Roadmap & Retrospective

Well we did it, January 2021 is behind us and what better time to look back at the major achievements of our first month full time! In no particular order, here’s a short summary of the high points:

  • Deployed the new server hardware
  • All monster HP, EXP and drop rates were rebalanced… a lot
  • Zones respawn monsters faster depending on how heavily hunted they are
  • Stamina and Spirit now reward regeneration
  • Took a sledge hammer to the stats screen
  • Completely reworked secondary stat drops on items, adding a new third stat roll with 12 possible extra bonuses including things like life leech, reflect and money find
  • Rewrote monster pathfinding AI for performance
  • Significant optimisations to server database interaction resulting in a server that isn’t on fire with over 500 players online
  • Everyone was given a spell each, for the first time ever people had a button to press oh em gee
  • We got a sweet new menu screen
  • Town was turned into a… town
  • New floors were added to Heroes, Orcs and Shamblers with outlaws being expanded
  • Biggest change here, the light glow from lava was reworked to be buttery smooth
  • The chaos gates were added, intended as a brick to the face of the uber high levels to give them something to get their asses kicked by while other code stuffs happen
  • A metric buttload of bug fixes
  • Mages were tweaked with slightly increased elemental resistances for improved survivability
  • A brand new spell system was implemented taking a leaf out of guild wars 1’s book allowing players to have 3 active spells
  • The hotkeys UI was completely rewritten to provide a meaningful experience on both desktop and mobile clients and acommodate the new spell book
  • The ingame screen was reworked to fit all of the new toys
  • Runecrafting was implemented woo
  • Spell cooldowns now survive logging out and back in again, and the system in the client responsible for handling spell cooldowns was rewritten to perform well when players might have a zillion spells to choose from
  • When you die you no longer heal to full any more and mana is not restored (though heal team 6 is busy countering this change)
  • The minimum requirements of the client were upped as we now have a bajillion graphics, thankfully the vast majority of the community survived this change (I was really worried about this one tbh)
  • The mobile client is now compiled against a higher version of Java, which makes my life easier (another one I was worried about)
  • The global cooldown was put in, and promptly removed from potions after everyone died 500 times to a locked UI
  • Ammunition crafting was put in
  • The first bunch of tiered spells was added for all classes and balanced accordingly over a number of patches. Lots of buttons to press for everyone weeeee
  • New sparkly effects for healing, drinking potions, crafting and the like 🙂
  • Skill experience is now rewarded for using certain spells
  • Stacking countermeasures were deployed, along with certain areas of town becoming safe zones
  • And loads more stuff I can’t remember…

So that’s a snapshot of some of the changes, there’s actually quite a lot more but honestly if you want detail all the release notes are posted on here free for you to peruse at your leisure 😀 Initially we had planned to go after death penalties and implementing red skulls for frequent player killers and all that jazz but at the last minute we decided to bin that and go after the spell system instead, which I think was a good decision. So, to the reason you are here reading this stuff in the first place….

WTF are we doing next then?

Well, the roadmap tells us we should be working on the new world engine prototyping – that means one big world and no edges. This is an absolutely gigantic change to some of the most core fundamentals of the game engine so I expect it to pretty much take me the entire month to get anywhere with it… and to be honest, it might not be feasible, so it could be wasted time… that said there are some other things I want to get done first before I disappear for weeks and weeks.

February week 1

I’ve kind of only given myself 2 days to do this stuff due to RL distractions so this is a bit unrealistic but regardless of how long it actually takes me I want to get the following released before I go forwards:

  • Setting on PC to switch hotkey shortcuts between:
    • Q, E, R which will become the new default
    • F1, F2, F3 as it is now
    • Purely numbers as it was
  • All items being usable by all classes
  • All skills being learnable by all classes, though at a far slower rate if they aren’t meant for you
  • Shaman class, focused on support

The rest of February

Two bullet points, but in these two bullet points oh boy is there a lot of work.

  • Working on the new world engine
  • Lots and lots of open testing

March

This is just one bullet point, but oh my god is this a big and necessary task… if Mirage is to stand a chance of growing this absolutely has to happen, and the changes required are so significant that every new feature I add just makes this harder on me in the long run so it’s best I just get this done and out of the way.

  • Significant rewrite of the server code so we can have multiple servers

April

  • Add a butt-load of new spells for everyone. Like a gazillion new spells so everyone has new toys to play with.
  • Automated monster scaling
  • Automated level-based equipment generation
  • Investigate rewriting items completely to be property based (composition not inheritance)
  • Plan out overworld progression for the first zone (storyline, world, monsters)
  • Plan out first dungeon for the first zone (mechanics, puzzles, bosses)
  • Establish a list of engine requirements to build first zone
  • Establish a list of engine requirements to build first dungeon
  • Update roadmap accordingly
  • Get to work
  • Initial investigation into reworking how skill points work, explore achievement based approach where players need to complete small specific feats for each skill point – if we go this way it would need to be tied heavily into the game’s overworld content progression

May and beyond…

  • Iterative dev and closed alpha testing of the first iteration of the awesomeness that will become Mirage Realms?!
  • Back-filling clearly necessary features that are missing such as:
    • Marketplace
    • Guilds
    • PVP related death penalties & punishments for killing players
    • World map
    • etc etc

And that’s that

So the roadmap has changed slightly from what it was, we actually obliterated January’s roadmap so hard I took in a huge amount of extra work in an effort to try and make the game fun. So much work it’s spilled into February but oh well. What you might notice is after the next update there is a 2 month gap between updates, and unfortunately this might be the case. Realistically if the new world engine works I will spend a whole bunch of time migrating the current content over to it so you guys can be playing and testing and bringing it to maturity for me in the real world while I am working on multi-server.

The world engine and multi-server work really, for me, are the two big milestones necessary for Mirage to be positioned to grow. Without the world engine the world feels less like a world and more like a series of rooms (even when you are outside) which I hate, and without multi-server Mirage can quite simply never be bigger than it is right now. Before me and Mombi can start really working on what the game will really be we need the world engine, and before I can sleep at night not worrying about what happens if the game starts to grow but the server is melting so only 600 people can play it at once and everyone gives up and stops playing I need to get multi-server support done and dusted.

Multi server will have more benefits than just allowing more people, when you login you will be able to choose which regional server you want to play on – so if you are in America you can choose the American server for lower ping, Europe you can choose the server in Poland or maybe the UK server we have now, etc. Characters won’t be locked to servers, you’ll simply choose the server you wish to use when you select your character and in you go.

There is a lot of engineering to cover between where we are now and getting back to building more stuff into our awesome game, but when we get past these last major hurdles it really does become all about working on the fun stuff.

See you on the other side!
Liam

Roadmap & Retrospective
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