Weekly Update - Burning Sands, Treasure Chests, Topo Map

This week I added two new regions to the game and improved a third, added treasure chests to make exploration more fun, and experimented with a new topographic style map.

Burning Sands Region, Blinding Sands Region

I added two new regions to the Isle of Kasau this week, just south of the Jidou Grazelands and Little Garden. This region started out as the "cactus fields" that were originally in the MMO south of the Taipii Base Camp, but transformed into something a little different. The cacti are still there but I've added more variety in plants and trees as well as tall mushrooms - hinting at a transition into the Moivalau forest (mushroom forest also from the MMO). The region also now features a waterfall and stream, a variety of desert plants, and is inhabited by Sand Jidou and a hostile wasp-like Koura called a "Racha".

On the eastern side of this region the red sands fade into what I've taken to calling the "Blinding Sands" region. No points for guessing why...

Pitch Bog

For some time now there has been a small cluster of Decay mushrooms hidden high in the rocks south of Little Garden. This area became inaccessible recently when I limited character movement up steep slopes, so this week I carved a precarious path up the side of the cliff allowing access again. While I was there I tidied up the area a bit and added a few new things to find as well.

Treasure Chests

This week I also implemented a new "Treasure Chest" system. These chests behave differently from crates and other storage containers in that each treasure chest can only be opened one time per character to receive a few small helpful items. Currently I have them dispensing a few pearls, small health and energy potions, a variety of small magic crystals, and occasionally a key (the purpose of which I'll introduce later on).

I've scattered a dozens of these chests across the decorated areas. When combined with Exploration Markers, Secret Markers, and resources like plants and mushrooms I hope they make it a bit more rewarding to explore the world.

Experimental: Topographical Map Style

And finally I tried a little experiment with the map this week while generating/exporting the terrain after making changes. I improved my map image generator to allow a custom "final pass" on the map images, and with that feature I experimented with a few new map styles.

Here is a "topographical" style map I generated this week out of curiosity. I don't yet know if I will change to this style (or change styles at all), but it does offer some advantages I think when it comes to placing markers and text on the map. Let me know what you think in the Discord server if you have any thoughts on it!

AI Behaviors

Progress is still being made on AI Behaviors as well, but this week the changes were entirely "under the hood" so to speak as I introduce a new AI Tasks and AI Task Steps system. The new system will allow for better organized group behavior, and allow more complex behavior in general. I'll provide a deeper look at that when the system is operational.