With development progress being made and the team growing, we’ve decided to start regular development updates to keep you informed about what’s being worked on, and in what direction the game is evolving. The format is being slightly changed compared to usual updates, but the name is being kept – dev frames.
As mentioned above, the format is changing from mentioning every tiny piece of work like fixing small bugs to more detailed descriptions of what is being made and how it will function once it’s finished. It will be a great opportunity to find out about how the game will function in near future, and you’ll be able to share your thoughts and suggestions even before those features are implemented! We’re starting a new forum, and would love to hear your ideas in Suggestions sub-forum once it’s opened!
The most notable event of the week for the team of coders must be joining of a new member – Igor, who’s in fact been working with the original team in the past, creating new features and polishing the game. His current main focus is everything that involves sound – adding new sound files, fixing existing issues, coding new features for sounds, and much more! Igor is working closely with Fin – our composer, who created the main theme for the game, and is now a general sound developer. Together they will be trying to present their first implementations as soon as possible, maybe even in the next update!
A “Sound Battleplan” has been arranged by Igor and Fin, and according to it, first there will be a big chunk of fixes and sound polishing, while updating sounds, adding new ones, and even writing new music will follow once it’s finished and tested. The first patch they plan will include distance scaling changes, newly added ambiance feature, fixes for a set of broken sounds and polishing them afterwards, doing a little bit of sound mixing, and lots of other small changes. Third character voice option will also be removed, as it’s very distorted and causes issue, so find a new one for your warrior!
With Igor joining the team, the number of developers looks much bigger from what it was back when the new team was first announced. Here’s the most current list of team members:
- Jericho the project lead
- Hydro|Jevanko the producer
- Game designer
- 4 coders
- 3 visual artists
- Fin the Composer
- pogosan the community manager
A big upcoming feature that is currently being developed is likely to be interesting for everyone who prefers to play in groups instead of being a lone wolf on the battlefield. Clan feature, which is actually a set of features tied together, will allow for a much better organization and communication within clans. The main reason for starting a new Clanning system is, of course, a later use in Strategic Map, but even though it’s not available at the moment, there will be plenty other uses for all clan leaders and their members.
As coders started on clans only recently, it won’t be released in the next update or two, but we’re happy to tell you more about what we expect it to be!
If you look at the picture, you will see the very first testing version of a clan creation menu. As you can see, clan leaders will be able to customize many things in their clans right from the start:
- Name – A full name of a clan.
- Preferred Server – Main region of a clan where most members play.
- Description – A little bit of what a clan represents, its history, and other information.
- Privacy – If a clan is opened for everyone to apply or members should be personally invited.
- Clan tag – A tag that appears in every clan member’s name.
- Emblem – A coat of arms of a clan.
- Background Colour – A coat of arms’ colour.
The coat of arms’ customization is a little bit more restrictive than we’d like it to eventually be, but we’re currently discussing more creative options to allow for truly unique clan banners. It might not come in the first version, but we will try our best to implement it! Let us know if you’re a clan leader and would like to have a custom coat of arms, community ideas are very much appreciated!
Since the feature’s purpose is to organize groups of players to play together, there will be a number of possibilities to do so. For example, clan members will be able to use a special clan chat even outside of any server while in barracks, and will be able to recognize each other on the battlefield by seeing a friendly coat of arms.
Hair and beards
You might remember facial hair shown in previous devframes, but it was never implemented due to some pretty big issues with character appearance customization. Luckily, coders managed to find some time to take a look at that system, and put some fixes in!
The plan is to allow applying new assets to your character by choosing from a list of hairstyles, beards, and mustaches in the appearance editor. We might add more of them in the future of course, if you’d like even more character customization or simply don’t find any options suitable for your avatar.
Seeing many of you enjoying latest game modes in the lobby, we want to improve them by creating interesting arena settings that will involve tactics and using environment for combat advantages. Some of our ideas include small castles, ruins, towers, and other areas that would make Hold Your Ground and The Arena feel like actual battlegrounds instead of plain fighting zones. Sadly, bots would not be able to function in such environment, as there is currently no complex pathfinding involved, which, in theory, should help AI to avoid different map elements – trees, walls, etc.
In order to make various arenas a possibility, one of the coders is working on improving our AI. Main task is, of course, to teach bots not to get stuck while moving, but later improvements might include better battlefield understanding to prevent team hitting, and different combat implementations. Take a look at this recent video showing how pathfinding is progressing!
It might not look like a big enough change to talk about, but it’s a very important job that is aimed to prevent players from abusing glitches. It was somewhat a problem earlier when some players were managing to find their way into big rocks and walls to hide and ambush their enemies, but the issue became much worse with implementation of Hold Your ground and The Arena, since it’s too easy to trick the bots, and is often hard to distinguish players who are actually playing a mode from players who glitched inside.
We’re hoping to fix most of those issues with the next update by updating collisions of many assets, but let us know if you find any other way to bug the game by submitting a report on our new forums in Bug Reports sub-forum!
As you must have noticed in the last update, we’re slowly shifting the mood of the game from cheerful and fun to dark and moody, which suits a medieval war game much more. First attempt was to change global lighting on lobby maps, which was included in the latest patch, but we will be continuing with the idea to make the whole game look like a real battlefield – dirty, dark, and somber.
Lighting in the lobby will be getting tweaks, and other maps will eventually get an overhaul as well, but right now we’re working specifically on darker nights and lighting sources. Combat at night should imply that visibility is very limited, and lit torches should be the only good option for navigation while on the battlefield. It’s still very much “work in progress”, but the game will definitely feel more like a real war once it’s finished. Here’s an early example of what it will look like!
User Interface we have in the game right now is not very functional, has visual and code issues, and simply doesn’t look very good, so it was an easy decision to change it. Artists released the first testing version of UI visuals update on nightly already, but we also expect UI functionality and fundamental design to change as well, although all the changes will be done gradually, instead of being added in a single big patch. At the moment artists are focused on creating a new interface for the Clan feature, so don’t assume the menu shown above will look like that when it’s released!
We would appreciate if you could download a nightly version and check out the latest UI changes! There are many fixes ready to be added in the next patch, but overall style feedback is what really helpful for artists to know if they’re moving in the right direction.
Here’s a simply step-by-step guide on how to unlock our nightly, and a picture of the latest User Interface version:
- Go to your Steam library and right-click Of Kings And Men.
- Select Properties and open Betas tab.
- Enter the code: ofkingsandmennightly.
- Click Check Code and select nightly instead of None.
With lighting and other mood changes being implemented, overhauling armour and weapons would make most sense, since they’re a major part of how the game is perceived. Equipment that’s available in the game at the moment is very realistic, but looks much cleaner than it would if it was used in a battle. In order to make the game even more somber, most of the current equipment will be edited to make it look like someone actually used it to kill their enemies or protect themselves against their hits.
The first set of changes that will come in the next update is shields. In addition to generally refreshing look, shields now have cuts and look battle worn instead of being new and clean. Artists will add much more in future update, but you can check new shield designs on nightly right now if you’re interested!