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BETA TEST April 27th; what's new?


Stormhaven Studios
Our next stress tests are scheduled for:
Wed. April 27th @ 8pm central
(Thurs. April 28th @ 1am UTC)
The developers will meet in Discord and test for approximately one hour. However, the servers will remain open for roughly 4 hours. The most up-to-date client can be retrieved via the patcher found on your account page.

What's new?
This week, as promised, is a bit low on content since Adric is out of town on vacation. However, I was able to knock out a few back-end tasks which should make abilities less error prone moving forward. Hit and penetration have been squished, along with NPCs now checking on alerts a bit quicker. A Unity 2021 build is starting to look a bit more promising and may be ready by next week as well. Finally, we are introducing a new notification system which we hope to expand on in the coming weeks.

World Breaker Notes
This coming Saturday we are running the first "World Breaker" event starting at 10am. The general premise of the event is us opening the flood gates to a number of non-backers for the weekend to see how our servers perform under higher loads. For this first test, we are establishing a baseline using our current hardware; performance metrics and data collected from this event will be used to inform our decisions moving forward on what hardware/cloud solutions to invest in. To ensure that this event runs smoothly we will not be testing on Friday at our normal times. After our Wednesday evening test the servers will be shut down and will not again be available until Saturday at 10am.

REMINDER: the servers will be open for 4hrs Wednesday evening. The servers will open again on SATURDAY @ 10am central and close on Sunday at 11:59pm central. See events in Discord for timezone translations.

Bug fixes / improvements:
  • Tech:
    • You can no longer sit while moving. This should reduce the instances of butt sliding while moving (it still occurs when getting up).
    • Updating backend code structure to prevent future mishaps with all abilities requiring weapons & ammo
    • Adding functionality to interactives to allow for different interaction animations.
  • Audio:
    • Ant hills and rats nests now have proper audio controllers (you can hear your hits land).
    • Spiders now have death audio.
    • Adding audio events for block, parry, and riposte.
  • Animation:
    • Bandaging animation now only occurs in the upper body.
    • Adding animation events for avoid, block, parry, and riposte.
    • New looting animations for corpses.
  • Art / Environment:
    • Rebaking all nav meshes.
    • Bug fixes in Newhaven environment.
    • Adjusting water nav mesh in Meadowlands to prevent /stuck from teleporting you under the world.
    • Fixing a wall poking out in one of the dungeon rooms
    • Reducing the intensity of the backpack's "sky beam"
  • UI:
    • Improvements to item dragging code. If things act up here please let me know!
    • New notification system (see below for details)
  • Design:
    • Alerted NPCs now move faster. Previously they walked to their destination, now they will move at a speed half way between walk and run.
    • HIT and PEN stats no longer break down by damage type and apply for all damage types. This also removes two stat tabs from your equipment UI as they are now placed on the first general "STAT" tab.
    • Lasting effect (dots, debuffs, cc) durations are now slightly diminished on yellow mobs to match damage resists.
New stuff:
Notification system
This week we are introducing a new notification system to help you keep track of things. Current notifications are friend requests, and reaching level 6 (informing you that a specialization has unlocked). These notifications will appear on the right side of your screen and expire after a fixed period of time. After expiration they can be found in the Notifications window, which can be accessed via the new notifications button in the upper right. In either spot, you can interact with these notifications by click on them and it should open the appropriate window.

Now that we have this general system in place we can easily expand it to include things like tutorial text, quest updates, weapons breaking, over encumbered, etc. There are currently some sorting issues where the notifications may appear behind one of your chat windows - but this should be resolved in the coming weeks.

Works in progress:
  • Zones: 4x additional overland zones have had an initial art pass completed
    • Redshore - accessed via Meadowlands & Dryfoot. Large tree forested region. Mid level range (approx 25-40). Nearing ready for population
    • Grizzled Peaks - accessed via Highlands, Redshore, and Gorge. Mountainous region with a number of tunnels. High level range (40-50). Has a one-way exit to Newhaven North.
    • Highlands - accessed via Meadowlands. Hilly region with sparse vegetation and water features. Mid level range (approx 30-40, likely to come after Redshore and Grizzled)
    • Gorge - accessed via Dryfoot. Large canyon-like area. Mid level range (approx 30-40, likely to come after Redshore and Grizzled)
  • Dungeons: All of central veins has been delivered from the art team and is now awaiting integration into the game. This includes the starter dungeon currently found in S. Newhaven, and a larger more difficult area for N. Newhaven. Spawning tech for dungeons is mostly complete so we just have to iron out the details in the spawning workflow.
  • NPCs: fully custom Bear, Elk, and Spider models are complete and integrated into the game. Spider is currently the only one implemented; elk & bear will come soon. Ashen creature varieties have also been integrated into the game but are not yet populating the world.
  • Design: implement high level abilities, loot table adjustments/population, advanced crafting recipes.
    • Considering giving a native "bonus" to each of the roles. For example, maybe a base defender gets +10% damage mitigation, and if you take the defender flavored specialization as a striker/supporter you get +5% damage mitigation. Still working through what the bonuses would be for Striker/Supporter/Controller.
  • Quests: a number of quests are in the queue for implementation/testing. Quest data structure and likely needs a refactor.
  • Tech: npc improvements, npc merchants.
  • UI: quest dialog redesign, tooltip improvements
  • New clothing & armor is still in the works.
New Creature (timeline: working on animations)
Here is a preview of our next custom creature currently in the animating stage (arguably the most time consuming without a dedicated animator). This little guy will likely inhabit Dryfoot as there are plenty of insects to eat.

Stat Consolidation (timeline: work in progress)
This week's changes include those to HIT and PEN which are now universal meaning they do not have sub types. I started work on damage type consolidation but there are some design issues that need to be discussed before moving forward with them. Given that our senior designer is on vacation it will have to wait until he returns.

Reagent Upgrade System(timeline: ...)
  • NPC's will drop a single type of Ember Essence (name is a WIP) that will "fill up" a permanently equipped Ember Stone. The amount of essence per creature will vary and it will be automatically split amongst group members similar to how coin currently is. Specific ember creatures such as ashen variants will likely drop more of this essence than others.
  • The ember stone is not something you traditionally "Equip" - it is a permanent fixture to your character that cannot be removed, traded, banked, etc. In order to obtain ember essence you must earn ember essence through adventuring.
  • Ember Stone's will have a maximum amount of essence they can hold. Later on down the line we may allow the player to unlock/earn an upgraded Ember Stone with a greater capacity via questing or something similar.
  • Ember essence can be spent at special crafting stations to upgrade your reagents. The current rough plan is to start with two variants: a) make the reagent do the same thing but more powerful, and b) have the reagent change in some way to provide a different "flavor" which will vary contextually depending on the ability. As time goes on we will add more variants.
  • We are also considering allowing players to spend their Ember Essence on the following (please note that all of these are CONSIDERATIONS and still up for discussion):
    • use ember rings and/or hollows as a summoning stone (which could be a summon from within the same zone, or maybe across zones depending on the # of people involved)
    • hearthstone like ability that would return you to the nearest ember ring/hollow (which would come with a long cooldown)
    • adding a temporary "aura" to ember rings that would provide longer-lasting temporary buffs for those near the ring
This design allows the player to collect ember essence naturally as they play. Capping the amount in which they can collect at any given time prevents hoarding and forces the player to make a decision on what to spend it on if they want to continue collecting. The considerations mentioned above would allow the players additional ways to spend their essence for the good of others which is something we are always striving to provide.

Implementing the actual ember essence drops should be relatively straight forward and take little time. However, giving the players something to do with that ember essence is the challenge here and requires some design time. Since we've had a truck load of other things to do in the mean time we likely won't be adding the first part until we have something for you to do with it.

Unity Upgrade (1 week?)
I spent a decent amount of time with 2021 this week and believe I have it in a workable state. The MacOS build still has some lingering issues but we are likely just going to have to deal with it. If all goes well I hope to have a 2021 build ready for next week for performance testing. This first test will NOT include any new skyboxes etc etc - it will merely be for performance comparison to the current 2019 builds. If no major issues are encountered then we can move forward with utilizing the new 2021 features.

What do we get out of upgrading to Unity 2020/2021? Here are a few ideal gains:
  • Engine bug fixes
  • Rendering bug fixes (black screen no more?)
  • New decal tech
  • New skybox tech
  • (2021 only) New dedicated server build target. This lowers the memory footprint of the server which should yield better server performance.
  • (2021 only) Potential for a native Apple Silicon build.
  • Improved code & rendering performance
  • Improved editor performance which would result in more productivity from the team
  • Better performance analysis tools
  • Road signs can once again have text

Known Issues:
  • Not all ember rings and/or POIs are proper map discoveries. This is especially true in Dryfoot & Dryfoot Stronghold. Discoveries and map uncovering is a WIP and will be revisited soon.
  • Deconstructing crafted items returns junk 100% of the time.
  • No, we are not yet entertaining a compass. There are some plans to help you navigate in a more organic way, but those are waiting on a new skybox that will come with Unity 2020/201.
  • your screen may at times turn all black. to fix open the options menu, toggle reflections on OR off for a moment, and then toggle them back.
  • cannot roll on loot while unconscious
  • not all clothing/armor has visuals
  • Dragging a group-nameplate in the group window will set the wrong pivot point for the group window and the whole thing will drag a bit weird.
  • typing chat text may occasionally become invisible. unfocus your chat window and trying again a few times typically resolves this.
  • Sometimes when you respawn you don't end up at the proper Ember Ring --> if this happens please report the position where you died via the "/report" command or "/debugposition" (if using debugposition you'll need to paste the value here)
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The new creature is awesome! Happy to see a humanoid type thing that isnt a goblin. Excited to see the move to Unity 2021 even if I get a performance hit.
The new creature is awesome! Happy to see a humanoid type thing that isnt a goblin. Excited to see the move to Unity 2021 even if I get a performance hit.
Well hopefully the apple silicone build will compensate for it somehow? lol. I hate Unity so much sometimes...
How long post 2021 upgrade can you give me a M1 test build?
probably a week or two. as long as the non M1 build is "stable" I can flip a switch and see if the M1 works ok. i don't think it's going to give us as much of a benefit as we had hoped though
Honestly compared to how the game ran on my M1 even a year ago, the performance has increased a lot. Removing a layer of emulation through Rosetta I expect to see atleast a 10% boost. Which may seem small but will really just smooth everything out. I am excited, thank you for taking the time to look into it even though its a small number of us on Mac (you included).