DevBlog #14 – Gearing up for early access release

It’s been over a month since Shimmer’s last blog post so there is plenty to update everyone on!

The reason for the delay has mainly been due to conducting a series of  pre-release tests and feedback and then implementing the necessary features from that feedback.

Early Access:

We are now 1-2 weeks away from releasing the first ‘public’ build onto Steam’s early access platform. I am incredibly excited to be reaching this huge milestone and I can only apologise that it has taken this long to get there!

This weekend has been focused on removing a few bugs as well as trying to add a bit more balance to the game. I am sure that there will be plenty of bugs and feature requests from players once it is release but I feel it is time to let the community begin shaping the future of the game.

Shimmer’s community hub is also now live and being monitored daily so if you have any suggestions once released or have any bugs to report, this will be the best place to do it!

You can visit the page here: https://steamcommunity.com/app/883370/discussions/

So now on to the new additions and features:

Modular Building:

Modular building is now a thing in Shimmer. Players can craft a Hammer (which currently costs 4 wood) and once equipped on your hot bar you can hold F to bring up the build menu.

Build Menu

BuildMenu

Currently you can construct: Foundations, Walls, Windows, Doorways and Roofs. I plan to add additional cosmetic and construction options from player feedback.

Players can place ‘incomplete’ sections of buildings and then use the hammer to construct each section. This will check that the player has the necessary resources in their inventory and will construct section by section.

HutBuilding

Choppable Trees:

I have wanted to implement a more involved wood gathering feature for a while now but the route I had taken for placement of trees using Unity’s terrain system created a few challenges.

However, I came up with a neat solution that works really well. By removing a particular type of tree from the terrain system and instead placing this using scripting I was able to create ‘choppable trees’. These produce two logs each giving 3 wood.

Timber!!:

TimberTimmmmbberrr

Logs

Choppable Vines:

I also decided that the existing gathering of vines was a little lacking. I therefore went about implementing vines and the ability to use the in game knife to hack these down.

NewVines

You will find various different vine types across a the islands, all of which can be harvested using a knife and will give different amounts of vines for crafting.

Tweaks:

  • From play testing the game I found that I needed to add in a bit more of everything in terms of resources so I increased the number of resource spawns in various islands.
  • I’ve also had to tweak the save game system to incorporate the new modular building system.
  • Swimming now calculates the height of the ocean mesh above the character and dynamically changes the under/over water effects. Unfortunately this seems to cause a bit of inaccuracy at times and means that even though a player may seem to have surfaced there are still underwater effects at play. I will be reverting to the old system for early access until I can find a neater solution.
  • More islands have been introduced (approximately 5). These were to fill some gaps in-between other islands as I felt for balance there needed to be some islands available to hop to when trying to explore.

Current checklist before early access:

  • Implement sea snakes and associated logic to attack player. This will cause a poisoned effect which will require medicine or bandages to heal.
  • Sometimes players can duplicate place building pieces – this bug will be fixed.
  • Play test and balance of resources across the islands
  • Increase frequency of rain system (slightly)
  • A new set of screenshots for the Steam Page – this will incorporate the new UI visuals and modular building system
  • New grass variety added to islands
  • More fish spawns that can be hunted around islands
  • Additional ‘ambient’ fish spawns
  • Look at possibility of re-introducing volumetric lighting (currently removed due to performance issues).

Remember to wish list shimmer on Steam to get notified once it hits Early Access and follow on Twitter for daily updates during development.

https://store.steampowered.com/app/883370/Shimmer/

 

 

 

 

 

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