Weekly Dev Update: 2017 November 17th to 2018 January 19th - 8 Weeks of Impactful Sculpting


#1

Since our last Weekly Dev Update we’ve released some impactful :drum: features and improvements. The focus of these releases was to make the combat more challenging, scalable, varied and fun. The Meteorite events allow players to opt into more significant and challenging combat. The events scale between world difficulty and locally engaged players.

The other main development focus has been building up to a significant “Crafting and Resources” update that will rework the entire crafting tree, and also introduce Bombs and Brews. Bombs are the mechanism for you to apply status effects to other creatures and players, whereas Brew can be applied to yourself. We’ve already started releasing foundations for this feature release mainly with the introduction of surface resources that complement the in-block resources (coal, ores, gems, etc). Expect to see a Testing release of the Crafting and Resources in a couple of weeks.


Weekly Dev Update - 2017 November 17th

Code

  • There was a ‘bug blitz’ to tackle the high priority issues, with some of the common crash fixes rolled out in an update to the live game.
  • The HUD notifications for game events continues, adding the beacon low fuel warnings.
  • The HUD and GUI have been optimised to reduce frame rate drops that could occur when certain events triggered.
  • The implementation of the initial game flow is underway, that will ultimately remove the current loader and the way sign-in occurs.
  • The creature combat update is iterating on the behaviours and balance, including updating the death ray.
  • Creature targeting is getting an overhaul so they can better target moving targets (i.e. you).
  • The creature will also now go ‘quiet’ when they are unable to get to their target, meaning they will lurk quietly outside your house.
  • The regeneration of the world is being updated to support new resources. Where the large plants were will now generate a range of new types.
  • We are implementing more efficient loading and saving of entities data to allow the server to cope with larger numbers of users.
  • The rendering optimisation for complex scene continues with focus of the DX11 shaders.

Design
This week Ollie did something unforgivable… he nerfed/rebalanced the prestige value of Gleam and now all the former mayors and gleaming settlements are frantically trying to get back control! Apart from changing the entire world, Ollie has been doing a lot of project management stuff and ensuring the next and future updates of Boundless are on course to deliver all the features for 1.0. Luckily Ollie spent some time this week reviewing the new creature combat changes to let off some steam, which led to him making some changes to how many health points you receive per skill-up of Vitality.

The task for creature combat grows but the end is in sight! This week Luke has been implementing feedback from Ollie and the team after a few playtests. The fire rate of creatures has been increased and the damage is now unique per attack instead of a fixed value, so keep an eye on the attacks in future. He’s now looking at upgrading the elemental and special versions of the creatures to make them a bit more unique in combat, specifically they can apply buffs to themselves. Oh boy!

As well as creature combat, Luke has been overseeing the new in-game information section which will present the user with Notifications, Hints, Tips and Contextual messages which is being implemented by Marc. Hopefully all areas of the game are covered so players will have a message telling what is going on or how to use a certain item in future.

Luke has also been coordinating with Luca (not himself, it’s confusing we know) to see how the new surface resource spawning system would work for the new resources coming soon.

Rob has been Rebooting this week. Reboot is what we’re calling Resurrection now, so he’s been reviewing the UI presentation and the icons presented to the player. He’s also been reviewing the machine wear UI and figuring out the best way to present it to the player.

The final part of the week has been looking into a more unified way to show health bars so they are consistent and easier to understand.

This week Matthew has been showing off his world creating skills and has been looking at making home worlds which are a bit more safe and homely for new players. This led to trying out a global water system which means rivers can connect even though they are in different biome configurations. Very cool indeed!

Art
Together with the rest of the team we did a two day’s bug blitz at the start of the week. It felt good to clean up various visual niggles and model intersections that we have been living with for a while. With Andy’s help Jim has made better 3rd person impact animations whilst locomoting and placing torches looks nicer in 3rd person too. Jim has also been looking at various VFX bits and pieces to support the Creature and Combat release.

Amanda has been iterating the creature trophy totem concepts so they will stack better in 3D.

Jess has continued adding to the library of creature trophy items.


Weekly Dev Update - 2017 November 24th

Code

  • The HUD tips and notification have been further polished up.
  • The health bars are being reworked to better communicate the levels of creatures.
  • The new player flow progresses working through the, login and region select.
  • Creature and combat continues worthing through the details of the new creature weapons and attacks.
  • The Event has had effects added to the meteor to help readability and the attack waves are being polished up.
  • To help productivity a hot reload of data files has been implemented, which make testing changes faster.
  • We’ve been optimising the rendering of our DirectX 11 backend, with ~10% improvement in complex scenes.
    *The backend data formats have been reworked from JSON to mspack to improve performance when serialising data to the databases.

Design
Ollie’s work on the project management side of the game development continues but in between schedules he has reworked the damage system to include new damage types and renamed existing damage types. He has also been working on improving the Shadow Effect skill so it should work as intended.

Luke has continued to make improvements to creature combat and now Spitters and Cuttletrunks will now use different abilities on different worlds and this will be shown in their visual appearance. For example a generic spitter will use attacks 1 and 2 but an exotic spitter will use attacks 1, 2 and 3. It’s a way to procedurally generate creatures and their abilities. New status effects have been implemented for the creatures along with UI presentation for each effect. The tool tip system is complete and all the information should be presented in the game in a future update.

Luke has started looking at the new meteor event system and working out what types of the creatures will spawn per event and the how the difficulty will scale.

Matthew has continued working on new biomes and using existing prefabs to generate interesting worlds.

Rob has been looking at a new way to present creature health bars so each segment indicates a consistent value. Some improvements have been made to the crafting machine and tax information on plinths to clearly provide information which was not so obvious to players. On top of that Rob has been looking at a new way to categorise the recipe list instead of a standard A-Z format.

tax1
tax2

Art
This week the art team have been with VFX and decorative props.

Jim has been making VFX for the meteor event working with Fooks and VFX for creature attacks. Soon to be revealed in a future creature combat release.

Amanda has been getting up to speed with the weather effects system making new particle types.

Jess has made a start on decorative beam models.


Weekly Dev Update - 2017 December 1st

Code

  • Work to bring the login and create-account dialogs into the main game within a new startup flow is mostly complete, but still requires careful testing.
  • The server code has been optimised by storing some of the data it uses more efficiently.
  • Also some long-standing memory leaks were found and fixed meaning that servers will be more stable (the live servers have been updated with these leak fixes already.)
  • There’s also been work to improve and fix bugs with the HUD, progress the meteor event presentation, and make creature combat more engaging.
  • Some investigations in improving networking performance have also been started.

Design
Ollie has been reviewing the progress made with meteorite events and how the creatures feel in combat. During the playthrough it was decided that the level for creatures will no longer be shown and instead a string or name will be shown instead to showcase the creatures difficulty to the player. He’s also made changes to the weapons so the projectiles now fire towards or through the crosshair instead of going beneath it. The aim is to make targeting with a slingbow more reliable when using the crosshair to aim.

This week has all been about polishing and refining the combat between players and creatures for Luke. As we’ve improved the prediction for creature projectiles we’ve needed to reduce the amount of damage done by creatures as they’re now a lot harder to dodge than they were previously. Make sure you get your healing brews stocked up! Work has started on developing unique waves for the new meteorite event.

Matt has been updating all 136 of our pre-made biomes this week and he’s been looking at ways to improve the look and use of materials. He’s also created new biomes for mid and higher tier worlds.

Rob has been split between icons for hints and contextual messages as well as at looking improvements to the Places menu.

Art
Jess has added to our library of decorative beams.





Jim has been working on VFX for the cuttletrunk beam attack. A powerful burst of destructive plasma. He’s also been providing animations for Luke’s work on the creature attacks and VFX supporting Fooks on the meteor creature event.

Amanda has rolled her sleeves up and launched into all things weather related.


Weekly Dev Update - 2017 December 8th

Code

  • This weeks been focused on getting the feature ready for the Testing update.
  • The creature combat, attacks and effects were polished up.
  • New prediction logic was implemented to make them more responsive and predictable on the client.
  • The Event added more effects to help readability of the meteor strike.
  • The GUI continues to implement the start of game flow, mainly reworking the Mac login.
  • The hits and tips were polished up and optimised. The logic for learning to tips and moving them into a Knowledge GUI is still required.
  • For the backend we worked on some of the admin tools to help with larger universe management.
  • The DirectX rendering was further optimised to help more complex scenes.
  • We are also adding a version check to help notify users when new versions of the client are required.

Design
Ollie has been working with Andy and Luke this week to help test and balance the new creature combat features for the update as we prepare to get it ready for public release. They also generated data for the different creatures and patterns used in a meteorite event.

Rob has mostly been working on planet markers, updating the storage design and bit of work on the action log. Rage and Focus now have new icons and will appear when the feature is added to the live version of the game. Rob has also been looking at polishing up the new entry flow to the game by adding additional options for players to tailor their experience before they start the game. The last task was to update the request basket and shop stone UI to make it harder for players to accidentally buy damaged tools.

Matthew spent some time this week investigating an issue where player appeared to have lost some plots from the game. He also created analytics to trick the new meteorite event system to help the developers see how they are working and how players are interacting with them. He has been creating new biomes and prototyping different ideas suggested by the team. Some examples here:


Art
This week the art team have been supporting the creature combat release, hope you enjoy it!

Jim has been working on meteor and creature attack VFX.

Jess has continued creating decorative beams. Below is ornate stone beam.

Amanda has continued developing weather effects.


Weekly Dev Update - 2017 December 15th

Code

  • This week has mainly be focused on updating our live version of the game, polishing features and addressing some niggling bugs!
  • We’ve made good progress polishing Meteorite Creature spawn and improved creature attack, continuing to add more effects and audio for the Creatures and their attacks. All in all giving a more compelling combat experience.
  • The GUI sign-up and sign-in flow has been implemented for the Mac and is now also working on the PlayStation 4. Additional feedback and fail cases are being added for user interactions.
  • We are reworking the client chunk cache to better support all platforms and be more robust.
  • As a visual bonus the eclipses of the sun and moon have been implemented, let us know if you spot one!

Design
This week in design we’ve mostly been play testing and balancing the creature combat and meteorite features before the system went from testing to live. The combat and events have been further balanced, bugs related to the events have been resolved and analytics were set up to provide key information which is helping us to understand how to balance the system further.

Art
This week Jim has been supporting the Meteorite release with VFX and testing. Hope you enjoy!

Jess has continued with decorative beams.



Amanda has been continuing with making new weather and ambiences effects using the weather effects system.


Weekly Dev Update - 2018 January 5th

Code

  • The first week back we been fixing a number of issue from the previous release for an upcoming patch.
  • The meteor event continues expanding, adding beacon rules to avoid being able to beacon the meteor.
  • The new sign in flow is nearing completion and ironing out the last issues.
  • The HUD is adding additional markers to make it easier to navigate to locations.
  • We are also updating the information about non-combat actions, such as mining.
  • The resource generation for new prop meshes (rocks, more plants etc) continue.
  • We also been updating the backend servers.

Design
After the festive break most of the the team have returned to work and started working on 2018 features.

Ollie has been reorganising the schedule to make sure everyone has tasks assigned to them for the start of the year and he’s working with Jess to arrange a list of assets which need to be generated for the new recipes and resources.

Luke has been working on the balance for surface resources to get a nice distribution of the different resources on the world surface and in caves. He’s also created several new objectives to help players understand new features coming soon.

Rob has been updating the flow for how players use the worlds menu to make it easier to understand and organise what worlds, settlements and beacons you currently follow.

Art
This week the art team is working on the resources and recipe release.

Jim has been iterating despawn VFX, listing visual polish bugs and looking at lighting and eclipse issues.

Jess has been working with Ollie creating a final list of food and drink items. She’s also been supporting Luke was adding natural surface resources like rock stacks, dripping fungus, stalagmites etc into the spawning system. She has also continued with decorative beam assets.



Amanda has been continuing building our ambient weather systems library.


Weekly Dev Update - 2018 January 12th

Code

  • The new sign in has been completed.
  • The GUIs mainly working through the Places screens, additional navigation options and information.
  • The meteor event continues to tweaks the rule set, for example who is eligible for drops and the spawn logic. We’ve also been doing a lot of little tasks, such as fixing some exploits, and bug fixes.
  • The reworking of the local cache continues to improve behaviour across all the platforms we support.
  • We’ve been updating the server deployment to help scale up in the future.
  • We’re also looking in to performance on lower end machines.

Design
Ollie’s week has been busy focusing on project management with James and organising the data for the new recipes.

As we prepare for the next major update Luke has been looking at the reboot (death and resurrection) system, the stamina and hunger system and the new skills for rage and focus. Between that he’s started investigating and outlining how the intro flow of the game will work and kick starting the integration process.

Rob has been making changes to the worlds menu as a well as improving how the main notification UI appears. Part of the changes has introduced a new feature where players can tag other players in the game and track them on the compass.

Matt has continued his work on Biomes and the universe structure. Here’s some new work in progress biomes. (Note the block colours are placeholder for testing only.)

Toxic Cliffs


Tiny Islands

Thorny Forest

Colourful Mountains


Sliced Sky

Grand Chasm

Art
This week the art team has been a bit light with illness.

  • Jim has been animating consume animations for food and brews.
  • Amanda’s continued with ambient weather effects.
  • Jess is nearing the end of the beam decorative props. She’s also started on new food and drink concepts for the future recipes release. More of this next week.


Weekly Dev Update - 2018 January 19th

Code

  • Creatures spawning in caves has been added, with subsets of the creatures selected.
  • We’ve been prototyping a procedural clouds system as part of a richer weather system.



  • We are developing a new version of the sanctum and have been adding a new workflow to improve the iteration process.
  • There are lots of small tasks at the moment, rounding off features and supporting localisation.
  • The World Builder has been adding extra options to support the world generation exploration.
  • Scripts to support the large scale world generation and universe deployment continue.
  • The GUI buttons continue to be polished up. The resurrection GUI is being added.

Design
More project management and recipes tweaks for Ollie this week. He’s also started experimenting with the Forge and explaining how the system will work to the team. No one understands it - so it must be good!

Luke has been looking into the prototyping the new Sanctum as well as reviewing the current set up for surface resources. He’s also been working on some new objectives to highlight areas of the game some players are missing and fixing several issues.

Rob has been working with Ollie and Marc this week to establish the UI style and flow of the Forge. He’s been looking at a new layout for the character profile screen.

Matthew has continued to review the current biomes, making new ones and working with Luca to develop new and interesting techniques for generating new biomes.

Sawtooth Mountain


Gleam Forest


Floating Paradise


Art
The week the art team has been working on beams, new brew items, natural resources and ambient weather.

Jim has been working with Michael on the tinting of the natural resource props. Rock props take on the colour if spawned on a rock block. Any other block type the colour taken is sand. He has also been making spark VFX to show wear on machines.

Jess has completed our library of beam assets for release 1.0.

She’s also made new concepts for cups to hold brews. We’ve decided to use the current bottles in the game for other types of liquids. More info on this in the future.



Amanda has continued building an arsenal of weather and ambient effects.


:lester: :four: :evergreen_tree:


2018 Release Status
Constant rain - please make it stop! or at least give us more control!
#2

#3

Huge fan of all these world related changes :smiley:

!!!

Woah, awesome use of dark crystal

All these biomes are awesome :smiley:

One suggestion might be to mix in some high frequency (fractal) noise (and/or distortion) for many of the surface substrate layers, so it feels a bit more natural. Right now they look pretty polka-dotty (at least from afar)

Can’t wait to play!


#4

Dark glass!! Can’t wait to actually get this for real! Also clouds… :heart_eyes:


#5

OMG so so much! I don’t even know where to start!! clouds! amazing new bioms! fire storms!
I’m kind of freaking out right now!


#6

Special shoutout to @jesshyland on completing all the decorative beams for 1.0! I know she’s been working on them a while and they’re looking awesome.

Huge fan of the world changes I see here as well. Can’t wait to get back home and try stuff out.


#7

What he said!


#8

City of Steam needs those iron rails!!


#9

Weather effects will make things so cool from what I see. :heart_eyes:


#10

<heavy breathing>

Can’t wait to see the new weather effects in-game. It looks like they will go a long way in making the environment appear more alive. Are there any plans to make snowing in desert biomes less frequent?


#11

Hunger!!! Fire rain!!! This game is going to be sick :heart_eyes:


#12

So many awesomes, that gleam forest is a thing of beauty.


#13

1 fantastic GIF


#14

It all looks amazing! Can’t wait to see it in action! Keep up the good work! :smiley:


#15

Soo cool! love it!!


#16

I wish I could give this a million likes. It’s so exciting!!! All those cool weather and ambient effects are going to make it gorgeous! The wiggly light worms are so pretty, and the drunk fireflies (and all of it). And that terrain looks cool, and terrifying and beautiful. Every place you travel is going to be so unique in the way you traverse it. The sliced sky is making me hope for a jet pack, or some way to not be so vertically challenged. Crazy awesome! I want to live on the tiny islands and build cute arched bridges connecting them, and maybe make some ruins or a zen garden, or statuary on their little domes. I really appreciate the little tip windows and warnings that pop up. They are small enough to not be in the way, and helpful. I am excited to craft decorative beams and totems and collect the fungi and new plants. Can we replant the new plants or does it just become a crafting material? I have dreams of a dark cave abode lit by a carpet of glowing mushrooms and a few floating gleam lanterns. What is this mysterious and amazing centraforge? I bet it’s going to make life more exciting.


#17

This dev update is amazing :sob: Good job! I love all of it

Bonus:
Mountains of the DEVIL. Absolutely impassable.
image


#18

Awesome. Looking forward to it all!


#19

unless you travel along rather than across :wink:


#20

“One suggestion might be to mix in some high frequency (fractal) noise (and/or distortion) for many of the surface substrate layers, so it feels a bit more natural. Right now they look pretty polka-dotty (at least from afar)”

Good point. I’ll review this on the next biome pass. In some cases a polka dot look is desirable but I may be over using it!