Since last blog I’ve been working on getting 0.5.6.0 released, working on bugfixes and polish for upcoming 0.5.6.x minor releases and planning our next 0.5.7.0 major experimental release.
I’ve been really happy with how the temperature changes have been working out and we are now doing a much better job of both gating the player from blasting through all the content and also communicating what is happening through the thermometer UI.
With this core part of gameplay in a much better place I believe there is one other core system that needs a similar rework: vehicles.
This blog I’m not going to talk so much about what I’ve been doing but rather what kind of changes we are planning on for the next experimental release, most of these are goals rather than implementation details at this stage so don’t take anything as a concrete promise but rather an idea of the direction we are headed.
Incoming 0.5.6.x fixes
- Fixing weapon attachment tooltips so they show item category (so you can see what weapon to attach them to)
- Ragdolls no longer block interaction LOS check (can pick up loot ‘through’ a creature’s corpse)
- Made binary effect sync for proxies much more efficient in terms of network traffic
- Fixed null reference exception in item ammo storage on player disconnect
- I’ve also been looking into exploits that abuse the vehicle crash system and am aiming to have these fixed up for a hotfix patch with the other changes later this week.
0.5.7.0 Major Feature Plans
Visual Override Changes
Whilst I’ve been pretty happy with the variety of different looks I’ve been seeing out in the world (no more ‘Ronald McDonald’ syndrome), the visual override slots are currently too easy to use for their storage value alone and offer the player too much gameplay advantage by allowing them to easily carry a second set of gear. Unfortunately this effectively punishes the player if they use the slots to wear items they think look cool instead of choosing to carry whatever makes sense stat wise to carry as a secondary gear piece you can swap in and out.
To fix this problem I’m going to try introducing some extra friction into the system. Firstly I’m going to remove the visual override slots from the character window and move them into a new wardrobe machine specific for this task. Secondly I’m going to introduce a small amber cost when equipping/unequipping these slots.
These changes should make using the override slots as extra storage non-viable so players can feel free to use these slots for cosmetic reasons only as originally intended.
Currently the risk/reward ratio on vehicle ownership feels out of balance, they require a large investment but are extremely easy to lose.
Our aim is to get players to invest long term in their vehicles through fragment upgrades, panel attachments and visual customisation but currently there is no way to protect your investments like we have added to the item system through amber protection.
To solve this we will be introducing a vehicle insurance system, we are still working out the exact implementation but the basics are that you’ll be able to create a new instance of your claimed vehicle for some kind of cost (most likely amber).
Claiming insurance on a vehicle will destroy the already existing vehicle if it exists but we don’t want to make this an instantaneous process otherwise there will be little to no value in stealing another player’s vehicle (we definitely want to keep incentives and rewards for stealing vehicles).
I’ll be explaining this system more as we get closer to 0.5.7.0’s release and work out the implementation details.
It’s finally time to bring vehicle customisation back! We’re pretty happy with how the item customisation is working out so we’ll be adapting this to work with vehicles. We’re going to make the chassis and panels individually colorable with the spray can items to allow for a greater range of options and also to make achieving a full respray more of a long term aspirational goal rather than something that can be achieved with one drop.
Vehicle Chassis Spawns
I’ve been seeing a lot of feedback from players that they miss the vehicle chassis world spawns and disassembly wrench farming from legacy Hurtworld (yes, we are reading lots of feedback even though we don’t have time to give proper replies).
We all agree that this has been a regression but at the same time we don’t want to just roll it back to how it used to be because we think vehicles were too difficult to acquire unless you were a player who could effectively control the chassis spawn areas.
My aim here will be to reintroduce the vehicle chassis spawns whilst also retaining a reliable way to acquire vehicles that can be consistently worked towards like the current airdrop system.
Again this will be explained in more detail closer to 0.5.7.0 as we work it all out.
Vehicle Handling Changes
Another bit of feedback I’ve been seeing a lot of is that the new vehicle handling doesn’t feel as good as the old handling, especially so in the case of the Kanga (and yes, everyone thinks the Kanga is too easy to crash).
In my last round of changes I tried to make handling more realistic by changing the traction model and making weight have a much larger influence over vehicle behaviour.
In hindsight I agree that the vehicle handling has regressed and I think that I’ve been giving too much importance to realism (within technical limits) and not enough to consistency.
Vehicles are also extremely sensitive to latency seeing as they are simulated server side with no client side prediction, because the rest of Hurtworld copes pretty well with large latencies we have many players playing in regions they are not local to placing extra pressure on this issue.
Whilst we have some plans for client side vehicle simulation prediction in the future this isn’t something we are going to be able to roll out soon so for the meantime I’m going to be doing a pass on balance handling to improve consistency and high latency response.
At the same time I’ll also be making it much harder to crash the Kanga, especially when doing large jumps/drops without a nice smooth landing.
We are currently aiming to release 0.5.7.0 on the 24th of May
I managed to get a few small jobs done that needed doing this week. Firstly I recoloured the rare creatures that are now in the game. These had to look as different as possible from the standard creature colours. This is our current solution to make the rares stand out. Splatt will probably make some mesh modifications down the line so you can tell a rare by it’s silhouette as well as colour.
Below you can see the regular creatures on the left and then the rare to the right. There is a larger shot to show the colours and a smaller one below to show the colour difference at long distances. Players will need to be able to identify the rares and go and kill them in cold blood and reap their beautiful Fragment bounty.
I also fixed up the Icon Poses for the pistol, since they sucked on the last patch. The new Ironsight poses look down the sight so you really get a feel for what they are. I got around to optimising some of the older vehicle textures in the project and other odd jobs as well. I’ve moved onto the red dot for the pistol this week, and then probably next week I’ll get onto some tasty skins for the pistol after that.
This week I’ve been focusing on ironing out bugs in the Item system that have cropped up lately. There are still some underlying issues with item serialization that have been hard to track down, but for now I have added much higher fault tolerance when errors do occur.
I’m really happy with the current experimental patch and have been playing a ton. It’s actually quite difficult to run a studio at the same time as putting in enough hours of game time to keep up with our playerbase even for a single wipe. This week I’ve been focusing on getting to end game, in the process sharpening my PVP skills and getting to know the current state of Hurtworld beyond the first 10 hours of progression. It doesn’t make it any easier that raiding the developers is seen as a trophy, in the last 4 days I think I’ve been properly raided 4 times. Maybe I’m being targeted, maybe this is just normal Hurtworld life and I need to stop acting like a filthy casual. Either way, I’m still kicking ass and learning a lot about what is working and what needs tuning. The results of which Tom has gone into sufficient detail about already.
Hello, this week I’ve been running a bunch of tests trying to figure out exactly what works in the map and what doesn’t, running back through Deimans Land a lot to see why certain areas that don’t appear to follow any rules feel good to run around in. Figuring out road placement is a huge one, roads should be a mostly safe zone for cars, and if players with vehicles don’t feel like they can take their cars on the roads then they are pretty pointless. One thing we noticed in Deimans Land was that generally one side of the side would open out to a big space where it was easy to see who’s around this made it much safer to drive on roads. After figuring out a lot of the formula and what can be done in map magic and what can’t I made a basic test map with everything taken back to basics, this showed us how the map felt without a bunch of other fun things to mask anything bad. After running through this process I sat down and actually drew up an interesting layout on paper using large height changes to sit roads and towns on top of so things don’t just feel flat and unloved but also treating the map like I would a town event and making sure line of sights are correct and things are balanced this involved not worrying about the stamping process or any of the limits brought on by the tools but just designing an interesting map with all the things we have figured out kept in mind, then I can figure out the technical limitations. Unfortunately I don’t have anything interesting to show just yet but by next dev blog I definitely will.