January 2021 Development Update
Oh boy, this is a long one - there is so much going on, please take a seat and enjoy the ride!
Quick Facts: (tl;dr)
- Pre-Order Store launching this week
- Backer Surveys going out in the next few days
- Flow mainnet launch imminent
- Closed Alpha launch on the horizon
January has been a wild ride so far, our network architect Max K. has been hard at work creating our brand new game server and is currently implementing Unity's AAA Multiplay architecture into our systems. Once that initial transition has been completed, we will have new cloud-servers available for both internal development as well as early community testing... Yep, Closed Alpha will already utilize this brand new technology, enabling faster connections, less network lag and a scaling potential that used to be AAA-game exclusive!
Our main artist Lena has been supporting the project as a freelancer for about one year already but is now joining B-Side Games full-time as an art director in February. Therefore we were busy handling paperwork, onboarding and defining new workflows and will start to see some new amazing graphics, designs and concepts very soon!
Harshad just came back from his long-due vacation and started work on the exciting new ability system. Once that is done we can create some cool effects and animations on stream!
Max (me) has been prototyping with the new rendering technology (see below) and preparing minting and distribution of Kickstarter rewards both on BackerKit as well as on Flow.
Next month we will share a ton of visual elements including concepts, designs and graphics once Lena has started rock 'n' rolling!
We are finalizing the Backerkit integration with the shipping details and once that is done we will send our the surveys in the next few days! There will also be a little surprise in the store and/or available as an add-on which is a collaboration with an artist you might have seen already... highly limited
State of Alpha
Given the previous development updates you probably realized that there were going to be some delays with the first playable closed Alpha. The holiday season, onboarding of new team members and the NFT delivery on Flow were all taking a little bit longer than intended in the first place.
Plus the game - from a developer's POV - went through some massive changes and advancements.
The demo acted as a "Vertical Slice" to showcase our tech and vision, but over the years and recent months it became unstable so that a proper production environment was not possible anymore. It took days(!) instead of hours to create a new level, so content production was especially painful and wasted a ton of resources.
Also some of our workflows were not designed for some features we promised in Kickstarter (e.g. 3D characters).
All in all it was actually faster and much more convenient to re-write several features.
So here I present to you our list of new and improved systems we are now working on:
New AAA architecture, multiple game-servers located in all major regions, cross-region and cross-server play, low latency, endless scaling potential
2. New game server
Instead of Smartfox2D we are now using a custom DotNet 5.0 server for most of our game-logic - this not only saves on licensing fees, it also enables much more in depth optimisation not possible before!
3. Improved backend
Account management, inventory, monsters, achievements, quests and 80% of our data has been migrated to Playfab backend which enables smooth player onboarding even without a game account and a robust backend solution.
4. Flow Blockchain mainnet
Launching on Flow mainnet now* enables us to reward our Closed Alpha players with exclusive and limited Pre-Season rewards once the Closed Alpha launches and players can complete challenges!
*Launch on Flow is imminent - stay tuned for separate announcement
5. New Rendering technique
Mixing 2D and 3D elements is quite the challenge especially since we are aiming for the old-school pixel-art look. However, shaders and matrix manipulation to the rescue!
6. FMOD Sound Engine
Based on feedback by our music and sound designer David we are switching to a new audio engine. This is less relevant from a player experience POV but makes our life easier and more convenient during development.
7. Early Closed Alpha build
Once we get greenlight by Unity to launch a development server inside their cloud system, we can invite all of our backers and those who have Alpha Access to download the game on Steam, iOS and Android through our internal channels! We do expect this to happen in February - however, due to the rewriting of game systems and technology we will slowly but surely roll out new game features over time so the very first playable version will very likely be limited in functionality but we aim to have the Flow integration done by then so that you can start earning some rewards for e.g. creating your game account, inviting your friends and testing the new battle system...
Wait a second!
New Battle System
During Kickstarter we promised a brand new battle system that should differentiate itself from traditional monster taming games and we now have finalised our design process and can't wait to create a separate blog/video in February about this specifically...
A little teaser... who needs monster types anyway if you have elements... ;)
Shoutout to Ova Magica!
Ova Magica is combining the farming and monster taming genre with life sim elements! Do you remember your favourite classic games growing up when you were younger, and more recent games which pay tribute to them? Beloved favourites such as Stardew Valley and Slime Rancher, and timeless classics such as Harvest Moon and Pokémon!