CM diary #33 - 03/09/2022

Hello, hello!

I was considering dubbing these entries as “Not-a-dev diary”, but I soon figured it’d be both too tongue-in-cheeky and potentially confusing. So, welcome to the first of a series of dev-minded CM diaries, shall we say.

So then, let’s jump right in.

A tonal shift

First, a brief prologue to explain the prologue. Moving forward, the CM diaries will almost exclusively delve into development progress toward our new expansion. There will be some broader points here and there; notes on noteworthy events and what have you. But in general, there will be much less peripheral discussion, less fluff, and a slightly more to-the-point tone.

“Slightly” being the operative word here.

So, an equally brief mention of a few points here before we get to the juicy parts.

  • Shady Ones recruitment. I’ve mentioned this a few times before, so here I should share our current stance. In our current semi-break state there’s little manpower for recruitment, and there will be little consistency in test-worthy material. As such, there won’t be recruitments in the immediate future – for a personal guesstimate I’d offer a month before we can properly revamp and rerun the program.
  • Events. Also brought up before, there’s an event that was in the works even before 1.5.11 – as its patch notes hinted at too. But there’s been little time to get it off the ground, admittedly. This I believe should launch much sooner, myself, so fingers crossed and eyes on the #events channel.
  • Community projects. Finally, as we’re acquiring access and material after some turbulent times, we’re now much more eager to get some community projects off the ground. Resident Seadee is tampering with the wiki as we speak, and his skill planner is being prepared for implementation. At the same time we’re starting to implement community assets to the game, as will be outlined below, so willing contributors can feel free to reach us in our #community-contributions channel. I’ll finally get to formally announce a specific asset request there in the coming days too, time permitting.

And with those in order, let’s get to the list.

Development

Those have been two quite productive weeks, in no small part because ample data groundwork had to be prepared for Sir Alternalo’s eventual return. So what has been done since last time:

  • 55 new items, including 12 quest items. These are all complete with their base type modifications, icons, flavor texts, and so on. They’re by no means complete or thoroughly tested balance-wise, beyond their basic designs being earthly and themed, but they’re mostly complete – and there’s quite a few more in the scratchpads waiting to take shape. Oh, and 2 of those (so far) required new autofire skills.
  • 25 new affixes. Many of those are simply affix clusters with custom values for new Uniques, but there are also new gems here. 3 new Mythic affixes, for one, albeit with a slight implementation issue to be addressed, and 1 new monster affix, which is mostly there for clarity instead of adding something brand new. These will hopefully get to include a few more new affixes of substance before release.
  • 29 new quests. Unless more quests become necessary, these will be the expansion’s complete journey. Labeled properly as story quests and sidequests, with a new twist on structure and including 2 daily quests, those took quite a while; from getting everything down properly for simulations to formatting their texts for in-game use, they proved quite an ordeal.
  • 4 new NPCs. Not ones with proper outfits just yet, because I really can’t wrap my head around wardrobes, but the fundamentals are all there. Their basic aesthetics are there, their quests and dialogues work, and they’ve got their own little inspection texts too. And no, they won’t be the only NPCs of the expansion; old faces will return too, and there might be another NPC or two down the line.
  • 3 newly-voiced characters, sharing 44 voice lines. Speaking of dialogues, we’ve finally also added brand new, player-made voice lines – after quite a bit of trouble with meeting the game’s demands. A familiar face and two new ones will now be voiced by two players who were kind enough to answer the informal call for such work a while back, and even went above and beyond in writing their own stellar lines themselves. For reference, they even wrote faction-specific farewells, which the base game had never used before – so we can only be eternally grateful to them both. I will not be naming them yet so as to not spoil the surprise, but due tributes will definitely be paid.
  • 6 tweaked skills. While still a work in progress, we’ve finally set our sights on some mostly untouched and/or mostly underwhelming skills and given them a very promising first round of polish. Perhaps most excitingly, those include synergies too.
  • A whole bunch of map level modifications. Yes, a first attempt at ironing out Nightmare levels has been made. This is also far, far from complete, but the stage is being set for a long-overdue return to normalcy.
  • 1 new monster. And finally comes a new monster of my own making. This one isn’t quite the unbeatable Lord to overcome, no; it’s just a narrative-minded enemy, whose name is known and whose purpose will be mostly expositional. But until then, it will also serve as a placeholder quest target and a test subject for new affixes and the such.

And those aside, there are ample tidbits here and there. Some polish, fixes, and conveniences, other peripherals like dungeon work, and some (actual) dev work on internal tools which I cannot thank Sir Marc and Sir Nite enough for. Also ample concepts for boss assets, items, and fanciful encounters, recipes, and so on, and even talks of what’s to be done with Emissaries and Passageways. But those are all mostly plans and experiments, so I’d rather not oversell our work on those so far.

Bye!

And there you have it, our progress highlights in a nutshell.

These were two rather outstanding weeks, of course, and there was ample room for progress – so I can’t safely predict there will be equal progress to report next time. Pesky real-life work is starting to get in the way too, which will surely slow things down.

But in either case, I hope this excites you as much as it does us. Every little new step forward, from a new technical breakthrough to new in-game assets like voice lines, is a little victory to celebrate. And we very much did celebrate.

Until next time then, brave Survivors. All the best to you and yours, and happy hunting.

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