Darkfall: Developer Journals
Darkfall Dev Journal #16: The Details

Dana Massey | 26 Oct 2007 19:29
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Darkfall Associate Producer Tasos Flambouras gets back to the journal writing this week after a brief hiatus and discusses the nitty-gritty details the team has gotten into recently. Game development is often seen as a dream profession, but in this update, he reminds people of all the things they need to do that are a little less cool.



Darkfall Developer Journal: "The Details"
Article by Tasos Flambouras (Associate Producer, Darkfall)

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Having missed a journal, I have to say that you didn't miss a lot. We're officially neck deep into boring and repetitive tasks. As a status report, I'm afraid that you can almost take the last one and pretty much repost it with a few minor changes. When I made the rounds to get some juice for this update, Claus said that this is like factory work at this point, Henning in the art department said that they're in the boring final stretch, and Kjetil said that there's nothing exciting from the programming department. But I digress.

Overall, we're on track as much as we can be. We've been plagued by various physical bugs, health issues, equipment failures, but nothing seems to be able to keep us from the mind-blowingly boring tasks of QA, and adding content that have become our daily routine for the past few months. On top of all that, we're having a hell of a time getting some positions filled. We have a very high standard, and while we're getting a lot of applications in, it's not easy finding the right people.

Right now, it's all about the millions of little things.

We've been working on a lot of QA tasks such as testing areas, quests, how things flow, how things fit together and trying to make this perform like a finished product as much as possible. In testing quests we try to make sure that things are clear: If the quest-giver mentions a location for example, we may have to be sure that you can find it by adding signs, hints, making sure that there are roads to this location, and basically making it easier or more challenging depending on the specific quest. Adding content hasn't slowed down at all. There's a new quest implementation tool which is making things go faster.

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So far we've been using the same placeholder grass you can see in screenshots and videos. Now we've got a lot of different vegetation variations in place depending on the area. We've also finalized our sounds which have replaced the placeholder sounds we've had until now. The new sounds are hard, gritty, and give a dark and violent feel to the game. In battle, they make you feel that you're in battle.

We're still working on tuning the monsters and this means everything about them from animations to attributes and skills. Recipes are still being worked on and we're still brushing up the player character animations. We've improved the interface used in enchantment so that it's more intuitive. Enchantment is basically a slot based system, where you plug components in the slots to get the effect you need

The world-builders have been rebuilding and upgrading locations. Depending on location, there's a 25 to a 75% rebuild. Capital cities are getting final optimizations for performance. Spawn points are continuously being placed.

The few exciting things implemented recently include some very cool defensive measures in city defenses, the portal system, and the clan bonus system. The portal system connects the important areas on the map through teleportation. This happens though a network of dungeons where the portals drop you off at. We've taken measures to curb portal camping, one of those measures is a random drop location within the dungeon. The dungeons are made up much like an FPS level and lend themselves perfectly to intense PvP. The clan bonus system is part of Darkfall's RTS-like features and it's connected to building. When a clan builds specific buildings, they may get bonuses for when they're within their clan city limits, like defensive bonuses, and in a few cases the bonuses can be global.

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