Weekly Dev Update: 2017 August 11th to September 29th - 2 Months of Toil


#1

Below is a big backlog of 8 weekly updates. As of today there is only 1 outstanding for October 6th. Hopefully you’ll still enjoy reading about everything we’ve been working on. Some of the feature have already been released, but there is plenty of stuff still in development.

During this period we’ve released a decent number of Testing, Live and hot fixes updates. (Not bad given many members of the team have taken holidays.)


Code - August 11th
The chisel rework continues, with all the slope shapes complete this is now working through the new chiseled sub-cube square chisel shapes.

The Threat+Aggro mechanic continues its overhaul. That’s just as well since the creatures have been learning how to navigate around the world more effectively.

The multiple character GUI is being worked through, adding switching character support. The compass system update is been working though, especially how to efficiently show other player positions at long distances. The on screen debug information is being reworked with graphs for latency and frame times to help spot glitches.

On the backend we’ve continued on the compressed chunk work. Smaller chunks means faster loading and less bandwidth.

Code - August 18th
The compass system received further polishing up, showing portals and creature threat states. We completed a range of smart stack improvements and are now working on the beacon GUI to support different permission types for other users. The GUI audio is also being updated with material sounds and further click events.

We are continuing with the advanced block shapes, adding the chiseled beveled shapes.
The threat system rework has a been completed. The elemental creatures are now coloured correctly. A player stamina system implementation is underway.

We are working on the backend to support the backer tier features this will allow us to invite the Trailblazers. Without this all Trailblazers would automatically get the status of Explore in the game and we’d not be able to differentiate between them.

Code - August 25th
We’ve spent quite a bit of time on the latest Release 172, addressing various bugs the testing version showed up and a few that slipped through.

The beacon permission system and GUI continues to be added while the compass system continued to be polished, adding farther off portals. More audio event are being added to the GUI.

For creatures we have developed a herding mechanic, initially for the wildstock, to keep them grouped together. The spitter targeting has been fixed so again they won’t shoot into walls and will also climb out of smaller holes.

The chiseled blocks update work is nearly complete. We also changed it so that most placed blocks won’t remove grass, removing the patches of soil under machines, etc. We’re continuing to optimise the Boundless server, focusing on reducing memory use, to help increase the number of users per server.

Code - September 1st
A new Stamina system has been implemented and all the GUI bars have been improved to highlight how much they have changed (by use of a trailing and animated bar.) The Combat Log has been improved to show more detailed events and help explain what is happening when elemental creatures interact with elemental weapons.

Various bugs with Objectives have been fixed, as well as bugs for portals, lighting and character management.

The ability to colour Beacon Plots to help distinguish between different beacons has had a first pass ready for design review. Any gleam block inserted into the Beacon Control will change the colour of the beacon visualisation.

The new block shape and chiseling system has finally been merged into master ready for further development, evaluation and testing.

The Live deployed version of the game has been updated twice for a range of bug fixes.

Code - September 8th
A first pass of the new Knowledge GUI screen was finished - this helps players understand recipes and ingredients. The aim is to make sure that players understand the crafting hierarchy. In the future it will be expanded to include details able status effects, creatures and more.

There were quite a few bug fixes in preparation for a new game update sometime next week.

A few more optimisations of the server have been done, so that they can better support more players on worlds.

The Stamina update made it into the master branch of the game so that it could get more testing throughout the development team.
There’s also been some work improving creature projectiles. The aim is to create a wider variety of shots to increase the variation of ranged combat.

Code - September 15th
We’ve started the implementation of in game signs, with a grey box test and skeleton GUI to enter the text. The system allows for large size greater that 1m x 1m. The Beacons are being polished up with new visualization of plots and the boarders to make them more easily understood.

The GUI is adding menu filters for recipes and the knowledge screens. This will make it easier to filter the large list of craftable items into groups: tools, weapons, etc.

For Creature the herding behaviour has been improve and will now keep groups of creatures, currently wildstock, together. This will be used to make the creature distribution more uneven, and increase the challenge of attacking wildstock - as they look after each other when you threat level increases!

We are working on delivering chunk data via a CDN. This will lower the CPU cost of users joining and moving around the world on the servers and allow users to get the data from (typically) more local CDN servers that should be faster and more reliable. This will be a big saving on the servers and will hopefully result in much faster load times for players further away from the current world servers (South America, South Africa, Asia, etc.)

Further compression of the chunk data continues which will reduce the amount downloaded and RAM used in the Boundless servers. This will make the servers more efficient.

We are also working on the back end to allow Trailblazers to join the game.

Code - September 22nd
The Signs implementation continues, with it rendering the text in world and progressing with the GUI with additional text input functionality.

The creatures spawning has been tweaked to give better per creatures ’score’ for the herd spawning and to allow higher numbers per world. Early work on creature spawn events has begun when many waves of creatures will be spawned in a small area for a period of time. We also been working on a lobbed projectile attack for the spitter to use to hit targets (you!) behind cover.

We’ve been polishing up some of the object locator implementation, this is used to place items in storage, the players hands, in the GUI and on plinths, as well a tweaking the block placement animation.

The CDN support for downloading chunk data is ready for a future Testing update. We worked on the backend to enabled Trailblazers to join the game. Further backend memory savings of the chunk data are being finalised that cut bandwidth as well as server and client RAM use.

Code - September 29th
We’ve been adding a player resurrection mechanic that can be enabled with brews and character skills. This will allow players to be revived with dramatically reduced death penalty and by other users whilst in combat.

The HUD is reworking the damage indicators to show more useful information on what damage is being taken. The work on signs continues adding more of the GUI for editing them.

We are reworking the Windows full screen mode to support borderless windowed mode, so alt-tabbing between applications should be more user friendly.

We’ve been reworking the back end of the machine and pipes to be more robust and scale better for larger contraptions. The updated chunk data compression is in Master which reduces the chunk download size by ~40%.

Design - August 11th
This week Matt has been updating all our queries to use BigQuery “Standard SQL” rather than “Legacy SQL” giving us more flexibility. He’s also been fixing the online and offline events which were being fired every time you went through a portal or warp, as well as re-working the player timeline queries which tell us how much experience, coin, etc you have after each hour of game time.

Luke has done the first pass of design for Brew and Bomb recipes, and worked out a plan for Creature and Plant drops. He’s also prepared for our first visibility round, and created some character skill templates which we can use to test different setups. In addition he’s worked with Ollie and Andy on the improved Aggro / Threat system.

Ollie has been integrating the Elemental Creatures, and making them do the right damage types including some funky status effects, as well as helping out on the Aggro / Threat design.

Design - August 18th
This week has been mainly about polishing and preparing for the next Live release.

Ollie has been working on balancing the tools and weapons, including adding lots of variation to the slingbows including some which fire multiple shots, and making repeaters much more fun. (Although this will all be ripped out in the future and moved to the Forge.) He’s also worked on the balance of creature variation on each world to make the mixture of creatures more interesting.

Matt has been working on improving the analytics for Progression and Experience gaining, both from the code side and the query side. He’s also tested and fixed many other events and queries.

Luke has done more work on the new recipes, and been working with Andy on the Stamina system. He’s also done more balance on the Threat / Aggro system. (Not sure why it’s the Thread / Aggro system this week, when it was the Aggro / Threat system last week.)

Design - August 25th
All the designers were on holiday - slackers.

Design - September 1st
This week Luke has been working with Andy on the new Stamina system which is coming together well. We won’t be releasing it quite yet though, because his other ongoing piece of work has been working out recipes for food, brews, bombs and augments (weapon upgrades), as well as designing a collection of new drops to feed those recipes. There’s still more to work out, but the aim is to release a big collection of new creature, plant and block drops for you to harvest to make these new things. We’ll aim to release the new stamina work, with those new drops and recipes.

Matt has been bringing the analytics up to scratch after the addition of multiple characters, as well as looking at upgrading the “player timeline” query, which maps how much playtime it takes you to hit levels, gain coin and gain XP. This provides valuable balancing information.

Ollie has worked out how the augments will work, these were originally ammo upgrades which we’d called “Crystals”, but will now affect the weapons themselves. They will be particularly useful for customising bombs. He’s also been integrating new chisel types to go with Luca’s additional slope shapes, and building a plan for “rolling up” analytics data into more manageable chunks.

Design - September 8th
Ollie has been working with Simon on delivering a series of updates, whilst drinking lots of tea. He’s been working with Rob to work out the presentation of damage given and received, and adjusted the resistance system to be based on chance to avoid damage rather than a straightforward reduction. He’s also re-worked mastery a little, and added skills for the new chisels.

Matt has been continuing to test, polish and improve the analytics, including preparing for updating a lot of data from our recent changes, and preparing for the data roll-up work.

Luke has been continuing to work out the new recipes, and polishing and testing Stamina.

Design - September 15th
This week we’ve been continuing to focus on reworking the recipes in the game, and adding new things to craft such as food, brews, augments and bombs, as well as the stamina system and adjusted skills. This is building towards an upcoming release where you can play with all of that.

Ollie has been adjusting a few skills, and working with Matt on analytics for XP progression with a view to balancing that system.

Luke has been coming close to wrapping up the recipes and new drops.

Rob has been working on the new Signs GUI, tweaks to the Crafting GUI and rethinking how we present Locations on the HUD.

Matt has been writing a system to “rollup” our analytics data periodically so we are querying a manageable amount of data rather than all events from all time, as well as migrating the item analytics data after Luca’s changes to the blocks which came with the new chisel types. He’s also changed the way we log skill data, and fixed various analytics bugs.

Design - September 22nd
All the designers were on holiday - slackers #2.

Design - September 29th
Ollie was working on the new balance iteration for release 180 which included changes to how much XP you earn for completing actions, feats and objectives. As well as modifying how many skill points and plots are awarded for reaching certain levels, Ollie also made changes to the total number of experience points required for each level. The final part of the week was spent supporting the update and ensuring the hot fixes went out smoothly.

Luke has continued to design and outline new recipes, drops and resources to incorporate the new props, bombs, brews and other items in development. He also started to compile a list of tooltips which should show up in the game when the player performs a certain action.

This week Rob has been looking at completing the intro logic for PC and PS4 as well as looking at improving the feedback for completing objectives after he compiled a list tasks to improve the UI after a thorough playthrough.

Matt’s work with the analytics continues, he’s been working on various bugs with the current information due to the new multiple character system. He’s also worked on improving the tracking of objectives and feats for a more accurate and informative data.

Art - August 11th
This week the art team has been busy on new progression blocks, sticker and door progression concepts.

Here’s Amanda’s door concepts for wood, stone, metal and gleam.

Jess has been concepting and prototyping wood progression blocks. We want to do a bit more exploration before sharing so expect a post on these soon.

Jim has been continuing looking at the world palettes and also corrected the scale of objects like the Crucible and Firepit when dropped.

Art - August 18th
It’s been a quiet week for the art team as Jim is on holiday and Jess was ill at the start of the week. Nevertheless, work continues on Amanda’s concepts for the Sticker system and Jess’s new wood block designs. Jess also did another pass on creature colours to go with the elemental creature work.

Art - August 25th
Jess and Amanda have continued their work on decorative props this week, with Amanda finishing up her set of concepts of Poles, Beams and Fences and Jess starting work on bringing those into the game. The initial exploratory set of concepts for Stickers has also been finished.

Art - September 1st
This week the art team has been busy working on backer item and door concepts and decorative prop grey boxing and modelling.

Here’s Amanda’s post showing her door concepts following the progression we’re using for the decorative poles.

Jess’s wooden pole models:

Jess has also created a full set of placeholder tints for the creatures which look more pleasing to play with until we implement procedural tinting.

Here’s a cool looking creature (ouch…)

That’s all for this week!

Art - September 8th
This week the art team have been working on backer tool concepts and decorative poles assets.

Amanda has nearly finalised the decorative fences concepts.

Jess has grey boxed hanging assets and modelled the wooden set of poles: Raw, Refined and Decorative poles.

Jim has been polishing up the position, rotation and scales of all items in the game. That’s items when in the GUI, held in 1st and 3rd person, dropped, on plinths, baskets and in storage.

Art - September 15th
This week has been all about decorative props and prototyping signs. More on signs soon! The original sub voxel mesh concepts can be seen here:

We also had a two day bug blitz which we find useful to have every few of months to keep on top of things.

Amanda - Fence concepts WIP. She’s re-working these to provide a wider range of fence themes.

Jess - Final decorative pole models. These are designed to be used in conjunction with blocks and decorative cross beams, decorative props (both hanging and placed) and fences.

Plain, stylish and ornate wood poles.

Plain stone poles.

Stylish stone poles.

Ornate stone poles.

Plain, stylish and ornate stone poles.

Wood and stone together.

Art - September 22nd
This week the art team has continued concepting decorative props, doors and fences.
Jess has been modelling metal decorative poles and made a start on the gleam versions.

Jim (with Andy’s coding help) has been tidying up the position, rotation and scale of all items in storage, on plinths, basket, shelves and GUI. He’ll be tidying the held items in 3rd person next.

Art - September 29th
This week the art team have been busy mainly working on decorative props and signs.

Amanda has created concepts arranging decorative poles, doors and fences in their relevant material tiers. We think they’re looking pretty good.

She’s been concepting signs to fit with the new tiling sign system that Luca has been working on over the past two weeks. The plan is support a range of different thematic font themes and styles for the large signs, as if the text has been chiselled into the stone material. It’s a little experimental so we’ll need to see how they turn out.

Jess has continued modelling decorative poles. Here’s the plain gleam poles in game.

Plain and stylish poles using ruby tint.

Here with an emerald tint.

Jim has provided a 3rd person resuscitate animation for Andy who has been developing this feature this week. He also softened the visual effect around the Warp border to make it more consistent with the portal and also continued working on positioning held items in 3rd person.

That’s all folks!


:vulcan_salute:


Creature Randomisation
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#2

#3

Sorry for my nitpicking but you should stop call this “weekly dev update”. It’s (to be honest by far) not weekly.

@james: you still did not answer some of my questions (here). I already asked you on steam some weeks ago.


#4

I really like all these changes guys! :slight_smile: It’s always nice to have more info about the new features.

However I’d love to finally see someting new added to the game. It’s not like things aren’t changing. I know development is hard and it’s sometimes neccesary to balance things, add more variety, but in my opinion, you should focus on more cheap features, and with enough variety improve them.

I love all these monster tints, every planet feels unique, killing “chilling” hoppers is fun and they have nice death effects. It’s so cool to hear more color variations are comming, but game is not changing.

Since I joined back in february there were several additions to the game.

  • Hunting system (hunting is important for the whole community - oort)
  • Tool overhaul (makes you want to collect all tools and weapons)
  • Portals (connects community)
  • Chisel system (makes building more fun)
  • Progression system + skills (makes you want to play more because you can actually become stronger)

But beside that, there are few features in the game to make players stay for longer.
When it comes to me, I’m really satisfied with current state of the game, but when i talk with other players i often hear that game has very little features to make them stay for longer.


#5

Wow, what a massive update! I don’t think I can ever find the time to read this unfortunately, though :stuck_out_tongue:

I skimmed through some stuff but ultimately saved the art and screenshots of new stuff to put up on the archive.


#6

Quite honestly, that’s a lot of additions for how long you’ve been here. Others like myself (and obviously like @Zouls and @Havok40k who have been here from almost the start) have been here much longer, and the game is entirely a far cry from what it used to be.

I don’t know how long it’s going to take to reach 1.0, but I find it amazing at how much progress has been made already. I realize how difficult game development is, so I applaud Wonderstruck for having followed through with all that has been done with Boundless so far.

Obviously concerns do lie well-founded in investing in an unfinished product, especially one that seems to be taking quite some time like others have observed with this game, but I see now how utterly time consuming a project like this must be. The scale of it is simply massive, truth be told. I’m just trying to remain patient and hopeful that some day this game will be all that we want it to be.


#7

Don’t discount the impact that bug fixes and performance enhancements make on keeping people around longer. They may not be interesting on paper, but they have a huge impact on player retention and.


#8

This is my feedback :slight_smile: Boundless needs more features to make players busy. 5 different types of doors, 30 different pillars, new monster tints won’t make this game better than it currently is.
They will only make it more interesting.

If I were a developer I would focus on adding more time engaging features before decorative props. However I fully support what they are doing. They know what is the best for their game.


#9

It’s always exciting to read these! Seeing those poles turn from concept to in game models right after this big chisel overhaul has my brain over clocking on new things to build :smile:

I’m really intrigued abt the beacon color customization as well, sounds real useful (and inserting different gleam for different colors is genius!) But that resurrect skill is probably looking the most tasty, being the start to a genuine support/medic role.


#10

Hi @Karokendo

Definitely!! We want features that keep players in the game! So it’s on open question for discussion:

What does everyone think should be the focus to increase player engagement and satisfaction?


#11

some sort of new feature, I’m not really sure, maybe a more in-depth tutorial for players along with a new feature


#12

Will this be the same with hammers, axes and shovels, or just with slingbows @james?


#13

(Whilst it’s still a work in progress) the plan is for all specialisation to come via the Forge.


#14

Awesome. I think that’s a cool idea. However, will there then be anything to differentiate the different gems and, eventually, specials? Like maybe a certain gem could require less items to get a certain specialty?


#15

ui ui ui, I like what I’m reading. It’s great to know what you guys work on behind the scenes.
(My first dev update, as i joined less then 2 months ago xD)

But wait, wait, wait …
I am seeing this correctly?
3 Doors, Fances and Poles per Material? - 12 in total?
With all the different color variations of the planets?
Which means with 50+ planets on 1.0 we could have more then 600 differert door, fance and pole combinations?
oh my gawd! head esplodes


#16

Mind blown :exploding_head:


#17

Mind is, indeed, blown :exploding_head::exploding_head:


#18

A solid City and cooperative/team system, Titans, Dungeons, Raids … I’m not interested in “building only”.


#19

Receiving skill points beyond level 50, even if it is a massive grind to get them.
There should be no cap on skill points, no maximum at all. Even if it takes a full year to enable all skill points beyond level 50, that would keep me playing !


#20

But then there’s no specialisation, everyone could do everything (in the end), which isn’t what Boundless is meant to be about? It’s meant to be co-operation with others and working together to get what you can’t (efficiently at least), isn’t it?