And we're back!
It's been just about two weeks since our last development post here, and I'd like to start by saying I've been blown away by the reactions from all of you. Between the first post getting featured in the first few hours, the messages and comments we received, and all of the applications to join the team, let me just say, thank you! I'm so glad that everyone here is just as excited about this game as we are even though its still in the very early stages of development. So like I said, it's been about two weeks since the last post, and a lot has changed since then. I won't bother you much longer with the boring introduction stuff, but as a basic reminder, please keep in mind that everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, you see is subject to change. A lot of the stuff you'll see here are placeholders, so don't get too caught up in the art style or lack thereof. There will probably be another blog sometime in the next two weeks while we all have Easter break, so stay tuned for that as well.
Let's start with some art...
Right so since the last post we've had a ton of applications to fill the slots I listed at the end of the first blog. I'm happy to say that we have officially added two members to the team, one being an artist! Our artist has been hard at work since the moment he joined the team, and there's already good things to show from it.
We've started to take the similar style of the placeholder ships we were using and break them into our own similar aesthetic. We wanted to keep the cartoon-y feel but to also start to clean up the assets a little. Above is a concept of one of the new ships built more in the style we're looking for. We're officially starting to break away from the placeholder art we started with and starting to see our own art in game is a really good feeling.
The first week since the last blog post was spent mostly working on sails. We have plans for three sail types in the game:
Symbol Sails - These ones just have a random color and a random symbol assigned. Some of the symbols we're working on/completed/or have ideas for so far are:
- Hermit Crab
- Smiley Face with X eyes
As you can see, we've already made sizable progress on the Symbol Sails.
Pattern Sails - Similar to symbol sails, they'll be assigned a random full sail pattern, and then a random color as well.
Special Sails -These have full sail pictures or pre-assigned textures for special events like Christmas or New Years. They are a rarer type of sail to find but can still be found from looting/exploring.
The second half of the last two weeks was spent mostly on creating our own world pieces. We have some concepts for world objects, but I'm going to save those for another week. We have, however, finally reached a point where we can hopefully start building a more permanent world with some of our own art.
We'll keep you posted on art in the coming weeks, but the best place to stay updated on the fly is our Twitter, @venatus_games.
Something our early play testers and feedback have asked for the most was a way to turn on and off certain weapons so that all of your cannons weren't firing at once. As of this week's build, you can do just that.
We're still messing around with exactly how we want this to work, but for now it resides on your number keys. "1" disables the first slot, "2" disables the second, and so on. We're thinking a max of ten since that's probably the most weapons a ship will be able to hold. We're looking to add support for just clicking on the slot on the UI as well, so that will most likely be in the next build.
I'm not even really sure where to begin with ports. So much as changed since the last post. First and foremost, you can now exit your ship and re-enter it from the port.
There's some wonky stuff going on with the character model, but you can see the basic functionality is there. For now, you enter and exit with a button, but that's just for testing. You'll exit and enter the boat with your interact key in normal circumstances.
We're also playing around with how ports work. We want you to see other player's boats docked in the port, but we don't want the port to be filled to the point where you can't enter. To combat this, we're doing a couple of things. The first is making it so your ship vanishes after a couple of seconds if you walk away from it. This opens up the port slot and allows for another boat to dock. You can easily call your boat back from the port, and there will be plenty of slots, so this should allow players to use the docking system fairly seamlessly. Were also putting in measures to stop players from AFKing in the dock as the boat will only vanish once you exit it.
We also have early integrations of a Port Shop added, along with our first look at currencies.
Just a brief reminder, the shop is 100% a WIP. We're just messing around with systems and stock right now, and I don't really want to spoil too much of what we have planned just yet, as there isn't much to show for it.
I can talk about the currency though. Our game is planning to use a Copper, Silver, Gold method. One hundred copper coins equate to one silver, and one hundred silver equate to one gold. As of now, this is the method we're looking to use, but it's subject to change. This is something we will mess around with in play testing. If you notice in the first image, the currency is just chilling below the map. This is temporary and just for testing purposes as it will find its new home sometime soon.
Water had some cool changes since the last post as well. First off, the normal world area water got its own fancy new look, and is not as much a placeholder anymore!
Congratulations on becoming a man, Water!
Anyways, we worked on implementing a system for water to change colors depending on where you are in the world. If you're closer to the shore, obviously the water should change colors as its more shallow, just as if you're deeper in the water in should do the opposite. Below is a GIF of this system..
As you can see, we can use this for all sorts of cool things, and it's all tracked client-side as your water color might be different from someone else's.
Ship's also now have a (temporary placeholder) wake sprite behind them when they're moving in the water!
This is probably the part of the DevBlog I'm most excited for, but it is also the most Work In Progress. There is still a lot to be done here, but we've implemented the basics of anchoring to shore. Once you come in range of an island, you can toss your anchor with the anchor key, and throw your anchor to shore. From there, you can hop out of the boat just as you would at a port and go and explore the island. You can hop right back into your boat by interacting with the anchor and then you're good to sail away. This poses a lot of questions about despawning the ship, PvP protection, Anchor Customization, and all sorts of stuff we need to work on. But I'll save all that for later. Instead, here's a GIF.
Don't mind the size of the rope or the anchor, as we're still messing around with the basic functionality before we worry about things like that.
In conclusion, a ton has happened these past two weeks. Obviously, there's still a ton of work to be done on a lot of the features I showcased this time, but it's clear that progress has been made for sure! With two new members of our team and a holiday break coming up, the next post should be full of new features for you to gawk over. For closing words, and I know I sound like a broken record, I just want to remind everyone that there's still a lot to be done. We're only coming toward the end of the second month of development, and we have a lot of time ahead of us before we're in a state where we're ready for players. However, we're growing fast and working hard and we're just as excited as you to see where the future takes us. Remember, if you want to stay updated ahead of time or even catch our artist streaming some art design, head on over to our Twitter page @venatus_games so you can stay caught up on everything we're working on! We'll have some other ways to stay connected coming soon in the next few months. Thanks again for everything, and we love hearing from you! Feel free to leave a comment below or get in touch with us through other mediums with ideas or anything else that might cross your mind! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!
- Jack from VG