NIGHTFALL DEVBLOG #4
And we're back! We've been crafting up some goodies for you in the week since our last post! As you can see from the cover photo, the player is no longer alone in the world. We've broken ground on AI, Monsters, Trees, Crafting, and a lot (A LOT!) of internal fixes and changes to the code. I don't want to ramble on for too long about old stuff, so I just want to give a quick thank you to everyone who has joined our community since DevBlog #3 and for all of your feedback and responses! We've loved hearing from you and were glad to see the warm reception of DevBlog #3. If you aren't already a member of our Discord community, click the hyperlink and come join us! We've got a wonderful group of people on there and it's a great place to join in on the development of Nightfall!
Like I said, we're keeping the introduction short this time! Let's get into it!
You can now craft things in Nightfall! Shelby and Jacob finished off some of the final tweaks to the base crafting system and got it implemented into the game. As you can see in the image above, James created a gorgeous Workbench model which is now in-game as well.
To get a workbench, you can use four wood planks in our two by two crafting grid located in the player's inventory, which is now functional! We're not sure if this will be the final recipe for the basic workbench, but for testing purposes this is what we've been using. You can see this demonstrated in the GIF below.
Once you've crafted a workbench, you can place it down and get a view of our brand new workbench UI!
As you can see, there are lot of differences in the layout to break down here. The armor and accessory slots on the far left are compressed when the workbench is open to minimize crowding. The inventory (including these armor and accessory slots) is just about the same as normal and can be accessed when you are opening containers like the workbench, or in the future -- chests. Our basic workbench is fully functional as a 3x3 grid and features shapeless crafting. What this means is that, for the most part, you can place a recipe anywhere within the grid and as long as it is recognized as a real recipe, it will output a result. Here's a demonstration of this.
Notice that wherever the log is, wood planks are still the result. This is a great feature and will be very useful as we expand our recipe/crafting system in the future. We're looking into things like higher tier or specialized workbenches that will have different size grids. A furniture workbench built using this system and featuring a larger grid is a highly likely future addition. Although you can't see it currently, recipe output does support quantities. As an example, this means that one log can give you four planks. You'll see this used in a lot of future recipes as well.
If you're paying close attention, you probably noticed that our workbench has a drawer on it! Not only is this drawer aesthetically pleasing, but it's also functional! You'll be able to store three different types of items or blocks in this drawer for use while you're crafting. This way if you have a full inventory or need some common supplies, you've got a great spot to grab or store things! You can also leave items in the crafting grid of the workbench if you need to go grab something or want to come back to it later. We're throwing around the idea of making the items/blocks actually display on the physical workbench model when you exit the menu as well. The crafting system is pretty robust and while we're still working out some kinks, we're excited to begin inputting loads of recipes into Nightfall! We'll look into easy ways to keep track of these in the future!
Slabs, Stairs, and Slopes
A few weeks ago, we sent out a message on Discord asking what block-types you might want to see in Nightfall.
This was one of the original images we shared of plans we had for block types. Slopes, Stairs, and Slabs were all things we hoped to implement for building purposes and we're proud to say that we've actually made quite a bit of progress on these new block types! You'll be able to walk up all three of these block types to create ramps and stairs throughout your worlds. They also make pretty good roofs!
They're mapped to the same textures as their respective blocks so they all flow very smoothly together as well. We're currently working on properly implementing them into the game which is what I spent some time on today actually.
Obviously, we're still working out some kinks with some of these block types (as you can see in the bug in this photo), but the models and textures are properly built and mapped which is great! Pictured above you can see Thatch, Oak, and Stone block-type variants. The thatch texture is a placeholder I whipped up in GIMP in like two minutes so don't pay it much attention, but the concept is there.
Actually, Thatch is a really cool new building block made of plant fiber. Not only will it look nice once we swap out the placeholder, but it's also a cool way to store all of your loose plant fiber. You can obtain plant fiber by cutting down grass with a knife. That's about all we're going to say about tools and plant fiber for now but there's a lot more to come on that so stay tuned! You'll be able to make slabs and slopes out of Thatch but I'm torn on whether or not to allow the player to craft stairs out of them. I feel like thatch stairs doesn't make as much sense. Let us know what you think on Discord!
These are the recipes we're playing around with for slabs, slopes, and stairs, in that order. Let us know what you think!
Shelby also put in a basic implementation of dropping items. For now it's just click and drag out of the inventory, but we'll add a drop hotkey in the future as well. The items all kind of scatter when dropped which is also something we're looking into changing but for now you are able to drop items in its base form. This allows for trading with friends or getting rid of items when your inventory is full.
So what's going on with trees?
Trees are coming to Nightfall in the near future. We want out trees to be dynamic and unique in their behavior. Our goal is to create extensive tree types with branches, trunks, and different leafage on top. You can see in the image above that we've started to work on this already! We wanted our leaves to specifically be less block-like, so James did some work creating some more realistic foliage. Leaves are looking really good and are actually in-game already.
Our trees, however, are still very much a work in progress. Currently, they're not really worth showing off in game as they look very much like the trees you've seen in block games before. You might be able to catch a glimpse of them in the background of some of the in-game screenshots, but we promise that we'll show you some better images once they're looking the way we want them to. Right now, they're just nowhere close to what the final product would be and we don't want to give you the wrong idea.
You can see in this quick mock-up a bit more of what we are going for. Expect more variation in the trunk, wider tops, and more branches in the final product. Our end goal is to make it so you'll be able to cut these trees down and watch them fall from above where you cut it.
This is something that's heavily work in progress, even as this post is being written, so expect to see some more about trees in the near future! If you can't tell by now, James did some preemptive art for logs, leaves, and planks though, which we'll show off in close-up images below.
Our supporters over on Patreon have already seen this spooky dude, but we've started implementing monsters into Nightfall. This is the Undead. A common creature of normal temperature biomes, the Undead will come out at night... and not to play. They're hungry for the flesh of the player and won't stop till they get some! You can see just how quickly you might be overwhelmed by them in the cover photo of this blog post.
We're currently working on the AI of these buggers and also on some other basic enemies like spiders! These are not textured yet but are also something we've begun to play around with internally.
Currently, we're focused on the basics. We won't show off any videos of the mobs this time around, but you can expect to see more of them in the future. AI is coming along quite nicely though and Owen has done quite a bit of work with enemies. They can run, jump, detect, idle, swim, get married and raise a family -- just about anything. Okay, okay, maybe we were joking about that last bit but AI is already quite extensive. We're looking forward to showing off a lot more of what we're working on in this department in the near future!
We just posted our first piece of Nightfall's OST (Original Sound Track) over on YouTube. You can check out the Main Menu Theme titled "Spookaholic" over on our channel! Jay did a really great job on this piece and it provides a comically spooky vibe that is PERFECT for the main menu of Nightfall! ❤️
This week's developer spotlight is on Gavin! Gavin is a programmer over at Venatus and he is currently doing a lot of work on the day/night cycle, seasons, atmosphere, and some lighting. He is 19 years old. Gavin has been working in the computer programming field since middle school and is now pursuing Computer Science in college. While he is new to Unity, Gavin has been coding since a young age. Gavin has been a part of Venatus since day one, and is looking forward to the future of Nightfall. His hobbies include tennis and he is currently president of the tennis club. He says that he also spends a lot of time swamped with homework. If Gavin could add one feature to Nightfall, he would be most interested in tamable Dragons that you would be able to fly around in some sort of sky dimension.
Thanks Gavin! We ❤️ You!
We put a lot of work into this weeks blog post, but at the same time a lot of what we worked on was not shown off yet! We had a lot of bugs and issues this week that we had to crack down on which are hard to put into words.
Game development is not always easy going, but we've been pretty fortunate to not run into any major issues so far. With that said, we are going to take a little time to polish some of the core things up and continue to improve our current systems. This combined with the fact that Thanksgiving/the holiday season is rapidly approaching means that we're going to slow our roll a little over the next month and a half. This doesn't mean we're going to stop doing DevBlogs, but there will almost definitely not be one every week as we'll be taking time off to visit with family and friends as well as to fix some major core performance improvements! Do not fear though! We'll continue to keep at least SOME sort of weekly content coming your way, especially to those of you following us on Patreon! ❤️
As for what you'll be seeing in the next few blog posts; expect to see some more work on AI, Trees, Crafting, and some new content on biomes, caves, and world generation! We're also still working on player movement, animations, and lighting, so expect to see some of that as well. Oh, and tools, also tools.
Development Streams (Twitch)
Some of you may have caught our previous development streams on Twitch. You can check out the channel here. We're planning on doing a lot more of these Development streams in the future so you can watch us model, program, draw, and create the world of Nightfall. We'll do lots of Q+A sessions where we answer your questions about the game, and in the future we hope to do streams of actual gameplay showcasing new features or updates. We might even do streams where we play with the community some day! Here's hoping! If you're interested in watching these streams, go ahead over to our twitch by clicking this link and give us a follow so you're notified when we go live!
Discord, Patreon, and Social Media
Use the link above to head on over to our Discord. This is the absolute BEST way to communicate with myself, any of the Developers, and the community. We have dedicated areas for you to suggest features, give feedback, learn more, and most importantly - ASK QUESTIONS (and get an answer too!) This is the easiest way of supporting us and is totally free! We are so happy to see so many of you already taking advantage of this by joining, talking to each other, suggesting features, and grilling us with questions! It's been great!
** I know I mention Discord in every blog post, but seriously, this is a great place to get to know us better! You can earn in-game profile tags, suggest features directly, and we do different things throughout the week for you to participate in like Feedback Friday with more to come in the future! You're missing out if you haven't hopped in yet! ❤️
We have a brand new YouTube channel! You'll be able to check out parts of Nightfall's soundtrack on there! We've also got some cool tutorials and DevBlogs headed your way in the future!
Click the link above to head over and subscribe so you don't miss future video Devlogs and other cool things like music taken from the soundtrack of Nightfall.
While we don't require it by any means, Patreon is a great way to support us directly. You can pledge to monetarily support us monthly here. We do have various tiers of support that each provide unique rewards like special roles on our Discord server, access to even more direct communication with Developers, and of course, eventual early access to the game to help us test. One of the tiers even lets you work with us directly to add a creature to the game! You'll also get bonus development content and an even closer peek into our development process directly through Patreon and Discord when you subscribe! We've already posted a lot of extra content on our Patreon!
Thank you to our current Patreon supporters:
Patreon - Nedac16
Patreon+ - BOWSER0897
If you don't like Patreon, you can also choose to support us directly with one-time payments through PayPal.
Thank you to "clone chris" over on Discord for supporting us this way!
You can do that by clicking here.
Our Twitter is a great way to keep track of weekly updates to Nightfall! We post screenshots, GIFs, videos, art, job positions, and more! Twitter is free to use and an awesome way to stay up to date with all of the Nightfall news! Head on over to the link above and give us a follow to learn more!
And Night is Upon Us!
And that's a wrap on another DevBlog folks! We've enjoyed getting to share our development process with you and have been overwhelmed by the positive feedback from everyone! Thank you for taking the time to read this week's post! We'll keep you updated on our Discord server about the next blog post and when it will be shared. Getting to watch Nightfall become what we want it to grow into each day is a gift and we're thankful to share it with you!
Now that we've got our new monsters to look out for, night will soon start to become something to fear. We better get going before our new friends show up! As always, thanks for reading!
VG Jack and the Venatus Team