NIGHTFALL DEVBLOG #2
I'd like to start this post by saying - This week has been absolutely insane! In just over a week's time since the last DevBlog, we've reached over 100 members in our Discord community, added three new team members to our team at Venatus, and broke ground on terrain generation... successfully. Yup! You read that correctly. We have actual world generation, in Nightfall, in less than two weeks and this time we'll have actual gameplay to share with you! In a big part, this is due to some of our additions to the team and the hard work that the entire team has been putting in for all of you in the past couple of weeks. Combined through Discord, our posts here on GameDev.net, Twitter, and Patreon, there are over 1.5 thousand people who are interested in Nightfall. This is an insane number, especially after the short amount of time that we've been at this... and it's going up every day. This is a driving force for us and the support people have shown us is inspiring! We are super motivated by the engagement we've had with you guys and are loving hearing your suggestions and answering your questions on the Discord!
Now with all that said, I'm sure you're all looking forward to hearing more about how Nightfall is coming along, and we can't WAIT to share it with you. In today's DevBlog, we'll take a look at some more concept art for features and biomes, discuss terrain generation, take a look at some of the new models and art for Nightfall, learn more about all of us over here in the Dev Team, and get a first look at the Nightfall pre-pre-alpha gameplay! Wow! That was a mouthful. That's enough of an introduction, let's get started!
What is Nightfall?
We discussed this last DevBlog, and we'll keep it brief, but in case you aren't coming from our Discord or our previous DevBlog on GameDev.net, here's the gist of what Nightfall is all about.
"Nightfall is a block/voxel type game being developed by Venatus with influence from Minecraft, Castle Miner Z, and other predecessors. It is a base-defense open world sandbox game that pits you against dynamic and dangerous enemies along with other players. You can work together or go it alone to try and survive the harsh nights of Nightfall. The game is an open world sandbox where Players can do whatever they want. To survive, players will need to gather resources and construct a shelter. However, when night falls, things get much more difficult. Players will need to defend against difficult dynamic enemies and survive to the next morning."
Yes, that's the same blurb as last time, and if you want more information than that, click here to head over to our Discord or here to read last week's post for more information. I don't want to bog you down with repeat information, so this is the last time we'll add this basic description of the game to the post. Yay!
Biome Concept Art
Take a look at this beauty. Another incredible concept piece by Crimmy. These are the badlands, and yes, they're bad to the bone. No literally... You'll actually find large skeletons here of creatures that may have roamed the land. This is a pretty unforgiving biome, but the terrain generation here will be miles different from anything you've seen before. We're aiming to have huge spikes (as seen above), large skeletal remains, and sheer cliffs that drop far below. The consistency of the rock/stone you'd find making up these spikes would be that of volcanic rock. A good way to picture this biome is to take a look at this scene from the Lion King, and add some more pointy outcroppings of rock.
Unique biomes like the Badlands are something we are working hard to implement into our world generation. We have a LOT of new mechanics to our world generation that you probably won't be expecting, and we can't wait to share more of them here. Our goal is that exploring the world of Nightfall will not feel monotonous or empty, and that you'll be rewarded with fantastic sights and new materials for your travel. This applies to our surface world, but also the depths below... but that's for a future DevBlog!
Door and Entrances
Who doesn't like to make a dramatic entrance? Say goodbye to the days of doors that are two blocks tall and one block wide (although, we will have those as well) and hello to the grand entrances of Nightfall. We're currently working on a concept feature for larger doors and entrances in the game. This means doors, hatches, and gates that are not just you usual proportions. Crimmy took some time this week to concept out a bunch of possible entrances you may see in Nightfall. We want to allow for you to not have to limit your doorways to be a certain size. This will make allowing creatures larger than the average human into a building easier, but also make for more impressive builds. We're also planning on incorporating it into our dungeon system to allow for epic entryways into the horrors of Nightfall.
Barn Doors (Sliding)
Still don't understand what I mean? Take a look at these sliding barn door options. If you have a barn for your livestock, it may be smart to use these doors to seal the barn up during the winter, but still allow for animals to pass through easily when it's time to take them back out for the warmer weather. These doors not only look good, but they'll actually have functionality as well. And just like in real life, these barn doors may be higher than your head compared to the average sized door. Speaking of average sized doors...
Other Door Types
Nightfall is not without those either. Here's a concept for a more reinforced door and even a jail door in case you want to lock up your friends or even your enemies. We're open to suggestions for all of these doors or even individual features for each method of entrance. Should the jail door require a key? Can the flaps on the reinforced door be opened to pass items through or take a peek at who is there? You tell us! We want to have unique options for the player that provide both use and visual appeal.
Take this garage type door as another example. A player might be able to grab this door and pull it up for a vertical entryway. This might take up less space and would be a good way to take or move larger things out of your base. It also looks pretty reinforced. Imagine gearing up with your squad and popping out of one of these babies to take on the approaching horde.
Don't worry, we didn't forget dungeon doors either. We want to have unique entrances to some of the larger non-player built structures as well. These could be harvested by the player after completing the dungeon to be used in builds or as decoration, but would also provide a certain vibe to the entrances of a crypt or a foreboding castle. We have a lot of plans for our dungeons, but that's something we'll touch more on in a later DevBlog.
In the image above you can see some concepts for fences (A, B, D) and fence gates (C, E). Obviously there's still a lot more ways we plan to take these structures, but this is another example of the variability we want to provide for you in the world of Nightfall.
Trapdoors, Hatches, and Other Entrances
Coming in last but certainly not least for our entrance concepts, we have hatches, trapdoors, and other cool entrances. In image A, and B, we've got some concepts for a different kind of hatch -- traps. These could consist of spikes or launch pads and be used on players, enemies, or maybe even other things. The player would be able to conceal these in a hatch similar to some of our trapdoors which is why we included them here. In Images C, D, and E, you can seem some examples of wooden hatches/trapdoors, and in F, G, and H, you can see something similar done with stone. Specifically if you look at image G, you can see that we're currently tossing around the idea of doing some more hidden entrances as well, like the fake rock.
Once again, these fantastic pieces of concept art were done by our very own, Crimmy. We actually worked on these while answering questions on our brand new Developer Twitch, which you can check out here. I'll talk more about this at the end of the DevBlog, but we'll be doing more live streams here in the future where we work on Nightfall, answer questions, and hang out with the community!
This week, Alde spent some time working on some placeholder tools and weapons for us. Unlike your typical block game, Nightfall has a lot of unique tools. While Nightfall does have your basic four (Shovel, Axe, Pickaxe, Sword), don't limit your thinking to just the generic set. We're working on some concepts for other weapons, tools, and equipment that can be used for various purposes. We will have various tiers for the tools/weapons depending on the type of material it is made with, and ways to increase their strength, efficiency, and ability. This is something we'll talk about more in a future blog post. Pictured above from left to right, you can see our placeholder model for a; Shield, Spear, Sword, Knife, Hoe, Pickaxe, Hatchet, and Shovel. Keep in mind that these are just placeholder models that we'll be using while we develop the functionality of these weapons and tools and that eventually the actual model will reflect what tier you are using. What this means is that basic tools will app ear more primitive while higher tier tools will be much more refined. Take a look at some of these placeholders closer up below;
Well, well, well... the moment I'm sure you've all been waiting for is here! How far along is the gameplay in Nightfall? Let's take a look.
But first, an important disclaimer. What you're about to see is a pre-PRE-alpha version. There's plenty of bugs and a lot to be done, but we're showing you this now for two reasons. The first reason is the initial promise we made to ourselves and to you of being honest developers. This is truly where we are at in the development process, and we want to show you. The second is -- we're proud of what we've accomplished in such a short time and want to share it with you all who have been asking us every day for the past two weeks how much progress we've made. Is this the complete game? No. Is it a start? Hell yes. In less than two weeks we've created a fairly robust world generation system that's getting better every day, and are already able to do so much of what we thought would take us months to accomplish. This is a good sign and this is the foundation for us to create Nightfall on. Back to the disclaimer, however. Please remember that anything you see here is subject to change and is NOT A PUBLIC build. No, you can not yet play the game, and when a build is ready for public testing we will first release it to our Patrons over on Patreon. With all of that out of the way, here is what we've been working on.
For starters, we've been tackling arguably the largest beast first, world generation. This past week, Jacob and Owen spent time on implementing the world generation system into Nightfall. Right now, we're focused on the basics, which is making the world appear, be modifiable, and save the modifications that players make. We're making sizable progress with this and getting closer and closer to being able to implement complex biomes and terrain. Right now, we've got a few basic blocks like grass, dirt, stone, and sand implemented into our generation engine. We also have a rudimentary form of water, but there is still quite a lot of work to be done in fluid physics. The world generation system is already nearly infinite in the same sense that Minecraft is, which is an impressive feat in itself.
Over the weekend, Jacob and Shelby really cracked down on getting our current gameplay builds and world generation builds merged together. At this point we've successfully implemented both of those and are working on stabilizing everything and making the terrain and player flow smoothly. We did have some issues with terrain clipping and weird generation at the start though that ended up being quite... interesting.
(This GIF is from a very early build that is now vastly out-dated. Textures in this video are not ours and were purely for testing, we now have our own textures as shown previously)
Overall, the entire system is built to be heavily expandable and within the next few DevBlogs we're hoping to share more biomes and world generation both surface and underground! We have some custom textures on the blocks in our world now which you can see in some screenshots or below, although they're very tiny here.
We're currently deciding what size our textures will be (16x16, 64x64, etc) so if you have any opinions or suggestions, let us know!
Our original alpha player you might have seen pictures or clips of is now dead. Long live alpha blue... He is now a Discord emote! His replacement who is still unnamed is now being implemented into the game. We're not entirely sure the direction we want to take character creation in yet, but we've fallen in love with this goofy blockhead made by Trevor! He's making his way into our current build and we're working on some new animations for him.
We're working on a First Person Perspective AND a Third Person Perspective for Nightfall. You can check out the basic implementations of both of those below.
Our Player's arms are still a bit goofy in first person, but we'll eventually have them nicely swing into view when you're walking or running! Alex is working on some new forms of movement for our character which we'll get into in a future DevBlog.
Yup! You heard that right. We have basic Multiplayer functionality already working pretty smoothly! (Ignore my terrible apartment WiFi ping.)
You can do quite a bit already as the heart system and breaking and placing blocks are both implemented in their early forms.
Here is the first ever... uh... "special" statue built in Multiplayer Nightfall. We've made quite a bit of progress here and all of this is synced up between players.
Overall, Multiplayer is doing very well in early testing and we are super excited for what's to come!
Check out this graphic to learn more about our health system. We've taken inspiration from some of our favorite ways of doing health and combined them to make our own unique form of health.
Hearts are measured in half heart increments and you can go down to one half of a heart before dying. You may have noticed some hearts in the top left of some of the screenshots we've shared. This is the basic implementation of our Heart System which you can read more about above. We've actually changed the way these hearts look from the screenshots and the placeholder to be a new design by Trevor.
Here you can see a normal heart, Golden Heart, and a poisoned heart.
Profiles and Friends
In Nightfall, we're working on a non-gameplay related system for you to show off your stuff. We're planning to have an in-game area to view your profile and see all of your statistics and achievements all in one place. We will also have some cool collectibles called profile tags that you'll be able to showcase here.
Profile tags are basically badges for your profile page. Imagine Pin Collecting at Disney world -- yeah, that. You'll be able to earn them through in-game achievements, reaching statistical milestones, events in-game and on Discord, and other ways like supporting us on Patreon. These are purely cosmetic and are more for collecting than anything else. They have NO effect on gameplay. You can actually earn one of these future profile tags right now through our Pioneer program on Discord. Go check out our community server on Discord to learn more about it! Congrats to those of you who have already earned your Pioneer title!
Another thing we would like to incorporate into the profile system is friends. This mechanic would allow you to add people you know in real life or friends you meet in game for ease of access in joining their games and seeing their profile pages! This is a great way to keep track of all of the people you meet and check out other people's profile tag collections!
A new segment in the DevBlogs! Each blog we'll be spotlighting a different member of our Dev Team here at Venatus! This will give you a chance to learn more about us and see that yes, we're human too!
This week's spotlight is...
Jacob is a new addition to our team this past week! We're super excited to be working with him. Jacob has really spear-headed out terrain generation over the past week and came onto the team with a lot of world generation experience. If it was not for his previous hundreds of hours of hard work, Nightfall would not be as far along as it is today. Jacob is 22 years old and has been working in Unity for over four years. Before that, he was active in the Minecraft Modding community and developed multiple modifications to Minecraft. This is where he initially started his programming journey as a middle school student. He enjoys playing Minecraft, in which he has thousands of hours, and also likes to hop into the world of Dark Souls. Currently, Jacob is working on a system of layering chunks that will allow us to do some pretty nifty stuff with our terrain generation vertically! If Jacob could add anything to Nightfall, he would like to dive more into the complexity of chaotic bosses in the game.
Development Streams (Twitch)
Some of you may have caught our previous development stream on Friday, which you can re-watch most of 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 the link below 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 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 over 100 members in our Discord community! Incredible!
Honestly, we're new to the whole Patreon scene, but 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. 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
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 there 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...
As you can see it's been an absolutely bonkers week since our last post. We are through the roof with the progress that's been made in our short time working on this project and are looking forward to the next few DevBlogs where we'll really begin to show off what Nightfall has to offer. However, a word of caution there. This upcoming week is a very busy one for the team outside of developing Nightfall, so there's no promises on a DevBlog post next week. We'll let you know what our schedule for the next post is looking like over on our Discord, so come join us and keep your eyes on the announcement channel for more information.
We have a brief survey and would really appreciate if you took the time to fill it out! Click the link below to check it out! It won't take longer than a minute! Thanks!
Well, it's getting dark and night is falling, so we better get going, but we'll see you sooner than you think!
Thanks for reading!
VG Jack and the Venatus Team