Making the most of our quiet time!

The past two weeks have been very productive! While we miss having playtesters in the game (having temporarily closed it after the end of the October Alpha Competition), the peace and quiet makes it much easier to focus on doing the major work necessary to push this game over the finish line. šŸ™‚

Here’s a by-no-means-exhaustive overview of some of the things we’ve been working on:

Ray’s whipped up a new event boss: “Rei, the storm!” Brother of Jinn and Kai. Watch out for Rei’s lightning maze (you can see that in the image below. Ignore the art for Rei himself; that’s just placeholder until we can get proper new art done.)

Sebi has been plugging away, improving our internal tools and backend and setting us up to support the game better post-launch, fixing various bugs and continuing to push the anti-cheat/hack auditing boulder up hill. šŸ™‚

Francois, among other things (including yet more bugfixes) has revamped the radar system. Gone are the persistent, overlapping pilot portraits – they’ve been replaced with more subtle green dots that, when pointed at, expand to reveal a pilot portrait and additional information when relevant. For example, if the player you are pointing towards is in a territory that is likely to be difficulty given your level, a cat skull appears alongside it. All the interesting details:

  • Bigger, brighter green dots for friends, above other players
  • Shows the territory of your teleport target and warn if it’s way stronger
  • New selection formula for teleport target that favours friends

We’ve also started engineering planning around a new, enhanced quest system that we hope will be more compelling than the current very simple system, which is basically a holdover from our old RotMG design.

Adam has been doing some intense work on, among other things, trying to make the world feel slightly more coherent, and increasing the visual differentiation between players and enemies. There won’t be any dramatic changes to either the environment or enemy units but some noticeable chances in color/contrast, for sure. Ally, meanwhile, has been getting some lovely final art into the long-neglected Grindhouse dungeon — have a taste:

And last but not least, Ryan has been kicking butt on the performance optimization front. Some of the more notable examples: the serialization code for all messages in the game has been updated; the new serialization is 4x faster, generates substantially less garbage and it does strict typechecking now so it should reduce bugs slightly. Net effect is something like 10% better performance in SBA overall. Ryan also figured out why we’ve been seeing big bandwidth spikes each time an enemy is killed – turns out we were sending an enormous amount of data (up to 10kb in some cases!!) to every player that is nearby every enemy when it gets killed. That fix is going to make the game a heck of a lot smoother and more stable particularly with large groups of players.

Lots more little stuff, but these are the key items. We miss playing with you all, but trust us – you’ll be happy to come back when we’re ready! šŸ™‚