May 19, 2017
Coming soon to your PC: a new Expedition demo! This demo will include the following new features:
First, I’ve integrated the character creator into the main game, for both the main character and settlers. For more info, see the previous blog post: Character Creator.
Third Person View
Once you go through all the trouble of making a new character, you’ll want to spend some quality time actually watching them do stuff! Earlier demos restricted the player to a first-person view, but now you can toggle between different camera modes. A third-person over-the-shoulder camera will be the new default, with a cinematic mode for conversations and events, and an overhead view available in settlements to allow easier block placement on those hard-to-reach rooftops.
New Animations and Combat Styles
The character overhaul also includes new animations with Inverse Kinematics physics for things like proper foot placement on slopes and proper hand placement when picking up objects. I overhauled the combat system as well, to hopefully make it more active and interesting. The melee combat system now allows blocking and power attacks, and should feel familiar to anyone who has played Skyrim. Moving in different directions while holding the attack button will allow different sorts of attacks with various effects, such as staggering an opponent, breaking through their block, or knocking them backwards. Be careful though: your enemies have learned some of these tricks as well! Ranged combat now has deeper physics as well; you can now craft a bow and fire arrows that fly farther depending on how long you draw back the bow, and the potato gun’s special attack now has a bit of extra kick.
The terrain system now uses the Megasplat plugin, which allows for a lot more variety and detail in terrain textures. The old RTP terrain had a limit of 8 textures per island, which sometimes resulted in noticeable repetition and a “tiled” look when viewing terrain from a distance. The new method allows 256 textures per island, which, for those of you who are really bad at math, is a lot more than 8! With a higher texture limit, I can blend several variations of a texture together in different ways to create a lot more variation and avoid any repetition. And avoid any repetition. To celebrate the new terrain system, I’m also using a new biome for this demo. Instead of the autumn environment from the first demo, this one will feature a much greener, springtime look.
Punch that tree!
In The Expedition, you manage a group of settlers, so you can send out an army of lumberjacks to cut down trees for you. Still, I got a lot of feedback in the first demo that people wanted to be able to cut down trees themselves and not have to rely on workers. That wish is now granted: you can chop down trees all by your bad self! Get out there and pummel some trees into submission.
Even More Stuff
But wait; there’s more! A new input system with assignable keys! Controller support! Tutorial windows! Better UI! Item icons! New monsters! Improved artificial intelligence! A wearable lantern! More voices and sound effects! New blocks! New bugs! (Hopefully not too many of those!) A cat!
When and Where
I’m hoping to release phase one of the new demo in a week or so. This will be another internal release to those who already have access, but assuming it goes well, I will then release it on itch.io as the first publicly available Expedition demo. I still can’t tell if I think that’s exciting or terrifying, but I guess we’ll all find out soon!