Before we get into the new weapon crafting system - I have a bit of a teaser video to share we created as a bit of an exercise/experiment:
It's no secret one of the features to be included when testing resumes is combat - which, itself, is comprised of several smaller parts. The first part of these to tackle was getting some weapons into the game, and as with all items of this sort in the game, I prefer to make weaponry a crafting skill rather than just something you buy or get as a quest reward. I have previously stated that I would like Antilia to feature a lot of non-combat gameplay to broaden the ways the game can be played. Smithing and combat are two skill areas that compliment one another, and it didn't make sense for me to add one without its compliment.
To really understand and appreciate how the system works, I think it has to be seen in action - so, I've recorded a second video today, which demonstrates the new system:
((EDIT: I would recommend viewing this video on youtube at 720 or 1080p - it's a little difficult to see me using the GUI at the standard or embedded resolutions.))
For the sake of those who cannot currently watch the video, I'll provide a brief summary:
The crafting window has been expanded to include a preview of what you are making (hovering your mouse over the preview shows the crafted item's stats), and a set of customization options unique to each crafting skill.
Weapons can be crafted with a variety of woods and metals, which affect the look, durability, and value of the crafted item.
Weapons are constructed out of separate components - such as hilt and blade. These components can be mixed and matched in different ways to create an array of weapons. An axe head can be placed on a handle or pole... short blades can be placed on hilts or poles, etc.
The customization options include a set of sliders for things like blade length, width, and curve, etc.
There is a new 'Assemble/Customize' window that can be accessed on a base (such as a hilt or pole) that allows you to combine components.
We have been quite surprised with the amount of variety in appearances you can get via the customization sliders - from simple, straight blades, to blades with various decorative flairs and curves - all based on just one crafting skill. I seem to create something new each time I test with it, and I can't wait to see what players come up with!
Beyond what the crafting system is already doing, I think it has some amazing potential down the road - I'm planning to add rare, more exotic (and colorful) metals - as well as a hard semi-transparent glass-like material. The assembly system has likewise been designed with the the future in mind - and will later allow weapons to be enhanced with magical crystals and enchantments.
I won't go into too many technical details - suffice it to say, creating this system for morphing shapes, and making it possible to quickly swap out colors, textures, and patterns involved it's share of technical challenges - from adding a tab on the Mesh Editor to allow meshes to be morphed, to the addition of equip points - allowing one object to be attached to a moving point on another object or even animated character. Now that we have this all working, there is a lot of future application for it.
Naturally, the morph system will be used in the upcoming character creation overhaul - allowing players to customize their character's appearance to great detail. Beyond just weapons, the new assembly system can be used for customizing magical apparatuses, and possibly other equipment like armor. With the attachment/equip point system, we can now place items in players hands that contain lights, sounds, particle effects, and even their own animations.
Meanwhile, progress continues on other efforts for the upcoming release - completing the new character meshes, expanding the lore, and designing some basic quests for players to learn skills through, rather than just getting them immediately from NPCs. Some effort has been put into improving our use of color in the game - improving and designing color palettes, as well as fixing various visual glitches and performance issues - such as the halos around characters when standing in front of water, and clutter appearing through particle streams.
All-in-all, a very busy month!
Now that players can craft and properly equip weapons, the next task is giving NPCs and monsters a proper AI system. I don't anticipate this should take nearly as long as the crafting system, as there isn't near as much content development involved. As usual, however, I will be putting my own touches into it's design - and I can't wait to see our currently static NPCs begin interacting with players and the environment in more dynamic, potentially surprising ways. We are one step closer to combat now, with only 2 steps remaining... and certainly this is shaping up to be the most exciting release of Antilia since the first alpha test!