It has been too long since the last update. I apologise for that, but a whole lot of real world stuff got in the way of LOD development this year.
The last six months has been crazy with weddings, holidays, moving house and hospitals. I was really sick for about four months and I was unable to work on the game at all.
It has not been all bad though. I have had some time to step back and think about the bigger picture.
We have refined the vision for the project which led to reshuffled priorities and a slightly revised scope.
In that time I also took on some contract work to acquire some more skills and raise a little money for future development.
This will be a general overview of the last few months and the the learnings I took away from my contract jobs.
Turn & Burn
We made the decision to scale down the story elements. Whilst story and NPC dialogue will still be a big part it won't be as big as the Witcher 3 or Dragon Age: Inquisition.
You can expect a more open and nonlinear experience that encourages exploration with a focus on combat, claiming locations and raising an undead horde.
We are calling this approach "Turn & Burn" and it's more inline with the combat and environment destruction features many of you have asked for.
I have been working with Scott to improve the character pipeline.
Initially we decided to to handcraft each character to best achieve the style we were going for and to be as efficient with rendering as possible.
Essentially this means there would be 1 x skinned mesh renderer per character. Unfortunately at a part time pace it would take Scott years to achieve this.
We have created a wardrobe system that assembles pieces at runtime i.e. body, head, clothing, armour, hair, etc.
This meant that we are able to create a wider variety of characters with only a handful of assets. Of course this comes with a slight performance cost when it comes to rendering characters, but it's worth it.
After spending more time with Behaviour Trees I feel I have a better grasp on how to write more flexible behaviours now.
I have been able to improve things like sight and enemy targetting without writing a whole bunch of code.
I was even able to optimise many of the behaviours at the same time.
I am in the middle of overhauling animal animations to use root motion. This just means that direction and speed is baked into the animations so they look more natural.
This should solve the problem where animals appear to be are skating or sliding across the ground.
I have adopted a less cluttered design for user interface and spent some time improving performance and handling with better support for lists.
I am hoping that these changes solve the issue with buttons and draggable items not being very responsive
Unfortunately we have no images to share with you yet because many of the game features are still in the middle of the transition.
However, we are focusing on delivering a more polished alpha build by the end of the year.
A big thank you to those who contacted us here at Sandbox D7 in recent months with well wishing and never gave up on us.
That's it for another update.
Watch the latest dev videos and technology demos on YouTube
Thanks for the support
Sandbox D7 Team