Since our last update we've made some major improvements to core gameplay systems and many incremental changes and additions based on feedback and our own goals. There's also some nice late content additions for arena. Our next update is entirely story focused, so we wanted to wrap all this other stuff up and get these very important changes out now.
The highlight of this update is the most major changes to combat yet, as well as some smaller, but still very important ones. The combat is faster, more responsive, more solid and realistic, many lingering quirks have been properly addressed. These are transformative changes and we're excited for what it brings to the combat and what it allows us to do going forward as we finalise more skills, itemisation and gameplay features.
We've been through a lot of major development hurdles, making our own engine, tools and complex unique game systems, exploring with players the implications of these fundamentally different approaches and how we can make the most of them. With the game being in uncharted territory it's hard to imagine a time when it won't seem like things should or could be improved, and constant community feedback and requests ensure our to-do list is always growing. The major content goals for the game are now few however, and our road map to 1.0 includes a whole lot of gameplay and quality of life additions, many of which we've now covered here. We will continue to improve the game after full release, but it's good to check some of those boxes.
NEW COMBAT MOVEMENT SYSTEM
Movement and footwork are the foundation of the entire combat and probably the single thing we've iterated the most on. Making the movement physics driven, reactive, somewhat realistic and responsive to the player all at the same time is something we've always battled with, without a clear idea of what might ultimately be possible.
For a while now we've been trying to figure out how to fundamentally change the movement so that it's not limited to a fixed step pattern and returning to stance before moving again. If characters could move freely and without pausing the combat would be much more dynamic, faster paced and responsive. Our plan looked promising, and we decided this was too important and had to be attempted.
These things don't always work out, we've a hit a few dead ends in the past, but this was a huge success on many fronts. You can now change direction, cancel movements or continue moving without waiting for the previous movement to complete and without pausing between steps. There is also more granularity to how far you move based on inputs. In order to support this we had to also work on the dynamic footwork and animation systems, making for better balance, control and cleaner animation under all conditions. These changes combined offer a level of control we previously didn't think we could achieve.
This is a massive change for combat, with huge implications. We have also had to do significant work on the AI to adapt it to this, and tried to make it more engaging and tactical in the process. It will likely take you some time to learn how to make the most of this new movement and everything it allows. As with everything, you do need to work in harmony with the physics and body motions. We've been having a lot of fun testing and polishing these changes with the help of our Discord community, they've been met with very high praise and we're really excited to see the combat evolve in such a big way.
WEAPON AND DAMAGE MECHANICS REWORK
We recently introduced procedural weapons, but this was an important first step of a larger itemisation and weapon mechanics overhaul. In this update we've got a huge rework of how weapons work, the damage system, armour mitigation, how everything interacts with physics and more. We've added a lot of detailed data to weapons to describe their features and how each part of a weapon should behave, there's many new weapon and weapon part classes and subclasses.
This allows a much more detailed model for how weapons behave and supports many new and future features. Weapon are more diverse and balanced with specific advantages and uses, various long standing issues with the damage system were properly solved, there's support for new itemisation features and skills and generally brings important improvements to gameplay and realism.
There was a big focus on more realistic physical behaviour of weapons, but always with the goal of improving gameplay and balance, playing to the specific strengths of different weapons, breathing new life into some underperforming weapons and categories. There have also been improvements to core physics, character animation and attack mechanics to support this. Some weapons can now also be dynamically flipped to strike with the reverse side, something which will be extended to more weapons and different grips over time.
Beyond the immediate improvements, this new platform with very detailed weapon data combined with component wise procedural generation allows us to do much more still going forward. The goals is to give weapons ever more mechanical differences, techniques, motions and gameplay features that distinguish them well beyond what stats can do.
CONTROLLER AND STEAM DECK SUPPORT
Despite the lack of proper support some of you were already using controllers and it's a frequently requested feature. Steam Deck support was also requested and we worked on Proton compatibility, special UI scaling, control schemes and various input and performance optimisations with surprisingly good results.
Exanima is a game that does not naturally lend itself well to controller input, some aspects of interaction by necessity remain cursor based, but we developed dedicated control schemes for all core gameplay and user interface. The game can be played fully on controller and it's quite a fun and different experience.
Cumulative changelog for version 0.8.4:
- Weapon mechanics and damage system rework
- New combat movement system
- Two new arena environments
- Remastered courtyard arena
- Nine new armour pieces making two full sets
- New procedural weapon: glaive
- Velvet procedural material added
- Detailed physics data for different parts of weapons
- Specific behaviour and damage from different parts of weapons
- Many new weapon and part subcategories with different behaviour
- Haft types with different behaviour and sounds
- Reworked weapon damage and armour mitigation mechanics
- Major slash rework with hewing and cutting damage
- Some weapons can now be flipped to strike with the reverse
- Improved thrusting mechanics
- Improved remise behaviour
- Core physics engine improvements
- Animation system improvements
- AI combat improvements with adaptive behaviours
- Smart overhead targeting based on cursor relative to opponent
- Dynamic swing height adjustment, preventing very low or high swings
- Improved edge alignment control
- Improved greatsword handling
- Added fading feature for objects obstructing the camera
- Improved camera obstacle avoidance behaviour
- Improved cursor behaviour for look function
- Smart selection for small objects and inventory icons
- Steam Deck support, performance, UI and control optimisations
- Proton and Linux GPU driver compatibility fixes
- Full controller support via Steam
- Dedicated movement and aiming controls
- Feathered object and UI cursor interaction
- Full menu and UI navigation and interaction
- On screen keyboard support
- Dedicated movement and aiming controls
- Controls to quick cast a selected power
- The roster can be rearranged via drag and drop
- The roster is now colour coded
- Shop items are neatly and persistently arranged
- Shop items displayed from newest to oldest
- Shop stock rotation rate increased
- Arsenal tabs can now be scrolled
- Arsenal correctly scales to different aspect ratios
- Brushes can now be used from inside the arsenal
- Added a confirmation prompt for forfeiting tournaments
- Performance improvements