Last month we showed a few previews of what we are now calling dow_cathedral.
We finished the map a couple weeks back, and wanted to show some previews of the final map
While it has been ready for testing for a few weeks now, we have held off conducting a test until we could do a few other things like upgrading to UE 4.16. We are using our tests of new maps to also test other underlying engine changes, fixes, and features, which means we will not always be testing new maps the minute they are ready.
In the past month we’ve also begun work on a new map, experimented with some new lighting methods, done top to bottom art optimization passes on Carentan and Kaysersberg, and made some progress on some major features that will be detailed more below.
As we mentioned last month, we are working towards a big update where we plan to release a batch of new maps, new features and polish. (Amalfi and Cathedral are maps 1 and 2)
As we work towards the next big milestone things will be a little quieter, so in this update we also wanted to reiterate what we are working towards.
A few months back we really locked in what we needed to do with the game. This was based on everything we learned from our Kickstarter thru several months of Early Access, both player feedback and our own experience experimenting with and playing our own game.
Originally we had a fairly loose vision for Days of War, and we simply could not continue down that path of straddling so many lines, we had to make decisions on what to focus on, what to cut, and what to change.
Some results from that:
- No more bigger open maps. Sticking to traditional close quarters lane based maps designed for no more than 32 players.
- A focus on more traditional skill based gameplay. To us, this means high recoil, no ADS, high damage, relatively quick movement, and the map design mentioned in #1. If you absolutely need ADS to have fun, we recommend checking out pretty much any other game out there.
- A focus on the 5 flag capture game mode. This one was more painful, as there is so much we want to do here but keeping multiple game modes (and map types) as we build out the game was simply too difficult.
Now we admit that this effectively narrows the scope of the game, at least in the near term. We want to be clear that this does not mean we have abandoned some of our ideas and experiments completely, but we have reprioritized to make sure we first hit the mark on whats laid out above.
Last month we mentioned we had a big announcement coming. Part of the reason this update is coming so late this month is we were waiting for the green light to go ahead. The announcement is still coming, but we regret to say that due to some developments we cannot make it this month. This announcement is going to be primarily for the players who are dissatisfied with the direction of DoW as laid out above. Some of you were our earliest and biggest supporters, and we have not forgotten about you.
We also admit that our refocusing efforts have extended our timeline a fair amount. We’d rather take longer and deliver something quality than deliver a half-assed attempt sooner.
Our main bottleneck is still maps and content, but we have a few things cooking right now in the meantime...
MAJOR FEATURES CURRENTLY IN PROGRESS
Map Editor and Steam Workshop Integrations
We realize this has been a long time coming, but we have been taking our time with the map editor for good reason. This means making it more accessible and usable than other UE4 editors out there. The editor itself is actually the easy part, its actually supporting all the custom content in game and in servers where most of the work lies. We’ve made more progress on the editor in the past month than in the previous year and it is the highest priority new feature right now.
VOIP 2.0 and Discord Gamebridge
Our new VOIP system is powered by Discord and also includes many capabilities beyond traditional VOIP communication. We are huge fans of Discord and happy to be partners with them in this new offering. We’ve invested a lot of resources in developing this integration since the spring as we think it has big potential.
You can learn more about Gamebridge here: https://discordapp.com/gamebridge
We were originally iffy on the prospect of developing bots considering we had limited in-house AI expertise. We found an excellent programmer who was very interested to take the job and we have determined bots are worth the investment for both our players and for our team to use in development.
Here are a few of their capabilities so far:
* Different states include hiding, attacking, flag capturing and flag defending
* Bots go for different flags, but also will prioritize nearby flags, to not ignore low hanging fruits
* Depending on the task at hand, bots will engage enemies on sight or only fire at them while continuing towards their objective
* When engaging an enemy, he might run-and-gun but he also might hold position
* Bots may decide to hide near a captured flag they want to guard. They will pop up once that flag is being stolen.
* Bots may decide to go hide when he loses sight of an enemy that he's fighting
* Bots have a random chance to follow nearby human players. They will engage any enemies encountered and will periodically consider breaking off to go solo again.
You can see a preview of the bots in action below, please note many of the animations are broken. https://youtu.be/Bry2qgMMdos
We still have a lot of work to do to make them smarter and we'll be updating you on the progress as we go. It is possible we begin testing an early version of them before they are final.
Stat and Progression Systems
Earlier in the year we broke ground on the backend of this system which will be the foundation of our player stat profiles and player progression features.
Because we have many several features that required new UI we’ve decided to do an entire UI pass to give the game a fresh face. The concepting stage has already begun.
This isn't everything, as we like to keep some things a surprise.
This also does not include many of the very important smaller features like bullet penetration, steam integrations, recoil patterns, etc.
Lastly this doesn't include the long list of gameplay rebalancing and refining items that we plan to start ramping up before our big update lands.