Updated: Mar 14

To secure and speed up the release pace, and minimize the occurrence of delays, you can support us on Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/winterfallgame


Today our Dev Blog post will take a somewhat different form as we will mostly use it to evaluate the work done in 2021 and the work yet to do in 2022.


2021 was a pretty good year for Winterfall's development as we managed, against still unfriendly odds, to take care of a lot of systems and mechanics. Some were old work that we salvage from the previous version of the project, some were entirely new systems, some were adaptations.


By now you are all aware of the composite nature of Winterfall: part survival game, part base building, part life sim, part grand strategy, all-around ARPG. The goal of the game, as stated previously, is to allow you to either play in a traditional goal-oriented, short play sessions manner, or a complete responsive sandbox that doesn't have to end, where you do whatever you want and the game has an answer for your every choice and action of note. Some of you will want to explore endlessly, others will just want to watch their characters go through daily life. Those are the scenarios we have to design solutions for: building the platform for your memorable stories and unforgettable experiences. All of this, of course, in a hand-designed world so big you should never be able to say "I have seen everything here".


So let's take each broad category of gameplay and comment on the things we did in 2021.


Survival Game

In 2021 we:

- Restored Stamina Loss & Regeneration functions

- Restored the Survival Needs/Conditions system

- Restored Inventory Functionality & Consumables, with Equipment Logic

- Tied all those aspects together

- Began revamping the Camping & Camp-building mechanics

- Built the Grid/Cell-based Exploration & Surveying System

- Implemented Core hostile Patrol Mechanics

- Implemented Core Tracking mechanics

- Implemented core Surveying Incidents Mechanics

- Updated Core Weather & Hazard Mechanics accordingly

- Implemented Hearth & Respawn Mechanics

- Implemented Woe (Defeat types) Mechanics and assorted (Grit, Recovery, etc)

- Vastly overhauled Notice Mechanics (think a deeper version of the Stars system in GTA)


Base-Building (Outpost)

In 2021 we:

- Implemented Outpost Primary Stats

  • Food

  • Supplies

  • Treasure

- Implemented Outpost Secondary Stats

  • Readiness (convertible into Sentinels & Usable for Action Expeditions)

  • Resourcefulness (convertible into Explorers & Usable for Exploration Expeditions)

  • Goodwill (convertible into Agents & Usable for Relation Expeditions)

  • Labour (convertible into Specialists & Usable for Labour Expeditions)

- Implemented the Outpost RTS Camera

- Implemented Outpost Core Resources Management (Food & Supplies)

- Implemented Outpost Quality of Life & Security Meters

- Implemented Outpost Crisis Mechanics in case of low Core Resources

- Implemented basic Crisis Events & Interplay with Outpost Stats (type, gravity of Crisis, etc)

- Implemented physical tile-based Outpost building & customization

- Implemented Facility menus, inventories & upgrade slots

- Implemented Core Facility types and their extension relationships


Life Sim

- Restored & Expanded the Environment Mood System

- Restored the Character Mood System

- Built the Character Interactions, Relationships & Emotions System

- Built the Character Lifepath Generator (gameplay & choices-based Story Generator)


Grand Strategy

- No specific items implemented in 2021, although connected to Base-building & Life Sim aspects


ARPG

In 2021 we:

- Improved Attack Inputs and behaviours across the board

- Fixed Camera Snap combat mechanics & aligned attacks with Camera look direction

- Dealt with various quality of life elements

- Applied many fixes and improvements to various Controller issues


And much more.

The first months of 2022 will be about completing Survival, Base-Building and ARPG functions towards installing the Gameplay Loop in its fundamental functionality:

  • Venture out in the wilderness

  • Survive

  • Experience Adventures

  • Bring back resources

  • Build your Outpost


Which will later expand to accommodate functions such as

  • Recruit Followers & Companions

  • Send out expeditions

  • Colonize the map

  • Deal with Crises

  • Fulfill Character Lifepaths

  • Deal with inter-Character Drama


Advancement on the RPG Progression mechanics (leveling up, etc) is also in the crosshairs.


Thank you for your patience and support as we keep making progress in the huge task of building Winterfall against all odds: technical, financial and even personal. The commitment remains 100%.

Updated: Jan 5

One of the big tasks occupying us at the moment, besides general development, is map work. Now this is a big story in and of itself within the context of all the big stories of struggle present in this game's development.


I've personally spent almost a decade trying to figure this problem out, from the ground up, and starting from a place of no game development experience.


The idea was always to offer a very large, realistic "manually built" world to play in, not a procedural one where the whole map is generated randomly. In those procedural worlds, you can't really design the world's geography and you also don't tend to get landmasses and landscapes that feel real or make sense.


There was also the imperative of making that landscape work in terms of scale and proportions, which was something of a struggle when working with the usual methods. Most of the mountains you see in our previous screenshots and videos would rise up to impossible heights if they were in the real world, something over 10.000+ meters altitude. Not ideal.


Want some impossibly steep mountains? On the other hand, those slopes are a skiing heaven...


RPG worldbuilding also tends to make mountains and mountain ranges a single thing, where you have flat land then suddenly you get a mountain wall and it's either more flatland on the other side, or nothing at all because the mountain serves as a barrier.


In reality, mountains tend to come in massifs, very intricate in detail, with valleys, dales, flats, passes and all kinds of such things. As an avid mountain-hiker, that is what I wanted to get in Winterfall.


That was more realistic... but less interesting to look at and unworkable on a large scale!


So that's a bunch of requirements: very vast lands, realistically shaped and proportioned, following natural landscaping logic.


So, fighting with many of Unity's constraints and restrictions for years, I've tried a bit of everything thinkable to until it very recently got to the point of being able to realistically entertain the prospect of building the world in mesh (3d objects) tiles, tile by tile.

It's a big world, too... Below, part of the Northwestern quadrant of the map.

As some of you can tell, this above map (and its the southern part that you don't see here) is based on parts of Corsica. As a matter of fact, those who have experienced it first hand and know it, will be able to recognize it in-game: mountain passes, summits, plains, valleys, it's all there. The coastline has changed and now there are regions that don't exist in-between the main regions, or some coasts are now foothills, but all in all it's there.


So, as you can imagine, easter eggs, references and such things, may be present, both in the game map and in the real world locations.


Several things made building that world true to size previously impossible but thankfully that's a problem that now belongs to the past. Once the new method was locked in, it took a bit of experimenting, some custom shader programming, and we got somewhere.

Initial results were not very conclusive...


The following screenshot shows you an in-editor (and in-progress) terrain tile. The attached heightmap picture shows you where that tile is on the greater map, and it also shows you 1/4th of the initial intended world size.


The tile is 4x4km.


So yeah, that's a lot of tiles.


But it makes producing, optimizing and developing each region a lot easier, on top of ensuring that even an empty world will look great and distinctive.

Steps of our seasonal shader at work for seamless transitions. Work in progress!


Paying homage to the beauty of this land was also very important to me, and so that's why I wanted to make sure that it was all there, incorporated in the game world's geography. At the same time, I couldn't just go for a 1 to 1 copy: first of all, the game world's not supposed to be an island, then Corsica is quite small, it also has no plains to speak of, only mountains, so I couldn't have had all the landscapes I wanted and needed.

This is what things look like in Blender, before the terrain gets imported and processed into Unity. Some familiar with the geography of Corsica might even recognize the area.

It will take some months to produce this entire tile set of regions, but that's fine. It took a decade to reach this solution, and typically, the hardest and longest part is solving the production problem. Once it is solved, everything flows much faster.





Thank you for reading and see you very soon with Dev news: we completed the Inventory system rebuild finally and will be moving on to the last major system of our list: Camp-building.

To secure and speed up the release pace, and minimize the occurrence of delays, you can support us on Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/winterfallgame


Hello there and welcome to this blog.

We stayed silent development-wise for the past two mondays as we were basically entrenched in the unsexy technicals of resurrecting an inventory system for Winterfall. As you understand by now however, Winterfall is a systemic game, that is a game driven by the interaction of systems. And so, those systems communicate with one another, and scale to various dimensions: best example of the virtual personality system, which is pretty much the same for a Character or for an entire Environment. So the Inventory system was no exception and needed integration with various other systems, not just the Character.


As you know, in Winterfall, you play your single Character during specific game experiences, and then you switch back to managing your Outpost in other game experiences, building and maintaining its Facilities. Your Characters (plural) live their life at the Outpost and you can switch between them in your next adventure.


Inventory

So right there, that's an example of how Inventory works: per Character, for the Outpost, for Outpost Facilities and so on. So that's what we've been busy with.

Inventory is also the crossroads that connect most systems in an RPG, since items can be carried, moved around, dropped or destroyed or traded, but also have values and functions and uses. Consumables, equippables, tradeables, upgradeables, etc etc.


Primarily, we've been taking care of:

  • General Inventory Handling rules

  • Drag & drop to move items around, equip/unequip, etc

  • Extend or shrink Inventory spac

  • Player Inventory/Outpost Inventory toggles

  • Player Inventory in Player Mode, Outpost Inventory in Outpost Mode

  • Outpost Inventory

  • Item Categories for Outpost Contents: NPCs & Objects

  • Facility Inventory & Functions

  • Item Categories for Outpost Facilities Contents: Special Furnishings, Items & Operator NPC slot

  • Item Categories

  • All Character Equippable Slots: Head, Shoulders, Chest, Arms, Waist, Legs, Feet

  • Wearables slots (clothes) & Accessory slots (armor, tools, utilities)

  • Item Rarity/Quality & assorted UI Colours

  • Common, Uncommon, Rare, Treasure, Artifact

  • Item Tooltip Basics & Behaviour

  • Window showing item information on MouseOver

  • Core Consumables & Consumables Rules

  • Conditions/Needs-relieving triggers for Survival gameplay: food, drink, healing relaxant,

  • Power values, increasing the effects of recovery items

  • Various Fixes

This opens up various systems that were previously locked behind the lack of a functional inventory system, which we will be able to take care of in the weeks to come, to wrap up the Wilderness gameplay's core gameplay loop.


Next up is taking care of Loot Inventory: whether that is treasure chests or the bodies of fallen foes. A list of small fixes and tweaks also awaits our care, as well as creating an additional number of items for testing purposes.


Short term, we will also be using the Inventory system as an interface for the building/placement system, which will first be used for Camping (allowing you to place your camp facilities) and then for Outpost Facility & Housing Customization.


Once we get there, we won't be looking too bad regarding our greater Wilderness Gameplay list, and that's when we'll be able to focus back on gameplay improvements of various sorts, and then begin typing up the bigger systems (Lifepath, chiefly) to the minute gameplay.


There is still a lot to do. There's also work going on, as ever, to get the game properly supported in the medium and long term, so that its completion, delivery and quality can be properly ensured. Many of you have been waiting a very long time for this thing to come out and it's been very disappointing to be met with setback after setback on the road to completion and delivery, but ultimately this is all for the greater good, for you as players, for us as developers, and for the game itself.


For me personally (Fab, the creator), this is going to be another Christmas working on this to keep making up for lost time and make sure everything is tight when it comes to design and mechanics. As ever, my commitment to Winterfall remains 100%, despite all the difficulties, disappointments and sacrifices. More than ever, Winterfall is my foremost focus and there is no negotiating that until it comes out and we're all happy.


So once more, thank you for your patience and continued interest.