Changes large and small.

We’ve decided to be even more open about development for the next month or so to see how that goes. This basically means more developer rants on here.

We’ve fixed most of the issues introduced last build, and I will be working on the remaining few over the next few days as Michal sorts out Multiplayer Zombies. Most of them were caused by a missing line of code somewhere (such as the instakill on hitting a wall rather than damage on hitting a wall being caused by the damage not actually bouncing you off the wall).

We’re working with Ryan and Joe (our excellent tech guys) on getting an automated build process up, which would allow us to get a test build to testers every single time we make a change without actually having to do anything – same would apply for the public version. This will basically mean a more thoroughly tested KAG and less of these small yet very gameplay-detrimental bugs, as well as less change of something going wrong with patching as the files wont need to be manually published to the correct place.

We’ve been discussing what’ll need to be done for the War and Overworld modes of play in KAG. We’re designing them in tandem because the mode of play will be quite similar – War will just be on a single map with less open-ended play. The content in both of these modes will more or less be the final featureset for KAG – everything needs to fit together perfectly. Server owners will be able to mix and match this content to create new (and old) game-modes like CTF, INF, KOTH, Bomb Ball, and whatever else takes their fancy, but it all needs to work together as well.

The Classes are the most important part of KAG. In Classic, we have 3 classes with fairly general roles – the builder, the archer and the knight. We’re going to specialise classes a little more in the full version. Archers and Knights will likely keep most of their functionality, but the builder doesn’t quite fit into a game of progression in its current state.

As you can see above, there are three general areas of progression – Ranged/Support Military, Economy, and Melee military. We’ve designed these with strong interdependence in mind. The barbarian relies on knights to cover him from archer fire, and needs sappers or builders to help him break into the enemy fort to wreak havok. The knight requires covering fire from archers so that he can get past shielded enemies. The lancer requires a horse to be able to attack, and builders to make that horse a path into battle. Builders require miners and woodcutters to supply them with materials, and those miners and woodcutters require military protection from the hazards that we’re going to put in their way.

Something that I’m not really happy with in KAG at the moment is the independence of the military classes. They don’tneeda builder on the frontlines, so in public games you never see a builder on the frontlines. Knights can get themselves out of holes, archers can get themselves arrows. The builder is a helping hand but isn’t required. We’re likely to change that with the full version content.

We’re aware that mining and cutting wood isn’t currently fun at all, so you might be wondering why on earth the military progressions start with gatherer classes. Firstly, this is to make sure that military units contribute to a teams economy – they dont just run off into battle, cark it, respawn and run off into battle again. Secondly, we’re hoping to make the mining and woodcutting (especially mining) into PvE “minigames”.

Mines will be abstract entities – there might be some stone on the game maps but mostly there’ll be doors into separate mining maps, that will hopefully be separated into levels. As a mine is dug deeper and deeper, the miners will require more support from their team as they come across underground dungeons, cave animals and other hazards (as well as to help them out of the mine with ladders). Deeper mines will yield more treasure, however. Early in the game when the entire melee military is a mining gang, they’ll only be facing snakes and bats, but this will help to train them in melee combat and make sure that mining isn’t too much like hard work.

Woods will exist on the normal game map as trees and bushes still, but there will be woodland animals as well – they could be hunted for food (or eat the woodcutters). In order to make woodcutting more involved, we’re planning on having freshly cut wood as “logs” worth 1 wood each. You can use these to build wooden stuff, but it would hardly be worth your while. These logs could be refined into planks either at a carpentry shop or with a spinning saw – hopefully this means that we’ll see automated lumber mills (and horrible saw traps) once a team has a good wood economy going.

I’ll speak more about the progression system as we solidify it. Know that it wont be a rigid “tree” that you can only move upwards on. You wont be locked into your choices for each character.

We want to refresh the interface. Cleaner now than it used to be, it still feels cluttered and cumbersome. We think that the emoticon bubbles are the cleanest, most straightforward part of the interface at the moment, so I’ve drawn up this quick concept outlining how we think the interface should look.

The hearts and item count popup (top left) would appear if you had your cursor within a small radius of your character. The hearts would fade in and out if you got hit, and the item count would flash up when you used an item (ie shooting an arrow or throwing a bomb)

The inventory and actions popup would appear while you hold F. It allows you to drop stacks of items and coins by clicking them and dragging them out of the interface, to put items to and from your hands by clicking and dragging within the window, and selecting performable actions like the current F menu.

Interacting with objects and picking objects up would be done with E – all interactive objects within range would show their interface like the catapult above. Clicking the icons would perform the action specified. Same goes for workshops. Anything that could be picked up would also have a bubble around it while E was held, to be picked up by clicking. It’d go to your backpack if possible and to your hands otherwise.

Here’s a very zoomed-in concept of how it might look overlayed on the game

I know, I know, I missed out my blond hair in the mockup. Sue me.

In other news, the new site will be going live at today/tomorrow at 6AM US Eastern Time (8PM AET, 11AM GMT). There may be a few technical mishaps in the change-over so be sure to report any and all issues on the forums or IRC.

More to come!

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