Darkfall: Developer Journals

Darkfall Developer Journal #14: Progress Report


The bi-weekly Darkfall developer journal series moves to a new day as we continue with our coverage of this game. Associate Producer Tasos Flambouras will continue his updates every other week in this space, but from here on out, it will be on Friday.

In this issue, he gives us a general development update.

Darkfall Developer Journal
Article by Tasos Flambouras (Ass. Producer, Darkfall)

Since the last journal we’ve been hard at work on testing the latest version and patching it as needed. Overall it’s very stable and there are no big problems to speak of. Time permitting I’ll try to describe some of the gameplay to you in the next update. To this effect I’ll be taking notes for the next week.

Testing is a grinding process as we’ve said many times before. A bunch of little things are getting fixed soon after they’re reported. Some of the corrections aren’t necessarily bugs but involve gameplay improvements. NPC vendor names for example have been changed to better reflect their role, spawn and quest locations have been adjusted to be more convenient for the players. Quest texts are being rewritten. Playing the game as the players will, without using enhanced characters has allowed us to experience a different perspective and to make a lot of changes to improve the starting player’s experience. A couple of examples of this is that we’re reworking how to introduce new players to the game in a more interesting way, we’ve implemented a brief invulnerability at character respawn for some seconds or until aggression, and for a few seconds after the character has been revived on the battlefield.

Content is being added and this is job number one at the moment. We continue adding effects and replacing the placeholders we’ve had in their spot. Some final animations are being worked on as far as the particle effects go. Player character animations are being optimized, and the player characters have gotten new sets of faces. Water has been improved again, and edge of water effects have been added.

Clan city structures are still being worked on. These are racially unique so there are six sets to work on. The landscapes around the clan city and clan village building locations are getting additional design for balance, fairness and in order to make them more exciting for the players. I’m not sure if we’ve talked about clan villages before. They are villages close to resources, or with a strategic position, which can be owned by the clans and operate like mini clan cities.

There are a few AI issues having to do with the AI configuration which are being fixed. Some animation blending bugs have been fixed. Animation blending as in the character jumping for example involves three different animations.

We’re continuing to make tools lessening the need for human interaction with the data which leads to less inconsistencies and more speed for the developers. We’re making more worldbuilder tools to automate production, and server monitoring tools for statistical analysis of the data.

We’re doing some work on the player action feedback display which is an intricate system that gives the player the information he needs after every action.

While all this is taking place we’re also looking into the mathematical balance of things from a design perspective. So you made a very complex world, it’s not magic that keeps it together, it’s the math. This has to do with the order of things, their function in the game, the way everything interacts with everything else. This is a very complex game with real-time strategy, role playing, and action elements all coming together and there are infinite things to consider. Just adding one of the hundreds of different types of weapons we have in the game, you need to consider and balance its’ many attributes and how those are going to work together, how it can be crafted, where it can be crafted, like which ingredients are appropriate for its attributes, where it’s going to be available, which vendors will sell it and for how much, who can use it, which monsters drop it, and which ones can use it, enchantment issues, etc. Balancing the game as much as possible before we let external testers in is one of our main concerns. We want to change as little as possible where it comes to balance after people have gotten used to things.

On the topic of external testing, we’re thinking on how to make the closed beta selection as fair as possible. We’re also looking at putting the beta registration application out. There’s nothing to announce yet on the beta front other that we’re hard at work in that direction.

I’ve asked for this journal to be moved back to Fridays but I’m not sure if it’s feasible for Warcry. I’ll try to do that Q&A I mentioned as well sometime soon.

Thanks for reading.

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