Post 23 May 2024, 16:22

Knights Province Alpha 13 starts its wip journey!

It is time for Alpha 13 to enter its so-called “wip” stage. I gave some consideration regarding the number 13 perceived as unlucky, but then again, I’m not superstitious, so 13 is perfectly good! Now it can be playtested parallel to the ongoing development. As always you will find that some new features are already in the build, some are being developed and some are just planned or not even heard of. It’s a great time to affect the game’s development course.

There is a bunch of big things planned for A13. Let's talk some more about each (trust me, best one is listed last)
Animated map objects
Game needs to be more interactive - cue in animated stateful map objects! With the new support for animated map objects it is possible for objects to have a state and animations within and between states. For example now there is a dungeon door or a chest that can be open or closed (controlled via script as well!). Or a single table map object with several different things laying on it. Important to note, that these states are not purely visual. An opened door can be walked through, while the closed one is impassable. As with other things - this can be controlled from dynamic script.
Addon map objects (eventually mods)
KP was always planned to allow for mods. Addon map objects are a first attempt at that. Just imagine what possibilities it opens for mapmaking! Mods will be explained in greater detail in upcoming posts. For now there’s just a short sum up. Mods can affect specs (object properties) and/or assets (3D models and textures). Mods can be global (affecting the whole game and all the missions you play, unless they specifically forbid so) and local (acting only on the current campaign and/or mission). Mods will be loaded in layers and will be able to affect each other. For example one could have a global mod that adds 10 new types of trees and each mission will get them, but some specific mission could contain some specific quest objects it needs. If everything goes well, other basic game domains (like terrains, decals, etc.) will allow for mods soon too.
Reason for them is two-fold. Firstly and foremostly, skeletons were planned to be a part of unit death animation and corpses decay visualization. Units would gradually decay revealing a skeleton which would disappear after a time too (think of how Warcraft 1 and 2 did it). This feature came out to be quite a lot more complicated to properly rig and animate than it seemed at first though, so it is currently postponed. However, skeletons themselves looked really nice and easy to integrate with the existing animation and rigging systems, so .. given the playful game art style and mood, now the skeletons are part of the game. Currently only available to be placed in MapEd and via dynamic scripts. However in the future it is quite possible that they will have a dwelling / spawning structure, similar to wolves and bears. Maybe a crypt? Feeling strong Warcraft 1 dungeon missions vibes now.
Heroic unit attributes
Units can be tweaked quite a lot more from the dynamic script now. Following attributes can now be changed: Max HP and HP regen, sight radius, flag color, banner display for group leaders, morale. This will allow mapmakers to create (and edit!) hero units in a manner similar to how Warcraft 2 had them. For example a quest hero unit could gain more and more HP over the course of the mission and have his flag color turn bluer or redder depending on the progress.Or simple yet effective sight radius reduction in the cave sections. It is not a full RPG yet, but still a good step into the right direction.
Weather effects
Now mapmakers can change lighting conditions. This means sun and sky color, sun position in the skies. Among other things this also allows for ambient lit missions taking part in dungeons and caves. As with other aspects, lighting can be changed from dynamic script. Other weather effects like clouds and precipitation are planned, but not scheduled yet. Fully dynamic lighting like torches and other light emitters are not available yet (and probably wont be for quite some time).
Highscores became engaging enough to the point where the game had its first major cheating event. This is a great milestone! Now, combined with the new mods feature, anti-cheat measures had to be improved. Now highscores will register more of the game’s properties and a replay file, making any major attempts to cheat fruitless. This will warrant reset of the Highscores in the Knights Tavern in the near future.
.. and finally Multiplayer!
I’m excited to announce that Alpha 13 is planned to have multiplayer enabled! It will take some time to stabilize the features presented above, but after that is done, the MP button will be activated and we’ll see how much time and effort it will take to make it properly work.

With everything described above, I’m happy to direct everyone interested to the Discord server where Alpha 13 wip builds are going to be published in the #new-versions channel.

And as always, the game needs your playtesting, feedback and bugreports, word of mouth and Patreon support!
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