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Illuvium Dev Blog — May 2022

Illuvium Dev Blog — May 2022

Top Tier Artwork

Intro

Apologies for the delays. May, or more specifically the start of June, was incredibly busy with the first Land Sale and other activities that I will touch on later. We’re incredibly proud of our progress in June and completed our most significant volume of work. It was also a very challenging month for us, and I discuss that here: Break-Neck Pace.

We continue to push toward being the first AAA NFT game, and we’re confident we will get there. You’ll notice we haven’t announced any new products for the last few months. Those who keep up to date with the project know this is deliberate. We want the teams to focus on fewer things at a time and make them shine. We will deliver everything we’ve announced before working on anything new. Once we are in a more manageable state, we will collaborate with the community to determine what to deliver next.

Upgrade to Unreal Engine 5

We finished the upgrade to Unreal Engine 5. We finalised this in June, but since the work has been ongoing for months, we can include it in the May Dev Blog. We debated for over a year if we should release it on Unreal Engine 4 or 5. When we started the project, UE5 didn’t exist, and after we began, they released the Alpha, putting us in limbo. Our choice, as always, came down to our desire to deliver on the promise of making the best game possible.

Note: The art style of Illuvium is vastly different to what you will see out of most UE5 games, which go for the easy option of using default Megascans assets. Since we started in UE4, we decided to use a semi-stylised approach which we believe will keep the game looking iconic for years to come. Nothing you play will look like Illuvium, and you’ll instantly recognise any Illuvium game. It is truly one-of-a-kind.

While Nanite and Lumen will be a boost to the project, our main reasons for upgrading were mostly around other core systems:

Temporal Super ResolutionWorld Partition and One File Per ActorIK Rig and RetargeterMotion WarpingPose WarpingFull Body Auto IK

and many other improvements for animation, sound, and VFX.

Illuvium: Arena

More complexities with the game engine were found, which set us back. Sometimes that is the case with cutting-edge game development. Our commitment to being an entirely data-driven, deterministic Autobattler has always been due to our desire to give back to the community. Storage of every game ever, high-quality replays, low upkeep costs, and (most importantly) the ability to generate new combat units quickly are the main benefits of this system. The downside is that nobody has done what we are doing before, and some challenges are more complicated than others, making them difficult to estimate.

Highlights

Private Beta 2 should be ready at the end of the month, barring any unforeseen challenges.Finalisation of over 100 new combat units.Code refactorisation in preparation for connecting to the blockchain.Clever ways to automate bug detection.Cleanup and finalisation of many core features such as:HyperactiveEmpowersMarksTauntCheckpointsAugmentsDecal lightsBattle board procedural shaders

Illuvium: Overworld

Our first beta for Overworld (PB2) is nearly ready, but there are some UI elements that we have decided to upgrade to make the experience epic. So while this will delay it a bit longer, we believe everyone will be much happier with the outcome. These are critical moments in your experience, and they should be great out of the box. As such, we are releasing raw gameplay footage of a typical journey so that you can see the rest for yourself. As soon as those few upgrades conclude, PB2 will be ready.

NOTE: We may decide to release PB2 in two parts, with Arena coming first.

Highlights

Crimson Waste is done, except for some interaction bugs.The design team reworked many UI elements.Sanctum Mesa is closing in on being complete.Shardbluff Labyrinth and Crystal Shores are the only regions not blocked out, but we completed the ideation of both.Abyssal Basin and Brightland Steppes are closing in on the level of finish of Crimson Waste.The plant physics system works for many plants.VFX and SFX work is well underway for most assets and regions.Illuvial Capture UI flow complete.Illuvial Random Stats UI complete.

Illuvium: Zero

A considerable art upgrade in Illuvium: Zero is underway. The game is ready for testing (bugs and all), but we want you to see it in its glory. While we upgrade the art, the dev and game design team are busy polishing. We hope to give you a similar experience to Arena. (i.e. a game with a solid amount of polish that looks great)

Highlights

Public Alpha Game Features Implemented and Tested.Graphics Overhaul In Progress.Implemented a system to allow unique assets per region while minimising end-user load.UIs overhaul is in progress.Economy Data Values implemented / Round 1 Testing In Progress.SFX, Music, VFX, Animations Implemented and Tested.E2E Game Client testing is in progress, including testing on multiple devices.WebGL Web Environment, E2E Testing & polish in progress.

IlluviDEX

Version 1 of the IlluviDEX is complete, which allowed us to execute the Land Sale. We are waiting on a few features from IMX before we can unlock all its functionality and will build out all the lore elements over time. Because the IlluviDEX now includes what was formerly called the Illuviary, there is still work to do before it is in its final state, but we know you’ll love it.

Highlights

Bid/Offer FunctionalityUpdated the UI to include “Owned By” & “Minted By.”Illuvium Regions Map — Updated to include “Current owner.”

Land Sale

I’m so proud of the team that worked on the Land Sale. One of the things we want to change about the NFT space is its reputation as buggy, unsecured, and filled with scams and useless projects. While the Land Sale wasn’t technically perfect (and we wish to thank all the users who submitted reports), it was very clearly the best-executed NFT sale event on the blockchain. The level of complexity required was very high, and this caused delays, but it allowed us to do two things:

Show everyone a glimpse of the immersion we strive for. Many commented that land felt tangible, and the interactive map gave people a sense of purpose and direction. Illuvium is a universe we expect people to live in for decades. The initial scope of the game was modest (a collectible game with a PVP fighting element), but the project’s overall vision was not.Keep things secure and stable. When you create an event like this, many malicious actors constantly attempt to bring you down. The number of DDOS attacks we have dealt with is insane. For the majority of lazy projects out there, it’s not a problem. A single web page with a “buy” button is easy to keep online. If it crashes? The bots buy everything at the contract level anyway. Who cares about the little guy?

For us, that is unacceptable. We could have gone the lazy route too, but that does not help the average consumer and doesn’t bring traditional gamers any closer. The entire experience hinges on everything working flawlessly for the duration.

Highlights

Tranche 1 successfully sold out!

Illuvitars

Our next sale event is currently deep in development. The audits are concluding as we speak, and testing is underway. We learned a lot with the development of the Land Sale, so we are confident going into Illuvitars. They are different sales types, but we think you will love the ability to customise your Illuvitar and can’t wait to see people trading on the IlluviDEX, hoping to find just the right combination of accessories.

Highlights

Audits submitted and finalised — review underway.The backend team is furiously working on completing the Bonding flow, which is essentially identical to Fusion. (the main mechanic of crafting in Illuvium: Overworld).The UX is complete, and UI is not far behind. The final step is testing, which is also underway.

Launch Cinematic

We have partnered with Glow Production to create the Launch Cinematic. They bring a wealth of experience, and we’re confident of producing the best trailer the blockchain has ever seen. We’ve decided to produce this more steadily. So don’t expect it for some time. It might not even be ready for the Open Beta launch, which is ok.

Highlights

The motion comic continues because it helps us with the creative vision for the full-motion video. We may even release it as a stand-alone product.Asset handoff to Glow, who have already begun.

Game Launcher

Most teams were all hands on deck for the Land Sale, so we didn’t get as much work done here as we would like. The next stage is to make it functional, which does not make it production-ready but allows us to test the feature set. The game launcher is a large project, so don’t expect this soon. For now, we will release all betas as downloadable executables. While the Game Launcher is an integral part of the long-term vision, at this stage, it is a “nice-to-have”, not a “must-have”. Sorry about the big downloads!

Highlights

UX work finished.UI underway.

General Updates

Story

A new writer will join the team soon.Many more Illuvial bios completed.Cinematic and Motion Comic story complete.In-game dialogue for the Rangers and Drones continues.Chapter Z, aka Illuvium Zero tutorial, is complete.A renewed look at the overall story and the best methods to share it.

Infrastructure

Our infrastructure continues to mature, which helps the entire dev team.The robustness of our systems is now much higher than much larger projects. (not just in the blockchain space, but game studios and other tech startups)

Summary

Even though the market is well down, we are still confident in our abilities. We have the path in front of us and need to walk it. The Land Sale showed what we are capable of compared to the rest of DeFi, and our game betas show how much further we are ahead than any other NFT game. People are impatient for everything all at once and set-in-stone deadlines; unfortunately, we cannot give that. Nor have we ever promised it. We have said, and continue to say, that our aggressive deadlines allow us to push harder than anyone else, but that quality will always be our goal.

We feel this is the only way to pull NFT gaming out of the current slump. Hundreds of other terrible games have done nothing to grow the space. We’re going to make ours great, and we’re going to release it as soon as we can and keep you up to date as we always have.

Illuvium Dev Blog — May 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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