Update are ran through the gauntlet of testing by the development crew locally and with a few other members of the community, once satisfied that they won't do anything dubious once they go live, they're posted to Mudhaven just to iron out any other misgivings that may have snuck through undetected.(like a Ret burrowing into your harvestfall granary) Then after running unhindered after a period of time, we see the new version sent down the old information super-highway to Steam, where any Community Servers can then update, and everyones local copies are updated.
With the first actual Update now running through the motions on Mudhaven, barring something drastic happening there we are anticipating it to be released to Steam early this coming week! Following that, there should be another hotfix coming shortly afterwards to address a crash issue with BYOND, which Lummox is graciously investigating to help get it sorted as soon as he can.
Wow crazy! But let's see what's in this awesome new update!
The first and most apparent change is that the first wave of the new water effects have been added (Pun definitely intended). This comes with some swanky looking reflections and some nicer waves and edges on the water itself. It also now, for the most part flows a lot more organically since using some nifty visual effects as opposed to just a straight-up animated sprite.
Here's a WIP still of the new water effect with the new borders.
Visual Effects aside, and also taking a look at the gameplay. The biggest issue being stressed so far isn't really a new one, but it's that the learning curve for new players seems to be too high for the average user, and the early game doesn't provide enough guidance or enough engagement to really hook players off the get-go. The main struggle we've seen here is running into here is that we don't want to hold everyone's hand, because a huge draw for the game has always been the element of discovery.
Decisions to get past this hurdle is to provide some contextual guidance for new players that seem to be a bit stuck. Currently systems are being worked on a bit of an AI that keeps track of what players have done for the first section of gameplay and provide small hints such as "Click on Tree's to begin chopping them" or "Press 'Q' to enter combat mode". The hope is that these little bits of advice will help guide new players towards what they should be doing to get the most out of the game, and keep them around and online long enough for them to get into the meat of the game.
In addition to some helpful hints, F0lak's been plugging away at the first big goal for the game, some little tidbits of this have found their way into the current version on Mudhaven right now.
When players kill an enemy(animal or npc), they will unlock a new recipe called an effigy. Each creature has its own effigy and these effigys serve a mechanical purpose, aside from just being essentially a trophy of your conquests. They are used as sacrifices at certain altars found throughout the world. *The Altars(not available in 0.9.16) . Once the proper effigy has been sacrificed, these altars will teleport the player(s) near them to a mini-dungeon where they will find some treasures and new items to progress through the tech tree. The catch here is that you need to complete the dungeon in order to make use of the things you uncover inside them, and completing a dungeon means...
With the addition of the first mini dungeon there will also be the first little boss in the game. No additional spoilers here, who or what the boss will be, what its attack patterns will be, or how to beat it, but they are coming and they will be fun!!
So, all of that aside, there have been a few smaller changes to 0.9.16 in addition to everything we've already gone over. Signs have gotten a facelift.(although stone signs need a new custom sprite but the wooden one will suffice for now) F0lak's also been hot on the heels of bug fixes and have gotten a LOT of them squashed for this next little patch. There are still some more that need to be fixed.
*As with all other ui, you can position this wherever you like!
The guy, Karoth
PLEASE: Be sure to check out the website to read more about the story behind Hazordhu and its developer!
**condensed for convenience: visit original post @ Hazordhu.com