Dev Update: Music, Bind Stones, NPC Work, and More!


Howdy everyone!

Since our last dev blog we've been focusing mainly on polishing up the first area of the game. We want the first few hours of your experience to not only be fun, but introduce you to the various mechanics of the game. So we've been working hard on getting all those mechanics working well so you can play through the core gameplay loop.

Here's a look at some of the content we've been working on in that regard.


Music


The Wild West wouldn't be complete without some western music. The last couple of weeks we began implementing music for combat, exploration, and even boss music. Music adds a lot to the atmosphere and feeling of the game and makes it even more fun to fight a boss or explore the world. These are systems we're still working on but they are well on their way to being complete. 


Bind Stones


This week we added something called a bind stone into the game. Bind stones can generally be found at towns and act as a place to bind your location, as well as level up your character. Upon death you will return to the last bind stone you activated. You can also use return to town spells to go back to your last bind stone. A big part of our gameplay loop is going out and exploring, and then returning town to sell resources, upgrade gear, and level your character. Bind stones help us achieve that in a more natural way. 

World Building and Loot


We are also still in the process of doing detailed environmental world building. This means we're combing through the desert and loading it full of rocks, cacti, bushes, trees, and so forth. We're well on our way to being done with this and so far it's turning out great! The desert feels dense and full which makes it a lot more fun to explore. 

This past week we also added in some lootable containers throughout the world. You can now find barrels, crates, bags, and even some safes scattered throughout the desert. Any of these you see can be looted and often contain sellable resources or some kind of utility items like bullets or bandages.

NPC Work

We've also been recently working on fleshing out the first town. We've added various merchants and people you can talk to. Some of them might even tell you some secrets! Right now there is a sheriff, doctor, clothing merchant, general merchant, blacksmith, bartender, innkeeper, banker, and some residents that walk around town. In addition to working on merchant inventories we've also been writing and implementing NPC dialogue so that you can talk to most of the characters you encounter.  



As always thanks for reading and we'd love to hear your feedback! 

Dev Update: Talents, Classes, and World Building


Howdy!

I hope everyone had a happy holiday season and a good new years! We are excited to be heading into 2019 with Wild West and Wizards. This year we plan on at least an early access release so we're excited for everyone to get their hands on the game and to explore the Wild West!

Let me go over quickly some of the things we've been working on recently.

Talents and Classes


A major aspect of Wild West and Wizards that sets it apart is well, the wizards! We love the concept of taking fantasy and RPG elements and putting them into non-traditional settings. Because this is a important and unique aspect of our game, we want to make sure that the RPG elements really get their time to shine and that it doesn't just feel like a western with fantasy elements tacked on. 

One way we are doing this is by having classes and talents. We've been spending a lot of time designing classes for the game, each of which have their own talent trees. The ideas are endless but so far we've got some good concepts for about seven or eight different classes. Our goal at first is to keep it simple, and so we may only have a few classes at early access release, but we can certainly add more later. 

Classes provide a neat sense of character investment and also good replay-ability. Playing as a certain class could potentially change large aspects of the game, encouraging second and maybe even third or fourth playthroughs. 

Talents will essentially be passive skills that augment your abilities and the way you explore and combat enemies in the world. While talents will be restricted to certain classes, we are planning on keeping abilities open to any class. So most spells and such will be found or earned throughout the game and not particularly restricted based on your class. But talents will be a way to invest your character class and augment the type of abilities you might want to use. 

World Building


As always we are still working on world building and trying to make the desert, plains, and forest as dense as possible. We want a world that you can get lost in and that's interesting to explore. We've recently been working on creating small paths throughout the world to provide a sense of direction if you choose. Of course you'll be able to go off the beaten path and we actually encourage it. Exploration and discover will be huge elements of the game and you'll be rewarded for doing so. 

In addition to environmental world building we've also been working fleshing out some towns and their stores, adding furnishing, NPCs, and things of that nature. 


AI and Combat


One constantly evolving area is AI animations and combat. We want combat to be fun and exciting and while we are a small team with limited skills, we still want it to look professional and polished when you encounter AI. We've been doing a lot of work tweaking animations and trying to get things to look natural and also feel good. There's still some work to do in this area but overall we are making good progress! 

Plans for the New Year

Our main focus early in development has been to get the general world built from an environmental standpoint (adding trees, rocks, bushes, and placeholders for content) and adding all the mechanics and systems needed to play the game. A lot of those mechanics include things like looting, talking to NPCs, combat, talents, leveling up, etc. We are nearing the end of having most mechanics complete, and so soon we will be moving onto the actual content stage which we are very excited about! 

This means soon we'll actually be adding in quests, placing enemies throughout the world, adding in a lot of loot and all of the balancing that comes with that, adding in discoverable buildings such as cabins, churches, abandoned shacks, etc., and fleshing out towns. It'll be a lot of work because the zones are pretty big, but we expect it to go fairly smooth and fast overall. 

In the next few months keep an eye out for more content related updates and information on early access release. 



As always thanks for reading and let us know what you think! 

Dev Update: Desert World Building, Combat Additions, Loot Changes, and More!


Howdy everyone!

Today we wanted to fill you in on what we've been working on for the past couple of weeks. Wild West and Wizards is coming along at a great pace and we feel like we are making some huge strides in the development process. Our main focus over the past few months has been finishing up the environmental aspect of world building and getting all of the base gameplay mechanics in so you can actual explore, fight enemies, and get loot. Basically we are implementing and polishing everything needed for the core gameplay loop.

Here's a look at some of the changes we've made recently!

Desert World Building


Wild West and Wizards has three zones: the desert, plains, and the forest. Each zone is pretty big and a lot of work when it comes to fleshing it out and making it feel interesting and dense. The forest and plains zones are a bit easier to do since they can have lush trees and grass, but the desert is a bit of a challenge since you need to be simultaneously open and expansive, but also feel dense and interesting from an environmental standpoint. 

Over the past couple weeks we've been going back through our initial pass on the desert and filling it in with a lot more vegetation, rocks, terrain decals, and just overall variation to make it more interesting and dense. We want there to be areas in each zone that you can get lost in. This is more challenging in the desert since it's less mountainous and more open, but we feel we are making some good progress in that area. 

Combat Additions


One of the main interactions you will have in the game is fighting enemies and bandits. Because combat is something you will be doing a lot of, we want it to feel polished and rewarding. We spent a lot of time early in development focusing on the feeling of combat from the players perspective. In other words, we did a lot of work in areas like recoil, bullet speed, camera shake, sounds, weapon bob/movement, and things of that nature. We feel that from the player's perspective combat is in a pretty good place. 

Our focus recently has been improving it from the AI perspective. This includes a lot of different things like AI behavior, animations, and what they can do. Recently we've been tweaking animations and trying to get the AI to look as smooth as possible with their actions. This is still a work in progress but we are improving in this regard. In addition to that, we've recently implemented AI abilities. In other words, bandits can now cast spells. 

We think this adds a really unique element to combat because it opens up the opportunity for enemy AI to do unique things. They may cast a shield spell, heal one another, or hurl a fireball at your face in the midst of shooting you with their revolver. 

Combat is still something we are putting a lot of work into and will likely need your feedback to nail down the balance of it even more so in the future. 


Loot Changes


We've also recently implemented some loot changes. When you kill an enemy in the game, they are drop a bag that can have various loot inside it. Now the bag will have a particle effect that represents the highest color (rarity) loot inside the bag. So if the bag has a epic purple item, it will have a particle effect that lets you know that before you loot it. 

We also added a loot window so you can choose what you want to loot, and we added the functionality to loot certain containers such as barrels and crates. 

Sounds


The past couple weeks we've also added in new sounds for the UI and NPCs. These are mostly placeholder but the functionality is in and they will be easily updated in the future. Now there are sounds for interacting with friendly NPCs, enemy grunts and death sounds, and sounds for looting and using the UI windows. 



In addition to all of what we listed above, we've also been continuing doing optimization work. Recently we added some more LOD models which helps a ton on performance, especially in places like the forest and desert where there are a lot of bushes and things of that nature. All of this optimization allows us to add a ton of content without it putting too much of a strain on performance. 


Looking forward we are planning on finishing most of the base mechanics required for the gameplay loop, wrapping up environmental world building, and then moving onto implementing actual content. Once we have the foundation solid, we can start actually implementing quests, npcs, loot, enemy camps, and other interesting places in the world. 


Thanks for reading! 


Dev Update: Caves, Rivers, AI, and Talents!


Howdy everyone!

We've got a lot of fun content we've been working on over the past couple of weeks that we'd like to share with you. Progress on the development of Wild West and Wizards is going smooth and we're very happy with where we are entering into the holidays. While we still have a ways to go in terms of polish and content, our world building, systems, and other foundational elements of the game are almost complete.

Here's a look at what we've been working on recently!


Caves



While most of your exploration time in the west will be spent above ground, we did want the option to go venture in some caves! This allows us to add a semi-dungeon element to the game. As you may already know, we want our western game to have a lot of RPG elements. A dungeon (or cave in this instance) is one step in that direction. Not all caves in the game will large and expansive, but we do want a few that you can get lost in. Many of the caves will be smaller but still provide a neat point of exploration or challenge. 

Rivers


Wild West and Wizards has three zones: the desert, plains, and the forest. We just recently added a small running river through the forest and we wanted to expand that into the plains area of the game. Over the past couple of weeks we've been working on polishing up the river and making it feel natural and look nice cutting through the plains. 

AI Work


Recently we've also been doing some more work on AI and models. We got our new male character model in so we are happy about that! In addition to that, we have added in ragdoll physics that help add a lot to the combat element of the game. We are still doing a good bit of work on polish on AI animations but we are making some good strides in this area! 

Talents


As we talked about earlier, we really want this game to feel like an RPG in many ways. In addition to having spells and abilities, you will also be able to level up and earn talents. We've started working on some of the mechanics needed to have and unlock talents in the game. This will allow for a more unique playstyle of your choosing and give you a good way to progress your character. 



In addition to all those things we've also been doing a lot of optimization work, bug fixing, and more world building. As always thanks for reading and stay tuned for more good content updates coming soon!

Dev Update: Rivers, Item Leveling, Cellars, and More!


Howdy everyone!

It's been a busy few weeks at Lavaboots and we've got a ton of new changes to talk about. So with that said let's dive right in!


Water and Forest Work


One major addition we've been working on recently is the water and river system. Now in certain parts of the world you can find a small river running through the wild. This adds a lot to the visuals and also allows us to implement some unique gameplay features in the future. You can also go under the water though we still have to write a system to handle swimming. 

In addition to adding water to the forest we are still working on expanding the forest zone as well. It's been one of my favorite zones to explore so far and it's been truly fun designing it. 

Item Outline Effect and UI Changes



The last few weeks we've also been working on polishing up our UI. This includes not only adding better visuals but also adding features like a stats window. The stats window is exciting because it really helps us double down on the RPG elements of the game. 

We've also added a feature where items you can pick up or interact with will now have a glowing outline around them when you get close enough. This is small touch but helps to make the gameplay feel more intuitive.

Item Leveling and Upgrade System


One feature we are excited about is the ability to upgrade your items. We are using an item leveling system in the game so you can keep finding new and exciting loot throughout your adventure. We also wanted a way for you to upgrade items. This means if you find an epic pair of boots at a lower level and you still want to use them later, there is a system in place to upgrade them.

Cellars and Bullet Types


This week we've also added cellars to some cabins in the world and we will be adding them to other places as well. In addition to that we've been working on getting new interior models for cabins and stores to help make the world feel more immersive.

We've also added in different bullet types for each gun, some of which are more powerful and have different effects than others. You can switch these bullet types out mid-game fairly easily as well!



As always we'd love to hear your feedback and thanks for reading!





This Week at Lavaboots: Forest World Building, UI Work, and Audio!


Hey everyone!

I just wanted to give a quick update on some of the things we've been working on the past couple of weeks. Mostly we are still focused on world building and adding mechanics needed to actually play the game. We've also started to do more work on the UI and some other neat things.

Here's a quick look:

Forest World Building


About a month ago we started working on a brand new zone in the world. The new zone is a dense forest filled with tons of hills, mountains, and a lot of hidden points of interest. We're still working on this as it is a rather large zone and we're really excited for you to explore it! The forest is somewhere we want you to get lost in and so we're working hard to put lots of paths, twists, turns, and secrets everywhere. 

UI Work


This week we've also been working a lot on getting the UI setup and functioning for things like merchant mechanics, an in-game map, item rarities, dialogue, and things of that nature. A big part of Wild West and Wizards will be getting loot, buying from merchants, talking to NPCs, and so we wanted to make sure that is a clean and polished experience. 

Audio and Music


In addition to UI work and world building, we've also started working on getting sound effects and music in! We've got a ton of new music for this game that we are excited about, and each town will have its own music as well. This week we also added a fun little discovery sound and a text pop up when discover a new point of interest! 


As always thanks for reading and we'd love to hear your feedback! 




This Week at Lavaboots: The Forest, Merchants, and Mechanics


 Hey everyone!

This week we've been working on more world building and lots of systems and mechanics. Every week Wild West and Wizards gets closer to a release state and we're excited to share the journey of development with you and get your feedback! Our primary focus at this stage of development is getting the core gameplay loop down and making sure all of the mechanics and systems needed are in. In addition to that we're also still building the (rather large) world and are working on various zones for you to explore!

Here's a quick look at what we've been working on this week.


The Forest Zone


As you may know, in Wild West and Wizards you will start in the desert and have much to explore there. We are working hard to really chock it full of cliffs, caves, and lots of points of interest so that it'll take some time to actually explore all the desert has to offer. That being said, we wanted some other zones for you to explore as well. If you follow the blog you probably saw the last couple weeks we spent a lot of time working on a new plains zone. Well in addition to that, we are also adding a forest zone! These areas really help to make the world a lot bigger, and also allow for unique visual and theme changes to keep exploration fresh and fun. 

The forest zone will be very dense and distance visibility will be limited unlike the plains and desert zone. We want you to really be able to get lost in the forest and have to search to find all the points of interest. We are still working on the zone and while all the zones have more to go as far as polish, it's coming along quite well. 

Merchants and Mechanics


As we've said before we've also been working on getting all the systems needed in to go through the core gameplay loop. This week we've implemented various systems such as respawning, merchant mechanics, saving systems such as player location, and resting mechanics. We've also done a good bit of optimization work this week which tremendously helped performance. Good optimization is very important to us in this game and we want to make sure the player can travel a large open world without feeling bogged down in frames. 


Thanks for reading and as always we'd love to hear your feedback!