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Here's our progress on Alpha 4 this week, lots of updates to trees, roads, property, transport, and the minimap!

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Work on Eco is moving right along, and we’ve set the date for Alpha 4 release to be at the end of March! The game will look and play significantly different from Alpha 3, we’ve been working on both visuals (trees, landscapes, roads) and new systems (property, building, energy, transport, mini-map). Here’s a look at that work in progress.

Eric - eric@strangeloopgames.com

Trees 2.0 work is continuing. Trees animate growth over their lifetime, adding branches and leaves as they grow. This is considerably different than how they used to grow which was block-by-block, which didn’t look or work that well. Will try and get a video for the next dev blog.

It is now also possible to prune off sections of a tree, by highlighting and damaging the individual portions. Break off leaf bunches (which will grow back), or hack off entire branches (which won’t grow back), or knock down the whole tree. You will have to prune off branches before harvesting the wood after felling each tree, though some branches will break off during the fall.

Also, the block system was refactored finally doing away with the pesky enum-based types of the past. Now all block types are assigned IDs automatically, and adding a new block can be done with just a few lines of code, and any matching artwork. This will allow for very, very easy modding to add as many block types as you want, from any mods, with no conflicting ID nonsense. (actually up to 65536 types)

John - john@strangeloopgames.com

Worked on the mini-map this week (with rendering support from Eric). It now displays the locations of property and buildings, so you can use it to find the buildings you need to use (this will be huge for the economy, allowing you to seek out buildings that stores that provide what you need). Added a filter panel that lets you control what you want visible. Will be adding other players to this next.

K - klim@strangeloopgames.com

Command “Let there be Vehicle” is not working.

So using command “Let there be Wheel, Body, Engine, Fuel” to make Vehicle.

Now vehicle is consuming fuel or possibly calories per second while moving, and that’s why your want to get on the right road because wrong road can give huge penalty on speed.

For example, Wrong road 40% of max speed vs. Right road 100% of max speed which giving 150% more traveled distance on good road compared to bad road.

Keegan - keegan@strangeloopgames.com

I’ve been continuing the ever-evolving process of working on our terrain for Eco, tweaking and improving custom builders and meshes. Next up for that will be meshes to improve the transition between block-types in the world, which will have to be a new system layered on top of what we have now. I’ve also been updating and preparing the first block types usable for constructing buildings with our revamped systems and ideas of how they’ll work: logs, wood, stone, as well as a more advanced steel/aluminum building. I’ve also been working on roads, getting new assets and builders ready to work with our implementation of transportation.

Milenko - milenko@strangeloopgames.com

Basically still working on prettying up everything.

Finished off first pass of all the new plants, Did second pass on the terrain textures, revised the grass patch mesh, and mostly been working on the tree setup so we can have a system for growing trees.

Ah yes, everything will be choppable now : leaves, branches trunks :) Should be fun.

Setting up collision is being a bit of a pain, mostly due to the long feud between max and Unity.

need to wrap this up soon, so we can move to support the alpha release, and work on critical assets needed to make that one happen. Then, it will be back to the world stuff, new sky and clouds, critters and avatars, and hopefully with time to spare for the underwater stuff.

Still so much to do!

Thanks and email us with any feedback as always,

-John K

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