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Illuvium Dev Blog — March 2022

Illuvium Dev Blog — March 2022

Intro

What an exciting month ending with an enormous sigh of relief as we deployed Staking v2. I don’t think people will ever realise how genuinely complicated it is. In addition to that, many other projects are near completion. Things accelerate as we clear through the backlog because people are less spread thin. We bit off more than we could chew over the last six months, but the thought process that we can, and will, do anything is what many people appreciate. The lesson is that we can put that bulldozer attitude to better use if we narrow the focus.

We plan to spend some time post open beta to ensure everything is in working order before moving on to new games. I’m sure there will be different projects, but we will learn to space them better and take on only what we know we can handle.

Illuvium: Arena

Ranked Arena was getting lonely as the only Arena with a bad name, so it is now called Ascendant Arena. The main reason for the change was that Leviathan and Survival will get ranked modes (of a sort), so it doesn’t make sense to have an arena called ‘Ranked’.

The main launch of PB1 is imminent. We are waiting on some security features related to content delivery. As you can see from the streams, it is more than good enough to go to the public.We have nearly completed the PB2 Illuvials, including the Lynx and Tier 0. But keep in mind that it is over 100 units. That will bring the total to about 150, with just over 50 more remaining before Open Beta.I’m working with the lead of Illuvium: Arena to rearchitect many systems both from a game design and coding perspective. Hence, bugs are less likely to be created and easier to spot. Eventually, all the creation is done through data editors, making it far more stable. It will also mean that the subsystems are easier to understand, making Combat Units easy to create.The QA team raised 106 bugs, and the developers resolved 141, which means we are getting closer to being bug-free.Augments, Bonding, and the new Hyper mechanic will happen this month. (Hyper won’t be complete because it also requires adding Hyper versions of every ability for all 200+ Combat Units. But the mechanic will be done)The Cinematic Renderer now works in Survival Mode but is unavailable for Beta testers.We have moved all our data server-side and versioned it so that we can check patches against your client and allow you to download the latest version if needed. The replay system can leverage this, but we are not planning version compatibility for the first few months.We finalised the groom and hair card system. Players will default to optimised hair cards that look great. Still, if you have a beast rig, you can select “Grant Mode” and see everything with cinematic level hair strands… at least for a few minutes before your PC melts.As we are nearly complete with the art for all Illuvials, we will start to polish the Illuvials that need it. Our first few lines aren’t entirely up to the latest standards. Then we move on to improving the art by adding additional immersive systems such as visual indicators of health and status and additive animations to show that a unit is hurt.

Illuvium: Overworld

Some setbacks were due to international events that preoccupied some of our core contributors. We are back at near-total capacity, and the team is rapidly getting to a functional state. The keyword last month was ‘functional’. This month we are aiming for ‘polished’.

The Crimson Waste region is nearly ready. It only needs to be optimised for higher-level GPUs, but work has already begun on the low end too.We made some updates to existing plants that were not up to our standards.UI for the new HUD is in progress, including the new in-game notification system. Harvesting and Mining are also nearly done.Forging is functional. There is more UI work to go, but you can take a recipe and turn it into the final product, which requires a complete inventory system that is also functional.We have doubled our UI programming team this month, meaning that all the cool designs get created much faster now.Teleport beacons are now functional.Encounter Mode is now functional. It’s not in the final state, and we are still a while away from PB2. Still, you can now enter an encounter, play the battle, capture the Illuvials and exit with them in your inventory. I want to stress that borrowing the “Encounter Mode” from Illuvium: Arena is just the first phase of a much larger plan to allow you to capture Illuvials in the world. But that upgrade requires a colossal update, and as such, we will leverage the auto battler to enable capture. But don’t worry. We will begin work on a complete overhaul of Overworld fight mechanics as soon as possible.

Illuvium: Zero

A slightly larger team has increased throughput significantly, and the internal alpha looks good.

VFX completed except for some optimisation.We are adding some new plant assets to make it feel alive.Full UI update in progress.Tutorial System + Daily & Weekly Goals SystemLandmarks System (Boosts collection of a specific Fuel Type)Land Tier Boosts (Flat % boost depending on user’s tier)The WebGL version of the game looks great.A new sound engineer has implemented most of the sounds. He’s as good as the others on the Illuvium: Arena team, which should tell you how good ILV: Z will sound.Future scoping has begun, and we will need the community to input. After all, you all birthed Zero. How should we expand it? I have some ideas, as do the rest of the team. There’s a lot we can do to tie in with the storyline.

Launch Cinematic

No new updates here.

Account App

No new updates here. It is complete as far as the private betas are concerned. We will revisit it before the open beta launch.

Game Launcher

Last month, we announced the game launcher as a stand-alone app that acts as the singular hub for all things Illuvium. It is where downloading, and patching happens. It is where players create matches and enter matchmaking queues. It is where players find news. It hosts a version of the IlluviDEX and probably many more web apps.

Very close to having the download portal ready, so people don’t have to get the Betas manually.We have a clear picture of this App’s functionality and final look.The desktop app version will begin soon.

Staking v2

Staking v2 deployment was very smooth. Apart from some minor UI changes, there wasn’t much that we needed to fix. There is one area in which we need to do some more work, but the devs will probably do it before you see this. Edit: Done.

Token holders that did not withdraw received Accumulated Rewards greater than if we had kept staking running.Gas fees are lower and claiming rewards much simpler.We believe almost all minor UI bugs are gone. Nearly all issues have come from user error or wallet incompatibility (we will add more wallets over time)I want to start work on v3 (after a small break so that everyone can regain their sanity) because there is not a trivial amount of work to get EVERYONE moved to L2. That is the goal. We will try to make that as seamless as possible. Still, I want to prep people that moving to L2 is more challenging and might require some decisions that not everyone is happy about. But the positives massively outweigh any negatives.

Land Sale and IlluviDEX

We are very close. Apart from testing and some infrastructure, we are there. Audits have begun, so I’m optimistic that we will have an announcement on the date for you soon.

The IlluviDEX is going to swallow the Illuviary. It will be one App now, which makes much more sense. (Yes, I made the name and made them two separate things, to begin with, but I was wrong)There is an infrastructure change in progress to secure us against malicious actors. We’ve noticed that there has been a significant uptick in people trying to disrupt us at the infrastructure level. (As a positive, we’ve also seen a significant drop off of scammers in Discord)We still need end-to-end testing with IMX to ensure we don’t do anything silly, like misconfiguring variables. I’m saying that the security-first approach with Staking v2 worked, and we will continue that. There is a reason why we feel going with IMX as a proper ZK Rollup is much safer than a side chain.

New Website

Deployed simultaneously as Staking v2, we think it looks pretty sharp. We hope you like it. There are still many things we want to add, but this is a great start. Once we complete the supporting Apps, it will feel complete.

Illuvitars

Illuvitars are in about the same state as the Land Sale since they are ‘plugins’ to the IlluviDEX. However, Illuvitars started after and benefits from the experience gained from the Land Sale. It is also slightly less complex, meaning that the overall work has been much lower.

Illuvitars Genesis Set — Phase 2 has begun. There will be a few more Accessories and 25 extra Illuvial portraits to purchase. We’re talking billions of combinations.Audits for the specific Illuvitars components will get underway soon.We are doing another pass at refining the user experience. We want this to be fun and straightforward. Keep in mind that Illuvitars is far more complex than your run-of-the-mill PFP project.

DAO Dashboard

Still on hold but will start work this month now that Staking v2 is out.

Investment App

Work to begin this month. The most important thing is that we managed to get the token to unlock pushed back three months, clearly showing that we care about the project’s long-term health.

General Updates

Story

Not much has changed with the story. It is getting more fleshed out, but it’s reasonably mature already. The focus was mainly on writing and directing the cinematic opening and associated launch trailer. We are using this time to flesh out the story bible and various assets that are not ‘story’ but are still part of the lore. While ‘Overworld’ won’t have a linear story like many single-player games (for a good reason), we would like to tell stories like this in future games, which require a solid backbone to the story of our universe.

Governance

New Council. Lots of IIPs. Lots more to come. April will be crazy.

Infrastructure

Illuvium Cloud continues to expand, delivering on the download CDN, with testing underway. We’ve improved our CICD pipelines by reducing build time and increasing usability for all teams. Last but not least, we have an accepted draft for our standard naming conventions for AWS resources, which will improve our security posture in the cloud.

Marketing

Illuvium Insider has proven popular and allows deep connections with the community. Initiatives such as these are the sort of marketing we want to focus on because they are effective, and we can execute them incredibly well.

We launched our first mini-campaign (Staking v2), with two more on the way for the Land Sale and Illuvitars.

We have begun to assemble a larger team, hiring three more core contributors. The goal is to be agile and adjust to the rapidly changing market.

We have 1.3+ million followers and counting across all marketing channels.

Production

We’re doing a lot better with extra contributors. Each product has a “Product Manager” that looks after everything. They are a combined Product Owner and Project Manager because, as we have said many times, we like people to be maximally productive.

There has been a total restructuring of the asset pipeline for the environment to keep things more organised since we now have hundreds of thousands of art assets.

The outsource studios have begun to ramp up their capacity as they start to understand our needs better. We continue to push them for the best work possible. Their work has to be up to the standards we set for our core contributors, with no exceptions.

Summary

Everyone on the project is excited about the future. Look no further than the willingness of both investors and contributors to extend the unlock. Since then, we’ve seen a lot of growth because everyone understands that we are legit. And we get it; there are many scams in the space. But watching live gameplay footage, select people outside of the team getting their hands on the game, and constant progress updates will allay those fears.

On a more serious note, I want to thank all the contributors who continue to work tirelessly on the project. The community needs to understand that these people go hard. We get it; it’s fun to say ‘wen’. Keep in mind that many have gone a year straight without a break, including weekends. As much as I am thankful for those that understand delays, I equally want to implore others to realise that core contributors do read the chat. And negativity can affect them the same as anyone else. Not as much as the lack of sleep and rest, but mental health is important too.

I challenge anyone to find a PlayFi project that has shown as much progress as Illuvium. We’ve just eclipsed 500,000 work hours completed and are still just as excited to break the million-hour mark. Let’s make sure we do it together.

See you in the Arena.

Illuvium Dev Blog — March 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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