The latest experimental build 0.04.E4 is now live. See the patch notes here —
This will hopefully be the last update before pushing it out to the stable branch, so if you have any issues, let us know on the forums here —
Here’s what’s been happening lately 🙂
I mentioned a while back, before the upgrade to Unity 5, that we would be coming back to the crafting system. With the existing crafting and building system, we’d been getting concerned that we were reaching almost a saturation point or limit to the physical dragging mechanic – basically ending up in players just piling crap into a pile and crossing their fingers that the right combination would appear… It became apparent that this problem would only get worse with any content that we added. We needed to rethink…
So in between things, we’d been brainstorming and came up with a new crafting and building system concept. We’re pretty pumped about it as it should allow a lot of freedom and best of all, it’s essentially an evolution of the mechanics that exist now and what make Stranded Deep unique. The best way to describe the new building system is free and open building. You will be building your tools and building components now. You won’t be necessarily limited to a “foundation” or “wall” prefab. With our proposed system, if you want a foundation, you’ll have to build it from pieces. If you want to place walls, you’ll have to prop it up and fix it so it won’t fall down. It will be a universal system that will carry through from the building system to the crafting system. You will be able to choose your blades, handles and fixings, all affecting the properties of the final crafted piece. The goal being to diversify the appearance and functionality of the unique structures and tools you create.
Terrain and Vegetation
The new terrain system is also coming along. We’ve been mocking up test islands, playing with different methods of authoring all the maps needed (height, splat, normals, etc) and nailing down the features we need in the shaders to render it all. It’s all highly a work in progress at this stage —
We’ve got a lot of assets for the environment being worked on at the moment so it will start to take better shape once they come back and get placed in the world.
Proper PBR terrain textures are also in the works —
…along with new trees and foliage being worked on too. Here’s an example concept spreadsheet of potential vegetation for Stranded Deep that is then modelled in SpeedTree —
We’ve made mention that we’re looking into a new ocean system as well. A Unity forum member by the name of ‘scrawk’ is creating an ocean asset called ‘Ceto’ (named after a Greek sea goddess) for the Unity community —
Please note that the terrain pictured in this screenshot is not from Stranded Deep! It’s from Unity’s ‘Blacksmith’ technical demo.
It’s still early in development but we can’t wait to get our hands on it when it’s ready for beta, and we’ll be implementing it on our experimental branch as soon as we can. As you can see, it’s looking fantastic, and best of all it lets us focus on other aspects of the game.
There’s always lots of smaller things we’re working on in between the bigger features… Unity 5 has a nice new feature called ‘reflection probes’. Reflection probes render and store the environment around them in a cubemap which can be used by reflective materials. If you combine reflection probes with a screen-space reflections post-effect it really adds a nice bit of eye-candy —
When the new terrain system is finshed we will be able to create a nice system to bake multiple probes around the world for high quality reflections at a minimal cost, with the screen-space reflections filling in the gaps. It’s all a work in progress at the moment, but there is a basic reflection probe for the sky implemented in 0.04.E4. Screen space reflections aren’t ready for release yet, but these features will be worked on, improved and implemented as time allows.
We do understand that it’s hard to visualise the progress when so much is happening behind the curtains, so hopefully this blog post helps a bit! 🙂
That’s it for this update 🙂
:: Beam Team