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I've returned to my regular development this week after a few weeks break from c++ development. I was working on Antilia in that time, but with my focus shifted to other areas of the project that needed attention such as this website.
My first priority this week was to assess the state of multiplayer. Antilia is still based on a client/server architecture, and portions of the multiplayer side of things have been in development all along the way. But there are a number of missing features and loose ends to tie up. I revisited the "connect to server" process and there is still work to be done there polishing up the interfaces. But I was able to pretty quickly sort out a few gaps in the connection process, get two instances of Antilia running side-by-side on my PC along with the server, and get both instances logging in to the server.
The next item on my list is to get remote movement working again. Player movement and NPC movement ended up sharing fewer similarities than I had hoped. For NPCs the path they are walking is calculated in small segments of waypoints that can be sent to the client all at once. Player movement is less predictable, and includes acrobatics skills like jumping which the NPCs don't currently use. I was able to get basic player movement working over multiplayer without too much trouble, but there's still work to be done there.
Current state of multiplayer movement - you can see other players run and sprint, but not jump, water-run, or use tools.
I'll continue work on the Connect to Server process this week as well as movement.
World Scale Change
How big is Antilia's gameworld? How long does it take to run from one side to the other?
When I was initially sculpting Antilia in the new World Editor (starting back here in the video from July 2020) I used a "reference map overlay" - a map of Antilia that I can toggle on and then sculpt Antilia on top of it to match. There was no scale inherent to the world - just the question of how many terrain pages I chose to use and how I scaled the character to match.
Later I started work on the Isle of Kasau. The first rough version was created at the scale which it appeared in the "map overlay". But that presented a problem - it took about two minutes to run across it north to south with the way I initially scaled the character. Knowing that would be too small for what I had planned for our "test and demo" region, I redesigned Kasau and increased it's size by considerably.
Unfortunately that still didn't quite work. The solution I chose at the time was to halve the scale of the character - thereby doubling the size of everything in the world, and quadrupling the land area. After that Kasau finally felt about right. Mt. Gajoi felt towering, there was room for villages, wild areas between them, and places to explore. Of course this meant Antilia had also gotten larger, but in a few tests running a character around the empty landmass it seemed good.
Or so I thought until I recently re-visited the Antilia landmass with a character. After gaining more experience with the world editor, the effort it takes to design regions, and how many objects and creatures are needed to fill in the world - that larger scale now had me concerned. With each new region I add to the Isle of Kasau changing the scaling again gets more and more difficult; and with only one village with buildings positioned in the game (buildings are large and must be scaled to accommodate the characters) I started to realize that right now is the last chance I have to change things or forever live with the consequences.
Map comparing the size of Antilia to the Isle of Kasau. (Note that the dark mountainous regions contain a lot of terrain too steep to develop or explore, and that biomes on Antilia will be larger in general.)
In last week's development meeting I raised the topic, we discussed it and I got some good feedback. Over the weekend I made the decision to go ahead and resize the characters once again - this time to 150% the size you're used to seeing them on Kasau. The effect isn't immediately noticeable in some shots - the character is a little bigger compared to the roads. But this change reduces travel times to about 2/3 of what they were previously, and the land area across the entire world that'll need to be filled in is reduced by about half. I might make some trees and rocks larger, which would allow me to reduce the total number needed to fill in the scene and could improve performance.
A character after resizing.
An overview of the Bamboo Gardens after resizing. The tower feels a bit taller and some buildings were moved to the road leading to the logging camp.
While moving the buildings around in the Bamboo Gardens I took it as an opportunity give a few areas another detail pass.
Antilia is, well... still pretty big. There's just no getting around that. But I can rest a little easier knowing it is now half the challenge that it would have been had I done nothing.
Passage to the Tangled Lands
For a while you may have noticed a circular feature in the mountains dividing the Bamboo Gardens and the Tangled Lands. This was planned to be the location of a Takadynn Tower, but those plans changed to putting the tower at the peak of Mt. Gajoi. I've removed that circular gap and replaced it with a winding cave that now separates the two regions instead.
The cavern entrance in the Tangled Lands leading to the Bamboo Gardens.
An interesting feature found along the way.
The village Defenders Guild has constructed a few barriers along the way with eagles nests to shoot at any that approach the village via the caves.
Exiting the passage into the Bamboo Gardens.