Another (roughly) two weeks, another dev update! This time we’ll be talking about all the changes we did in what we internally call ‘Patch 1’. We’ve divided our work into ‘patches’, each with a distinct theme or goal, so we can work on important features that are interconnected, and our testers/players will feel a tangible sense of change each time we release a new build.
Now that the base systems have been set up, we can FINALLY begin iterating on existing systems (some of which have been needing an overhaul or redesign for MONTHS) as well as polishing features and doing some much needed user experience (UX) work.
For our first livestream, a showcase on INDIGO, a Dutch gaming event, we've been busy polishing things up as much as we could. That meant a LOT of crash hunting, bug fixing and user experience changes (such as showing Movement Points in the UI), as well as general visual polish to make things look as not-wonky as possible. We've also re-made the demo version's story and dialogue in order for it to make a bit more sense, as well as changing the starting cinematic for the same reason. Overall the stream went very well, with Vincent doing a good job representing the team, though of course I immediately saw a (minor) bug and almost had a (major) heart attack.
We've introduced a new playable character, Boras, who was formerly a boss enemy! He will take the role of tank and bruiser, allowing players to play in a more defensive manner or jump into the frontlines, blades swinging!
After months of neglecting what I find the coolest mechanic in-game, we’ve revamped the Parley mechanic! Instead of filling a single bar that can be used once, Parley now has three segments that are filled by using abilities. Using Parley requires at least one bar, with additional bars opening more dialogue options (and thus, stronger effects). This means Parley can now be used more tactically; do you choose to save up for a stronger effect, or spend bars now for a weaker but perhaps more situationally useful effect?
Additionally, enemies also have a new Fear stat, indicating a single damage type that they are afraid of. By using the correct damage type on these enemies, you can charge the Parley meter much faster. This makes using certain abilities on certain enemy types more effective in certain situations, thus enabling a choice between more Parley and perhaps more optimal damage, buffs or utility effects.
Another system we’ve been working on is the Stealth/Threat system. We’ve christened it the Alignment system, changing the names to Chaos and Order. Chaos/Order now not only influence Ambush and First Strike, but each has 3 tiers of unlocks, each with unique battle modifiers, ranging from special Shrines to more powerful Elite enemies with greater rewards.
Moreover, Alignment can no longer be decreased: dialogue choices can increase one or the other, or both. Entering a Region increases Chaos slightly, while completing a Region increases Order slightly. Your character choices also matter: each character is.. aligned with a specific Alignment, meaning your character choices change your starting values for Chaos/Order!
As our world map has been a static image for months, we decided it could use a small facelift. We added more movement, particles and animations to the world map to make it feel a bit more alive! We’re looking for more ways to make it feel alive, so any suggestions are more than welcome!
Joe also updated the Murkfall assets in order to give them more foliage and make them feel more lived-in. Moreover, all assets were repositioned to finally line up well without clipping through our characters.
With this patch, we finally started with another optimization pass, managing to get a MUCH smoother game with a steady framerate. We identified some weird bugs with our in-game text that caused massive slowdowns when using abilities, as well as changing the pathfinding algorithms to cache their values, making them nearly instant!
Miltos has been working on improving our internal testing tools, adding new functionality to jump into Events quicker, fill the Parley meter, and a bunch of other cool and helpful functionality that will likely save us LOADS of time!
As always, more things to come, thanks for reading everyone!