with any other playing method - People are going mad and about 20% of our players left the game with calling the exploid one of the main reasons.

So your idea sounds great! ^^

Do guilds or players have the ability to give own names or change the name of a region (if they are the largest beaconholder/Power in that area)? … Would be cool to call a valley or mountain like the people there want to call it. City names could be introduced on this way as well :slight_smile:


#6

The dev in me is curious about this :stuck_out_tongue: Off the shelf? Hosted service? Roll your own?

Awesome idea! That should add a bunch of character to worlds. I’m curious how you’re considering defining regions - biome boundaries?

Also, take a look at Stellaris’ procedural name generation for races/leaders/planets - they do a really good job of it. Might get some inspriation!


#7

About the naming: What do you think of a collection of suggestions where each player gives some names (may be 3) and you can add some of them to the game later (random if you want) … Elite made something simmilar. There the NPC Pilot Names are often made by backers of the game. It was a nice move to give the game a very personal note without any impact to the gameplay itself :wink:


#8

That is awesome idea! Cann’t waiting new maps =)


#9

For a back end we’re looking at Google Big Query and Amazon Red Shift, although we’re not ruling out a more traditional SQL database. To actually analyse the data we’ve narrowed it down to BIME, Chartio or Tableau, although Looker was interesting, but their pricing is set up for enterprise use and they couldn’t offer anything suitable for a smaller and more agile company such as ours.

Sorry about the lack of links, but I’m on my phone so it’s quite fiddly.


#10

You surely already thought of this but I’m saying it nonetheless^^
Make it so you can disable the message but if not it pops up every time you log in.
I’ve had it too many times that I accidentally skipped such a message and it never popped up again in the future.


#11

I have done this sooo many times. also with cutscenes or intros which i wanted to see. more often than not i alt f4 to hope i can go back and watch it.


#12

All excellent choices! Definitely have a soft spot for Tableau. Another one to add to your list, too: [Metabase]((http://www.metabase.com/), it’s of the open source & host yourself variety (but there is an actual company behind it; unclear how they want to monetize it).

We’ve been using it very heavily, and it’s been working pretty well for all the usual charting/dashboarding/reporting needs. We do fall back to Tableau for more complicated graphing/charting, though


#13

:violin::8ball::bear::arrow_right::8ball::snake::alien::bear::bear:

:anguished:


#14

Sorry for my late reply, but thanks for the update @james, I’ll add that GUI picture to the collection.


#15

Thanks for the tip – we’d not seen that one, looks good on first impressions.


#16

I like to recite some abstruse (perhaps “unintelligible” will be right word) ideas and want to do it again.

After all regions will be autonamed, every player can spot region’s name during stay in that region. He can change this name on his map, and everyone meeted him will spot new region’s name and original autoname both. Second player can choose one of names for himself.
Later, all players will have set of names which used more often.

Player A has come to region “Unknown region
Player A is located in “Unknown region
Player A ascertains what “Unknown region” has name “Narrow valley
Player A has change name “Narrow valley” to “White dale
Player B has come to “Narrow valley”
Player B has meet Player A and ascertains name “White dale
Player B is located in “White dale” and ascertains name “Narrow valley”
Player B can choose between two names he knows.


#17

Sure this would be nice to do. I’d have to work out how we blend the player names in with the generated names.

How much editorial control would we want? Do we care how many Boaty McBoatfaces we get?

Obviously players can name regions in their own worlds. Additionally I think there are quite a few map / guild / player mark features coming that would naturally allow more personalised naming.


#18

Just watch out that you don´t get too eager with the naming features or the UI / map ends up looking like this: :smile:


#19

How many discoverable named “regions” do you think we should have in a 4k x 4k (say) world?

Additionally, signs are only something players can create. So whilst a player may do this - it’s up to them. (But I get the general point with your image.)


#20

IMO pretty strict control for the official worlds - don’t want to break immersion

Hundreds?

Though, that decision probably should be based off of how dense the biome instances are for a world (need to be able to visually identify region boundaries, otherwise names will feel arbitrary) - that’s the minimum granularity, I think