Dev Blog
2013 Begins with an update on CoS progress

January 10, 2013

   It is a new year! Time for a CoS development update! Our own crowd funding has been a small shot of goodness, and the money kindly donated by our supporters has been put to work getting the game further along. Unfortunately, it is not enough to really push us to Alpha quickly, so we will stay with the original plan and get there the old fashioned way, through hard work and true grit. This is not new to the team, we have been slogging through the making of this game now for around eight years.

Now, on to updates. We stopped meeting with any kind of financial parties during the holidays (because they all go on holiday!), but that is, thankfully, over now. We will get back to work in meeting with investor groups. As for publishers, we will likely hold off on meetings until E3. This will give us a chance to shore up some of the new systems and show a bit more game play.

As for specific progress, we will begin with Art this time. We have been working on a lot of our modular construction systems, including a new tower construction system, dungeon system and wooden fort system. The fort system was completed with about 350 different unique pieces that all work together to construct different layouts of forts. The new Tower system uses rings that snap together to raise a tower up in different configurations. These are big towers, with multiple hallways, rooms and chambers within each ring. The new dungeon system is a fancy set (not your moldy old dungeon here!), these would be indicative of a 1st Age ruin (you can read about that in the Lore section of the www.citadelofsorcery.com web site.) Now that the basic version of that is completed, we are moving onto a more traditional stony mucky dungeon set. Each of these sets are used to create a base location (thousands of them), which are then hand adjusted and improved by a human (so that they do not have that auto- generated feel to them, but this cuts down the amount of hours it takes to build each one significantly!

In Writing we are still working on stories, but are trying to streamline some of the processes we use to create these epic tales. Last update we mentioned that we split the team into Technical and Artistic writers, but we are still not sure if this is working out (meaning, if this is the most efficient way to get these done). More experimentation is being done, and one of our lead writers is busy detailing a new system for the team to try.

We have brought on a new composer to work on the score for the game, and got our first new piece of music recently. Next up will be some of the specific mood themes.

Level Design has had a recent influx of new talent, with five new LDs joining the MMO Magic team; bringing us to over forty people currently working on the game. However, due to a BIG change in the Enact toolset, work on world building by the LD team has been on hold for a couple months. This does not mean they are not working, but they are busy testing and reporting on the new changes rather than construction more game elements right now. You will hear more about why in the programming section up next. We hope to put them back into work on the game play soon though.

In Engineering we have had another programmer join the team (due to the crowd funding!). Our latest addition is an experience engineer in games, with some very good credits! We have started him working on one of the Enact tools that we had not gotten to yet, the Modular Auto-construction tool. This tool will use those fort, dungeon and tower sets to create varied locations around the world, a very important tool to the progress of populating this vast world.

In the Terrain system code, we are continuing to work with the new voxel/polygon rendering system. After we got it working we had to spend a lot of programming hours speeding it up. Right now we are trying to get the rendering speed capable of handling all individual leaves on trees so that we can generate forests that stretch into the distance for over a hundred and fifty kilometers (in view, from on top a hill for example).

But the largest amount of work has been on getting Enact 2.0 up and running. We got the first revamped tools functional, the A.I. Net tool, but have moved on to the NPC Dialog tool, which is nearing completion. The Enact 2.0 tool set adds a lot of additional options, with a less linear system of options for NPCs to use while they make decisions. After using the Enact 1.0 tools for some time, we created a list of things that would make it better. To implement these required a complete retooling of many aspects of the game, including the Client to Server interaction, all new User Interface to the tool, new databases and many new functions. Once we implemented this (two month ago now), it caused a lot of bugs that we have been squashing. Most of the core elements are now finished, but there are a lot of small integration areas to work on, and many more bugs to clear before the Level Design team can get back to work with the Enact 2.0 Tool Set, but progress has been good.

In a Level Design meeting that happened just yesterday, we were going over the new A.I. Net tool in Enact and one of the LDs asked if we really needed all of these options and depth of detail in the world. The answer was that in most cases, no, it would be too much reality and detail for a game, but we want the Enact tools have the capability of that kind of control and those options for the places where it would improve the game. The tool set has to do more than we will actually even need in most cases. Enact 2.0 gives us that power.

The new system, though far more powerful, is actually much easier to understand, and you can visually see the options in a new flow system that really shows what an NPCs choices and actions will be in any situation that this part of the A.I. Net is handling. We call it the Flow Display, and it is a whole new way for us to handle the NPC options.

So that is what has been happening on Citadel of Sorcery over the past few months. We will keep you posted on new developments! However, if you want to get updates more often, we invite you to join our Patron Team. There we do monthly webcasts on progress, as well as some development meetings, depending on the Patron level of the team member. Otherwise, we will still continue to give these updates every so often, just as we have always done. To join the Patron Team go to the www.citadelofsorcery.com website, and sign up your free account. You can then find out information on how to join the Patron Team, and how to reach various levels of access to the game development.


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