DevBlog

DevBlog 40 -Weekly Update

Hello and welcome to the 40th CardLife DevBlog,

Lots to update you on this week including a small patch that addresses a few live issues, so let’s get to it:

Patch Notes 40

A small hotfix this week that contains:

  • Wolves have had their spawning reduced until we can implement creature spawning via world location instead of based on the player position
  • A few miscellaneous fixes

Ongoing Work: Cardboard Streaming

Currently when anyone crafts a tool, weapon or building piece it stores that data and when anyone logs into the server everything stored is sent to the player. This causes a major slowdown on the loading screen especially if you are unlucky enough to spawn next to a huge building. To alleviate this issue Cian has begun to work on a streaming system that only loads the relevant data near to your character.

It does this by detecting what pieces of card are nearby, prioritises them into a list and then builds them in order. Previously it was treating every single piece of card uniquely which was hugely inefficient, so we have changed it so that it only builds one type of the relevant piece of card and then uses that to clone the rest (also known as instantiating). This means that we always have to start out with everything being the default shape and then over time replace the default shapes with the custom Connect the Dots outlines. This is a really nice system that allows us to cap the amount of data you're having to generate as you run around the world without having any impact of the gameplay or performance.

Ongoing Work: Building & Decorations

As well as streaming Cian has also been working on addressing a few issues we have found with the interconnectivity of pieces within the building system. We knew we would have some teething issues due to the large number of pieces we have but we feel it’s definitely been worthwhile as you can build some really awesome structures. This also means we will be adding a few new building pieces over the next few patches to fix a few holes we have found such as a triangle piece to fit a 22.5 degree slope.

We have also begun working on the decorations that you can place in your house - the above image shows the decorations that can be made out of Wood, Stone, Copper and Iron - also known as the Medieval/Viking age. We have four ages in the game with the remaining ones being Renaissance, Modern Day and Space Age with each age having its own unique materials and style. With this in mind we will also be updating the tools and weapons to fit this progression in a future update i.e. Medieval/Viking age will use a Pickaxe but the Modern era Pickaxe would become a Jackhammer. The majority of the decorations will also have a function that you can use in-game such as storage, lighting or the growing of herbs and plants.

Ongoing Work: Combat Look & Feel

Aldo and Alessio have been focusing on updating the combat and AI systems so that they start to feel nice and robust. Although we have a very simple system at the moment we want to make sure that it’s satisfying at this early stage before layering on new features such as blocking and ranged attacks etc. Alessio has specifically been looking into improving the locomotion system of the wolf so that they can turn at any point (idle or moving) meaning they are much more agile during combat. He has also implemented a head look system so that they always look at you which goes a long way to making it feel like the wolf is actually attacking you. The next step is to make the wolf always lunge at you during its attack so it bites your screen.

Aldo on the other hand has been looking at the spawning. At the moment on the live server it is very crude and not really fun as you can never get away from the wolves. We needed to do this to test the AI in a live environment and it has been invaluable as we have found several issues (including the infamous invisible wolf) but we want to change it as soon as possible. On our internal server we have changed the system to now be based on the world position rather than the player location but this is just the first step. Aldo has now begun to work on the actual spawning rules that will allow us to have a much better distribution of the creatures across the world e.g. wolves spawning in packs rather than single mobs everywhere.

Ongoing Work: Servers & Modding

As I mentioned in the last DevBlog, Ed has begun to work on the network infrastructure to allow us to scale the game to more than one server. He has already implemented a simple server selection screen that allows you to select a server to join from the main menu. He has now started to work on the backend lobby that stores all of the gameplay server information and will become the repository for all of the official and unofficial servers.

Ryan has also been working on an awesome shader that simulates the look of cardboard at a distance. This means that we will hopefully alleviate some of the visual differences between Lod 0 which is actually made up of cardboard slats and the lower Lods which are smooth.

Ongoing Work: Networking

Now that we have a basic combat system implemented we have started to work on the next set of creatures we want to add to the game. Firstly we create a box model of the creature to get the correct proportions and scale and then we convert that model into 2D pieces of card for our exporter as the above image shows. We have had the bear model for a while but we have just started to work on the Imp as you can see below:  

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As always if you have any feedback, questions or comments please feel free to contact us at any of our social portals: Facebook, Twitter and our very own Forums.

Cheers,

Rich, Co-Game Director