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

December 14, 2018 Will Sterling 2 Comments


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! 

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

November 30, 2018 Will Sterling 2 Comments


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!

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

November 09, 2018 Will Sterling 3 Comments


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!




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

October 19, 2018 Will Sterling 0 Comments


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! 



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

October 05, 2018 Will Sterling 0 Comments


 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! 


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This Week at Lavaboots: World Buidling, XP, and Loot!

September 21, 2018 Will Sterling 0 Comments


Howdy everyone!

We wanted to go over some of the things we've been working on this week for our upcoming game, Wild West and Wizards! As you know we officially announced the title about a week ago and we want to update our development blog pretty consistently so you can follow what's going on with the game.

This week we've been working on a variety of mechanics, systems, and other things to get the core gameplay loop down. Our goal right now is mainly implementing and testing a lot of the mechanics required to simply play the game. This includes things like dialogue, quest systems, xp, looting mechanics, combat, etc.. Here's a look at what we've been working on this week!

World Building - The Plains Zone 


In addition to the desert zone in the world, we are also adding a plains area. This will be mostly grassland and give off a much different vibe than the desert. The desert will be very rocky and dense with content, whereas the plains will be more like open fields with the points of interest spread out a bit more. Both areas are pretty large and there will be a lot to discover as well secrets scattered throughout! 

XP and Talents


One goal with Wild West and Wizards is for it to really have an RPG and fantasy-like feel in a western setting. A couple elements we are adding to help with this feeling are experience and a talent system. You will be able to level up by getting experience and earn certain unique talents. While the exact design of this is still being worked out, we did implement a lot of mechanics needed for this to work this week. 

Enemies and Loot


This week we also worked on setting up some basic enemies and making them drop loot. We've been doing a good bit of work with systems and mechanics to get the looting working correctly with your inventory, the save system, and things of that nature. We actually spent a good bit of time early on in development working on our combat and enemy system, but we've still got a little bit of work left to put the final polish on it. Our main goal within that context this week was getting the looting mechanics working. 



That's the core of what we've been working on this week in addition to fixing bugs and polishing up things here and there. We've also added in some new building models and other content like that. Thanks for reading and stay on the lookout for more updates in the future! 


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A First Look At Wild West and Wizards!

September 13, 2018 Will Sterling 2 Comments


Hey everyone!

We are excited to finally announce our upcoming project, Wild West and Wizards! We started working on the game early this year and have really tried to get some of the foundation work done before announcing it. We still have a lot of work and content to add and don’t have a release time yet. However, we wanted to include the community on the development of the game so you can see what’s going on behind the scenes and give us your feedback!

We firmly believe games are made better by getting feedback from the community and so we want to do that every step of the way.

If you'd like to see some exploration gameplay, you can check that out here!


What is Wild West and Wizards? 


Well, put simply it’s an open world western rpg that lets you use spells in addition to being a gunslinger. We’ve always liked the idea of taking traditional fantasy rpg elements and putting them in non-traditional settings. We’ve already done a lot of work so far getting the combat system set up to handle and guns and spells and I’ve gotta say, it feels pretty good! We can’t wait to show you more of the combat as we get it a bit more polished. In addition to the magic element, the game will heavily focus around exploring the world, gathering quests, fighting enemies, getting loot, and leveling up your character. We are building this world by hand so we can create an exciting and dangerous open world to explore!


What are we currently working on? 


Over the past few months we’ve been working hard to get a lot of the core content in the game. We’ve got the basics of a lot of systems in including combat, settlements, dialogue systems, npc pathfinding, world building, day/night cycle, and a lot of behind the scenes systems. Right now we are heavily in the process of building the world and placing things for the player to discover throughout the wild west. We are also working on tailoring the player experience and adding in mechanics needed to explore the desert.


What features are planned? 


We’ve got a lot of features planned for the game but we want to be conservative and limit our scope. Our main focus is to get the core elements in and fully polished. Some features we still need to implement include a traveling system, quest system, fully polishing combat, talents and leveling, and other things. The best place to keep track of what we’re working on week by week is here on our development blog.

We are really excited for this project and hope you are too!

If you are interested in knowing more, feel free to sign up for our newsletter here or follow on our social media pages to get consistent updates and leave us feedback on the game. Thanks for reading!

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