NIGHTFALL DEVBLOG #3
It's been almost exactly a month since our last DevBlog. This means that Nightfall is about one and a half months old and even as an infant... Nightfall is already starting to walk. The team has been working diligently and I don't think a day has gone by where there was not a change to the internal build of Nightfall. Every single day that has passed since our last post has seen changes to the world and at the end of each week there were drastic differences to what the game looked like the week before. I mean, these images speak for themselves! Both of these screenshots are of the same game, and they're only two weeks apart!
And even as I write this the image on the right is almost three weeks old. As you'll see in this blog post, there have been MAJOR strides in Nightfall's development. So much so that the game is hardly recognizable to what it was before. And honestly, we're just getting started. You could really compare the current stage of Nightfall to nearing the complexity of Minecraft's Alpha (Which took 1.5 years by the way!). Granted, we have tools that Unity provides us and the past successes and failures of other games to help us on this journey but in some areas, Nightfall has already surpassed it's predecessors. In just under one and a half months of development as well. While we're still a ways off from releasing our early-access alpha to our wonderful Patreon Supporters (we love you!) we're still making massive strides toward this goal each day. So much so that it is becoming very feasible that you'll be able to play this game way sooner than we thought. However, we're still not at a point where we feel comfortable announcing any sort of release. When we feel confident and comfortable with the progress and gameplay of Nightfall, we'll give you a more accurate estimate. Just about a month ago we promised you our biggest update DevBlog yet and I promise that if you read this post, you'll see that we did not disappoint...
What is Nightfall?
So there's a good chance that some of you are stumbling across this DevBlog having never heard of this game. Maybe a friend shared it with you or you're just browsing the site, but trust me, you'll want to read this post. We've been pouring our hearts into this game and I think the progress we've made over this past month really shows that. I know I said in the last post that I would try to keep this section a bit shorter, but I do think that some of you are looking for a better answer to this question and we've failed to elaborate on this in the past. I want to take this time to really break it down for you and answer the question, "What is Nightfall?"
For us, Nightfall is the culmination of a lot of things. For a very long time, we've wanted to create a game like this. Almost half of our team have known each other since we were in elementary school and we have been talking about creating a game like this for as long as we can remember. Over the past two years, we've been lucky to add some wonderful artists, musicians, and modelers to our team, and just recently we've been lucky to get to know some incredible people who we've quickly grown close with. Now, we can't even imagine our team without them. Together, all of us are working to create a game that not only we want to play but that an overwhelming amount of other people do as well. Almost two hundred of you have joined a community Discord for Nightfall and over four thousand of you have interacted with us or viewed our work across these DevBlogs and other social media. This is astounding to us. We've gotten to know so many of you through our Discord community and DMs and have loved talking with you and hearing your feedback for the game.
But really, what is Nightfall? Nightfall is the block sandbox that we've wanted for as long as we can remember, and we're glad to see you want it to. We like to think of block-based games a genre, rather than just being clones of a certain well-known block game. We're working hard to produce a game that feels different from anything you've played before, but also capture the similar feelings of building, exploration, and creation that you might find in other block games. Nightfall will feature a harder survival experience with things like temperature and seasons along with more dynamic creatures and enemies, a larger palette for building, unique procedural dungeons, a tiered underground system requiring stronger tools to go deeper for rarer materials along with underground biomes, an impressive inventory and accessory system, unique world generation, and much, much, more! Does Nightfall have all of these things right now? No. Will it have them tomorrow? Also no. But this is something we're committed to giving our best shot to creating and will continue to work towards this goal. We know it's ambitious and we know it's never been done before, but that doesn't mean it can't be. We are making so much progress toward this goal every day and while it may seem like it is far off, each day of development brings us closer.
You can learn a lot more about Nightfall by heading over to our Discord Server and checking out our FAQ or even by reading our other DevBlogs. We will continue to define what Nightfall is and answer this question for you as we add features to the game over the coming months. The best part about this whole thing is -- we can't tell you exactly what Nightfall is going to end up like. Each day this vision grows as YOU help us shape the game. Some of you have given us some really detailed suggestions and we've loved hearing from you. All we can promise you is this -- Nightfall is something that we are excited to continue to work on and we will try our hardest to deliver a game that we ourselves want to play.
I know that I touched on it a little in some of the previous paragraphs, but I would like to say one more time... THANK YOU. Thank you from the entire team to all of you! To our incredible community, to our fantastic friends who have helped out, to the AWESOME folk supporting us on Patreon... THANK YOU! We really would not be as far along as we are without your support and we truly do appreciate you. Here's to the future!
So... What's New?
Alright. I won't keep you waiting any longer. You want to know what's changed in the past month? We're ready to tell you. We've more than overhauled the world generation, adding the foundations for almost a dozen new biomes. We've successfully implemented saving and loading, added a working inventory and item drops, dropped some of the ugly placeholder art, rewrote large portions of world generation code, implemented the basics of a day and night cycle, and so much more. I really can't even do justice to the amount of code written by some of our programmers over the past month. I can't represent all of what we've accomplished here as some of it is no more than large walls of programming, but I will try to cover as much as I can of what has changed on the surface of Nightfall. If you're interested in any of the things I just mentioned, read on to learn more and take a look into the largest update to Nightfall yet.
Main Menu (And Menu Music!)
Nightfall 2019-11-07 20-11-14-030.mp4
So, we've got a nice little placeholder menu set up and it even has some pretty awesome main menu music from Jay playing in the background. Check out the video and listen to the first twenty seconds of the menu theme! We'll actually talk more about music later in this DevBlog, but we'll be sharing some official sound track videos on our new YouTube Channel soon! Back to the topic of our Menu though! Not only does this placeholder look way better than the gray square we were using before, it's also functional. Each button takes you to the corresponding menu, which ALSO work. We've added functionality for quite a bit of things in the menu and we'll continue to make improvements as we had towards alpha release.
Single player is an actual thing now. This ties into saving and loading pretty heavily which I will talk about shortly, but you can now create new worlds, load old ones, and even delete worlds you no longer want. Each world is generated off a random seed and you won't find two worlds that are exactly alike - just like snowflakes!
Multiplayer is currently undergoing a rework. Currently, the system connects you player to player and has one player hosting the game. This is great and we're considering keeping this in for small groups to play together, but we're working on a new system that will allow players to host their own servers and treats the server as it's own independent entity. This allows the server to be up and running even when the "host" isn't around and makes saving the world on larger servers much easier. Otherwise, multiplayer functionality will basically remain the same and everything you see in this DevBlog is already working in Multiplayer semi-flawlessly, which is nothing short of miracle. (Shelby's impressive networking skills are the real miracle here, honestly.)
We actually spent some time together testing Multiplayer functionality which you can see some media of and read more about later on in this blog post.
The settings menu also works both in the main menu and in game. It's fully functional and although it is mostly placeholder UI, it serves its purpose. Right now you can edit your render distance, quality, resolution, sound, sensitivity, and a few other things. We'll continue to add to this menu and eventually give the user more options like keybinds and more visual settings. For now though, the settings menu has allowed us to modify render distance in game, which has really helped us get a better feel for the way the world looks. (when we're not flying around in test builds that is of course)
*Generation of terrain is not final or representative of the way biomes will naturally spawn in a more finished build
Saving and Loading
Owen spent a lot of time working on a saving and loading system. While there isn't really much to show off visually, this was a really important step for us because we're now able to actually save the changes the player makes to the world. If blocks are broken or placed, this can be saved to the world file and when the player logs back in, they're still there. This is HUGE. Without this, the progress a player makes wouldn't carry through to their next log in -- which would suck. With our new system you can actually continue where you left off which is monumental. This is something that should have taken us a long time to figure out but Owen managed to create this system pretty quickly and it's now more or less implemented into both Singleplayer and Multiplayer.
Without a doubt, world generation has had the largest noticeable surface changes since our last post. Stephen and I have been hard at work implementing new biomes to the game and we've made quite a lot of progress. For now, we've been sticking to the basic foundation of each biome. What this means is that all of the base terrain like height, shape, and foundation blocks are what we're focused on right now. Things like trees and large organic things (big plants, giant mushrooms, etc) are not something we've implemented yet. This is something you'll probably see in the coming weeks as it involves our new layering system and a bit more procedural generation work. A lot of what we're doing in the biomes right now is also placeholder. Take the spikes in the Badlands right now. Our goal is to eventually have them look more diagonal like in the concept art, but right now they are totally vertical. I'll go more into depth about the Badlands in it's specific section, but for us to accomplish these more unique shapes and angles we need to finish working on our layering system which you can read about below.
Our main focus right now is to get as many of our alpha biomes implemented as possible, and then break each one down in detail to begin to add to the biome. This also allows us to experiment with things like climate and making sure that a Desert biome never spawns next to a Tundra. I know a big concern that we've gotten a lot of is that biomes will be implemented just for the sake of being there and that they won't have any purpose or unique generation. In a big part, this is why we haven't implemented placeholders for the other list of biomes we have ideas for at this time. We're adding in biomes that have generally unique terrain, even without the layering system, and working on the surface of the biome so that even if the underground of the biome does not exist upon initial alpha release, you'll still have unique terrain and blocks to build with in that area.
A lot of rework went into World Generation since our last post. As you can see, it didn't always go perfectly and sometimes we ended up with massive holes in the world and other glitches with the way the world generated. Jacob spent a lot of time cleaning up the way the world was created and fixing the way biomes generate to that it feels more natural. Our biomes now flow together better and will flow even more once we start to implement some transitional biomes for common intersections. Jacob also began to work on the layering system which it's now finally time to discuss.
It's been mentioned enough that I'm sure you're wondering what it means at this point. What is the layering system? In Nightfall, we want our terrain to be unique. This results in needing more than one way to generate the world. The world generates based on a temperature map crossing with a wetness level. This is how we modify the height of the world and the type of biome. However. to generate unique shapes or blocks that aren't full sized blocks, we need to utilize a sort of layering system. Currently, a few of these "layers" are already implemented, but some of these things are still be worked on.
The first of these new layers was things like grass and plants, so while they are still pretty placeholder art, this system now works and we've already begun to use it in other biomes. Once the other layers are complete, we'll be able to start generating trees and shapes like big diagonal pointy spikes in the Badlands that we can't generate with the current system. This is currently something we are working on and will continue to keep you posted about.
Single Biome Test
We've also created a way for us to easily test new biomes by creating an instance of the game that only generates one biome. This is super useful for us when we're working on new terrain and almost all of the biome screenshots you see below were taken using this new method. The lighting in this build is also pretty out of date since we just use it for testing, so we're totally aware that the shadows don't look so hot in some of these pictures. Rest assured, this will be changed in the future.
In case you're unaware, we're defining a biome as each type of different "ecosystem" you might find in Nightfall. For example, a jungle would be considered a biome and so would a coral reef.
As I mentioned previously, we're working on the foundation of each biome before we go back to fluff them all out. What that means is we're adding everything that doesn't require new layers and also implementing any blocks that make up the base terrain of the biomes. Once we've gotten to a point where we feel like we've got a handful of biomes in each climate, we will go back and begin to add the organic things like trees and plants and the underground that makes up the rest of each biome. In the rest of this section, you can read more about each biome, the progress we've made, the blocks and things you might find there, and our plans for its future.
The Plains biome has changed a lot since it was last shown off.
Here is an image of the old plains (bottom of the picture) so you can see what I mean. This screenshot is from one of our first woe
As you can see, we started testing some grass and flowers in the plains to help liven it up a bit and to figure out how we want to handle generating those things into biomes. While the textures on the flowers and grass are placeholders, you can see that the generation of those plants is actually working quite well and adds a nice vibe to the plains.
The Plains is a pretty simple biome and will feature the normal underground. The temperature here is average and it will experience each season moderately. Its a fairly common biome and you'll find a lot of the basic creatures in Nightfall here. The plains biome well eventually be the base for some common forests as well. It's one of the flatter areas in the game and is a good place to build massive scale creations. Overall, the Plains biome is a calm location and a good place to set up camp while you learn how to survive Nightfall without worrying about some of the more advanced threats.
You'll be able to find a lot of your classic blocks there like stone, gravel, dirt, and grass. Check out the awesome new textures James made for them!
Next up we've got the Tundra. As of right now, the Tundra is more or less a snowy version of the plains. Although, if you dig below the surface you can see that there is a different type of stone here called Coldstone. You can tell we spent a lot of time on that name. (But seriously, feel free to shoot suggestions our way.) Each biome climate type has it's own underground. We'll break this down a bit more in the underground dedicated section of this post, but the Tundra has the start of what will be the colder underground already implemented.
Obviously, this biome will have a colder temperature and be a harsher environment than the Plains. It will feature some creatures that are unique to colder areas and we'll spruce it up with some trees and patches of ice soon. Similar to the Plains, the Tundra will also be used as a base for some other cold biomes that we'll share with you in the future.
Snow, Snowy Dirt, and Coldstone are just a few of the blocks you might stumble across in colder biomes. These also have more finalized textures by James.
What has quickly become a fan favorite on our Discord is the Glacier biome. This biome is a rarer environment you may be lucky enough to find when wandering cold areas of Nightfall. The Glacier biome consists of large ice shelves that stretch 100 blocks higher than the player in some areas. These walls of ice are split by large ravines that carve through the ice here. You can really see that in the following image.
We've done quite a bit of work on the Glacier biome, but we still have a lot of work left to go. Eventually we'd like to add structures/loot frozen deep within the glacier for you to find. You would have to pick and carve away the ice to discover what was frozen inside. The glaciers consist of four main layers. From bottom to top these are;
Slush (And Snow)
The very top layer is a mix of the Slush (which is basically wetter snow) and normal Snow. We're working on improving our shading system so that both Ice and Glacier ice can be transparent. Glacier Ice will be less transparent than Ice but this will allow you to skirt your way along the edges of the glacier to look carefully for things frozen inside. You can see what this transparency might look like in the block stack below!
There's really not all that much to talk about here. The Desert will be the polar opposite of the Tundra and in turn will be a warmer biome. The Desert will feature the warmer underground and already has a warmer stone variant underneath. I won't show the warmer stone variant's texture as it is still a placeholder at this time, but here's a close up of our main sand texture.
It actually looks really great in game and gives a sort of dune effect to the deserts. The Desert will of course have some cactus spread throughout it and other things you might expect to find there, but this is the base implementation of it for now. It will feature some of the warmer climate creatures as well. The Desert biome has also been really useful for us while we test new noise generations. We do this a lot when we're working on biomes and sometimes it has cool results. You can see some of the experimentation here.
The UI in this screenshot is old, but you can see some of the different variations in the stone generation that we used the Desert to test. A rare variation of the Desert biome with stone generation like this might be a cool little easter egg to implement in the future.
The Drylands was another kind of happy accident. I was experimenting with World Generation and messing around with the way the Desert generated and ended up creating the Drylands. I actually ran with this concept a bit and now its going to be a full fledged area in Nightfall. Right now, it's not much more than the Dry Dirt block.
Which looks pretty sick by the way! The Drylands will feature a warmer climate so that means it won't experience the colder parts of seasons as dramatically. It will also have the warmer underground. Something that I'd like to add to the Drylands is geysers. I know this might not really make sense logistically as the Drylands is called the "Dry"-lands for a reason, but I think they'd look really sick coming out of the ground here. We'd probably use some particle effects or VFX to create these spouts and there's still some planning that needs to go into that but the goal is to make them look something similar to this.
The Drylands will be a pretty cool setting to build in and fighting hostile creatures here could be really fun. We might even make a way for players to use the geysers to boost themselves or to mine them up and move them to other locations.
Another fan favorite is the Badlands. The Badlands was actually the third biome we added into the game and has existed in it's rough form for awhile. It has undergone some massive changes from what it used to be though. Here's a clip of what the Badlands used to look like;
And here's what it looks like today;
This is actually still pretty far off from what we want it to look like. I mentioned our layering system earlier, but we can't make the Badlands look exactly how we want until that is functional. Once we implement that, our goal it to make the spikes look more like they did in our original concept art for the Badlands...
The spikes here are larger and more diagonal and this is what our end goal for this biome is. I tried to make a better example of this by drawing on one of the current spikes to show you the shape we're aiming to create compared to what we have now.
The Badlands is primarily made up of two blocks. These blocks are;
These blocks are both types of volcanic rock and are indicative of the types of things you'd see in the Badlands. While we've made a lot of progress on it, this biome is still really far from done at this point. Our plans for the Badlands are pretty extreme and range from large skeletons (like in the clip from the Lion King we shared in the last post), to big fissures that open up into fiery depths below, and even to having unique creatures that reside here. The Badlands is actually the first biome in this blog post that will have it's own unique underground that is different from any of the default climate ones. We'll go more into depth about that in the underground dedicated section of this blog. However, the Badlands has really made some big strides towards where we want it to be foundation wise for the rest of the biome.
*Scarlet Biome Overview
The Scarlet biome... what is it? The Scarlet biome is a terrifying place. It's clumps of blood, flesh, and crusty grass and rock that have grown on the surface of the world. There are outcroppings of bleeding rock boulders, lakes of blood, pockets of flesh, and areas where the skin of the biome has boiled over. At times, it almost seems like the whole biome is alive, breathing from deep within a mound of mushy gore... yeah, pretty gruesome. We have a lot of plans to implement some organic life here like scarlet trees and/or giant mushrooms, but with that said, there's cool things to be found here and we're only just getting started with the foundation of this biome. You can check out some of the initial alpha implementation of these things below!
*Pocket of flesh. Bloody, Normal, and Mucus flesh can be seen here.
*A big boulder of Scarlet stone mixed with it's bleeding variant.
As you can see, there's a lot of block variation in this biome, and that's not all that will be unique to the Scarlet. Similar to the Badlands, the Scarlet will have it's own underground system, unique mobs, and loot that can only be found here. James has also done a lot of texturing for what you can find here, and the blocks are looking very nice!
These are really just some of the blocks you'll see in the Scarlet. We can't wait to start using the new layering system to add some unique tree-life here. We might even throw in some mushrooms or giant plants. For now, we'll leave you with some cool block stacks of some of the blocks we just showed you. James really did a great job on these.
Unfortunately, this one is really just a sneak peak as we JUST started working on this one this week. Our goal is to create some pretty massive Canyons similar to the Grand Canyon in real life that you'll be able to find in warm climates at around the same rarity as Glacier biomes. This is still very much a work in progress but is getting much closer to where we want it to be based on where we started. Here's one of the original rough drafts to compare it to.
What's next as far as Biomes go? As we talked about earlier, we're working on getting some base biomes from each biome type implemented. Our current default biome types will be Normal (Plains, Forest, Swamp, Etc), Cold, Warm, Jungle, and Special. We're not really set on calling the fourth type Jungle, but this will include biomes like the Rainforest or heavily overgrown places. Each of these categories will have their own specific types of undergrounds. Once we've gotten a decent handful of these put into the game, we'll stop adding new biomes for awhile and focus on really fleshing out each one. It's important to us that each biome feels important, but to also provide you with a much larger world with more variety. The next steps for biomes will really come with the changes to the layering system as we are able to add trees/plants and new shapes to the generation to really make the biomes feel unique and alive and less bare bones than they are now.
Time to stop beating around the bush with this one. We've talked about the underground differences a lot, but haven't really gone into much detail on it. In Nightfall, each of the biome types has it's own corresponding underground. What this means is that warm biomes like the Desert and Drylands will have a different underground feel compared to colder biomes like the Tundra and Glacier. As we said earlier, we've broken the biome undergrounds up into five categories. These are;
We're using the word normal here to define any biome that goes through all of the season changes normally and experiences each season's effects to a moderate extent. (I.E Snow in the winter, Leaves change in the Fall). Special biomes, which are places like the Scarlet and Badlands, don't really fit into this category OR are so unique that we want to give them their own unique underground experience. What this really means is you'll find different structures, ores, loot, creatures, and world generation underground in different biome categories. This will encourage exploration, but you'll also be able to progress fairly far in one biome alone as each underground will have equivalent or slightly better/worse versions of resources to craft equipment with. You'll also want to go exploring these other underground systems for different loot or rare items that only appear in these biomes.
Something we're also looking into for the future is a Y-Chunk loading system. What this means is chunks will also load vertically. What THAT means is that you'd technically be able to dig down or up infinitely if we allowed it, but we'll hopefully be using this to create things like Sky Areas or Tiered levels to the underground eventually. Our current plan is that once you dig a certain distance down (~90 blocks), you'll stumble into the Tier 1 level of the underground which is the same world-wide -- no matter what biome you are in. This probably won't be a part of the initial alpha release but this is definitely something we want to bring to light.
Over the past month, we've also made some progress on player movement. Alex has been working on improving the abilities that the player has to move around the world. We're currently working on a stamina system that will drain as you are exerting yourself physically. We're working on a wide range of movement abilities including sprinting, crouching, climbing, crawling, swimming, and more! You'll be able to get accessories to change the duration of your stamina and to provide improvements to these skills as well. In Nightfall, we want you to be able to move around the way that feels right to you. Our hope is that you'll be able to cling on to the underside of certain blocks and use climbing gear to scale large faces like in the Glacier biome. We'll continue to work on these systems in the future, but we have some rough things to show for them right now.
Walking and Running
These are both pretty simple and don't really warrant any screenshots or GIFs at this point in time. You can use WASD to walk around the world, Space to jump, and Shift to sprint. As we finalize some better animations for these, we'll show them off in a future blog post.
Crouching is also implemented and brings you down to the size of about 1.5 blocks. The animations for this are clearly placeholder. These are temporary, and our animations will be much better in the future. We'll show these off in a later blog post. However, crouching does work and does change your height in first and third person! This allows you to squeeze through smaller spaces and can make for some cool adventures. We're also throwing around ways to make crouching useful when sneaking up on creatures or hiding from monsters.
Alex has also done some work on climbing. When running up to a wall, you'll be able to grab on and attempt to scale it. As you climb, you'll quickly run out of stamina and will only be able to climb for as long as you have energy. This system is VERY work in progress and we'll continue to improve it as we go. You will be able to use accessories/enchantments/modifiers in game to increase your stamina and climbing ability to allow you to climb further. We don't have anything to show you for this right now, but we'll be sharing some more on climbing soon!
Breaking and Placing
In our last blog post, we had a very rudimentary form of breaking and placing. Left click broke whatever block you were looking at, and right click placed a stone block. I am happy to say that we now have a fully functioning breaking and placing system along with Item Drops and an Inventory System. All of this stuff is fully functional and Shelby and Jacob spent a long time working on these systems.
Right now, you can easily break and place blocks by holding down left click or right clicking with the block in your hand respectively. The destroy animation for breaking blocks is a placeholder right now, and so is the amount of time it takes to do so. All of this is able to be tweaked and will start to change as we add crafting and tools in the coming weeks. Currently, everything takes the same amount of time to break but we already have a working system to modify this based on the type of block and tool you are using. We even have directional placing working for certain blocks that we enable it for! You can see the example of this with grass below!
But that's not all! You may have noticed in the block breaking GIF that we now have item drops and pickup!
As you can see in this GIF, our item drops are 3D and have limited physics. With enough force and at the right angle, blocks and items may roll a bit when they drop. Blocks drop a little miniature version of themselves and when we add in more items, they will also drop in model form. This will make for interesting scattering of items when you die. We've adopted one of our favorite methods of picking up items. When going to grab something off the ground, you have two choices.
Option one is to simply just look at the item and right click on top of it. This works best with an empty hand, but as of right now you can do it when holding things as well. Option two is an area of effect pick up which can be done by simply standing over the item or item stack and pressing the Ctrl key. We'll try to make these key-binds changeable for you. We'll also probably add a little animation when picking up items with an empty hand.
Not only does item drops and picking them up work, but we also now have a fully functional inventory. The UI for this is beautiful and James really did a fantastic job.
When you pick up items, they go straight into your hotbar, unless it is full, in which case they go directly into your inventory. When holding an item in your hotbar, it actually shows up in your hands as well.
Normally you'll be able to see the block more and a bit of the arm as well, but we're currently making some changes to our player model's hands so you can't see them in this picture. The inventory itself is fully functional as well and not just for show!
For now, we have max block stack set at 99. We're still debating internally whether or not this is the right amount but we'd love to hear what you think. Reach out to us on Discord and let us know! If you need to combine items into stacks, that's working as well!
You can just drag and drop the separate stacks onto one another!
The hotbar itself works perfectly and even has an off-hand slot. While this slot doesn't do anything just yet, we plan to use it to allow you to dual wield certain equipment, blocks, and items, and maybe for some two handed-weapons or tools as well. We have a lot of plans for inventory and more UI and we'll continue to share a lot more on these in the coming weeks.
Some of you tuned into our live stream a couple weeks back where Crimmy worked on some concepts for different types of storage in Nightfall. In this post, we'll share some of those finished concept designs with you and tell you a little more about what we're planning for item storage. While we don't have all of the different types of storage we're planning, you can get a feel for some of the unique ways items may be stored within the world of Nightfall.
Of course, Nightfall will have your normal types of chests, which you can see pictured above. There's nothing to special about these and they'll have an average amount of storage to work with. You may find these randomly tucked away throughout the world with some basic loot in them as well.
Speaking of loot chests, dungeons will also have their own variations of chests. These may vary slightly in storage size but will come with their own loot tables and you'll be able to find many different designs of these dungeon chests as you explore the world. We plan to make these harvestable so you're able to gather them up and bring them back to your home base to use as decoration or more organized storage.
Keeping along the lines of dungeon storage, you may find certain dungeons or bosses that have their own types of storage as well. Take a look at the web sack concept (A). This silky pod may contain some items that you need to bash or burn your way into the pod to discover. Almost like a spider snack pinata. Or take something like Concept B. For this type of storage you may need to cut the chains using a ranged weapon to get the cone to spill it's loot to the floor below. We'll go more in depth about what we're planning for dungeons in the future, but in the meantime you can use these storage concepts to spark your creativity!
Chests are not the only type of storage we're planning for Nightfall. We think it'd be really visually pleasing to be able to put your weapons or tools on racks to display to the world. Or you could even hang some armor on an armor stand. These concepts (A-E) demonstrate some of the possible stands or racks we plan to implement for this purpose. This is a good way to display weapons and armor that look cool but you don't feel like using, or to have a spare set at the ready in case of your untimely demise.
On that same note, we've got shelves to help you display items. Both wall hanging shelves and stand-alone shelves are something we'd like to include in Nightfall to allow you to really move into your home. You could keep your potions all lined up, have a shelf for your books, or display your favorite collections... the possibilities are really endless here. This is something we hope to implement into Nightfall in the future.
Finally, we have some of my favorite concept art for display cases. You would be able to set these on top of blocks, tables, or maybe even some shelves. You could put your most prized possessions, accessories, equipment, or trophies in here. Anything you want to show off really. Similar to the other storage concepts we showed off, display cases are a really great way to make your home your own.
Over the past month, Gavin has spent a lot of time working on atmosphere and the way our sky is going to work. Right now, our sky is the same across the whole world, but we're working on a method to allow us to change the atmosphere depending what biome you are in. Some biomes may have a thicker atmosphere and therefore its sky may be darker or a different color. The main focus right now has been implementing a day and night cycle and making it changeable depending on the season. A lot of work went into making sure this was also synced up with the server so that the time was the same across the board in multiplayer.
Here's a cool GIF of the current sunrise. We still have a lot of work to do with lighting but the atmosphere is starting to look quite a bit better than it was before. Here's some more screenshots of our alpha sunrise in its current state.
Honestly, this is looking pretty good, all things considered. For longer than you'd think the Sun and Moon were just big yellow and blue spheres respectively that floated in the sky. You could actually dig through the world and land on top of them and if you were fast enough, you could even ride them across the sky. We actually still have some images from when this was a thing so we'll share those with you too!
Meet our new friend! The main character has undergone a TOTAL redesign by Crimmy and James. Crimmy created a whole new model for our character and James worked on brand new textures for it! We're still deciding exactly how we want to do character customization but rest assured we'll allow you a lot of options when creating your character. For the artistic among you, we're hoping to have some kind of skin editor to allow you to create your own default skins! Alde has started animating this model and working on some better looking movement but at this time we're just using some placeholder stuff for this so we aren't stuck with a still model while we wait. We'll show off some of our own animations in a future blog post!
T-Pose for the win!
At the start of the Blog, I mentioned that Jay has been hard at work on some soundtrack stuff for Nightfall. You got a small taste of the main menu theme in the clip for the menu, but starting in the coming weeks we'll be posting some of this music/soundtrack on our new YouTube channel! If you're interested in hearing some of the musical talent of our awesome composer, head on over and subscribe to the channel so you can be notified when we share it! We'll also put out a notification on Twitter and our Discord channel!
Since the last DevBlog, we've been lucky enough to have added James to the team. James is 22 years old and is currently doing a lot of the artwork in Nightfall. This includes things like texturing and UI. When working in both Nightfall and other aspects of his life, James' other skills include problem solving and inventing. Since he was born, he has always wanted to "build". Building has evolved into creating. James loves the process of creating new and exciting experiences. His goals for the future are to some day have his name known among the world for changing the way we live for the better. But really he's happy just snowboarding, taking videos, and making art. When asked why he was interested in joining the team, James said, "As for how I ended up here working on Nightfall? It’s all about responding to opportunity. I personally see a lot of future in the game as well as personal development in my skills. Nightfall is a great opportunity to learn more and provide exciting content to others." We also asked James what he would add to Nightfall if he could add any feature. His response was, "If I could add one thing to Nightfall it would be you guys. The people that play the game and their opinions are what make the best games... or maybe Franco?".
We love you James! We look forward to spotlighting more of the dev team in future blog posts!
We covered so much in this DevBlog. It really feels like Nightfall is reaching a state close to a playable alpha. At this point, you're probably wondering what else we have left to cover in the upcoming blog posts. We actually made a lot of progress on other systems over the past month that we feel are still unfinished or just not ready to share. These include things like; the start to AI creatures/enemies, crafting, the underground, and more. This is what you'll most likely see in the next few blog posts as we are nearing completion on the foundations for a lot of these features. We look forward to sharing more about this with you and we hope you'll come back to see them soon.
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 (and best free!) way of supporting us and 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!
We already have almost 200 members in our Discord community! Incredible!
As we mentioned previously, we have a brand new YouTube channel!
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.
This one is pretty simple. It's just Twitter. If you click the link, it'll take you to our page and let you follow along with what we do there. We'll share similar content updates on our Twitter page along with more information or if we're ever looking for help. Click the link and give us a follow if you're feeling generous and help support Nightfall!
And Night is Upon Us!
Wow... Looking back on the blog post I just finished writing, I can't even believe this is the same game we started working on such a short time ago. We've come so far in such a small span of time, we can't wait to continue to bring Nightfall to life. Although we accomplished so much in the month since our last post, I don't want to spend so much time in between blog posts from here on out. While I feel like committing to a weekly or bi-weekly schedule is a lot of pressure on us to rush things and sets up the community for disappointment, we will try to bring you blog posts more than once a month starting as soon as you're reading this sentence. What this means is that the DevBlogs may not be as massive as this one, but we'll try to let you know what we're up to even when we haven't had a huge amount of changes over the course of a week.
What's different with the way we are developing Nightfall is that everything we are doing -- we are showing to you in more or less real time. What this means is; we're not faking trailers, we're not being dishonest about where we are, and we're not promising you things we can't create. You're seeing the game as it is as we develop it. A lot of you have asked for an extensive trailer and that is just something we feel is not appropriate at this time. We don't want to bait anyone into a game that doesn't exist. You're seeing the game the same as we are as it is being created -- and we promise to continue delivering on that. The best thing you can do to help us in this regard is to share this blog post with your friends. Help us spread the word about Nightfall so that others can help us shape this game and discover the love that you, and ourselves, are already showing for it!
Seeing the support you guys have been giving us on Discord -- whether it be through Feedback Friday, our suggestion channel, or just reaching out to ask us how we're doing -- has been nothing short of incredible. We've met some really amazing people and grown quite fond of our community. Thank you for caring about what we are doing and helping us to shape and grow Nightfall. This is a journey that all of us are dedicated to continue to trek and we more than appreciate those of you tagging along for the ride. While we still can't promise an exact date for an Alpha release of Nightfall, please know that every day we are making good progress towards this goal, and the time-frame in which we hope to start letting people test the game becomes closer and closer. So truly, thank you for everything! We'll notify you on Discord when we're ready to share our next DevBlog and will continue to share screenshots and GIFs on Twitter and Patreon in the meantime!
As much as I want to continue talking forever, night is falling, so we better get going.
As always, thanks for reading!
VG Jack and the Venatus Team