Maylyon here with a new blog! If you just rushed to your “Nerd Kingdom Trading Cards” deck and didn’t find me there, don’t fret; I joined the Kingdom in March and have been quietly working behind the scenes as the Lead Infrastructure Developer. (On a side note, if those cards don’t exist, we should change that … .)
One of the things that has impressed me the most since joining the company is the perseverance of the modding community. You guys have such amazing ideas for ways to enhance or improve the gameplay of TUG, but the journey from “concept” to “deployment” seems fraught with needless perils:
How can we have multiple collaborators working on the same mod?
How can we manage changes to the mod over time?
How can users report issues with the mod in a coherent and cohesive fashion?
How can we deploy mods to the end users?
How can we trust those end users to know:
How to install the mod for use?
How to update the mod when it changes?
How to not blame the author when Nerd Kingdom changes the Eternus API?
The last may be a lost cause, but the answer to most of the other questions right now seems to be “the forums”. The forums are a great tool for fostering discussion in the community, but they seem like a less-than-ideal fit for the challenges that face a modder. Towards that end, we are actively working on Devotus!
Devotus will be a mod content distribution pipeline that facilitates the creation and deployment of mod content by the mod authors for the end users. With Devotus, we hope to allow the modders to focus the majority of their efforts on creating amazing content that pushes the boundaries of what Eternus can handle and stop worrying about the nuts and bolts of deploying a mod. The rest of this blog will focus on answering, “What does Devotus provide?” The next tech blog will focus on answering, “How can I use Devotus to be awesome?”
The first step towards admitting that you have a modding problem is registering your mod with Devotus. When a mod is registered, a blank git repository is created on GitHub; this will be the main home for the mod content that you create. Utilizing a third party git repository site allows us to leverage a proven implementation without the development time and risks of building our own in-house solution. Git repositories on GitHub should help mitigate frustrations 1 – 3 above:
Multiple authors can be added to the git repository to allow concurrent development efforts (more on the “how” in the next blog) – or not. You could be sole author on a mod and choose what forked changes you want to propagate upstream into your repository.
Git provides revision history so you can track changes over time (often read as: “know who to blame when things break”).
GitHub provides mechanisms for users to report issues with a repository, allowing mod authors to receive feedback and bug reports from the community.
I am definitely not providing a comprehensive feature set list of GitHub; if you want more information, hit up their website or contact me at [email protected] and I’ll do my best to address your questions/concerns/loathing. A few items to note here are:
Mod names must be unique within a target game domain in order to combat the chaotic nature of the universe.
Mod authors will need a GitHub account and a Nerd Kingdom account to register and manage mods.
Another feature of registering your mod with Devotus is the creation of a GitHub IO page. This page is yours to brag about … er, explain … your mod to the community at large. I’ll let the next blog cover the features that are being worked to enable you to create page content highlighting your epicness; I just wanted to provide a teaser to hopefully pique your interest and incentivize you to read the next blog … .
The second step towards admitting that you have a modding problem is publishing mod content for end user consumption. When you tag your git repository with a release tag in the format “v<Major>.<Minor>.<Revision>-release” (e.g. “v1.1.2-release”), a GitHub webhook will push an update command to the Devotus server that will revise the mod information within Devotus and build a ZIP file of the mod repository contents. The intent here is that you will perform a trivial action (tagging your repository) and Devotus will take care of the legwork necessary for that content to be available for download by the end users.
One hurdle of publishing mod content that Devotus attempts to mitigate is mod dependency resolution. Mod authors can indicate that their mod depends on another mod, and Devotus will provide a single download package that contains all the files necessary to use the mod. This feature could be used to develop content that depends on a utility mod (such as Johny’s “CommonLib”) or to develop a mod collection with a single-click installation ( “DaBoom” that contains all of UFIOES’s mods, including “Thermobarics”). A limitation here is that the mod that satisfies the dependency must also be registered with Devotus.
The final step in admitting that you have a modding problem is sharing that problem with others! Tech is planned to incorporate a Devotus browser into the Nerd Kingdom Launcher to mitigate frustrations 4 – 5b above:
Mods can be browsed, downloaded, installed, and managed by end users for use in-game.
Out of date mods can be identified before loading into a world and experiencing massive amounts of Lua errors!
This tech is the biggest piece of the ultimate goal: getting a mod into the hands of users.
So that’s it for me rambling about Devotus and scratching the surface of what we are working towards. @TheCamboRambo suggested that blog readers enjoy pictures. The backend isn’t visually interesting, but I want to make the audience happy, so I’ll end with this:
In the meantime, check out the latest NK Cribs video from Josiah!
It’s Cambo! There is a lot of exciting stuff happening and we’re looking forward to the future. But before we get into that, let’s talk about what we’ve been working on this month.
Launched Alpha 0.8.6 build
The crafting journal is almost done and we hope to have it out in the next update
The moa is now in it’s animation stage after rigging and model revisions
The hunting horn to help train pets is in the works
A void basket is in the works. A fancy trash can to throw away unwanted item.
Reworked our launcher and fixed some bugs that caused some slowdown
The new art style update is still on-going and will continue until we have our new engine update ready. You will start seeing new content using the new art style in our current engine as we will stop creating assets in our old art style soon.
We are constantly working on AI improvements and will be adding them to updates as we complete them.
Lots of balancing stuff
We’ve been expanding our team size and will be moving to a new studio space next week. Thanks to @brennanpriest42. As an added bonus, we’ll have more hiding spots during our nerf wars. That’s also a reasonable excuse for a larger studio right?
Tech and art style updates are still our current focus. As a result, you may have noticed the lack of work in progress videos. Don’t worry! They will be coming back more frequently once we meet our tech and art milestones. Better yet, the new office will have space for a dedicated live stream room.
The big move to our new studio and settle in
New build update
Planning and documentation for the new engine upgrades
We also want to welcome Jake, Tyson, and Michael to the NK family! Feel free to send them a tweet anytime!
We are hiring developers so please check out our career page here or send a tweet to our CTO @CoreyClarkPhD
We’ve got some new stuff: fixes to old stuff and some really bold stuff to be found in this update. First off, we’ve made some changes to how you can place objects in the world. This is really important to me as I want to focus our efforts on making the player experience a top priority going forward. Now when placing objects, you’ll be able to use the V key to turn on grid snapping, making it super easy to line up your objects.
We also have dyes in the game to make your own custom colored bricks. We have a Bear Ram and he is terrifying! We also have a basket to collect your fruit from your gardens for you! There’s much, much more so check the patch notes for all the new things!
You’ll also find a lot of changes to recipe times and the method to crafting certain items. Check out the changes to the cage trap, you can now capture other players! We’ve been making some tweaks to the AI to help them with pathfinding and avoidance. This is all leading up to big future improvements for the AI in the game. Oh did I mention the pets can now guard your camp and protect you in battle? No? Well they do and it is awesome!
Unfortunately, due to the nature of some of the changes we’ve made, previous game saves will not load up with the new update.
As always, follow us [email protected] to keep up with our progress and announcements.
Also, make sure to let us know if you run into any bugs or other issues, and if you have trouble running the game, check out our Steam forums for more details.
July is coming to an end and we have some good news and some not so good news. I’ll start with the good news. We are play testing for the next update and will release it in roughly one week. The not so good news is that we’ve upped the game saves again and your previous saves will not work with the new update. This is due to some necessary tweaks to our biome system. You can tweet your rage to @camfergusondfw
Here’s a quick breakdown on what you can expect in the Alpha 0.8.6 patch.
Adult bear ram
Pet system improvements
Dyes can be crafted and combined with clay to make colored clay brick voxels
What else is in the works? The crafting journal is coming along but it will not make this update. Lots of engine tech and R&D involved. In addition, the art style update is still on-going and keeping our art team slammed. We are also in the process of moving to a new studio location soon too. A new battleground for nerf wars!
We are ramping up and hiring full-time game programmer positions in the Dallas area.
I’ll keep this one short, promise! This is a week late but I really wanted to write a brief wrap-up for June. It was a busy month filled with nonstop play testing, bug fixes, and nerf wars. We launched Alpha 0.8.5 a few weeks ago but we didn’t stop there. We’re constantly on the grind at Nerd Kingdom, so what comes after an update for us?
After patch monitoring
While we extensively test our own patches in-house, after any release we make sure to monitor user activity to see if you all come across anything we didn’t. It’s fairly standard for game studios to keep an eye on bug reports and rage comments to make sure the patch went smoothly. This means we are ready to look into and do our best to fix any major reported bugs. We have been pretty good so far *knocks on wood*.
We revisit our existing plans after each patch cycle to see how (or if) we want to reprioritize any upcoming features or systems. After that, we break the work into sets of smaller goals that can generally be done in smaller internal milestones known as Sprints. No, this does not mean we are going to race around the office. Our public releases typically occur after 2-3 Sprints; this length can be longer or shorter depending on what we’re trying to get out (and what bugs we encounter).
What we are working right now
Here’s a nice little list for you. We will go over these in detail for our future blogs.
Adult Bear Ram
More Modular Tools
Improvements to pet system
NK Launcher improvements (non-steam client)
Super long term stuff
Lots of engine tech R&D
Art style update
We are committed to making TUG a unique and fun game for you. Give us some time and we will keep you updated as we move forward.
In the meantime, check out the latest “In The Works” episode.
Ahoy! This is a big tech update we have going on, as it’s the benchmark for the team moving on to engine 2.0. The next several months will be spent
building and porting systems over to openGL and making the game accessible to more and more players in the community. Not only do we expand the reach of
the community, but we also get a chance to dramatically improve ALL the things for the game.
We have some REALLY exciting times ahead of us, as we prepare to grow our team and get a bit more aggressive on the things we create. As a lot of you know,
we have always had a huge focus on modding, and much of that focus is actually going to start to shine within the next few months. While the DX11 engine
may not expand much while we move over to openGL, we have some pretty rad stuff planned for the community and a lot of modders from the MC community. Its a
great chance for us to really work out new systems we are introducing to make mod creation and discovery easier.
We will have a lot of fairly huge announcements on the future of TUG, within the next couple of months, so be sure to follow us @nerdkingdom
As per usual, report any bugs you run into, screenshots and videos are super helpful if you have the time. And if the game is not running for whatever
reason, and it was, we are more likely going to see the report email before we see the review on steam… just sayin.
Cameron has been doing a LOT of streams on builds lately, so follow him @camfergusondfw
If you want Corey to hurry the H E double hockey sticks, up with openGL, harass him @CoreyClarkPhD
And if you want to send lavish gifts and cookie bouquets, feel free to get me @inoritewtf
Sky Update: New look to the sky, as well as adjustments for color and density that will change depending how far you are between different biomes
Biomes have been made more distinct. Resource distribution, lighting, background sound, and fog density have all been updated for each.
Terrain voxels are now what you dig is what you get (with the exception of the ore dropping rock which gives cobblestone). Cobblestone and Thatched
voxels will need to be crafted from rock and grass voxels, respectively.
Terrain Input system: biomes generally larger than before and more consistent with which biomes they are adjacent to. Biome frequency adjusted
Fat/Skinny body morphing
New clothing options for the Seed
Coconuts can now be harvested and planted
Variety of mushrooms can now be planted
Hitting the crafting button while crafting will cancel the current craft
Right click to place
Hold Left Shift to adjust the distance of the item from the camera
Hold Left Ctrl to free rotate the item
Hold Left Shift + Left Ctrl to rotate on the X-Axis
Creative Mode update (back to explicit tools for each function)
Creative Mode now has three sets of tools for object placement, voxel placement, and standard Survival interaction
Ctrl + MouseWheel or the ‘y’ key: Switch between Object Placement, Voxel Placement, and Survival Interaction
MouseWheel or Ctrl + 1-4: Switch between placement mode specific tools for each placement tool set
For Object Placement Tools: Z: resets the current object scaling/rotation settings
Tools can affect voxels they normally would not interact with when using larger voxel brush sizes
Repeatedly leaving and joining games within the same session of TUG can cause excessive memory issues.
Helmets are not wearable yet
Seedlings and Teens have their own sets of clothing right now. You can’t currently mix/match them. So if you are wearing Seedling leaf
clothing when you grow up, it will not visually appear on the Teen even though it is still in the equipment slot.
The size of a Teen’s head is shrunk compared to the Seedling
On of the cactus icons is missing in Creative
When players die, all their inventory is placed at their feet. Some smaller items may require digging to retrieve (depending on the slope of the
The console/command window isn’t in the bottom left of the window when you go full screen
If you travel roughly 10000 coordinate points away from your initial spawn location, collision and object generation will cease
At certain angles and movement, projectiles can reflect off of the player that throw them
Rarely, Clients will have gaps in their terrain generation.
Rarely, players will see a cell of missing billboards.
When placing square voxels so that only a single point/corner touches, graphical issues can occur. Usually, it will appear as streaks or black
Objects do not save while they are in motion (they must stop and settle)
The radius of torches scaring certain creatures is too long
Pets are missing sound effects
Pet taming timer is not accurate and sometimes you can overfeed a wild critter before it turns into a pet
Recipes that use tools in the hand are not causing durability damage to those tools
When digging or placing billboard voxels (like grass), the billboards do not reappear until after you have reloaded that game
The Skull Stick is craftable, yet its uses are mysterious and unknown (or possibly not done yet)
Animals/players caught in cabbage traps are not visible until the trap has completely reopened after releasing them.
Creatures will sometimes run small circles around their targets if they can’t quite reach the food item they are trying to eat
Tools can affect voxels they normally would not interact with when using larger voxel brush sizes