Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Guest post by Ondrej Petrzilka - Medieval Engineers: Castle siege, Survival, Clans

Hello, I am Ondrej Petrzilka (lead developer for Space and Medieval Engineers). In this blog post I would like to shed some light on our current and future plans with Medieval Engineers. Currently we’re working on three big things: castle siege (that has just been released), survival, and clans.

Before I continue, let me emphasize that everything I say in this blog post is subject to change. The process of game development at our studio goes through multiple stages (idea, concept, development, testing, feedback, more development…) and during the later stages it’s likely that some of the earlier stages will get changed due to the feedback and experience that we will gain later.


Castle Siege


The original idea was to create a game mode where players can easily test their castle and siege weapon designs. This is the first iteration of this feature and we will be working on it during the upcoming weeks. We plan to add more weapons, armor, and a better combat system including ranged weapons. We’re also considering enabling some survival features in castle siege.

In castle siege mode, there are two teams: attackers and defenders. Defenders choose a map with a castle, and attackers choose siege weapons and one of the predefined positions where they would like to start an attack. The goal for attackers is to destroy the king statue within a pre-set time limit. The statue is hidden somewhere in the castle.

Attackers can use different approaches to destroy the statue. They can attack with siege weapons and destroy the statue directly, they can use ladders to go over walls, they can destroy walls with siege weapons and then run inside, or they can dig under the castle.

For more info watch the tutorial video:


Castle Siege development screenshots:



Survival


It was clear after our last survey that the majority of our players would like us to focus on survival mode. We have been working on several features for a long time now and for the next weeks/months survival will be our priority. You can see the results of the survey here: http://www.kwiksurveys.com/p/0q33A3vf?qid=539349

Character stats
We plan to introduce health, stamina, and food, and maybe water later on. Stamina will be used for sprinting, combat and hard labor. Stamina will regenerate automatically, but when a character is low on food, stamina regeneration will be limited. Food will provide a temporary stamina regeneration boost, and different food will have different boosts. Health will regenerate automatically very slowly, but during sleep it will regenerate fast. Some food and items (e.g. bandages) will have a health regeneration effect. Food will be automatically reduced over time, and characters will have to eat. Otherwise, they will be weak and eventually die.

We plan to add an inventory which will allow players to carry items like food, construction components (nails, wooden spikes) and other small items and components we’ll introduce in the future.

Food
Players will have to obtain food to survive, so we plan to add several food sources into the game. Players will be able to go into the woods and gather berries, mushrooms and roots; some of them will respawn in their original place, and some will respawn randomly. Another food source we plan to add is wildlife. Players will be able to hunt deer for food and later other animals including dangerous ones (like bears and wolf packs). In later stages of the game, players will be able to farm and raise cattle.

Seasons
We plan to add seasons to make survival more interesting and entertaining. The game will start during spring and players will have 3 seasons to prepare for winter and obtain enough food, because during winter food sources will be scarce. We’re also thinking about introducing a new stat: heat. Players would have to get warm cloth and firewood for winter. With seasons, farming will become more interesting. It will be necessary to sow crops in spring and harvest them during late summer or autumn; crops will get destroyed during winter.  During winter, pastures will be covered with snow and players will have to feed the cattle with hay, otherwise they will die of hunger.

Building
We plan to release the first version of the building very soon. To build any large block, players will have to obtain components first. Currently, the only components are wooden timbers, scrap wood and stone. Players will be able to build simple houses in the first version. It won’t be necessary to carry all the components from the inventory to build something, but the components will have to be placed next to the character.

After this point we’ll continuously add more blocks. Later, we’ll introduce new materials and ways of obtaining them. We’re planning to add hay, in order to make hay roofs and feed cattle in winter. We will also introduce clay for making roofs, wooden walls, dishes and basic furnaces, and iron ore, to make iron weapons, armor, nails and mechanisms. We will also add limestone to make grout, sandstone as lightweight stone, and materials for cloth.

Crafting
Players will be able to craft items in three different ways. The first way will be through a toolbar, where the player will simply put an item he wants to craft on the toolbar and then place it. Crafting will consume certain materials and the crafted item will appear in front of the player. This way, the player will be able to craft only very simple things. A second way of crafting will be through a craft table or forge; in this way the player will be able to craft furniture, barrels, chests, mechanisms, weapons and armor. The last way of crafting will be through a furnace. This will be an unattended way of crafting, where the player will put ore and firewood into the furnace and after some time will get ingots.

Water
We would like to add fully simulated water, but we’re not sure if it’s going to be possible because of performance. First we’ll add simple planar water. At ‘sea level’ there will be always water. This will allow us to make lakes, wells and also fake rivers. Even though this has limited potential, it will still be interesting for players.We plan to transport water in buckets and barrels and use it for drinking, cooking and farming. It can be also used to extinguish fires and to power mechanical blocks.

Mechanical blocks
We plan to start adding mechanical blocks when there’s basic survival. Players will use mechanical blocks to power lifts and automated hammers in forges. In the future, there will be more uses for them.


Clans


Clans will come additionally with the survival gameplay. The idea is that a player or multiple players will have their clan and they will try to survive. Players will be able to play as any member of the clan, and the rest of the clan members will be controlled by an AI. Players will be able to switch between clan members. AI-controlled clan members will be able to do simple tasks like farming, gathering food or raw materials, manufacturing items in a workshop, helping to build structures, or patrol castle walls and alert others in case of danger. We would like the player to do interesting and entertaining things in the game, while simple and repetitive tasks can be done by AI-controlled clan members.

When a clan member dies either of old age or when it gets killed, it won’t respawn - it will be lost permanently. New clan members can be born when there are men and women at a reproductive age. We’re already working on new character models: a female, an old lady, and an old man and a child. Old characters won’t be as efficient in manual work, but they will have the advantage of experience so they can be utilized in workshops or kitchens. Children won’t be able to do any work on their own, but they will follow adult clan members and help them (giving them a bonus).


Conclusion


These features are among the largest and most complex that we are planning to implement in Medieval Engineers and their development will be a long-term procedure. Please feel free to post your suggestions and ideas either under this blog post or, more preferably, at our Suggestions sub-forum here: http://forum.keenswh.com/forums/suggestions.413446/. Your feedback is valuable!

Thanks!
Ondrej Petrzilka
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41 comments:

  1. Nice! Can't wait to see how these features will turn out.

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  2. Nice.When we talking about clans it would be nice to add coat of arms or different type of flags.It would be more interesting if players could make their own flag or coat of arms. :D

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  3. I like were this is going =)

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  4. Wow!
    I really like your vision of this game! Simply amazing. Can't wait for future updates :-)

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  5. Sounds almost perfect!
    Suggestions: Skill system like wurm online or life is feudal

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  6. YES!!! WATER!!! I don't even care if it's not really detailed with a physics system, I've just wanted to build a seaside fortress since this came out on early access.

    Seasons should be pretty exciting to see as well.

    Keep up the good work!

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  7. Wow...what is the projected time frame for all of this though? A year or two?

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  8. The issue with Planar Water is you can't dig underground. I'd much prefer to see a voxel based water, even if the voxels are large.

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    Replies
    1. Agreed. I need waterfalls. Now.

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    2. I agree. You need to be able to dig underground and mine for ores. The deeper you go, the better they get. And maybe a system that will create cave-ins but if you put supports up there's less of a chance

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    3. A way to deal with this is to have two arrangements: 1) above ground (sea level), 2) underground (water table). It is not exact, of course, but it would allow for mining (until the water table is reached, at least), while also allowing for near-by streams, ponds, and seas.

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  9. to teraz troszeczkę tak szczegółowej przyszłości o SpaceEngineers Poprosimy :)

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  10. would love to see character customization

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    Replies
    1. Then im not the only one...

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  11. "Old characters won’t be as efficient in manual work" It would be nice if old people were required to train younger people or maybe produce higher quality or more advanced items. Otherwise ill end up building an old-people-incinerator to maximize my food-energy ratio dwarf fortress style :)

    Love the update though - seasons/heat will be especially awesome (Ill build my castle on the ice hehe)

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    Replies
    1. Lol "old-people-incinerator". Maybe old people can just eat less food.

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    2. An idea - children have a penalty to doing tasks (perhaps taking 2-4 times as long to get results from crafting, farming, mining, etc), but they can be trained in a task to remove this penalty. The catch - the time required to finish the training is decreased with the more experience the one training them has. This would give old people an advantage as the trainers, since even if they have a penalty to completing the task, they would have a bonus when training others in the task.

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  12. Could you add procedural terrain gen to the list?

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  13. Have you thought about adding character generation features? It would really up the personal experience for players as well as giving you an easy way to generate randomized AI appearances so they won't be clones.

    Since you are doing procedural generation in so many areas, why not add that flexibility to characters as well?

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    Replies
    1. I expect they will get around to this after they have a base model for children, adult females, and elderly males and females. They have to walk before they run, after all. And the focus of the game seems to be 1) construction & crafting, 2) survival & setting, 3) then all else.

      I expect procedural terrain will be created once they have implemented ores to be mined (rather than just stone), food to be harvested, and water (at least at the planar level, if not the voxel level).

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  14. Could you also add the ability to assign dialogue trees to characters, along with the ability to construct simple quests given by NPCs? A lot of the quests could be completed simply by transferring inventory items from the player to an NPC or bringing a character or item to a designated area within a time period or killing an NPC. This would allow us to introduce story and RPG elements to workshop worlds, essentially making ME an RPG engine as well as an open world sandbox, a survival game, and tactical combat game.

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  15. Winter is coming

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  16. I just had a cool idea for crafting, we build siege weapons right? so why dont we build stuff like crossbows the same way we build catapults and fail ballistas. we have the projectile, we need stuff like scrap wood to build the stock of the crossbow. We also need rope/string to proppell the projectile. idk how a real crossbow works but what im saying is we custom design the bows. we could build our own chinese repeating crossbows, or just have our own bow design such as a bigger curve at the end.

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  17. i would like to see physics for the ground so u could say make a mechanical drill or use it between two layers of timber as walls, on the note of timber i would like more allowance for timber buildings, i want to make viking ring fortresses

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  19. Damn cant wait to play all this !
    also maybe there could be some sort of tech tree or skill tree would be awsome!
    also give us the possibility to customise our character please!
    oh and would be awesome if you could throw dead cattle at the enemie to get them the pestilence or something xD
    at all a very neat game u got there goin!

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  20. Instead of planar Water, might I suggest a heightmap based system? It allows better for hills and rivers and can also adapt to the terrain with some occasional checks of nearby voxels. It shouldn't be as intensive as full voxel fluid simulation, but would provide a cool basis for water sources and the like (One thing that would be required would be a shader that allows the flowing animation of water to occur when part of the height mesh is at an angle (So rivers flow downhill etc. The final thing is that this could then be furthered with tessilation/particle emitters to produce some truly fantastic looking water effects.

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  21. Reminder that space engineers will never be completed and the developers will leave it just like miner wars.

    Reminder that it will be abandoned to the modding community to fix it while calling it "completed".

    Reminder that the multiplayer will never be fixed, the speed will stay limited due to bad coding.

    Reminder that when you fly at speeds above 400-450m/s your ship starts shattering due to a mysterious friction.

    Reminder that when you fly in your suit while at high speeds inside your ship, you start losing speed relatively to your ship without actually putting any force to slow yourself down.

    Reminder that weak weekly updates are not real updates, but a way to keep many happy those.

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  23. Have you pondered including character era highlights? It would truly up the individual experience for players and additionally giving you a simple approach to create randomized AI appearances so they won't be clones.

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  24. The idea behind the Survival mode with clan members is great! I played Life is feudal but sucks because need more human players and coordinate with it. A single player Survival in the way you say is great!. Also, other enemy clans attacking the player settlement (as Siege mode) will be the perfect mix. At least, any threat to the castle.

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  25. Amazing!! I cannot wait for the next update. Keep up the great job!

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  26. Great Vision! stick with it.

    Seasons sound incredible! Needing to prepare for winter is a true survival experience.

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  27. You sir are building my dream medieval survival game. Thank you

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  28. Everything sounds cool But i hope water will be your first priority. I'm looking forward to build at sea or next to a river

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