Happy October! It’s the month of spoops, pumkpin spiced lattes and complaining about Norwegian stores selling their Christmas candy and decorations too early.
We’ve been working out of our new offices for four weeks now and everyone has managed to settle into the new work space. The coders have solved their window blinds problem, we finally have a microwave oven in the kitchen, and now that the teams are sequestered in separate rooms you can’t hear them scream in frustration when something crashes.
This week there’s been progress on gameplay systems and the art team is filling in gaps. You’ll find all the details below.
Last week we released a hotfix for PC to take care of some lingering issues after the most recent update to the game. You can now repair Exceptional and Flawless items again (if you have the correct thrall and crafting station), and thrall recipes were also taken care of.
There’s still work to be done, obviously.
Food spoils incredibly quickly and the desert heat can be devastating, even when you’re standing in water. We’re working on addressing these issues and will be doing additional hotfixes before we do the next major update. G-portal is also helping us improve server performance and stability.
We patched Xbox with another stability patch last week and our current focus is the PC/Xbox One parity update. There are over 1400 changes, gameplay updates and bug fixes coming to the console version. This will update the sprint mechanics, improve controller support, update the repair system, and remove those pesky broken dancer thralls that sometimes crash the servers.
We’re also rolling out the art optimizations we mentioned last week, which cuts down on the number of polygons used in our art assets. That should make the game run smoother and more stable.
Of course, this doesn’t mean stability work on Xbox is finished, and there will be more updates and patches.
Every Friday, the entire development team meets up to discuss what they’ve been working on recently: New content and features, bugs that have been fixed, and things to come down the pipeline. The development team is split into cross professional Scrum teams that each have their own focus and tasks to complete. You can find their names and descriptions in the first community letter.
Vanguard has been working on expanding the thrall system, and we’ve now added the ability to equip armor and weapons on certain types of thralls. it’s a pretty rad feature, one we hope you’ll like.
In addition to thrall inventories, the Vanguard has been continuing to work on the sickle, which will let you quickly harvest Plant Fiber. No more running around vegetated areas mashing the E key to collect Fiber, wearing out your finger in the process. The sickle is also the first part of a farming system, which is currently being designed.
Finally, to improve on the building system, Vanguard has done some optimization work to make building feel snappier. Personally, building is one of my favorite things in Conan Exiles, and I welcome any and all improvements we do to that feature.
The greyboxing for the new dungeon is mostly finished, same goes for the new playfield. Visual effects have been added, making the two areas look vibrant and colorful, and I’m very excited to see our community’s reaction to the new content.
We’re now experimenting with how we’re going to populate the two areas. The dungeon isn’t in a particularly creature friendly place, so we’ll need to consider that when we’re placing creatures and NPCs for players to fight. Don’t expect to see a lot of hyenas, for example.
Combat prototyping is progressing nicely and the team has added new animations for the two-handed hammer and spears. On the band-end the Berserkers have been working on the combo system, experimenting with soft targeting and lock-on systems.
The point of all this combat prototyping is to create a more dynamic and better combat system. Improving combat is one of the things our community has been the most vocal about and our goal is still to have the best melee combat in the genre.
Featurama has been helping the Vanguard expand the thrall system so you can equip thralls. They’ve also been working on the option to move thralls without returning them to your inventory first.
The art team wrapped up their optimization work last week and have now moved on to filling in missing content. In practice, this means they’re creating assets for anything that’s left to be added, everything from new weapons and outfits to new crafting stations, icons and visual effects.
It’s not a small list of things, but certainly doable by artists as hard working as ours. I’ve already seen two new bows and crossbows near completion, and they’re looking pretty awesome.
The tools team has been working on a backend system to reduce the amount of downtime for the general dev team due to bad submissions.
Last week we also rolled out improved crash reporting for Xbox One, giving us lots of juicy data to look over when doing crash fixes on console. Work is also being done to figure out further ways we can improve the crash reporting tools, for both PC and console.
Most of the tech team are still focused on Xbox One, working on crash fixes and stabilization of the PC/Xbox parity patch. We’ve also begun looking into how we can take advantage of the Xbox One X.
This doesn’t mean we’re ignoring the issues with PC, as there’s still work to be done there.
On the PS4 side of things, Coconut Lizard have reported that they can now reach character creation on the PlayStation 4 version of the game. That’s not bad for two weeks’ worth of work.
Okay jens Erik, now for something funny and witty to wrap the whole thing up. Hmm… Oh no. They’ve already started reading! Think, damnit, think! Uhm…
Wise man says forgiveness is divine, but never pay full price for late pizza!