Well, it's Friday the 13th, but we're not superstitious. We were holding out on the next update for Enact Phase 1 to be finished, however, there have been some unavoidable delays in finishing the tool. Of course, other work has been done in the meantime, so we decided to go ahead and post a short 'interim' update report. So here goes...
Recently the art department has been working on several areas of the game. The main screen user interface final art has been started, working off the previous design art. In addition several new NPC characters have been modeled and animated. Work on character races has also continued, with particular work on Jenemos and Waerian player characters. As for structures, The Black Market is under construction, which is part of the sewer system, and is where players can shop during the night while the shops of the Citadel are closed.
In Level Building we have been fixing bugs in existing city areas. Planning has begun on the NPCs that live in Tier one of the Citadel. Since they each live their own life, we have begun work on the places they live, work and what they do during their leisure time. This work is in anticipation of the Enact Tool, phase 1 being completed.
Design has continued work on player abilities. This is a very long process. Our issues are simple, since players can get any ability from any league we cannot have any ability from any league be similar. Each ability should be unique. This may not seem odd, yet most other games have similar abilities for different classes. Example, they may have a healing spell for a cleric and another slightly different healing ability for a warrior. But since any character in CoS can have any ability, we want them all to be unique. Who needs two healing spells? Since we are planning over 1,400 ability choices, this is a daunting task. Work goes on.
Other areas that have seen recent work in design include the combat system and the ongoing history of our progressing world story. Our system of an advancing world time line gives us unique challenges in keeping the world history progressing.
We expect the next update on the Trident3D engine soon. There have been some delays on the completion of the Enact tool, but we expect that to be delivered in the near future. From our end there has been work on the game client updating system and work continues on the audio module. Finally, server security code is being improved (got to keep your character data safe!)
New servers have been added to run the game. These will help with testing phases planned for later on this year. We will need to stress test the system and find out what each World Server can handle. Since we are doing things on the server end a bit differently than most other MMO games (like everything else in this project) there are some aspects of our server system that need some serious hammering to make sure there are not any issues. This includes the ability for players to move between any World Server in their geographic territory any time they wish. The objective is to make it so that players do not have to pick a server when they start the game, and can move to any server they want at any moment, easily.
Bug fixing continues (it never ends). Several new people have joined the team in 2009, and we anticipate more over time. We're a snow ball gathering size as we get closer to the bottom of the hill.
In the last report we mentioned demolishing the Guild District. Plans have changed. We have decided to let it remain as the Housing District (which is what it was originally) though we will improve NPC housing in the District. Of course this means we are left without a Guild Distinct. Don't despair! Design has decided that Guilds will get to construct their own Guild Halls. Sites in the Reflected Worlds can be selected by the prospective Guild and then construction of their Guild Keep can begin. Over time they can expand and improve their Guild.
In addition, we're considering player housing (please keep in mind that some of this stuff is in flux, don't flame us later if it changes). This would manifest as a village or town springing up around the Guild Keep. Guild members could choose to construct their own house near their Guild Keep. They can invite non-Guild members to come visit their home in their town or village, though access to the inside of the Guild Keep would be restricted to Guild members. To reach a Guild Hall players will use the portal system, which can take them there from the Citadel and many other places around the Reflected Worlds (any permanent Portal will do).
We'll talk more about Guilds and Guild Keeps and Guild villages and towns in the future as more of the design is detailed. Since Guild Keeps are now part of the Reflected Worlds, this system will be dependent on the World Generator, which is technology still in progress. So, it will be a while still :)
All right, that's it for now, but we will have another update much sooner than the last as several things are nearing readiness.