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Vizaris - Open World, Co-op/Mp, Role Playing Game

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Vizaris - Open World RPG

Vizaris is a 3D open world role playing game, made by 3 people, and set in a vibrant and harsh fantasy world filled with wondrous magic, steampunk technology, and alien sights.

The objective of Vizaris is to allow players to become any kind of character they imagine, whether that is a traditional fantasy role such as a warrior, mage, or rogue, or a more unique and less combat oriented character, such as a craftsman, leader, or homesteader. It can be played both singleplayer and multiplayer with up to six players.

Vizaris utilizes a unique distribution platform, which allows us to deliver weekly updates to the game, which expand and improve every aspect of the game. As time goes on the weekly updates become larger and more content is added to the game every week.

Vizaris is available www.vizarisgame.com/play for just $4.99/mo, and while the game is still in it’s infancy, you can still download and explore the growing world and gameplay. You can visit our news page archive to get a good idea of just how big each of our weekly updates are (and those updates are only going to get bigger and better as the project grows)

We need your support! Every player and supporter directly improves the quality of the game and allows us to add even more content to the game. Join us on our journey to make the most extraordinary role playing game ever.

Critiques and comments welcome (preferably constructive, as that helps us to fix the problems!)

This looks really awesome! I always crave new co-op games and open world ones with good combat are few and far between, I’ll definitely be checking this out.

For lack of a reason to do any differently, I’ll mirror the weekly update posts (These are change logs, i.e. changes that you can actually download and play today), which we do on Vizarisgame.com so that you can also receive updates here.

Weekly Report - 21

Vizaris is now of drinking age in the United States! (Is that how the updates are… like birthdays? I think so. Except every weekly birthday that Vizaris has, all the presents are for you!)

This week sees the introduction of a core new system to Vizaris. The Quest Engine. What does this mean for you? At the moment… not that much, as only one quest has been added to the game. Long term though, this is massive. Think back to any role playing game, or fantasy world in any medium… quests and missions and adventures are the things that give a point to the world.

The quest engine isn’t extremely impressive right now due to the lack of quests, however the quest engine gives us the POWER to create many different kinds of quests. This week, not only did we add the ability to make quests, but we also have most of the technical details worked out too, like having quests work in multiplayer, and displaying the quest to the player in a meaningful way.

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So time to jump into this weeks changelog:

  • The Quest Engine - Yep, you guessed it. Quests, and a whole bunch of behind the scenes stuff related to quests were integrated into the game this week. Save for one small bug fix, questing was all that was worked on in terms of programming.

  • The Journal - Keeping track of quests is hard. This makes it easy. When you open your inventory, you’ll now see a newly unlocked button for the journal at the top of the screen, click it, and it will take you to a screen that allows you to track all of your quests. You can also press the J key to open up the Journal Directly.

  • New Quest: The Three Brothers - I just had to add one quest to the game, rather than let all this new code not be utilized in today’s update. Go to the newly placed building next to Ka’tro, inside you’ll find a bounty which will lead you to two different ends of the map, and carries a hefty reward.

  • Massive Landscape Texture Update and Rock Improvements - A bunch of work was done to overhaul the landscape textures. The end result is much higher detail and realistic look. We also added a very near range tessellation to rocks, to improve their appearance for minimal performance impact.

  • File Optimizations - Also, during the process of cleaning up the landscape textures, quite a few textures were removed, resulting in this weeks build being over 100mb smaller than last week’s (despite new art additions)

  • Fixed: First Person Mask - Fixed an issue with certain player masks causing clipping in first person view.

  • Fixed: Bandit Weapon Damages - Turns out, when bandits use player weapons, they’re a heck of a lot more powerful. This fix reduces their damage significantly so they no longer two-shot the player.

This coming week will likely focus on more improvements to the quest engine, in the form of some further increases in capability(currently NPC dialog cannot interact with quests, and we plan on fixing that.) and some improvements to usability and polish.

I’ll also be working on another new game area as usual; but this time the area is quite a bit larger, so it may not be done by the end of the week. The village architecture continues to be made, and there’s additional progress on the bodies that will be used for… everything – NPCs, Player Customization, Armor Creation, Male Player Characters, and MUCH more.

–Luke

Here are some examples of the new landscape textures and materials at play here.
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I like the uniqueness and your referral marketing strategy.

Character Customization?

Wow great job!, finally something a bit more refreshing on the genre, keep it up

Yep, we’ve got an advanced character customization system in the works - we’re just starting to get the final meshes for it today, though there’s still a few weeks to go until it’s ready for game play. It includes male/female bodies, with adjustments (both in initial setup and driven by gameplay) for fit, overweight, and underweight bodies; which is further adjusted by bone based scaling to get different body types/shapes (adjustments for things like shoulder, hip, and waist width). That’s the first level of customization that will be going into the game in not too long. After we’re done with that, we’ll work on faces, which will have a wide variety of shape adjustments, and as time goes on we’ll be adding more customization, like additional hair styles, brows, makeup, tattoos, facial hair. Once we get the base bodies done, we can start pushing more outfits/armors, which are generally planned to be modular (i.e. you equip them piecemeal, not as one complete item). This is of course important for both players and NPCs.

Technically speaking, we already do have a super basic customization system setup for multiplayer, which includes changing the armor color, scarf color, player skin color, and changing the mask which the character wears.


Weekly Report - 22

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Time for another update to the game. Development of the game itself continues to go pretty smoothly, though we’re having some issues with the subscription system and distribution system. There are a lot of improvements coming to those systems, but for now let’s dive into this week’s changes!

  • Quest Engine / NPC Integration - This week most of the work went into a more direct integration of the quest engine with NPCs, allowing dialog to run events and interact with quests. The end result is a very flexible and powerful system that allows NPC Dialog to trigger virtually any world event possible, whether it’s quest related or not.

  • Quest Update: The Three Brothers - Because of the better interaction between quests and NPC dialog, we were able to rebuild parts of last weeks quest to have it properly driven through the NPCs involved.

  • Further Landscape Improvements - Yep, I managed to do even more work on the landscape, further improving visual quality by adding detail textures to the rocks. This is likely the last I’ll improve of the landscape for quite a while.

  • Post Processing and Lighting Tweaks - The post processing was adjusted fairly significantly to produce a more realistic image, with less harsh tones and overblown saturation. The lighting was also adjusted to significantly improve shadow color and realism.

  • Journal Categories Improvements - The quest journal was adjusted to no longer display quest categories unless there is at least one quest of that type in the journal, resulting in a cleaner, more readable journal.

  • Quest Item Improvements - A large amount of coding went into making sure the game handles quest objects properly with regards to multiplayer, as you wouldn’t want players disappearing with your important items, or your own important items being consumed in someone else’s quest. From now on, all quest items are given directly to the host, and your own quest items are hidden and disabled when you join a server as a client.

  • Weapon stamina cost reduction - The stamina cost for swinging weapons and performing power attacks was reduced by about %50 in most cases, making combat a little more fun, and less of a death sentence.

  • Fixed: Ka’tro buying - Fixed a bug that was causing Ka’tro to be unable to buy most categories of items, now he’ll buy **** near anything.

  • Fixed: Unable to buy the first item in a store - A small bug was causing an inability to buy the item at the top of the list in stores.

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Above shot of the new area, under construction.

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Speaking with Ka’tro

A bunch of work went into building a new large play area, but that wasn’t quite ready for today’s release; and of course, as with the previous weeks there was a bunch of work on the village art as the character customization system. A few other features were coded as well, but they haven’t actually been used in the game yet, so I didn’t mention them in the change log.

Moving forward, I’m going to be focusing on some improvements to the payment and distribution system, as well as some of the text on the website, but there will still be plenty of progress on the game.

Weekly Report - 22

This week saw some pretty cool additions and improvements to the game. We’re currently focusing on cleaning up and improving the features we have (such as combat), rather than adding entirely new systems (such as magic), as we want to have a good, clean, stable, and most importantly – FUN – play experience, before we go piling on with additional content.

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With that in mind, this week we have a pretty massive change list for you.

This week’s additions

  • **Combat Blocking! - **It’s now fully possible for you to block attacks during combat for a significant damage reduction. This should make combat notably easier with the right tactics, and combat no longer guarantees that you’re going to take a massive amount of damage. Blocking right as the attack hits will cause a more significant reduction in damage. You also can only block in a 90 degree range in front of the player.

  • **New Game Area: Ka’te’coro Canyon (North), & Sa’le’talo Canyon. - **A massive new game area was added to the north of the starting position. This new area has lots of new loot, places to explore, some bandits, and even a chance to find a pickaxe (so you don’t need to buy one from the merchant)

  • **Reduced Stamina Cost for Jumping. - **Due to the importance of Jumping, the stamina cost for it has been notably reduced.

  • **Equip and Unequip Sounds, Ready and Unready Weapon Sounds. - **Added sounds for when weapons are equipped, unequiped, readied, and unreadied. Hooray for sounds!

  • **Focus mode improvements (Hold F) - **Significantly improved the third person camera focus mode. It should be much more useful and stable now.

  • **Conversations now return to root. - **Adjusted conversations to always return to the root if you stop talking to an NPC and later come back and talk to them again.

  • **Made the starter weapon actually rusty. - **That’s right, the rusty mace is now actually rusty. Hooray for attention to detail.

  • **Improved Dolfog Shadows. - **No more blurry dolfog shadows. Now they are crisp and detailed.

  • **Reduced Dolfog sound frequency. - **Dolfogs now play their sounds significantly less frequently, making them a little less annoying.

  • **Added proper pickaxe art. - **The pickaxe is no longer a hoe! Now it looks like a pickaxe.

  • **Added animation based timing for Dolfog attacks. - **Before, Dolfogs would deal damage as soon as their animation began… now Dolfogs deal damage as soon as they actually bite their target, giving an opportunity for the victim to see the attack and block.

  • **Fixed: Combat camera getting stuck. - **Fixed a bug that could cause the player to face the wrong direction in relation to the camera, if they enter combat while moving left or right.

  • **Fixed: Missing NPCs - **Fixed a bug that would cause NPCs to occasionally be missing, most commonly occurring with the shopkeeper.

  • **Fixed: Level ‘Unloading’ Crash - **Fixed a rare bug which could cause the game to crash while unloading a level.

  • **Fixed: Cloud coverage changes too fast. - **Fixed a bug where the cloudiness of the weather would change over the course of just 1 – 2 seconds. It now occurs much more gradually.

  • **Fixed: Jump End Animation. - **Fixed a bug that was causing the jump start animation to play at the end of the jump, causing it to look weird AND not properly play the landing sound.

  • **Fixed: Power attack sound timing. - **Adjusted the sound timing for power attacks, where the sound was playing before it should, causing everything to look and sound WRONG.

  • **Fixed: Broken reflections in several areas. - **Many areas in the game had broken reflections, especially noticeable at night. These issues have been fixed.

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Now – that’s – a changelist. Moving forward with the coming week, I hope to refine the existing play areas and work on caves, rather than directly adding a new play area. Programming work is going to focus on refining and improving the existing gameplay – and of course, the art will continue to progress.

–Luke

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Weekly Report - 24
Vizaris development is steaming along faster than ever. Many thanks to all of you who have decided to support the game and purchase a subscription. It’s people like you that grow the game from something small to something amazing. Every subscription matters to us, so thank you for supporting the continued improvements to Vizaris.

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This is what we were able to accomplish this week:

This week’s additions

  • Map! - That’s right, we’ve added a map to the game, which allows you to see where you and the other players are located. This is, of course, extremely useful for navigation. The map can be opened by either opening the UI and clicking on ‘Map’ on the top bar, or by pressing M on the keyboard. This map is very basic, and many features will be added to it in the future.

  • **Significant Performance Optimizations - **Significant optimizations were made to Vizaris AI and the Saving / Loading system to significantly reduce system strain, with improvements of up to P in CPU usage in some cases. This should improve loading and unloading related stuttering while exploring.

  • New Areas: Caves! - Three new caves have been added to the game, ready to be explored and conquered. The areas around the entrances to the caves have been updated as well.

  • Significantly Improved Fog - Distance fog was significantly updated for this update, resulting in a noticeably more realistic and impressive environment. Quite a bit of work was also put into improving the quality of the lighting at sunrise and sunset.

  • Two new ores! - In addition to the caves, two new ores have been added to the game for your mining pleasure – Sulfur (Or Sulpher for the Europeans), and Fluorite. These ores are more rare than the others, and because of this, they are more valuable.

  • Distance Field Optimizations - The distance field resolution for most of the environment was optimized, reducing the memory requirements and further reducing load stutter while exploring. If you still have significant stuttering, distance fields are likely too much for your GPU, and you should reduce lighting from Ultra to High, to remove distance field lighting.

  • Jump Momentum - We’ve added jump momentum into the game, which should make platforming easier and more fun. Previously, when jumping from a standstill, your character would not have any momentum, thus preventing you from performing delicate platforming; but now you can jump in a direction even if your character is standing still.

  • Fixed: Shadow Lighting Quality Settings - Fixed a bug which was causing shadow lighting to not be properly applied to the game, and tweaked settings to prevent ugly shadows on Medium lighting quality.

  • Fixed: Empty Containers - Fixed a bug caused by an engine update, which was removing the generated loot from many containers in the game.

  • Fixed: WTF Bandits - Fixed a bug which was causing loot containers to be replacing the torsos of bandits, which was causing moonwalking, hovering, and all kinds of other hilarious and terrifying behavior.

Many other snippets of work were done this week, which don’t immediately have an impact in the game. For instance, a significant amount of the village art was added, along with other refinements to the landscape surrounding the village. We’re also gearing up for a significant update to our subscription system, and distribution servers, resulting in significantly better service for you. More updates coming soon!

–Luke

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Weekly Report - 25

The game continues to grow, with more content added each and every week. As the complexity of the game grows, and more features are added, different systems begin to interlock and create interesting new gameplay for you to enjoy. Many of the higher level gameplay systems, such as increasing skills and crafting, require other systems to be in place before they can be properly or fully integrated into the game. This week we had wanted to add food to the game which buffed the player’s health and stamina regeneration, in addition to fulfilling your character’s need for food – but we ended up putting more work directly into an “effects” system, which is much more foundational, and will allow us to make content which is more properly integrated into the game. It’s always fun to see this sorts of features developed, as they tend to significantly increase the kinds of content we can create.

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This week’s additions

  • **New Game Area: Sek’ra’coro Slope - **A large new game area was added to the game, the Sek’ra’coro Slope. This area is higher in altitude from the rest of the game and offers some good views of the surrounding terrain. This new area is the largest game area addition yet!

  • **Enemy Health Indicator - **Enemies which the player attacks during combat will now show their overall health in the form of a small dot above the head of the creature. This should help to make the players more knowledgeable about what is going on during combat.

  • **Death Markers on Map - **The map will now show markers for the location of your previous death, which will help with navigation if you die and respawn back at camp.

  • **Jumping and Attacking while out of stamina - **Players will now be able to jump and attack (but not power attack) while out of stamina, which makes combat and exploration more fun.

  • **Massive work on the Effects Engine - **Most of the programming work this week was directed at implementing the effects system, which is a foundation requirement for many systems, including magic, potions, poisons, stat buffs, a more advanced food system, diseases, injuries, and more. It’s not quite ready to be added into the game this week, but should be added next week (It is a -very- large and comprehensive system)

Moving forward, the next week will see work on the effects system finalized, which means that we should be able to integrate some actual gameplay using the effects system into the game. Good progress was made on the character customization system as well. Nearly half of my own work this week was on a new area which is NOT part of the new area – so we’re already a leg up for next week’s content; and we’re working on a foliage update which will allow us to add some desert greenery to the landscape.

–Luke

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WOW! I love the textures and materials for the environment. When I first started to play with UE, about a month ago, Sanstone was something I wanted to make. Can you give any pointer into how you did it?

-Sterling

Nearly all of the visual “oomph” is pushed by the textures, which is a special blend of 3 different detail levels - a standard resolution tiling rock texture, which fades to a larger tiling version of the same texture at a distance to reduce tiling. Up close there’s a tiling detail texture to give it some up-close resolution. The far distance texture’s normal also still applies at a faded intensity up close, so you don’t have the overall shading suddenly changing as you get closer to it - but you need to make sure the normal isn’t too powerful or it will cause significant black shading spots caused by the mega huge tiling texture. World space textures are critically important to push this specific material, without that everything would fail. Beyond that, it all comes down to just having the right diffuse texture. Having strong vertical and horizontal elements, such as the cracks, help to sell the layered look especially with the world space textures.

That’s about all I can think of off the top of my head - if there’s something specific you’d like to know about, I’d be happy to provide some additional details.

The mesh testures are looking good but the terrain raly realy needs an huge overhaul. It looks flat and it seems the textures have a very low resolution. You should add some parallax and texture AO to it.

I would love to use parallax, however it is extremely expensive if you want it to look decent in the slightest - the current UE4 implementation of POM does not seem to be feasible for realtime. It also doesn’t work with distance field lighting which is what we use (The pixel offset pushes the mesh into it’s own distance field mesh, causing the parallax to look extremely pitted and shadowed with very noticeable transitions as you move forward)… while terrain could potentially use parallax, a large part of the visuals rely on the seamless transition between terrain mesh and static meshes, and since static meshes can’t use parallax, that’s out. And that’s not even mentioning the gameplay issues that come with it, such as character feet sinking through or hovering over the parallax. Tessellation carries the same issues though slightly differently. If you have any solutions to these issues, I would definitely look into adding parallax into the game.

The earlier screenshots also are from back before landscape normal maps were improved. Week 22+ really improves the landscape quality in that regard.

U dont need externally shaders like tess or pom. Parallax isnt that expensive at all, just takes a third time for textures oading with normal and diff.
U can see how it works at the gt free material pack from the marketplace. Its realy easy todo but it needs a good texture artist.

Seeing those rocks have shattered my will power to attempt such rocks! Beautiful stuff! You say you’re using World-Aligned textures for the rocks, how do you combat the stretching around 90 degree corners of the mesh? I’ve been using the same method for my inferior rocks but I get some strange stretching happening at all sharp/semi sharp corners.

The rocks absolutely have the stretching around sharp corners, but as long as your texture is good, it’s often not very noticeable. We use a “ProjectionTransitionContrast” of 10, but different values can help for different textures. The rocks in our project also have tessellation just for smoothing when you get up close, which further helps to reduce the edge issues. Of course, every now and then you’ll run into a spot that’s just plain fugly, in which case I usually hide it with another rock. :slight_smile: Luckily for our art style we can get away with smoother rocks. If you’re going to do sharper rocks, I would highly suggest giving each rock it’s own normal map to at least blend with the world space normals to make things look a bit more intentional.

Weekly Report - 26

A little late to the party this week. The new game area ended up being significantly more detailed and complicated than I originally intended, so rather than put it off for another week, I decided to delay the update for one day and focus on the new area, finishing it and getting it into the game.

Today a picture of Vizaris was featured in the Epic Game’s Launcher as the “Pic of the Day”, which is really cool! It makes me very happy to see the game featured like that.

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This week’s additions

  • **New Area: Sek’ra’coro Canyon - **A massive new area has been added to the game, well over twice as large as any of the previous additions to the game. Sek’ra’coro canyon is a dangerous winding canyon, with stunning rock arches and breakneck pitfalls. Collect and consume the new emberleaf plant for a quick boost to your character’s energy.
  • **New Plant: Emberleaf Grass - **A new harvestable plant has been added to the game, Emberleaf Grass, which when mature can be harvested and consumed for a quick boost of energy at the expense of a little thirst.
  • Significant Improvements to Object Grabbing - Object grabbing has been significantly improved by ensuring that the object always stays under the crosshair. The movement of the object has also been smoothed and given a bit of lag for more weight.
  • **Fixed: Death Screen UI being removed - **Fixed a bug which allowed other windows to be opened up over the death screen, causing it to be removed and making it much more difficult to spawn the player.
  • **Fixed: Object Pickup Sounds - **Fixed a bug which was causing object pickup sounds to removed as soon as they were added.
  • **Many things for next week - **Several bits of code work were finished this week, including the effect system – but due to the scope of the new area added, there simply wasn’t enough time to get these new features integrated into the game. Next week, I promise! :slight_smile:

The changelist looks pretty small this week, in part because it is – but the first item is a bit of a whopper. We’re getting some additional foliage into the game now, which is really cool, as that should allow us to really bump up the realism factor of the game. The skin for our new male and female bodies was finished this week, meaning we can start work on some outfits and more advanced character customization. And of course, many other bits of code were finished this week but weren’t able to make it into today’s update. This week we’re going to focus on smaller tasks and refinements.

–Luke

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Thank you! That’s great information. I’ll try to play around with the concepts you mentioned. I’m sure you’re slammed, but if you did a tutorial on the subject, I’m sure a lot of people could benefit. Materials, at least for me, are one of those areas where I’m overwhelmed. I tend to cringe and focus on other areas.

-Sterling

Yes, I couldn’t stand those FUGLY stretching on my rock corners, so I went ahead and made good, straight UV’s for my rocks and seamlessly tiled my texture on them. No more stretching :))

Also, nice update on your work. Is the rocky canyon sculpted from the landscape or are they modular rocks put together seamlessly (how?) to form the canyon for the player to move in? Also that reddish illumination you’re getting in your rocks’ shadows makes them look good, are you using colored GI post processing?

I would love to go with non-world space textures for my rocks, but the world space does involve it’s own benefits - and if you get some good textures then the stretching isn’t as noticable. The ideal solution would be a hybrid of world space, and then a specific set of normals, AO, and Curvature maps used for each individual rock models, but as it stands, it’s nearly impossible to do that with just myself and one other artist for the entire project, so I can’t afford to spend time working on specific rocks like that.

Lighting is a combination of a direct light (sun), skylight (for the ambient, slight tint to remove excess blue, lower hemisphere is NOT black), and DFAO - It’s fully dynamic, changing with time of day, etc. There’s also a minor amount of post processing, as well as both atmospheric and exponential height fog. We’re not currently using any global illumination (LPV or DFGI), though I’m hoping with future versions of UE4 we’ll be able to make the leap to fully dynamic. As it stands it’s just not performance friendly enough, stable enough, or clean enough (too much bleeding and artifacts).
The rock terrain is made of a hybrid of scuplted terrain (mostly for the horizontal/walkable areas) with a heavy overlay of meshes, for the freestanding rocks and vertical rock walls. Thanks to the worldspace texture it makes the rockwalls look quite a bit more seamless.