08 June 2007

Roadmap for the next update

We are planning to have the next client in November, but this is, by no means, any promise. It's just what I would like.

If all goes well, we'll have the following things:
1. Working landmines/proximity mines.
2. Missiles (mainly arrows, but hopefully also stuff like 'medieval hand grenades' and smokebombs).
3. 3D terrain.
4. New special effects.
5. Speed improvements.
6. Normal maps.

Now, I am not really sure we'll have all that in November, or even at the next client update, whenever that will be. However, we will have at least some of those features.

One feature I want to talk about now is the 3D terrain.
As you probably know, our terrain is mostly flat, with some mountains or mounds here and there. The water is also slightly under the ground, at the same level allover.
Daniel is working at a 3D terrain, based on heightmaps.
The pros:
1. The game will look nicer.
2. The game will be slightly faster, especially on newer video cards.
3. Newer maps could be easier to make.
The cons:
1. The maps will be bigger.
2. Since we will use multitexturing for the terrain to blend two texture layers together, older video cards that have only two texturing units will not be able to display the clouds shadows and the normal shadows.
3. All the maps in the game will have to be re-created to some extent.
4. We will get rid of the 2d objects layer (the stuff on the ground, such as leaves, etc.)

Now, there might be some issues with getting rid of the ground tiles, and having only a height map. Especially in some inside maps, where the floors are littered with lots of 2d objects, such as blood, bonse, etc. So we might keep the tile mode as well, but we'll need to see about it.

We are also thinking of adding some new features that would make the game incompatible with some very old video cards (most of the computers in the last few years should still work, we are talking about really old videocards, older than a GF2). Again, we are not sure of this yet, we'll need to have some sort of poll on our forums and see how many people would be affected by such a change.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As far as I know with maps, you need to blend areas where two tiles conjoin with 2d's as well, so you might have issues there as well!

8/6/07 02:36  
Blogger Radu said...

Sure, but the idea is to do that automagically, rather than by manually placing 2d objects.

8/6/07 16:22  
Blogger roger said...

For missile weapons, why dont you have something like powder rifles or muskets? Now that we have Eng skill...
About 2d elements, why not to include them in the terrain texture?

11/6/07 17:02  
Blogger Radu said...

The reason why we don'tinclude the details in the texture is that we want to keep the download size small. If we distributed the game on a DVD, then using premade textures with details would have been a nice choice.

I would like to have fire weapons in the game, but Roja doesn't want that :/
Instead, we'll have a 'future world' continent in the game, where there will be high tech stuff. However, it will be very difficult to transport items between continents.

11/6/07 23:18  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Radu,
first of all thanks for a very nice client update[1]. And I very much like your plans for future developments, EL is my first MMORPG and it is so nice and addictive that I never felt the need to look elsewhere.

About the next client update: I understand perhaps you won't be able to include all those nice features, IMHO you should try to include mines and possibly other engineering related stuff (to let people use the new skill) and missiles (been waiting for a loong time for those! :)

About fire arms: I sort of agree with Roja (to keep with the "medieval-like" appearance of EL), but think that the 'future world' continent idea is just great!

Rehdon

[1] Unfortunately the new client crashes my box about twice a day: I think it's the fault of my (admittedly crappy) ATI 9550 card drivers and I'm considering the fast solution, i.e. replacing it, unless you think that trying to fix the crashes could be useful for other users.

12/6/07 03:46  
Blogger roger said...

Interesting solution. Fire weapons is an idea I plan to implement in my game, but anyway I have an specific race adept to engineering, so it is easier to make fit the universe background.

12/6/07 09:04  
Blogger Radu said...

@Rehdon
Hmm, it's strange that the new client crashes on your system, I never heard of anyone else having such a problem (on some people systems it crashed right at startup, but never during playing).

But if you can get a new video card, that's great.

12/6/07 13:30  

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