Council of Elysium – Chapter Eighth – Twitch Stream
Join Knilpu and Arcahem for the Eighth Chapter of the Council of Elysium for an evening of fun and catching up on the latest news!
Hi, fellow gamer and MMO enthusiast! With this article, we’re releasing the first issue of a new type of Fractured blog post: a State Of The Game update!
The aim of this new series is to give you a detailed account on the progress being made on the development of Fractured – including what features we’ve added and what challenges we had to face.
Before starting, I shall lay a necessary preamble: while Fractured as a project was started in January 2017, the first months of work at Dynamight were largely spent setting up the company, hiring, defining game design pillars and core features of the game, choosing tools and technology, getting familiar with SpatialOS, prototyping and preparing the public face of Fractured (this website!). Work on Alpha 1 has actually started in August 2017, so everything below is the result of a little more than 3 months of work by a single (full-time) front-end developer and a (part-time) back-end developer!
Our home page and that of Improbable already explain why in 2017 SpatialOS is the best platform to create a next-gen MMO with the ambition of Fractured, so let’s not dwell on that again. What some of you might wrongly infer from that, however, is that SpatialOS provides developers with some sort of “basic MMORPG layout” to build on. That is definitely not the case: we had to build everything from the ground up, and we went straight to the networked way.
In the following paragraphs, I’m going to briefly recap the first steps we took to implement a basic MMO gameplay.
Of course, the development of gameplay is only half of the job while laying the foundation of an MMO – there’s a lot that happens before you enter the world, and also a lot that goes on behind the scenes while you play. Simultaneously to the above, we also created:
This was just the beginning. Now, let’s get deeper into some of the works described above, and the main challenges we had to face when developing them.
SpatialOS gave us the server architecture to create an open world of virtually unlimited scale. That alone is simply amazing, but it solved only half of the problem – we had to figure out ourselves the puzzle of client-side world building. It wasn’t much of a technical issue there, but rather one of game design: how can a small company without an army of level designers pull off such a gargantuan task?
The answer, we knew, was procedural world generation followed by human polishing.
Over the last couple months, we have defined, furiously thrown away and re-defined the world building tools and pipeline in a seemingly endless loop of never-satisfying iterations… until we made it!
Today, I can gladly announce we’re able to quickly generate large portions of maps which perfectly fit the mechanics of an MMO with isometric camera and ARPG combat. Exciting maps, with the detail and variety you’d expect from a AAA production (but made by an indie team). That’s cool, isn’t it?
If you have been following the development of Fractured, you should know already that we think static, boring combat is one of the biggest issues of several sandbox titles, and that we are committed to revitalizing the genre by making it collide with the exciting world of ARPGs.
Developing a good action combat system in an MMO poses several challenges. First of all, reaction times must be quick: provided you have an acceptable latency, your character should respond immediately to your commands. At the same time, the position and actions of other players on your client should be cleverly simulated while keeping their movement smooth and without consuming too much bandwidth. Damn!
Reading the above, you should understand how our basic movement system wasn’t obviously up to the task, and had to be largely improved. While we did it, we added pathfinding and smart obstacle avoidance, until we came at what we have today – a good compromise between smoothness and performance.
We started with a punch-throwing mannequin – now we have an ass-kicking human warrior able to wear armor and hold weapons and shields!
To get a more meaningful feel for the combat, we developed the first set of weapon parameters, such as 1/2-handed, base damage and speed, range, area of effect (shape and size), accuracy, mobility, and a few others. Out of those, we created 6 different weapons (unarmed, short sword, great sword, spear, crossbow, bow), each with its own unique advantages and weaknesses in different scenarios.
Once weapons had been completed, we moved to spellcasting, creating a few spell archetypes. Among those, we can mention different types skillshots (projectiles travelling in a given direction or effects spawned in a given terrain location), beams and sprays (continuous aimed spells with different shapes), and generic targeted abilities (either with immediate effect or projectiles following the target).
Once more, everything that has been added so far combat-wise is just a portion of what will be present in Alpha 1, which in turn is a glimpse of what Fractured will be in full release.
Our implementation of creatures in Fractured is still basic, but fully functional. As of today, the two main parameters that regulate a monster’s behavior are its attitude and migration.
A creature’s attitude represents its behavior towards you. It might attack you on sight, ignore you unless provoked, or even help you in situations of need. For the time being, what attitude a monster assumes is only regulated by the family it belongs to, but in the future it will be determined also by your race, location, time of the year, and action record.
Migration determines whether a creature always inhabits the same area or moves around the world. This implementation is also simpler now than it will be in the future, when we’ll implement proper migratory patterns and other complex behaviors (such as relocating to new food sources or more favorable environments).
As for the types of creatures implemented, we have a decent variety of forest animals (bears, wolves, boars) and classic fantasy foes (such goblins, trolls, kobolds).
Even with demons being the favorite player race by a slight margin (see below), we’ve chosen Syndesia and humans as the first race and planet to work on for Alpha 1.
This decision was quite obvious – Syndesia is the most varied of all planets (in terms of possible biomes), and also the one with the ruleset that can accommodate the largest amount of Fractured players. From an artistic standpoint, humans are also the quickest race to work on, since they don’t feature different families with unique body shapes and looks as demons and beastmen do.
We’ve selected a mountain area as the first biome to produce art assets for. This is definitely one of the most “classic” types of environment for a fantasy game, but again, it has allowed us to produce a decent amount of variety (forests, plain valleys, streams, rivers, lakes) in a relatively short time.
In this final section, let’s have a look at something beyond the development of Alpha 1. It’s been a long time since we’ve updated you on the growth of the Fractured community! Moreover, there are a few other things we’d like to let you know about.
As of today, Fractured has over 5,000 registered accounts. Registrations have slowed down considerably compared to the first month after the project was made public, but we strongly expect they will resume faster than ever as soon as the first screenshots and video footages are released.
Back in June, our community members came from over 70 countries, with the TOP 10 being claimed by Brazil, Vietnam, United States, Russia, Italy, Canada, UK, France and Ukraine.
Today, we have accounts registered from 100 different countries (that’s more than half the number of countries in the world!), while the TOP 10 looks a little different too: the United States have taken the lead, followed by Brazil, Vietnam, Russia, Italy, Germany, UK, Canada, France and Ukraine.
As for the choice of race, we see a perfect tie between humans and beastmen – each chosen by 31% of the userbase, while demons are the most popular selection (37%). Overall, this is a very balanced outcome and we couldn’t be happier by that!
As previously announced in a popular forum discussion, we’ve decided to tackle the issue of fake accounts not knowing they’ve been kicked out of The Foundation and never-active ones gaining levels passively and accruing rewards to the referring player.
When opening The Foundation page with a fake account, the scoundrel now correctly sees its account being level 0, with a new warning message explaining why that is happening.
Moreover, from today on, new accounts no longer generate Daily Points (down from the 15/day they accrued before). Instead, they only start generating Daily Points once they reach level 10, where the first “+5 Daily Points” reward is given out.
We’re glad of how far we’ve gone in barely over 3 months with such a small team of coders, and we’re excited to think of how fast we’ll become once the project receives proper funding and our devs at least double in number. Such is the power of the Unity + SpatialOS combination, coupled with some serious effort and passion for what we’re creating!
Reading this post, you’ve likely noticed that work on some of most unique features of Fractured – such as the many chances of interaction with the environment or different races – hasn’t started yet. Similarly, the bulk of the “sandbox” side of the game (resource gathering, crafting, building) is still missing.
Looking at our development speed so far, the fact there’s still one year left to the planned start of Alpha 1, and the fact a Kickstarter and subsequent team expansion are going to happen in between, we’re confident we’ll deliver all that’s been promised. And oh, did we mention screenshots and game footage are almost ready to be released? Keep an eye on the next updates!
See you soon and, as always, don’t forget to let us know hear your voice on our community boards and socials!
Hi fellow Humans, Beastmen and Demons,
work on our upcoming Kickstarter campaign and Alpha 1 is moving on at a super-intense pace here at house Dynamight, but we haven’t forgotten to keep you up to date with some exciting news about Fractured! This time it’s not a Feature Spotlight we’re releasing, though – it’s a new expansion of The Foundation, featuring character and guild creation.
Why have we decided to add all of this to the Fractured web portal? Above all, it’s been to allow you to:
So, let’s have a more detailed look at what you can do from today on.
To create your character you just have to open this page, that can also be reached through the Foundation button in the navigation bar of fracturedmmo.com.
When creating your character, you can choose your race/family, the god you worship, and your alignment. Moreover, you’re able to add a long background story for your character, if you fancy some good old role-playing!
During character creation, your race limits what gods you can choose, which in turn restricts your alignment options. The combinations available are designed according to the lore and gameplay mechanics we’ve revealed in Feature Spotlight #1 and #2. In this regard, you might notice that both Beastmen and Demons can choose a Neutral alignment – be it Lawful, Chaotic, or True Neutral.
This doesn’t mean your future game characters will be able to start on a different planet or enjoy a special ruleset, but you can use this feature to signal other players that your personal disposition doesn’t follow the Fractured’s racial canon.
Once you have created your character, you’ll able to make it join any existing guild or start your own. Both guild creation and searching for other guilds are available in this page, which is linked in the navigation bar as well.
When forming a guild, you can choose a unique name for it, a tag, its race, and write a long description explaining its rules, history, purpose – whatever you fancy. Once the guild is created, you’ll become its Guildmaster. To share your duties with friends you trust, you’ll be able to promote Regular members to Lieutenants, endowing them with powers such as accepting new members and kicking existing ones.
If you want to join a guild, just visit the guild’s page through the Search Guild button, or have another player share the guild’s link with you (it’s enough to copy-paste the url of the page!). Once you’ve requested membership, you just have to wait for the Guildmaster or a Lieutenant to accept you!
Please mind that, as explained above, guilds are race-restricted – that is, characters of different races can’t be in the same guild. Consequently, some options such as deleting your character and changing its race might be disabled or limited when you’re in a guild or have requested to become a member of one. This limitation is not set in stone for the actual game, though.
This is just the first iteration of character and guild creation in The Foundation. In the coming weeks, we’re going to expand them with some nice additions such as:
Of course, please mind that the names, tags and descriptions you upload must comply with our Terms of Service. Violations of the terms might lead to profiles being edited and the underlying accounts suspended.
What’s next? Something HUGE: the much awaited Feature Spotlight dedicated… to the Knowledge System!
Stay tuned and enjoy Fractured!
It’s been less than one month since the release of The Foundation, our unique community engagement program. Looking back at its impact, we believe it’s been a clear success, even more considering it was only a first version that lacked a few key components.
Today, we’re glad to present to you the second iteration of The Foundation, with exciting additions both to quests and to the rewards ladder. Interested in a recap of what’s new before you check out the platform itself? Read on!
First of all, we have introduced the following 5 new quests:
They’re the first repeatable tasks in the system, and we believe they represent the best thanks possible for all of you who like to keep an eye on the development of Fractured and enjoy discussing with the rest of the community on our forums.
Now, let’s get to the part you’re looking forward too: rewards. As stated before, they haven’t been ignored either! 10 new tiers have been added, doubling the current total and featuring plenty of new exciting perks such as:
If you look at the new rewards ladder, you’ll notice that some of the already existing tiers have been moved around a little, mostly because of the addition of Dynamight Gold. In particular, the maximum of Daily Points is now achieved at much higher levels. This change, couple with the addition of repeatable quests, has been implemented to emphasize the importance of active participation over account age (which remains relevant nonetheless).
We hope you enjoyed all of the additions and the new chances to gain points! The next spotlight will be focused on the Fractured universe and its planets – be sure you don’t miss it!
Last week, when we hit the milestone of 2,000 registered users, we stated that our referral program was only partially implemented, and promised you another revolution. Today, this feature is live in all its glory. Give a warm welcome to The Foundation!
What is The Foundation? Well, although connected to recruiting friends, The Foundation is much more than a “glorified referral program”. It’s a system that rewards you for doing all the small things that show your interest in Fractured and its success: posting your feedback and ideas, engaging with other members of the community, browsing the latest updates and sharing them with your friends. Each of such actions is represented by one or more quests that, once completed, grant you points to climb the ladders of The Foundation.
Other than the above, there are a couple other ways you can gain Foundation Points:
Now that the system has been explained, let’s get to the juice. The perks you can get by increasing your Foundation Level are unique and plenty: forum and game titles, armor skins, mounts, pets, and much more. They’re the kind of prize you would expect from Kickstarter pledge packs. Instead, you can get them all for free, starting today. Plus, you can directly compare your progress with that of other fellow players in the leaderboard!
As you will quickly notice, this first edition of The Foundation only features a limited set of quests compared to the whole bunch we’ve designed. The others will be released over time together with game feature spotlights and additions of whole new functionalities to the system. Similarly, higher Foundation Levels will be unveiled over time – we’ve already planned over 200!
I know of one question that might come to your mind: won’t giving out so many rewards hurt our future crowdfunding campaign? The answer is: probably a little, yes. However, we strongly believe that an engaged community is the key to the success of any MMO, and we’re glad to reward your engagement.
And now… enjoy The Foundation!
It’s been exactly two weeks since we’ve made the Fractured portal public and announced the project to the press. In such a short time, no less than 2,000 of you have decided to share our enthusiasm for revolutionizing the world of Sandbox MMOs. We are astonished!
As of today, our community members come from over 70 countries, with the TOP 10 being claimed by Brazil, Vietnam, United States, Russia, Italy, Canada, UK, France and Ukraine. Once more, this is incredible, and we are nothing but amazed for the support we’ve received so far from you ladies and gentlemen!
Although only partially implemented, our referral program is also being remarkably successful, with 15% of all registered users having visited the website thanks to a friend’s link. We can only imagine how exciting things will get after the system is completed. In this regard, the full version is expected to go live next week, so get ready for a little revolution in the world of referral programs as well.
Aside from the great news above, last week we’ve tweaked the login and account system of the portal. The changes introduced are:
This decision has been prompted by a few community members concerned about the security of their accounts and dissatisfied about not being able to have a different public nickname. While the perceived security issue should be fully addressed, we are aware that some of you might be interested in changing username to something more of your liking. If you wish to do so, please send a message to email@example.com from the address you’ve used to register to Fractured specifying the new username you want and we’ll take care of it as soon as possible.
Thank you for your support and stay tuned to Fractured – The Dynamic MMO!
Hi, fellow gamer! Thank you for being here and welcome to the first developer journal of Fractured – The Dynamic MMO. Let us tell you something more about ourselves and why we’ve embarked on such a long, exciting journey.
First of all, we can start with a basic question. In the last few years, sandbox MMOs have found a new popularity. A few well-though products have already been announced and are in different phases of their development cycle. We know you know. So why making another one? – you might ask. The answer is easy: because we believe there’s plenty of overlooked room for innovation in the genre. Grinding is still a plague that prevents those of you who don’t have plenty of hours to play each week from enjoying a MMO in full. Controls and combat are often no different from the clichés of the genre that were established 15 years ago. Worlds are mostly static – you’re surrounded by decorations you can’t interact with. Players who prefer cooperation to competition feel punished by game rules. We want to change it all.
We’re a small team here at Dynamight Studios, 5 full-time employees and 3 freelancers as of today. Although we are open to the possibility of incorporating investors in the company in the future, so far we’ve been entirely self-funded. I feel you might be wondering if it’s actually possible for us to create a state-of-the-art MMO. Yes, it is.
Back in the days, only large software houses with massive capitals to invest from day 1 could afford to start developing a MMO and hope to complete it in time. Luckily for us – and for all of you, I’d dare to say – this no longer holds true, as modern engines have dramatically cut the costs associated to the development of any game. This obviously applies to MMOs as well, but the real revolution for the genre is coming today with SpatialOS, a cloud-based world-building platform created by the British technology startup Improbable. That’s the technology we’ve decided to build Fractured on.
Notwithstanding all these new possibilities, it must be said that making a MMO is still a long, tough business, one that takes years of hard work and requires significant economic resources. In this regard too, however, new options have open up to small developers. Crowd-funding through Kickstarter is now a well-established route, and one we absolutely are looking forward to take advantage of in the future.
On the homepage of our portal fracturedmmo.com you can already get a hint of what Fractured has to offer, but we’re well aware that’s not enough. That’s why over the coming weeks we’ll release regular updates detailing all the features of the game in the form of blog entries, videos and art showcases. We’ll also be active on our forums and social media pages on a daily basis, so that all of you will have a chance to speak directly with the team. We want to keep the development of Fractured as transparent as possible and truly involve all of you in the decisional process.
It’s not going to be easy, but with your support, feedback and enthusiasm, we’re sure we’ll be able to make this dream a reality, together.
Per aspera ad astra!