Update 18: Tech Talk and Exciting Announcements!
Terrain Tech and Weather
One of our goals is to get content out to the players fast! That means more frequent content updates, new lands to explore, new trade routes, new adventure! So we strove to implement tech that allows us to create content more quickly and efficiently integrated into the game. An example of the tech can be seen in both our Terrain and Weather systems.
Warning! Tech-speak ahead...
Let's start by talking about Terrain. As you know, we are working with a hex style map. One of the things we've done to streamline content development is to assign hexes with terrain presets, such as swamps, forests or mountains. Each terrain type can then be assigned primary characteristics such as height maps, textures, basic physics, which allows for simplified world building. In addition, the hexes are also meshed to give them a certain unique look and feel. These hex presets allow engineers to take what the designers want and easily translate it into the game world. Whether we want to add an ancient, forgotten desert to explore, or remote island ruins filled with treasures and peril, this tech allows us to change one tile and change the world!
We also want to focus on maximizing player performance as well, and have developed several systems to optimize data flow. Overall, hexes will be processed in 3 x 3 chunks for basic rendering, and only the data currently onscreen is processed. Behind the screen, we will be utilizing two different styles of GPU acceleration, which will automatically adapt based on your hardware specs to ensure the best possible performance while allowing for breathtaking visual impact.
A great example of this tech in action is our new Weather system, which we were able to implement partly because of these presets. We want the weather to look and feel real, while also having a meaningful impact on the player. Our weather will be simulated to not only look realistic, but to provide for evolving weather patterns that influence other aspects of the game. Weather, along with the day and night cycle, will be an important part of each scene. For example, perhaps a player can only approach a secured location under the cover of darkness, or maybe there is a rare herb that can only be gathered during a thunderous rainstorm.
We want to hear your thoughts on how weather can be used in-game to create a more meaningful experience for players. Please leave us your feedback on the Shroud of the Avatar Forums in our special Weather thread.
Upgrades to Shroud of the Avatar Website!
Great news for those of you who have made your pledges on the Shroud of the Avatar website. We've enhanced our online store to allow you to upgrade your pledge. So if you have been itching to swap your Adventurers Pack to our new Royal Artisan pledge, now you can!
A very SWEET fan tribute!
And for those of you who have not seen this yet, we want to shout out a special thanks to Katie and Rob who baked this EPIC Shroud of the Avatar cake!
Our FIRST Google Hangout!
Finally, we have a special announcement! Tomorrow we are hosting our first Google Hangout at 3pm CST. We will be blasting out a link where you can watch tomorrow afternoon right before the broadcast and you will be able to Tweet your questions to Richard and the Shroud of the Avatar Devs at #LBSotA_Hangout. And If you can't make this one, not to worry! We are archiving the footage on YouTube and hosting even more Hangouts this week!