Born of The Wild: The Depths [Current and future plans]
Today brings exciting news, I'd like to briefly go over the things I've made and the near future plans I am planning on taking from this point forward.
The things that have been accomplished in such a short period of time is pretty crazy, most of the server-side technologies are completely done, albeit there's a few more things that'll have to be added in as time progresses, but what have I done exactly that warrants a news article? Normally this stuff is done in individual chunks called "Dev Logs", but in this case I'm going to lay flat out what all I've done and some near future objectives before closed testing happens.
You can also find out other information on the game here. Warhead-designz.com
Current Objectives Completed:
- Got the netcode setup via third party package called TNet 3 (I highly recommend this). It's pretty barebones in the sense that it doesn't put unnecessary junk into the package you'll never use.
- Server-Side Authoritation with the most important things in the game, this prevents people from cheating leaving most control to the server, making the client mainly a visual representation of the server only.
- Temporary Shaders for the ocean to have some form of surface water. (this will be re-designed).
- Seaweed Shaders These shaders will bend the seaweed when animals get near them giving the idea of the animal brushing against it and moving it to the side.
- My favorite part - the server-side growth system, this system is pretty unique in how it works. It doesn't just scale a model up over time and call it a day, no, in fact it does way more than this. The growth system contains the whole of the animal in general. It deals with their mass as they age they get heavier, it deals with their health systems, scaling of course, it accounts for sexual dimorphism so the unique characteristics between the genders of each species will make each completely unique. It is designed to be completely robust and easy to use allowing server-owners to change settings on the fly, not only this but it is built into the custom and easy to use [Fully Automated] saving/loading system, so server-owners shouldn't have a hard to making modifications to player saves if they want to age them immediately, make them super strong, etc.
- Soft-Modding, with the information in #5. Most settings for every species in the game will be soft-moddable. What this means is, you can adjust the characteristics of each animal to suit your own needs you want for your server. Want to adjust the max health? Change the max health value, want to make a Great White shark the size of the empire state building at full adult? Just change that value as well. You want to change the growth times for species? Just change their values as well. I'm a firm believer in allowing at least the most basic forms of modding so players can have communities to fit their wants and needs in the game. [Currently] there are 18 settings for each GENDER of each species you can modify, heck you can even change a great white into a mammal if you want and make it need air to survive. This is how extensive the modification files are.
- Saving and Loading - I made a custom non-standard 'parsing' solution, if one thing I've always hated is Json, Yaml and XML files. It might be easier on the developer, but on the consumers end things get a little annoying, some of them 3 serialization methods above if you even add an extra "space" to a format - break. That's just unnecessary, so I've alleviated this problem for everyone. For example, Json would look something like this "MaxGrowth": "1.0", well why do all that? I just made my own system do MaxGrowth:1.0 see how much simpler and cleaner that is?
- Genetic Progression [Servers can turn this off] - This is a pretty cool system, genetic progression is a mechanic that allows you while growing to slightly alter your animals genetics, this isn't to be confused with genetic overrides (that'll be next thing to go over), but progression allows you to slightly, minimalistically alter your genetics, for example let's say your animal loves a specific kind of meal, eating it might give you 0.00025% more attack strength, it's not a lot but the objective is that it allows one over time to slightly progress your genetic strains over time this way every single player is uniquely designed for the way they want their animal to be such as - do you want to be extremely fast, extremely strong, more mass, etc. But there is also negative side-effects as well, so there will always be some form of meal that your animal just doesn't like, and if you eat that it might actually LOWER your genetic progressions, this is by design and will make players have to think tactically.
- Genetic Overrides [Servers can turn this off] - Genetic overrides are completely different from progression. Overrides are essentially - eat or do enough of something and you can unlock a genetic alteration for your animal. These are big genetical changes, not just speed, etc. These are the alterations that can give dramatically increased stats for your animal, such as 25% more damage, but each override will have some negative side effect, such as 25% more bite force might slow your speed down by 30%, therefore balancing out your character to not become to overpowered with crazy statistics. I have not yet determined which types of genetic overrides will be in the game, but they are already setup, 30 overrides are currently planned and are already setup with the saving/loading system and such. However you will only be able to have 3 applied to an animal, 1 alpha override, 1 beta override and 1 mutation override. Alpha overrides will be better than Beta overrides, however Mutation overrides are going to be completely unique, they will mutate your genetic structure so just an example - a shark that can breath fire and burn everything like a Dragon. (THIS IS JUST AN EXAMPLE). So as you can see, this is going to be pretty unique and will change the gameplay up tremendously, no two players are likely to ever be the exact same which makes things really interesting.
- Colors and Patterns - The same way the genetic progression system works, you can earn colors for your species to make them look the way you like and be pretty unique, however there will also be 'bioluminescence', these will make your animal light up in beautiful emissive colors, and there will be 'exotic' materials that can be applied to your animal, these aren't simple colors they will be actual textures or special effects. One of these will be octopus camouflage, so if you sit still for a few moments you'll start to blend in with your environment, another will make you look like rotting flesh, another might make you look like a 'Mecha-Godzilla', not really Godzilla, but the metal plated flesh, of course this won't have any effect towards armor or anything, it's just a way to personalize your character to fit you. So far there's currently 10 normal color unlocks planned, 10 bioluminescence colors planned and 10 exotic materials planned. (CURRENTLY).
- Texture Cache - I was reluctant to speak on this, but I figured why not, please understand this is only a feature I'm going to attempt, this is not a guarantee if this will currently be in the game or not. But anywho, this feature unlike all the other 'animal' survival games out there, that let you pick patterns and such, patterns will be in this game, but Texture Cache (probably a bad name for it), will allow users to paint their own skins/patterns on their animals making it more personalized and unique to them, whilst this feature sounds nice on paper, it ultimately will be determined by testing. I know I can make the feature, that isn't the problem, the problem is if it will be efficient over the network syncing these. If this feature comes to the game, it'll be an option that server-owners can toggle on and off, because I'm sure we can all see it already - someone painting something inappropriate. So this is a currently design and test feature planned, but not really decided on if it will be in the game.
- Spawning Menus - There's now a basic spawning menu, initially when you join a server you send a request to the server seeing if you have a saved character, if you don't the server tells you, you do not. So then it opens up a makeshift temporary spawning menu, where you can choose your species and gender. If you already have a saved file, the server loads your profile data and tells you you can spawn and just spawns you in.
- Near Future Plans -
Here is a list of some of my near future plans. (this particular order has no bearing on what happens in any specific order).
- Dev Streaming, dev streaming on twitch is going to start happening more often as I've now gotten the important netcode parts done with the game, so now I can finally start making more actual content.
- Seals, yeap someone talked me into it, Seals are now definitely confirmed in the game! P.S. - They are so cute!
- Balancing out the current netcode to make sure the male and females are balanced and fair.
- Modeling new level assets such as Coral, Seaweed, buildings, rocks, etc.
- Level Design.
- Designing new Seawater shaders to get a much better looking ocean water.
- Designing the Seal, texturing the Seal and animating it.
- More balancing.
- Working on attacking/defensive systems.
- Phase-01 testing with a closed set of testers.
- Fixing any new issues and bugs.
- Start the design phase of dolphins and some other 'mid-tier' animal.
- Phase-02 testing.
- Fix any issues found in this.
- Implement birthing systems (these systems are already mainly in place), but the actual logic to make them work aren't yet.
- Phase-03 Testing.
- Start implementing (some) genetic progressions and genetic overrides.
- Phase-04 Testing.
- Inviting more testers to test network capabilities. (stress testing).
- Fix any issues with network test.
- Perhaps an EA release?
This is the last bit I feel comfortable discussing at this moment, I hate to say an Early Access is to be coming out after Phase-04 testing, it may, it may not, we'll see (it's just simply too early to tell), I'll let everyone know when a date is determined. Keep in mind, this seems like a lot of work, and it is. But most of the actual codebase is ready for most of the stuff mentioned above, the longest time would be creating the [Texture Cache] system and making the levels. I really hope you all found this article to be extremely informative and I can't wait to show you what all is to come.
Thank you everyone, David Watts.
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