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Monday Dev Update #12


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Last week, we talked about the new features in the Incident System: Animal Spawn, Tracks Spawn, Patrol and Ambush. Over the past week, we extended some of those features in various ways. As we are not quite done and satisfied with the degree of completion of so said features, let's reserve them for next week's dev update, where we'll be able to talk about them in greater detail. Let's show instead some pretty pictures and talk about World Rebuilding.

The attached screenshots were taken in the rebuilt/salvaged version of a number of areas (all in the same general region) that have appeared previously in the Winterfall social media posts as well as videos. Maybe you'll recognize some of them.

Building the game world for Winterfall has been one of the most challenging aspects of the work over the years. Mostly in three ways:

  • First, learning the tools and fundamentals of level building and all the mistakes and sins that go with it,

  • Then, trying to come up with custom solutions to fulfill requirements for how things must work (assets, work process management, etc)

  • Finally (going on at the same time as the other two), losing the work a few times due to various incidents.

Like pretty much everything else about this project, complete satisfaction is not there yet. There is a level of engineering that is still beyond our means that would solve the bigger issues. So there too, it's important to be able to content oneself with the state of things as they are, knowing that the future will get things closer to how they "should" be.

One of the bigger changes I'm looking forward to in the future, will be to the way worlds are actually built. Right now, it's individual, hand-placed little items (there's hundreds of them, mostly rocks). Every tree, every platform, every wall, every rock, anything that's part of the environment is one item, at its given scale, put there by a manual process. There is no procedural generation or such.

It's very time-consuming but I like it because it creates very personal things and the work process puts one in a kind of meditative state: you need to focus, but not focus hard, so while your immediate attention is on the task, your mind can wander off.

It's kinda fun and produces very interesting results, but it's far from ideal.

It was actually something that took me a ton of time to get into initially because I never liked the process of making landscapes and environments out of stacked, combined and overlapped objects, always thought it was messy and counterintuitive... but the freedom you're allowed is kinda limitless, so...

Anyways, the big future change I'm looking forward to is getting custom "area islands" built as single objects so that instead of placing every little item manually, "world island objects" can instead be put together in the scene. It will scene building, processing, and will also make modding much easier.

If instead of placing 1000 objects in the scene to build a decent landscape with a proper level of detail, you can get away with placing 25 and get a result that's not only as satisfying visually, but also more economical in terms of processing power and required skill level, that can only be better.

For now, we work with the little stuff, with the single pieces and the individual props. The screenshots come out well, the landscapes are pretty nice, it does the job. Eventually though, there'll be that migration. When it occurs, I'll be more than relieved!

And as usual, you can:

Thank you very much!


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