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Monthly Treeverse Update #20
The twentieth edition of monthly Treeverse updates. Read below for some game development insights on what we’ve worked on in the last month.
Gm! Big 20. ICYMI, we just announced what was in the box… and it’s a dinosaur from Capsule Heroes! Check it out.
We had a lot of private demand for the physical care package we’ve been working on after I shared an image on Twitter recently with a mockup design. The updated design below is much simpler.
We have looked into pre-orders and still searching for a way to reduce the price of shipping as much as possible—but next month expect the preorders and sale!
Last but not least, Baafi will be joining social media soon…
For the month of July, we are happy to share with you some of our progress for the town of Lorwick. Below you can see the elements which we will be using to build out the entire town. Think of them like puzzle pieces, where we can rotate and combine to create a high number of unique combinations and fill out an entire environment. Building it like the image below allows us to reuse assets but still have the variety to achieve a complex and interesting space for players to quest, craft, and trade.
We are also working to expand the roster of our monsters, filling out the gaps in the progression system to make sure we have a smooth ramp-up from lower-level monsters to higher-level ones, we are also keeping in mind the elemental variations which the monsters can have, you can see some of the concept art below.
The animation team is also working hard to bring life to our NPC characters, here are some quick examples below of 1 character.
Engineering And Design
Treeverse has always been an extremely ambitious project. Very few companies set out to build MMORPGs due to the sheer complexity and risk involved. They are extremely challenging to create, not just in engineering but also in design and art too. All 3 disciplines are tightly intertwined, but game design is by far the biggest contributor to how likely the game is to ship and succeed.
Through play tests, we're realising important adjustments we need to make in our game design to lower our risk and allow us to build in a much more controlled and effective way.
Whilst playing a game if you're unsure of what the purpose of this game really is, you've immediately lost the soul of the game. When playing Treeverse, it's not crystal clear what Treeverse is when we compare it to Capsule Heroes - and this is alarming.
Irrespective of the scale of the game, the core loop of a game is simple. For Treeverse, we've been so focused on the sheer number of features and things we need to build for this larger, final game that it's dampened the focus on the core, minimal gameplay. So going forward we're really getting back to basics. Whatever feature and design we add on top of the core gameplay should not obfuscate this core gameplay loop. The game should always feel complete even if we don't have all the feature sets that we ultimately want in the game.
Marginal increases in the complexity of the game design really do exponentially increase the scale of the project. Seemingly simple decisions have tremendous domino effects on engineering and art, and we've become acutely aware of this. Complexity also obfuscates and lets you hide from the core gameplay loop.
Ultimately, The heart of Treeverse consists of 3 things. Combat, Gathering and Production. They form a loop that progresses the more times you do it. Everything else we build is a means of facilitating those things in interactive and enjoyable ways. Making sure that this heart keeps beating, unobstructed is what will ensure our core gameplay remains healthy.
Combat and Gathering are activities players perform to acquire different types of resources. These resources are used in production to create items and gear for a player to use. By going through this loop over and over, players are rewarded with the progression of gameplay. Better resources, better items, more content, better gear, higher player stats and more.
In a multiplayer setting, this inherently creates an in-game economy, which creates markets for the supply and demand of different items and resources. The progression of the game is rewarding and meaningful, you feel fulfilled as your character progresses and unlocks new content, but also knowing that other players also value these things is extremely important in player retention. We care more about things when we know others also care about them.
Game design-wise, as a smaller team it's very important to reduce our scope to ensure we can actually build a complete experience for the players instead of many things that all feel incomplete within our given time frame.
The core gameplay element we will focus on as a team is Combat. Gathering and Production aspects of our game will follow a much simple and linear progression akin to Runescape. This is significantly lower risk and much easier to horizontally scale. The area we will really focus on nailing down as a team is the acquiring of resources (loot) through a cooperative combat experience.
This month has been important in general engineering and overall planning of our codebase as well as reducing our engineering risk as we proceed with the development of this game.
I mentioned last month that we had some issues with our builds that took a fair bit of troubleshooting to fix and that we would need to automate that as soon as possible. We spent the necessary time to implement continuous integration into the project which really helped us solidify an important concept of project health internally.
We agreed that we would come up with a concept of “Project Health” for engineering, which is the idea that we must maintain our development environment as close to production as possible to mitigate shipping risk failure.
As long as we maintain a “project health” of 75%, which is a fully working multiplayer game with server and mobile build without any game-breaking bugs, then we are simply x features, y content and z art away from being able to actually release and ship the game. It allows us to always have an internal build ready for playtesting at all times.
We hoped to make these internal builds also available for a small group of community testers, but this was no longer a viable option this month since we need to go through the loop internally a few times first ourselves. We plan to reintroduce it at a later stage, for now, expect the Capsule Heroes build in August unrelated to Treeverse.
This month we worked on a couple of important features needed to get us able to work on more content creation. Our priorities had to shift around in order to facilitate this. We had an important refactor on client-side code to ensure smoother development, continuous integration work and refactoring of some of our old systems. Mostly it was realising that mobile really needs to be as simple and clear as possible.
Database Integration V1 completed
Saving Player Progress
CI pipeline completed - automate server and APK builds
Swapping from pure mono-behaviour to hybrid entities.
This was fairly time-consuming but important to make our codebase much more adjustable.
Refactor Objectives workflow
Android touch input fix
Fix Interpolation issues
Crafting System V3
Item definition refactor
Rework Progression System
As mentioned previously and in this document, expect us to gather people for a community council who will eventually test future builds of Treeverse that won’t be public.
These will be designed to get actual feedback that we can work on and improve.
Disclaimer: Please note that anything written in this document should not be taken as financial advice. Endless Clouds is dedicated to producing a fun, enjoyable game that integrates NFTs. NFTs are a new and highly experimental technology and should not be bought for investment purposes.