Hey guys, as Tremir pointed out, it’s been a long while since anybody from the development team said anything. Actually, only three people currently do any development whatsoever (and even if it’s just theoretical talking) – Ranger Sheck, Pro\/idence and myself. And of us three, only ProV is actually productive. Sheck and myself are very, very busy in real-life at the moment, don’t know exactly about Sheck, but I’m approaching a crucial deadline, fast, and after hours of writing and thinking about what to write, and reading and processing information, I’m usually not really excited about doing pretty much the same stuff – albeit on a different level – for leisure.
The team currently has one large problem besides that: We do not have a pixel artist who could draw consistent NPC images. Anything we do will have to use the same old images we currently have, and with the amount of NPC groups required for Xinoloux alone, things would repeat fast.
And there is that big update, with a possible reset, although details haven’t been worked out yet.
Thing is, we’re about to jumble up a lot of things. We’re introducing a new equipment slot, a new concept, and a new skill tree using both (and two more are planned, one of them was originally planned for Xinoloux, but will likely be put onto a later content update). The new skill tree, as hinted at in the Autumn Harvest Festival, will be the long-asked-for Ranged Weapon tree, including Projectile (Long and Short Bows, as well as Slingshots) and Thrown Weapons (sorted as Light, Heavy and Snares).
We’re also completely re-organizing how actions are acquired, there will be much less actions per skill on lower levels, and others will gradually become available as people level up the skills.
Of course, both of this requires that we re-consider all foes in the game, add Ranged Weapons, if appropriate, and change their weaponry so they don’t end up with an action pool that’s too small or lobsided. It’s also a reason why I’m not doing Xinoloux yet, as I’d have to completely re-do all of it afterwards.
We’ll also downscale a lot of equipment rewards and stuff. Once the dev team formed, and began making missions and NPC groups, we approached the upper end of what’s possible, equipment- and foe-level-wise, too quickly. It’s time to correct that.
I’d personally hope for two or three other coding updates that we had talked about: The base level update (instead of using 4 characters’ melee or metatherics value, using the highest skill value per character to define if a mission becomes available), the AI update (better targeting and action choices on the AIs part, which is a complicated matter, but has proven necessary) and the variable update (technical stuff that I’d need to do something I’ve got in the back of my head… and that I had already in mind when I wrote DCI3).
The new concept, by the way, is ammo. No worries, it will only affect Ranged weapons (and the other two probable skill trees that are planned to use it), and they’ll have some features to offset that problem. Ammo will not have to be re-bought, instead we chose to go with a concept akin to that of Mount & Blade (if you know that game) – while ranged weaponry does have limited ammo, the limitation is on a per-battle basis. That way, ammo can be used as a tactical resource, and items with more ammo will have a higher value, without forcing players to constantly re-stock.
Another change we talked about was that we might change up health altogether, not forcing you to wait for regeneration anymore, but replenishing health like defense on a per-battle basis as well. This would come with some changes to defeat/fleeing, and a change to medkits, but we think it’ll be generally more enjoyable that way.
Now… Xinoloux. The problem is that this area is huge. Three towns, countryside roads, and even some small steads. There will have to be at least two new bandit groups for the roads, all towns have arenas (and I want to put at least three different groups of NPCs in there, per arena), and the (first) intro mission has three or four encounters as well.
Originally, my plan was to introduce one of the other trees using the ammo mechanism in Xinoloux, for the sake of diversity in foes, but Sheck and I decided to postpone that, so now I’ll have to see how I make the foes there diverse enough to matter with what I have available.
Even without the update, this requires a lot of items and number crunching and stuff.
That and the intro mission has to be written (it already exceeds the maximum amount of text a standard .txt file can handle on my computer and had to be split into two) and to really kick it off, at least one or two other missions within the realm should be completed for release as well.
That said, I can’t promise anything. I know it’s my fault that I even started talking about stuff we had planned, because development doesn’t always go as planned, and especially coding is a kind of work that does rely on breakthroughs and epiphanies from time to time. But since Sheck and I (and ProV, of course, as well) are doing this as a hobby, for fun, for leisure, it does suffer a lot more from a heavy real-life workload than it would be if it was a professionally organized and marketed product.
Some of this info Sheck and I talked about, and agreed that it should be shared. A bit of it, I’m not as sure. Take it with a grain of salt – make that a good cup full – as I’m talking here about what I know, and what I think. Ultimately, Sheck is doing most of the work, and only he knows how complicated which of these points are, and if and when they will be finished.