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Antilia's Inventory System and Project Goals for 2018

Monday, January 1, 2018 3:52pm
Lead Developer
Happy new year, everyone!

As is my custom, I'd like to start off the new year with a bit of reflection on Antilia's development in 2017. I'd like to present a few decisions that have been made, and my goals for 2018. But first, and in order to set the tone for the new year, I'd like to present our first game system designed and built for the Antilia sandbox RPG.

Antilia's Inventory System

To start, let me say that it was an absolute joy to work on this inventory system and finally see it become a reality. I worked late into the evening hours numerous times while building this, not because of time pressure but because it was just so much fun. I have been planning improvements to Antilia's inventory for several years now, and I am both delighted by and proud of the result.

((Full resolution image available here!))

Some highlights of the new design:
  • The inventory is fully 3D rendered - I expect players to continue filling their inventories with uniquely designed items in Antilia, and unlike static icons the 3D rendered inventory makes it easy to identify crafted items.

  • The inventory can be expanded - Players will find items to expand their inventories across Forra including chests, crates, weapon racks, and mannequins for clothing and armor.

  • The inventory can be customized - Expansion sets can be collected, applied, and removed. I want to encourage the player to experiment with different arrangements and tune the layout to their play style or task.

  • Manage Items in Groups - Groups of items can be moved around by dragging the group's container. Equipping an outfit will be as simple as dragging a mannequin from your inventory or a wardrobe and dropping it on the character.

  • Inventory slots of different sizes - This will create new challenges and decisions for players, and allow us to better tune the game's balance. It also makes it easier to recognize items such as fishing poles and spears when they are given an appropriately shaped space.

  • The inventory is responsive and interactive - As you hover over items they respond by jumping out of the slot and rotating as the information pop-up appears. While moving items the slots will be color-coded to indicate where an item can and cannot fit.

This is the first of several game system redesigns I have scheduled in 2018, so stay tuned!

A Retrospective on 2017

Unlike the year before, 2017 was a very busy year for Antilia's development. Hundreds of hours were spent on design work, brainstorming game systems, and writing up a 60-page initial draft of our game design document. Across a dozen additional documents we have been collecting, organizing, and distilling all our ideas for Antilia’s lore and gameplay. Dozens of whiteboards were filled with task lists that were then slowly crossed off. Many of those tasks were of a technical nature that wouldn't make for good blog post but needed to be completed, such as synchronizing and caching scene data between client and server.

A large amount of development time in 2017 was spent in the development of content tools for Toi Studio, something for which I have mixed feelings. On one hand we built the Landscape Tool, which will be required for our small development team to have a chance at building the varied environments of Forra. On the other hand it took until October to get the Landscape Tool working. I had planned several tools in my goals for 2017 based on editors we built previously for the Antilia MMO, but clearly I did not appreciate the amount of development effort re-creating and improving the old tools would take. To have all the editors and features I want in Toi Studio will take not only take longer than I had hoped, but longer than is practical.

Appreciating now that this is the case, I've made the decision to exclusively prioritize my development effort on Antilia this year. Plans for porting and improving editors including the Mesh Editor will be shelved, and instead content will have to be built using pre-existing software wherever possible. I fear I have let Antilia's following down by holding too strong an opinion toward products such as Blender based on my initial bad experience, and I am going to change this behavior. It may also disappoint some who had hoped to use the Toi Studio tools for modding, but in the future I want to develop custom tools for Antilia only when there are no immediate alternatives.

Goals for Antilia in 2018

For 2018 I'm only setting one goal: To build fun, quality game systems for Antilia like the new inventory and get the community testing them.

Many thanks again to the wonderful people who continue to follow and support our project, and I wish you all a good year in 2018!

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