Same Goal, New Approach
Legends and I spent about 16 hours this past weekend working on and discussing the server. Most of what we worked on were bug fixes, some old and some new. I don’t think those are very interesting so I’m not going to get into detail about them, however I wanted to make a post about what we discussed, which is a change to how we are approaching release and content creation.
Previously we were pretty much set on getting the server “complete” before opening it to anyone. A side effect of this policy was constant delay due to feature creep. Every idea we had was another 2 weeks of potential development time.
We spent some time this past weekend going over everything we want to include in the new server and re-evaluating what we think is critical and what we think is optional. We are going to stick with just the critical items and attempt to go to some playable version as an Alpha as soon as possible. We have not necessarily abandoned any ideas we want to implement, but we’ve mothballed some for the time being as not being worth delaying a release.
We are trying to finish all the changes we had that were already in progress, I’m going to give an update for many of them below. Once these are done and we finish squashing bugs we will release some form of Alpha. For features not listed here that we have not started work on yet (beyond maybe a very rough proof of concept) we’ve implemented a rule for ourselves that if it takes longer than an afternoon to do, it can wait until after Alpha is released:
Skill Code: Both the new and old code exist on the server simultaneously. We have a GM command that allows someone to switch between them when testing. Attack spells all work in the new code. Debuffs/buffs work as a proof of concept, but need to finish being implemented. What’s left is to create a web tool to edit the skill database, add the remaining database fields needed to implement the remaining buffs/debuffs, and update hard coded spells that are just too unique to work in the database model. I can’t give an estimate on this, as Legends is really the one working on it. I can say that it’s come a long way and is very much functional, just not fully implemented. This has been the one road block that has really been the cause of this project stalling out at times. It was a massive undertaking that will ultimately allow us to create a lot of new content, but it’s also been a huge pain. Once this is done we really will be over the mountain and moving down hill so to speak.
New Hunting Zones: All the new hunting areas or rebalanced areas I planned on implementing exist and are populated with monsters. Some still need drops tweaked. Monsters in these zones still need skills, which is dependant on the skill code change being finished. I expect adding skills to them will take me about a day or two once I have the tool to do so.
New Bosses/Boss Summoning System: The core code from this is already finished from our old server, it just needs to be imported. Elite bosses all exist in the database and have a rudimentary drop list that will need minor tweaking. Elite bosses and some normal bosses need skills, again I expect this to take an additional day or two once I have the tool to do so. Overall this feature isn’t too far off from completion and I expect it to be included in Alpha.
New equipment/crafting: Pretty much all the new items exist in the game and drop from their appropriate sources. We will be centralizing crafting to NPCs in Giran Trade Zone, but these NPCs still need to be made. Some code needs to be run to pull data from the crafting table and create the proper html files for these NPCs to work. We also still need to create an edit tool for crafting. I expect this will take about a day’s worth of work for Legends to make the tools and probably two or three for me to import all the crafting recipes (they exist in a spreadsheet at the moment).
New Mage Summons: Code already works to add one new summon (created as a proof of concept). Just need to replicate it for additional ones. Overall this will probably takes Legends and I stilling down together and working on it for most of a Saturday.
That’s pretty much where we are at. I am very excited to get back to work on this project. It’s worth reminding everyone that whenever we do go to an Alpha it should be expected that not all the features we’ve talked about on this blog will be done. Many may/will get added during the Alpha. Server restarts will probably happen a lot, and probably at inconvenient times. Rates will likely be adjusted, and vendors with rare items added to allow different content to be tested. Nothing you do or earn in Alpha will carry over. We will rely on feedback from testers to help us evaluate many things like rates / drops / difficulty of monsters / etc.