The big five two! That’s a year’s worth of weekly updates for Vizaris. In some ways it feels like yesterday, in other ways it feels like a lifetime ago. This week we’ve got another set of little tweaks, additions, and improvements, as most of the time spent was working on the village.
We’re really looking forward to adding the village to the game as it represents such a major leap forward for the game. Unfortunately, because most of the time was spent of the village, there wasn’t any time for any major area revisions of the landscape, but that’s okay – the village will be a much better addition.
This week's additions
Significant Sky and Lighting Update
We changed updated and improved the sky and fog once again, this time in preparation for adding more variable weather events to the game. The new sky system comes with some significant color and lighting improvements, and includes cloud shadows, better moon-light, and more.
Time of Day color tinting
We also added a system which slightly adjusts the post-process tints to be cooler during the night and morning hours, and warmer at mid-day and evening.
New Dolfog Sounds
The Dolfogs were giving a completely new compliment of sounds, which give the creature a significantly new and different feel.
Crickets at Night and Evening
The soothing sounds of crickets trying to attract a mate now plays at evenings and night time, just to remind you that it’s definitely night time. Just in case you couldn’t tell by the missing sun. Such ambiance!
New Exploration Music Track
We added another music track which plays while the player is exploring the overworld. This should help provide a little more musical variety while playing the game.
Tweaks to Player Movement and Collision
Some minor adjustments were made to player movement, collision, and speed, which should make the player feel a little more grounded in the world.
Improved: HUD Text removed behind menus
HUD text, like “Press E to Activate” no longer appears on the screen while menus are open.
Improved: HUD Ping Text
The display for HUD Pings, such as when you discover a location, have been significantly improved, making them more readable, and more noticeable, without being annoying.
Improved: Personable Conversation Menu
Further tweaks were made to the personable conversation menu, helping to better frame the NPCs, and reduce screen movement. Previously the screen would track both the player’s head position and the NPC’s head position, making it quite barfy. Now it only tracks one head, making it more stable.
Fixed: Respawn Button
The respawn button will now properly function all the time. After the controller support update, this button could, and often would get stuck, and leave the player unable to properly respawn.
Fixed: Multiple music tracks playing at once
Fixed a bug that could allow two or more music tracks to start playing at one time under a certain scenario.
Fixed: Tab Key
Fixed an interface bug related to the way the Unreal Engine handles the TAB key and menus. The TAB key being the most easily accessible way to open the inventory/UI Shell, other than pressing the I key.
Fixed: NPCs remain in focus when bartering
NPCs will now remain properly focused with the “personable conversation menu camera” while the player is bartering. Previously the camera would move back to default position.
Fixed: Conversation menu properly opens after barter
The conversation menu will now properly re-open after closing the barter menu.
Backend: Interactable Doors
We now have the code to properly open and close doors. It might not sounds like a big deal, but the reason we added these doors was for the Village, which currently needs doors. Previously we didn’t need doors, because it was a seamless world and we were the only ones walking around the village – but as the village draws nearer to release we need to put in doors for the sake of both players and NPCs.
Backend: Conversation Checks
Expanding on last week’s improvements to the conversation system, it’s now possible for us to easily add virtue checks to conversations. So for instance, we can now allow additional conversation options if the player is really smart, or really strong. The ability to do this quickly and easily is crucial, as that ultimately means that we can add more of them to the game.
Backend: Conversation Greetings
We setup support for NPCs having a variety of greetings, based on their current disposition with the player.
The game now properly has support for a calendar system, which more importantly means that it understands the concept of an ingame date. This will be useful for all sorts of things eventually, such as changing seasons, holidays, weekend events, and so on. The length of a Vizaris year was designed around gameplay, so the length of seasons and a year was setup so that eventually it’s all very predictable and gameplay friendly; rather than the real world where seasons drag on for too long and then you starve during winter. You can see the current ingame date in the upper right corner of the UI shell.
Backend: Work on NPC Schedules
A significant amount of work was done on NPC schedule setup. This feature it’s fully complete yet as it’s very significant, but it’s one of the last major obstacles for the addition of the village to the game. The schedule system allows NPCs to move around the village at different times of day. Go to work, take a lunch break, go back home in the evenings, meet their secret lover for a tryst at 3am, and so on.
Backend: Work on Village
Work on the village consumed all of the level design work this week. Some pretty significant advancements were made, with several thousand objects being placed. The exterior of the village is nearing completion. This coming week, more work will be done in this area..
And that concludes this week’s update. Programming and level design is going to continue to focus on the village, which means next week’s update will likely be more of the same as this week. We’ve got a bunch of interiors to fill with objects, a bunch of NPCs to finish writing and giving schedules to, and a ton of little cleanup tasks.
That being said, I really, -really- want to get the village ingame, so we’re likely going to be focusing one hundred percent on finishing up the village this month. It will mean so much to the game once it’s added, and so much more moving forward.