Heres the latest news from MMORPG ‘The Repopulation’. A game in which I am working as the lead composer.
Written by J.C. Smith
With the wild ride that was March behind us, we have a chance to reflect the month that was and to look ahead to April. We had originally planned on launching Alpha 3 on March 28th, but the new server hardware required for this update arrived late (just yesterday), causing us to push the start back slightly. Our preparations for it though resulted in one of our busiest months ever from a development standpoint. Before we look ahead to the start of Alpha 3 let’s first take a look back on the changes made to the game in March.
We spent a lot of time working on the User Interface as we continue to streamline it and make it easier to use. You can move some frames which previously were locked into place, such as the status and target bars. There are new ease of use options for abilities, and an on-deck ability system is now supported. Abilities will now grey out if you can not use them with your currently equipped weapon, as well. For complete details on the interface changes see the User Interface notes below.
Trade skills are a pretty massive part of our economy and we focused heavily on them in the latter stages of the month. You can now create all of the armor shells in the game through the Armor Crafting skill, with some new armor sets being introduced. Vehicle Engineering and Disguise Creation are also now functional, and there are an assortment of new recipes and results in many other lines.
Speaking of Disguise, that system received a significant level of updates this month. You can now disguise as non-human species. There is a greater variety and level of customization in the types of disguises you can don, and the system is just working much better all around. Entertainer types may enjoy a new interactive music system which was implemented which allows you to play instrument notes which can be heard by nearby players. This system is still in its infancy and we expect it to grow and improve in the coming months. Pets also received a slew of updates and now feature improved pathing, and new variations of pets. We also spent time on smoothening out the transitions for tamers, so that they have a steady rise on the types of animals they can tame.
A heavy focus was also placed on the mission system this month. We added a ton of new mission templates this month, which should provide players with a lot more variety in Alpha 3. Our mission team has really begun to move full steam and you can expect to see a lot of improvements there moving forward. Feature wise, missions were also improved. Arch-rivals and Allies are now tracked on a per character basis. This allows for NPCs to remember players better and to use their relationship with that player as a filter for generating new opportunities. We also made numerous improvements on how Missions and Achievements interact. Missions can now add and remove achievements through any action, and they can hide these changes from players.
We then had some additions which were targeted directly at what will soon be a flood of new players. The Repopulation is not a game which is heavy on instancing, but in some cases such as the Training Grounds or certain mission instances, it is a necesity. We spent a lot of time this month improving our instancing support. The Training Grounds can now automatically spin up new instances when they reach a certain threshold of players. Engagements also now support instancing.
Hero Engine also released a major patch this month which brought a ton of great changes on the final week of the month. We took several days and upgraded a number of areas to take advantage of those features. They have allowed us to improve our weather effects, and fixed some perceived latency issues that were caused by a timer mismatch issue. Unfortunately they also introduced a physics bug which is currently being investigated, which has prevented us from pushing these changes to the alpha server at this point. Those changes will be coming very soon though.
This brings us to the big question, when will Alpha 3 begin and what can we expect from April? First and foremost is Alpha 3, which will be starting soon. The physics issue will need to be resolved, and we need to work out the best schedule due to PAX East next week, but keep an eye on your mailbox (and spam folder) as we’ll be sending out keys and instructions as soon as we have this all finalized. On a sidenote if you are a backer and have not yet confirmed your pledge, you should also be keeping an eye out on the mailbox, as we will be sending a fresh batch of confirmation emails to those who have not yet confirmed their web site account within the next few days, as well. You need to click on those confirmation links as it is how we associate your forum account with pledges which were made in the Kickstarter campaign, and is necessary for testing access. If you have any questions or did not receive a confirmation email when you purchased a pledge please contact us at email@example.com and we will try to get to the bottom of it. When we send out invites for Alpha 3 it will be from confirmed pledges so please make sure you have validated your purchase.
We will not have a booth at PAX East this year with testing being our priority, but Joshua Halls will be in attendance and has numerous things lined up for it. If anyone would like to schedule any meetings with him please drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and he can try to work it in.
If there is a silver lining to the hardware delay, it’s that it gave us a couple of weeks of extra time to cram in new content, and we’ve already have a massive slew of additions over the first few days of this month. This includes a slew of trade skill additions to Artillery, Culinary Arts, and other lines, and some significant improvements to how the game handles in high latency situations. We’re really looking forward to getting all of the new testers in game very soon. Keep an eye on those mailboxes, it’s going to be a fun (but stressful) month for the game.