Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Valley Without Wind: Setting, Interior Generation, Explorer NPCs, and Evil Outposts

Arcen Games is pleased to show off several new additions, improvements, and changes for our upcoming survival action-adventure title A Valley Without Wind. We have a variety of items to update on this week, including interior generation, a reworking of the game's story and setting, settlement changes, implementation of new features such as Explorer NPCs and Evil Outposts, and much more.

To start, there have been some major shifts in AVWW's story and setting that we'd like to share. We are keeping the broken-earth setting and former ice age focus for the title, but the real-world future setting has been replaced. Instead the game is now set in a purely fantasy world called Environ -- taking place in the year 888. We feel that exchanging the reality-based future setting for a more fantasy/sci-fi mix (that still keeps elements from the real world) gives us a lot more flexibility as we put together the major themes of the title. More details on the new developments, including a basic timeline for the known history of Environ, can be found on our updated feature page for A Valley Without Wind.

Onward from that, we've made a rather significant breakthrough in terms of the creation and generation of AVWW's interiors. Interior procedural-generation was a troublesome task that others have solved in various ways, but which nobody seemed to have solved in the specific way that was needed for the game. So our lead programmer Chris Park has come up with a moderately new approach to the problem, basing part of his work on how the issue in a roguelike is dealt with, resulting in some very interesting and varied interior floorplans at this stage. In a month or two when it's further polished, Arcen will be releasing the C# source code for our interior generator as open source under the MIT license, so that others can make use of it. Chris has written up a technical outline in this developer journal thoroughly explaining the step-by-step process of the program for those interested.

Many other additions and improvements have found their way into A Valley Without Wind as well. The game now makes use of the helpful Explorer NPC's and the not-so-helpful Evil Outposts, there's been major progress to settlements and the Minimap, and lots of new and upgraded visuals have been added as well. We could go on all day, but the title's new animation test video does a much tidier job illustrating some of the aforementioned items. While a complete explanation on everything that's been touched on can be found in our latest Games By Design post.

For more info about the title and what else Arcen Games is working on, make sure to check out our recent interview on Gnome's Lair. A Valley Without Wind is currently targeted for official release on PC and Mac in October 2011, with a playable Beta build available to pre-order customers coming this summer.

About Arcen Games

Arcen Games entered the PC indie scene in 2009 with their cult classic AI War: Fleet Command, which was named the 40th best-reviewed PC game of the year by MetaCritic. Their second year was a busy one, seeing the release of The Zenith Remnant, the first full expansion for AI War; Tidalis, an innovative block-based puzzle with casual appeal and hardcore depth; and Children of Neinzul, a micro-expansion for AI War with all profits benefiting the Child's Play charity, of which Arcen is a platinum sponsor.

AI War's third and largest expansion Light of the Spire marked Arcen's first release of 2011, and now the company has shifted its focus and excitement to the development of A Valley Without Wind. Originally a one-man shop, Arcen Games has grown to have half a dozen part-time or fulltime contributors to its various titles. For all the latest news, media coverage, and some of our other musings, follow us on our developer and individual game pages on Facebook or on Twitter: @ArcenGames.

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