Tuesday, July 3, 2012

AVWW Post-Release 1.109 "Of A Moody Temperament" Released!

This one is yet another biggie.  We're certainly having a goodly streak of those.

Procedurally Random Spells Get A Lot More Varied
As of last night, it was 48 distinct possible modifiers of 18 unique kinds, according to Keith.  Then he went and added a few more today, so I'm not sure what we're up to.  But it's a heck of a lot more than our last release for the modifiers, so spells should be feeling more varied and interesting (and balanced, come to that) than ever.

Also as part of this, spellgems of higher rarity now also automatically upgrade themselves for a few levels.  So that legendary spellgem you craft is good for a lot longer now than it used to be, which is way more fun.

Enchants Rework
This was one of those things that we'd wanted to do back in 1.1, but had to push to 1.2 for time reasons.  There are certainly plenty of things like that in 1.2 that are being pushed to 1.3, as an aside.

Anyway, the idea now is that you no longer get better enchants as a reward for collecting a lot of that kind of enchant.  That led to farming and other various problems that players pointed out to us.  Instead you now get higher-level enchants as your world level goes up, which is a lot more consistent with other games of this general nature.

Oh yeah, and Seeker enchants (those that remain) now work the way that everybody always supposed they were intended to.  Rather than just increasing your chances somewhat, using a Seeker enchant now gives you 100% odds of getting an enchant for a given body slot.

Peaceful Retirement
Previously, if you wanted to choose another character via the character select screen, somebody was going to have to die.  Yikes.  It's long been requested that we have a way of doing that which doesn't involve the death of favored prior characters.

Enter the Glyph Retirement Scroll, which you can find in stashes very occasionally.  These will let you basically leave your current character in town and get a new character of your choosing.  Best of all, that character will take up a profession like any other NPC.  In other words, this provides a new way of getting NPCs aside from completing missions.

And, like any other NPC, of course you can use a Glyph Transfer Scroll to get back to that old character and bring them out of later retirement if you want.

Lots More Work On The Citybuilding System
I had hoped to have this done today, but I suppose we all know how that goes.  I'll be working tomorrow morning hoping to get it closer to finished. 

There are some cool features that I'd planned for 1.2 (like the ability to see world map buildings from the side view in their respective regions; and the ability to have multi-character dispatch missions) that are simply going to have to wait for 1.3.  But that's okay, there was more planned for 1.3 with the citybuilding anyhow, and that will fit in nicely there.

As of this version, NPCs still have no point, but they now have temperaments, moods, require food, get homesick, and a host of other things.  Basically all of the simulation subsystem is in there now for their general existence, except for starvation when food consumption get critically high compared to food production.

What Remains With The New Citybuilding System For 1.2?
At this point you're able to collect profession books and gifts for NPCs, and the underlying stats are all in place to be affected by both of the above.  However, the interface for actually giving NPCs these kinds of gifts is not yet in place, so that's one thing I have to finish.

Also as mentioned, that whole "starving when food supply/demand is way out of whack" thing still has to be done.  Along with retroactively adding farms to older worlds so that your existing NPCs don't starve.

Then the last big thing remaining is the Dispatch system interface itself.  That relies heavily on all the underlying simulation logic that has already been completed for the NPCs (an NPC in a poor mood won't even go on a dispatch mission, or will have worse changes of success/survival; same with profession skill). 

Then of course there's yet more simulation logic for the dispatches themselves, and that's something that is partly done under the hood and yet doesn't have any interface available at all so far.  Keeping this to single-NPC dispatches for now (and leaving the multi-NPC dispatches for 1.3) should hopefully keep it simple enough that I can finish off that interface and simulation tomorrow.

The Release Plan For 1.2
Our plan for having 1.2 polished and "final" is still this Friday the 6th.  We had planned a feature freeze today, but instead that's going to slide into tomorrow some with the last of the citybuilding stuff.  We don't plan on releasing 1.2 until Monday the 9th, however.  That gives players a weekend with the final release candidate, and we'll only make any changes to 1.2 after that point if something critical is found.  After that, starting on Monday we'll be plunging right into work on 1.3.

Between 1.0 and 1.1 there was an entire 40 day span, so this might seem a bit sudden, but 1.1 was not only deep changes but also wide (touching almost every part of the game).  The changes in 1.2 are deep, but much narrower -- just touching things like tiers (now levels) and citybuilding, etc.  Most of the infrastructure and balance hasn't had to change, and we're also not dealing with a bunch of pre-1.0 bugs that only got discovered once there was a wider audience this time, either.

Anyhow, the triumvirate of major new 1.2 features -- linear levels instead of tiers; procedural spells; new citybuilding -- are substantial enough that we don't want to get into a cycle where it takes another few months for those changes to find their way into the hands of players not using the latest beta.  It really feels like we're hitting a tipping point for the fun factor of the game with these changes, so I guess we're understandably eager to get them out to as many people as possible as soon as possible.

And to that end, that's why if there's something that is hampering your fun factor with the new system, please do try to let us know what we might do to be able to help you.  I mentioned the coming dispatch missions for specific materials in particular because I think that will solve one current issue, for example.

More to come soon.  Enjoy!
This is a standard update that you can download through the in-game updater itself, if you already have 0.500 or later. When you launch the game, you'll see the notice of the update having been found if you're connected to the Internet at the time. If you don't have 0.500 or later, you can download that here.

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