Beta Design Plans, Art Direction, Skills, Trees

Dev Blog: 10
December 22, 2015
With our alpha launch and first batch of bugs fixed, we’ve taken the last few weeks to really focus on our plans for beta, designing and building new systems and experimenting with the art direction.

Eric - eric@strangeloopgames.com

Spent last few weeks fixing various bugs and prototyping different mesh generation and texturing techniques for the world. Looked at marching cubes, surface nets, and triplanar texturing to see what we can do to get the look our artists are going after.

John - john@strangeloopgames.com

Tons of design work, planning out our beta. Here’s some goodies you can check out, I’ll be doing bigger blog posts about each of these later:

  • Power Design Doc: Supporting power generators and power sinks, with support across many levels of technology (animal, mechanical (wind and water), heat (burning fuels), and electricity).
  • Taxes and Elections Design Doc: For the first pass on elections, one elected official will have access to the treasury, and can decide what taxes to charge on crafting tables. Elections will happen using Instant Runoff Voting.
  • Vehicles and Roads Design Doc : We’re going to limit the weight an individual can carry, which will create the critical need for transport systems. This will consume energy and create pollution, and require infrastructure to be build that will transform the landscape.
  • Chat System Design Doc: Adding new features to chat to allow for much better communication and planning in a server, since collaboration is so central to the game.

Let me know your thoughts in the forums.

K - klim@strangeloopgames.com

Exciting new skill tree system is just implemented, it will require us to do some works to hook for every skill again in this new skill tree system :). here is glance of that.

There was few issues about movement mostly so easy to stuck in between blocks.

That is fixed now! However, you won’t avail to be walking on the water surface like a divine being, and climbing everything.

Currently working on Power Systems.

Keegan - keegan@strangeloopgames.com

Worked with Eric and Milenko on setting up new options for the base terrain of the game, and developing examples/tools to determine where we want to go with it. I worked mostly on shaders for the triplanar terrain, specifically setting up one that has a controllable edge rather than a smooth fade. This may be something we use on our old terrain meshes as well. Also have been working on grass and foliage, developing their look and how we want to do the assets/how they should fit together. I will convince Milenko to include inflorescences with grass if it’s the last thing I do.

Milenko - milenko@strangeloopgames.com

Time since alpha has been spent researching, testing sketching and prototyping new and improved look of the game.

I did an overview guide as to which direction we want to pursue with the look of the game.

We weighed our options and looked at different techniques and software to support the look we were after.

We looked at Tri planar texturing (texture projection that is not limited by tile size), automatic mesh generation using “mesh softening” techniques that would give us some distance from the “sharp cube” minecraft look as well as using Speedtree software for our vegetation generation.

At the moment we are deciding on overall direction which will affect the final game look.

Big picture plan is that we want to preserve our stylised look as much as possible, make it look better and more unified, and then build out style on top of it.

So, it is still work in progress, but we tested things out and learned a lot about different techniques.

So the next step is applying what we learned and finally starting our work on the next visual iteration of the game. Process of pulling things together will develop life of its own, and unifying everything into one single coherent world will probably take a few more hits and misses, but with each step we will get a little bit closer to what we are after.

As the wise man once said:

“if you keep on trying, eventually you do the right thing if for no other reason then simply because you have run out of wrong things to do” :)

Anyhow, it is a process and we are in early stages of our exploration. getting the hang of software and exploring different techniques.

Thanks to everyone who’s given us great feedback during alpha, keep it coming and expect lots more to come. And as always you can email us directly and discuss in theforums which we all browse regularly.

— Team Eco
The Eco Team is a collection of introverted and sometimes genius programmers/designers based in Seattle and Australia. We all grew up and thrive in the video game culture, so of course making them is our dream job. We look forward to continuing to put out quality games for the community of players.

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