November: Development Update and Roadmap Thread

Announcements, updates and news concerning the Requiem project.
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Sic
Aeolian Staff
Posts: 170
Character: Isidor Abendroth

November: Development Update and Roadmap Thread

Post by Sic » November 6th, 2020, 11:51 pm

Greetings everyone! Today we’d like to take a moment to update the community as to where we are with development of Requiem: Act VI, where we’re heading, what we hope to accomplish, and when we might be able to get everyone in-game and exploring the wastes of Vitaveus.

I. Our Goals and Hopes

First, I’d like to talk about our goals for the shard and project, and what we hope to accomplish by opening the Requiem project back up. Requiem has been around in the player-ran circuit on and off in one iteration or another since around 2005. We have gone through numerous settings, code-builds, and even engines in these past fifteen odd years, but we have always attempted to stick to a few core tenants that we hold dear to us when considering the scope and history of the project and where we’re going pushing forward. First, we have always held in high regard an emphasis on three main tenants that help define our overall direction of development as well as the project’s goals. These tenants have been, in no particular order:

1) An attention to detail with the goal of player immersion.
2) Robust and powerful mechanics and tools that enable character development above and beyond that of other shards.
3) The creation of an atmosphere unlike traditional shard settings and plots.

These tenants have helped us to provide to the community, over the past fifteen years, an instantly identifiable option that our players and community members can be familiar with no matter how many months or years may have passed since the last time they’ve participated in our project or community.

Recently, the UO player-ran community has seen a renaissance of sorts with the popularity of Outlands. Inversely, the population and number of RP-enforced shards has steadily decreased over the years. When Requiem first emerged as an RP shard in the mid-2000s, we had stood apart from other projects in three major ways. First, our setting and lore was drastically different from our high-fantasy brethren, and had been focused far more on horror than any other shard prior. Second, our mechanical systems were quite different from other projects of the time, often crafted with an emphasis on being a challenge to discover, learn and master. Lastly, Requiem had differentiated itself from other shards by placing a far greater emphasis on the individual character rather than groups and heightening this emphasis by implementing such mechanics as the Torment, and of course, perma-death. When Requiem had first opened our doors, there had been plenty of player-ran shards out there to compete with, allowing us to comfortably do our own thing and fill our own niche. However, with the state of the UO community, it is hard to be able to continue perpetuating fulfilling a niche when there are so few other alternatives out there.

With consideration of the current state of the community that Requiem potentially is catered to, we have taken a long, hard look at the project and have attempted to re-imagine the project for the modern generation. With the re-opening of Requiem, we have committed ourselves to evolving our game systems, maturing our community mindset, and even working to edit our mechanic-defining lore elements into something that can appeal and cater to a larger and broader audience. It is our hope that through these collective changes, we can attract and retain a larger community of players and become a suitable and stable option to what is left of the UO role-playing community. We have taken a long look at our mechanics, design choices and the ease/difficulty of penetrating some of our major mechanical systems. We have spoken to players and community members and have gleaned a good insight as to what community members expect from a shard, and what features and options keep them engaged and interested. Furthermore, and most importantly, we are taking active and decisive steps to ensure that despite what happens with personnel and manpower, the project and community are able to persist and continue to thrive. This is not to say that there will be drastic changes to the Requiem you know and love; we are simply attempting to convey that with a change in mindset, direction and goals comes an investment of time, work and effort that results in us not being immediately able to open our doors and get the party started so to say.

With all of this in mind, we are committed to providing the UO RP community the finest and most refined role-playing environment that we possibly can within our means, ability and budget. This can and will lead to some changes in our philosophy and our way of interacting with our community. Make no mistake, though; we will continue to stay committed to the core tenants that Requiem was founded upon, that being immersion, emphasis on character development, and atmosphere. We will continue to be committed to operating this project as a service to the community that has provided us countless hours of fun, intrigue and excitement, and we will continue to maintain policies and procedures that promote transparency, fairness, community equality and of course, respect of our players. With Act VI, we will stay committed to our convictions of not providing buyable methods to progression or mechanical advantages, and we will continue to invest monetary contributions to the project back into the community and project, to include the investing in more art assets, voice-over work, server and infrastructure expenses, and so forth.

II. So, what have we’ve done so far?

In preparation for Act VI, our development team has focused upon numerous quality of life changes to the shard’s major mechanical systems as to promote a more accessibly, enjoyable and fun gaming experience. Our mechanical phase of development has included major reviews of every major mechanical system, to include such things as Magic, Combat, Crafting, and so forth. More interestingly, we have further focused on 100% implementation and adaptation of the ClassicUO client with Requiem, and have developed a customized version of this excellent piece of software catered solely to offer a better gaming experience for Requiem. Along with this has been the implementation of a new GUI theme for the shard, numerous bug-fixes and balances, the addition of new features, skills and abilities, and a new direction of development with a focus upon making a better and more enjoyable gaming experience for players new and old alike. Furthermore, we have collaborated with other project leaders in the player-ran community at large, and have been able to adopt and implement software solutions that will let us distribute and provide Requiem to interested players in some the most convenient and easy ways we have ever been able to in the history of the project.

With the addition of two new members to our staff, Coty and Archin, we have been able to implement and deploy a plethora of new custom clothes, equipment, art assets and decorations. As part of our update efforts to fully implement ClassicUO into Requiem, we have added hundreds of new NPC animations and creatures. This, coupled with a full review, rebalance and re-engineering of our loot system, NPC mechanics and overall PvE sub-systems have placed the project in a whole new classification of customization and available options for our GameMasters to play with. We have elevated the Requiem project to a new state of fidelity and aesthetic customization that was previously not attainable without the efforts of skilled and professional artists, and for this, the project has benefited greatly.

On the more technical side of things, we have worked to balance and augment our current game systems in such a way as to provide a more organic and simplified means of becoming involved in many of our previously dense and sometimes intimidating custom systems. Rex has done a heck of a job restructuring our Magic system as to allow for a far easier and more natural means of becoming involved in it. “Lean” skills for prior Acts have been condensed, recipes have been lowered, material requirements for systems such as Firearms and Augments have been re-balanced, and numerous other systems have been overhauled to value the player’s time more so than previous iterations of the shard. We have also been focusing significant effort into creating an end-game economy and gameplay loop for Act VI that will be implemented and ready for launch, in so that players can continue to progress and work towards equipment goals even if they have acquired suitable levels of skills and abilities.

III. So, where do we go from here?

With the new month of November, we have turned a major corner with many of the major reviews of previous Act V systems, and are coming to a close with numerous balance implementations and changes to the traditional meta. This has been the result of a steady and constant stream of development that has been conducted for the past six weeks. What remains for our planned major mechanical development prior to launch are the implementation of systems that help facilitate community interaction, role-playing and character development. These systems for instance include the full implementation of the Torment system for player characters, the re-haul and implementation of our Faction system re-engineered to something that is accessible to a far greater audience than before, the full implementation of the Sanity system, and of course the addition of a ton more wearables and RP props. These systems represent far less intensive coding projects as complete system reviews and rebalancing have, and thankfully require less extensive playtesting, bug fixing and balancing than other projects. As a whole, we are in a very good spot with our mechanical updates and development, and are now hitting a home-stretch of development that is solely devoted to role-playing and player interaction, leading to a more enjoyable and interesting point of development for our programming team, and some breathing room for our diligent player testers.

On the map side of things, a few more projects remain before we are prepared and readied for launch. These mainly include additions to the map that will give us a larger playing area on launch of Act VI, and the implementation of areas crucial to the launch story and setting. In addition to this, we expect to have a few weeks of in-game development to include new spawns, new NPCs, and the implementation of newly coded AI mechanics, loot mechanics, and so much more.

We will continue our daily development of the shard and Act VI and with this new milestone of development completed, will begin posting weekly status updates as to where we are at with development and where we need to go. Our internal development tracking tools will be migrated to a public-facing roadmap within the next week or two as to better give an idea to our community as to where we’re at, and how far we have until we’re ready to rumble.

In the meantime, we encourage everyone to keep up to date with sneak peaks of our current development my checking out the Discord Community Server. Furthermore, I’d like to take this chance to again advertise that we are still recruiting for our Content Development Team, with an emphasis on decorators. We have filed a specific application just for decorating, located here; https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1Jlaweh ... Qjikb4re0/ .

From all of us here at 13thrones, we’d like to thank you all for your commitment to the community and your patience while we get Act VI up and ready for us all to sink our collective teeth in to.

User avatar
Sic
Aeolian Staff
Posts: 170
Character: Isidor Abendroth

Re: November: Development Update and Roadmap Thread

Post by Sic » November 14th, 2020, 8:16 pm

11/14 Update

Greetings Requiemites. Today I'd like to take a few moments to share where we're at with the mechanical development wrap-up for Act VI, and where we've left to go.

First off, I'd like to share our new public timeline, located here at:

https://timelines.gitkraken.com/timelin ... 5602596cff

This timeline is a general gauge as to where we are at, and what we have on our plate that is allocated and planned for as a pre-launch feature, and are color-coded to distinguish different aspects of dev. As a disclaimer, these milestones are established to provide a loose idea as to where we're at and what we need to do still; they can be done quicker or take a little longer depending on staffing circumstances. We really appreciate the support and patience you all have been showing us so far, so please keep it up!

In terms of programming (Red Tasks), we've a lot of the heavy lifting out of the way for mechanical additions and revisions. We've a patch list a mile long that we will be going through and documenting in a new thread on the forums entitled "V to VI: Changes to Requiem", as to help explain what we've done, why, and what to expect from the changes. We have put a considerable amount of work into Act VI, and as part of our efforts, will begin sharing with the player base in piece male exactly what that entails. All in all, we've exceeded initial goals of Act VI prep immensely and have spruced our code and mechanic base up to the best it's ever been in the history of a launch for our project, and Rex and I are extremely excited about it.

In terms of map development (Green Tasks), we are still plugging away at finalizing three last major points of interest for VI. This development aspect of the project is one of the slowest due to having only three to four decorators on the team presently, and as anyone can tell you, decoration and building is an insanely time-consuming and meticulous job. We hope to get what we need done within the projected timeline milestone dates.

World spawning and in-game development (Purple Tasks) has yet to commence due to the programming team wrapping things up with outstanding projects, however Admin Maldonado has been working on a new and fun overland raid employing new mechanics and enemies. I expect to join him in sprucing up the existing world spawns by December 1st.

Asset projects (Yellow) have been nearly 100% completed and have accounted for adding new projects and features to the launch build of Requiem as our art GMs Archin and Coty have been doing a phenomenal job getting us to a whole new level of customization and aesthetic wonder.

As we get closer to finishing large dimensions of development (such as 100% completion of Assets or Programming), we will be then able to begin the transition into full-blown launch prep, as well allow us to get some of the last remaining Blue Projects done (lore!). Full-blown launch prep will include marketing and advertising, application handling, more content added to the site and wiki, and generally ramping things up to official release. We are just about to be there, and as you can see, we plan on finishing just about all out-of-game development within the next few weeks in so that we can commit the entire staff into finishing the in-game development of the shard.

As always, we greatly appreciate all of you guys out there. Thanks for making Requiem's community what is is, and we'll see you in game soon.

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