Coffee Diary 31/8/20


Hey Exanimates,

This week we decided to take a little time to improve the productivity of the team as a whole. We are currently producing a huge number of assets for procedural weapons and updating many older assets to better fit our increased standards and new renderer. In parallel to this there is also important work being done on other aspects of the game, namely the role system.

The role system is probably the most ambitious feature we're developing. It's about moving away from the usual one-dimensional game characters, making them intelligent and able to react plausibly to almost any situation. The core concept is that rather than script specific characters to do specific things, we break all behaviour into many "roles", then characters are assigned and acquire roles based on who they are and what situations they're in, giving every character the full range of possible behaviours. We believe this is key to creating a dynamic and interactive game world.

Obviously this is a huge simplification, and in practice it gets very complicated very quickly. Developing the role system and the AI that drives it was responsible for our longest gap between updates. Indeed the system itself is quite well developed, but so far we've only abused it with some simple AI interactions and dialogue which are not very dynamic at all. Not what it is intended for.

This is because we're still missing the actual roles. The challenge now is to come up with a core role structure which is the foundation for all AI relationships and interactions. This is a very open ended task. We've always had some good ideas, but it's hard to settle on a definitive structure that all future roles will be built on.

For some time now Brendan has been spearheading the effort to finalise this and we've reached a point where we have a much clearer idea of our exact requirements. This week we decided it was time to make various proposed improvements to the system and tools so that this can effectively continue to progress in parallel while we develop other features of the game.

For Exanima's immediate future this is what will support additional NPCs, more ways to interact with them and generally much more convincing and reactive behaviour. We would also in time like to include hired NPCs as characters in arena outside of matches, that interact with you and each other.

As for graphical assets, we've integrated the tools we use most on a daily basis into a single workflow, which is pretty huge and something we've been wanting for some time. This automates many tedious and sometimes confusing tasks, and implicitly organises our work, so that an entire workflow from start to finish is neatly packaged and laid out, very easy to iterate on, return to, and to replicate for other similar work.

Also this week we've gone into some details for our world building tool. This is a bit like a maps app that allows us to easily navigate the world we're creating, and also rapidly reference characters, timelines, events, lore etc. for multiple people to work together and share what they're doing in a coherent way. We're going to start fairly small, but it will already be a very useful platform for some members of the team to organise their work.

Not much in the way of immediate results this week, but this will all really help making the updates come out faster and better.

Have a great week!
-the BM team
RPG Codex Retrospective Review: Darklands


I wish I could find an illustrated map of Darklands occupational paths. It's something inspiring to witness and relies mainly on intuition. Characters will age when given an occupation and will have opportunities come and go, and it all rests upon the character's family heritage. This all occurs before a player is put into the world to begin the game. Hopefully some of the Bare Mettle team have been able to enjoy playing this game with experience from years way back. Take care, and be well.


good to hear y'all have such a dandy workflow, given the arduous road ahead. i cant wait to see what interesting stuff comes out of the NPC system. it's probably the part of this all im most interested in.


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