Artix Krieger | Friday, September 29, 2023
As I write this, we are only two days away from October! My favorite month of the year. The spookiest time of the month-- ghosts, vampires, werewolves, and "video game development feature creep". Funny, no one ever dresses up as the last one for Halloween.
The AdventureQuest Worlds: Infinity team has been in hyper-drive mode-- and there seems to be some uplifting breakthrough every day. I would like to share some of the big ones with you below. Also, I would like to talk about how you are going to be able to join us in the first tests this year.
1. [WhyNot @AqwMobileWisher] asks, "How about you pause aqw for a couple of weeks and focus on aqw:infinity... we are waiting for this game for a couple of years and only got teasers.."
Happy to clear this up. Yes, we are developing both games at the same time. The teams working on each game are different, and have different skills. The people growing the AQWorlds (Web) each week are skilled artists, animators, and writers. The people building AQWorlds: Infinity are mostly programmers (Zhoom, Tunik, Warlic, Yorumi, Spider, Captain Rhubarb) who are building the game and conversion tools. Until the tools are ready, there would be no speed increase by adding more people. Also, AQWorlds: Infinity needs content to be created in Adobe Animate / Flash... so almost everything they are building now, will ultimately go into Infinity.
The picture above is what every day looks like on Discord....
2. Is AQWorlds (Web) ever going to shut down? (Spoiler: No)
Short of an Earth-destroying asteroid or devastating internet collapse, the current version of AdventureQuest Worlds will continue running.
3. Do I get to keep all of my stuff in Infinity?
Yes. When you log into Infinity, you will have your items and be able to equip them. (As long as they have already been converted of course! If they have not been converted yet, you will see that you have it but it will say this item is waiting to be converted)
4. Why are you not posting more!?
Sorry! You deserve more update posts. In the old days when working on DragonFable, then AQWorlds, and then more recently, AQ3D, I would start each day with a post. I really enjoyed it. Understandably, for a while now I have been overwhelmed by the workload and the other urgent duties at AE. It is sorta game-dev triage... do I work on the game or make posts? Of course there needs to be time for both. Sharing with you what is happening is really important. Maybe I can call in some help.
So... here is what we have been working on!
5. How does the Unity announcement impact AdventureQuest Worlds: Infinity
Ultimately, it does not change anything-- except increasing our costs. We are committed to finishing the game and proceeding as planned.
In today's progress update we will talk about how the team is re-animating monsters, re-building class skills, and how we are able to start doing the crazy things Flash let us get away with. Also, we should talk about Unity.
So this animated GIF of the dragon Glutus is a side-by-side comparison of Infinity (left) and Web (right).
Not bad! (Especially considering I animated this one.) Reens, J6, and I spent this week building/converting this part of the 7 Deadly Dragons saga. It was a really area to convert because it does just about every weird, tricky, and unexpected type of thing that can happen in AdventureQuest Worlds.
Thanks to J6 and Warlic... we have really gotten the map conversion process down.
Well, this is how the computer sees it. The blockers show which areas you cannot walk on and the pads on the ground do things when you walk on them.
In the web version of the game, NPCs are built into the map. In Infinity, they are built separately and loaded very much like monsters. Which means you can walk around them and they can have special animations. We still keep discovering little load glitches like weird poof in the middle of the screens bove. A lot of these fixes are minor.
In the original game, the heads that you see at the top of the screen in the nameplates were specially designed. Here in Infinity, we can define the region that shows.
The quest system has been getting a lot of back and forth as we build stuff and encounter issues. We reverted a big change last week after play testing. It is getting there.
As Reens started working in the project, we have been locking down the best way to convert characters... which will make the line thicknesses look good and prevent the characters from being too pixilated. (Thank you Mip maps setting!)
The screenshot above is old. It was the first particle test on monsters. Because we will not be able to import many of the huuuuuuuge multi-frame custom drawn fire animation effects from Flash, we will be using our flash art to create particle systems. Warlic added a feature that lets you toggle particle effects on and off... for anyone playing on a toaster phone that notices a drop in frame-rate.
This needs an entire post just for itself.
Spider built an in-game editor for devs to let them custom build skills.The screenshot is not from some special editor... that is actually a screen shot from the game O_O.
We had been working with a broken version of combat for a long while-- it is working properly now in a way we can test.
When redesigning maps... we really need to pay special attention to how it will look on different devices. Arrows and objects might be hidden under the interface on different platforms. How terrible would it be if you were supposed to click on something that was covered! It seems like such a minor thing, but converting the game has a never ending sea of weird "gotchas" like this that we are figuring out how to fix.
Hey! Why am I the only online? We had a placeholder login screen for a long time... this was nice to see.
So when you hear about comically horrific bugs... this is a fun example. We changed these pop up boxes to have custom labels. Mostly, we use these for things like making sure you want to leave a map. In this screenshot, it was asking if you wanted to change the area, even though you were really trying to delete an XP boost. Also, this is when I noticed we did not have a slider for selling more than 1 thing at a time yet, LOL!
How about we talk about...
As you read this we are working on Machines. (Literally. I am in voice chat and Zhoom & Warlic are designing edge case stuff.) What are machines? Well, these are the the invisible things in the game that makes everything work. This topic also deserves an entire post of its own. Building machines for single player games takes a little bit of thought....
Imagine you are making a door. Well, the door starts closed. How do you open the door? You could click on it, or walk over a pressure plate, or pull a lever. Are there requirements for opening the door? Does the door require a key? Do you need to have an item in your hand or be a certain class? And when you do open the door, you need to play the opening animation. Then, once the door is open, does it stay open? Does it stay open after you log off and log back in? Does opening the door complete a quest? Is the door a magic portal that disapears after the quest is complete? A single player machine needs to be able to do all of these things. But we are making an MMORPG-- how do you make this door multiplayer? Do other players see it open. There it is-- now you understand the importance and purpose of the interactive machines we are building.
Our machines need to be able to do all of the above... and that is exactly what Warlic is making them do.
We also need them to be easier to use than the ones we built in AdventureQuest 3D (spoiler: we made them too complex over there.) One of the guiding lights that I feel very strong about-- "If something is simple to do, it gets used. If something is too complex, it is dreaded and avoided." This is especially important to consider when building these tools.
The goal is to make super complex things, very simple to actually do with these tools.
Our goal remains to release a version of AdventureQuest Worlds: Infinity by the end of the year. The likelihood of that being a Tech Demo followed by Alpha Testing (like we did for AdventureQuest 3D) is increasing.
If anyone is actually thinking this is going to be a complete, fully functional, 100% perfect version of the game.... it will not be.
This game will need your help. LOTS of your help. We will have a strong base game, a starting point from which you can give us feedback which we will use to rapidly fix stuff, make improvements, and add the features features you want. We will need your help making sure items are properly converted. We will need your help prioritizing what order items are converted in.
Over the past week, I have been sitting idle in AQWorlds (web) while working. Players have asked me a ton of questions about the new game. I got a lot of questions about what new features Infinity will have and what sort of content will be in it. I made a point of really explaining that our first priority is replicating the beauty and fun of the existing game-- and as you know, it has been challenging. Sure, we added new features like scrolling, WASD & joystick support, particle systems, dynamic NPCs, and cross-platform support. It is vital that we get Infinity up to the level of the current game before we go crazy adding new features and improvements. To do that, we are going to need your help.
The Tech Demo and Alpha Tests will feel a lot like being part of a building a brand new game. Except... in this case, you will already know exactly what you want. Because you will notice things that are missing-- things that you depend on. And when you point them out, we will build them. This is what any tester of AdventureQuest Worlds: Infinity should expect. If you want to test... you are coming to help us build this game. In all fairness, we built the original AQWorlds together-- why would this experience be any different?
Do not hold me to these dates... but at our current pace, it looks like we could be ready for the Tech Demo in November, and the Alpha Testing in December. If that holds true, we will be ready to start mass conversion at some point in November.
Your copy/pasta of our team meeting notes to catch up on what has been happening behind the scenes.