Hey there vampires, for today’s Dev Update, we thought it might be nice to share a little taste of what everyone’s working on at the moment!
We could say that we’re simply working on aspects of player versus environment or trying to improve our world’s artistic fidelity, but that isn’t really what you come here for, is it? Today we offer you a little window into the nitty-gritty specifics of our development process, examples of the little critical details that you might not always be thinking about but are sorely missed if they’re overlooked. Today is all about those important details!
The Creatures of Vardoran
A living world requires living inhabitants, and we’re dedicating effort to realizing the vitality of that atmosphere. A few projects are ongoing surrounding the creatures of Vardoran and the various ways you can interact with them, and the details about them that make them feel more natural and immersive.
For starters, there’s some work that our Technical Artist Filippa is currently doing! She’s working on a couple of different systems that revolve around critters and how they’ll operate. Filippa has been putting together various behaviors for all the creepy little critters that populate the world, doing her best to make an estimated simulation of what one would expect to feel scurrying around you on your way through the wilderness.
If you get too close, they’ll scatter.
“The system has two parts; the critter’s behavior and determining when and where to spawn them,” Filippa explains. “The critter’s behavior is quite simple. They will mind their own business if you keep your distance; however, should you get too close, they will immediately notice you and flee in the opposite direction.”
However, the second part of the explanation is a bit more complicated. Because it would hinder overall game performance from constantly processing all these little background creatures out in the world, Filippa is designing a system that generates the critter only where it needs to. It determines where players are and uses specially tagged objects out in the world to spawn them out of sight where they can wander into a view. They’ll retreat until they get a bit of distance and disappear upon being scared. These new systems are part of what adds depth to our world.
Dark Steeds With Superior Breeds
Maybe you’re a little more interested in something you’ll be experiencing more directly, like mounts! Well, our Creative Director Martin Lövgren (Also lovingly known as ‘Shelt’) has for us some interesting new advances on mounts from game design! With expansions on the mount system, they’re looking to make your riding companions a little bit more fleshed out and interesting.
In earlier iterations, we found horses extremely valuable but ultimately disposable. They weren’t challenging to find in certain areas, and there was very little unique about them individually. One horse was just as good as another. However, there have been some changes. Horses now have randomized qualities, offering differences in movement speed, rotation, and acceleration. So naturally, some will feel better to ride than others, and you’ll quickly find yourself coveting your favorite mount. Of course, if you’re going to have a favorite, you’re going to have to be able to name it as well. The cherry on top is the addition of storage space, allowing your horse to help you carry your loot from place to place with even greater efficiency!
V Blood On The Dance Floor
Meanwhile, in animation, our artists are working on bringing the dreaded elite creatures of Vardoran to life, our V Bloods! (More on that here, in case you missed it!) One of our animators, Olov Skiöld, is bringing life and sometimes unlife to our most dangerous units, giving them the attention they deserve to ensure that their animations display their various unique personalities.
“How a unit is standing can speak volumes on how they behave, and in this case, how they would go about attempting to strike down the player. The way the Lightweaver stands in her concept art gives the impression of an elegant but frustrated individual with destructive powers at her fingertips.”
Taking cues from the personality displayed in the key art and chats with the other members of the art and world team, Olov can then take a shot at translating that personality into the Lightweaver’s stance, movement, and attacks.
Early blocking of the animation to the left, finished animation to the right.
Moving Mountains with Max
The world team spearheaded by our Producer Max Tiilikainen has been pushing in broad strokes to expand and refine the world of Vardoran! Our preliminary beta test offered them a lot of valuable data and feedback, and they’ve been acting decisively to improve our world experience holistically.
Much of our starting zones have seen huge changes since our first test, seeing massive changes to how we’re utilizing our chunk system (something you may be familiar with from our fourth dev update.) The various parts of the world were arranged into little ‘chunks’ that we could quickly move around, but the world team has taken these areas built of many individual chunks and fused them. Making the terrain more technically cohesive lets them blend the spaces to fit more naturally together and frees them up of some technical limitations. They’re currently taking advantage of this by refining the zones for building, making it easier and more intuitive to find places to place and expand your castles without running into awkward terrain.
I wonder what’s behind that gate?
Further iterations of our starter zone are also underway. Max and the world team are going over Farbane Forest with a fine-toothed comb, looking for places they can enforce that theme and making sure you get the dark fantasy experience you expect when you step into our world for the first time.
Blades, Bats, and Blood Trails
As always, I was thrilled to get to check in with one of our 2D Artists, Viktor Blomqvist, to check out some concept artwork for V Rising! Viktor has a few concepts to share, many of which have already been produced or are currently in production by our VFX Artist Adrien Nieto.
Here we have some artwork representing a concept for Blood Trails, an effect that players will be following from their Blood Altars to hunt down powerful V Blood rich foes. Follow the scent of scarlet blood to close in on your prey.
The text provides context that will feel more obvious in-game and may not appear in the final UI experience.
These are updated visual effects for one of the abilities tied to the sword’s ability kit. If you think it looks exciting now, wait until you get the chance to try it for yourself!
A sword technique where you hurl your sword towards an opponent, knocking them up in the air for a follow-up assault.
Finally, it’s time to get a little batty. Vardoran is a vast world, and you may need to do a little bit of teleporting to get around– but a proper vampire can’t simply blink in and out of being. They need to make a proper entrance. I truly hope you agree with me when I say this is what a black-magic-slinging, blood-drinking underworld-ruling creature of the night’s entrance should look like.
A vampire arrives at a predetermined teleportation location.
Prepare Your Paintbrushes
Any artists out there that feel the call of the night? Do you love horror? Does dark gothic fantasy inspire you? Well, sharpen your pencils and prepare your paintbrushes! Boot up your tablets, fellow scoundrels of the arts, because we’re preparing for… an art contest! There will be fun, there will be prizes, and there will be… more information coming soon!
Closed Beta Update
We’re getting closer to kick-off for the official closed beta testing! We’re looking forward to taking all the information from our Preliminary Beta Test and putting it into effect for the upcoming Closed Beta. We’re on schedule to begin testing toward the end of March, and we plan to welcome a new bunch of bloodsuckers to descend on the lands of Vardoran. Make sure to keep an eye on your inbox, and if you haven’t signed up, it’s never too late to do so. Just in case you haven’t, sign up here!
Tiktok Goes the Clock
Stunlock Studios has also launched our very first Tiktok account! Be sure to drop us a follow if you’re interested in finding a new avenue to find yet more exclusive V Rising game content!
Here Comes The Sun
Is it getting bright in here? I think it may be time for us to return to the dungeon and get back to work. No rest for the wicked, after all. I hope you’ve enjoyed another glimpse into the inner workings of Stunlock Studios and V Rising, and we hope to see you again in the next one.
Of course, if you’re looking to keep up with us between now and then (and you should), drop us a follow on the various platforms we’re nesting in down below! We’re very active, so if you’re hungry for content, I would highly recommend checking them out.
Wishlist V Rising on Steam: http://store.steampowered.com/app/1604030/V_Rising/?utm_source=devblog10
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Join The V Rising Discord Server: https://discord.gg/vrising
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V Rising Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/vrisinggame/
Lots of love and a pint of blood,
/The Marketing Team