DevBlog

DevBlog 42 - Wolves 2.0

Hello and welcome to the 42nd CardLife DevBlog,

New patch this week which adds the very first improvements to the Wolf AI and few other fixes including some brand new building pieces. Also lots to update you on so let’s get to it:

Patch Notes 40.1

As always you can download the patch via the launcher. Here are the major changes:

  • Wolves now spawn based on world location
    • The world is split into 75m square cells with each cell having a percentage chance to spawn wolves
    • This system will form the basis for all our creature spawning
  • Improved Wolf Locomotion & Attack Behaviour
    • Wolves are now much more agile and can turn on the spot
    • The wolf should now try and bite your screen so you can clearly see you’re being hit
  • Tweaked camera shake when you get hit so it’s more noticeable
  • Tweaked card shake for when you hit other characters/creatures so it looks less glitchy
  • Implemented (work in progress) loading screen
    • Currently it’s a little laggy but it removes the issue of stalling at 0% and you can clearly see that the game hasn’t crashed
    • This lays the foundation for this system and we will be improving it further in a future update so it’s smoother
  • Streaming has been implemented for all objects in the game world
    • This means default pieces will show first before loading in the custom CTD shapes
  • New building pieces have been added
    • Sloped Half Wall
    • Corner Half Wall
    • Sloped Triangle Ceiling
  • Fixed a building issue where pieces were not connecting properly
  • Fixed invisible wolves issue

Ongoing Work: AI & Combat

While we have now changed over to the new spawning system on the live client we still have more work to do on the spawning rules. Before Aldo jumps back onto the spawning though, he is going to spend some time optimizing the wolves AI as currently they are updating much too frequently with the server which is causing a heavy load on the server’s cpu. The plan is to continue to frequently update wolves that are nearby but then progressively tail off the frequency of updates to the wolves the further they get from you. This means that wolves in the distance might move less often or change direction more slowly. This allows us to still have lots of creatures without killing the server performance.

Now that we have improved the wolf attacking behaviour, Alessio is going to propagate some of that behaviour into the wandering behaviour such as the head look. This should mean that the wolves can randomly look around when they wander and turn to look at you if you come too close. We also want to massively improve the chase behaviour as at the moment as it is very rudimentary. As soon as we have the wolf behaving well, we will start to add more creatures into the game using the wolf as the basis for their AI - with the first being the Bear.

Ongoing Work: Front End & Networking

Mike has now started to mock up the front end screens (from my layouts - example above) that will become the new flow for playing the game. This is all in anticipation of Ed implementing the new lobby/backend network that he has been working on the last few weeks. This will then allow people to host their own server or join any number of official/unofficial servers. At first each server will have capacity of 20 and we will slowly build that up to 100 concurrent players on each server. This is mainly just to test the load balancing and make sure we have the right equipment to fully run each server without any loss in performance.

Ongoing Work: Building Unionisation

If you have tried to build anything on the live servers you will have noticed that when you connect two pieces together they flicker quite a lot as they overlap. This overlap is intentional as we want cardboard to slot together to give it that slatted look, but the flickering is not desired. So we have now started to work on unionisation so that several pieces connected together look like one seamless piece. If you played the very first few iterations of CardLife (you can check out our very first YouTube video here - the game has changed a lot!) you might remember that we used to do this when you add a piece of card onto an existing piece.

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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