Programming has really picked up the pace recently and we are seeing weekly updates on the Enact tool. They are swiftly clearing up various bugs and adding new features. Right now we are concentrating on the A.I. net tool. This includes improvements on adjusting the net. All the mass connections were causing some slow ups, so they are redoing the data structure and other elements to keep our level designing team moving at a fast pace. But in addition to that we have also seen some preliminary screenshots of the much talked about (by programming) new terrain system. These are early shots with several months of work to go before it is complete, but they show great promise and demonstrate that we are still on track with this (excuse the pun) ground breaking technology.
Art continues to develop new dynamic objects. We have begun some work on some final art elements and are now going back and improving elements done early on for the prototype. Currently we are slowing down on making NPCs as we have plenty for the time being, though some key NPCs involved in the Epic Story Line are still being developed.
In Level Designing work is going on within the Enact tool as well as the Static and Dynamic object Editor. We will never have enough Level Designers, that is a fact. The world is very large and the more we have the faster we can develop things, but we are progressing. Right now they are still concentrating on two main areas, world development and the A.I. net (which controls our NPC lives). Enact was built so that Level Designers could practically create any A.I. they want for their NPCs and we are starting to see the power of the tool as programming fleshes it out and fixes up various bugs in the Enact tools. New tools within Enact will continue to be added over the next six months or so. The Level Designing team has gotten started now and will are beginning to breathe life into the world of the Citadel using the Enact tool set.
In Quest/Mission/Adventure/Crisis etc. writing work continues at a steady pace. Like Level Designers, our writing staff can never be large enough. CoS is a content hungry system requiring some pretty amazing talent to write our quests. The current team has the talent, we just need to clone them all to speed up work (or find some equally talented individuals who want to be chained to a computer to write fantasy novel quality quest stories). But work continues. We anticipate that it will speed up some now that we have ironed out many of the wrinkles in our quest system and the writers have a clearer understanding of what it is that is expected from their stories in this complex (to write, not to play) system we use for this game. Practice makes perfect, as the saying goes, and their output speed should soon increase. Of course, we are always looking for new writers (as well as level designers and artists).
The team expanded up to thirty people recently, but then we lost a few people to other endeavors and the complications of life, so for the moment we are holding at twenty-seven. This is still a small team for what we are doing, but we will continue to look for talented individuals who want to work on a truly amazing and ground breaking project. We ask a lot from our team members because we are unwilling to compromise on any of the design elements planned for this project.
There is still no time table on completion, which is actually impossible to predict. With cutting edge development of new technology (which is very unpredictable), and a new system of quest writing never done before and many other innovative (and therefore at times painful) design goals, we often hit snags that slow up that part of the development. But, we have a goal and so far we have not had to compromise on what we are building. It will be done when we think it meets the original design goals, and not a moment before. However, we are slowly nearing a time when we will be willing to show the game to various publishers. This is a very exciting year in the development of CoS, and we expect to see great things. Our team is working seven days a week to bring it to you, be patient.