Nightly with some serious mechanic changes has been released lately, and your feedback will define how the system might change in the future. New lobby map mentioned before is progressing! Read the dev frame to find out more about it!
If you haven’t been following our nightly releases closely, there have been two updates this week, adding quite a few changes to the game. While we would like your thoughts and suggestions on every change we make, there are three specific additions that are largely dependent on the community. Those are an overhauled lobby map, a new blocking mechanic, and a secondary system for obtaining respec points.
It would be very helpful if you could download the latest nightly patch and try those changes yourself. Let us know on Discord or forums what you like or dislike about them, and what specific changes you would like to see in the future.
As promised earlier, the team will be delivering new videos that show the changes in the game on a more regular basis than before. The previous one, showed in the last week’s dev frame, was focusing on clans, their heraldry, and team play as a group. It was recorded with the help of the community, and we would love to have more content involving the players!
This week’s video contains no combat and violence. The footage used for it is of a tranquil village amidst a serene summer forest. The wind is slowly swaying the trees and torches are throwing sparks in the air, lighting up the silent settlement. If you had a chance to try out the nightly, you must have already guessed what this is all about, but go ahead and watch the video regardless, as it also has a background music by Fin, our composer!
Things To Do
“There will be spectator areas for each mode and ofc it will be a brand new map.”
Two weeks ago there was a rather small explanation on what the future of the game lobby will behold. Such things as Combat Zone, Archery Training, and placing Hold Your Ground and The Arena on their own servers were discussed, but ideas for later releases were only vaguely mentioned.
Here is the dev frame with some of the information regarding the new lobby – http://ofkingsandmen.net/index.php/2017/07/09/dev-frame-its-new/
There’s been a number of questions about splitting game modes in the lobby, so, to clarify, here’s how we plan to implement this change. As you know, the new lobby map will be a fortress with a village, but instead of starting The Arena and Hold Your Ground matches in the same area, you will need to first load new maps. In order to do this, you’ll have to walk to the gates of the fortress and press a button, and, for convenience, it will automatically show you the number of players currently participating in those modes. For immersion purposes, we might add things like sounds of battles, men screaming and slashing their foes, shields being destroyed by strong blows, and so on.
Even though a map loading will be necessary, those locations will be organically placed on the same map. So, if you see a gate leading to a part of the fortress, it will be technically the same place as on the lobby map, making it seem like you simply opened that gate and entered. We will keep the option to spectate the modes, which will be available by simply entering them, but not signing up for next rounds.
There are multiple benefits of such approach. For example, there will no longer be FPS drops when someone decides to join a round of Hold Your Ground. Also, maps for those modes will be able to have much more details, since they wouldn’t have to be loaded in the lobby map itself, and, possibly in the future, there will be a chance that more than one round per region will be allowed simultaneously.
Another thing that we’ve discussed for the new lobby is an overhauled bot dueling system. It currently functions the same way Player vs Player duels work at the moment, which is a fine mechanic overall, but it doesn’t scale too well for different number of players, so it either leads to a big number of bots being useless and causing lower FPS for nothing or not having enough bots for all the players to duel.
With that in mind, we came up with a number of solutions, but the best one hasn’t been chosen yet, so your opinions might still change our preference. One of the more interesting ones that includes new mechanics and would require quite a bit more time than others is a system of Masters. The system implies that there will be no bots wandering around, fighting each other, and asking players for duels (though we might keep some of them as NPCs for immersion). Instead, there will be Masters that can be interacted with by every player. They will ask what bot’s difficulty and class would you prefer to fight against, and then a selected bot would become available for a duel.
This system would help with both improving performance and creating a more interactable environment in the game. If you have other suggestions for a system that allows to duel bots in an interesting way, we’d love to read them on our forums and Discord!
One thing that has never been discussed before in public, but is actually one of the main reasons we’re currently working on the new lobby map is a system for Missions. There hasn’t been anything like it in Of Kings And Men before, so it most definitely requires a detailed explanation.
Missions are basically heroic quests that can be participated in by a single player or a whole group of players. Cooperation will be playing a significant part in the system, since it will always be easier to finish them with a party of warriors. The new lobby map with the fortress and its village will only be a very small part of the whole lobby system. Once finished by our level designer, you will also be able to leave the castle and enter a surrounding wilderness!
That’s where most of the missions will eventually take place. Wilderness is planned to be much bigger than any of the maps you’ve seen in the game so far. We would love to have vast areas covered with forests, hidden fortresses with high towers and strong walls, villages full of peasants strolling around (or being killed by bandits), old ruins forgotten by many, and much more! Our goal for the future is to make the lobby entertaining and captivating, providing a lot of fun while you’re not taking part in big battles over territory on the Strategic Map or mastering group combat skill in Conquest or Skirmish.
While we will most definitely be updating the lobby with more and more activities, random events, and other features over time, the first additions will be three missions, each in different category – Assault, Defense, and Support. To make it clear, those will all be PvE missions, meaning a player alone or in a group will have to fight NPCs while participating in them.
Missions’ design is still ongoing, and might change later, but here is an example based on one of the mission types – Defense mission. Imagine walking along a forested road, admiring the scenery and listening to birds chirping with a small group of loyal lads from your clan. Suddenly, you notice that a small nearby hamlet is being raided by bandits! Villagers are screaming in terror, while a lawless gang is rushing towards their houses with swords and axes swinging. You decide to help poor peasants, and get to the hamlet as quickly as possible.
Now your objective is to protect as many villagers as possible while outlaws are trying to murder them all and steal their goods and coins. If you’re successful and bandits are dead, all of you will be plentifully rewarded by peasants for saving their lives, depending on how many of them are still breathing of course. If you’re not… Well, the houses won’t be staying empty for long.
Let us know what you think about those ideas, and maybe suggest your own mission mechanics! Even though we’re focusing on co-op quests at the moment, we will also consider PvP missions, but later, once the currently planned ones are implemented and tested.
“It seems we should focus on the fortress”
While Wilderness and Missions will take quite a while to implement, the new lobby map with the main fortress and the nearby village is on the way! Krom, who recently overhauled one of the existing lobby maps, is working hard on structuring and later putting details into it. Currently, he’s creating a draft of the map to allow our artists to get the feel of the area and implement new required assets that would follow that mood.
As mentioned before, there will initially be two areas, and the Wilderness will be added later. In the fortress area there will be zones related to combat activities, as it’s usually been in real castles. If you’d like to master your fighting skill by dueling bots, repeat your tutorial, take part in an archery practice for target shooting, or simply fight other players 1v1, fortress area is your obvious destination. There will also be entrances to Hold Your Ground and The Arena, but they will technically be placed on different servers. Naturally, the combat area will actually look like a courtyard of a fortress with weapons and armour lying around, a gate to the lord’s keep, and so on.
The village area will not have a specific purpose when first released other than serving as an immersion booster, but it will nonetheless look like an authentic medieval settlement with craftsmen houses, a marketplace, homes of the poor, and more.
Later on, we would like to implement different features for the village of course! For example, there could be shopkeepers that function as a current in-game shop, bards on the streets that play music, and other interesting additions. Small missions will also be considered to take place in the village, although it’s likely that we would have to expand its borders quite a bit for that to function properly.
Take a look at the first draft of the new lobby area above, which is currently called Silent Valley. Neither the structure nor the assets used in it are final, and will likely change later in development. The main purpose at the moment is to establish a style for the artists to work with and to let the coders use it for their tests. All the areas marked on the picture are explained above.
If you’d like to see some more detailed pictures of the draft, there are two examples, though all objects are just placeholders, so there are not many interesting things to show from up-close.
A more interesting thing to check out is one of the early concept arts drawn by artists on top of the map draft. It shows an example of what the village’s style will be, although it’s solely based on the draft, so the layout might change quite a bit in the future!
“Perhaps for now we could just use ramps and no steps?”
Thanks everyone who is helping testing all the changes on our nightly server! With the update for one of the lobby maps, a new AI system has also been added, which required quite a bit of tweaking. After gather all the feedback about what’s not working or working, but not perfectly, the map has been slightly changed.
For example, some of the stones were lowered, terrain became less rough, stone walls were made inaccessible for players in Hold Your Ground, and other changes like adding a well that’s easy to climb on in The Arena have been made. As requested, the forest behind The Arena is now freely accessible, and you have an option to duel there if you’d like. Watch out for trees behind your back!
All those changes are coming in the next nightly update sometime next week, including other things like moved dueling bot spawns and small AI fixes. It would be very helpful for the team to hear your feedback about them!