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Illuvium Dev Blog — Aug 2022

Illuvium Dev Blog — Aug 2022

A new dawn.

Intro

While we love to give everyone insights into the inner workings of what we’re creating, we always preference development work (and health, in my case) over the dev blog. So while we missed July, we have some significant updates to share, and I hope you prefer that to faster updates. I hope you have an enjoyable read.

Illuvium: Arena

There are two significant features that we are polishing for PB2; The server connection and the integration of the visual assets. Both are effectively complete and have been for a while. But because we have many more features, it takes longer to polish. Also, part of this work prepares us to launch Ascendant mode, which uses the same scaffolding.

Note: Balance is not a focus on this release, so if some items are weaker than others, you’ll have to wait for a future patch. Also, please keep in mind balance needs to be done at the NFT level, and Ascendant is the mode we are balancing around, so there will ALWAYS be some OP units in Survival. While that isn’t ideal, it’s typical for games with multiple modes. Don’t worry, though. If you want to play Survival competitively, you’ll battle people with the same stuff. Fair is fair.

Highlights

The client-server logic is feature complete, and we are just clearing out as many bugs as we can.All 106 new units are in the game and working. We are still optimising them, but we won’t hold back our internal release date to optimise. PB2 will be a bit more hardware intensive, but we have started to fix that. Hopefully, in the first patch of PB2, we will get the game running better on weaker machines and Macs.The prototype of constant communication between server and client was a success, and Ascendant will use this for things like moving your Drone around the board so that your opponent sees it. Yes, throwing down emotes will be included, and we will start working on that soon. The emotes themselves are locked and loaded.Some Arena team members are finished with PB2 and are already working on the next steps.The Data team continue to work on building the AI that will run our balance, so they are looking towards Ascendant mode to continue its construction.There are some Unreal bugs that we are looking to solve. Using a custom engine is always a pain since you have to maintain it yourself, but we’ve submitted a fix for the issues to Unreal, and hopefully, Unreal will integrate them quickly.

As this is a Dev blog, I won’t spend too much time reviewing the improvements for PB2 since I’ve already gone through them. I want to focus a bit on Ascendant and what Illuvium: Arena will look like when finished.

The next phase of work is all around the game mode itself, the user interface, and the launcher. Once they are complete, Illuvium: Arena will be ready for Public Beta. We do not require integration of every unit for it to work, although I’m pretty sure we will get them all in, considering how much faster things will go from here. Public Beta still means a game that isn’t fully optimised and doesn’t have complete polish, but it will still be excellent. It means all the core features are there with no game-breaking bugs. Right now, we only have a small team working on the UI and user experience, so keep in mind that things will improve from a “quality of life” perspective over time.

I’m excited by what Arena represents. It’s the first “Add On” game to the universe where you take your NFTs and play something self-contained. You’ll need to go to the IlluviDex to buy your Shards or play Overworld to capture them yourself, but once you have done that, you can play Arena as much or little as you like. That is the beauty of a fully interoperable Illuvium Universe. You seamlessly take assets from game to game, play what you feel like playing, and track global progress.

Illuvium: Arena will be the world’s best deck-building auto battler. Not just in crypto, anywhere. That will draw in crowds, even those who don’t usually play auto battlers. Once we can show what we are capable of at scale, it will become apparent what the Illuvium Universe is. Most still don’t get it. They will.

Illuvium: Overworld

We are fast approaching the second part of PB2, Overworld. Kieran has spoken extensively about this lately, so I won’t spend too much time talking about the quality of it and instead focus on the functions.

Highlights

We worked on locomotion tweaks, but the core is already there. After that, we will add some bells and whistles to enhance the feedback of the mechanics. Doing a perfectly timed jump should add visual boosts like different VFX, animations, etc.The capturing gameplay flow is nearly complete and has been a significant body of work. While we are happy with it, it is something that we don’t want to look underdone, so we will continue to work on it.Forging is on schedule. The UI looks great, even though that is a placeholder, as we have something more epic coming later.The two environments are ready, if not fully optimised, so you’ll be able to see Sanctum Mesa and The Crimson Waste in all their glory. Other environments are getting finished quickly but won’t be ready for PB2.Plant interaction physics is well underway, and while simple work, it is very labour intensive. That’s one of the reasons most studios don’t do it. By the time PB2 work finishes, only some of the plants will be interactive. Have fun discovering which.The backend work is well underway as well. It was not originally in the scope of PB2, and it might not make it, but even if it doesn’t, the user will still have a local version that functions identically. Since we aren’t talking about tangible assets yet, this is acceptable.The design of all the recipes is ongoing, so don’t expect it to be balanced. Each time you do a run, the game will score you based on what you take out of the region. Certain Illuvials, harvestables, and minables will be worth more than others, so try to get to the top. By doing so, you help us to determine how to balance the drop rates and recipes.There is one more thing that I hinted at about a while ago. It won’t be in PB2, but work has been done on it and relates to our transition to an open world with combat. I’m pleased with what that pathway looks like now.

Illuvium: Zero

This product has been near ready for a long time. We are just waiting on some polish.

Highlights

“Final” region art is being added, including new animations. (I say “final” in quotes because the animations and VFX will continue to evolve)The overhauled UIs continue to be polished.We will focus on the core experience instead of the tutorial system, allowing us to get the overall feel correct. From the feedback, we will then make the tutorial after we find out what pain points players might have.

IlluviDEX

IlluviDex v2 is dropping very soon. Because this is a v2 release, there won’t be much fanfare, but you’ll notice many new improvements and features. While that might not be important to some, it’s important to others and quite essential to us. Because not only does it give us the platform to put all future products, but it frees up a significant number of our resources to help boost the production of other projects. Soon we will have a few products in development, but with far more resources per product, increasing production speed.

Highlights

Homepage Updates.Land Collection analytics, landing page, graph view, and metrics.Improved filtering and sorting.Improved plot tiles and trading pages.Improved region map filtering, navigation, and zoom.Improved trade pages.Added a search feature.Better security and monitoring.Added a transfer NFT feature.Many more features, bug fixes, and QOL improvements.

Illuvitars

There were two significant changes to Illuvitars when we asked the community a couple of months ago. The first was a move to an IMX-centric approach. This work has been relatively fast, and the backend team stepped up to deliver. The second part, the Album, will take a bit more time but will improve the product overall.

Highlights

We have worked with IMX to create a system similar to how they sell card packs in Gods Unchained.The reveal animation is complete and looks fantastic.All the design changes I spoke about are finished EXCEPT the points system. I got most done before I was sick, but points I missed out on. The team loves it internally, and it will make collecting these cards engaging. Yes, there are some random elements, but for anyone that loves the feeling of buying land and ‘sniping’ plots from people, you will love this too. It’s not the same, but a strategic element in what you buy stems from the fact that you will not be able to finish all the collections. Some will say “challenge accepted”, so let’s see if you can outsmart us.We are working through the final details of the extra benefits of Illuvitars, such as Private Beta Access, exclusive merchandise, and IRL events.

Launch Cinematic

There isn’t much to say about this. The work is underway, but I don’t think we will leak anything from this before it launches, so I can’t go into much detail. All the assets are either completed or in progress, and we are progressing to the next stage in terms of tone, pacing and so on.

Highlights

The mocap work is impressive, where <redacted> and then <redacted>.Auditions for the voice of <redacted> are looking promising. There isn’t too much dialogue, but this one is important.Of all the characters you don’t know, <redacted> is my favourite.We’ve tried to interweave some humour with action, so I hope you like the team’s work to upgrade the rig of <redacted>.I didn’t choose the featured Illuvials. Just remember that.

General Updates

Story

The world-building, philosophy, and mythology of the world continue development.The biologies of the Illuvials are well underway. We are still testing different formats, but we think we have something that you will like. The purpose is to build a deeper connection between the player and their Illuvials.Working on the psychology and back story of certain characters due to bringing them more to life via the cinematic.Most focus is on the Cinematic, but we have also started to look at additional ways to weave the backstory into the game as seamlessly as possible.

Infrastructure

Analytics are improving all the time.Improvements to the CI/CD pipeline using AWS native tools.New operational dashboards and reporting platform.Ongoing support and monitoring.

Summary

While the work continues, I apologise for the lack of updates. We will do the following blog as quickly as possible and then return to our regular schedule. As for the schedule of the product releases, I’ll keep that updated here as well:

IlluviDex v2 → PB2 (Arena) → Illuvium: Zero Alpha → PB2 (Overworld) → Illuvitars → Game Loader

And somewhere dispersed in the other releases will be the Dao Dashboard, The Content Gallery, a new Website, and (maybe) Forge. Things will start to roll out quickly over the next few months, which will help unblock some pipelines and speed up production overall. I’m excited about everything that is launching between now and the end of the year. Strap in.

Illuvium Dev Blog — Aug 2022 was originally published in Illuvium on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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