As one adventure ends, another one begins. So too have our intrepid heroes here at Soulbound Studios headed out on their next set of quests. That said, our latest quests are tightly connected to the quests of the previous adventure. You might call them quest chains. So if you haven't already, read over the previous adventure completion blog to make sure you're all caught up with where we are now.
As with any good story, the actors will no doubt tackle several side quests over the course of the upcoming adventure. But, while they may temporarily split apart to take care of independent work, the focus of this upcoming adventure revolves solidly around the completion of three main quests. Let's take a deeper look at our quest descriptions.
As discussed in our previous blog post, Release 0.4.0 focused around the creation of many new features and features areas. In Release 0.5.0, the designers and engineers will build upon the work done in 0.4.0 by assembling those new systems into the client code base, as well as implementing mechanics that received re-designs and iterations during 0.4.0.
During Release 0.5.0 we'll be taking the systems implemented in 0.4.0 and migrating them into the client code-base for use by our new pre-Alpha UE4 client. This means that by the end of Release 0.5.0 we should be able to demonstrate all of these systems working in our Prelyria client in preparation for Pre-Alpha:
I can't convey how happy this makes me. Our little team has worked hard to get here and I'm extremely proud of them. Of course, these aren't the only features we'll be working on in 0.5.0. There are still a few more that need to be implemented as well as integrated.
As we discussed in the Adventure 0.4.0 completion blog, there were several systems that got re-designs, and a few others that began their first implementation. We will continue development of those in the upcoming release. In particular, there is the updated skill system, the updated combat system, the new information and knowledge system, and the new personal destiny system.
Of particular interest is the combat system. We've known for a while that, while combat isn't necessarily a main focus of CoE for everyone, it's no doubt an area of great interest to many of our players and certainly has a huge impact on the world. While using weapons isn't the only form of PvP in CoE, it's likely the most direct and well understood. That's why it's important we get it right. We've gone through a few different iterations of our combat system already during the development of CoE and, in Release 0.4.0, we began prototyping and implementation of our newest (and hopefully final) combat system. Stay tuned for the update and release blogs to check out the new combat mechanics.
Finally, Release 0.4.0 saw the first implementation of the personal destiny system and, in release 0.5.0, we'll be taking the work we did previously and using it to drive the needs and goals of the NPCs in the world in order to create spontaneous story arcs.
With the transition away from the web-based VoxElyria client to the UE4-based Prelyria client, we now only need to support UE4. That means we can safely transition away from web-based UI technologies to UMG, the Unreal Engine's native UI framework. Of course, this does come with some re-implementation, but in the long run, being able to use UMG directly should provide us a bit more power over having all our UI being HTML/CSS-driven.
While the designers and engineers are hard at work implementing and assembling systems and designs, the art and sound guilds will be working on creating new content for the world. This includes new Prelyria-styled models, new animations, sounds & sound effects (usable in both Prelyria and CoE), and new environments.
One of the neat things about the Prelyria art-style is it allows bi-directional migration of assets during development. For example, we can take assets we've already created in CoE and lower their complexity to something suitable for the pre-Alpha client. Conversely we can use the low-poly versions developed during the pre-Alpha as "gray-box" assets in the official CoE client. Ideally, moving from pre-Alpha to Alpha for the content team will predominantly be an organized asset swap, moving from low-poly to high-poly models, low bone count to high-bone count rigs, and from simple materials and shaders to our more complex ones.
That all said, our focus in Release 0.5.0 is to create more of the world for players to explore during the pre-Alpha. We've chosen three biomes as the first to let players explore during testing. These are the Freshwater Wetlands, Semi-Arid Desert, and Mixed-Leaf Temperate Forest biomes. You already saw both concepts and screenshots of the wetlands in the 0.4.0 completion blog, as well as some concepts of the Semi-Arid desert. Here are a few more to whet your appetite while you wait for the mid-adventure and adventure completion blogs.
Mixed Leaf Forest Concepts
Semi-Arid Desert Gameplay Screenshots
World Generation is no small task, and is something we've been working on continuously for the better part of the project. But with pre-Alpha once again visible in the distance, and Map Voting and Domain & Settlement Selection rapidly approaching, our need to procedurally create the continents, settlements, buildings, and points of interest has never been higher. So in Release 0.5.0 myself, Souzou, and Raevantiel will be finishing a significant portion of the procedural world-building mechanics in preparation for the launch of Map Voting.
And when is Map Voting, you may ask? Well, as promised in the Release 0.4.0 completion blog, the release of Map Voting is just around the corner. While the news and announcement post containing the final rules and information on the map voting process will be published a few days ahead of it on the 18th, Map Voting itself will begin the 22nd... of October. So, you know, soon™.
Back at the beginning of Release 0.4.0 I said releases 4 and 5 would be the most significant of our entire development process. I stand by those words. The previous release was all about creating the systems and features necessary to make the world feel functional, and to give the alpha testers something to actually test in pre-Alpha. Release 0.5.0 is all about getting those features assembled into the new client, finishing up development of combat and similar key systems, and fleshing out the world with our new procedural world-building tools. All of this is so there's content and mechanics for our earliest testers to explore.
At the end of Release 0.5.0, the game will have finally begun to take shape. Each of those "parts" we talked about at the conclusion of Release 0.4.0 will have been manufactured, assembled, and snapped into place, and the game will finally be playable.
And if that's not enough, Map Voting, which begins in just over two short weeks, will give everyone in the CoE community an opportunity to influence the future of their world, by participating in a democratic vote for the starting continents of the servers. The next couple of months will no doubt prove to be an exciting, active, and influential time in the development of Chronicles of Elyria. Let the adventure begin!
Pledged to the Continued Development of the Soulborn Engine and the Chronicles of Elyria,