New week – new update! We hope you liked the new patch with dark nights, User Interface overhaul, lots of sound changes, and other additions and fixes. Dev quotes are back, and this week’s dev frame has a lot of images and gifs, so don’t forget to switch to wi-fi if you’re on your phone!
Look up and admire the main picture of the post! It was made by Drakoy during a night time, which was added in the last update, and he was kind enough to share it with everyone in the community, so go ahead and tell him what you think about it here – http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=951939340
“Darker Nights” update brought many interesting changes to the game, and most of them are visual or sound related. One of new additions, as mentioned, was a new night scene that continued our game mood changing idea, and, of course, we had to implement fire in the game to light the place up!
User Interface changes from the update were only visual for now – changing backgrounds, borders, textures, and so on. We do expect it to change more though! The plan for the UI is to change it completely together with structure, visuals, and feel, which will undoubtedly make it much easier and comfortable to use, and also make it look a whole lot better of course. While UI tooling is done, and we could start implementing new interfaces with all of its functionality, we would love to first hear what you like and don’t like about our current User Interface apart from its visual style. The best place for your suggestions would be our new forums (http://ofkingsandmen.net/forum/forums/suggestions.4/), but the Discord channel would work as well (https://discord.gg/DRqmAQ6)
And to finish the introduction, here’s a different picture from a night time map made by another community member – Acri! Battlefield is a much less forgiving place at night if you’re not being aware of your surroundings. Keep your shield up!
“I just created our first clan.”
Last week we’ve shown you a picture from a testing version of Clan feature’s functionality, and shared a little bit of how clan creation will work. Well, it all turned out to be working as good as coders expected! While there is still some work left with adding features and mechanics that are specific for clans, clan leaders, and their members, the most basic things like creating a clan, managing it, and joining a new clan as a player works flawlessly.
With help from artists, who designed how User Interface should function and look (for example, what happens when a button is clicked), coders created new menus for the feature using UI tools they recently implemented. Go ahead and compare the picture on the right, which was revealed last week, to pictures below that represent how all clan menus look right now! Let us know your thoughts about that improvement, but keep in mind that it’s still only Work in Progress version.
Since there wasn’t much information about clans before, it would only be right to explain what is shown on these screenshots.
- The very first screenshot is the same menu the last week’s picture showed. It’s the screen you will see if you decide to create your own clan or whenever you decide to change something like a tag, description or whatever you choose. A detailed explanation of what each field represents can be found in the previous dev frame here – http://ofkingsandmen.net/index.php/2017/06/18/dev-frame-here-we-go-again/
- The second menu is your main clan hub from a clan leader’s perspective. On the members’ list you can see the highest title they own even if a lower one is specifically chosen, their current level, and a button to kick members from your clan. On the right panel there is main information about your clan, invite button that allows you to open your friends list and pick who you’d like to invite to join your clan, as well as a leadership transfer button. Note that you’re not able to leave your own clan as a leader unless you transfer your clan leader’s status to another member!
- The third and fourth screenshots are both clan browser menus with a little difference – the third one is visible when you’re not a member of any clan, and the fourth one when you’re a clan leader. Those are quite self-explanatory. You’re free to click on any clan and join it if their applications are not invite-only or create your own clan. And if you own a clan already, you can simply go through the list and see information about your rivals.
With such quick progress on the Clan feature, we would like to present it within the next two weeks from now! First in nightly as always, where you’re welcomed to suggest changes and report issues with newly added features, and in live release once everything is proven to be working as intended. Since there is still some time before the Clans update, what would be very useful for us is to know what kind of benefits you would like clan members to have. For example, using a private clan chat, wearing equipment with clan heraldry, and so on.
Hear The Sound
“you can set volume in options->sound”
There were quite a lot of changes for sounds in this week’s update, and, of course, those were made by Igor and Fin according to their Sound Battleplan, which was talked about in the previous dev frame (check it out if you haven’t done it yet!). First few steps for them are implementations of fixes for current sounds, as there are actual issues that involve gameplay as well, and not only additional tracks like drums for a round start.
Even though the update counts whole 9 points about sound changes, there are so many more tweaks and additions planned!
Here is a video with the latest sound implementation – day time ambiance. Make sure your volume is high enough to hear everything, since those sounds are supposed to be played in the background, and not disturb important ones like weapon hits, death screams or voice commands.
New Level Designer
“Hey! Nice to meet you all.”
Last week it was announced that Igor, a coder that previously worked on Of Kings And Men, is joining the team and starts working on updating all the sounds in the game together with Fin. The team is growing, but we’re not stopping there! Krom, who used to work with the team as an intern is now officially a team member, and will be mostly working on level design!
Krom used to work on maps for the game already, but also did some smaller things like rigging new equipment or tweaking visuals of the game. His best known work is probably the Push map – a medium-sized conquest map with a castle on a hill, which is currently on Conquest server’s map rotation list.
With changes to AI pathfinding announced in the previous dev frame, we’re finally capable of using much more complex areas where bots fight alongside players. This is where Krom steps in. His first assignment is to drastically change zones for modes on our lobby maps, and he’s already finished redesigning one of the arenas, but also added much more details to the overall map’s layout. Instead of plain square area without any identity, it now features ruins covered in moss, trees with arrows stuck in them, and dead bodies of fallen soldiers, who died fighting for loot.
There are many other planned changes to the maps’ list, and completely new maps will find their way in as well. Keep in mind though that there will be more to the game than Conquest, Skirmish, or modes with bots like The Arena or Hold Your Ground, so Krom’s level designing talent will certainly be required on many occasions!
Clans, But From Artists
“thats a beast of an emblem”
Coats of arms usable by clan leaders and their members were briefly mentioned in the past, but never expanded upon. As stated previously, clans will be able to choose their own emblems and background colours for their heraldry, and we do intend to keep this system, since it’s the easiest way of selecting a somewhat customized distinction element for smaller clans that don’t have their own unique coats of arms, and even as a temporary heraldry for bigger clans until they create their own emblems.
Artists will be providing a set of emblems that clan leaders can choose while creating a clan as well as a list of background colours for a personal heraldry. Afterwards, once a compatible piece of equipment is equipped by a member of that clan, it will be visible on top of it. Keep in mind that heraldry cannot be displayed on mail for example, so if you want everyone to admire your clan’s coat of arms, you would need to pick according items from your inventory. Such items could be padded armour, coats of plates, shields, and so on.
Although by combining preset emblems with background colours you will be able to create a huge diversity of coats of arms, in order to allow clans to be truly unique on the battlefield, we decided to include another mechanic related to heraldry. Knowing that many clans already have their own personalized coats of arms, it was clear that creating a system for implementing them in the game by allowing to upload those pictures is crucial for clan leaders. First version will most likely not be integrated for personal uploads, but will require sending them either via forums or our Discord server, but you will be able to use your own heraldry nonetheless!
The picture above is from the most recent clan heraldry test, which uses a coat of plates armour available in the game and an actual emblem of Free Company of Ravensburg clan.
The gif below is just a random movement test from earlier 😀
“It’s always the same angle, it’s just shifted left/right”
Good animations are vital for every game no matter what genre it is – 2D platformer, arcade racing or medieval combat game. While most currently used animations function quite well, there are certainly issues that were reported and we discovered ourselves, which is why tweaking or even completely changing animations is an important task on our list.
Other than working on animations that already exist in the game, there is also a need for animations that are required for new features and mechanics that we implement in our updates. One of such examples would an animation for opening chests that are located in The Arena mode and are hidden all over lobby maps for you to find and open.
Take a look at what that animation is like outside of the game. It’s not easy to inspect what a character does while a horde of enemies is running at you!
Another animation that is currently being worked on is a bow shooting animation. An early version of it was added to one of the last week’s nightly versions to test its basic functionality, but it was decided that it will be safer to remove it for the time being, finish everything that is required, and add it in one of the later updates. Shooting animation test was a good example of why messing with combat related assets is such a dangerous task. While it might look cool and stunning, gameplay is always the most important factor when creating a game, and most of our mechanics are based on animations and other assets like weapons and armour.
“i can do a nice render of that too”
Our artists team receives new tasks every single week, which is mostly based on coders progressing with features and requiring new assets for tests and updates. For example, when starting to code a Clan feature, having clan UI ready is not too important, but once basics are done, coders must have those assets made by artists.
Even though artists are always busy with ongoing tasks, they still find time to refine and improve the game’s visuals. Brand new designs for shields were introduced in the most recent update, but the team still has a close to neverending list of weapons, armour pieces, walls, flooring, terrain, and lots of other different types of assets that we would like to look much better than they do right now.
A little bit outdated picture of a new gambeson was already shared over Discord some time ago, but check out the most recent one that also has sleeves and leg armour instead of just one sleeveless body piece. We will obviously continue with updating in-game assets, and will keep sharing how the progress is going!
As noticed before, non-character assets like boulders, wood, and other things used mostly for level design are quite boring sneak peeks, so here’s only a single picture of a new wooden flooring, just so you know that those assets are being tweaked as well. And of course, mention it if you’re actually interested in such pictures, we are always happy to show you more!