Hey everyone, it’s Tuesday! Welcome back to the community newsletter.
Finally, we’ve reached December: that time of the year when everything both speeds up and slows down as we prepare for, and then celebrate, the Holidays. Remember to get your Christmas shopping in before all those Turbo Man dolls are sold out.
As mentioned last week we’re working on the next update for Conan Exiles: what to include in terms of bugs and fixes, new weapons, new armor tipes, new items, etc. The much-requested Sickle (for harvesting Plant Fiber) will make it into this update, in addition to plenty of other goodies. We’ll have more to show in the next developer stream this Friday.
In the long term we’re planning for the remaining months of Early Access. We’re reviewing the various features to look at what we’ll be able to implement, what needs to be scaled down and what, unfortunately, might need to be cut before full launch. We’ll be able to do a lot in four months, but we won’t be able to do everything.
We patched Xbox with a quick little hotfix on Friday to fix a bug where foundations would disappear. You should also no longer get a “Purchase cancelled” error message when you try to rent a server. As for other Xbox specific bugs, we are working on making avatar tokens craftable again, and we’re also trying to get a handle on the so called “Animation exploit” that have been causing desync issues.
As you may have seen yesterday we announced that we’re taking pre-orders for the retail version of Conan Exiles starting next week. That involves increasing the price of the game. You can find the full breakdown on why we’re doing this on our dev blog.
In order to make sure that everyone gets a fair chance to get into the Game Preview before we increase the price we’re running a special 50% discount sale on the Xbox One version of Conan Exiles from Friday December 8th to Sunday December 10th. If you’re still on the fence you can get in at a very low price. The discount will be 50% off the game’s current price, so you’ll be able to get it at about $17.50. Anyone who buys Game Preview access receives full access to the game.
Every Friday, the development team meets up to highlight and talk about what they’ve been working on recently: New content and features, bugs that have been fixed, and things to come down the pipeline. To not make this newsletter overly long we’re only sticking to the highlights. Even if something isn’t explicitly mentioned things are still being worked on “behind the scenes”, and we’ll mention these when they’re relevant.
The Berserkers team has been focusing on core fixes for the new combat and movement system. Primarily, there’s a lot of work being done on creating Root Motion functionality that aids the combat system.
Typically, in game animation, a character’s collision box (or capsule or other shape) is moved through a particular scene by a controller (thumbstick or WASD), and data from this collision box is used to play the animation. The game registers a forward input, the collision box moves forward, and the system knows to play a running or walking animation. But this doesn’t work for all situations.
In combat, for example, an attack animation might move the player character mesh forward, causing them to step outside the collision box. The character then loses collision. Once the animation is done, the character then snaps back to where the animation started, where the collision box is “waiting” for the animation to play out. Since the character has lost collision it can pass through level geometry and other characters, which makes for a very terrible game experience.
That’s where Root Motion comes in! Root Motion essentially “locks” the collision box to the character mesh as the animation plays out, causing it to “follow” the mesh forward and give the character proper collision. You can probably tell why nailing proper Root Motion and animation is incredibly important to make a decent combat system, especially one where you’re supposed to be able to cancel and interrupt animations.
The art team has been supporting the various other development teams with whatever assets and textures they might need for their own projects, in addition to further filling out the item lists with new weapons, outfits, tools and decorative items.
All these new items also need inventory icons so you know at a glance what something will look like when you’re navigating your inventory. The same goes for things like achievements and trophies, which we’re planning on implementing before full launch.
The tools team has been working on further improving the crash reporter we told you about two weeks ago. It’s been working great for us so far, giving us easily parseable data and information that’s then filtered and given to the tech team so they can get started on crash and stability fixes, but it could always use some improvements here and there.
Over on the tech side of things we’re testing dedicated servers on the PlayStation 4 version (launching in Q2, 2018 along with the PC and Xbox). We want all the different versions of Conan Exiles to have the same content and features, and that includes server functionality for players. More information on that as things progress.
Finally, progress on adding voice chat to Xbox is moving forward. We don’t have an exact ETA for when we might roll it out (additional testing is required), but it is something we will have in the game before full launch. We are aware that many of you want text chat in Conan Exiles on Xbox One, and it is something we are considering adding once the higher priority items on our to-do lists are taken care of.
The previously mentioned price increase will not affect the price of the PC Early Access version of Conan Exiles. This is because the PC version will have a more limited retail presence and will have a different price tag at launch.
We’re doing another stream this Friday where we’ll be talking more about weapon and armor modification system, showing off some new outfits for the first time, and diving into the next content update. It will start a little earlier than usual because we’re having a studio wide Christmas dinner at our usual streaming time. We’ll give you all the details in the announcement tomorrow.