We kicked off the New Years with another month filled with feature improvements and upgrades. We'll cover some of the highlights and then go into the monthly build notes.
The biggest news of the month was the implementation of our new GUI. This is still a work in progress, and is expected to make up a good portion of next month's notes, as well. Many of the windows in the new GUI can be resized and will automatically adjust and fill out grids based on how you size it. It supports user defined tints, and while going through the upgrade we have made a number of improvements to the functionality which are documented in the build notes below.
Stealth also received an overhaul. Most of the detection code has been rewritten. There are now numerous modifiers that go into the calculation including the time of day, if you are standing in a shaded or hidden location, and proximity in addition to the skill and perception based methods that were already in place.
January was also a good month for increasing the size and talent of our team. Adam Reynolds, an industry veteran, formerly of 38 Studios joined us as a level designer and we brought on another talanted character artist, Ivan De Gregori. In addition, we brought on Steven Coltart as the lead musician for the project. The combination of he and Dan Graham resulted in 18 new musical tracks this month. We made a number of improvements to the music system to accommodate these tracks. Adam hs already been hard at working helping to improve our world and we look forward to sharing some of Ivan's work in February with everyone.
A lot of work went into a new website design as well and it is just about ready to launch. We will have details here shortly on the new website along with the changes and improvements the website will bring with it.
From there we darkened the nights and added flashlights, implemented a variety of new generated mission types, implemented a military perks system, added medical robots, innate NPC abilities, a new type of support-based NPCs, and much more. You can find all of the details in the notes below.
Abilities and Skills
- Stealth has received a large overhaul, see the Stealth section of these notes for further details.
- You will no longer start the game with Stand, Crouch or Prone buttons on your action bar. You can still manually place these on your action bar if you wish, but the tutorial guides you through the keyboard shortcuts for them instead, as these are more performant for the player and saves action bar clutter.
- Tracking will now only skill up if current and previous tracking locations are sufficiently far apart.
- The following abilities have new and improved descriptions: Arrogant Taunt, Meditate, Catch Breath and Mind Over Matter.
- Renamed several Blade Tactics abilities to better describe their actions.
- Removed some older ability cards where we had scrapped the abilities but the cards were still in existence.
- Music should now be better themed to your current location.
- Songs will not automatically switch every time you go in or out of combat now to avoid the annoyance when fighting large groups of mobs. There is now a randomized chance of switch.
- Combat music tracks now consist of shorter (15-25 second) looping effects so that they will not run out mid-fight.
- Music tracks should now fade in/out and blend together in a smoother fashion.
- Added new area categories for Industrial, Wasteland and Rowdy. These themes allow us to play music appropriate to the area.
- Added 11 new music tracks from Steven Coltart and 7 from Dan Graham.
Crafting and Harvesting
- Recipes now can have multiple results based on the type of ingredients used. This can be used for biproducts and other uses.
- Harvestable resources now support a maximum skill range for objects which are trivial. Currently only the mushrooms in the Training Facilities are using this feature, but support is there for additional resources if we choose to use them.
- Fixed a small bug with Chromite Ore harvestables.
- Adjusted the range at which you can harvest Brown Mushrooms.
- Calibrite and Gurthnium can now be found near the Pipeworks.
- Added new Assassination achievements.
- Implemented an improved First Person camera. This is both in the feel of the camera, and in how the gun and arms appear.
- GMs with sufficient privileges now have the capability to easily despawn and respawn all of the mobs in an area.
- You can now double click on your character when riding a vehicle to dismount.
- Wind should now affect the trees in a more realistic manner.
- Implemented new fog and water foam effects.
- Introduced many new types of trees, cliffs, rocks and foliage.
- New combat strafe animations.
- Added 6 new bladed weapon attack animations.
- Melee movement animations have been improved.
- New and improved weapon firing, muzzle and collision effects.
- New death animations added.
- Most ranged weapons now support a proper muzzle location.
Graphical User Interface
- We've introduced a completely new User Interface. This interface is still a work in progress, but is more visually appealing and more customizable than its predecessor. It is fully tintable using user defined colors, many of the windows can also be stretched to automatically adjust their layouts now. Other smaller details will be noted individually.
- You can now click dots on the minimap to select that target.
- Tooltips have been improved so that they can hold focus over a window if desired. An example of this is ability icons, if you hover over the icon it will hold focus while you are inside of the windowed area.
- Ability Icons all received a pass. They look much sharper now.
- The Nation window will now display your parent nation's logo when you open up the window.
- Status bars for players and NPCs are now ordered in the following order: Health, Endurance, Energy, Momentum.
- Adjusted the chat window so that it's minimum size is wider, and added a right buffer for the tabs so they will not protrude into the exit button if downsized.
- Focus control adjustments were made to the chat window. If you press enter the chat window should now hold focus until you click away from it or hit escape. The input put should also hold focus better.
- You can now scroll through the Chat Window using the middle mouse button when it has focus.
- Adjusted the lighting and angle of the 3d paperdoll in the Character Window.
- Trade windows now support tabs.
- Highlighting an item or fitting in your inventory will now turn on the highlight for the block behind it, making it easier to tell what you are hovering over.
- Dragging items or abilities is now more responsive.
- The ability bar page index is now properly stored on the client and should persist after a logout.
- The Mission Tracker window should now be opened by default, rather than requiring you to open your Mission Window to see it.
- Disabled radio buttons will now look like empty radio buttons.
- Repaired an issue with the Chat Window and slash command auto-completion.
- Added new row visualization options.
- Progress bars have been improved and should auto-adjust to GUI color.
- Fixed an issue with the chat window and tabs.
Items and Fittings
- Added new Flashlight items. These items mount to your weapon to provide you with a light source. This is useful with the new darker night times.
- Item and Fitting information windows have undergone significant changes, are more condensed and provide better information.
- Fixed a bug in stealth fittings that were penalizing players rather than giving them a bonus for wearing the fittings.
- Implemented the military perks system. There are new vendors available that sell military perk items. You will only be able to see the items that you are of sufficient rank to purchase, however. As you gain rank more will open up. Military perks are not tradeable.
- Military Issued Adrenaline Injections are now available at the rank of Corporal. These are not high quality, and are 33% worse than F0 crafted injections, but are easy to acquire.
- Military Issued Regenerative Stimulators are now available at the rank of Sergeant. These are 33% worse than F0 crafted stimulators, but are easy to acquire.
- Single use Medical robots can now be purchased at the rank of Sergeant Major.
- Missions that support location markers (such as the paths for patrols) will now work properly across seamless borders.
- Generated crafting missions can now support multiple results.
- Mission Waypoint arrows are again functional and will display an arrow pointing to the needed area. It should be noted that most missions do not support these by design. However, if a mission template is designed to upload the waypoint coordinates onto your computer, to mark a city or other location onto your map the arrows will properly point you in the right direction.
- The mission tracker will now automatically track more mission locations at a time.
- New Assassination missions are now available. These missions will only be available for those who have earned the respect of the underworld.
- Added a series of new Patrol missions between towns, cities and military outposts. The goal of these missions is to aid new players in finding nearby towns, as well as providing them with military advancement opportunities. These may be nation restricted based on their location.
- Added the first generated Animal Handling based mission template. This mission requires you to tame a Setlang Pup. It will only be available for those who have sufficient taming skill.
- New Seek and Destroy generated mission templates are now available which require you to destroy objects in the area such as Dens or Barricades.
- Added the first harvesting based Epic mission template. This is a five part generated mission that requires some mining skill.
- A slew of new generated crafting mission templates have been created. This allows crafters to have multiple orders at a time, and for them to be more varied. These are available for all crafting professions.
- Dr. Cline in Freedomtown is now offering a static collection mission for Calib Parasites. These parasites are a rare harvest from Calibrite Ore.
- Many new mission opportunities are available around the Hole on the Hill, The Pipeworks and Plymouth Hills.
- Fixed a bug with the Too Many Orders crafting mission.
NPCs and Species
- NPCs now support innate buffs. They will spawn with these abilities. Innate buffs can both be added as a random boss ability or as a species or spawn specific benefit.
- Added new Support NPCs. These NPCs have some combat capabilities but their primary strength is in aiding their allies, either with offensive or defensive motivations.
- Intelligent Humanoid NPCs who are not wearing bulky armor can now roll or dive out danger occasionally, similar to how players can.
- Added a number of new generated boss special abilities.
- NPCs can now stealth.
- Lesoo have all new models which support body and facial morphs, as well as skin tones. They also now support a full compliment of armor and weapon choices. This means much greater variety for the most important indigenous species. You'll see Lesoo in a variety of armor types, thin or overweight Lesoo, etc.
- Lesoo now support a much larger animation set. They can crouch, lie prone, roll, and more.
- Internal species mastery improvements.
- Tina Scott, Deanna Descamps, Nurse Weng and Gracie Binkley should no longer speak with a man's voice.
- Yeoman Stingel in Freedomtown should now only spawn when the proper engagement is active.
- Added new animations that allow NPCs to eat while sitting, type while sitting, fishing or lean against a wall.
- The default NPC melee range has been increased slightly, correcting an issue where they would stand too close to a player if they hadn't set an override flag.
- Increased the range on the NPC ranged ability: Double Shot.
- New Medical Robots are now available. They feature up to several new medical oriented abilities. Not all models support all abilities.
- Several new single use robotic pets are now available through the military perks system.
- The stealth formulas received a large scale under-the-hood to improve how the system works. The more noticeable changes are noted below.
- Stealth now supports ranged based detections, meaning the closer you are inside of the detection radius (which is configurable for NPCs) the higher your chances of being detected.
- Implemented a new shadow trigger system. This allows us to provide players with a stealth bonus when in darker locations or good hiding spots. Several dungeons were updated to support this system. Some areas will provide larger benefits than others.
- You are now more difficult to detect at night time, dusk and dawn than you are during daylight.
- The major sections of the world are all now in-game and seamlessly linked. There are still some minor areas to do, but our focus is now shifting to filling in areas with content.
- Adjusted world lighting so that night time will be much darker and day time is more atmospheric.
- Introduced a new section of Wailing Chasm: Wailing Scar. This region features a large cave complex as well as the normal assortment of cliffs and canyons that you expect from the chasm.
- Added a new bridge to the Dead City which connects the two mountain regions. Terrain and lighting improvements were also made to the area.
- Fal Sept is now a contested area wedged between the Doma Highlands, Tralus Plains and Mount Ash.
- Tralus Plains is now a contested area bordering with Kaavo, Fal Sept and Mount Ash.
- Kaavo is now connected to the Kalazar Mountains, allowing you to pass between the two.
- New rare boss and one time mission opportunities have appeared in Plymouth Hills, The Pipeworks and the Hole on the Hill.
- Added strategic cover areas to the Tikt Tunnels.
- Added new shadow trigger locations to the Tikt Tunnels, Aemar Mine and Mysterious Cave.
- Added a new path out of the back side of the Aemar Hydro Plant.
- The Aemar Hydro Plant has new fog effects.
- Turrets near the Hole on the Hill are now located in strategically placed locations.
- The OWON and FPR Training Grounds have both received a visual upgrade pass.
- Many parts of the world have received a terraforming and flora pass. The result is a better looking world.
Miscellaneous Bug Fixes
- Fixed an action-mode related bug that could occur when clicking the sky or terrain.
- Fixed a bug in the distance checking code that was causing minor performance hits.
- Character controller optimizations.
- Fixed a bug that was causing Dusk to be considered as Day time rather than night. This was causing some NPC spawning issues.
- Corrected an issue with cone activation angle abilities.
- Fixed a bug related to energy regeneration.
- Repaired an issue where some values on players and NPCs were being updated multiple times when they only needed to be once. This results in some small server and client side performance improvements.
- Fixed a spatial awareness related bug that could cause your chat window and inventory to appear empty initially when logging in on occasion.
- Fixed a bug that caused some NPCs to float off the ground if they loaded up before the physics could kick in.
- Stitched terrain in a number of places that had seams caused by a bug in the previous version of Hero Engine.
- Repaired a collision issue with some trees in the FPR Training Grounds.
- Fixed an issue with the concrete footstep sections at the Hole on the Hill, previously they were not properly aligned.
- Fixed a couple of spots where you could fall between the cliffs and terrain in Freedomtown and get stuck.
- You can no longer gain combat skill ups while fighting with Training Robots.
- Corrected an issue that was causing the server to not know when players were in action mode and to send them combat particle results they didn't need as a result.
- Fixed a bug that was causing action mode display settings from filtering properly.
- Fixed a bug that was causing first person checks on the server to fail.
- You will no longer receive invalid target warnings when in action mode.
- Fixed weapon target vertical tracking.
- Corrected a bug in the damage bubble system that could occur if you were in an intense fight. The bubbles would get backed up and take a while to appear previously.
- Fixed a bug related to FX timers.