Coffee Diary - June 2024


Hey Exanimates,

Since updating the test branch we've been doing a lot of tuning and adjusting things, the extensive changes to the core physics affected a great many things, and while absolutely a huge fundamental improvement, a lot needed to be updated to take advantage of this, or even function properly. We also ran a few experiments, iterating over some core combat and character physics and getting feedback from the community. A lot more has changed for the better thanks to this and core combat is in a really good place, with very positive feedback from players.

This means we needed to do yet more changes and adjustments. Muscle structure and other changes have made characters effectively much stronger and more rigid, less prone to limbs failing, able to apply more leverage and better supporting emergent gameplay, like grappling. The somewhat "floppy" feeling they could have is gone. These changes however really affected all our existing combat motions, and while we did make some adjustments right away, over the last couple of weeks we've been properly updating and redesigning most of the attack motions. We found we now have more control and are able to make the motions more complex, but it also takes a bit more work now to make them look fluid and transition smoothly. There's a lot of these motions, and dynamic components to them, but we're' finally done and we think they look and feel noticeably better. We'll be updating with these very soon.

Footwork is also in a great place right now. However, we do think that where uneven ground, obstacles and vertical movement in general is involved there is still room for improvement. Navigating environments can also feel a bit clunky, and all this seems like something that needs to be addressed to make the gameplay flow and feel better in general. We've been investigating this and we think we have a clear plan to address it, however it will take quite a development effort and for the time being we feel there are other priorities. It is on the horizon.

All in all this has been a huge transformative upgrade to the combat and the physics in general. We'll always be polishing and ironing out the kinks, and there's still some notable combat features to add, but we'll be building on top of a much more solid base.

We've got a bunch of other fixes and tweaks ready to go now and the test branch update is in a good place. We also got controllers working again and Steam Deck too, however there are still issues with the current version of SteamOS and if you want to play this on the Steam Deck you need to be on SteamOS beta preview until they go live with it on the stable branch.

With this chapter closed, it's time to move to other topics. You may have noticed a pattern recently of us working on things for natural environments. We overhauled our terrain system, we dramatically improved our rocks, improved 3D grass, lighting, we extended our generative tools with features for more organic assets and various things besides. This will all be critical when we move on to overworld content, but the reason we're doing it now is because the next area that will be added is The Gardens, and as the name suggests it will feature lots of nature. One difficult problem remains, which is vegetation. Recently we've been working on adding high quality trees and plants to our repertoire, and also on realistic, but performance efficient foliage rendering, which includes some additions to our global illumination and translucency effects.

It took a lot of tinkering to get things looking and working the way we wanted, and we've still got a bunch of assets to get through, but we're off to a very good start. The following screenshots are not from the new gardens area, but they make for a good showcase of the new assets and features.


Bare Mettle
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